The article entitled “Ten errors in the Bible” of which we have been studying now brings us to the proposed error of what she refers to as ‘where is Jesus?’:
(6)Where is Jesus? In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is quoted as saying that he would return before the end of that generation. There are some interesting theories as to why he has not yet returned, the most common being that there is a gap or a figurative generation, however, it is obvious that the writer’s of the text thought he meant that physical generation. I find it hard to believe that a theologian 2,000 years later can better figure out what Jesus meant than the people who were actually there. Some people think it is a mistranslation, and that Jesus actually meant “race,” not “generation.” This probably makes the most sense, but still is dubious and does not explain much. (Ten errors in the Bible)
The case in mind here is more detailed and easier perceived in the Matthew account. Perhaps this is one of the most misunderstood portions of scripture in the entire Bible, and it is agreed that until one realizes just what Jesus is talking about, it remains misunderstood. He speaks in symbolic language in several spots but when one has discovered the picture being painted, it becomes crystal clear. Let us begin with the first verse of Matthew 24 and work from there:
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew 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? (Matthew 24:1-3 KJV)
It is important that we begin here and keep everything in our minds. His apostles were showing him the magnificence of the Jewish temple. And it indeed was a thing of splendor. It would be extremely beneficial for any student who has a strong interest in this scripture, what it is foretelling and the magnitude of the Jewish devotion and feelings towards this temple, to read at leas a brief history of it. Wikipedia carries a relatively good coverage as one may find in a brief half page coverage of it. Click here to read their account.
But, the man hours taken to build, and rebuild such an edifice is mind boggling. It is said that many of he gigantic hewn stones which were used to build the foundation and lower portion of the outer walls were as large as a city bus or street car. All were meticulously hewn and placed with precision. Yet, Jesus said there would not be one stone left upon another. It is extremely important that you keep in mind the aforementioned prophetic statement of Jesus, as we delve into this chapter. This is because verses 4 through 34, although given in numerous symbolic terms, are referring to this same event. Jesus is foretelling of His return in having released the Roman army upon them in full fury. He is warning those who will have accepted Him and had been added to His kingdom, to flee Jerusalem, and all of Judea, and hide in the mountains until the slaughter ends.
These verses could certainly not have reference to the ending of the world, or Jesus’ literal return. There are too many verses which would nullify such a thought. Verses 16 through 20 are advising them flee for safety. (Flee the end of the world? Certainly not) He is rather warning them, just as soon as they see the beginning of the siege, to flee from Judea before the blockade is completed and they cannot get away.
The Jewish Zealots had never ceased to annoy Rome with their continued skirmishes. In 66 AD, they entered the city of Jerusalem, built a fortress and declared the city as their own. The siege and destruction by the Romans in AD 70, returned it to their rule, whatever was left.
Jesus had come to earth and was rejected by the vast majority of the Jews and later was crucified at their demand. His death and resurrection established His spiritual kingdom here on earth, marking the end of the nation of Israel as His chosen people. Yet, their rejection caused many to continue to promote and bind the Law of Moses, or attempt to do so, onto the new converts to Christ. The destruction of Jerusalem was for the ending of the law of Moses. And to include all peoples as qualified to become citizens of the new spiritual kingdom (church) of Jesus Christ. This is the sense that Jesus refers to in Matthew as to his returning during their lifetime. Read the mournful utterances of Jesus when on earth as he contemplates this earlier in chapter 23 of Matthew:
Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 23:34-39 KJV)
Jesus’ prophetic statement readers were asked to remember at the beginning of this article, came to pass. Every stone of the temple had been torn down or moved, even those foundation stones partially in the ground. There were no explosives capable of doing this. Archeologists and other history students contend that they cold have been moved only by massive effort of many men. The reason for it has been a mystery, but a number have supposed that since there was an enormous amount of gold and golden vessels stored in the building and that evidence of the fire that ensued of the many timbers also of the structure, became so hot that much of the gold melted and ran down those walls, hardening in any crevices and around the foundation. There was evidence of such melting and it has been presumed that the Roman soldiers, went to the extent of moving each stone and gleaning the gold, either for themselves or by command to be taken by Titus.
Christians are expected to devote their lives to following Jesus Christ. And, if you do not know what He has said for us to do, how then, can one be expected to be obedient? It takes a lot of dedicated and prayerful study of His word, given to us by writers of the inspired books of the Bible. The scriptures are filled with admonitions to study, discuss and meditate upon His word. Those who do not, are without excuse.