Original Research - Special Collection: Matthean Perspectives

What is ‘the sign of the Son of man in heaven’ (Mt 24:30)?

Marius Nel
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 49, No 1 | a1876 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i1.1876 | © 2015 Marius Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 August 2014 | Published: 30 March 2015

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Marius Nel, Research Unit of the Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

What does the ‘sign of the Son of man in heaven’ in Matthew 24:30 denote? In broad terms, there are two ways to interpret the phrase. Firstly, that the coming of the Son of man in the clouds is the ‘sign of the Son of man’ and the phrase explains the sign, much like lightning is depicted as a sign in Matthew 24:27. Secondly, the sign is interpreted in terms of various objects that will precede the coming of the Son of man. What is the significance of the term, ‘the signof the Son of man?’ In the discussion the phrase juxtaposed with its context in the Gospel, the apocalyptic discourse with its judgement on the established religious institution of the Jews as represented by the temple in Jerusalem, before its exegesis is discussed. The purpose is to describe the possible denotations for ‘the sign in heaven of the Son of man’.

Wat is ‘die teken van die Seun van die mens’ in die hemel (Matt 24:30)? Waarop dui die ‘teken van die Seun van die mens in die hemel’ in Mattheus 24:30? Breedweg is daar twee maniere om die frase te interpreteer. In die eerste plek is die koms van die Seun van die mens in die wolke die ‘teken van die Seun van die mens’; die frase verduidelik die teken soos weerlig as ’n teken soos dit in Mattheus 24:27 gebruik word. Tweedens kan die teken geïnterpreteer word ten opsigte van die verskillende voorwerpe wat die koms van die Seun van die mens voorafgaan. Wat is die betekenis van die term, ‘die tekenvan die Seun van die mens?’ In die bespreking word die frase teenoor sy konteks in die Evangelie geplaas, naamlik Jesus se apokaliptiese diskoers met sy oordeel oor die gevestigde godsdienstige instelling van die Jode soos deur die tempel in Jerusalem verteenwoordig is. Hierna word die eksegese van die teks bespreek. Die doel is om die moontlike denotasies van ‘die teken in die hemel van die Seun van die mens’ te beskryf.


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