Matthew 3:12: A Preterist Commentary

Herald of the Harvest

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Matthew 3:12 A Preterist Commentary: Summary and Highlights

In Matthew 3:12, John the Baptist likens the end of the age to a harvest.  In the following Preterist commentary on Matthew 3:12, this prophecy is interpreted and shown to be fulfilled.

Herald of the Harvest

Matthew A Preterist Commentary Intro: This Commentary uses Matthew as a Template to comment on similar End Time Predictions in the other Gospels.

The Gospel of Matthew is a fairly thorough account of the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.  Mark, Luke and John contribute very little end time information that is not already found in Matthew’s account.  In this commentary, Matthew’s gospel is used as a backbone and template in which to comment on the eschatology found in all four gospels.  Many of the significant verses in the other three gospels have been added to relevant chapters in Matthew so that through studying the Book of Matthew alone, the reader will be given virtually exhaustive exposure to Jesus’ end time message as it is recorded in the Gospels as a whole.  The first end time prediction of significance in the New Testament is spoken by the herald of the Christ, John the Baptist:

12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The temple burned with unquenchable fire fulfilling Matthew 3:12 preterism

Unquenchable fire like that mentioned in Matthew 3:12 is fire that is so large and hot that it cannot be intentionally put out. Jerusalem and its temple were engulfed in unquenchable fire when the city was destroyed and burned by the Romans in A.D. 70.

A Preterist Commentary on Matthew 3:12: The Jews revolted against Rome during the Barley Harvest explaining the Harvest Imagery in Matthew 3:12.

The Jews began their revolt against Rome in Iyyar amidst the barley harvest in A.D. 66.  In the following month, Sivan, the wheat harvest began.  Thus in light of this fact it is not surprising that John the Baptist refers to the end of the age as a wheat harvest in Matthew 3:12.

A Preterist Commentary on Matthew 3:12: The Gathering of the Wheat into the Barn represents the Entry of the Saints into the Kingdom of Heaven.  The Burning of the Chaff represents the Burning of Israel during the Jewish War which itself Symbolizes Hell.

The symbolism found in the verse above is repeated throughout the Gospels and the Bible as a whole.  This verse, like Revelation 14:14-16, paints a picture of Christ harvesting the land at His coming.  In the context of Matthew 7:15-17, it is clear that good fruit represents the virtuous while thorn bushes and thistles signify the wicked.  Similar imagery is seen in v. 12 above.  Like the good fruit in Matthew 7, the wheat in v. 12 also represents the saints while the chaff symbolizes the wicked.

The gathering of the wheat into the barn paints a picture of the saints being welcomed into the kingdom of heaven.1  The burning of the chaff is a metaphor for hell and the burning of Israel by the Roman military.  The fact that the province of Israel was burned throughout the war with Rome is itself an earthly reflection of the otherworldly flames of Gehenna.

unquenchable fire of Matthew 3:12 Preterist commentary

Gehenna was a burning trash heap outside of Jerusalem often used as a metaphor for hell.


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Interested in THE PRETERIST VIEW OF ESCHATOLOGY, or are you a PRETERIST struggling with a prophecy or verse?  It DID happen just like the Bible says!  If you liked this essay, see PRETERIST BIBLE COMMENTARY for a detailed explanation of the FULFILLMENT OF ALL MAJOR END TIME PROPHECIES IN THE BIBLE. The more unbelievable the prophecy, the more amazing and miraculous the fulfillment!

Also see Historical Evidence that Jesus was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century. For an explanation of how the end of the age and its fulfillment during the Jewish War mirror Genesis 1-3; how the Bible teaches that the resurrection of the dead is a resurrection of heavenly bodies to heaven, not a resurrection of perfected earthly bodies; and how the resurrection is a mirror opposite of the fall see How the Jewish War and Resurrection to Heaven Mirror Genesis and the Fall; and How Preterism fixes the Age of the Earth Problem and unravels the Mysteries in Genesis.

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Matthew 3:12 A Preterist Commentary: Conclusion

In the above Preterist commentary on Matthew 3:12, the harvest imagery was interpreted and its first century fulfillment addressed. 

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Matthew 3:12 A Preterist Commentary

  1. This is fulfilled in the resurrection of the dead and the repopulation of Israel with Christians after the Jewish War and the Bar Kokhba Rebellion.