14.01.04 Mk. 13:3-7a; Lk. 21:11b; Mk. 13:7b-12; Mt. 24:12; Mk. 13:13; Mt. 24:14-15; Lk. 21:20-24; Mt. 24:20-31; Lk. 21:25-28; Mt. 24:32-35 The Olivet Discourse; Disciples Ask About His Return


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 22, 2015  -  Comments Off on 14.01.04 DISCIPLES ASK ABOUT HIS RETURN

14.01.04 Mk. 13:3-7a; Lk. 21:11b; Mk. 13:7b-12; Mt. 24:12; Mk. 13:13; Mt. 24:14-15; Lk. 21:20-24; Mt. 24:20-31; Lk. 21:25-28; Mt. 24:32-35 The Olivet Discourse




Mk. 3 While He was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple complex, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to take place?”

5 Then Jesus began by telling them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and they will deceive many. 7a When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be alarmed;

Lk.11b … and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven.

Mk.7b [And]…these things must take place, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “But you, be on your guard! They will hand you over to sanhedrins, and you will be flogged in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them. 10 And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 So when they arrest you and hand you over, don’t worry beforehand what you will say. On the contrary, whatever is given to you in that hour — say it. For it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Then brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against parents and put them to death.

Mt. 12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.

Mk. 13 And you will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.

Mt. 14 This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come. 15 “So when you see the abomination that causes desolation (Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11), spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place” (let the reader understand),

Lk. 20 When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that its desolation has come near.

21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains!                                                                                Those inside the city must leave it,                                                                                                 and those who are in the country                                                                                                   must not enter it,

22 because these are days of vengeance

to fulfill all the things that are written.

23 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.


Mt. 20 Pray that your escape may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For at that time there will be great tribulation, the kind that hasn’t taken place from the beginning of the world until now and never will again! 22 Unless those days were limited, no one would survive. But those days will be limited because of the elect.  

23 “If anyone tells you then, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Over here!’ do not believe it! 24 False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 Take note: I have told you in advance.

26 So if they tell you, ‘Look, He’s in the wilderness!’ don’t go out; ‘Look, He’s in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days:

The sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not shed its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the celestial powers will be shaken (Isa. 13:10; 34:4).

30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.


Lk. 25 “Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring sea and waves. 26 People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world, because the celestial powers will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!”


Mt. 32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: As soon as its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 In the same way, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near — at the door! 34 I assure you: This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

The Olivet Discourse describes future events that will be horrific upon all humanity. Matthew 24:4-14 indicates that the tribulation will arise and many will be led astray from faithfully following Jesus. Verses 15-31 provides additional insight in two areas:


  1. It clarifies the focus on the coming great tribulation.


  1. It describes the desolating sacrilege and the propaganda of false Christs and false prophets.


  1. It clearly indicates that the tribulation is not the final event for believers, but in the end Jesus will gather His faithful to be with Him for ever.


This discourse is a brief form of what John would later write in his book of Revelation.  After Jesus gave His disciples the apocalyptic news of a coming destruction, they asked Him when it would happen, and what would be a sign of His return.  It would have been easy to give a simple formula, as there would be no responsibility of life and ministry.  Rather, what Jesus told them would have to be understood in a context of totality and lived out by faith.   What is meant by “totality” is that all the prophecies of Jesus would have to be fulfilled, as many of them have been fulfilled repeatedly since these were spoken.  Jesus wanted His disciples to spread the gospel throughout the world, and did not want them to become dormant, nor fail to do their assigned task. Jesus told them there would be signs, among the most significant of which would be the cosmic signs, as opposed to those of the Roman-Jewish politics and conflicts.[1]

Those who heard Jesus preach these words probably believed they would see all these events happen in their lifetime. Below is a brief listing of some of the events they either experienced or heard about in the forty years between the time the prophecy was given and when the temple was destroyed.[2]  However, many scholars also believe that current global events suggest that many prophecies relative to the second return of Jesus are now in the process of fulfillment. See Appendix 22 for more details. Events reflective of the prophecy that occurred in the first century after Jesus are as follows:[3]


Wars, Revolts, and Rumors of Wars[4]


  1. Alexandria, Egypt in A.D. 38


  1. Seleucia in A.D. 38, 50,000 Jews killed in a revolt.


  1. Jamnia, A.D. 38 or 39.




  1. Crete in A.D. 46 or 47.


  1. Rome in A.D. 51


  1. Apameia, in Phrygia in A.D. 60


  1. Laodicea, in Phrygia, in A.D. 60


  1. Pompeii in A.D. 62.[6]


  1. Campania, in A.D. 63.



  1. During the reign of Claudius, A.D. 41-54 four famines occurred;


  1. Rome, A.D. 41-42


  1. Judaea A.D. 44 (Acts 11:28-30).[7] At this time, Queen Helena of Adiabene, who converted to Judaism and built a palace in Jerusalem, imported large quantities of grain from Egypt and figs from Cyprus to feed the masses.[8]


  1. Greece, A.D. 50


  1. Rome, A.D. 52



  1. A hurricane destroyed the entire wheat harvest in A.D. 64 or 65.[9] As a result, the price increased thirteen times, so that a small quantity of wheat, called an issaron, (about 3.94 liters or 7.5 pints), that was more than a man’s wages for a day of labor.[10]


There is an interesting observation to be made at this point:  The fact that Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple; then He discussed wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, etc.; then He said “watch out,” and the coming of false messiahs before His return, all this suggests that another temple would not be built until the era of His return.[11]  The term conveys the meaning of alertness and observation as well as caution and is reflective of the temple guards. The priests guarded three gates[12] while the Levites guarded 21 other gates.[13] If a guard was found sleeping while on duty, he was either beaten or his clothes were set on fire (a horrible way to wake up). That is the background to the words of John in Revelation that reads,


“Look, I am coming like a thief. The one who is alert and remains clothed so that he may not go around naked and people see his shame is blessed.”

Revelation 16:15[14]  


It has always been an essential part of a prophet’s calling to warn people not to go astray. It is a subject mentioned by the prophet Zechariah (13:1-2) concerning the last days of Jerusalem as well as the Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonian church (2:3-42). Here Jesus repeated the warning.


