Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.


We being what we are and all things else being what they are, the most important and profitable study any of us can engage in is without question the study of theology.

That theology probably receives less attention than any other subject tells us nothing about its importance or lack of it. It indicates, rather, that men are still hiding from the presence of God among the trees of the garden and feel acutely uncomfortable when the matter of their relation to God is brought up!

They sense their deep alienation from God and only manage to live at peace with themselves by forgetting that they are not at peace with God.

It is precisely because God IS, and because man is made in His image and is accountable to Him, that theology is so critically important. Christian revelation alone has the answer to life’s unanswered questions about God and human destiny.

To let these authoritative answers lie neglected while we search everywhere else for answers and find none is, it seems to me, nothing less than folly!

Whatever keeps me from the Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to me. Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul. Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it. The secret of life is theological and the key to heaven, as well![1]

An Unprecedented Alteration

Heaven and earth will pass away, (24:35a)

Jesus says explicitly that both heaven and earth will pass away. That expression first appears in 5:18, where it is not primarily used as a prophecy but as an analogy to express the enduring quality of the Word of God. It is used similarly in this text. The universe will fail, but what Jesus has just said will not fail to come to complete fulfillment. That analogical use of this phrase does not, however, preclude a directly prophetic intent. It is clearly predicted in the Old and New Testaments that the universe will be dramatically affected in the divine judgment of God. But that event will occur a thousand years after the return of Christ, when heaven and earth as we now know them will cease to exist (cf. 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 21:1).

An Unchanging Authority

but My words shall not pass away. (24:35b)

Finally, Jesus declared, although the heaven and the earth will pass away, My words shall never pass away. On another occasion He said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law,” that is, His Word, “to fail” (Luke 16:17). It is not possible for the Word of God to be broken (John 10:35), including what Jesus says here about the end time. The psalmist established the same great truth when he wrote that Scripture is “clean, enduring forever” (Ps. 19:9). Whatever is touched by sin must pass away. The Word is untouched! It is like silver refined seven times in a furnace of fire-utterly pure (Ps. 12:6).[2]

24:35 To emphasize the unfailing character of His predictions, Jesus added that heaven and earth would pass away but His words would by no means pass away. In speaking of heaven passing away, He was referring to the stellar and atmospheric heavens—the blue firmament above us—not to that heaven which is the dwelling place of God (2 Cor. 12:2–4). The dissolution of the heaven and the earth is described in 2 Peter 3:10–13 and mentioned again in Revelation 20:11.[3]

35 The authority and eternal validity of Jesus’ words are nothing less than the authority and eternal validity of God’s words (Ps 119:89–90; Isa 40:6–8).[4]

[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 24:33–35). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1296). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Carson, D. A. (2010). Matthew. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 569). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


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