This is a continuation of the my study on end of the age and I am writing this so that it can be profitable to your own knowledge as well.
Like I normally say, you do no need to believe my interpretations but I encourage you to continue reading if you are willing to learn the bible for it is profitable for our life and knowledge of God.
To understand this article you must read the following first
The Two Ages In The Bible – Here I describe the bible is teaching of two ages. The “this age” and “age to come“. “This age” was decaying at the time of the Apostles so it was about to end. The “age to come” is the everlasting new covenant.
The Last Days In The Bible – In this article, I described that during the Day of Pentecost, Peter quote Joel’s prophesy about the last days and telling the crowd (Jews and proselytes) that it is happening right there, at that that very moment. The first century Christians were living in the last days. The last days is the days leading to the end of the age, the end of the old covenant, the fulfillment of Christ prophesy in Matthew 24:2 that the Jerusalem Temple will be destroyed.
The End Of The Age: The Questions and Signs – Jesus started answering the disciples questions about the sign of the end of the age. Jesus says you will hear wars and rumors of wars and other events which are the beginning of the abomination and desolation. Jesus said when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, do not enter the City, leave, go to the mountains. The wars and rumors of wars are spoken in the context of when will the prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem Temple will take place. The wars and rumors of wars are not referring to the World War I.
The Olivet discourse is a name given to the orderly and extended teaching given by Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives. His subject is the end times. This discourse is recorded in Matthew 24 with parallel passages found in Mark 13:1-37 and Luke 21:5-36. I encourage you to read all the three parallel text for comparison of the subject.
Christ Gave Time Statement – This Generation
Christ gave time statement when the end of the age will take place.
Matthew 24:32-34 (NKJV) – “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near; at the doors! 34 “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
Luke 21:29-33 (NKJV) – 29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Mark 13:28-31 (NKJV) – 28 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! 30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Christ using VERY STRONG WORD “Assuredly“. Who was He speaking to? The disciples. He wanted the disciples to pay attention. He said “Assuredly, I say to you this generation…“. Who is the “this“? It is the generation of those who are standing in front of Him. The people that He was speaking to, the Apostles (I call them disciples too)! Christ even gave assurance how powerful His words are by saying “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away“. Simply speaking He is emphasizing to his audience they must believe what he was saying. What is it again He was saying? Christ was saying “this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place“.
If you noticed Luke made it sound differently. He wrote “When you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near“. Therefore the destruction of Jerusalem temple of the Kingdom of God are connected events.
According also to Luke, the Kingdom of God has come upon them
Luke 11:20 (NKJV) “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV) Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 “nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
So how is it then the Kingdom of God is again coming near when it has already come upon them? I think it is the Kingdom of God that is the full manifestation of the new covenant, the everlasting covenant.
Before the Matthew 24 which was a conversation at the Mount of Olives, Jesus and the disciples was in the Temple. Jesus was speaking to the Jews, he says that all the judgement that he had spoken about would come upon them.
Matthew 23:35-36 (NKJV) “that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 “Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Most Christians believe the second coming of Christ is in our future but the more I read about the bible the more I believe it is all about the judgement to Israel. Jesus kept saying it will happen in their time. He was speaking to the Jews! It is their time, not our time 2000 years later. Read this text again in Matthew 16, Christ talking with strong words again “Assuredly”…
Matthew 16:27-28 (NKJV) “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
How else could Jesus emphasize he already keep saying “Assuredly“. I think most Christians ignore several text in the bible. Christ said the Son of Man will come and that will happen in the time of some of the audience he was talking to, standing right in front of Him saying “some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man in His Kingdom“.
I think the problem was that Israel was waiting for the Messiah to be their King and rule their nation forever. They are looking for physical fulfillment. Christians today are the same thing, looking for physical return of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a long topic of the return of Christ but that will be reserved for future articles. For now I shortcut my interpretation, Christ came back in judgement as He promised “this generation will by no means pass away till all these things happen“. Christ came back in judgement to Jerusalem. Just like when he judged Babylon, he used the Persian army to destroy Babylon. God’s judgement of Israel used the Roman armies to destroy Jerusalem Temple. that is the end of the age, the end of the old covenant.
All Prophesies Had Been Fulfilled
It make sense the end of he age was fulfilled when the Roman armies fought the Jews and destroyed Jerusalem Temple. The three and a half siege of Jerusalem is like a hell as described in the book of revelations. Christ said when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, do not enter the City, go to the mountains for the desolation is near. If Christ was speaking of the end of the planet earth, what good is it to go to the mountains?
Luke 21:20-22 (NKJV) – 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
Notice what Christ also said: “that all things which are written may be fulfilled“. What does He mean? All prophesies in the Old Testament will be fulfilled. I believe the New Testament does not have any new prophesies, all prophesies in the New Testament also came from Old Testament. Christ prediction on Jerusalem Temple in Matthew 24:2 is related to Daniel and Zechariah.
Daniel 9:26 (NKJV) – “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Zechariah 14:1-5 (NKJV)- Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. 5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, And all the saints with You.
We Are Living In New Heavens and New Earth
In Luke 21:22, Christ said “For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”
In Matthew 5:17-18, Christ again used very strong word “Assuredly“.
Matthew 5:17-18 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
We should not remove any single law (the old covenant laws) till heaven and earth pass away. Jesus lived under the law. He practice all the Jewish laws in His time. The Apostles lived under the law but during the transition period, the start of the conversion of the Gentiles, the law did not apply to them. However, the Apostles who are Jews continue to practice the law.
If heaven and earth did not pass away, then the Jews that we know today are still true people of God but the problem is they are no longer fulfilling the laws. For example they are supposed to go to Jerusalem I believe supposed to be three times a year. But there is no more temple there. Jews are required to offer burn offerings but they no longer do that. What is the point? We are living in new heavens and earth already. The law “all is fulfilled” at the end of the age when the Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. Therefore Matthew 5:18 and Luke 21:22 are in harmony speaking of the same topic which is the law has been fulfilled. There are no more prophesy that will be fulfilled after the destruction of Jerusalem. All prophesies are done.
I am sorry, you missed the end of the world! It was the end of the age.