“Many will come in My name.”  This warning was repeated in Matthew 24:24 because it was a major concern for Jesus. The first “sign” of His return in the Olivet Discourse is deception among the believers. While there have been false teachers (Jude 3; 1 Jn. 2:18-23), there were also those who considered themselves to be the political messiahs who would deliver Israel from Roman oppression.[15]  A partial listing is found in the writings of Luke and Josephus of those who lived during or shortly after the time of Christ.[16]  In fact, in the two first centuries (B.C. and A.D.), there were more than sixty claimants of the title arose to persuade would-be followers.[17]

No other people group within the Roman Empire had so many leaders who fought for freedom. These multiple insurrectionists were one of several reasons the Romans destroyed the temple and most of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.[18]  Yet in A.D. 132, Simon bar Kokhba was declared by Rabbi Akiva[19] to be “the messiah.” His birth name was Shimon ben-Kosiba, but he was renamed as Simon bar Kokhba, meaning “son of a star” (Num. 24:17) by the rabbi.[20]   This declaration led to a revolt which led to the destruction of Jerusalem three years later. The Romans were so incited by the rabbi, that they slaughtered him and sold his flesh in the market. The Jews later gave Simon bar Kokhba a new name, “bar Kozeba,” meaning “son of disappointment.”


“But the end is not yet.”  After giving these predictions of the end time events, Jesus clearly stated that the end is still to come.  He continued to give additional predictions of horrific events.  Finally, He said that after the budding of the fig tree (Mt. 24:32) His disciples will know the end is near. Nearly all of them believed He would return shortly after His ascension. Had they listened to Him carefully, they would have realized that there had to be a greater time span than a few decades.


“These are the beginning of birth pains.” In Hebraic literature, birth pangs and birth stools are often connected with eschatological events. Note the following examples:


Distress has surrounded me, like a woman who sits on the birth stool and has no strength to give birth and so is in danger of death; a band of abusive men has terrified me.

Targum Psalms 18.5


On the day of judgment all the kings, governors, the high officials, and the landlords shall see and recognize him – how he sits on the throne of his glory and righteousness is judged before him, and that no nonsensical talk shall be uttered in his presence.  Then pain shall come upon them as on a woman in travail with birth pangs – when she is giving birth (the child)[21] enters the mouth of the womb and she suffers from childbearing. 

1 Enoch 62:3-4


The phrase “birth pains” referred to a future event that is beyond human comprehension; when the Son of Man will personally rule and reign upon this earth.[22]  Again there is evidence to suggest that the Spirit of God spoke to some rabbis during the Inter-Testamental period. Those to whom Jesus was speaking knew exactly what He meant – persecution was promised to them.



14.01.04.Q1 What is the Jerusalem Syndrome?

The Jerusalem syndrome is the distorted state of mind acquired by a few individuals, who, when in Israel, believe they are a reincarnation of a biblical figure such as Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, or the Virgin Mary.  Several of them came to Jerusalem, especially in the late 1990s, thinking they would usher in the new millennium. Psychologists have labeled their mental illness as the “Jerusalem Syndrome.”[23] These super-spiritual and deceived people are generally harmless, although a few have attempted to destroy the Dome of the Rock so the new temple can be constructed. However, the label applies only to individuals when they are in Israel, and not elsewhere.


14.01.04.Q2 What was the difference between Jewish and Roman scourges?

The Jewish scourging consisted of thirty-nine stripes such as those that Paul received.[24] The scourging whip the Jews used consisted of three long, thin, leather strips that had knots and the victim received thirteen lashes with it.  When Jesus said, “they will hand you over to sanhedrins, and you will be flogged,” He probably had this in mind, which correlates with Revelation 6:9-11.  However, it was not the same flogging instrument used by the Romans who cared little for Jewish laws and did not consider any limitations. The leather strips of Roman scourges had wooden splinters, lead balls, and metal hooks that tore the flesh of prisoners who would be crucified.[25] Jewish law forbade such torture.  Many early Gentile Christians and Messianic Jews endured various forms of Roman persecution, including the scourge and crucifixion.


The Romans had two levels of scourging.[26]

  1. The fustigation was the lightest scourging and was usually ordered by a local magistrate as a warning against potential future crimes.[27]


  1. The flagella was the severest form of scourging and was generally associated with another form of punishment such as crucifixion.[28]


“Good news must first be proclaimed to all nations.”  Before Jesus returns, the entire world will have had the opportunity to hear and receive the good news of salvation. While Revelation 7:1-8 refers to a time when 144,000 Jewish men will preach on a global scale, it has also become evident that within the past century the gospel has been broadcasted worldwide by various forms of electronic media. At no time in the history of the church have so many heard the good news of Jesus as they have today.  


“Because lawlessness will multiply.” The exponential increase of sin and violence is further mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7. Many scholars believe that this cultural decline appears not only during the Tribulation, but also in the time leading up to it.   


“The abomination that causes desolation.  This phrase is somewhat mysterious in that it is difficult to define, yet it clearly forecasts a horrific event. The term abomination (Gk. bdelugma, 946) denotes an image of disgust that will be set up by the anti-Christ.[29]  It was a prophecy given by the prophet Daniel in 9:27; 11:31; and 12:11 during his captivity in Babylon (early 500s B.C.) and is also defined as the profanation that appalls.[30] It denotes the highest level of moral and religious disgrace,[31] is equal to idol worship,[32] and is in sharp contrast to the real character of God Almighty.


In the second century B.C., a Syrian-Greek dictator, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, appeared to fulfill that definition.  He conquered Jerusalem in 167 B.C., erected an altar to the Greek god Zeus Olympus, and sacrificed a pig on the Jewish altar (see 03.04.17). Evidently the Jews of the time believed that the sacrifice was the abomination predicted by the prophet Daniel. Therefore, the phrase appears in the second century (B.C.) book of 1 Maccabees (1:54 and 6:7). It reads like an ancient newspaper account. This moral sense of the term appears also in the New Testament.[33]  But there was more to come.


