Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The Destruction of Jerusalem

When the Lord told His disciples that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed, they were shocked. Surely would be the end of all things.  How could life continue without the temple?  We have to understand that the temple was the center of Jewish life.  The Jews could no longer serve God in the manner He had commanded if there was no temple.  Faced with this horrific news the disciples asked Jesus a number of questions (Matt.24:3)

1) When will these things happen?
2) What will be the signs of your coming?
3) (What will be the signs) the end of the age?

Jesus explains to them that there were going to be certain signs that would proceed the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple.  We can read of these in Matthew 24: 4-34.  He said that there would be false Christs, wars, earthquakes prior to the fall of the city.  He told them that many would fall away form the faith.  He said that there would be signs that the fall of the city was very near - "the abomination of desolation... standing in the holy place" . A difficult passage to understand, but Luke defines it for us -
"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near." Luke 21:20.
At this point he told them they had to flee to the mountains.  History tell us that the Christians did indeed escape from the city before the Romans destroyed it.

Jesus told them a parable of the fig tree, he told them to watch the signs and know when these things would happen.  He finished off this section by telling them that all these things would happen to that generation. 
“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Matt. 24:34
This was not something that would happen far into the future, it would happen while many hearing His words were living.  Jerusalem was finally captured in September AD 70 (see reference) and the temple destroyed.

In Matthew 24:4-34 Jesus answered the first two questions the disciples asked and a feature of this part of His answer was he showed them the signs and the times when these things took place.  

Later we will read about His 2nd coming and notice that there are no signs and times.

No comments: