THREE PROPHETIC QUESTIONS
Matt 24:1-5 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and His disciples came to Him for to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Also see Mark 13:1-6; Luke 21:5-8)
From the temple Jesus pronounced "Woes" upon the sacrilegious scribes and Pharisees. Immediately following that, He lamented over the fate of the holy city, Jerusalem (See Matt. 23:13-37). This leads us into the lesson text in which Jesus departed from the temple intending to go into the Mount of Olives, a ridge of hills that lay east of Jerusalem. From this vantage point He could easily view, not only the temple, but also the greater part of the city itself. As Jesus was departing, His disciples came to Him for to show Him the buildings of the temple. Mark wrote that,as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples saith unto Him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here (Mark 13:1).
When studying the biblical history of Jerusalem, one realizes the grand majesty of the temple structure. Although it did not duplicate the temple first built by Solomon, the restoration by Herod the Great completed with artistic labor and great expense, which resulted in one of the wonders of the world during that day. As was prophesied on numerous occasions, and hinted at in Luke 19:44, Jesus' apostles were probably aware of the destruction of the temple. This could have been the reason for their comments on the magnificence of this holy structure. Especially since Mark referred to the stones of the structure, this was probably said in order to receive Jesus' spiritual insight on what the future held for the temple.
With these words, which seemed to be the last he uttered before leaving the temple grounds, Jesus answered: See ye not all these things? In a rhetorical question, Jesus brought to their attention the massive, durability of the huge, splendid temple structure. And, no doubt, to the Jewish nation, including these disciples of Christ, nothing could possibly seem more improbable than the total destruction of such a magnificent building as this Jewish temple of Jerusalem, before which they were standing. Yet that was exactly what Jesus prophesied: Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Most, within His hearing, probably remained alive for another forty years. And at that time, according to Jewish historians, the Roman army, under the leadership of one called Titus, besieged the city of Jerusalem. With the exception of three towers left standing for military purposes, the wall that surrounded the city, as well as the temple itself, were completely leveled to the ground. Indeed, Jesus' prophecy was fully carried out and there was literally not left here one stone upon another.
On His way to the village of Bethany, which was probably His destination, Jesus and His disciples stopped to rest atop the Mount of Olives. There His disciples questioned Him about when this destruction was to take place. They asked three separate questions, supposing that the answer to all would involve the temple's destruction. They asked first, when shall these things be; secondly, what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and lastly, what shall be the sign ...of the end of the world? These three questions Jesus will answer separately in verses 6-51 of this chapter and in chapter 25, which follows.
To preface His answers to these questions Jesus gave them this warning, Take heed that no man deceive you. By inference this warning is given to all Christians today. However, at that particular moment, it was given to Jesus' apostles, because in the same warning, Luke adds the time draweth near when many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ. The kingdom of Christ was expected at any time. As was prophesied in Old Testament scriptures, many would claim to be the promised Son of God. Since the entire Jewish nation was looking forward to His coming, these imposters, claiming to be the Messiah, shall deceive many. Today, personal revelations are claimed by many false teachers. Be warned, be not deceived!