Matthew Lesson 24 Day 2

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Matthew Lesson 24 Day 2

Matthew 24:1-14

3. a. Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple complex.

“Jesus left the temple and was going away . . .” After Jesus strongly condemned the blind scribes and Pharisees for the last time, calling them a brood of vipers/snakes* [figuratively, an artful malicious person, especially Satan], and warning that they would suffer the same horrible deaths to which their forefathers subjected the prophets who came before them. Furthermore, this destruction would come to them during their generation.”

“There is an emphasis on the idea of the verb. He was going away, like one who did not mean to return.” (Bruce)(1) I would add, he did not return during his ministry in the flesh. I believe he prophesied that he was coming back to destroy the temple and the end of the age meant the end of the old covenant.

The disciples perhaps tried to change the mood by pointing out the beauty of the temple buildings.

After the destruction of Solomon’s temple, this temple was originally built by Zerubbabel and Ezra (Ezra 6:15). Herod the Great (who ruled when Jesus was born) greatly expanded and improved it. This temple was the center of Jewish life for almost a thousand years – so much so, that it was customary to swear by the temple (Matthew 23:16), and speaking against the temple could be considered blasphemy (Acts 6:13).

After Herod’s work, the temple was huge: nearly 500 yards or meters long and 400 yards or meters wide. Herod’s plan for rebuilding started in 19 B.C. and was only completed in A.D. 63, taking more than 80 years. The temple was finished only seven years before it was destroyed.

But the Second Temple wasn’t just big; it was also beautiful. The Jewish historian Josephus said that the temple was covered with gold plates, and when the sun shone on them it was blinding to look at. Where there was no gold, there were blocks of marble of such a pure white that from a distance strangers thought there was snow on the temple.(1)Emphasis added

“Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Matthew 24:2

AD 70

Destruction of the temple as prophesied by Jesus occurred In AD 70 at the hands of the Romans under Titus. Literally, not one stone was left upon another. So complete was its destruction, modern archeologists have not been able to determine the exact location.

Through Paul’s journeys in the years following Jesus’ crucifixion and before the destruction of the temple, we learn how hostile the Jewish leaders were toward the gospel.

It’s Interesting how often throughout Israel’s history that God showed mercy by delaying judgment for a period of forty years. According to the historian Josephus, this event (destruction of the temple and Jerusalem) occurred forty years after the ministry of John the Baptist.

b. Luke 21:7 The disciples asked, “Teacher, so when will these things be? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”

Matthew 24:3 includes a different phrase following the word “sign”: “…sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”

4. a. “See that no one leads you astray.”

In his booklet “The Destruction of Jerusalem” by George Peter Holford written in 1805, compiled details drawing from the writings of Josephus and other historians of that time. Among these details, he lists a number of deceivers. The first one arose less than one year after Jesus’ ascension.

Holford records the following deceivers:

Dositheous the Samaritan—claimed to be the Messiah that Moses prophesied.

Simon Magus (disciple of Dositheous) “deluded multitudes that he himself was the “great power of God.”

Three years later, “another Samaritan imposter . . . declared that he would show the people the sacred utensils” left by Moses in Mount Gerizim.

Theudas persuaded “a very great multitude to take their belongings and follow him to Jordan, assuring them that the river would divide at his command. Fadus, however, pursued them with a troop of horses and slay many of them, including the impostor himself, whose head was cut off and carried to Jerusalem.”

Felix (AD 55) had 30,000 followers. 400 of them were attacked and killed by the Roman governor.

Porcus Festus claimed he would deliver Jerusalem from the “Roman yoke.” That’s what the people had expected the Messiah to do.

In short, impostors to a divine commision continually and fatally deceived the peole, at once both justifying the caution and fulfilling the prediction of our Lord.”

Troubles Jesus said would come:

Unless otherwise noted, the quotes below are taken from “The Destruction of Jerusalem” by George Peter Holford, now in the public domain.

-Wars and rebellions

Here is a list of the actual wars that resulted in significant casualties. These occurred after Jesus’ prophecy and his ascension through the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.

-“A great number of Jews went to Seleucia, . . . where the Greeks and Syrians rose against them a destroyed more than five myriads. ” [myraid — 10,000; a very large, indefinite number; innumerable.)  MerriamWebster.com] According to Josephus, “The extent of this slaughter had no parallel in any former period of their history.”

-Five years later, another “severe contest” occurred between the Jews at Perea and the Philadelphians. Many of the Jews were killed.

-Four years later, a Roman soldier “offered an indignity to the Jews” in the temple area. The Jews triggered an excessive attack from a number of Roman soldiers. “Not less than 10,000 Jews were trodden to death in the streets.”

-Four years later, “the Jews made war against the Samaritans and ravaged their country” because they murdered a Galilean who was on his way to keep the Passover.

