Summary: As we approach the next millennium there is much speculation concerning what is to happen. Do the events in the Bible predict that something will happen at the turn of the millennium?
As we approach the next millennium there is much speculation concerning what is to happen. Most people believe that something terrible is going to take place as we come upon the year 2000. The reasons for this feeling are almost unanimous. You will hear people talk of wars and earthquakes, famines and disease, deception and false prophets. Many say, "All these events are occurring right now!" Therefore, their conclusion is that Christ is going to return at the next millennia.
Have you ever considered what the Bible really says about some of these events? We need to because all these things have to do with our attitude toward God's divine word. If we are going to get all worked up over the year 2000, we must have some basis for doing so. It is the purpose of this article to talk about some of these things. Most of the events mentioned in the first paragraph appear in Matthew chapter 24.
"And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes." (Matthew 24:6-7)
Consider the context
Jesus had just finished His teachings in the temple with the lamentation over Jerusalem as found in the last verses of chapter 23. He goes out from the temple to go to the mount of Olives (Vs. 3). On His way there, His disciples come to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple. Mark mentions particularly that they showed Him the stones, which were very large (Mark 13:1). Luke says that some were talking of the beauty of the stones (Luke 21:5). Josephus (Jewish historian) mentions that some of the stones of the temples' base were 25 cubits long (37 1/2 feet), eight cubits high (12 ft.), and 12 cubits wide (18 ft.).
When the disciples called Jesus' attention to the temple that gave Him an opportunity to say, "not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down." (Vs. 2b) Here Jesus predicts the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus says, "Do you not see all these things?" (Vs. 2a) Attention is called to the seeming permanence and security of the temple and its great stones. It would have appeared to His disciples very unlikely that not one stone would be left upon another. Within 40 years from the time of this prophecy, however, it was fulfilled. History tells us that Vespasian and his son Titus besieged Jerusalem for three years and it was taken in 70 A.D..
Questions Of The Disciples
As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives and predicted this destruction, the disciples asked Jesus two questions. 1) When will these things be? and 2) What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? The remainder of chapters 24 and 25 give Jesus' answer to these questions. Let us look at His response to these questions. It is good for us to keep these questions in mind and apply the answer of Jesus to each question in order. Otherwise, we will become confused and end up drawing the wrong conclusions.
Matthew 24:4-34 contains the answer to the disciple's first question. All the things we mentioned earlier: wars, famines, and earthquakes all have reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, not to the end of the world. Why would you flee to the mountains if it is referring to the second coming of Christ? (Vs. 16). We will not be able to escape His coming. Why would it matter if you were on your housetop, in the field, or nursing a baby (Vss. 17-19)? It will not matter when the Lord comes back but it would make a difference if Jerusalem was being destroyed. Why would it matter if Christ came back on the Sabbath? It would not but it would make a difference in traveling if Jerusalem was under attack. Jesus said in Vs. 34, ". . . this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." That means all these events would take place before the people died that Jesus was talking too. That generation has passed away, they are not living today. It referred to the destruction of Jerusalem. It was during their lifetime.
There was no sign to be given concerning the disciples 2nd question. Jesus said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."(Vs. 36). No one knows when Christ will come back except God the Father. People can guess all day long but the end result is: THEY DO NOT KNOW. Christ's coming will be similar to the time of Noah. The people in Noah's day did not expect the flood to come. Life went on for them. They gave no heed to the warnings. They were "eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark." (Vs. 38). They did not understand until it was too late and the flood took them. Jesus places an emphasis on preparation. Notice the suddenness of His coming, "Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left." (Vss. 40-41). That is how fast the righteous will be separated from the ungodly. Read I Thessalonians 4:15-17. He says in Vs. 42, "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming."