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The knowledge of the Son and the Father about each other is linked to knowledge of the eschaton. Those to whom it is granted can find this eschatological knowledge in Jesus, who, in his person and ministry, reveals secrets that were hidden from the founding of the world and that relate to the end of the age.

This phenomenon is the sub- ject of the conversation between Jesus and his disciples in — This talk is part of the Parable Discourse, the structure of which already reflects the above-mentioned division. In the first part —34 , Jesus addresses a mixed company: he presents four parables to the crowds and his disciples —9. In the second part —52 , after the crowds have been sent away, the disciples receive further instruction in the privacy of a house.

In first instance, the division seems to be caused by Jesus himself because, in speaking to the crowds, he brings up different matters than when he instructs his disciples in a secluded place. In , with their question of why Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, the disciples focus on the speaker, not on the recipients. Still, it is not only the speaker who is important; so is the recipient. Furthermore, the nature or content of the message conveyed may be such that only certain recipients will be able to interpret it correctly.

He mentions God as the source of revelation. God lets Jesus convey its content to a limited group of recipients cf. Jesus thus links the parable to the communicative aspects of his proclamation of the word of God and places great emphasis on the active role of the listeners. In fact, this division is already present before Jesus begins to speak.

Studies in Matthews Gospel: Literary Design, Intertextuality, and Social Setting

He does not bring it about; in speaking in parables, he adapts to an already existing situation. This is shown by the clauses that express reasons in Craig A. Evans and H. Daniel Zacharias; London: Continuum, See also: Galen W. It is also interesting that the quotation from Ps in equates speaking in parables with uttering not: revealing that which was hidden.

The fulfilment quotation refers to the situation of outsiders. For the disci- ples, the reverse is true of that which is argued in the quotation from Isaiah about the people. In —17, the disciples are called blessed because their eyes see and their ears hear.

They differ from many prophets and righteous people from the past who had wished to see and hear what the disciples are seeing and hearing, but could not, because the time had not yet come. This occurrence resists normal perception and, as yet, develops in secret. In , therefore, the kingdom is compared to a treasure hidden in a field which is hidden again by the finder.

The parable of a merchant in search of fine pearls also suggests that the kingdom is secret. Verse , in which a woman mixes a little yeast with a large amount of flour, points in the same direction. The Parable Discourse, however, does not stop at the first unfoldings of the kingdom. The text suggests that the sowing time is already in the past, and gradually the future harvest, the approaching end of the age, is coming into focus.

Many textual data relate to the period between sowing time and the time of the harvest. This intervening period is the subject of the parable of the weeds in the grain — When the crop begins to bear fruit, the slaves see that there is not only wheat in the field but also weeds. Surprised they ask their lord where these weeds came from.

According to him, the weeds do not originate in the activities of the sower but in those of an enemy. The slaves are willing to immediately pull up the weeds, but their lord tells them to. The parable puts the finger on the phenomenon that the community is a corpus mixtum.

In the explanation of the parable —43 , the focus shifts from the coexistence of the good and the bad towards the division between the two groups at the end of the age. This division will not be the work of people but will be conducted on the order of the Son of Man by his angels. Therefore, the existing situation must not be confused with the eschatological fulfilment.

Now the kingdom is still a hidden force and there is a division between those who understand and whose good deeds show that they consider the kingdom to be of great value and those who have no understanding. For the definitive division, ethical standards are decisive: the righteous will be rewarded while the worst punishment awaits those who bring others down and who perpe- trate injustice. Matthew thus combines his diagnosis of the existing situation with a prognosis of the future. His description of the final judgement is not meant as a blueprint of the scenario at the end of the age, but has a parenetic purpose.

Matt —28 is a textual unit. Jesus is alone there, except for the company of his disciples. Herman L. Yet, Jesus addresses Peter personally in — As regards formulation, is closely related to Gal —16, where Paul traces back his calling to a special experience. According to Paul, God revealed his Son to him. Matt In answering this question, offers something to go on. There, Jesus advises his disci- ples to beware of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The investiture of Peter as leader links up with this. He is the alternative to the old leaders, who failed to properly fulfil their role. Verse in combination with points in the same direction. According to , Jesus entrusts the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter. This promise is connected with the criticism in of the scribes and Pharisees: they close off the kingdom for the people. In the first line, something is stated about Peter; in the second and third lines, which both show an antithetic parallelism, the reason for or the effect of the statement in the first line is described.

