The Coming Of The Lord

Broken columns old world building
I cannot tell you how many times that I have either read or heard of someone claiming to know when the Lord is coming back. Many religious people have followed teachers that predicted certain dates, but all have been wrong. Most of the time, problems come from misunderstanding certain Scriptures. In particular, a lot of error has come forth due to the mishandling of verses in Matthew chapter twenty-four. Let us notice some key points that will help us to understand the coming of the Lord.

When Matthew chapter twenty-four begins, we find “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” (Matt. 24:1-2). Jesus foretold of a future, physical destruction of the buildings of the temple. Literally, the stones of the buildings would fall. This led to curiosity from His disciples. “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” (Matt. 24:3). It would seem that the disciples had espoused the idea that the destruction of the buildings of the temple and the end of the world were all part of one event. The answers that Jesus gave showed that is not the case.

First of all, Jesus began to explain to His disciples of the upcoming destruction of the buildings of the temple. “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. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:4-6). Jesus plainly stated that these false messiahs and rumors would not be indicative of the end. Instead, Jesus was describing what life would be like before the buildings of the temple were destroyed. He explained that “…nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places…Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matt. 24:7-9). We must not forget that He said this to His disciples present on that occasion. Jesus was not speaking directly to modern-day people. In the lifetimes of His first-century disciples, these things would occur. Jesus further described offenses, betrayals, false prophets, deceptions, and the growth of iniquity and cold hearts that would also take place during that span of time (Matt. 24:10-12).

Jesus then gave a very particular indicator of when these things would happen. He referred to “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet” (Matt. 24:15). I encourage the reader to study that further to gain a better understanding. For now, though, when that event took place, it would be a signal that it was time to leave the city of Jerusalem (Matt. 24:16-20). Things were about to get seriously bad for the city of Jerusalem and the Jews (Matt. 24:21-22). Let us not forget that all of these things were to happen before the buildings of the temple were destroyed. Further, Jesus stated that these happenings would be in the lifespan of his first-century disciples. “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matt. 24:34).

History records that in the year A.D. 70, the Roman Empire marched into the city of Jerusalem and laid it to waste. Literally, the buildings of the temple were destroyed, just as Jesus had said. The interesting thing though, is that not a single Christian is recorded as having died in the siege. Why? Because they understood that what Jesus said was a warning for them to leave. Matthew chapter twenty-four, verses four through thirty-five, is not a record of the end of time, nor of the return of the Lord.

Beginning at verse thirty-six, Jesus then begins to discuss when He would return and the world would be destroyed. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt. 24:36). He explained that life at that time would be much like any other, normal day (Matt. 24:37-41). He then explicitly stated, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matt. 24:42). This is in harmony with the description that both Peter and Paul gave: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…” and “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (2 Pet. 3:10; 1 Thess. 5:2). Jesus further declared, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:44).

No person on Earth can tell you when the coming of the Lord will be. There are no signs pointing to when it will happen. Unfortunately, many have taught, and many have believed, that the signs that warned of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 detail the return of Christ. That is just not the case. Instead of trying to pinpoint when Christ will return, we should take the instruction to “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:8). Each day that He does not come, is one more day closer to when He will!
~ Corey Barnette