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Destruction Foretold

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Mark 13 NIV84
As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time. “But in those days, following that distress, “ ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ”

Introduction

We come this morning to the start of an interesting, and a very challenging passage.
This is the longest single discourse of Christ that is found in Mark’s Gospel - known as the “Olivet Discourse”.
Sign
This is a passage that has caused much debate among believers. It is certainly a difficult passage to fully understand and appreciate.

I.1. - A Challenge to Understand

This is a passage that has caused much debate among believers. It is certainly a difficult passage to fully understand and appreciate.
This is the longest single discourse of Christ that is found in Mark’s Gospel.
It’s difficulty becomes apparent as one considers the diversity of interpretations...
Some maintain it is entirely about events preceding the Lord’s second and final coming
Others that it is entirely about events related to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
b. Others that it is entirely about events related to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Yet others believe it contains reference to both events
c. Yet others believe it contains reference to both events
3. Even those who say it refers to both events differ as to when a particular event is described...
Even those who say it refers to both events differ as to when a particular event is described...
a. Some say that vs. 5-23 refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, and vs. 24 begins the discussion
Some say that vs. 5-23 refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, and vs. 24 begins the discussion about the Lord’s second coming
about the Lord’s second coming - cf. J.W. McGarvey
Others contend that vs. 32 begins talking about the second coming
b. Others contend that vs. 32 begins talking about the second coming
Others say Jesus switches back and forth throughout the discourse
c. Others say Jesus switches back and forth throughout the discourse
Now, this may lead us to the question in our minds: “Why is the Bible is so confusing, and why we can have so many competing opinions over just one chapter in the Bible?”
I won’t delve into a full answer of that now. But as we come to this difficult to understand passage, I will read just a short quote from on particular confession that I think has relevance, and then I’ll quote a seminary professor, who I also think get’s it right. Firstly the quote from a confession of faith reads as follows:

VII. All things in scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

The words of one particular professor are helpful here:
The words of one particular professor are also helpful here:
Do not try to satisfy an unhealthy curiosity. It is a serious misuse of Scripture to make it disclose more than God has purposed to reveal. (Alan Stibbs)
And so as we come to this passage of Scripture (as we come to all others) we need to come diligently. We need to come expectantly. But we also need to come humbly. And most importantly, we need to keep the main things the main things, and keep matters of lesser significance just that - matters of lesser significance.
We come to this passage with a measure of tentativeness.
This is not a passage that will call us to dogmatic insistence on our own particular stance or view.
That does not mean that there is no clarity in this

I.2. - Dangers in Such a Passage

Such passages potential danger - and are susceptible to be completely misused.
Such passages present to us a potential danger. There exists the very real possibility that it will be completely misused.
Consider the text in - Peter writing about the Day of the Lord. Spoke about scoffers who would come etc. Mock, saying where is this coming of the Lord.
We come to this passage with a measure of tentativeness
2 Peter 3:15–16 NIV84
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:15 NASB95
and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,
2 Peter 3:
2 Peter 3:15-16
Peter went on to write about what manner of life Christians should live, in waiting for the return of Christ.
2 Peter 3:14–17 NIV84
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.
2 Peter 3:14-1
We need to be careful to recognise that there will be those ignorant and unstable people who come to difficult to understand passages (such as the one we’re coming to now) and then distort them in order to further their own agenda.
We need to be careful not to act as those ignorant and unstable people do when they come to difficult to understand passages, and then distort them in order to further their own agenda.

I.3. - The Nature of the Prophetic

As we come to this passage, we need to further recognise the nature of prophetic passages / portions in Scripture.
Prophetic passages must been seen in their usual pattern...
Prophecy
Fulfillment
Proper clear interpretation / understanding once fulfilment has come
Prophecy is generally spoken in broad stroke. There is a flattened perspective.
Sometimes, two prophetic words are recorded right next to each other by a prophet, but the fulfilment of each statement is years apart.
That is simply the nature of prophecy, and how God, in his perfect wisdom, has chosen to reveal His purposes.

