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Matthew 24:1-3

One Thing Certain

1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And 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. 3 And 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?

Have you ever gone to visit the church of a dear friend? With great pride, they like to walk you through the building, showing off their beautiful sanctuary, the choir room, the nursery etc. and telling you all of the plans they have to expand the buildings. It was a similar pride in their worship center that motivated the disciples to show Jesus the temple buildings. Perhaps they also wanted to help Him to relax after His tense pronouncement of the eight woes against the scribes and Pharisees.

The temple had been rebuilt after the Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon. Herod had added elaborate decorations and additional buildings to make it into one of the true wonders of the world. Construction was continuing at the time of this passage and it would not be finished for another thirty years. It was probably some phase of the latest construction that the disciples wanted to show Jesus, since He had already seen the temple and, in fact, had there given all of His discourses since Matthew 21:23.

Jesus was quick, however, to point out the temporal nature of the buildings. As beautiful and wondrous as they were, they would soon be nothing more than a heap of rubble. This statement was closely tied to His eight woes and His lament over Jerusalem in Chapter 23.

The disciples then asked Him a question that would result in Jesus' final discourse, one that would give interpreters of scripture many difficulties. Indeed, even today there is wide disagreement about its significance. "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"

The disciples could not separate the destruction of this magnificent temple from the return of Jesus and the end of the world (age). It is the same problem that separates most of the various schools of interpretation today. There are those who claim that the prophecy of this discourse was completed with the destruction of the temple in 70 AD (preterist view). The futurist view is that all of this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, and the more common preterist-futurist view holds that both the destruction of the temple and the second coming of Jesus are described in this discourse.

I will be taking the preterist-futurist view of this discourse, but I pray that you will read and study the scriptures for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you and to show you errors in my understanding. I do not believe that any of us have a full understanding of this passage, as even Jesus did not know the time of His coming.

There is one thing certain, however. Jesus is coming. There has never been any doubt about that fact. Even the disciples had begun to understand this, as their question reveals. They also knew that His coming would mark the end of this age and of life as we know it. It will usher in the final judgement of evil and the granting of the final Sabbath of rest to all who know Him.

Since we do not know the day or the hour, shouldn't we be living our lives as though we might be standing before Him at any moment? How will you spend this day? Will it be in fellowship with Him,.. praying, singing praises, spreading the gospel? Or, will you spend it focused on the material things in life,... earning money, beautifying your home or your church, acquiring the finer things in life? I tell you, as Jesus told His disciples, when he returns, there will not be one part of these things that is not destroyed.

Before The Throne:

Pray for Jesus' return. Ask God to help you order your life to make yourself ready to meet Him. Pray that you could trust in Him for more of your physical needs while focusing on the work to which He has called you. Ask Him to help you tell one person every day about the gospel as a first step toward your goal. Ask Him to help you spend more time with Him in prayer, putting your daily emphasis on your relationship with Him, rather than on works.

For Further Study:

** departed. Jer 6:8; Eze 8:6; 10:17-19; 11:22-23; Ho 9:12; Mt 23:39; ** shew. Mr 13:1-2; Lu 21:5-6; Joh 2:20;

(v.2) 1Ki 9:7-8; Jer 26:18; Eze 7:20-22; Da 9:26-27; Mic 3:12; Lu 19:44; 2Pe 3:11;

(v.3) ** he sat. Mt 21:1; Mr 13:3,4; ** the disciples. Mt 13:10-11, 36; 15:12; 17:19; ** Tell. Da 12:6-8; Lu 21:7; Joh 21:21-22; Ac 1:7; 1Th 5:1-11; ** the end. Mt 13:39-40, 49; 28:20; Heb 9:26;


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