Turning to the disciples, Christ warned: “take heed that no one deceives you, for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many”. These words of Christ were fulfilled.
(Gospel of Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38)
One day, out of the temple, the disciples noticed Jesus in the Majesty and beauty of this building, the massive walls which once withstood a siege by the army of Nebuchadnezzar.
Before Jesus was really a magnificent sight, but He sadly said, “I see it all. The structure is fine. But listen to Me: the day will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another; all will be destroyed.”
Christ said this in front of a large crowd of people. But when He was alone, Peter, John, James, and Andrew came to Him on the mount of olives. “Tell us – they asked, – when will that be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the century?” Answering His disciples, Jesus did not separate the two events – the destruction of Jerusalem and the great day of His coming, plums together with their description, giving students the opportunity to understand their meaning. When He spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem, His prophetic words meant much more, and predicted the future down to the last great day when the Lord will come forth to punish the world for its sins. This word was said not only for students but also for those who will live in the last days of earth’s history.
Turning to the disciples, Christ warned: “take heed that no one deceives you, for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many”. These words of Christ were fulfilled. In the period between His death and the siege of Jerusalem had a lot of false Christs. But this warning is true for living lately. The same deception that has been used by false Christs before the destruction of Jerusalem, were repeated throughout the centuries and will occur in the future.
“Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of. Look, do not be dismayed; for all that must be, but the end is not yet” (that is not the end of the Jewish people), said Christ. “For nation will rise against nation, and Kingdom against Kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places; all these are the beginning of sorrows.” Before the destruction of Jerusalem they fought for power, everywhere, wars were fought and spread rumors. “All these signs, said Jesus, is just the beginning of His vessels.”
“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; And then shall many be offended, and to each other will betray and hate each other”. All this was endured by the Christians.
Through His servants, God gave the Jewish people a last opportunity to repent. He revealed Himself through His witnesses, who were tried and imprisoned, the judges handed down their death sentence. Whenever Christians are persecuted, witnesses of these persecutions make the choice for Christ or against Him. Those who showed sympathy for the condemned innocent, show favor to Christ. Others are annoyed by the fact that the principles of truth are in direct conflict with their customs.
Christ gave his disciples a sign of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem and explained how to be saved. “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh: then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains; and those in the city, come out of him; and who are in area, do not enter into it, because these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.” Christ warned about the events that will happen in forty years, when the destruction of Jerusalem. The Christians heeded this warning, and none of them died during the siege of the city.
“Pray lest your flight be not in winter or on Saturday,” Christ said. The Creator of the Sabbath did not abolish it, pinning it to the cross. Christ’s death did not diminish Saturday. Forty years after His crucifixion the Sabbath was to remain still Holy. For forty years the disciples were to pray that their flight did not happen Saturday.
From the destruction of Jerusalem Christ was immediately passed to the great event – to the last link in the chain of our earth’s history. He started talking about the coming of the Son of God in Majesty and glory. Between these two events Christ saw centuries of darkness, which was marked by blood, tears and torment His followers. His disciples would not stand such a sight, and Jesus mentioned it only briefly. “Then shall be great tribulation, – He said – which was not from the beginning of the world until now, and never will. And if not dropped those days, then would not have saved no flesh: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened”. More than a thousand years there was such persecution of the followers of Christ, which the world has never known before. And if the Lord stretched forth His hand to save His people, all would be lost. “But for the elect’s sake, ‘said He,’ those days shall be shortened”.
Persecution on religious grounds will repeat again in history. The rulers will make the laws that restrict religious freedom. They arrogate to themselves the authority that belongs to God is to dispose of the conscience of the person over whom power is the only God. Today they begin to take the first steps and will not stop until, until it reaches the limit through which it is impossible to pass because God will stand up for Your faithful people, keep the commandments.
The liberation of God’s children will be the Second coming of their Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ.