The Olivet Discourse (Part two)


The prediction of the destruction of the temple
Matthew 24:1 – As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. 2 But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
It is this statement that causes the apostles to start to think and ponder as they left Jerusalem that day. What Jesus was referring to was the events that would transpire in 70 A.D. some forty year in the future, and only six years after the final completion of the overall temple itself.
The questions
Matthew 24:3 – Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?
Jesus mentioning the destruction of the temple led the apostles to think that the destruction of the second temple would signal his return to earth. This is why they posed the questions to Him in such a manner. Not realizing that their two questions had two completely different answers.
One point that does need to come to light here is the pattern in which are followed with respect to the first temple. When Solomon’s temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. it was followed by Israel’s captivity to the gentile nation of Babylon, which lasted seventy years. It is during this time period, it must be noted, that Daniel lived and wrote his prophecies.
But back on point, it is the fact the temple is destroyed and then there is exile for the Jewish people from their homeland. When the second temple is destroyed the Jewish people are spread throughout the world and do not return to Israel and re-establish the nation until 1948.
The pattern is one that is constant with the Jewish people. They have faith, they fall from their faith. They rebel, they are punished. Each time they are punished it is worse than the time before. This is God showing all that to spare the rod is to spoil the child and thus rebellion. So God never spared the rod and each punishment suited the nation as a whole, and each one worse than the last.
So if they had pondered it correctly they would not have thought that the destruction of the temple meant His return, but their rejection as a nation of God once again.
In today’s climate you can see that out of all the generations before this one that is currently on the rise, there was a form of discipline. Within the last few decades though, discipline has become something discouraged and as a result the youths in all societies no longer respect their elders and in turn are rebelling. Does this not point to a coming correction form God Himself? I think it does, and woe unto to those that deny the existence of God.
So, the questions are: 1) When will the temple be destroyed? And 2) What signs will single Christ’s return and the end of the world?
As I have just pointed out these are not related, but to the apostles they were. Due to their current blindness when they asked the question. The answers are covered as we progress through this series.

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