With great excitement, many "dig into" Matthew 24, the great prophetic chapter, where the Lord Jesus teaches specifically about the times just prior to His actual return. But immediately upon entry into the chapter we are faced with a debate-- "When does the destruction mentioned in the first two verses take place? Was it that destruction that occurred under Emperor Titus in 70 AD when the second temple at Jerusalem was destroyed, or at some future date? Have these events already happened or do we still look for them to occur?
For those searching for an answer to that question, it is important to understand that there is an unfortunate chapter break (inserted by translators for navigation purposes) in what is probably a continuation of the events of chapter 23. There, Yeshua had just experienced a major confrontation with the scribes and pharisees. Words like "serpents", "brood of vipers", "damnation", and "hell" had been exchanged. One of Yeshua's closing sentences was, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:38).
As the original scrolls of scripture were unbroken by chapter breaks, the very next words the Yeshua uttered were those of Matthew 24:1&2-- which when you think about it, are highly relevant to the conflict that had just occurred! The critical question asked by His disciples about future events pertaining to the second coming of Christ had not even been asked yet! That question is not asked until verse 3, in a completely different location, the mount of Olives!
For these substantial reasons, I have come to peace with the viewpoint that the destruction mentioned in the first two verses of Matthew 24 pertains to that destruction inflicted on Jerusalem by the Roman invasion beginning in 67 AD and ending at Masada 6 years later. Those events are a complete and literal fulfillment of Yeshua's statement in Matthew 24:1&2. Understanding those actions to be completed, we can go on to take in the spiritual as well as physical signs of the return of Yeshua, that begin in Matthew 24:4.
|Web Author:Michael Stevenson Updated: 12/16/2004 6:58PM|