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Our Lord’s Great Prophecy

 

Jerusalem’s Destruction

 

How did Christ feel concerning Jerusalem?

 

“And he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41,42.

 

In what words did He foretell its destruction?

 

“The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in from every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”  Verses 43, 44.

 

What pitiful appeal did He make to the city?

 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how long I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37.

 

As He was about to leave the Temple, what did He say?

 

“Look, your house is left to you desolate.” Verse 38.

 

Note – The Jews filled up their cup of iniquity by their final rejection and crucifixion of Christ, and their persecution of His followers after His resurrection. (See Matthew 23:29-35; John 19:15; Acts 4-8.)

 

Hearing these words, what questions did the disciples ask?

 

“As Jesus was sitting upon 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.

 

Note – The overthrow of Jerusalem and of the Jewish nation is a type of the final destruction of all the cities of the world, and of all nations. The descriptions of these two events seem to be blended. Christ’s prophetic words reached beyond Jerusalem’s destruction to the final conflagration; they were spoken not for the early disciples only but also for those who were to live during the closing scenes of the world’s history. Christ gave definite signs, both of the destruction of Jerusalem and of His second coming.

 

Did Christ say either event was imminent?  

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Verses 4-6.  

 

What did He say of the wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes that were to precede these events?

 

“All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Verse 8.

 

Note – These were to precede and culminate in the overthrow, first, of Jerusalem, and finally of the whole world; for, as already noted, the prophecy has double application, first to Jerusalem and the Jewish nation, and second, to the whole world. The destruction of Jerusalem for its rejection of Christ in refusing to heed the closing warning message sent by God to prepare the world for Christ’s second advent.

 

What would be the experiences of His people?

 

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” Verses 9-12.

 

Who did He say would be saved?

 

“But he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Verse 13.   

 

When did Christ say the end would come?

 

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Verse 14.  

 

Note – Before the fall of Jerusalem, Paul carried the gospel to Rome – then the capital of the world. He wrote of the saints of “Caesar’s household” (Philippians 4:22), and further said that the gospel had been “preached” to every creature which is under heaven.” Colossians 1:23.

Thus it was respecting the end of the Jewish nation; and thus it will be in the end of the world as a whole. When the gospel, or good news, of Christ’s coming kingdom has been preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, then the end will come. As the end of the Jewish came with overwhelming destruction, so will the end of the world.

 

What would be a sign of the fall of Jerusalem?  

 

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.” Luke 21:20.

At this time what were the disciples to do?

 

“So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through eh prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are Judea flee to the mountains.” Matthew 24: 15,16.

 

Note – In A.D. 66, when Cestius came against the city, but unaccountability withdrew, the Christians discerned in this the sign foretold by Christ, and fled (Eusebius, Church History, Book 3, chap. 5), while 1,100,000 Jews are said to have been killed in the terrible siege in A.D. 70. Here is a striking lesson on the importance of studying the prophecies and heeding the signs of the times. Those who believed Christ and watched for the sign that He had foretold were saved, while the unbelievers perished. So in the end of the world the watchful and believing will be delivered, while the careless and unbelieving will be snared and taken. (See Matthew 24:36-44; Luke 21: 34-36; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6.)

 

When the sign appeared, how suddenly were they to flee?

 

“Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!” Matthew 24: 17, 18.

 

How did Christ show further care for them?

 

“Pray that your flight will not take place in the winter or on the Sabbath.” Verse 20.

 

Note – Flight in the winter would entail discomfort and hardship; an attempt to flee on the Sabbath would doubtless meet with difficulty.

The prayers of Christ followers were heard. Events were so overruled that neither Jews nor Romans hindered their flight. When Cestius retreated, the Jews pursued the army, and the Christians thus had an opportunity to leave the city. The country was cleared of its enemies, for the time of this siege, the Jews has assembled at Jerusalem for the Feat of Tabernacles. Thus the Christians of Judea were abler to escape unmolested, and in the autumn, a most favorable time for flight.

 

What trying experience did Christ then foretell?

 

“For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again.” Verse 21.  

 

Note – In the siege of Jerusalem a prophecy of Moses (Deuteronomy 28:47-53) was finally fulfilled: “Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you. For the fulfillment, see Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 6, chap. 3, par. 4.

Following the destruction of Jerusalem came the persecution of the Christians under the pagan emperors during the first three centuries of the Christina era. Later came the greater and more terrible persecution during the long centuries of papal supremacy, foretold in Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 12:6. All these tribulations occurred under either pagan or papal Rome and will happen again during the Great Tribulation that is coming very soon. Current time: 01-25-2010.

 

For whose sake would the period be shortened?

 

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” Matthew 24:22.

 

Note – As Jesus Christ in His foreknowledge looked down the centuries to the end of the age, He saw the Great Tribulation that will last 1,335 days before His Second Coming. In Christ’s mercy, He will shorten this time in the suffering and persecution of His saints, or no flesh would survive the Great Tribulation at all.

 

Against what deceptions did Christ then warn us?

 

“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is Christ!’ or, There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christ’s and false prophets will appear to perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.” Verses 23, 24.

 

World Conditions, Preparations

 

What were to be the signs on earth of Christ’s coming?

 

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint in terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” Luke 21: 25, 26.

 

What will be the next great event?

 

“At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Verse 27. (See Matthew 24:30.)

 

When these things begin to happen, what should we do?

 

“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.Luke 21:28.  

 

When the trees put forth their leaves, what do we know?

 

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves comes out, you know that the summer is near.” Matthew 24:32. 

 

What do we likewise know after these signs are seen?

 

“Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.”

Verse 33. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.Luke 21:31.

 

What did Christ say of the certainty of this prophecy?

 

“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24: 34,35.

 

Note – What Christ foretold of the destruction of Jerusalem came true to the very letter. Likewise may we be assured that what He has said about the end of the world will as certainly and as literally be fulfilled.

 

Who alone knows the exact day of Christ’s coming?

 

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Verse 36.

 

Note – The Father in Heaven or the Ancient of Days alone knows the precise moment of Christ’s coming but when the Great Tribulation gets underway, God’s children who have been studying Bible prophecy here at the end of time will know that after the massive world wide earthquake takes place there will be 1,335 days to Christ’s coming.

 

What moral conditions would precede Christ’s second advent?

 

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took all them away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Verses 37-39.

 

What important admonition has Christ given us?

 

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Verse 44.

 

What will be the experience of those who say in their hearts that the Lord is not soon coming?

 

“But suppose that the servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and then he began to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at that hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Verses 48-51.   


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