  1. The Sadducees corrupted the temple so severely that Jesus had to cleanse it twice. While their actions may not have been seen as an abomination by all the Jews, it certainly was an incredible offense.[34]


  1. Herod once set a great eagle above the façade of the temple.[35]


  1. Pilate placed legionary eagles throughout the Holy City[36]


  1. In A.D. 37-40, Emperor Caligula attempted to erect his own image in the sanctuary.[37]


  1. When General Titus conquered Jerusalem, before he destroyed the temple he brought ensigns into the temple.[38]


However, Jesus is pointing to an additional fulfillment in the future.  Most scholars interpret the words of Jesus to mean that the Anti-Christ (2 Thess. 2) will desecrate the temple in a manner similar to Antiochus IV Epiphanes.[39] They have a number of theological opinions concerning the term “abomination.”[40]  They are,


  1. A reference to pagan worship,


  1. A reference to the future sacrifice of a pig in the future third temple?


  1. Was it the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70?


  1. Or is the abomination of desolation an apostate or spiritual condition.


Regardless of the answer, it appears that it will be in a time of severe civil unrest and turmoil; worse than has ever been experienced in Israel’s history. The fact that Jesus spoke of it as a future event is demanding proof that the prophecies of Daniel were not fulfilled by the horrors of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  With His statement, “Spoken of by the prophet Daniel,” Jesus clearly reflected upon the prophet Daniel who foresaw the desecration of the temple when Antiochus IV Epiphanes sacrificed a pig on the holy altar in 167 B.C.[41] Clearly, the horrors of that time will be repeated, if not worse, when the desecration predicted by Jesus will be fulfilled (2 Thess. 2:3-4). The fact that an emphasis was placed on Daniel 9:27, the “seventieth week” will occur after the covenant the Antichrist[42] makes with Israel is broken.[43] Premillennial Christians call Daniel’s seventieth week the “Great Tribulation Period,” which is a time of incredible persecution against believers.[44]

“Let the reader understand.”  Both gospel writers (Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14) refer to the “reader.” This was the person who stood before the congregation and read the Scripture (cf 1 Tim. 4:13).  This phrase was used by Jesus and Paul for two reasons:


  1. It underscored the importance of the lesson Jesus was teaching and,


  1. It was the public reader’s responsibility to insure His words were accurately commun-icated.


Written words in biblical times were not divided by spaces nor were there punctuation marks. Therefore, only an educated person could read smoothly and passionately. While most men and a few women had basic reading skills, only a few had the proficiency required to read the text in public.[45] Likewise, the Apostle Paul expected his letters to be read before the congregation.[46]  Finally, John, in his last work, wrote, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near” (Rev. 1:3).


“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies.”  This prophecy was a warning that led to the survival of thousands of Jewish believers in the early months of the siege on Jerusalem.  When they saw that the Romans were forced to retreat for a short time, they fled east to the mountains of the Decapolis cities.


The history of the Jews is filled with ironies that boggle the imagination. Nearly three decades after the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, there was another Jesus who warned of the coming destruction to the Holy City.  The passage below by Josephus is all that is known of him. He went around the city of Jerusalem crying a warning of impending destruction for four years before the Roman attack in A.D. 66. Once the siege began, he continued for nearly three and a half years until a stone missile killed him. During that time he was beaten, ridiculed, and severely punished for his eccentric announcements. Yet his words came true as if he was a divine prophet.


But what is still more terrible there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus (Ananas),[47] a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our custom for everyone to make tabernacles to God in the temple. He began on a sudden cry aloud,


“A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and brides, and a voice against this whole people!”


This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all lanes of the city.  However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did he not either say anything for himself, or anything peculiar to those that chastised him, but still he went on with the same words which he cried before.  Hereupon our rulers supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought him to the Roman procurator; where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare.  Yet he did not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears, but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was,


“Woe, woe to Jerusalem!”


And when Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him who he was, and whence he came, and why he uttered these words, he made no manner of reply to what he said, but still did not leave off his melancholy diddy, till Albinus took him to be a madman, and dismissed him. 


Now during all the time that passed before the war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens nor was seen by them while he said so; but he every day uttered these lamentable words as if it were his premeditated vow,


“Woe, woe to Jerusalem!”


Nor did he give ill words to any of those who beat him every day; but this was his reply to all men and indeed no other than a melancholy presage of what was to come.


This cry of his was the loudest at festivals; and he continued this ditty for seven years and five months without growing hoarse, or being tired therewith, until the very time that he saw his presage in earnest fulfilled in our siege when it ceased.  For as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force,


“Woe, woe to the city again and to the people, and to the holy house!”


And just as he added to the last,  –  “Woe, woe, to myself also!” There came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages, he gave up the ghost.[48]

Josephus, Wars 6.5.3 (300b-309)


The unknown Jesus made frequent use of the term woe, which is a dirge, a lament for the dead.[49]  It suggests a plea for repentance, as judgment is about to fall.  The words of Jesus, the son of Ananus – not related to the priesthood family – gave warning to the Jewish believers of the pending destruction for seven years. Josephus did not say whether he was a Christian, although his warnings are nearly identical to those given by Jesus prior to His crucifixion in Matthew 23 and 24. How did he know what was to happen? How influential was he in encouraging the Jewish believers to flee the city when news arrived of the coming Roman army?  There is no record of his influence, but obviously thousands of people escaped the horrible destruction and slaughter.


There are four interesting points to consider in this account:


  1. When reconciling this event with the calendar, it is evident that Jesus, son of Ananas prophesied the coming destruction[50] shortly after the Apostle Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and taken to Caesarea.


  1. Jesus, the son of Ananus, gave specific warnings concerning the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple, and advised the people to flee.



14.01.04.A. A RECONSTRUCTED ROMAN CATAPULT.  This reconstructed catapult is believed to be similar to the ones used in the destruction of Jerusalem and Masada in the First Revolt (A.D. 66-73). The one pictured was used in the 1980 film Masada. Photograph by the author.


