Matthew 24

Apr 6, 2008
New Zealand
Matthew 24

"27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. "

This is generally taken to mean that the second coming of Jesus Christ will be sudden and unexpected, like lightning. It occurs to me that lightning does not come from the east and shine to the west, it comes from any direction but usually from above, and towards any direction. So I'm wondering if this verse is actually talking about the sky becoming light in the east as dawn approaches. As the rising of the sun gets nearer the sky gradually lightens, from the east towards the west, then the sun appears.

If this is what this verse means, then the second coming of Christ won't be a surprise or unexpected, but His coming will be apparent to all, before He actually gets here. I'm not referring to the removal of the Church in what is usually called the rapture.
Aug 10, 2007
Austintown, Oh
Mat 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. "

G'day Sir,
Mostly in Israel the lightening comes from west to east compared from east to west, so it appears to be a rather weak simile when translated as "lightning." I wonder if your observation isn’t correct. The Greek word used is…

astrape,as-trap-ay'; from Greek 797 (astrapto); lightning; by analogy glare :- lightning, bright shining.

Which could also be translated “the breaking forth of light” - such as you have at sunrise. Lightning most often goes in any direction and can only be seen for a few miles. Don’t forget that translators determine what the text is saying before they translate it. They often copy one another and follow the major consensus. Publishers don’t want to change the main ideas of their translation for fear that it will be blackballed and their investment will go down the drain. So there are a lot of reasons not to try to clarify any wording that does not make complete sense.

The Temple service began promptly at sunrise each day; and this was visually determined by spotters on the Temple roof - only there was one problem. The Mount of Olives east of the Temple was a couple hundred feet higher than the Temple. So the only way that sunrise could accurately be detected was for the usual spotters on the Temple roof to look south toward Hebron. When the first light of morning flashed over Hebron - then it was officially daybreak. The sun did not appear over the Mount of Olives until a little later.

To me this passage would make more sense in terms of a simile if the text were translated Mat 24:27 For as the (sunrise) light cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Both views indicate quickness - it’s just that your view, I think, is a bit more accurate in terms of this passage being a strong simile rather than a weak one. Lightning only rarely strikes from east to west, but sunrise is always east to west. Also, lightning is limited in view to a few miles, but the morning sun affects the whole world.

Larry II
Nov 9, 2007
No, what "lightning" is refering to by the translation "glare", is the "brightness of His coming", or the Glory of God giving off light all thru Heaven, it will be the same here on earth when Jesus appears.

Aparently that "Glory" will be so bright, that even in clouded over areas, it will pierce thru clouds shining upon the earth all over looking like lightning streams coming down all over the earth when it does.

I suggest that means, God's Glory is so strong and Bright, it will already start piercing thru the clouds in areas, long before Christ gets here. But, people won't recognize it at first as that.

God Bless!!