And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
(Matthew 24:1-3 KJV)
If you read Matthew 23 Jesus has just scorned the religious leaders of Israel. He talks of their actions and how that they are in a lot of ways responsible for the condition of Israel. They have killed the prophets God has sent them and those they don’t kill they persecute. He leaves the temple and as the verses above state his disciples start asking him questions. There is so much background material in what they are asking and why - but to not make this a 3 page post let me share that the disciples believing Jesus is the Messiah is going to rule the nation and throw off Rome from them and then begin a never-ending reign from Jerusalem. In verses 4-31 Jesus explains to them that they will suffer persecution, false messiahs and prophets will rise up to deceive them and there will be wars and rumors(stress and fear) of wars, earthquakes, and so on. The signal or event that brings the hammer down will be the abomination of desolation and then the Jews will be hunted down and killed. They will have to flee for your lives and you better hope you have nothing that slows you down (whether it be bad weather, babies and so on) – slowed down will end in death. It will be horrible and then the sun & moon will darken plunging the earth in darkness – THEN look up for the sign – because THEN – I am coming with all the angels.
This is not what they were expecting to hear. They were expecting triumphal messages of bringing in the kingdom. He skipped the first question and gave them the answer to the second one.
Next post – He answers their first question.