Http://jesusprophecies.wordpress.com has a page called “Matthew and the End Times” and graciously invites bloggers to participate in the discussion. So I did. Here’s my input, right or wrong, on the meaning of Matthew 24.
“Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24: 3b NASB)
Notice that the disciples ask Jesus 3 questions. Question 1: “When will these things happen?” (Referring to Yeshua’s statement about the temple buildings being torn down–“not one stone left upon another.”
I believe that the answer to the first question was fulfilled in 70 AD. (My understanding is that the “Wailing Wall” is a retaining wall, not part of the temple complex.) However, I believe that this prophecy could be fulfilled AGAIN if (and when) the temple (or even the tent/tabernacle) is rebuilt In fact, Jesus’ statement about the “ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION” indicates that the anti-christ will stand in the holy place an do what Antiochus IV did (verse 15)–desecrate the temple. In 2 Thess. 2: 1-4, Paul discusses the Second Coming and “our gathering” to Christ. In verse 4, he explains that Christ will not return until he [“the man of lawlessness”] displays “himself as being God.” This has not occurred. As far as I know, Titus did not fulfill this prophecy.
The disciples then asked, “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Regarding the “sign” of his coming, Jesus said that “after the tribulation” (verse 29), “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN [Daniel 7: 13, 14] COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY
with power and great glory (verse 30).”
The third question regards the end of the age. A definition of “the end of the age” is found in Matthew 13: 39b. “The harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels.” The wheat and the tares grow up together and are harvested at the same time (Matthew 13: 36-49). “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous. “From among the righteous” suggests that “the rapture” occurs at the Second Coming of Christ, not before. (See Revelation 14: 14 also, which ties into Mathew 13: 39b.)
To put everything in context, it is necessary to read Luke 21, especially verse 24: “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” That prophecy was fulfilled in 1967 when Jerusalem became the capital of Israel. For this reason and others, I believe that WE are “the generation” that Jesus refers to in Matthew 24: 34.
One more thing (the most important thing that is often overlooked). Jesus said that he would not return until his people [the Jewish people] say, “BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.” No doubt, this is why Paul preached the gospel “to the Jew first, then the Gentile.” Jewish people are beginning to recognize Jesus/Yeshua as their Messiah as never before. Google “IAMCS” and “MJAA” to see what I mean.
Note: We could discuss Matthew 24 until the Lord returns and still have questions until we see Him face to face. The “end-times” is an important subject but not a salvation issue. The tenets of our faith are best summed up in the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed. That said, be aware that Christ is coming again–soon.
As the Peter the Apostle said, “Where is the promise of His coming? The Lord is not slow about His promise, but is patient towards you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3: 4a, 9)