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Considering what Matthew 24:26 and Mathew 25:1-9 say, did messiah 'shoot himself in the foot'?

To paraphrase what I understand by Matthew 24:26, I imagine Him saying to His disciples; 'Look, 'don't believe anyone that comes to you with news of having seen me, because when I return, it'll be a phenomenon that none will miss'

On the other hand, by Mathew 25:1-9 I understand messaih saying; 'Look, my return will be such that only a few of my followers will see me first( the midnight criers), and whom I will send to the rest of my believers(the symbolic 10 virgins)

Matthew 25:6

But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!'

Even after this anouncement Messiah doesn't appear to the virgins for a while within which the 'foolish' go shopping, the more reason for causing doubt.

Matthew 25:5

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

All the while believers are aware of the unequivocal warning in;

Matthew 24:26-27;

25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Now how will the 'criers in the midnight' be believed to be true, given what Matthew 24:26-27 says? Also from the text these are men, because it doesn't indicate these criers as being angels, in which case whose testimony would almost be impossible not to believe

How will the 'cry' be believed, given these two writings from the same writer and the same Origin that are seemingly diametrical meanings?

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  • @ Davïd, thanks for your observation. I have made some changes.
    – Witness
    Aug 9 '16 at 14:59
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    Matthew 25 begins with a parable... "The kingdom of heaven shall be compared to..." -- you're confusing genres here.
    – Dɑvïd
    Aug 9 '16 at 18:30
  • @ Davïd, Mat 25 is a parable, granted. What of Mat 24:29 which apparently happens before His coming, which event if taken literally, the earth itself He would find non-existent, burnt by the Stars by the time He returns?
    – Witness
    Aug 9 '16 at 18:44
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    @Witness - Matthew 24:29 only says the stars will fall from heaven. It does not say anything about the earth being burned by the stars. The very next verse (v30) even says that all the tribes of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming, so there are definitely people still on the earth after the stars fall.
    – user6503
    Aug 9 '16 at 21:43
  • @Bʀɪᴀɴ. Thanks for your good comment.. He didn't have to be specific. If it's a literal interpretation, the implications of what the texts says are they that point to that scenario of the earth being burned up by the time He returns, stars being larger than sun. Where else did He mean by 'the stars falling' other than onto the earth? You make a good observation; vs 30 implies, the stars, the 'dark' sun' etc, above all, the 'distress', these are allusions to spiritual judgements that wreck havoc in the spirit while there's 'still eating and drinking and marrying..' Matthew 24:38
    – Witness
    Aug 10 '16 at 7:56
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The text does not suggest the Crier represents any men, but rather the opposite, that the criers are angelic heralds of Christ's return.

Crier reaches all men

Regarding Matthew 24:26-27

I agree, if the criers represented men announcing Christ's coming then there would be a problem. They may not be trustworthy and they would also not be capable of accomplishing the task. The men spreading rumors in Matthew 24:26 can only tell a limited number of people that Jesus is in the wilderness or inner room. He cannot tell everyone at once, from east to west. This then suggests the criers are not representing men, but rather angels. Jesus immediately compares his coming to lightning (or to a flash or appearance of light on the horizon which shines from east to west instantly). The cries of men are not instantaneous. This demands a different solution.

Jesus' other descriptions in Matthew 24 are consistent with this suddenness:

  • Flood sweeps in on the unaware
  • One person taken and the other left alone
  • A Thief in the night

Not only are they sudden, they are undeniable and final. Is Jesus in the wilderness? Not sure. Inner rooms? Can't tell.

But is that Jesus returning in the sky for everyone to see? It will be without doubt.

The Virgins encompass all men

The other problem is that there are only two sorts of people in the parable of 10 virgins: those who were ready and entered the feast, and those who were not. There is not a third category of men for the Crier to be a part of if he represents a man, he must be included in the virgins.

Who is the Crier?

In Jewish weddings, the Crier would have been the modern equivalent of a "Groomsman" (the "friend of the bridegroom" as John references in John 3:29). He would go ahead of the bridegroom and literally sound a trumpet (or Shofar) to let everyone in town know what was happening.

It was customary for one of the groom's party to go ahead of the bridegroom, leading the way to the bride's house - and shout - "Behold, the bridegroom comes." This would be followed by the sounding of the shofar. 1

Matthew 24:31 shows the similarities well:

And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Compare it to Matthew 25:6

But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’

Also consider how Paul describes this in 1 Thess 4:16-17

...with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God... caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord

And later in Matthew 25:31-32, as Jesus is reaching a conclusion, where he reviews for the listener what he has told them, he mentions the angels that come with him:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.

Conclusion

The Angelic heralds who Jesus had previously said would announce his coming, without doubt or deception, match the description of the Crier in the parable as well as one can hope for in a parable. Jesus was not contradicting himself, but rather reinforcing what he had already said.

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  • You are observant admit, but the two accounts taken literally are irreconcilable in their conclusions. When He spoke in parables or allegories or even plainly on any occasion in teaching a truth, He couldn't at another speak in either mode contradicting Himself. So in your mentioning the sky you affirm then that also the stars are literal, which spells disaster for the planet before He returns. The parable of the virgins and the story of His return just in the period after the 'days of distress,' are both about His return, but they seemingly part ways in their meanings. That was my question
    – Witness
    Aug 10 '16 at 9:21
  • @Witness I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. In both chapter 24 and the parable in 25 Jesus, the bridegroom return to where the bride is. Maybe you were reading a secret Rapture into what I wrote, but I did not say that. There is nothing irreconcilable here unless you have strongly held preconceptions. Also consider that the parables in chapter 25 each give one aspect of the Kingdom of Heaven, none are comprehensive by themselves. If the parable is missing something that is not the same as disagreeing.
    – Joshua
    Aug 10 '16 at 9:33
  • @ Joshua I know He didn't contract Himself, I will shortly illustrate that from my answer that's on the way. Thanks for the effort.
    – Witness
    Aug 10 '16 at 9:46
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Markan priority1 is an almost universal assumption among modern New Testament scholars, so that Matthew 24:1-25:46 is a lengthy elaboration on the account in Mark 13:1-37. The lengthy parable of the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-12) is found only in Matthew's Gospel, but is an allusion to Matthew 9:15, which is, in turn, copied from Mark 2:19-20.

Matthew 9:15: And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

Matthew 9:15 is clearly an allusion to the death of Jesus, the 'bridegroom'. It is easy to see how the author of Matthew felt this allusion so important that it should be expanded and placed in the passage where Jesus makes a more complete prophecy of events to come. The unforeseen result is that Jesus' discourse may appear to lack his normal consistency. However, remember that, as part of Jesus' discourse, the 'ten virgins' is only a parable, part of his warning that the disciples be prepared for his return.


1Adam Winn (The Purpose of Mark's Gospel, page 1) says the theory of Markan priority is one of the few that has reached a high level of consensus among New Testament interpreters.

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  • Thanks for your answer. I know there was a death of the bridegroom at somepoint. It's His return that's the issue. Whether He spoke in parables or plainly at one point in teaching a truth, He couldn't at another time speak in either mode and contradict Himself. That is why I asked the question. The parable of the virgins and the story of His return just in the period after the 'days of distress,' are both about, His return, but they seemingly part ways in the meaning. That was my question.
    – Witness
    Aug 10 '16 at 8:08

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