Duration: 365 days
GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE DAYS AHEAD
When Jesus tells his disciples that the temple is going to be destroyed, they ask him about the time frame for that and about signs of the end of the age.
Jesus tells them that life is going to get hard. People are going to hate his followers because they carry his name. But Jesus tells his followers to persevere because, during this time, people will hear about the good news of the kingdom. And once every nation hears about him, the end will come.
No one knows when Jesus is returning except for the Father. And it will happen quickly, unexpectedly. Jesus will come on the clouds of heaven, and with a trumpet call his angels will gather his people from the ends of the earth.
Jesus’ return will be like the master who returns unexpectedly, attendants of the bridegroom who wait without knowing when the bridegroom is coming, and the manager who goes on a long journey, leaving his servants bags of gold to oversee. Jesus tells his followers to be ready for his return but to be busy doing what he has called them to do.
The King’s Heart
Jesus’ disciples asked him when the temple is going to be destroyed, when he is coming, and how they’ll know it’s the end of the age. Which future event he was describing in his answers isn’t always clear (and Biblical scholars think that some of Jesus’ statements have double fulfillments), but God’s heart to protect his people is always clear.
Jesus had shown that the temple wasn’t operating the way God wanted it to. It was corrupt, broken—a symbol of all that was going wrong with God’s people. God was going to judge it. And he did. Less than 50 years later, in AD 70, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. During Rome’s siege, Christians living in Jerusalem remembered Jesus’ instructions and fled the city, despite the common belief that city walls serve as protection. They were saved. God shielded them.
Jesus’ heart to protect us is clear in his words about his second coming too. He tells us what his expectations are for us. No matter what comes, we should focus on what’s important to him—being ready while staying busy.
When Jesus spoke of the “abomination that causes desolation” (Matthew 24:15), he was reminding his disciples (and believers to come) of when Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig to Zeus on the altar in God’s temple in 168 BC. This prophecy would have a second fulfillment when the temple was destroyed in AD 70, and many Biblical scholars think that it will be fulfilled again at the end of days.
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