I.4. - The Pastoral Emphasis

With that said, we must recognise that in this passage there is a pastoral motive!
This is the overarching concern of Christ as he teaches his disciples.
19 Imperatives in the second person plural - commands directed to the disciples.
For the most part, these imperatives can be applied even to us as the church, without being overly speculative. There is practical guidance and wisdom given through this passage, and we can be greatly blessed and encouraged as we consider these words of Christ.
But we are going to wade into this passage, and think carefully through what was being communicated here both to Jesus’ disciples as He spoke the words that He did to them, but also to the audience to whom Mark wrote this Gospel record.
This morning, I’m not going to consider much more than the first four verses of this passage, and my bigger aim in fact is to properly remind us of what has led up to this point. We need a summary at this point in order to remind us of certain key points and events that bring us to the point where Christ speaks these words to His disciples.

I.5. - The Context: Judgments on Religion

Within the immediate context, we must remember that the tension in the atmosphere continues to mount!
The crucifixion of our Lord is approaching fast!
Jesus has pronounced various judgments on the Jewish leaders, the religious leaders of various sects of the day.
And Christ knows that his hour of suffering is now imminent.
The setting is the Temple in Jerusalem, in the Passover week, where there are literally tens of thousands of people gathered in order to celebrate this feast together.
But this celebration of the Passover will be like no other in the history of Judaism.
You may recall that the Passover was what occurred in Egypt when the Israelites were in slavery. The final plague was about to be unleashed on the Egyptians due to Pharaoh’s hardness of heart. The Israelites were commanded to sacrifice a lamb without blemish, and to put some blood of the lamb on their door posts, and when the blood of that lamb was on the door posts, the angel of God would pass over their house, and their first-born would be spared.
Now this is significant as we come to this particular passage in our text this morning. The reason that this is so significant is that not only would there be a New Covenant, but there would be a doing away of the Old Covenant, the Old system of doing things.

Judgments on Religion

But this celebration of Passover would be unique in that a perfect sacrifice for all time would be made. This sacrifice, along with the further unfolding events (resurrection and ascension) would inaugurate a completely new era in the unfolding of God’s plans and purposes in the world. They would inaugurate / usher in a New Covenant.
Now this is significant as we come to this particular passage in our text this morning. The reason that this is so significant is that not only would there be a New Covenant, but there would be a doing away of the Old Covenant, the Old system of doing things.

Judgments on Religion

With that in mind, I want to begin by reminding you of this context.
Within the immediate context, we must remember that there is tension in the air, and this tension is only mounting.
Through the earlier chapter of the Gospel, Jesus was ministering, preaching to the ordinary people...
.5.1. - Jesus Ministry to the Ordinary
Two things that I’d like to highlight...

