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The Destruction of the Temple

04 Nov
Temple destroyed

from Google Images

The Olivet Discourse was given to the Apostles from Mount Olivet just before Jesus’ crucifixion. Just prior to that discourse, Jesus had a very unfriendly confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23, and, while he was leaving the Temple compound, he mentioned that the House or the Temple would be a desolation (Matthew 23:37-38). This, of course, astonished the Apostles, and they began to point to the great stones used to build up both the tower and the Temple buildings (Matthew 24:1), but Jesus simply told them once more that not one of those great stones would remain on top of another without having been cast down (Matthew 24:2).

Later, on Mount Olivet the Apostles came privately to Jesus to ask him when this would occur and what would be the sign of his coming and the end of the age. At that time Jesus presented to them a parable to help them understand what he was saying:

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near:  (33)  So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.  (34)  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.  (35)  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:32-35).

Many futurists will tell us that the Apostles simply didn’t know what Jesus was saying.[1] They couldn’t conceive of time and the world continuing, if the Temple was destroyed, and this concept lay behind their questions in Matthew 24:3. Yet, it is a fact that Solomon’s Temple was destroyed several centuries before their day. In fact, the Apostles and all practicing Jews commemorated that day with an annual fast on the 9th day of Av, the fifth month of the Jewish calendar (July / August). Knowing this, it simply isn’t logical that the Apostles thought the destruction of the Temple would end the space time continuum. Such a thing isn’t even hinted of in the scriptures. Yet, many futurists await the end of time for Jesus’ return, showing their eschatology is based upon supposition[2] rather than truth.

The fact is that Zephaniah prophesied of the destruction of Solomon’s Temple and called it the Day of the Lord, even the great Day of the Lord (Zephaniah 1:7-18). Whenever, God chose to judge a nation by intervening in men’s affairs, it was called the day of the Lord. That’s what the judgment of God was—a day of the Lord set aside for judgment upon the wicked. Notice, as well, in Zephaniah 1:3 that the heavens would have no fowls, and the sea would have no fish, and the land would have neither man nor beast. This is hyperbole, not meant to be taken literally. It didn’t represent the end of the space time continuum, nor did it mean all of creation would be destroyed, but it did mean when the Lord would come, there wouldn’t be enough food to sustain the people, and there would be no escape. Their gold and silver wouldn’t be able to buy safety (Zephaniah 1:18).

Similarly, when the Apostles asked when would these things be (Matthew 24:3), they were asking about the destruction of the Temple, and they knew it wasn’t the end of time, as the philosophers then and today want to interpret their request for a sign of the end of the age. They were looking for the arrival of the age of the Messiah, the age of the Kingdom of God—the restoration of the Theocracy (Luke 2:25, 38; 23:42; 23:50-51; cf. 1Samuel 8:4-7; Acts 3:21). That occurred in 70 AD, when the Lord came suddenly to his Temple. The spiritual House of God was able to abide his coming (1Peter 2:5) but the physical Temple that stood in Jerusalem was not able to abide his coming (cf. Joel 2:11).

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[1] This point of view is clearly seen in many commentaries as noted HERE.

[2] The fact is futurists base their interpretation of the Apostles’ words “end of the age” on the Greek philosopher, Aristotle (see page 720)! He claimed that aion (G165) was a compound of aei (adv. “always, forever, aye”) – “No words can more forcibly express the grand characteristics of eternity than these.” So, in order to substantiate their claims about their eschatology, they go to the Greek philosophers rather than scripture. Clearly, Jesus pointed to the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, and this ended the Mosaic Age, the age in which the Apostles lived. This is what they asked, and this is what Jesus answered, Aristotle notwithstanding.

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Posted by on November 4, 2018 in 70 AD Eschatology

 

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