The End Times

skiesOur church has been studying the Olivet Discourse of Jesus in Mark 13 recently. That study has opened up a deeper consideration of the end times according to Jesus.

Discussions and writings about the end of the age have always been popular. They’ve been a source of curiosity for centuries, even outside of the church world.

In our day, the publishing industry loves to print books about the end times because they usually become best-sellers. People are fascinated by this.

Hollywood even produces expensive movies – in the genre of “religious fiction,” with big-name actors, full of exaggerations and distortions, about how the world will supposedly end.

Discussions about the end times have also been no small source of controversy.

There are various camps and groups within Christianity based on differing interpretations of these events surrounding the end of the age. And godly people haven’t always agreed.

But most critically, each interpretation has a different impact on how we live now in the present age and how we interpret the past, the present, and the future.

So it does matter how we view the end times.

Perhaps the worst view of the end times is any view that considers the subject to be unimportant and trivial. The end of redemptive history is very prominent in God’s book.

In fact, the end of the story of human history is the main reason God has given us the beginning of the story and the middle of the story in which we now live.

Consider the first two verses of Mark 13 about the literal destruction of the temple:

“And as [Jesus] came out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”

And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

In these two verses, you have a description in verse 1 followed by a prophecy in verse 2.

There was nothing metaphorical or spiritualized about our Lord’s meaning. The disciples understood exactly what Jesus was saying.

Nobody asked Him, “Lord, what do mean by ‘these great buildings’ and what do you mean by ‘not one stone’ and ‘thrown down?’”

They got it… because there was a one-to-one correlation between what they saw with their own eyes and what Jesus was saying.

The stones and the buildings were referring to the literal temple where they happened to be standing when Jesus said this. The meaning was obvious.

“Do you see these great buildings?” It was the temple where they were.

And that prophecy was fulfilled forty years later when Rome destroyed Jerusalem and not one stone of the temple was left upon another. It was all thrown down… literally.

Now some people ask, “What about the Wailing Wall on the western side of the foundation? Why wasn’t that part thrown down?”

That Wailing Wall was never part of the temple structure itself. It’s actually part of a massive retaining wall that prevents the western hillside from crumbling into the street.

These were the huge foundation stones on which the current Dome of the Rock – an Islamic shrine – now sits. As for the temple itself, it was completely destroyed and has never been rebuilt.

This took place in 70 AD. The apostle John would have been alive to know about this destruction prior to his revelation from Christ in around 90-96 AD.

So that fulfillment took place literally during the age of the apostles.

And because the destruction of the temple had such a clear and literal fulfillment during the age in which it was spoken, it serves as an indicator of how the remaining prophecies are to be fulfilled in the days to come.

After all, the prophecies regarding our Lord’s first coming… His virgin conception and His entire earthly ministry were all fulfilled literally. So that’s our key for interpreting the remaining prophecies regarding our Lord’s Second Coming.

The rest of Mark 13 presents an overview of the end time events that will characterize that final generation who will see the Great Tribulation and ultimately the return of Christ.

Once those events begin, Jesus said it would all happen quickly – within one generation. So that the generation who sees those events beginning would not pass away until all these things were fulfilled. It will all transpire within a single generation.

Because we know how the world will end, those of us in Christ should live holy lives of eager expectation for the Lord’s imminent return in the air for His Bride, the church. And we should urgently make His saving message known to the lost while there’s still time.

Even So, come quickly Lord Jesus!
Pastor Kevin