"Time Running Out!"
What would your reaction be if someone told you that the White House would be leveled -- that there would not be one stone left standing of that
historic building? This is exactly what Christ told the people in His day would happen to the temple in Jerusalem. When the Jews returned from their
Babylonian captivity, the temple was rebuilt. Millions of dollars were spent to make the temple at Jerusalem the most beautiful building in the entire
Roman Empire. It took forty - six years to complete the work of reconstruction. Even so, it was inferior to the magnificent temple built by Solomon
The newly rebuilt temple was the most sacred building on earth to the Jews and the pride of their nation. When Jesus predicted that this sacred
building would be utterly destroyed, you can well imagine the antagonism and animosity it stirred up among the enemies of Christ. It even brought real
alarm and questioning to His own followers.
As soon as the disciples were alone with Christ, they eagerly questioned Him about the details of His far - reaching prophecy concerning the
destruction of the temple. The disciples mistakenly thought that the destruction of the temple and the end of the world would occur at the same time.
Let us now study how Christ predicted both of these events and described in detail the signs that would immediately precede each
1. What question asked by the disciples showed that they linked the destruction of Jerusalem with the end of the world? Matthew 24:3
2. What did Jesus warn the disciples would happen before the temple was destroyed? Verses 4, 5
3. List some of the signs that Jesus said would precede the fall of Jerusalem? Verses 6-12
4. What prediction did Jesus make concerning the giving of the gospel? Verse 14
This prediction was fulfilled. The disciples and early church, under the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit, went forth to conquer the world for
Christ. By AD 65 the then - known and civilized world had heard the good news of salvation through Christ. The warning had been given. The
destruction of Jerusalem soon followed.
Paul said the gospel had been preached to everyone. "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the
gospel, which ye have heard, AND WHICH WAS PREACHED TO EVERY CREATURE WHICH IS UNDER HEAVEN: whereof I Paul am made a minister"
5. What sign did Jesus give that would indicate when the destruction of the city was at hand? Luke 21:20
Luke 21:20 (Luke 21 and Matthew 24 are accounts of the same events). The city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman armies in AD 66. After a period of time the army withdrew, and the Christians, recognizing the sign given by Christ (Matthew 24:15-20) fled the city and did not return. In AD 69 the Romans returned, and then destroyed the city in AD 70. Nearly a million people died or were sold into slavery when the Romans took the city, but not a single Christian died during the battle. They watched for the sign Christ had given and obeyed His instructions.
The temple was burned to the ground as Christ had foretold, even though the soldiers had orders not to destroy it. Christ foresaw the future and
outlined it to His followers so they could be saved.
6. What did Jesus call the period of trouble that His people would experience after the fall of Jerusalem? Matthew 24:21
"The history of the early church testified to the fulfillment of the Saviour's words. The powers of earth and hell arrayed themselves against Christ in the person of His followers. . . The fires of persecution were kindled. Christians were stripped of their possessions and driven from their homes. . . . Great numbers sealed their testimony with their blood. Noble and slave, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, were alike slain without mercy."
"These persecutions, beginning under Nero about the time of the martyrdom of Paul, continued with greater or less fury for centuries" (The Great
Controversy, pp. 39, 40).
7. What signs did Christ say would occur after this time of tribulation? Verse 29
8. What did Jesus say would happen to the sun and moon? Mark 13:24
9. When was this sign fulfilled?
Source:Webster's An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1869 edition. "Dark Day, The -- May 19, 1780, so called on account of a remarkable darkness on that day extending over all New England. In some places, persons could not see to read common print in the open air for several hours together. Birds sang their evening songs, disappeared, and became silent; fowls went to roost; cattle sought the barnyard; and candles were lighted in the houses. The obscuration began about ten o'clock in the morning, and continued till the middle of the next night, but with differences of degree and duration in different places. For several days previous the wind had been variable, but chiefly from the southwest and the northeast. The true cause of this remarkable phenomenon is not known."
Source:The Boston Gazette and the Country Journal, May 29, 1780, p. 4. "About eleven o’clock the darkness was such as to demand our attention, and put us upon making observations. At half past eleven, in a room with
three windows, 24 panes each, all open towards the south-east and south, large print could not be read by persons of good eyes. About twelve o'clock
the windows being still open, a candle cast a shade so well defined on the wall, as that profiles were taken with as much ease as they could have
been in the night. About one o'clock a glin of light which had continued 'till this time in the east, shut in, and the darkness was greater than it had been for any time before, Between one and two o'clock, the wind from the west freshened a little, and a glin appeared in that quarter. We dined about two the windows all open, and two candles burning on the table. In the time of the greatest darkness some of the dunghill fowls went to their roost: Cocks crowed in answer to one another as they commonly do in the night: Woodcocks, which are night birds, whistled as they do only in the dark: Frogs peeped In short, there was the appearance of midnight at noonday."
Source: Samuel Williams (a Harvard professor), Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: to the End of the Year 1783 (Boston: Adams
and Nourse, 1785), Vol. 1. pp. 234, 235. [p. 234] "People were unable to read common print determine the time of day by their [p. 235] clocks or watches dine or manage their domestic business, without the light of candles. In some places, the darkness was so great, that persons could not see to read common print in the open air, for several hours together."
