Matthew 24 is not the end of all argument, but it is the one place where, when asked, Jesus responded directly to the questions that His disciples asked, and they asked about the destruction of the temple, and when He would physically return to the earth and set up His kingdom. This was not a bizarre or freakish concept in their minds, every learned Jew understood that the Messiah would eventually set up His eternal kingdom and make thing right. Neither did Jesus argue with them that their theology was wrong, He merely answered their question.
Why is any of this important to us? Because everything He spoke of is happening already. We are in the last of days.
As I sat in our men’s ministry meeting this A.M., our men’s pastor, speaking highly about “The Story” that we are going to be doing, said, the body of Christ is seriously lacking in their knowledge of God’s word. You can see it in the questions that we ask. We are good at doing stuff, like parking lot detail, or passing out offering baskets, but can we adequately lead bible study and keep our tradition and opinion out of it?
I am going to be upfront with you on this, it pains me to sit in some of these meetings, because, for some reason we do not want to understand the bible, and it is rare to find a “teacher” that does.
Matthew 24:1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
The disciples, proud of their heritage and the temple, pointed them out to Jesus. I am sure he was aware of them. They represented something completely to him. He also knew what was soon to happen to the temple.
Jesus responded to them.
Mat 24:2And 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.
This response is directly related to them pointing out the temple to Jesus, but it eludes to something more. This was literally fulfilled in 70A.D. Jerusalem was under the rule of Titus and most attribute the destruction of the temple directly to Rome, but that was not the case. While it is true that there were troops, operating under Roman banners, it is documented by both Josephus and Tacitus, that the majority of troops were conscripts from the Assyrian nations, and had an open and vile hatred of the Jews. This will come into play later on as we define other aspects of end times prophecy.
1 Kings 9:7-9 NIV then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. (8) This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ (9) People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them–that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.'”
Daniel 9:26 NIV After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
Mat 24:3And 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?
“Tell us, when shall these things be?” Anyone who had spent time looking at the lives of the disciples knows that they had a very Jewish mindset, so it is necessary for your understanding to consider this when trying to understand Jesus response to them.
Jesus seemed to have a direct connection to the Father (and so do we as believers) so what He is saying is clear and concise.
“and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
The question may well be two separate questions. In general, the Christian community seems to confuse Christ’s return for His bride, with His last return to the earth. On the day of His return He will touch down on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and on that day, He will come prepared for war. When He comes for His bride He will meet them in the air and does not touch down.
Mat 24:4,5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Why would he say that? Just a partial list off Wikipedia gives the names of 32. Some of these I recognize. But think about the ridiculousness of something like this. An example: would be David Koresh. His teachings included him propagating children with the wives of other men who were involved in the cult. That would not happen!
This becomes hugely important if you realize that Islam has their own version of Jesus. He has some similar properties. The following is from Wikipedia, about the Islamic Jesus.
The belief that Jesus is a prophet is required in Islam
He is the son of Mary, not God (Allah)
According to the Quran, Jesus, although appearing to have been crucified, was not killed by crucifixion or by any other means; instead, “Allah raised him unto Himself”
To aid in his ministry to the Jewish people, Jesus was given the ability to perform miracles (such as healing the blind, bringing dead people back to life, call fire down from the heavens, and cause it to rain where there has been none), all by the permission of Allah rather than of his own power.
Jesus is considered a Muslim (i.e., one who submits to the will of Allah), as he preached that his followers should adopt the “straight path” as commanded by Allah. (In other words, all must become Islamic and follow Sharia.)
Muslims believe that Jesus will return to earth near the Day of Judgment to restore justice and to defeat al-Masih ad-Dajjal (“the false messiah”, also known as the Antichrist). (Odd how they too have an understanding of the end times pattern. This “false messiah” Islam looks for, is the opposition to Jesus Christ. They believe that the Antichrist is our Jesus. If you use the perspective that they serve the father of lies, then you might be able to comprehend why they are in opposition.)
The Jesus of Islam will be a Jew
A priest of the lineage of Abraham.
He will defer to the Mahdi. (The Mahdi is there awaited savior. He is the 12th or hidden imam, and several have already declared that he is speaking through them. It is said that he will return on a white horse. This is the same white horse that we see in Revelation 19, and it is the only scripture in our bible that they believe is true.)
He will be the enforcer of Sharia.
If all this is true, and there is someone who will take this role, then this makes all the sense in the world, and the ones that will be the primary targets of this deception will be the knowledgeable Jews. We happen to think of these as the religious of Israel.
Ask Jesus to make himself real to you and watch what happens. Should you decide that you need him after you meet him, ask him into your life and he will come.