-At Caesarea, the Jews had argued with Syrians over control of the city government. The animosity between them led to fierce waring between the two “nations.” Over 20,000 Jews were killed in the city of Caesarea alone. This “rage” spread to every place where both Jews and Syrians lived. In Damascus, Tyre, and several other cities, ‘the carnage was dreadful.” In Damascus, 10,000 Jews were slain in one hour, and in Scythopolis, 13,000 in one night.

-In Alexandria, Jews rose against the Romans. The Romans killed 50,000 of them including infants and the elderly.

40,000 killed in Jopata.

-In the western part of the Roman empire, “the whole nation of the Jews took up arms against the Romans, King Agrippa, etc., and provoked that dreadful war which, in a few years, deluged Judea in blood and laid its capital in ruins.” Over 1,100,000 died.

-Earthquakes

Bible scholar, Henry Alford, wrote about earthquakes during this period

The principle earthquakes occurring between this prophecy and the destruction of Jerusalem  [in 70 AD] were (1) a great earthquake in Crete, 46 AD, (2) one at Rome on the day when Nero assumed manly toga 51 AD, (3) one at Apamea in Phrygia, mentioned by Tacitus, 53 AD, (4) one at Laodicea in Phrygia 60 AC, (6) one in Capania.

-Famines

The main famine that occurred prior to 70 AD was predicted by Agabus as recorded in Acts 11:28-30. The famine was widespread through Greece and into Italy but most severe in Judea and especially at Jerusalem where many starved to death. Several historians recorded this famine. 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 mentions the famine and the contributions sent to their Jewish brethren.

The final famine occurred in Jerusalem during the final siege.

b. Things Jesus said would happen before the “end of the age” would come

  • Many will falsely claim to be the Messiah.
  • Signs in the sun, moon, and stars

When I have time, I will come back to this. Astounding indeed.
-Nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.
-People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world.
-The heavenly bodies will be shaken.
This generation will not pass away until all these things have happened.

In scripture, the number of years that define a generation varies. The basic idea is based on the father’s age at the birth of his first child.

  • 100 years—Abraham was 100 (Gen. 21:5) when Isaac, his promised son, was born. (Genesis 15:16)
  • 70 years—Psalm 90:10
  • 40 years—Predominant after the time of Moses.

The destruction of the temple occurred 40 years after the ministry of John the Baptist. “Elijah” arrived on the scene with a warning and Jesus ended his final visit to the temple with a dire warning to the scribes and Pharisees saying they were destined for the trash heap, called Gehenna, outside the city of Jerusalem.

Gehenna—a deep, narrow glen to the south of Jerusalem, where the idolatrous Jews offered their children in sacrifice to Molech (2 Chronicles 28:3 ; 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31 ; 19:2-6). This valley afterward became the common receptacle for all the refuse of the city. Here the dead bodies of animals and of criminals, and all kinds of filth, were cast and consumed by fire kept always burning. (Eaton’s Bible Dictionary)

That is literally what happened to Pharisees and the other Jews still in the city of Jerusalem when the siege took place. Jesus warned his followers to leave. (Matthew 24:15-16; Luke 21:20, 1-11) Although many bodies may have remained unburied and later burned up when the entire city burned.

  • When the temple was destroyed, the designated place to offer sacrifices was lost.
  • The Scribes and Pharisees who were active in Jerusalem died.

The murders of the chief priests, Anaius and Jesus (not the Messiah), were recorded by historians. A division of Roman soldiers led by Vespasian discovered the chief priests in the process of going door to door. (The Jewish leaders were known to be the ones encouraging rebellion against Rome.) These soldiers “not only killed the chief priests but also insulted their bodies by casting them forth unburied.”

It is said that there is reason to believe that not one Christian perished in the destruction of that city, God having in various ways secured their escape, so that they fled to Pella, where they dwelt when the city was destroyed. —Albert Barnes

End of the Age

The age of the Law of Moses ended when Jesus took our sins upon himself and became sin for us. His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We no longer need to sacrifice animals on behalf of our sins. Therefore, we entered a new and living way. (Hebrew 10:20)

Jesus is the High Priest. We can boldly enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus. (Hebrews 10:19-25)

It was necessary for God to utterly destroy the Mosaic Covenant system. And He did exactly as Yeshua, the Son of Man, the supposed carpenter’s son prophesied.


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1 EnduringWord.com used by written permission.
2 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations from *The ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
3 Strong’s Concordance, public domain.
4 *Spirit Filled Life Bible®copyright © 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. (The Holy Bible, New King James Bible) copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
5 Ellicott’s Commentary, public domain.
6 Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, public domain.
7 The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group.
8 Andrew Wommack Living Commentary used by written permission.

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