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Jesus Gave Them Signs!

01 Nov
sign of Jesus' Coming = 1

from Google Images

After Jesus’ confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23, he begins to leave the Temple complex and laments over Jerusalem, saying how often he would have liked to have protected her children, but they, i.e. those who ruled Jerusalem, simply wouldn’t cooperate (Matthew 23:37). Therefore, Jesus said her House, i.e. her Temple, would be left to her desolate (Matthew 23:38)! The Apostles were absolutely astonished at Jesus’ words and began to point out how great those stone were (Matthew 24:1), but Jesus simply reiterated his statement, saying not one stone would be left upon another, without it having been thrown down (Matthew 24:2).

We need to see this in its context, before we are able to understand the Apostles question: “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age (Matthew 24:3). This was the first time Jesus mentioned clearly that the Temple would be destroyed. The Apostles had no place to fit that neatly into the eschatological understanding that Jesus had been thus far revealing to them in his parables.

Furthermore, the Apostles believed the Messiah was to save Israel from its enemies, but, if Jesus was the Messiah, and they believed he was (Matthew 16:16), what would his coming into his Messianic Office look like, if the Temple would be destroyed? How do these two events come together? Moreover, once Jesus took upon himself the responsibilities of the Messianic Office, it would complete the transition from the Mosaic Age to the Messianic Age. Therefore, what would be the sign of that transition—namely, the end of the Mosaic Age, which would also be the beginning of the Messianic Age. In other words, what would be the sign of Jesus’ coming, i.e. his parousia (G3952), i.e. his coming into his Messianic Office? These were the questions the Apostles asked, and it is these questions that the Olivet Discourse was given to answer.

What we would expect to find in the Olivet Discourse, therefore, is a sign or signs of Jesus’ coming and the end of the age. After all, Jesus did not tell the Apostles that no sign could be given. He simply replied to their questions. Therefore, it is absolutely absurd for anyone to claim that Jesus gave no signs for his coming, or parousia. What, then, are those signs? Moreover, unless it can be clearly shown in the discourse that there is a division in Matthew 24, showing Jesus answered one question but couldn’t answer another, then the futurists argument for a future, end of time coming of Jesus (viz. 2000 years later), has no basis in scripture, because Jesus unequivocally states in his The Parable of the Fig Tree (Matthew 24:32-35), which was intended to interpret those signs, that all these things would occur in that generation in the first century AD (Matthew 24:34).

One of the signs of Jesus’ coming or parousia (G3952) is that the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached in all the world as a witness and then the end would come. What end was Jesus speaking of? It was the end the Apostles asked about, namely, the end of the age. What age was that? It was the age in which they lived, the Mosaic Age. The Mosaic Age would end and the Messianic Age would begin. Another way of stating this is they waited for the Kingdom of God to be established. The disciples were told to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 28:19) and Jesus would be with them until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). This was done in the first century AD, and I hope to develop this in future studies, but the preaching of the Gospel to the world was one of the signs of the coming of Christ and the end of the age (Matthew 24:14).

Another sign of the end of the age was the coming and passing of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21, 29). In earlier studies I’ve shown that the Great Tribulation occurred in the first century AD, but I intend to develop it further in future studies. Notice, however, that immediately after the Great Tribulation the heavens grow dark and the Son of Man is seen coming in the clouds with his angels and great glory (Matthew 24:29-30). Jesus even promised the high priest that he would see that day (Matthew 26:64)! Therefore, to quote Jesus, “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” That is, Jesus spoke of the generation the Apostles lived in, and all things were fulfilled in 70 AD.

Finally, Jesus offered the sign of the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15). I also mentioned this in earlier studies, and I’ll speak of it again later. However for now, notice that the abomination would stand in the Temple, and it concerned those in Judea and folks wanting to travel there. Jesus’ disciples were to flee Jerusalem and Judea and not enter therein once the abomination was seen. Moreover, its appearance foretold the coming of the Great Tribulation. So, it stands to reason, if the Great Tribulation already occurred (as mentioned above) then the abomination of desolation must be understood in the context of appearing in the days of the Temple that was destroyed in 70 AD, not a temple that is presumed to be rebuilt later. Presumption is not truth, but the truth is, the Temple that stood in Jesus’ day has been destroyed. That’s not a presumption, that’s a fact of history, and many abominable  and disrespectful things were committed against that Temple (representing the presence of God) during the Jewish War with Rome.

 

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Posted by on November 1, 2018 in 70 AD Eschatology

 

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