“Do you see the temple? I tell you the truth, all of that will be destroyed. Not one stone will be left on another.” The temple and all its beauty and splendor will be reduced to rubble. It’s hard to imagine as you are standing there admiring the beauty and architecture of that day, but that is exactly what happened in AD 70, according to biblical scholars.
We are looking at end-time events, and one of the most studied passages in the Bible on end-time events is what is known as the Olivet Discourse found in Matthew, chapters 24 and 25. Olivet in that the Mount of Olives was where this conversation between Jesus and the disciples took place.
Yesterday, we started our journey with verses 1 and 2 of chapter 24. Because there is so much to digest and understand what Jesus is talking about, I think we should take it bit by bit. Too often, these passages are misinterpreted.
Let’s dive into today’s lesson. We will be in Matthew 24:3.
Jesus just finished letting the air out of the disciples’ balloon about the beautiful temple in Jerusalem. The temple will be destroyed, and not one stone will be left on another.
Let’s have a seat on the Mount of Olives and take a listen.
Matthew 24:3, “3 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?”
Lord, tell us when.
Do you ever find yourself asking when? Wondering when things will get so bad, the Lord will do something so big, and the world will take notice?
I think that’s interesting. The disciples came to Jesus privately. They didn’t ask him these things in front of the crowd. They must have been pondering what he said about the temple.
Notice they ask Jesus three questions.
- When will these things be?
- What will be the sign of your coming?
- And of the end of the age?
Tell us when these things will happen, Lord.
Many want to know when. When are these things going to happen? I want to get my house in order. There are things I want to do, things I want to say. I haven’t had a chance to travel here or there. Whatever it is, we want to finish the list.
Somehow, I think Jesus is conveying a different message.
My Logos Bible Commentary sheds some light on this event.
“Matthew and Mark set the disciples apart from the crowds, not some disciples from others. The form of the question varies from Gospel to Gospel, with Matthew showing the greatest independence.
The “end of the age” is used six times in the New Testament, five of which are in Matthew and look to final judgment and the consummation of all things.
Parousia (“coming”) is found 24 times in the New Testament, four of which are in Matthew 24. The term can refer to “presence,” “arrival,” or “coming” – the first stage of “presence” – and need not have eschatological (study of end-time prophecies) overtones.
Yet parousia is closely tied with Jesus’ glorious “appearing” or “coming” at the end of human history.”
The next set of notes come from The Moody Bible Commentary.
“It is likely that the disciples’ questions do not have AD 70 in mind. When will all these things happen? should be understood in light of the dual-sided question, What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?. The twelve apparently envisioned a connection between “when” these things happen and the sign(s) that culminate the end, which makes it somewhat difficult to see AD 70 as playing much of a role in His answer.
The analysis of the question, “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? suggests that the disciples inquired about a sign that forecast both the coming of Jesus and the end of the age, two matters that are distinct, closely related, but not identical.
Your coming “parousia,” which is a technical term for Christ’s second coming, signals that the disciples finally grasped, at least to some extent, that Jesus was leaving and that his return would involve cataclysmic events.”
At this point, Jesus is in the final week of his life on earth. He knows the cross is coming.
The disciples are all ears. It’s time to answer their questions. Tell us when Lord.
Join me next time as we begin to digest his answers.
The Teaching Lady
The Gospel Message
1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,