We note again:
- The Lord's earthly ministry was to Israel
- The parables are meant to be difficult
- Israel has a very specific place in God's plan and it revolves promises made to her alone.
We have covered all those previously.
Let's start by setting the stage for the words in this section of scripture:
"There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down..." As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" – Matthew 24:2b-3
Note that this entire section is a response to things surrounding a very specific question… when will the Lord come into His kingdom (GK: parousia – the presence of someone). "Parousia" is a specific word and is not associated with the post-Acts epistles. It differs from "Epiphenea." We need to understand the difference between the Lord's "appearing" (epiphenea) and his presence as king (parousia).
The events laid out in Matthew 24 correspond with the three sets of judgments in the Revelation. The “revelation” is the revelation of the King in His return to establish His throne. This is the “parousia” of the King.
Charting the wording of Matthew 24 against the sequence of events in each of the judgments (seals, bowls, trumpets) will show this. Christ will return according to the prophets and according to the Feasts of Jehovah (given to Israel). The Acts age started with the Jewish feast of Pentecost and will culminate (after the present Age of Grace) with the Feast of Trumpets (“the last trump”).
Confused? Good. No, this is all backdrop. Suffice it to say, the future rulers of Israel's promised kingdom are asking the Lord about the destruction of the temple and the subsequent events leading to his return as king. (After his resurrection and after 40 days of instruction, they will ask again about the establishment of the kingdom. - Acts 1:6)
If you'll recall from the note on Daniel's 70 Weeks, they were expecting the end times events very soon. We see in the Acts age epistles that the kingdom was "at hand." It has not been "at hand" for 2000 years. The plan for Israel was put on hold and the Mystery of Ephesians 3 revealed, but that was a secret (mystery) at that time.
I've covered that elsewhere, so before I dive into Matthew 24-25, I'll remind us of the questions being addressed:
- When will these things be?
- What will be the sign of your coming?
- What will be the sign of the end of the age?