Some of my Bible Commentaries suppose the Apostles were somewhat confused about Jesus’ coming and of the end of the age (both of which futurists posit yet to be fulfilled). Some even come right out and say the Apostles were mistaken to phrase their question in the manner in which it is recorded in the Synoptics. Obviously, the Apostles believed the destruction of the Temple, Jesus’ coming into his Kingdom and the end of the age were events that occurred simultaneously, which, if true, the futurists’ argument is debunked, because the scriptures never speak of a third coming of Christ, nor do they speak of a second Second Coming. Therefore, futurists **must** argue for more than one question in Matthew 24:3.
In referring to the destruction of the Temple, the disciples asked, “when shall these things be?” and added a second part to that question, namely what would be the sign (singular) of Jesus coming into his Kingdom without a physical Temple and of the end of the age which, obviously, was brought upon the Jewish nation with the absence of a Temple. After all, when the Jews found themselves without a Temple in 70 AD, it seems to me they would have had to redefine their whole religious system. There would be no need of priests, and they no longer had a central location for their religion. How could they survive as a people without implementing some sort of changes that would guide Jews all over the world? Indeed, an age had ended. The Old Covenant relationship with God was destroyed, and that which survives to this day does so without a clear mandate from God. The disciples weren’t confused, or mistaken. They knew exactly what they were asking when they went to Jesus, privately.
In fact, when they asked Jesus about the end of the age, they phrased their question in light of what they had learned earlier from Jesus in the Parable of the Tares (cf. Matthew 13:39-40). There Jesus said the harvest would be at the end of the age, and the enemies servants would be burned in a fire. When Jesus asked if they understood his explanation, they said they did (Matthew 13:51).
Jesus explained that at the time of the harvest, when the tares would be cast into a furnace of fire, then the righteous would shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of the Father (Matthew 13:43). This is a reference to Daniel 12:3. One verse earlier, Daniel 12:2, points to the resurrection, called the harvest and the end of the age in Matthew 13:39, and notice that immediately upon the occasion of the resurrection the righteous / wise will shine like the brightness of the heavenly expanse (Daniel 12:3). When the angel was asked when all these things would be accomplished (Daniel 12:6), he said everything would be fulfilled when he power of the holy people (the Jews) would be shattered or broken at the end of the age (Daniel 12:4, 7). That is, when the Temple would be destroyed, ending the Jews’ covenant relationship with God. Their covenant with God had always been their power.
So, what have we got here? We have Daniel saying that the end of the age would occur when the power of the holy people would be shattered or broken, i.e. end of Old Covenant (Daniel 12:4, 7). Jesus referred to Daniel’s prophecy in his parables in Matthew 13. When Jesus asked his disciples if they understood what he said, they replied they did (Matthew 13:51). So, when we get to Matthew 24:3 and the disciples’ question, we have to ask ourselves, who really is confused, the disciples or modern scholarship? I’m going with the disciples knew what they were talking about and modern scholarship is confused. The disciples, after all, were Jesus’ choice to carry his message to the world, and I, for one, believe in sola scriptura, and this is, after all, scripture, not a trivia lesson.