We’re continuing in our look at Matthew 24, where Jesus is answering his disciples’ question about (a) when the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed, and (b) when Christ would come, and the signs of the end of the age. (If you’re just joining us, see the previous three posts for the full story.)
So far we’ve seen Jesus give an answer that seems to deal with the first part of the disciples’ question: there will be some bad stuff, but they’re just the beginning of the birth pangs, so take a chill pill. (The gospel has to go to all nations before the end happens!) Jerusalem and its temple will be destroyed when you see the “abomination of desolation” set up – some kind of defiling of the temple, like in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes a couple of centuries prior. So when you see that, get out and leave Jerusalem to its destruction! (And don’t be fooled by other messiah figures claiming to be from God; the next thing God does won’t be some hipster preacher in the desert, it’ll be big and unmissable. Kind of like a big army of eagles swirling around…)
Today’s passage is a tricky one, as it’s harder to tell whether it’s still referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, or has moved on to the second question. Read it now, then we’ll discuss.