Related to Matt. 24:33-34, John MacArthur writes the following statement:
“… there is the total absense of New Testament instruction to the church as to how it should endure and conduct itself during the Tribulation.” (Matthew 24-28, TMNTC, 65).
Yes, he actually writes those words. I kid you not.
One wonders how MacArthur can overlook the vast amount of texts that are written to the Church in regards to enduring and being faithful to Jesus. How can the author of The Gospel According to Jesus suggest that the NT doesn’t instruct the church to persevere?!?! Defenders of MacArthur’s position will be quick to point out that the key word is the definite article “the” in his statement. They will suggest that MacArthur is talking about specific texts about the eschatological “Great Tribulation” that Scripture speaks of (cf. Matt. 24:21; Rev. 7:14).
I find that assertion ridiculous. Any and every text that commands Christians to endure is applicable in any and all situations. And trust me, there are many texts that suggest that type of faithfulness (cf. 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Cor. 1:6; Eph. 6:18; 2 Tim. 2:12; Heb. 10:36). Furthermore, I would argue that within the Olivet Discourse there actually is an instruction to the church about enduring throughout the eschatological tribulation:
“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matt. 24:13)
Are we to believe that the statements that Jesus makes in the surrounding context of Matt. 24:33-34 aren’t relative to the points Jesus was making? Really?
I’m left shaking my head here…