I.5.1. - Jesus Ministry to the Ordinary

Jesus cared for the ordinary.
Lepers; Sick; Lowly; Needy
Jesus appealed to the common person
Engaged with women and children
Having essentially come to the end of his ministry in Galilee and the surrounding regions, Christ is heading towards Jerusalem, where he would ultimately be crucified.
Having essentially come to the end of his ministry in Galilee and the surrounding regions, Christ is heading towards his crucifixion.
Back in ...
Mark 8:31 NASB95
And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Jesus had told his disciples that He would be rejected.
Christ confirmed that in greater detail in .
He told them again of this fact of his rejection in , as they were heading up to Jerusalem at the time of the Passover feast.
And having told them of this rejection and condemnation that he would face at the hands of the religious leaders, they arrived in Jerusalem, and at the Temple.
This was where the real confrontation began.
A series of events then followed (all within the Passover week) which demosntrated this heightened tension.
- Jesus cleared the Temple of the money-changers, those buying and selling. - “And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
“ ‘My house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
- The withered fig tree. A fig tree with leaves, but no fruit. And so Christ cursed this fig tree - because it was all show, but there was no fruit. A picture of the state of the so-called worship at the Temple.
But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Then began the actual confrontations… - The Sanhedrin came to Jesus and questioned his authority. Looking for a way to trap Him, and thus be able to put him to death.
Jesus then told them the parable of the Tenants - a parable spoken against the religious leaders. Note - ““What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” (, NIV84)
The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Further confrontations followed that from various groups or individuals… all within the space of a short period of time, as Jesus was constantly bombarded with confrontations.
Christ knows that his hour of suffering is now imminent.
Jesus has pronounced various judgments on the Jewish leaders, the religious leaders of various sects of the day.
And Christ knows that his hour of suffering is now imminent.
Judgment is coming.
But this celebration of the Passover will be like no other in the history of Judaism.
Judgment is coming.
The religious leaders are determined to put Christ to death - and they will do so.
But the true judgment is going to ultimately be on them....
The religious works that were being carried out were merely an outward show. There was no substance. There was no heart worship God. There was no nearness to God and desire to serve Him as Lord.
But further than that, the religion had become entirely burdensome. It placed burdens on people. It oppressed people.
Not because God so designed it; but because the sinfulness of man’s heart distorted what it should truly have been.
The extent of the utter rot is clearly set forth in the last two events that we considered together:
Christ’s judgment on the Scribes, as they exploited the widows who were in need. () “They will be punished most severely”
Christ’s words concerning a very poor widow who had come into the temple to give her offering ()
Picture the scene for a moment.
The Scribes are publicly condemned by Christ within the Temple Grounds. They are condemned, among other reasons, due to their extorting money out of (wrongfully obtaining money) from some of the most vulnerable in society.
And then, consider that widow as she walked into the temple (we looked at this last week).
Micah 6:8 NASB95
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
The Psalmist spoke of God’s own concern for these widows in ...
Psalm 68:5 NASB95
A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.
God recognised their need for protection.
And yet the Scribes were robbing them.
And then, consider that widow as she walked into the temple (we looked at this last week).
Many rich people were entering into the temple. They were placing large sums of money into the temple treasury. Well that may seem great and good.
But then a widow walks in, and gives her last two coins - her life possessions - and places them into the treasury.
Now on one hand, this is good, and shows the generosity of the widow - and Christ stated that she had given more than all those rich people.
Contemplatively...
And yet in another sense, this widow was the perfect example of the desperation of someone who was placing their hope in entirely the wrong place.
The direct link from condemnation of the Scribes extorting money from widows, to an actual widow placing her very last money into the treasury, no doubt because she had been taught by those very Scribes that she should do this, and could somehow through this buy her God’s favour, was a demonstration of the sad state of those who claimed to be the people of God, the servants of God, and those who were to show forth the glories of the true and living God to the nations.
But the final words, not recorded for us in Mark’s account, were recorded in Matthew. Turn there with me - ...
Matthew 23:33–36 NIV84
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.
The accumulated guilt of all the blood that had been shed of the prophets down through the course of history by the nation Israel would be required by this generation.
Judgment was about to come on these people because they failed to obey the prophets.
God had spoken, and yet they had not listened.
God had sent them his servants, and all they had done was put them to death.
Now the Son was here - and they were about to put Him to death also
Matthew 23:37–38 NASB95
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!
Here were the final condemnatory words of Jesus to the religious leaders in the Temple.
It was these words about this “House” that were spoken just prior to them leaving the Temple.
It is with these events having unfolded that Christ and His disciples now leave the temple, and start to head back to Bethany where they are staying for the week.
We are only going to look at the first 4 verses of this text this morning.
As we consider this passage, I want us to begin by
Parable of the wicked vine dressers

1. Misplaced Marveling

The first thing that we should take note of in our text this morning is the misplaced marveling of one of Christ’s disciples.
Mark 13:1 NIV84
As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

