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What Were the Signs of the End?

06 Nov
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A few days before he was crucified Jesus predicted the complete destruction of the Temple, obviously, the city as well. Part of the city wall was composed of stones that built up part of the Temple complex. Jesus’ disciples were absolutely astonished over his prediction. It was not something they had expected would occur in their lifetimes, let alone ever. When Jesus arrived on Mount Olivet, four of his Apostles took him aside to ask him privately when these things would be, and what would be the sign of his coming and the end of the age (i.e. the Mosaic Covenant). The other Apostles probably remained with other disciples, so that Jesus could be questioned privately about his astonishing remarks.

The disciples saw, correctly I might add, that the destruction of the Temple required two other events to take place simultaneously. That is, the Mosaic Covenant could not be legally conducted without the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple at Jerusalem was the absolute center of the ancient Jewish worldview. It represented their relationship with God, and without it they had no divine mandate for their faith. Therefore, the Mosaic Covenant came to an official end with the destruction of the Temple.

At the same time, however, God promised his people that he would make a New Covenant with them (Jeremiah 31:31-33) and that covenant would be under one King, the Messiah (cf. Ezekiel 37:24-26). Therefore, as the Mosaic age was brought to a close, the Messianic age would begin. The covenant under the Messiah would be authoritatively established among the nations.

Thus, we are able to understand what the Apostles asked: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). They didn’t ask about the end of time. That would have been a philosopher’s question. They were fishermen. To say they inquired about the end of time would take us out of the context of normal Jewish society of that day. Likewise, to say that Jesus answered the Apostles’ question, as though it were a philosopher’s question, would have been disingenuous. Such a reply would remove us from the Jewish cultural worldview of that day, and would actually present Jesus as a dishonest teacher, who offered his disciples false hope of the beginning of the Messianic age, when that age would not begin in their lifetimes. Furthermore, Jesus wouldn’t have done so without ever clarifying his intended purpose.

Rather, Jesus warned his Apostles of coming wars, false messiahs, famines, pestilence and earthquakes and even persecution, but these were not signs that the end was near (Matthew 24:4-13). Instead of troubles and unrest, the end wouldn’t come until the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, which was also the Messianic Kingdom, was preached throughout the world (Matthew 24:14). So, fulfillment of the great commission (viz. Matthew 28:18-20) was the first sign Jesus offered that would signal the end was near.

Remember, Jesus gave the Apostles the Parable of the Fig Tree (Matthew 24:32-35) in order to put what he was telling them in perspective. Once the disciples were able to see all of what Jesus was telling them come together at once, then the end would be near, even at the doors, but everything would occur within the limits of that generation living at the time of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:32:34).

Jesus also mentioned the abomination of desolation would be set up in the Holy Place, i.e. in the Temple. Now, there is no physical Temple of God in Jerusalem today. Dispensationalists have been saying one would be rebuilt for nearly two generations, ever since the Jewish state of Israel had been established in 1948. There is nothing that would tell us that a Temple would be rebuilt anytime soon, not in this generation or the next. Nevertheless, in the 8th month of 66 AD, the Jewish war was only a few months old, and the Roman general, Cestius, surrounded Jerusalem and even took part of the city, but for no apparent reason retreated. Believers, remembering Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:15 immediately fled the city[1] and were saved alive. Whether one considers the abomination that brought desolation was the Roman armies that surrounded the Temple or the wicked men using the Temple as a fortified military camp, is immaterial. The believers fled and were saved. At that time, knowing believers were considered by God as priests offering sacrifices to him through Jesus (1Peter 2:5), once they left the daily sacrifice (Christ in the believer) was removed from the Temple complex and the city of Jerusalem. Thus, the second sign Jesus offered was fulfilled.

