Loving God with all my heart, mind and soul and loving my neighbor as myself by making disciples, baptizing and to teach all things commanded by Jesus Christ in the Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles and the Revelation. HEAR THIS GOSPEL - Romans 10:17 BELIEVE ON CHRIST - John 6:47 REPENT OF EVERY SIN - Luke 13:3 CONFESS JESUS AS CHRIST - Matthew 10:32 BE BAPTIZED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS - Acts 2:38 LIVE FAITHFULLY - I John 1:7 SPREAD THIS SAME GOSPEL - Acts 8:4
An Exposition of Matthew 24 & Luke 21 - First of a Series
A burning question, it seems, for our times. Do we live in the “end times” or the “end of
time?” Do we live in the days of
Christ’s judgmental return or are we simply living during the last spiritual
age? Despite the denominational rhetoric
to the contrary, the Bible answer is the latter, God has truly initiated the
very last spiritual age in the history of the world – the Christian Age. It began with the death, burial and
resurrection of Jesus Christ whose will was read on the Day of Pentecost, fifty
days following the crucifixion of Christ.
These “last days” will linger until the “last trumpet” has sounded. How long will these “last days” extend? No one knows.
We do know, however, what Christ told his disciples about how they (and
by extension you and me) should view these questions and how to set their
Matthew 24 is very clear about two things; the absolute
predictability of the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. and the absolute
un-certainty of the timing of the judgmental return of Christ – the very last
day. This passages clarity, however, has
been clouded by many overlays of preconceived falsehoods in recent years by
those who would distort the very words of Christ. It is our purpose to reexamine the text for
what it says, not what many would like it to say.
Matthew 24 begins with the awe the disciples had for the
magnificence of the Herodian Temple. It
was one of the most beautiful structures in all the 1st century
world. They were so enthralled with its
stunning beauty that they made an overt effort to point it out to Jesus. How Jesus responded must have shocked the
disciples to the core. He told them that
this “wonder of the world” would be destroyed to such an extent that literally
“not one stone would be left upon another!” They left the Temple, walked down
into the Kidron Valley and walked up the slope of the Mount of Olives. Looking back, one could clearly see Mount
Zion and the Temple which set atop it.
It must have been quite the scene.
The shock of the disciples at Jesus’ reply was so profound
that the disciples did not speak about it again until the end of the journey
from the top of Mt. Zion to the top of the Mount of Olives. Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives and
the disciples, still stunned, came to Him with two questions; “When will these
things be?” and “What will be the signs of Your coming and the end of the
world?” Jesus will give them two very
different answers, one complete with every detail and the other with absolutely
no detail at all.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to fully
appreciate what the Temple meant to the 1st century Jew. It not only was the place of national worship
and the very presence of the Spirit of God, it was literally part and parcel of
their spiritual and national identity as a people. Without the Temple, there would be no
nation. Without the Temple, there would
be no sacrificial system. Without the
Temple they would no longer be a people.
In their minds, without the Temple there would be no God! Any loss of the Temple would be like…the end
of the world itself. Without the Temple,
how could life go on? That is why the
two questions were linked in their mind for “if” there was no Temple there
would be no place for the Spirit of God to reside. “If” God’s Spirit was no longer on earth, how
could earth itself survive? If the
Temple were to be destroyed, how could life continue? Over time, sadly, the faith of the Jewish
people had moved…without notice…from faith in God to faith in God’s residence. One
is reminded of that old song by Leslie Gore; “…don’t they know it’s the end of
the world? It ended when I lost your
love.” – TO BE CONTINUED