Source: Timothy Dwight, quoted in Connecticut Historical Collections, compiled by John Warner Barber (2d ed.; New Haven: Durrie & Peck and J. W.
Barber, 1836), p. 403. "The 19th of May, 1780, was a remarkable dark day. Candles were lighted in many houses; the birds were silent and disappeared, and the fouls retired to roost. The legislature of Connecticut was then in session at Hartford. A very general opinion prevailed, that the day of judgment was at hand. The House of Representatives, being unable to transact their business, adjourned. A proposal to adjourn the council was under consideration. When the opinion of Colonel [Abraham] Davenport was asked, he answered, 'I am against an adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for an adjournment: if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought."
Source: John Greenleaf Whittier, 'Abraham Davenport,' in his Complete Poetical Works (Cambridge ed.; Boston: Houghton, 1894), p. 260. "Twas on a May-day of the far old year Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring, Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon, A horror of great darkness. Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ Might look from the rent clouds, not as he looked A loving guest at Bethany, but stern As Justice and inexorable Law.
Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts, Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut, Trembling beneath their legislative robes. 'It is the Lord's Great
Day! Let us adjourn,' Some said; and then, as if with one accord, All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport. He rose, slow cleaving with his steady
voice The intolerable hush. 'This well may be The Day of Judgment which the world awaits; But be it so or not, I only know My present duty, and my
Lord's command To occupy till He come. So at the post Where He hath set me in His providence, I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face, No
faithless servant frightened from my task, But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls; And therefore, with all reverence, I would say, Let God do His
work, we will see to ours. Bring in the candles."
Source: Discourse by eyewitness Elam Potter, delivered May 28, 1780, in Enfield, Conn., quoted in The Advent Herald, March 13, 1844, p. 46. "Perhaps some, by assigning a natural cause of this, ascribing it to the thick vapor in the air, will endeavor to evade the force of its being a sign, but, the same objection will lie against earthquakes being signs which our Lord expressly mentions as such. For my part, I really consider the darkness as one of the prodigies foretold in the text; designed for our admonition, and warning. [Note: Any suggestion of a natural cause can in no wise militate against the significance of the event as a prophetic fulfillment. The time-honored explanation is that seventeen and a half centuries before it occurred, the Saviour had definitely foretold this twofold sign saying, 'In those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light' (Mark 13:24); and these signs occurred exactly as predicted and at the time indicated so long before their occurrence. It has long been pointed out that it is the fact, and not the cause, of the darkness that is significant in this connection; as also in the case of earthquakes, falling stars, and other events seen as signs of the times. When the Lord would open a path for his people through the sea, he did it by 'a strong east wind.' Ex. 14:21. Was it for this reason any less miraculous? In like manner, to account for the remarkable darkening of the sun and moon or of the falling of the stars as events in nature is not to discredit them as merciful signs of the approaching end of probationary time."
Source: Benjamin Gorton, A View of Spiritual, or Anti-typical Babylon (Troy [N.Y.]: the Author, 1808), p. 73. "The second is that of the moon's turning to blood; this I have not seen, but, from information, I have reason to believe it did take place between 2 o'clock and day break in the morning of the same night after which the sun was darkened, which was said to appear as a clotter of blood; and it is the more probable, as that night, before the moon appeared, was as dark, in proportion, as the day, and of course would give the moon an extraordinary appearance-not suffering her to give her light."
Source: News item from Providence, R.I., dated May 20, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post (Philadelphia), June 6, 1780, p. 62. [Note: This news dispatch refers to a red moon in certain areas for a three day period.]
10. What did Jesus say would happen to the stars? Verse 25
11. When did the stars fall from heaven?
Source: Denison Olmsted, "Observations on the Meteors of November 13th, 1833,"The American Journal of Science and Arts, 25 ([Jan.?] 1834), 363,
365, 366, 386, 393, 394. [p. 363] "The morning of November 13th, 1833, was rendered memorable by an exhibition of the phenomenon called SHOOTING STARS, which was probably more extensive and magnificent than any similar one hitherto recorded. . . .
Probably no celestial phenomenon has ever occurred in this country, since its first settlement, which was viewed with so much admiration and delight by one class of spectators, or with so much astonishment and fear by another class. . . . [p. 365] The reader may imagine a constant succession of fire balls, resembling sky rockets, radiating in all directions from a point in the heavens, a few degrees south-east of the zenith, and following the arch of the sky towards the horizon. . . . The balls, as they travelled down the vault, usually left after them a vivid streak of light, and just before they disappeared, exploded, or suddenly resolved themselves into smoke. No report or noise of any kind was observed, although we listened attentively. . .
The flashes of light, although less intense than lightning, were so bright as to awaken people in their beds. One ball that shot off in the north-west
direction, and explo- [p. 366] ded a little northward of the star Capella, left, just behind the place of explosion, a phosphorescent train of peculiar
beauty. . . . [p. 386] The meteors began to attract notice by their unusual frequency or brilliancy, from nine to twelve o'clock in the evening, were most striking in their appearance, from two to five, arrived at their maximum, in many places, about four o'clock, and continued till rendered invisible by the light of day."
