Matthew 23-24~ Day 12~ Happy Mother's Day!

I hope your kids are serving you breakfast in bed and then leaving you alone, because this is a long post and you will need that alone time!! Haha

So, wow! Jesus is super harsh with the generation of religious leaders he was dealing with in our reading today! He radically called them out on their support of what their forefathers did to the prophets, "You testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets." (23:31) and he condemns this group of people, living in Jerusalem at the time, to a very harsh end!
"And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth..." (23:35) Eekk!  😱

Jesus goes on to describe what they had to look forward to.  "Truly I tell you, this will come on this generation." (23:36) "This generation" are the people living in the time of Jesus.  They will (and did) see the destruction of the temple and have a miserable end.  Here's what they experienced:
  • "Not one stone are will be left on another." (24:2) We know that Jerusalem was destroyed by the army under Vespasian in 70 AD.
  • "Many will try to deceive." (24:5)  We read about that those in Acts 5:36-37, 8:9-10 13:6 and 12:38. 
  • Nation will rise against nation (24:7).  Here's a little history for you, the Annals of Tacitus  describe events from 14AD to 68 that include conflicts in Germany, Africa, Thrace, Gaul, Parthians, (I've never heard of the last three but apparently they were nations), Britain, and Armenia.
  • There will be famine. (24:7)  We read about that in Acts 11:28.
  •  Earthquakes (24:7b). One is mentioned in Acts16:26, but others are recorded in 58 AD by Seneca- a Roman philosopher (60AD).
  • They will hand you over to be persecuted and they will kill you (24:10). You can read about that fulfillment in Acts 4:1-18, 12:1 and 23:24.
  • Many false prophets will deceive many (24:11). Nearly every N.T. letter warns the early Christians of those! These include, but are not limited to Acts 20:29-30, Rom. 16:17-18 & 2 Cor. 11:13.
  • This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world (24:14).  We read how the  apostles are scattered in Acts 8:1 and Paul writes how the good news spread to the whole world in Col. 1:23b.
  • The abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place (24:15).  This could be in reference to the Roman army who brought sacrifices to the burnt/destroyed temple, declaring Titus the victor over Jerusalem. (Titus is Vespasian's son who was in charge of the siege after his dad went back to Rome to take over as Emperor after Emperior Nero killed himself.) 
  • The urgency to get out of the city is well warranted due to the great distress about to ensue (24:21).The brutality of the destruction is described in detail by the historian Josephus, who was an eye witness. I've read some of his account, it's brutal!😰

It all came about just as Jesus predicted!  That generation, let's say they were in their 30's to 40's when they killed Jesus around 30-36AD, were then in their 70's - 80's when they experienced Jerusalem being obliterated in 70 AD.  It makes sense that this generation suffered the way they did.  After all they they were the ones who killed the Son of God.  God didn't let them get away with it.

Chapter 24 can be confusing if one is trying to figure out if Jesus is predicting end time destruction.  Indeed the disciples must have thought the two events (destruction of the temple and end times) must happen concurrently.  "Tell us when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age."(Matt. 24:3)  After all, the temple seemed indestructible to them; if it were to be destroyed that must mean the end times had arrived.

I like how one commentary summed up the answer Jesus gave to their question:  "First he tells them that contrary to their expectations, his second coming and the end of the age are not to occur at the same time as the destruction of the temple.  In other words, the destruction of the temple can be dated by signs, but the second coming of Christ cannot." (Kingdom Come, by Storms, pg. 233) 

Then there would be a lengthy delay (24:36-25:30).  No signs will point to the precise moment Jesus will return.  Therefore, we must remain alert! (24:42)We are in that quiet period now!  Personally, since there will be no warning, I'm going to remain alert, just as all Christians have done before me! 
Jesus can return anytime!!  Woo hoo!!


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