By Nathan Jones
What does the Temple have to do with the end times sign of wars?
I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll look at the second end times signs of wars found in Matthew 24:6-7.
The Three Questions
Vic: Our topic will be that of the end times signs of wars found in Matthew 24:6-7.
Nathan, we've been talking about these incredible signs of the end times found in Matthew 24. Give us a quick recap of verses 1-5. I'll start out reading them and then you can explain them.
Matthew 24:1 says, "Then Jesus went out and departed from the Temple and His disciples came to show Him the building of the Temple, and Jesus said to them, 'Do you not see all these things? Assuredly I say unto you, not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.'" Then as Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives we read in Matthew 24:3, "The disciples came to Him privately saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?' And Jesus answered and said unto them, 'Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name saying, "I am the Christ" and will deceive many.'"
Nathan, would you explain the significance of these verses?
Nathan: Certainly, Pastor Vic. The setting is Jesus and the Apostles were there at the Temple. What you have to remember is the Temple was the religious heart of Judaism. It was the most magnificent building ever created in Israel's history. People would come from all over Israel to Jerusalem to make their sacrifices for their sins and be near God, so to speak, because God lived in what was called the Holy of Holies, which was the inner room within the Temple.
The disciples believed that the Temple was absolutely the most magnificent building ever made. They were just in awe of it. Something to remember is that these men were just poor fisherman who weren't accustomed to seeing such buildings, so the Temple just amazed them. Then, while they're standing there in awe, all of the sudden Jesus says, "You see this building? There won't be one stone left upon another. This whole thing will be destroyed."
Vic: Wow! I can just imagine how shocked they were.
Nathan: Yes, you can imagine the Apostles just gaping stunned. As a matter of fact, we read that it wasn't until they walked across to the Mount of Olives that they even dared asked Jesus what He was talking about. The Apostles asked Jesus three different questions.
One, they wanted to know when the Temple would fall. We know historically this prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and scattered the Jews to the four corners of the earth.
The second question they asked Him was what would be the signs of the end of the age. You have to remember that the Jews didn't understand the Church Age at that time, but we know the "end of the age" ends when Jesus comes and raptures all who believe in Him as Savior up to Heaven. So the question, "What will the signs be?" refers to the end of the age — the Church Age.
The third question they asked was, "What will be the sign of Jesus' coming?" Not only His coming at the Rapture, but after the Rapture the earth will experience the worst time in human history. Seven years of 21 judgments will befall the earth and almost destroy the planet and decimate the population. But at the end of that terrible time, Jesus returns with those of us who were raptured. He defeats Satan and the Antichrist and False Prophet. Jesus destroys evil and sets up His kingdom on this earth for a thousand years.
So, in summary, the disciples wanted to know three things:
- When will the Temple fall?
- What will be the sign of the end of the age?
- What will be the sign of Jesus' coming?
Throughout the rest of Matthew 24, and also in parallel passages such as Luke 21 and Mark 13, Jesus answers those three questions. He does so by giving ten signs of the end times that point to His return.
The End Times Sign of False Messiahs
Vic: Nathan, another sign found in Matthew 24:4-5 is that of deception, right? It says that many deceivers will come claiming to be the Christ. We dove into this one previously and probably stepped on some people's toes speaking about the false prophets and prophetesses of today, including Oprah and the likes. Can you briefly recap that for us?
Nathan: In Matthew 24 there are three specific verses where Jesus warns that false Christs, false teachers and false prophets would become very prolific, resulting in a sign of the end times. There were definitely false prophets in Jesus' time up until the fall of the Temple. There was Judas the Galilean, which we read about in Acts 5:37. Saddok in Acts 5:36, and an unnamed Egyptian Jew in Acts 21 each were false teachers and false messiahs of their time period.
Now that we are nearing the end of the Church Age, we see that there are over 500 cults today just in the United States alone. For example, there are the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jim Jones of the People's Temple Church, and one that's in the news a lot today and really popular is José Luis de Jesús. This man claims he's Jesus. All of his followers have 666 tattooed on them.
There are many false prophets and false teachers today trying to get everybody confused about what God's Word really says about the future. That's why we see so many false messiahs and false teachers today.
But, during the Tribulation, there will only be two. There will only be the Antichrist who will be the one-world ruler and also his PR man, his false prophet. Those two will be the ultimate in false teachers. The Antichrist will actually claim that he is God and he will be possessed by Satan, which is how Satan will get the global worship he's always wanted.
In the second part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the end times sign of wars, with the background set, we'll fully delve into this terrible sign.