Many Christians claim the end Christ referred to in giving answer to the apostles’ question meant the end of Jerusalem in 70AD. However, look at the apostles’ question again. In the apostle’s question they associated “the end of the age” with Christ’s return. So let’s go all the way to the end of Christ’s answer and work our way back through a few points. I believe that will clarify what end Christ referred to in answering that question. Read:
- Matthew 25:31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ”
- Matthew 25:14“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.”
- Matthew 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him”
- Matthew 24:45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.”
- Matthew 24:36“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. ”
Now look at that last entry, Matthew 24:36-39. In it Christ said the time of the end he was referring to would come as a surprise to all people, including all Christians. Therefore, that end he spoke about in answering his apostles’ questions could not be the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, or the destruction of Jerusalem in any era, past, present, or future. Why? Because earlier in his answer Christ told them what to look for, as a sign, informing them Jerusalem was about to be destroyed. See Matthew 24: 15,“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”
Christ was not speaking nonsense when answering his disciples’ questions by giving them contradictory information. He did not spend the greater portion of his answer telling them no Christian would know when this “end of the age” would occur, and give them a definite sign to know when Jerusalem was about to be destroyed if he was speaking of the same event.
Also, the other scriptures I cited clearly show the end Christ was referring to in his answer was the end of this whole world’s system, not the end of an archaic Jewish system. It occurs when he returns to judge the world and settle accounts with his disciples. Christ didn’t return for everyone on earth to see him when Jerusalem was destroyed. We still await that presence of his.
FURTHER THOUGHTS ON THIS TOPIC:
At Matthew chapter 24:
Vs 36 reads, “Concerning THAT day and hour.” (What day?) In Vs 37 the answer given is, “the presence of the Son of man.” So Christ there was answering their question concerning his return. He previously addressed Jerusalem’s stones getting knocked down in vs 15
He was also speaking of his return in Vs 33, “when you see all these thing, know that he is near at the doors.” (Who is HE?) The answer given is Christ in vss 37,39. Yes in vs 33 he was also answering their question concerning his return. Note that he also said they would see, “ALL THESE THINGS,” in vs 33.
Vs 34 reads, “this generation will by no means pass away until ALL THESE THINGS OCCUR.” What precisely was spoken of as “all these things,” in vss 33 & 34? Read Matthew 24:4-31. Because ALL means ALL or it doesn’t. All does not mean just part of something. “All these things,” were the things Christ said must happen before his return. Christ spoke of a great tribulation, and miraculous signs in the heavens, as well as the many other events WT believes are a sign of the “last days,” before he said, “when you see ALL THESE THINGS,” in verse 33. Then right after that he referred to ALL THESE THINGS again, in vs 34, and it is in that vs that he mentions “this generation.” Just as he used the pronoun you in vs 33 to mean a future generation, not the generation of his present audience, likewise he used that phrase, “this generation,” to mean a future audience, not that generation of his present audience.
Vs 34 “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until ALL THESE THINGS occur.”
Also, Christ was not giving a sign of any last days for two reason. First, the apostles never asked for a sign of the last days. They asked instead for a sign of Christ’s actual return and the end of the world. And second, and more profoundly, after giving this sign they asked for at Matthew 24:30, “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” Christ spent the rest of his speech telling that Christians would not know when he would return, or when the world would end, until they saw those two things taking place. And that speech continues with Christ giving examples of Christians not knowing, being totally unaware of what was about to take place, through the rest of chapter 24, and all of Matthew 25.