The Sign of Your Coming

December 23, 2021

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you (Matthew 24:3-4)

The disciples asked 3 questions of Jesus: (1) when will these things be - regarding the destruction of the Temple, (2) what will be the sign of Your coming, and (3) what will be the sign of the end of the age. For quite a while the disciples believed that the Kingdom of God would appear during the 3 year ministry of Jesus, or near the end of His ministry. (Luke 19:11) Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.

The first question carried that idea - “When will these things happen? Today? Tomorrow? At the coming Passover?” They expected the Kingdom of God would come and shake the very foundations of the city, level the buildings on the Temple Mount, and they would be there to see it happen within the week. Why? The majority of them believed Jesus was God’s Messiah to Israel. It was obvious the priests were vehemently against Jesus. He made that clear. They made that clear. Because Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah, the wrath of God would be poured out upon the nation, purifying it of idolatry, priestly corruption, and foreign rule. Jesus would then be free to establish God’s Kingdom on earth. However, history has made it clear that the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple didn’t happen for another 40 years. Jesus made that clear in the Olivet Discourse. (Matthew 23:36) Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. A biblical generation was 40 years. It was 40 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus that Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in A.D. 70.

The 2nd question deals with the sign of Jesus’ coming. Again, the disciples believed the destruction of the Temple, the coming of Christ as King of God’s Kingdom, and the end of the age would happen sequentially, one right after the other, and they would see it within the week. It may be that the disciples believed after the destruction of the city and Temple, Jesus would come (parousia: presence, a word commonly used for the visit of an official, king, or emperor), fully demonstrate His divine powers, and take over the nation of Israel as King. So their question could be phrased, “What will be the sign of Your coming (presence) as the King of Israel?” MacArthur states, “They did not use parousia in the specific and more technical sense that Jesus used later in this chapter (vv. 27,37,39) and as it is often used elsewhere in the New Testament in referring to His second coming (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians; 1 John 2:28).”

The point is that the disciples completely misunderstood the things Jesus taught. He never claimed to be a political Messiah that would rescue them from Rome and restore the glory days of Israel. We need to bear that in mind as we read the words of Scripture. We cannot interpret the Bible with preconceived ideas or we will make the same mistakes the disciples made. “Help us, Holy Spirit, to rightly divide the word of truth by listening to You as You lead us in our studies. In Jesus name I ask, Amen.”


Share this with your friends