The Signs of the Times (4): Three Questions

editor - 1 July 2018

“…As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?’ …”
Matthew 24:3 NIV

The people didn’t understand Him when He told them that they knew how to predict the weather, but that He was disappointed that they apparently did not understand the ‘signs of the times’. And it wasn’t just the general public that didn’t understand ‘the signs of the times’. Even His friends, the disciples had a hard time to understand what was happening. And so they ask Him the following three questions:

  • When will this happen?
  • What will be the sign of Your coming?
  • What will be the sign of the end of the age?

Help us to understand these signs of the times. First of all, when will this awful thing happen: the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple in the heart of Jerusalem? The Lord had just told them about this. In Matthew 23:38 NASB He says: “…Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! …“

This must have come as a complete shock to them! Jerusalem destroyed? The Temple destroyed? But this cannot be! It is the centre of the Kingdom to come!

Doesn’t the prophet Isaiah say in chapter 2:2-4: “…In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s Temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore…”

City and Temple destroyed? This cannot be! The city and the Temple will be the heart of Your Kingdom! We have all just welcomed you, shouting: “… Hosanna! “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”“Blessed is the King of Israel!”…” (John 12:12-13)

But Jesus says: “…not one stone here will be left on another, every one will be thrown down…” Matthew 24:3. “…Look, your house is being left to you desolate…” Matthew 23:38.

‘When will this happen?’ is their first question. Well, it happened 40 years later. Jesus lived, died and rose from the dead around the year AD 30. Forty years later the Romans came and completely destroyed the city and the Temple in the year AD 70.

Jesus had foretold in Luke 21:24: “…They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled…”

Thus started the ‘Roman Captivity’ that lasted for almost 2000 years. The first exile was to Babylon, the 70 years of the Babylonian Captivity between 600-500BC. There will not be a 3rd Captivity. Amos the prophet concludes his prophecies in chapter 9:14-15 NASB “…“Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; they will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit. “I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them,” says the Lord your God…” Never again to be uprooted…

The first time the Lord raised His hand was after the Babylonian Captivity, when He brought the Israelites back to the Promised Land. The second time is now. Isaiah 11:11-12 NIV “…In that day the Lord will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of His people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth…”Nowhere in the Bible is it said that the Lord will raise His hand a 3rd time to bring the Jewish people back to the Promised Land. Israel today is coming home today – to stay there forever.


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