  1. This Jesus was sounding the warning of pending doom at least three years before Josephus arrived.


  1. Josephus was in Jerusalem when it was destroyed. While some critics have said this narrative is a fraud, they have no evidence to support that opinion, but the historian’s vivid description of the punishment Jesus received suggests that he was a witness. He was also on Mount Scopus with General Titus when the prophet was killed by a missile discharged from a catapult.




Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.”  The context of this phrase is that the Jews will flee to the mountains during the time of Jacob’s Troubles, also known as the Tribulation. More specifically, some scholars believe they will hide in the Jordanian mountains of the ancient city of Petra.[51]  However, these words were taken seriously by first century Jewish Christians when they saw the Roman army encircle the Holy City in A.D. 66-67. Two years later they they had a brief moment to flee to the eastern side of the Jordan River to the city of Pella.[52] In doing so, they escaped the starvation and torture that fell upon those who remained behind. The observant words of Eusebius, who also endorsed the historian Josephus, reported that,


The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem having been commanded by a divine revelation given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city and lived at a certain town beyond the Jordan called Pella.  Here, those who believed in Christ removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself and the whole land of Judea.


The divine justice for their crimes against Christ and his apostles finally overtook the Jews, totally destroying the whole generation of these evildoers from the earth.  But the number of calamities then overwhelmed the whole nation; the extreme misery to which particularly the inhabitants of Judea were reduced; the vast numbers of men, women, and children who fell by the sword, famine, and innumerable other forms of death; the numerous and great cities of Judea that were besieged; the great and incredible distresses that those experienced who took refuge at Jerusalem as to a place of perfect security; these facts, as well as the whole tenor of the war and each particular of its progress when finally, the abomination of desolation according to the prophetic declaration, stood in the very temple of God, so declared of old but which now was approaching its total downfall and final destruction by fire; all this, I say, anyone who wishes may see accurately stated in the history written by Josephus.

Eusebius, Church History 3.5.3-4


A similar account was also preserved by Epiphanius[53] and the Ascension of Isaiah that not only mentions the Jewish believers fleeing to Pella,[54] but they were going from place to place in the region of Gilead and Bashon with the hope that Jesus would return soon.[55] The early Christians expected Jesus to return at any moment.[56]  However, after the destruction they realized that they needed to return and rebuild the city. In the meantime, the thousands of traditional Jews who remained in the city suffered horribly under the iron hand of the Romans.[57]



14.01.04.B. CHURCH RUINS IN PELLA.  Pella was a Decapolis city located in modern Jordan. Thousands of Christians fled Jerusalem in A.D. 68-70 to escape the Roman slaughter and destruction of the city.  These believers felt certain that they witnessed the fulfillment of prophecies described in Matthew 24, and hence, believed they would see the return of Jesus. However, some stayed and, as the Christian faith spread, built churches such as this one.  Photograph by the author.


The highly feared Legio X Fretensis, a/k/a the Tenth Roman Legion, surrounded Jerusalem and prevented food and other supplies from entering. It was an attempt to force surrender by starvation.  The resulting famine caused great violence in the city, exposing the depraved nature and desperation of its citizens. Josephus, who was an eyewitness, recorded the human horrors.  His words not only verify the prophetic accuracy of the words of Jesus, but also those of Moses. After the ancient prophet gave God’s promise of reward for obedience (Lev. 26:1-13), he then gave these words concerning disobedience which appear to have been partly fulfilled at this time.[58]


27 “And if in spite of this you do not obey Me but act with hostility toward Me, 28 I will act with furious hostility toward you; I will also discipline you seven times for your sins. 29 You will eat the flesh of your sons; you will eat the flesh of your daughters. 30 I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and heap your dead bodies on the lifeless bodies of your idols; I will reject you. 31 I will reduce your cities to ruins and devastate your sanctuaries. I will not smell the pleasing aroma of your sacrifices. 32 I also will devastate the land, so that your enemies who come to live there will be appalled by it. 33 But I will scatter you among the nations, and I will draw a sword to chase after you. So your land will become desolate, and your cities will become ruins.

Leviticus 26:27-33 (see entire passage of 26:14-46)


It was an attempt to force surrender by starvation.  But many Jews believed the messiah would come to save them in the heat of battle. A similar opinion was shared by the Essenes, which is why they had no weaponry.


Once the city was captured and the temple burned, the soldiers dismantled the entire building stone by stone in an attempt to search for hidden gold that was said to have been hidden inside the walls. Archaeologists identified a few remaining stones, but the vast majority of them were reused for later construction projects.  The retaining wall that supported the courtyard of the temple, known today as the Western Wall, has remained undisturbed.



14.01.04.C. STONES OF THE RUINED TEMPLE.    A large pile of stones from the temple lay on the pavement beside the retaining wall of the former temple complex. These stones represent the literal fulfillment of the prophetic words of Jesus. Notice the large Herodian ashlars that comprise the wall.  Photograph by the author.


“Fulfill all the things that are written.” What things? The difficulty of this phrase is that there is no passage in the Old Testament that specifically refers to this subject.  It is one of several generalizations that Jesus made.[59] Yet the audience understood what was meant, especially since so many Jewish prophetic and apocalyptic writings are full of horrifying themes of a future “end time.”[60]

There are numerous interpretations as to when “the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” The first issue is the debate over the beginning point of the “times of the Gentiles.” There are two points to consider:


  1. Some have suggested that this period began when King Nebuchadnezzar first overthrew Jerusalem in 605 B.C. After the Jews were permitted to return from Babylon, they remained under foreign domination by the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, briefly by the Parthians in 40 B.C., and again by the Romans (during the time of Jesus). However, since King Nebuchadnezzar, there was about a century of true independence from Gentile rule was the century following the Maccabean Revolt (165-63 B.C.). Even though some of their rulers were just as wicked as the Gentile tyrants, they at least were not in the “times of the Gentiles.”


  1. The second issue then is when the “times of the Gentiles” will end. Again, there are various opinions.


  1. Some say this period ended in 1948 when Israel became a political entity.


  1. Others say it ended with the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel took control of the temple Mount (even though in a matter of months it was returned to Muslim control).


