The First Century Faith that Made a Mountain Move
Matthew 17:20: A Preterist Commentary: Summary and Highlights
In Matthew 17:20, Jesus declares, “[I]f you have faith . . . you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there and it will move.’” This mountain may actually be a city since cities are often called mountains in the Bible (Psalms 2:6; 48:1; Isaiah 66:20; Jeremiah 51:25; Joel 3:17). If this interpretation is correct, then Jesus’ words are prophetic. See the following Preterist commentary on Matthew 17:20 for the fulfillment of this prophecy during Israel’s first century war with Rome.
The following may seem unbelievable. However, all information is taken from unbiased historical records, cited and is easily verifiable.
The First Century Faith that Made a Mountain Move
20He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
A Preterist Commentary on Matthew 17:20: Mountain means Kingdom or City in the Bible. This Mountain or City is probably Likely Joppa or Taricheae.
As is implied in Daniel 9:16 and many other verses in the Bible, mountain is term often used to denote a city or kingdom (Psalms 2:6; 48:1; Isaiah 66:20; Jeremiah 51:25; Joel 3:17). Because of the similarities between this verse and Matthew 21:21 and since Jesus and His disciples were in Galilee according to v. 22 when Jesus spoke these words, it is likely that the mountain referred to in this verse is a city by the Sea of Galilee. In Matthew 21:21, Jesus declares, “[I]f you have faith and do not doubt . . . you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” In light of Matthew 21:21 and the fact that Jesus and His disciples were in Galilee at the time, the “there” that Jesus likely pointed to indicating where the mountain would end up was probably the Sea of Galilee. And since mountains often denote cities in the Bible it appears that Jesus suggested that the disciples would be able to move one of Galilee’s coastal cities into the adjoining sea. Though the identity of the mountain or city in v. 20 is uncertain, Jesus seems to have been referring to either the city of Joppa or Taricheae.
A Preterist Commentary on Matthew 17:20: The Mountains of Joppa and Taricheae were cast into the Sea during the Jewish War.
Perceiving that they could not withstand the Romans within the confines of these cities, many Jews during the Jewish War fled Joppa and Taricheae by ship to the Sea of Galilee. There at sea, these Jewish rebels were ultimately slain by the combined forces of a violent tempest and superior Roman naval warfare.1 Thus in a sense, the mountains of Taricheae and Joppa had, in fact, been thrown into the sea.
A Preterist Commentary on Matthew 17:20: The Sea Represents Gentile Rome in Revelation. Thus the Casting of the City into the Sea also prophetically symbolizes the Exile of the Israelites after the War.
There may be more to this enigmatic verse. Sea is often used in the Bible to represent Gentile nations (see In the Bible “Earth” Signifies the Specific Land Addressed While “Sea” Symbolizes Foreign Nations). During the Jewish War, the fact that many people in Joppa and Taricheae died at sea was an ominous sign hinting to the fate of the rest of Israel. After the war ended, many Israelites were exiled throughout the Roman Empire.2 Some of these exiles came from Joppa and Taricheae. Here one can see another way in which Matthew 21:21 and Matthew 17:20 are fulfilled. The casting of the mountains or cities of Israel into the sea may represent the exile of the Jews throughout Gentile Rome.
A Preterist Commentary on Matthew 17:20: The Sea also represents the Abyss, the Realm of the Dead. Therefore, the Casting of the City to the Sea also symbolizes the Death of its People.
Sea has another, deeper meaning in the Bible. It also represents the Abyss, the realm of the dead (see The Poetic Biblical Link Between “Sea” and “Abyss”). The hurling of a mountain or city into the sea or Abyss is therefore also a symbolic expression concerning the destruction of a city and the slaughter of its inhabitants. Hence this expression once again points to the massacre at Joppa and Taicheae during the Jewish War. Its people having died at the Sea of Galilee, the mountains of Taricheae and Joppa had both literally and figuratively been cast into the sea.
According to Revelation 6:9-11, the plagues of Revelation and their fulfillment during the Jewish War were ultimately a consequence of the prayers of the saints. After Jesus’ crucifixion, many Christians in Israel were intensely persecuted by their Jewish brethren. God answered their pleas for justice in A.D. 66, at the start of Israel’s war with Rome. During this war, Israel was destroyed by the Roman army and many Israelites were killed and exiled. Jesus was right. As a result of the faith of the saints, the mountains of Israel had been thrown into the sea.
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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.
Matthew 17:20: A Preterist Commentary: Conclusion
As stated in the above Preterist commentary on Matthew 17:20, Matthew 17:20 was fulfilled during the Jewish War in the first century.