The reader writes...
"I read twice Jesus said in this generation I will return
I pointed this out but know one has good answer
I think he has come back already And the antchrist will be openly accepted in the chuch because of this overlook of his word
Let me know what you thing" (sic)
When I asked the reader where he read this he answered, Matthew 24.
Matthew 24 begins with Jesus' disciples showing him the buildings of the Temple. The Temple was an extremely magnificent very large stone work facility. While being shown Jesus tells them that the Temple will be destroyed, "not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Notice that later they are alone with Jesus and they question him about what he said about the Temple, "Tell us, when will these things be?" Notice that they also ask a question unrelated to the Temple, "And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
So they are asking two questions.
Jesus begins by answering the second question first. "What signs will we see when you come again and the age ends?"
In verses 4 through 9 of Matthew 24 Jesus tells them to not be distracted by those who claim to be him or by the things are every day occurrences in the world. He also tells them to expect to be killed for following him. Most people will go their own lawless, Godless ways.
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Matthew 24:4-9)
Notice that he says, "He who endures to the end will be saved." To the end of what? All of these things? No, until the end of their life.
I was once asked by some door knockers if I was concerned about the end of the world. They were quite shocked when I told them, "Not in the least."
Down further in the chapter Jesus said no man knows the time except God. So why should I worry about it?
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. (Matthew 24:36 NKJV)
But I can take it to the bank guarantee you, if you are reading this, the end of the world is coming within the next 110 years.
For the world, maybe not, but for you, absolutely. My personal opinion, and it again is just my personal opinion, nothing more. In the Genesis account of the flood the end of the world for mankind, with the exception of Noah, came when all mankind was corrupt. As long as there is one person alive in this world who MIGHT obey the gospel, it's my opinion, for what it is worth, Jesus won't come. If he did, that person would be able to say, "I was about to obey but you came before I did." Regardless, even if Jesus did come before that person acted upon his intentions, that still would not be a valid excuse because God commands everyone to repent NOW.
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, (Acts 17:30 NKJV)
The Bible is very clear about what will happen when the end of the world, the end of the age, comes.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3 NKJV)
Notice, he is there in earthly form talking to his disciples before his crucifixion. He says he is going and he will come again to recieve them.
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NKJV)
7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 NKJV)
It does not matter where one is. If one is not protected by the gospel, one will suffer the vengeance of Christ. There is no escape. Those who are protected by the gospel will be saved. (Romans 1:16)
So now in Matthew 24 we have Jesus warning them to flee from an about to occur event they will be fully aware of. In this event they will not be gathered, they will be scattered. In the end of the age, or his second coming, they will not be scattered, they will be gathered. The end of the age event is universal, everyone will be involved. In this event, the destruction of the Temple, only Judeans will be involved.
So he is obviously talking of two different events here. He is answering the two distinct and different questions the disciples originally asked. He had just told them the Temple would be destroyed and they wanted to know, "When will these things be?
So now we're back to the destruction of the Temple.
The Temple was an attention getting, large and impressive structure of large stones. As they were showing Jesus its glory he then told them in so many words, "As huge and impressive as this is, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Since the Temple was a daily part of Jewish life, to have it destroyed would be life altering and an abomination, something so horrible it was unthinkable. The disciples wanted to know when this unimaginable thing would happen.
Jesus tells them you will see it and you'll be able to identify it by the words of the prophet Daniel.
And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. (Daniel 11:31 NKJV)
And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. (Daniel 12:11 NKJV)
Jesus tells them that when they see "the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel" those who are in Judea are to flee to the mountains. He also tells them to pray for favorable travel conditions. This is obviously referring to the Roman destruction of the Temple. At the end of the world when Jesus comes again there will be no place to go to and hide.
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. (Matthew 24:15-17)
18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. (Matthew 24:18-20)
The prophecy is that enemy forces are going to destroy the Temple and when they do there will be unheard of desolation. Not only will their daily Jewish lives be totally changed but it will also completely destroy their identity as Jews by destroying their citizenship records. Merely claiming to be a Jew did not make you one. You had to be an actual descendent of Abraham and the only way you could prove that was by going to the Temple where the records were kept and saying in effect, "Here's my name, my father's name, his father's name." Once those records were destroyed, you had no identity. Just like today, if our records are lost, we have no identity. In a sense we cease to exist. Since the Jews whole being was being a Jew, one of God's chosen people, to lose that would be an abomination of desolation.
In Matthew 24 Jesus talks of one coming and that is at the end of the age. The end of a physical nation of Israel.
Some think the natural signs Jesus refers to in Matthew 24 as being actual happenings.
The Jews used symbols to represent various things. Metals, numbers, trees, colors, jewels all had consistent application throughout all 66 books of the Bible. For instance, the word "horn" represented "power." The color "scarlet" was connected with salvation and so on. If we want to understand the application of an item we go back into the Bible and see what the symbol applies to.
The Bible is an extremely simple book when we allow the Bible to interpret itself. It was written so the common man can understand it. Are there some things that are beyond our ability to understand? Of course, God has designed that way. But for the most part it is very clear on how to be justified by God.
Here's God's plan for justification as put forth in Scripture...
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