  1. Most scholars believe that the “times of the Gentiles” will continue until the second advent of Jesus to the earth. Upon His return, He will conquer the Anti-Semitic Gentile rulers with an iron scepter and break them into pieces like pottery (Ps. 2:9). Only then will this period end and Jesus will reign in His kingdom of the Lord forever.


While this subject (“times of the Gentiles,”  “end times” etc.) is beyond the scope of this study, the following worth consideration. According to this theory, a common interpretation of the apocalyptic words of Jesus is that Matthew 24:4-8 is the first half of the Tribulation and Matthew 24:9-14 is the second half.[61]  The entire seven year period is the seventieth “week” of Daniel, and is what Jeremiah called “the time of trouble for Jacob” (Jer. 30:7).  Jesus referred to it as “birth pains” (Mt. 24:8). Among the signs that will appear are false messiahs (Mt. 24:5), reports of wars (Mt. 24:6-7), and natural catastrophes, such as earthquakes, famines, and celestial events (Mt. 24:7). All these were previously discussed, especially since so many occurred in the first century. When the gospel writer John wrote his Revelation on the Island of Patmos, he said that Jesus described judgments that would fall during this time (Rev. 6), meaning, at the end of the age. Signs were given to Israel to warn them of the pending judgment.

Jesus also gave signs to the second half of the Tribulation Period.   There will be global persecution and death for believers (Mt. 24:9).  To avoid such a horrific event, many will leave the faith and worship the supreme dictatorial false messiah.  John referred to him as “the beast” (Rev. 13:1-10) and the Apostle Paul referred to this dictator as the “man of lawlessness” (2 Thess. 2:1-4).  During this time, many false prophets and teachers will appear and convince many to leave their Christian faith for another doctrine. Some will have incredible mystical power and will deceive many true believers. While the prophet is enticing people to his perverted religion, the “beast” will obtain global dictatorship. During this time there will be 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will preach the good news of the Kingdom of God throughout the entire world (Rev. 7:1-8). At the end of this period, Jesus shall return to the earth with His army (the raptured church), end the fighting, and reign for a thousand years.[62] 


“In winter or on a Sabbath.”   The times of the end will be horribly violent and many will feel trapped and under great duress. Winter is the rainy season when the normally dry riverbeds become dangerously flooded making nearby roads incredibly muddy and impassable.[63]  The Jordan River will frequently be flooded over farmland and travel will be extremely difficult.

Orthodox Jews who observe the Oral Laws are limited to activities and can only go as far as a “Sabbath’s day journey” on the day of rest.[64]  The phrase, “in those days”  refers specifically to the violent times that  will  be  the  hallmark  of  the end of the age,[65] when  violence and terrorism will bring massive social and civil unrest, terrorism, wars, destruction and death.[66]

“False messiahs and false prophets will arise.” The deep concern Jesus had for His church was repeated in Mark 13:6. Throughout the Old Testament era there were numerous false prophets and teachers whose messages appealed to their listeners.[67] Ancient literary works, many of which are borderline heresies, prove that false Christs (pseudochrists 5580),[68] prophets and teachers had left their mark wherever Judaism and Christianity spread.[69] Josephus mentioned one of them who promised a supernatural divine deliverance as the temple was about to be destroyed. His message was proclaimed as the Roman soldiers were slaughtering Jews throughout the city, buildings were on fire, chaos and destruction was falling upon the Jewish state.


A false prophet was the reason for these people’s destruction. He made a public proclamation in the city that same day that God commanded them to get up upon the temple, and there would receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. There were also a great number of other false prophets seduced by the tyrant [the first false prophet] to impose upon the people….Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers…and did not give credit to the signs that were so evident and so plainly foretold their future destruction.    

Josephus, Wars 6.5.2-3 (287b-288a)[70]


The historian continued to say that as Jerusalem burned, the false prophets, messianic pretenders, [71] and their followers were either killed by the sword or committed suicide by jumping headfirst into the blazing fires below them. They preferred to believe in a lie. However, those who obeyed the words of Jesus (Lk. 21:20), when they saw the Roman armies surround Jerusalem and heard the warnings of Jesus, son of Ananus,[72] they escaped to Pella east of the Jordan River and were saved from the horrors of Roman destruction.

As stated elsewhere in this study, during the six decades after the destruction of Jerusalem, the city was rebuilt. Then came the most famous false prophet, Simon bar Kokhba. His revolt led to another destruction of the Holy City in A.D. 135, after which Emperor Hadrian renamed the land Palestinia.[73]  For the next several centuries any talk of a messiah was quickly subdued by the rabbis. Nonetheless, many have appeared in various Jewish communities, but possibly the most famous “messiah” in the modern era was Rabbi Menachem Schneerson (1902-1994). While he never claimed to be the messiah, he never denied it either.  His Hasidic followers pray faithfully that their beloved “Lubavitcher Rebbe,” as they affectionately call him, will resurrect from the grave and usher in world peace.



14.01.04.D. A MODERN JEWISH FALSE MESSIAH.   While some Jews today are expecting their Messiah to come, others believe he has already arrived.  One such group of Hasidic Jews believes that their deceased rabbi, Menachem Schneerson was, or is, the messiah.[74]  They believe he will return to life and, therefore, his picture is often seen on billboards throughout Israel, especially in Jerusalem, welcoming his return.  Photograph of a wall poster by the author.


This writer once had the fortunate opportunity to talk with and photograph the prophet Elijah – or at least someone who seriously believed he was Elijah. He said that repentance was needed because Jesus was going to return at the end of 1999. Obviously, his eschatological calendar was slightly off. So many people with either spiritual or mental delusions have come to Jerusalem with the belief that they were the messiah, Jesus, John the Baptist, or other significant prophet, that the Israelis have a name for this condition: “Jerusalem Syndrome.”[75]



14.01.04.E.  THE GENTILE “ELIJAH.”  This former California building contractor informed this author that he was Elijah and that his calling was to tell the world to repent for the coming of the Messiah. He was encouraged to leave Israel in December 1999 by the Israeli government. There seems to be no shortage of prophets or messiahs from either Jewish or Christian sources.  Photograph by the author.