Going out of the Temple

The first thing to note there is that these events take place as they were going out from the Temple.
Now it’s fascinating that the disciple calls attention to these buildings and this Temple as they leave the area. Christ has already hinted
What is of great significance here is what has preceded their exit, and the thoughts that would have been on the minds of the disciples.
We’ve considered already this morning the fact that judgment was coming, and that Christ had essential spoken very harsh words against the religious leaders of the day.
Matthew 23:33–36 NIV84
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.
The accumulated guilt of all the blood that had been shed of the prophets down through the course of history by the nation Israel would be required by this generation.
A disciple begins to marvel and stand in awe at the greatness of the Temple.
Judgment was about to come on these people because they failed to obey the prophets.
God had spoken, and yet they had not listened.
God had sent them his servants, and all they had done was put them to death.
Now the Son was here - and they were about to put Him to death also
Matthew 23:37–38 NASB95
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!
Here were the final condemnatory words of Jesus to the religious leaders in the Temple.
It was these words about this “House” that were spoken just prior to them leaving the Temple.
Essentially, as Christ leaves the Temple, he leaves with words of condemnation.
But remarkably, the disciples, as they leave the Temple, fail to grasp the significance.
Instead, a disciple begins to marvel and stand in awe at the greatness of the Temple.
We are not told who this disciple was that expressed his marvel at the temple, but clearly he was very impressed with the site of the great temple.
I’ve already discussed in a previous sermon just how grand this temple was.
The temple at this point was in the process of being rebuilt / renovated by Herod. And it was a magnificent sight to behold.
The temple courts were huge, measuring some 500m x 300m.
It was covered all over by large plates of Gold. Glistening in the sunlight. Certainly, you can imagine the pride of the Jewish people as they considered that this was the dwelling place of God.
The disciple, as he talks to Jesus, points out these wonderful stones. What makes these stones so “wonderful” was the sheer size of them.
According to the early Jewish historian Josephus, some of those blocks measured 12 meters in length, by 2.3 meters high, by 2.7m deep.
They were made from solid marble.
And so in that sense, the disciple was absolutely correct. If we had to see that temple with our own eyes, no doubt, we would say WOW!! Isn’t that incredible.
And so in that sense, the disciple was absolutely correct. If we had to see that temple with our own eyes, no doubt, we would say WOW!! Isn’t that incredible.
Mark: An Introduction and Commentary i. The Doom on the Temple (13:1–4)

nothing in all Jerusalem could match the temple for splendour and apparent permanence

The disciples are amazed that Christ

2. The Stunning Response

But with that question asked, Jesus responds to his disciple with a pronouncement of total destruction of the temple. Verse 2...
Mark 13:2 NASB95
And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”
The question by Jesus here (“Do you see these great building?”) calls the disciple (and those around who are listening) to do some serious introspection.
They are called to consider the temple for what it truly is.
This is a call by Jesus for them to look beyond the glamour and facade of beauty and greatness, and to truly consider the temple, and what it has come to represent.
Believers Church Bible Commentary: Mark The Disciples, the Temple, the Sign, and the End 13:1–4

Massive stones and impressive walls fill their vision, but do they really see? Do they see how all that religious activity falls short of God’s expectations? Do they see how religious leaders have corrupted and abused what should have been a house of prayer for all nations

The disciples drop their jaws over building blocks, but Jesus dismisses them as stumbling blocks

Having drawn their attention to the building, and having Jesus pronounces the impending judgment that will come upon this temple.
In light of the sheer magnificence of the temple, the judgment is striking: Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.
Matthew 23:33–36 NASB95
“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. “Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
The accumulated guilt of all the blood that had been shed of the prophets would be required by this generation.
Judgment was about to come on these people because they failed to obey the prophets
Matthew 23:37–38 NASB95
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!
When those stones were placed there, did they ever think that this temple would be utterly destroyed?
Matthew 23:37-39
It was these words that were spoken just prior to them leaving the Temple.
This symbol of permanence in their own minds.
It could very well be that these words concerning the Temple
They thought that here stood something indestructible - something hugely magnificent. Something to delight in.
Tremendous, intense interaction between Jesus and his enemies. Already, Christ has rebuked them for their failures and their
But Christ says that not one stone will be left on top of another. It is all going to be utterly destroyed.
There is as much danger for us today, as there was for those disciples in that day, or in the religious leaders of that day.
We have the propensity and ability to place our hope and trust in all sorts of things in this world.
In what, or in whom, have you placed your hope and your trust in this world?
What brings you satisfaction in life?
Do you place your hope in people?
Are you satisfied in life? Are you at peace in your life?
Do you place your hope in a certain standard of living?
Do you place your hope in