What is at stake here is the authority to make decisions on what is prohibited and what is allowed. The decisions made by Peter on earth are ratified by heaven. Although he is given a special position, not everything that is said on or to Peter in —19 applies only to him. The macarism addressed to Peter in parallels the beatitude about the disciples in These connections show that Peter does not operate separately from the other disciples but acts as their leader and representative.

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Peter was supposed to be a rock, but he acts as a stumbling block. Peter is an ambivalent figure, both as a recipient of divine revelation and in his role as a leader. After his mistake, he must take his proper place again, behind Jesus ; cf. In this situation, too, Peter acts as the leader of the disciples. Still, his interpretation of the vision on the mountain is not entirely correct. With his proposal to make three dwellings, he places Moses, Elijah, and Jesus on the same level.

The voice from the cloud, however, proclaims one of the three, Jesus, as the only true eschatological bearer of the divine revelation, who must be heeded. One last important text in connection with the subject of this contribution is the Eschatological Discourse in — This discourse is related to apoca- lyptic texts, that transfer special knowledge to a small but robust minority con- cerning the eschaton and the events that precede it, in which evil will spread like ink, further and further.

This knowledge concerns, among other things, the question of how long the period of disaster will last and what attitude is called for in the period before the end.

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This event is about to happen; it is so imminent that the current generation will live to see it — Still, it is crucial to be careful: the end must not be equalled with the many forms of disaster which will strike the community in the period before the end Although it is certain that the end will come, it is not known when exactly it will happen. Only God knows the day and the hour Acts ; 1 Thess —2. This knowledge has been revealed to no one, not even to the Son. This is at odds with the statement in , that the Father has handed over to the Son everything there is to know, also about the end of the age.

The uncertainty about the day and the hour is the basis for the call, repeated many times in —, to be vigilant and to be prepared. In addition, there is the appeal to be enterprising and active, based on the fact that the judge at the final judgement will be hard The disciples do not get an exact answer.

Towards the end of the dis- course, the question of day and hour is asked again, this time by the two groups before the throne of the Son of Man. The questions that are put in that way do get answered: every time they did something for some of the least, or failed to do something—so the two groups are told—, they were confronted with the Son of Man.

The Gospel of Matthew: Overview - Whiteboard Bible Study

On the one hand, the final passage of the Eschatological Discourse — 46 contains many verbs in the future tense that focus the attention on the ultimate future, on the end of the age;25 on the other hand, by means of verbs in the past tense, a retrospective view of preceding events is given from that ultimate moment in the future. This shift is accompanied by a number of striking contrasts: at the final judgement, the Son of Man appears in full glory, surrounded by all angels. In the time before the end, he has been present every day—without anybody knowing; in a hidden way, he sought the company of people in dire straits.

What does all this have to do with divine revelation and secret knowledge? At the level of the vocabulary used, there are no clear connections with these. This can be explained as follows. Long before the eschaton, they know what they must do if they do not want to be found wanting at the final judgement.

What truly matters are the works of mercy. These works offer an alternative to the destructive effect of the teachings of false messiahs and false prophets who, in the turbulent times before the end, harass the community with false images of the parousia —5.

These messianic manifestations have in common that they only have regional scope. Even more condemnatory is the criticism that the pseudo-prophets fail eth- ically. On this point, they represent the opposite of the ethical standards recommended by the Son of Man. I will conclude this chapter by formulating an answer to the problem and the subquestions raised in the introduction. The revela- tion does not originate in God alone but also in Jesus, to whom God, according to , has imparted all knowledge. He thoroughly. By communicating it already, this secret can start to influence the lives of his readers now. Knowledge of the eschaton has been bestowed upon him. As a result, he has the ability to reveal the deeper meaning of current events. Yet, according to , the Son knows neither the day nor the hour of the end.

This real but also delicate pres- ence cannot be spoken about in objectifying language but only in parables with their many metaphors, the meaning of which can only be understood by recipients to whom this ability has been given by God.