As Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jerusalem and walking back home to Bethany when the disciples noticed the remarkable view of the temple and wanted to share it with their teacher as well. Rather than joining in their admiration, Jesus prophesied about the impending destruction of the precious temple of the Jews.
“Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.Matthew 24:2
This was perhaps the first time for many of the disciples to get a chance to see the magnificent temple. Thousands of craftsmen had worked for years to build the temple using marble, brass and even silver and gold, making it a sight to behold in the ancient world. While they were appreciating the architectural marvel, Jesus foretold the destruction of the very same temple that the Israelites held so dearly in their hearts. The temple that was supposed to be the house of God had literally and figuratively turned into a den of robbers. It had become a distraction to the worshippers and a means of obtaining satisfaction by achieving the requirements to worship God without actually connecting with God. The temple became their idol, their golden calf, while the memory of God was being erased from their minds. Even today our worship place and formalities have taken priority over the God we seek to worship. Jesus’s prophecy comes to pass when the Roman army destroyed the temple at Jerusalem in seventy AD.
When they reached the mount of olives and were taking a break from their journey, the disciples privately approached Jesus asking about the exact time of the destruction foretold. Jesus warns them about many false Messiahs and prophets that will seek to deceive many. The wars and calamities in the world would be the pains before the birth of the beautiful new Kingdom. The people of the Way would be tortured and killed causing many to abandon that path that leads to God.
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:12-13
The Abomination that Causes Desolation
Jesus quotes from the book of Daniel about the abomination that causes desolation. Many people think that the destruction of the temple in the second century BC was the fulfilment of the prophet Daniel’s vision but Jesus equates the writings of Daniel to another future destruction, one that the Israelites won’t be able to bear.
At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.Matthew 24:23
This activity of misguiding the believers with rumours and fake sightings has risen to new heights in the age of social media. Jesus warned us to not fall prey to such ploys but the evil one massages our curious bone to distract us just as Christ had foretold. The coming of Christ would be as clear as day and just like the vultures flock towards a carcass, His return will be visible to all.
The Season is Nigh
Jesus says that seeing the Son of Man descend from heaven the people of the earth would mourn. We are not called to be people of the earth but of something much greater. The earth and all its possessions belong to the evil one. People who long after those belongings belong to the evil one and will surely mourn when they see Christ coming in the clouds.
Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.Matthew 24:32
As the fig tree can let us know if summer is nigh, similarly the signs of the end of days would let us know that Christ’s coming is near.
Be Ever Watchful
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.Matthew 24:36
During His time on earth, Jesus was also a man who depended on God to lead Him on the right path. He constantly checked in with God through prayer and did not make any decisions before consulting His father. The disciples would have wasted time trying to get Jesus to let them know the time. Everyone wants to know the times because they want to be ready and make their life in order. No one likes a pop quiz and no one likes a pop-rapture. We treat righteous living as a retirement plan and continue in the sinful ways of the world. The people who are curious about the exact time are not waiting for God but trying to avoid their destruction.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.Matthew 24:42
As faithful servants, we must keep watch for our master as the time of His coming is not known. If we are found to be faithfully waiting for Him, we will be put in charge of all his possessions else we will be put in a different place along with the hypocrites whom Jesus confronted in the last chapter.
He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.Matthew 24:51
- Why did the disciples call Jesus’s attention to the temple?
- What is the abomination that causes desolation?
- Why will people mourn at the sight of the Son of Man?
- Why does Jesus not know about the times? Are not the Father and the Son the same person?
- Should we worry about the end times?