3. A Concerned Question

Mark 13:3 NIV84
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately,
Mark 13:4 NIV84
“Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
Jesus and the disciples are now a little way away. They’ve gone down through the Kidron valley from Jerusalem, and started going up the Mount of Olives, which is only slightly higher than Jerusalem itself.
And there Jesus sits down
And four of the disciples - Peter, James, John and Andrew, along with Jesus, sit down on the side of the mountain, and they look down, across the valley and at the Temple.
These four disciples then question Jesus about when these things will all happen, and when they will take place.
...Contemplative...
Their hearts / minds - would have been in a spin...
The Temple was the heart of the worship of God.
Interaction between Samaritan Woman and Jesus:
John 4:20 NASB95
“Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
This was where God dwelt with His chosen people.
To destroy the Temple would have been to rob them of a core facet of their very identity.
This would have shaken them to the core...
And so they ask Jesus...
Mark 13:4 NIV84
“Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
As shocking as prophecy was, they didn’t doubt the validity of what He said. They believed the prophecy.
The disciples asked two key questions that introduce the rest of this chapter
Tell us, when will these things happen?
And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?
One observation I want to make on that 2nd question - what
As we prepare to go deeper into , want to just point out one particular aspect regarding their question, and then compare the way they phrase it here with the way its recorded in Matthew.
In this verse, the question is phrased: “What will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled...”
Compare this with ...
Matthew 24:3 NASB95
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
We need to recognise that in their minds, they saw all of these events - the destruction of Jerusalem, the coming of Christ in glory, and the end of the age - as something that happened simultaneously, or at the very least as events that were in very close proximity to one another.
Clearly, from our perspective in history, this is not the case.
And that is always the advantage of fulfillment - living down the line.
But as we head into this passage - let us keep that in mind.
These questions that the disciples ask here have been asked over and over again across the centuries by followers of Christ. Every generation has had inklings that Jesus would return during their time because of certain signs or spectacular events of their day.
Human nature never changes.
When you start to speak about future events: “When” and “What are the signs”.
People even today are pre-occupied, not just with watching the signs of the times, but...
...Every event unfolding in history is thought to be some kind of fulfillment of some prophecy of Scripture.
But inasmuch as Jesus will proceed to give a response to the disciples, and that response will indeed contain answers at least to some extent concerning the when as well as the signs, the greater concern of Christ by far is how they will live.
Christ was concerned to prepare them to live rightly in light of what was to come.
And so should our focus be.
Sign that they are “ALL”… about to be fulfilled. This was a summary… Note Matthew 24:3...
Matthew 24:3 NASB95
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Matthew 24:3
There was a mixture of the various facets...
These things...
Your coming...
End of the age...
We should not default to a position that these things in their minds were all distinct events separated by long periods of time.

Application

Important aspects to consider now as we close.
What we’re going to see as we unpack this text is that the key element is that we as Christians need to keep guarding ourselves.
Judgement was going to be brought on the temple.
Those who believed that they were walking within God’s law and according to His ways were greatly deceived, and their destruction was imminent.
We need to be careful friends, of where we place our hope and our trust today.
When you start to speak about future events: “When” and “What are the signs”.
People even today are pre-occupied with watching the signs of the times.
There is as much danger for us today, as there was for those disciples in that day, or in the religious leaders of that day.
Every event unfolding in history is being measured against the Scriptures to try and understand how this fits in.
We have the propensity and ability to place our hope and trust in all sorts of things in this world.
As people, we are always looking for satisfaction in something. Most often, it’s not in God!
In what, or in whom, have you placed your hope and your trust in this world?
Now I would not suggest that you are to
What brings you satisfaction in life?
Are you satisfied in life? Are you at peace in your life?
Go across to … verse 18
Romans 1:18–25 NASB95
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Romans 1:18
Notice the way that man has his heart pulled towards all sorts of things in this world… rather than to God.
Are you serving Christ?
Judgment was poured out on the Scribes and teachers of the law, the Pharisees etc.
A judgment remains, wherein God’s final wrath will be poured out.
As you live, are you looking forward to that day?
Is your heart ready?
Do you worship God alone?
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