On today’s podcast, Gary responds to the questions the disciples ask Jesus about His coming and the “end of the age.”

What “age” or “period of time” was about to come to an end when Jesus’ disciples asked about “the end of the age” in Matthew 24:3 after they heard Jesus say that the temple was going to be “left desolate” (23:36)? The end of the old covenant age was on the horizon with the ministry of Jesus. He was the ultimate temple (John 2:19), sacrifice (1:29), and mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5). The physical temple was no longer needed. It was designed to be a placeholder for the True Temple.

Jesus v Jerusalem

Jesus v Jerusalem

Most don’t realize that most of Jesus’ parables were intended not as general morality tales, but as particular pronouncements of coming judgment and change. Jesus was warning Jerusalem to repent and to accept its new King (Jesus) or else fall under ultimate condemnation of God. In fact, much of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels pertains primarily to that pre-AD 70 crowd, and without reading it in this light, we misunderstand it. And when we misunderstand it, we misapply it.

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From the teaching of Jesus, Paul, and the author of Hebrews, we get a very clear picture of two primary ages: one that endured up until the time of Christ, and another that began around that same period. These two periods, being hinged upon the coming and work of Christ, pertain obviously to the Old and New Covenant administrations. Indeed, this is what the author of Hebrews himself relates. He says the New Covenant makes the Old obsolete: “And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8:13). Notice, the New had in fact made the Old obsolete definitively. But as he wrote, in his time, the Old was becoming obsolete and was ready to vanish away. It had not yet been completely wiped out, but it was certainly in its dying moments.

It died in AD 70, when the symbol and ceremonies of that Old system—the Temple and sacrifices—were completely destroyed by the Roman armies. This was the definitive moment when the “this age” of Jesus and Paul ended and completely gave way to their “age to come.” This, of course, is exactly why Jesus had tied “the end of the age” to His prophecy of the destruction of the Temple [that we read about in Matthew 24:1–3].[1]

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[1] Joel McDurmon, Jesus v. Jerusalem: A Commentary on Luke 9:51–20:26, Jesus’ Lawsuit Against Israel (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2011), 47–48.