The End of the Age (Thoughts on Luke 21)

We humans can accomplish great things. Sometimes such things become so great in our minds that we could never even imagine that it is possible that the great things that we have accomplished could ever be destroyed; things like the Titanic and the World Trade Center. For the first century Jew, it was the temple…

Luke 21:5-7 (HCSB)
As some were talking about the temple complex, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, He said, “These things that you see — the days will come when not one stone will be left on another that will not be thrown down!”

“Teacher,” they asked Him, “so when will these things be? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”

Matthew recorded the same scene here…

Matthew 24:1-3 (HCSB)
As Jesus left and was going out of the temple complex, His disciples came up and called His attention to the temple buildings. Then He replied to them, “Don’t you see all these things? I assure you: Not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down!”

While He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”

After Jesus had warned that “…the days will come when not one stone will be left on another that will not be thrown down!” (Luke 21:6), the disciples assumed that such a time could only mean the end of the age. Being that it has been 2,000 years since the warning of Jesus regarding the temple had come to fruition about 40 years later in 70A.D., we now know for sure that the end of the age was not connected with its destruction. However, there was an age that did come to a final end when the temple was destroyed… the Jewish age. As Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, just prior to the temple’s destruction…

Romans 2:28-29a (HCSB)
For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart — by the Spirit, not the letter.

In a similar fashion, Paul also encouraged at the end of his letter to the believers in Galatia, that Israel was different than what the typical “Jewish age” person at the time might have thought…

Galatians 6:16 (HCSB)
May peace come to all those who follow this standard, and mercy to the Israel of God!

In other words, the “Israel of God” is made up of those who follow the standard… Christ; not “something visible in the flesh.”

Today

For us, believers, the end of the age is not something to be stressed about. It is actually something to look forward to. Even though we are not told when…

Luke 21:24b (HCSB)
…the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

…we are told by Jesus that until then, we are to…

Luke 21:34-36 (HCSB)
“Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”

In the same vein, Paul wrote this reminder to the believers in Rome…

Romans 14:7-12 (HCSB)
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and came to life for this: that He might rule over both the dead and the living. But you, why do you criticize your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the tribunal of God. For it is written:

As I live, says the Lord,
every knee will bow to Me,
and every tongue will give praise to God.

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

May we always in this age, be on our guard…

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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