Concerning the teachings of the early church, pastors called the false prophets “antichrists,” since they were neither the true Christ nor did they give true teachings of Jesus.[76]  One example is the words of church father Cyril of Jerusalem.


This Jesus Christ who is gone up shall come again, not from earth but from heaven: and I say, “Not from earth,” because there are many antichrists to come at this time from earth.


Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures[77]


“The coming of the Son of Man.”  This phrase is commonly known as the parousia, which can mean arrival or presence. It has a technical meaning of the second coming or return of Jesus.[78]  This phrase is hardly  mentioned in the gospels with the exception of Matthew 24, verses 3, 27, 27, and 39, but is found more frequently throughout the New Testament (i.e., 1 Cor. 15; 1 Thess. 4). There are several considerations to notice concerning this phrase.

  1. The future coming is a certain event. While the time of the parousia is unknown, the fact that it will occur is as certain as the morning sunrise. Just as there was a specific beginning to this age, there will be a specific end to this age after which Jesus will rule and reign upon the earth.
  2. The statement is the ultimate victory of Jesus and the defeat of the armies of the earth, followed by the demise of Satan and his angels.
  3. It gives believers incredible hope during times of stress and distress, knowing that through Christ Jesus there will one day be a victorious celebration for all who remain faithful to the end.
  4. As stated previously, and this point is critical, the phrase Son of Man, or Bar Enosh in Aramaic,[79] in the book of Enoch is a figure who is waiting in heaven until God sends him to earth where he would establish his kingdom and rule over it. This book was common knowledge to the Jewish people, so when Jesus used the phrase “Son of Man” about Himself, He was clearly claiming to be the long-awaited Messiah. Therefore, the expressions of “Son of Man” and “Son of God,” when referenced to Christ do so to express His deity.[80]


“Wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather.” The language Jesus used was one of absolute certainty. These “vultures” are more accurately known as griffon vultures, that are much larger than eagles and when they fly in a circular pattern it is a sure sign that a carcass is somewhere below.[81] Likewise, Jesus said that certain signs would appear before His return.

“The sign of the Son of Man.”  The term sign refers to an ensign or standard used by the military to indicate a point where soldiers gathered to reorganize and to receive additional commands.  Matthew used the phrase to indicate that the Kingdom of God was complete and a gathering point for the people of God.[82]


There is an interesting paradox concerning the sign of the return of Jesus.  He tells of the events that will occur before His return, but not of anything that will occur before the rapture. Furthermore, prior to His return, there will be a dramatic increase of earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars, and an apostasy from the faith, etc.[83] Men will be able to estimate His coming by the signs, but these are all without any specific dates. Verses 36-41 specifically state that no one will know the specific hour or day of His return and, therefore, all are to be ready, working for the Kingdom, and watching.


“Your redemption is near.” At this point the disciples did not understand that the coming death of Jesus would be payment for their sins – the death would pay the price of the penalty of their sin. In the everyday life of a first century citizen, an example of redemption was to purchase a slave at the slave market and let him go free. Jesus applied the same meaning to the matter of sin and its consequences. Redemption for the believer is in these areas:


  1. From the penalty of the Law – Jewish believers (Gal. 3:13)


  1. From the Law itself – Jewish believers (Rom. 6:14, 7:24; Gal. 4:4-5)


  1. From the power of sin – both Jews and Gentiles


  1. From the power of Satan. (Gal. 2:15; Heb. 2:15)


  1. Believers are guaranteed future, final redemption from all evil which will occur with the resurrection of the body (Lk. 21:28; Rom. 8:23; Eph. 1:14, 4:30).


“Learn this Parable from the fig tree.”  The fig tree that was cursed by Jesus quickly died; symbolic of what was about to happen to national Israel.  But Jesus went on to say the tree would blossom again (ref. to Isa. 66:8), which most scholars believe was the day of Israeli Independence on May 14, 1948.  There is no question that the Jews of the first and second centuries understood the symbolic meaning of the fig tree to be their country.  Evidence of this is found in the writings of a Jewish Christian, dated to about A.D. 110, previously mentioned and titled The Apocalypse of Peter chapter 2.[84]  


Critics have long theorized that since Jesus said that He would return imminently, His audience expected Him to return within their lifetime. The Apostle Paul believed that Jesus would return at any moment according to 1 Thessalonians 4. However, since Jesus failed to come, critics say that the first century church leaders had to modify their theology or they would have lost power.[85] From this point on, skeptics and many Reconstructionists have presented alternative interpretations, many of which conclude that the gospels are in error. One of the primary issues is the phrase, “this generation will certainly not pass away.” There is no question that it has been the fuel for various interpretations and debates.

However, there is a point that can be easily missed.  This narrative cannot be isolated from the parables that follow, because Jesus did not say this as a stand-alone statement as has been interpreted.[86] Those who say that the historical events in the gospels were created to establish a religious theology have difficulty with this passage, because anyone rewriting history would not make a statement that would be so controversial. Some have gone so far as to claim that the passage (Mk. 13:5-27) is a “Jewish apocalypse with a Christian ending.”[87] Nearly two thousand years have passed since these words were spoken, so obviously, there must be another explanation other than a first century return. In fact, there are three possible explanations:


  1. Some have suggested that the word “generation” could refer to every generation since Christ, because the world has witnessed considerable turmoil ever since then.


  1. Another suggestion is that the Greek word genea should be translated as race or kind of people rather than generation. If that is the case, then Jesus is stating that the Jewish people will be present in the Promised Land at His second coming. He affirmed the promise given to the prophet Jeremiah.


35 This is what the Lord says:

The One who gives the sun for light by day,
the fixed order of moon and stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea and makes its waves roar —
Yahweh of Hosts is His name:


36 If this fixed order departs from My presence —
this is the Lord’s declaration —
then also Israel’s descendants will cease
to be a nation before Me forever.

37 This is what the Lord says:

If the heavens above can be measured
and the foundations of the earth below explored,
I will reject all of Israel’s descendants
because of all they have done —
this is the Lord’s declaration.

