NOTE: Be it known that this article is still a work in progress. Also, please bear with the poor English of the author.
Part 1: Looking Through the Stones of the Buildings of the Temple
There is another way of looking at the Olivet Prophecy. It is through something like an “optical filtering device.” This “device” is the prophecy of the Lord Yeshua regarding the stones of the Temple and the questions of the apostles about it. We should look at the Olivet Prophecy through these things because it is through these things that this prophecy was told by our Messiah, shouldn’t we?
Here are the accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke about the Prophecy of the Stones of the Buildings of the Temple:
Matthew 24:1-3 KJV
(1) And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
(2) 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.
(3) 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?
Mark 13:1-4 KJV
(1) And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
(2) And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
(3) And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
(4) Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
Luke 21:5-7 KJV
(5) And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
(6) As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
(7) And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
As we can see here, there are no major differences between these three renditions except for one thing. While the questions concerning the stones of the Temple are present in all the three Gospels, the questions from Matthew “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” are not present in Mark and Luke.
The throwing down of the stones of the Temple prophesied by the Lord Yeshua was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Now, let’s look at the Olivet Prophecy in relation to the time of the destruction of the buildings of the Temple in 70 AD.
Matthew 24:4-5 KJV
(4) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
(5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
This is the Lord’s first answer to the apostles’ first question. He gives warnings and instructions together with the statement (underlined) which is the first sign that the stones of the Temple are to be thrown down. This statement had started to occur before the buildings of the Temple were destroyed in 70 AD and it continued to happen after that. Click the following links to know about the persons who claimed to be the Christ:
Matthew 24:6-8 KJV
(6) And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
(7) For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
(8) All these are the beginning of sorrows.
The underlined statement above is the Lord’s second answer to the apostles’ first question. This statement is the second sign that the stones of the Temple are to be thrown down. In the account of Luke this statement was rendered:
(Luke 21:9 ASV) And when ye shall hear of wars and tumults, be not terrified: for these things must needs come to pass first; but the end is not immediately.
Here’s a quote from John Gill about this verse:
Here wars may mean the commotions, insurrections, and seditions, against the Romans, and their governors; and the intestine slaughters committed among them, some time before the siege of Jerusalem, and the destruction of it. Under Cureanus the Roman governor, a sedition was raised on the day of the Passover, in which twenty thousand perished; after that, in another tumult, ten thousand were destroyed by cut-throats: in Ascalon two thousand more, in Ptolemais two thousand, at Alexandria fifty thousand, at Damascus ten thousand, and elsewhere in great numbers (i).
– John Gill
Let’s remember that the “wars and rumors or tumults” that occurred BEFORE 70 AD are the sign and not those that happened after 70 AD.
Below are historical lists of the events in verse 7. It is up to the reader how he/she will view the events in the lists in regard to the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
Matthew 24:9-14 KJV
(9) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
(10) And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
(11) And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
(12) And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
(13) But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
(14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Many of us know that these persecutions started in the apostolic days (before 70 AD). The apostles themselves (and others too) were persecuted and hated and some of them were killed because of the Name of the Lord Yeshua. There are many accounts of these things in the New Testament.
Even though these persecutions and killings continued AFTER 70 AD, the persecutions and killings BEFORE 70 AD are the sign that the stones of the buildings of the Temple are to be thrown down. This is the third sign given by our Messiah regarding the stones of the Temple.
Each of these three signs belongs to a group or series of events. Each of these groups from Matthew, Mark, and Luke may have one or a combination of any of the following things from the Lord Yeshua:
Clues and hints
For our convenience let’s have a term for this kind of group which is a combination of things. We will call it “SEWIC” – an acronym for Sign, Events, Warnings, Instructions, and Clues. So, the passage below…
Mark 13:5-6 KJV
(5) And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
(6) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
… we’ll call it: the 1st SEWIC of Mark. The three SEWICs are not the sign itself but an event or events in them could be the sign that the stones of the Temple are about to be thrown down.
Can the reader now see through the “optical filtering device” the basic structure of this prophecy?
Let’s call “X-SEWIC” the passage where the “abomination that desolates” can be found (Mat 24:15-28, Mark 13:14-23).
Part 2: False Messiahs (1st SEWIC)
Part 3: Fearful Things and Terrors (2nd SEWIC)
Part 4: Persecutions and Martyrdoms (3rd SEWIC)
Part 5: The Desolation and the Great Distress According to Luke
Part 6: The Great Tribulation (GT)
Part 7: The Coming of Lord (LAST-SEWIC)
Part 8: The Illustration of the Fig Tree