Source: Peter M. Millman, "The Falling of the Stars,"The Telescope, 7 (May-June, 1940), 57. "To understand the use of the word shower in connection with shooting stars we must go back to the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 1833, when the inhabitants of this continent [of North America] were in fact treated to one of the most spectacular natural displays that the night sky has produced. . . . For nearly four hours the sky was literally ablaze . . . . More than a billion shooting stars appeared over the United States and Canada alone."
Source: Denison Olmsted, Letters on Astronomy, Addressed to a Lady: in Which The Elements of the Science Are Familiarly Explained in Connexion
With Its Literary History (1840 ed.), pp. 348, 349. "The shower pervaded nearly the whole of North America, having appeared in nearly equal splendor from the British possessions on the north to the West-India Islands and Mexico on the South, and from sixty-one degrees of longitude east of the American coast, quite to the Pacific Ocean on the west. Throughout this immense region, the duration was nearly the same."
Source: J. T. Buckingham, "The Meteoric Shower,"The New-England Magazine, 6 (Jan.-June, 1834), 47, 48. "Neither language, nor the pencil, can adequately picture the grandeur and magnificence of the scene. . . . It may be doubted, whether any description has surpassed, in accuracy and impressiveness, that of the old negro in Virginia, who remarked "It is awful, indeed, sir, it looked like ripe crab-apples falling from the trees, when shaking them for cider."
Source: Frederick Douglass, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (New York: Pathway Press, 1941), p. 117. (Original edition 1855.) "I witnessed this gorgeous spectacle, and was awe-struck. The air seemed filled with bright descending messengers from the sky. It was about daybreak when I saw this sublime scene. I was not without the suggestion, at the moment, that it might be the harbinger of the coming of the Son of Man; and in my then state of mind I was prepared to hail Him as my friend and deliverer. I had read that the "stars shall fall from heaven," and they were now falling."
12. What would be the next "sky" event to take place after these signs in the heavens? Verse 26
A parallel prophecy in Revelation 6:12-16 gives us the same chronology of events which precede Christ's second coming:
"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon
became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:"
13. What claims did Christ predict would be made prior to His second coming? Matthew 24:23-26
14. How will economic injustices highlight the nearness of Christ's return? James 5:1-9
Since the turn of the century we have seen mounting tensions between capital and labor. Almost daily we read accounts of new strikes. Many are
amassing wealth while millions are starving to death. The United States accounts for 6 percent of the world's population, yet it consumes 50 percent
of the world's products and natural resources.
15. How does Paul describe the condition of society in the last days? 2 Timothy 3:1-5
What better description could be given of the social ills in the world today? Unfortunately, the Bible promises no improvement, for we read, "But evil
men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:13). In many cities there are housing developments where gate passes are the only way of getting past armed watchmen at the entrances. People are afraid!
Sodom and Gomorrah and the world of Noah's time are examples of the condition that is to exist just prior to Christ's coming (Matthew 24:37-39). Both were destroyed because of their wickedness and immorality. One evangelist warned, "If God allows things to go on as they are much longer, He is going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." Surely earthly inhumanity and wickedness have just about reached their limits!
16. What was Daniel told would happen in the time of the end? Daniel 12:4
"Many shall _____________________to and _________________________"
Prophecy is unfolding before our eyes as we see the jets streaking across the heavens. Mankind is surely running to and fro. Knowledge is increasing so rapidly that it is impossible to keep our text books up to date.
17. What message is to be preached to the whole world just before the coming of Christ? Revelation 14:6,
18. When the everlasting gospel is preached to all the world, what will be seen in heaven? Matthew 24:14
19. What graphic description did Jesus give of world conditions just prior to His return? Luke 21:25, 26
20. When we see all of these signs coming to pass, what should we do? Verse 28
21. What warning did Jesus give us so that we won't be caught by surprise when He comes? Verse 34
"The crisis is stealing gradually upon us. The sun shines in the heavens, passing over its usual round, and the heavens still declare the glory of God. Men are still eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying, and giving in marriage. Merchants are still buying and selling. Men are jostling one against another, contending for the highest place. . . . The highest excitement prevails, yet probation's hour is fast closing, and every case is about to be eternally decided. Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied, and entranced, until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door of mercy be forever shut."
"Solemnly there come to us down through the centuries the warning words of our Lord from the Mount of Olives: 'Take heed to yourselves"
(The Desire of Ages, p. 636).
22. What should we do that we might be accounted worthy to escape the things which will soon come upon the earth? Verse 36
23. How do you feel about the events that are taking place? Is it your desire to be ready for Christ's coming?
Face to face with Christ my Saviour,
Face to face What will it be?
When with Rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ Who died for me!
Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkening Veil between;
But a blessed Day is coming,
When His glory Shall be seen!
Face to face shall I behold Him,
Far beyond the Starry sky;
Face to face in All His glory,
I shall see Him By and by!