“Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
The End Of The Age
Jesus leaves the temple, and as he and the disciples depart, the disciples point out the massive edifice of the temple. Jesus offers a startling revelation; the temple would be destroyed—the symbol of God's presence and his covenant people would be destroyed. When they arrive on the Mount of Olives, the disciples come to Jesus privately and ask the obvious question, "When will these things happen?" The disciples also want to know how they will recognize Jesus' return and the signs of the end of the age. Jesus tells the disciples not to be led astray because many would come and make claims about the end. Jesus is the Prophet, and he explains the future. Jesus makes prophecies that would have implications for the present and the future. Wars, famines, and earthquakes will happen, but the follower of Jesus does not have to be alarmed because these are a part of birth pains, and more suffering will come. Tribulation, martyrdom, betrayal, false prophets, lawlessness, and a lack of love will point to the fact that the end is nearing but has not yet come.
Jesus refers to the prophecies of Daniel, including the abomination of desolation. Jesus' statement indicates the authority of Scripture and the truth that Jesus views the Scripture as reliable and accurate. When one reads about these events, it should be remembered that this prophecy has initial fulfillment and ultimate fulfillment. In the Older Testament, Nathan prophesied that David's offspring would sit on his throne. This had the initial fulfillment in Solomon, but it would also point to the ultimate fulfillment in Jesus. The terrible circumstances that are described will find initial fulfillment soon. The tribulation that Jesus speaks of would have fulfillment in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD but will also come to fruition when the end of the world comes. Jesus also explains that many will try to read the tea leaves and explain precisely how and when the end will come. This is still true today. Many tell us that they have figured out the code for the return of Christ and the end of the world. They will speak of the revelation they have received, which, accompanied by current events and combined with numerology, have allowed them to decipher the second coming of Christ. However, Jesus explains that they are not to be believed because his coming will be swift and unexpected.
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