esus Christ was standing at the mount of Olives describing to His disciples what was going to come to pass in the future. Motioning to the great temple in Jerusalem, He stated
"...the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Luke 21:6).
Because this was a new, and revolutionary teaching, and the temple was the center of the national life of Judaea, such a statement would greatly concern His largely Jewish followers. "But when shall these things be?" they asked (Luke 21:7). The description that followed has caused enormous division over the centuries, as some say these predictions were completely fulfilled when the Romans came and destroyed the temple 33 years later.
Others vehemently disagree, and believe these conditions are going to come to pass in our time. They teach that as soon as the Jewish people rebuild another temple, the foreordained destruction of that new temple will fulfill these predictions of Jesus Christ.
The truth is, they're both a little bit right, and they're both a little bit wrong. As he launched into His vivid description of wars, famine, pestilence, and "commotions...[and] fearful sights and great signs...from heaven" (Luke 21:9,11), He also said
"But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake" (Luke 21:120).
Notice again the geologic and stellar "signs" were preceded by a great persecution. It is a historical fact the early Christians were indeed hauled before magistrates, imprisoned, and frequently put to death.
However, in the book of Revelation, which was written about 25 years after Jerusalem was destroyed, the 5th seal is where we find a repetition of the martyrs, and "them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held" (Revelation 6:9).
Notice how during the seal that follows (the 6th seal), we see those "fearful sights and great signs...from heaven" when John tells us
"....the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth..." (Revelation 6:12,13).
This sequence is in precisely the same order that Jesus Christ described -- "but before all these" (Luke 21:12), there shall be great persecution. It should be apparent that because Revelation was written after Jerusalem's destruction, it cannot be predicting something that has already occurred. However, Luke's description clearly has portions of the preterist perspective in this chapter.
The simple answer is, both timelines are in view. These are the prophetic parallels, and they run throughout the Biblical texts. Furthermore, it must be noted that although the preterists are in error when they say these prophecies were all fulfilled in the destruction of Judaea and Jerusalem in 70 AD, the futurists (those that say every portion of these prophecies will literally occur in the near future) are also in error.
Because the only true temple is now found in the collective body of Christ (II Corinthians 6:16), our LORD's prediction is also speaking of a great destruction that will strike the end time's temple. When Christ states "the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Luke 21:6), he is describing the last day's temple of believers that will come under a tremendous assault. Peter uses the same picture when he writes
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (II Peter 2:5).
Because the New Testament teaches that we are the temple of God (as opposed to some physical temple built by the Jewish people), Christ's admonition concerning the devastation to come applies to the last generation of true believers -- however, the majority of the "church" is deceived as they follow the "Jewish fables" (Titus 1:14) taught by the Rapture Cult, even as they seek to support the modern state of Israel in their misguided efforts to build yet another Christ-rejecting temple.
The bottom line of all of this boils down to a question we frequently ask during our radio broadcasts: If you don't know who YOU are in the scriptures, how can you possibly know who JESUS is?
September 23 2005 -- James Lloyd
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