On Wednesday, April 1, AD 33, Jesus preached His final great sermon.
After a long, tense day of confrontation in the temple precincts with the religious leaders, Jesus and His beleaguered band of twelve made their way out of the temple area for the final time during Jesus’ ministry. As they left, the disciples paused and pointed to the stunningly beautiful buildings on the Temple Mount. Then Jesus dropped a bombshell when He asked them, “Do you see all these things? . . . Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2).
Think about hearing someone predict the destruction of one of the iconic buildings of the modern world: the White House, the Empire State Building, Buckingham Palace, the Sydney Opera House, the Sistine Chapel, or the Louvre. You’d be shocked. You would want some details, wouldn’t you?
Desperately in search of more details about Jesus’ forecast, the four closest disciples (Peter, James, John, and Andrew) approached Him privately and asked, “When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3).
“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:4–8)
There is no place in the Bible that gives a clearer, more concise overview of what’s going to happen during earth’s final days than the basic outline of the last days Jesus gave in His Olivet Discourse. For that reason, it’s often called the “mini-apocalypse.”
Jesus said many things in this great discourse, but one big idea cannot be overlooked or dismissed: this world is not going to become a better place to live. Things are going to get bad — really bad! — before they get better. Those who believe the world is going to get better and better are in for a rude awakening.
Times of almost unbelievable, unique calamity are on the horizon. Nothing in all of world history will compare to what is coming in the end of days. Jesus said it plainly. “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equaled again” (Matthew 24:21). Jesus didn’t pull any punches. No one can accuse Him of sugarcoating what lies ahead.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Mark Hitchcock