The third sign was the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21), which seems to begin with the removal of the daily sacrifice and establishment of the abomination that brought desolation. It lasted for three and one half years, 66 AD to 70 AD, ending with Titus coming and taking part of the city just after the Passover of 70 AD.[2] A few weeks later the Temple was completely destroyed, thus, ending the Old Covenant or the Mosaic age.[3]

When all three signs came together at one time, Jesus came in the clouds with his angels in great glory (Matthew 24:29-31; cf. 26:64), and Jerusalem and its Temple were judged. This occurred in 70 AD. The events are a matter of history not supposition. Where is there a need for a Temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem today, in order for the dispensationalist eschatology to work out? I believe dispensationalism has shown itself repeatedly as one of the doctrines of men. Remember, Jesus said, when his Apostles were able to see the things Jesus mentioned occur, they could know the end was at the doors. The Mosaic age ended with the fall of the Temple (heaven and earth passed away), and Jesus’ words remained (Matthew 24:32-35).

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[1] Josephus, Wars of the Jews 2.19.4 & 7; also 2.20.1.

[2] Josephus: Wars of the Jews 5.7.2 & 3. On the 7th day of the second month Titus tore down the walls of northern Jerusalem and set his camp inside the city. Jerusalem (Babylon) had fallen (Revelation 14:8; 18:2).

[3] Josephus: Wars of the Jews 6.4.5.

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5 Comments

Posted by on November 6, 2018 in 70 AD Eschatology

 

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5 responses to “What Were the Signs of the End?

  1. Alberto Gomez colmenares

    November 7, 2018 at 20:32

    Que la gracia del Señor este con nosotros.
    Bendiciones sobre abundantes queremos ver el Reino sin nacer de nuevo.
    Se nos otorgo la salvación para entrar a se Reino gracias Dios todo poderoso por permitirnos Ver tu Reino

     
    • Alberto Gomez colmenares

      November 7, 2018 at 20:36

      Que la gracia del Señor este con nosotros.
      Bendiciones sobre abundantes queremos ver el Reino sin nacer de nuevo.
      Se nos otorgo la salvación para entrar a se Reino gracias Dios todo poderoso por permitirnos Ver tu Reino.

       
      • Eddie

        November 8, 2018 at 07:39

        Greetings Alberto and thank you for reading and for you comment. Lord bless you.

        If I have translated correctly, you said:

        May the grace of the Lord be with us.

        We want to see the abundant blessings of the Kingdom upon the (spiritually) unborn.

        We were granted salvation to enter the kingdom Thank you God Almighty for allowing us to see your kingdom

         
  2. Dave White

    November 6, 2018 at 07:19

    Greeting Eddie. First of all I want to thank you for your teaching. I have been researching preterist sites and have found many of the contributors “snarky” at best! Some have even studied themselves out of Christianity (Israel only folks). For example, given that He came in 70A.D. do we still have salvation? Does sin still abound given what the scriptures say about the judgment of Satan? What about the Lord’s Supper (do this till I come)?

    Given these questions, and our personal evidence of the transformational power of the Gospel even today, have you developed a “statement of faith”?
    I ask you this because the Spirit of God (love) comes through your writing in a way that it does not with many writers and speakers that preach against dispensationalism today. …and I thank you for that!

     
    • Eddie

      November 6, 2018 at 08:39

      Greetings Dave, and thank you for your kind remarks about me. I’m sorry that you haven’t found other preterists comfortable. To tell you the truth, I don’t look for them, i.e. to find a church that teaches preterism. I love the church fellowship I’m in (evangelical). We don’t have all things in common, but we do have Jesus in common, and that, to me, is the most important thing. But perhaps I’ve misunderstood your point here.

      Do I have a “statement of faith”? Nothing that I’ve changed. Jesus saved me, and and I tell others what he is like. If they want more, I give them the details. I’m not a pastor. Pastors seem to be very organized, perhaps learned in theological seminary. Perhaps it’s a gift. So, once more, to tell you the truth, I haven’t even thought to make a ‘statement of faith’. I do question the authority others claim to have in saying what they do about Christ and his Gospel, but I don’t think that is what you’re looking for here. I simply try to stay close to the word of God. Daniel 2:44 seems to tell us that we are in the age that never ends. We simply populate the Kingdom of God and help as many as we can see the truth, so they can do likewise.

      I’m thinking I’ve missed some of what you want answered. If so, be a little more detailed, and I’ll do my best to have a better reply next time.

      Lord bless you, Dave. By the way you might check out: Don Preston and William Bell on You Tube. They offer a better view of preterism than what you seem to have found above. They also reply to some of the erroneous statements made above. Check them out. :-)

       

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