Exegetical look at Matthew 24, Part I

Vs.1-5: Show Him the buildings. The disciples were excited to see the splendor of man’s creations and saw God’s glory in them. The Temple, considered by some to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was the central symbol of Judaism, and believed to be invincible and indestructible. Jesus refocuses them on God and away from things that soon would all be rubble!

· Do you see? Jesus’ primary audience and challenge is to Israel.

· Most Greek philosophers considered even the most extravagant building as unimpressive, though it was of more value to them.

· Not one stone shall be left. This was fulfilled in 70 A.D. The Qumran was one of the few first century Jewish groups to see the impending fall because of hypocrisy and apostasy. Other groups said the Temple represented God, and since God would not destroy Himself, they felt safe (Jer. 4:7-15)! All things in this world will be meaningless and destroyed eventually; only God will remain, along with those whose faith is in Him!

· Tell us when. Jesus responds to the disciples with the “Olivet Discourse,” named for the place where it was spoken. Jesus groups together two questions as one (in meaning, not necessarily in chronological order), the time of the destruction of the Temple, and the End of Ages.

· Wars…are signs of Jesus’ coming, but also of life in a fallen world. The emphasis is on not being negligent toward such things! If we knew the exact time and day, Christians would probably be callous, lazy, and unproductive, as history has shown with such groups who think they know.

· When. Most scholars, over the centuries, have stated it will be when the Gospel has been preached to all nations (Matt. 28: 16-20).

· Take heed. People with various intentions—from deliberately deceiving others to being deluded individuals—will claim to be the Christ. We are called to be discerning so we will not be deceived! We are to always evaluate everything by the Word, while being sensitive to the Spirit.

· Many will come. And, many did in Jesus time, attracting large crowds and followers, according to Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. No one claiming to be Jesus would ever contradict the Bible (Isa. 8:20; John 16:13-15; 1 John 2:18-29)! The key to knowing who is real and who is fake and their motivations is that false prophets seek political and self-fulfilling aspirations; real followers of Christ seek to glorify Him and Him alone (Psalm 69:30; Rom. 15:5-9; Rev. 16:8-9).

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