Jeremiah 31:35-37


  1. The best interpretation is that the generation, who will witness all the events listed in the previous verses of chapter 24, will be the same generation who will see the return of Christ. In every generation people have been confronted with wars, rumors of wars, famine, floods, and other disasters. These events are normal in a fallen world. However, the predicted events mentioned will be so dramatic; so horrible, that they will make these “normal events” look like nothing. No one has ever witnessed all of them in dramatic severity at the same time. Those who witness these climatic events are said to be the generation Jesus mentioned. Yet there will be times of weddings, festivals, plowing, and other normal events of life.


Simply stated, even though the Church Age has witnessed horrific events in the past, these were nothing when compared to what is to come (or may now be coming).  The fact that the believer can read and see Scripture being fulfilled is a powerful witness to the reality of God and the close of the Church Age.  Prophecy was given so the future can impact the lives of those in the present.   Just as God’s Word is true to every “jot” and “tittle,” so every prophetic word spoken by Jesus will come true and He will return.[88] Those who see the coming of this apocalypse will see the Son of God. Galatians 4:4 states that in the fullness of time Jesus came; and in Matthew 24 Jesus essentially said that in the fullness of time He will come again.



[1]. Wenham, “Olivet Discourse.” 2:1116-17.


[2]. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 1:222-23.


[3]. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. 144-47.  


[4]. See 13.01.05, Lk. 19:41-44 for details to the Roman siege.


[5]. See http://israel-tourguide.info/2011/01/10/earthquakes-history-archaeology/ Retrieved August 25, 2014. The Jordan valley is one of the most active earthquake zones in the world. There have been hundreds of minor earthquakes and major ones have dammed the Jordan River repeatedly, sometimes for days, in 1160, 1267, 1534, 1834, 1906 and 1927. At such times, the river often redirects itself as a new riverbed is formed. See Reuven, “Wooden Beams from Herod’s Temple Mount: Do They still Exist?” 42.

[6]. Pompeii was destroyed in A.D. 79 when the nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted. The city and surrounding area was buried in 4 to 6 meters (13 to 20 ft.) of volcanic ash and pumice.


[7]. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. 129.  


[8]. Josephus, Antiquities 20.2.5 (51). It should be noted that during the famine of 25-24 B.C., Herod the Great, at a huge personal expense, also imported grain to feed the starving masses; Josephus, Antiquities 15.9.2 (305-07).


[9]. Tacitus, Annals 16:10-13; Josephus, Antiquities 14.2.2 (28).


[10]. Some scholars place this famine in the years 47-49; Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. 123.  


[11]. It may be of interest to the reader to know that the Temple Institute in Jerusalem has reproduced all the vessels needed in the next temple. The Temple Mount Faithful, founded by Gershon Solomon, has the architectural plans completed and the significant cornerstone for the next temple. At no time in history since the temple was destroyed has so much time, effort, and money been spent for the future third temple.


[12]. The names of the gates were Beth Abtines, Beth Nitsots, and Beth Mokad.


[13]. Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. 3:200.


[14]. Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. 3:200-01.


[15]. An interesting side note must be added at this point.  Both Christianity and Judaism have been plagued with false prophets and teachers throughout history. In the late 1800s, when Theodore Herzl and the World Jewish Congress were making plans to establish a Jewish state, the most hostile words they received came from rabbis.  The reason was that so many false prophets and teachers had presented false hopes and dreams in the past that the rabbis did not want to have their people to be deceived again. Clearly history of the past two centuries confirms the words of Jesus. See The Jewish Encyclopedia Vol. 12, pages 673-74, and Mills and Michael, Messiah and His Hebrew Alphabet. 83-86.


[16]. See Appendix 25 for a listing of false prophets who had messianic expectations and for a partial listing of revolts and social disturbances from 63 B.C. to A.D. 70.


[17]. Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. 2:114.


[18]. Josephus, Wars 6.54.


[19]. After the destruction of the temple, Rabbi Akiva ( A.D. 50-135) was the founder of a great learning center in Jaffa and today is considered to be the father of rabbinic Judaism. He was killed by the Romans for supporting the messianic figure Simon bak Kokhba.


[20].  For further study, see Yigael Yigael, Bar-Kokhba. New York: Random House. 1971.


[21]. Parenthesis by Charlesworth.


[22]. 1 Enoch 62:7

[23]. Gorenberg, “Warning! Millennium Ahead!” 14.

[24]. For the scourging Paul received, see 2 Cor. 11:23-24. For the Jewish tradition, see Josephus, Antiquities 4.8.21.


[25]. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 2:277.


[26]. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament. 27-28, 40.


[27]. It should be noted that Peter and Paul were punished by beatings by the Sanhedrin in Acts 41-21 and 5:17-40, and then released. As stated previously, while the Jews had beatings and scourgings, these were not as severe as what was practiced by the Romans. However, there is a case where the daughter of a priest was accused of adultery and therefore, burned to death after a trial before a Jewish tribunal.  It is believed this occurred shortly before A.D. 70. See  Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament.  40-41.


[28]. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 387.


[29]. Vine, “Abominable, Abomination.”Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:4.


[30]. Barclay, “Mark.” 309.


[31]. See 2 Chron. 15:8; Jer. 13:27; Ezek. 11:21; Dan. 9:27 and 11:31.


[32]. See Deut. 7:26; 1 Kings 11:17 and 2 Kings. 23:13.

[33]. Lk. 16:15; Rev. 17:4-5 and 21:27.


[34]. See 05.05.04 and 13.02.02 concerning the two cleansings.


[35]. Josphus, Antiquities 17.6.2 (151)


[36]. Josphus, Antiquities 18.3.1 (55)


[37]. Josphus, Antiquities 18.8.2 (261)


[38]. Josphus, Wars 6.6.1 (316)


[39]. Wenham, “Olivet Discourse.” 2:1116.

[40]. Beasley-Murray, “Abomination of Desolation.” 1:74-75.


[41]. See 03.04.17, “176-164 B.C. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, King of Syria Controls Jerusalem.”

[42]. See Appendix 26.

[43]. For further study, see Bock, Jesus According to Scripture. 342-44.


