1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (The King James Version)
In this section of the gospels we are looking at prophecy in the short term.
1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
They are heading to Bethany, to the house of Lazarus. Can you picture them taking the road up the Mount of Olives? The apostles are looking back at the temple. They look at the beauty and wonder of the temple and its buildings. They point this out to Jesus. A moment of religious pride fills their hearts.
2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
The apostles should have understood what Jesus was saying to them at that moment. At least it should have been evident knowing all the warnings that Jesus has been speaking. They just came from the temple. Jesus warned, he prophesied, about the fate of the temple and Jerusalem. His words however were still hidden. They still did not understand. Jesus said to them not one stone of the temple complex will be standing one on another. Pride in structures that can be destroyed? It is not something to depend upon always being there for you.
They continue on their journey to Bethany climbing the side of the Mount of Olives. Not one stone on another? All that beauty and the wonder of it all... it is to be destroyed? It must have been a shock. They heard what Jesus said to the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and priests. They were in real trouble. But the temple itself? Perhaps at this time they began to understand that a fundamental shift in Israel's relationship to God was going to occur. But When?
3And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
World? It means Age. A given period of time. An example of which is the church age.
They arrive at the top of the Mount of Olives. Now the disciples have enough courage to ask Jesus three fundamental questions about his statement:
In vs 4-14 the answer to when the temple is to be destroyed is answered. The other two signs occur sometime after this event. I would also like to point out that Satan uses the same tools to confuse, undermine and destroy the faith of God's people. He has used these techniques in the past and will do so in Israel's immediate future, as well as near the returning of Jesus at the close of the church age.
4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
I have always taken this statement as a double edged sword. How the Greeks actually render this I do not know. I do see that removing modern day syntax changes the depth of meaning.
The first edge of this sword? That there will come people who will agree that Jesus is the Christ. Yet they will deceive many. How so? They will try to destroy the freedom we have in Christ. They will attempt to enforce upon new covenant believers the practices of the old covenant. One such attempt will be to try and make circumcision a mandatory requirement for being saved. This is just one example of trying to be justified by the works of the law. We know that no one is justified by the works of the law, for all have sinned and fall short. Yet well intentioned or not, they are deceivers and you must take care that no one robs you of the simplicity that is in Christ.
The second edge of this sword? That there will come people that say that they are the Christ, the Messiah of Israel. They will try to keep Israel walking down the wrong path. That will be their destruction, both the deceiver and those who follow them. There have been false Messiahs before Jesus and there will be false Messiahs after Jesus is resurrected. Before the destruction of the temple complex these false Messiahs will be present.
Both groups of these workers of iniquity will successfully deceive many people.
6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows.
This also is a copy of the end times. The end times? The time before the return of Jesus to rule directly over the earth while on the earth. We who are alive today are waiting for his return. Yet before the destruction of the temple complex these signs will also be present. Wars and rumours of wars. Peoples and nationalities taking up arms. (*This will also happen to Israel when they revolt against Roman rule. It is a period called by Josephus as "the Jewish Wars.") Diseases, famines and earthquakes were present as well. In their day but much more so in our future. Think of it as the scale of judgement. In the period leading up to the destruction of the temple, in the days of the apostles, concerned Israel and Jerusalem. In the future the scale of judgement will be the known world.
8All these are the beginning of sorrows.
The wars, diseases, famines, earthquakes are precursors to the time of judgement. There are these additional things to happen...
9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
The messengers of the gospel. Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus. They were to become the reviled ones. Hated because they represented the truth. Despised because their lives were a witness against others that the rest of the world was not walking in truth or love. That they had another God. This division started in the confines of Israel and then spread throughout the then known world. The apostle Paul, before his conversion, captured, imprisoned, tortured and had killed Jewish believers in Christ. Other authorities outside of Israel did the same things.
10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Within the Jewish community a greater schism will take place. Not just between the "Jews" and the believers but among the unrepentant themselves. Israel would begin to descend into conflict and chaos. Josephus writes of the downward spiral of the Jewish civilization the closer it came time to Rome to sack Jerusalem.
11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
In some ways you may think of this as a must. False hopes based on false wonders. These prophets are deceived and will deceive others. They are necessary. The judgement of God is resting above the unrepentant Jewish nation. They need to be encouraged to continue in their rebellion toward God, so all the blood from righteous Abel to the blood of Jesus on the cross, can be exacted upon them. A terrible and not so far into their future... judgement.
12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Once again, Israel first and then much later the world. Sin does exact a toll on the soul of man. Both Jew and Gentile follow the path that leads to destruction. The more that sin abounds the less secure everyone becomes. The more anger and hurt fills the mind the less forgiving we become. In time the heart grows cold toward others. They become selfish and self-absorbed. In the end it is every man for himself. It reaches its climax near the end of the siege of Jerusalem.
13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Is Jesus talking about the saving of the body or the saving of the soul? To stand for righteousness in the decaying world around you, even to death? I know that some have survived the siege of Jerusalem. In the end-time others will also be saved alive. But those believers that endure in their faith to the end? They have ceased their struggles and have secured their salvation. In fact all that have died in the faith have secured their salvation, forever.
14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations;
The World? In this instance it is talking about the Roman government. The gospel needed to be preached in every nation. The truth had to be out there as a witness to the truth. And if they rejected the truth? As a witness against them. By the time of the fall of Jerusalem the gospel was known throughout the empire. In our future every nation on the planet will have had this witness, this gospel, made known to them.
and then shall the end come.
In the future, the world government will have fallen and the kingdom of God will be established here on earth. All nations will be obedient to Jesus, who rules and reigns from Jerusalem. In the distant future beyond this? The entire planet and all its people are one nation under God and Jesus rules and reigns form the new Jerusalem that descends from heaven.
But what of the past? The fall of Jerusalem in 70 ad? That was certainly an end to the Jewish nation. No longer did they have a homeland. Their temple was in ruins. The Roman soldiers pried every stone of the temple apart from each other to obtain the silver and gold that melted down between the stones. All that was left of it was refuse. The siege, the collapse of the perimeter defenses, the capture of the temple mount, was total and complete. The survivors were scattered across the face of the then known world. God's judgement against Israel was complete.
They would remain in this condition until God decides that the time of Gentiles is fulfilled. Then God would need to set things up for the eventual return of Jesus to his own people, the house of Israel. The nation of Israel has to be reborn because it is necessary for God's plan and purposes. The nation of Israel today is still in rebellion toward their God. They still refuse to acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah. When God does move, when all these signs are repeated in the future, and God judges the world in its turn, then the Jews will see their Messiah riding into Jerusalem upon a white horse... exactly as they always thought he would appear... and finally see... for the first time... it is Jesus they had been waiting for all along.
Webite administrator: Joseph A Raymond
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada