If you are a Christian and you carefully observe current events throughout the world, you will be drawn to the statements of Jesus revealed in Matthew chapter 24.
It seems like every generation for the past 100 years or so, has had reason to proclaim we are living in the end times. To illustrate the logic of such a realistic belief, preachers, teachers and prophets point to Matthew 24 .
Let us discover what is revealed when we study the specifics.
Verse 3 “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
The gospel of Mark reveals the disciples were, Peter, James, John and Andrew. (Mark 13: 3) They actually asked Jesus, three questions.
1. When will these things happen?
2. What will be the sign of Your coming?
3. What will be the sign of the end of the age?
They almost sound like tourists enjoying the breathtaking sight as they showed Jesus the features of the magnificent Temple. He answered their first question by telling them, the amazing and inspiring Temple that they so admired, would soon be destroyed. Verse 2 “And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
(What do we have that is so important or impressive to us, that the loss of it would cruel our world? That is always a pertinent question).
This Temple structure had become the great Jewish hope, a symbol to the Jews of God’s exclusive love for them.
And there was excellent reason for their admiration. The Temple was of white polished limestone with gold trim. It took Herod 46 years to complete. Herod built it to win the Jews who were opposed to his authority over them. Herod was an Edomite and they came from the land of Esau.
Apart from the marvelous physicality of the building, Jesus knew Temple sacrifices would shortly be obsolete. Temple sacrifices were made redundant after the Lord, the Lamb of God, offered Himself as the living sacrifice, ‘once for all.’
His answer must have shocked the disciples. Later, they no doubt, recalled this conversation when the Roman army crushed the great building. Josephus reports that it was possible to plow the ground after the Romans destruction was done.
Verse 12 “Therefore, on account of you Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins,
And the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest.”
Jesus was accurate to the finest detail but note that His remarks echoed what had already been prophesied much earlier. “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; and he spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, ‘Thus the LORD of hosts has said, “Zion will be plowed as a field, And Jerusalem will become ruins, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.” (Jeremiah 26:18)
The Lord was the Word who became flesh. He knew what Micah and Jeremiah had already announced. The prophesy was fulfilled in every detail.
(Watch for Matthew 24 – Part 2 – coming soon)