By Doug Bell
1 ¶ Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.
2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
Signs of the End of the Age
3 ¶ As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?
Most modern believers in America today would read the verses above and say that Jesus is talking about His Second Coming. They would probably characterize themselves as ‘Premillennial’ and most would also fall into the ‘Pre-Tribulation’ theory (though there are a fair number who are instead ‘Mid-trib’ Or ‘Post-Trib’). And in all these subcategories, it is accepted that a secret ‘Rapture’ will happen first (and some have more than one!) This view has become popular since Hal Lindsay wrote “The Late Great Planet Earth.” And Later the books and movies based on the “Left Behind” series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.
A few years ago R. C. Sproul wrote a book (“The Last Day’s according to Jesus” his book was based upon much of Kenneth L. Gentry JR. Book “Before Jerusalem Fell”), unlike any recent books on Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation and is based upon the ‘Preterist’ View. Preterism holds that the bulk of John’s prophecies occurred in the first century, soon after his writing of them. These prophecies reflect actual historical events in John’s near future (before the destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD).
In this view, the disciples were NOT asking what would happen at Jesus’ 2nd coming but; Jesus disciples had just spoken to him about the beauty of the Temple, Jesus told them that it would be destroyed (vs. 1-2). So, then in vs. 3 they ask three questions:
1.) When will these things be? (I.e., The destruction of the Temple).
2.) What will be the sign of your coming to do this? (Not the 2nd Coming, but the city of Jerusalem and Temples’ destruction).
3.) What is the sign of the coming of the ‘end of the age’ (Notice Not the ‘end of the World,’ But, the end of the Jewish age!)
All three of these questions were answered when the Romans invaded Israel and then surrounded Jerusalem. When they finally were able to enter into the city, the soldiers were so enraged (though given distinct orders not to burn the Temple) killed everyone in the city (according to Josephus, the Jewish historian a total of 1,100,000 souls, the greatest tribulation for any city ever, before or after!) and they burned the City, including the Temple to the ground.
Since this time Israel has never been able to restore the Temple or animal sacrifice (Which is no longer needed since Jesus’ one and final sacrifice of Himself. See Hebrews 8-10). Israel has been rejected as the unique people of God.
All the promises given to Israel have now been given to Our Lord Jesus Christ!
16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.
Jesus, who is the head of the Church has now transferred from Israel, all of these blessings to His Church.
1 Peter 3:
9 ¶ But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
•[If you are interested in knowing more about the Preterist Theory, I would recommend the books I mentioned above.]