[44]. However, critics have questioned the dating of the book of Daniel, which has historically been attributed to the prophet Daniel in the early 6th century B.C. They have said that Daniel 11:5-39 is too detailed concerning third and second centuries B.C. events.  Therefore, they say, it is a historical book written by a ghostwriter in the second century B.C. who made it appear prophetic. The major problem with this opinion is that Jesus referred to a real prophet named Daniel, not to an imaginary historical figure. Furthermore, if the book of Daniel was truly written in the second century (B.C.) as critics have claimed, why did other second century writers have difficulty understanding it?  For example, the unknown author of the Sibylline Oracles (3:391-400) written about 140 B.C., quoted and obviously failed to understand Daniel.  Another of the same era was the author of 1 Enoch (14:18-22), who also had difficulty interpreting the prophetic text.  Such misunderstandings would not have existed had the prophetic book been written when critics claim. Jesus affirmed the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy, knowing that one day it would be challenged.


[45]. Martin, Worship in the Early Church. 68-71.

[46]. Col. 4:16; 1 Thess. 5:27; Phil. 2.


[47]. Insert mine because both spellings are common.


[48].  The phrase “a stone came out of one of the engines,” is a reference to a stone thrown by a catapult. On February 5, 2004, National Geographic News (NGN) reported that ancient engineers designed and built catapults (or “belopoietics” as the Greeks and Romans called them) that could accurately throw a 60 pound rock a distance of 500 yards – that is more than  a quarter mile! The NGN report was reprinted in Artifax “Catapults were Ingenious.” 19:2 (Spring, 2004) 12.


[49]. Smith, Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament: Matthew. 157, 274.


[50]. Farrar, The Life of Christ. 377-78.


[51]. Hab. 3:3; Isa. 34:1-7; 63:1-6.


[52]. Pella continued to be a thriving city until it was destroyed on January 18, 749, by a massive earthquake that destroyed Capernaum and many other villages and cities throughout the Jordan Valley.


[53]. Epiphanius, Panarion 29.7.7; 30.2,7; See also Pixner, “Mount Zion, Jesus, and Archaeology.” 316.

[54]. Flusser. “The Jewish-Christian Schism (Part II).” 30-32.

[55]. Ascension of Isaiah 3.21 – 4.13; Pixner, “Mount Zion, Jesus, and Archaeology.” 317.

[56]. Geldenhuys, 141; Gilbrant, “Luke.” 613.

[57]. Some scholars have argued against the accepted opinion that the Jewish believers lived in Pella because no archaeological evidence was uncovered to prove their existence there.  However, since they stayed there only for a brief period – a couple of decades at most – no archaeological evidence would have been created or left behind.


[58]. The complete fulfillment occurred in A.D. 135 at Emperor Hadrian’s destruction of Jerusalem.

[59]. A partial list of other problematic passages is listed in Appendix 13.


[60].  For example, see Isa. 13:9-10; 24:18-20; 34:4; Ezek. 32:7-8; Joel 2:10, 30-31; 3:15; Hag. 2:6, 21. 1 Enoch 80; Testament of Moses 10:5; 2 Baruch 70; 72:2.


[61]. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 399-401.

[62]. Theologians have three views of when the rapture will occur.


[63]. Mishnah, Taanith 1.3


[64]. An excellent resource for further Sabbath study is Hagner, “Jesus and the Synoptic Sabbath Controversies.” 270-88.


[65]. Jer. 3:16, 18; 31:29; 33:15-16; Joel 3:1; Zech. 8:23.


[66]. Some have suggested that the spread of radical Islamic militants could be those who will bring forth the predicted massive social and civil unrest, terrorism, wars, destruction and death.


[67]. See 02.02.10 as well as 10.01.06 for the warning by Jesus in Matthew 10:16-33 concerning the “whispers” and “secrets,” that were common teachings by Gnostic, Cynic and Stoic philosophers.


[68]. Vine, “Christ.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:101. See also “Antichrist” in Appendix 26.


[69]. See Appendix 24; Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 37-39.


[70]. See also Richard Horsley. “Popular Messianic Movements around the Time of Jesus.” Catholic Bible Quarterly. Vol. 46. (1984). 471-495.


[71]. For a partial listing of false prophets and false messiahs, see Appendix 25: “False Prophets, Rebels, Significant Events, And Rebellions That Impacted The First Century Jewish World.”


[72]. Josephus, Wars 6.5.3 (300-301); Farrar, The Life of Christ. 377-78.


[73]. It is from the Latin name “Palestinia,” from which the modern English word Palestine is derived. The name is not in any biblical passage although it often appears on Bible maps so readers can associate biblical places with modern political land divisions.


[74]. Staff, “Moshiach (Messiah) is Coming.” The Chosen People Newsletter. 2-3.

[75]. See “Jerusalem Syndrome” in Appendix 26.

[76]. See “Antichrist” in Appendix 26.


[77]. Thomas, The Golden Treasury of Patristic Quotations: From 50 – 750 A.D. 252.

[78]. Barclay, A New Testament Wordbook. 90-91.

[79]. Wijngaards, Handbook to the Gospels. 44.


[80]. Jn. 3:13; 5:27; 6:27; cf. Mt.26:63-64; Tenney, The Gospel of John. 105.


[81]. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 1:130.  


[82]. Carson, “Matthew.” 8:505.

[83]. These events are described in more detail in 14.01.04.

[84]. See 13.02.01.


[85]. Among the most influential scholars to promote the so-called errors of the gospels, was the German theologian Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965). In 1908 he published Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung, translated in English as History of Life of Jesus Research,  but better known as the Quest for the Historical Jesus.


[86]. Other German theologians, besides Albert Schweitzer, who promoted errors in Scripture were Wilhelm Bousset (1865-1920), P. W. Schmidt (1868-1954), Heinrich Weinel (1874-1936). While they examined the literature and social culture of the first century, they failed to prioritize their sources.


[87]. Bultmann, The History of the Synoptic Tradition. 125.

[88]. Carson, “Matthew.” 8:507; Wenham, “Olivet Discourse.” 2:116-17.

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