Summary: Sermon #13 dealing with Jesus sermon about the end times and the destruction of Jerusalem found in Matthew 24 and 25
The End in Sight
Matthew 24:1 – 25:46
CHCC: April 1, 2012
This is the END of our series about the Preaching of Jesus. We’re going to END by looking at what Jesus had to say about how everything will END. This is one of the most fascinating of all Jesus’ sermons. He preached it as a private message to his closest disciples on the Mount of Olives.
Earlier that day, the disciples called Jesus over and said, “Look at this amazing Temple!” They had reason to be impressed. After all, the nation had been working on the Temple for about 50 years --- and it was almost finished. This Temple was the symbol of Jewish identity, and the disciples knew its history.
• Solomon had built the first Jewish Temple about 1000 years before ---- and that Temple stood for about 400 years before it was destroyed by Babylon.
• Then, after 70 years of Babylonian exile, the second Temple was slowly rebuilt over a period of many years. This second temple was desecrated by a Syrian king, and all Temple Worship stopped in 167 BC.
• Temple worship was eventually restored --- until Rome conquered Jerusalem in 63 AD. Pompey actually entered the Holy of Holies and the Temple was left in ruins.
• Then, about 40 years before Jesus’ birth, Rome commissioned Herod the Great to rebuild the temple. The construction was well under way, and the beautiful building was the pride of the Jews.
The Disciples evidently believed Jesus would set himself up as Ruler in that very Temple. As his followers, they were probably scoping out office-space for themselves! So you can imagine how shocked and horrified the disciples were when Jesus bluntly told them, “You may well look. But I tell you this: not a single stone here will be left in its place; every one of them will be thrown down.”
Jesus was prophesying an event that would happen in 70 AD when Rome set the Temple afire and soldiers tore every stone apart to get the gold that had melted into the walls.
Later, as Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him in private. Tell us when all this will be, they asked, and what will happen to show that it is the time for your coming and the end of the age. Matthew 24:3
The Disciples thought they were asking ONE question. They believed the destruction of the Temple and the End of the Age were the same event. But in reality, they were asking TWO questions. And Jesus answered both. Part of His answer prophesied the events of 70 AD when the temple would be destroyed. The rest of His answer prophesied events that … we now know … would not occur for 2000 years … and counting …
All kinds of theories and speculation have grown out of this prophetic sermon. Today, all I can do is give you an overview of Matthew 24 and 25. I want to give you a context for reading these chapters yourselves and for discussing them with your Bible Study groups. This last sermon of Jesus is essential to understanding how we are to live until He returns.
We’ll start by looking at the answer Jesus gave to the FIRST question:
1. When will the Temple be Destroyed?
In Matthew 25:15-20, Jesus gave specific advice for anyone who was in Jerusalem on the day when the Temple would be destroyed. He said that on that day, people should immediately flee the city and “run for the hills.”
This was strange advice. Usually, when a city of under attack, everyone ran INTO the city so they could have the protection of the city walls. History records that thousands of people were killed within the city, but the Christians escaped, because they heeded the advice Jesus gave them to run OUT of the city as fast as they could.
Jesus said there would be signs of warning before this Temple destruction. In Matthew 24:32-34, he said they should look at events the same way you look at a fig tree to see if summer is near. And he told them that “these things will happen before the people now living have all died.” Matthew 24:34 In fact, the destruction of the Temple came just a little over 40 years later!
So, the answer to the FIRST question – “When will the Temple be destroyed?’ – Was that it will be SOON and there will be SIGNS.
The answer to the SECOND question, “When will it be the time of your coming and the end of the age” – is not nearly so specific.
2. What will be the Sign of your Coming –
Jesus gave SIGNS for the Temple destruction, but when he moved to the question about His Coming and the End of the Age, this is what Jesus said: No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come—neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows. Matthew 24:36