|Volume 20 Number 5 May 2018||
The saddest times often come when friends turn their backs on us and desert us. Jesus found this to be so, and it is recorded in the John 6:67-68. “So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’”
There was happiness at the feeding of the people with a few loaves and two fishes. There was also happiness on the occasion of Jesus walking on the water, as well as when our Lord brought relief to replace the fear expressed by His disciples as He entered the boat and brought them safely to shore.
Next, we find Jesus teaching the people about the real bread of life, which God sent to all mankind. The Jews, though, grumbled about it, and even many of His disciples turned back and walked with him no more.
Imagine the sorrow and distress of the Lord as they turned away from the free gift of God. He had taught so well, so diligently, so tenderly, and yet, they turned away. You can almost feel the heartache when Jesus asked the rest of them, “Will you also go away?”
Immediately, Simon Peter answered Him saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” We need every day to renew our resolve that we will not go away from Jesus because we know that He has the words of life, and He is the Bread of life.
No Signs of Jesus’ Final Coming
“Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44). Jesus’ Second Coming will be the Last Day (John 6:39-40, 44, 54). Many people think of the signs in Matthew 24 when they reflect about the final coming of Jesus Christ.
If we study Matthew 24, “rightly dividing” (2 Timothy 2:15) this great chapter, we can refute wrong applications of it from Christ’s teaching. We hear people say about some event, “This is the sign of the end time.” This notion is widely accepted, but false.
On Tuesday of the week that our Lord was crucified (Matthew 26:2), the Passion week, Jesus and His disciples left the Temple. The Lord and His disciples began their climb of Mount Olivet. They were on their way, and somewhere along the trek and in response to the disciples’ questions, Jesus spoke the sermon recorded in Matthew 24.
Throughout His public ministry, the Lord had been in conflict with Jewish leaders. He had denounced them severely and had spoken about the end of the Jewish nation (Matthew 3:7-10; 8:10-12; John 4:21).
The disciples’ questions were: When shall these things be? What shall be the sign of thy coming? What shall be the sign of the end of the world? (Matthew 24:3; Mark 13:4; Luke 21:7). Our Lord answered (Matthew 24:4-8). “These things” refer to the destruction of Jerusalem. They do not pertain to the Lord’s final coming of Judgment. The signs over which people are often misled pertain to false Christs, wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, tribulation, hatred, persecution, false prophets, iniquity, spiritual coldness (Matthew 24:6-14). Christ warned regarding confusion about these signs.
The signs pertained to the destruction of Jerusalem and would occur before that would come. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation…Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains…Let him which is on the housetop not come down…Neither let him which is in the field return back…" (Matthew 24:15-18).
Note Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27). The 70 weeks are divided into 3 sections: 7 weeks, 62 weeks and 1 week. Seven weeks is from the giving of King Cyrus’ decree to the end of Nehemiah’s work. The 62 weeks is the length of time from the end of Nehemiah’s work to the coming of the Messiah. The one week is the personal ministry of the Christ. In the midst of the week, the Messiah would be cut off (die).
Daniel’s prophecy stresses that “…the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…” (Daniel 9:26). This prophecy does not mean that the city would be destroyed within the span of the one week. Rather, it teaches that within that week the destruction of the city was determined (Matthew 23:38).
What was to be done when the real signs were evident (Luke 21:20-28)? Can anyone run to the mountains for cover at Christ’s Second Coming? No. All these things were fulfilled when the Roman general Titus and his army invaded and destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Matthew 24:36 began discussing the final coming, the final judgment, the end of the world using the destruction of Jerusalem as a type of the end of the world (Matthew 24:42-44). The Lord had given them the real signs. They knew the signs, and when they saw the signs, they fled as Christ had instructed them.
The Lord did not give signs regarding the eternal destiny of all. “And these shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46).
[Editor’s Note: The signs that Jesus listed in Matthew 24 were relevant to the “generation” (Matthew 24:34) of those to whom He was speaking. Obviously, then, from this consideration alone, Jesus was not talking about end times and final judgment, since nearly 2,000 years—many generations—have passed since then to the present. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]