This morning we are going to do another addition to our Matthew 24 series. I would like to open our study this morning with a quote from N. Nisbett. He writes:
There is nothing more delightful to an honest mind than truth; nor more important than religious truth. In the holy Scriptures, a complete system of the latter is revealed. But it has unfortunately happened, that through prejudice and indolence, from whence has arisen implicit faith in the opinions of others, and sometimes from a misguided piety, truth has been concealed from the view of mankind, and Christ and his Apostles have been made to speak a language derogatory both to reason and religion, and directly contrary to fact and experience. N. Nisbetrt. M.A.
This truth is perhaps no more evident than when we look at what some have done to the teaching of Yeshua's Olivet Discourse. They make Christ speak “a language derogatory both to reason and religion, and directly contrary to fact and experience.”
As we study this chapter, we must keep its context and the disciples’ question in mind.
See, your house is left to you desolate. Matthew 23:38 ESV
Yeshua left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Matthew 24:1-2 ESV
Yeshua had given many warnings about Jerusalem's fall and the fact that the kingdom of God would be taken from them. The disciples reacted with questions:
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3 ESV
We could put the disciples' threefold question this way: “When will the temple be destroyed and what will be the sign of your presence in power and glory as Messiah and of the end of the Jewish age?"
In verses 4-14, Yeshua tells them that many things will happen prior to his Parousia—things that should not alarm them. One thing he tells them in these verses is that the gospel must be preached to all the world before the end comes. We saw in our last study that, according to Scripture, the gospel was preached to all the world before A.D. 70.
Now in verses 15-20, Yeshua gives them an unmistakable sign concerning the destruction of the temple, His Parousia, and the end of the Jewish age.
“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), Matthew 24:15 ESV
If you have heard any end time preaching, I am sure that you have heard about the "abomination of desolation." The popular version places in our future all of the events written in the book of Revelation, in spite of the fact that the Lord clearly told his “servant” that he would be shown things which “must shortly” come to pass—in his day. Those of this viewpoint further assert that seven years before the second coming, all Christians on the earth will be secretly whisked away to heaven. Automobiles driven by Christians will suddenly be driverless, planes piloted by Christians will be pilotless, teachers teaching school will suddenly be missing students, etc. I am sure you have seen the “Rapture” pictures at the Christian bookstores. At that same time, in our future, the first resurrection will occur, and dead saints will come out of their graves.
Then the Great Tribulation will come, the time when all the horrible things in the book of Revelation are poured out on this ungodly planet. The Jews will build a new temple in Jerusalem, and the Jewish sacrifices will be reinstituted. During this time, the Beast of Revelation 13 will arise. This Beast will enter into the temple at Jerusalem and proclaim himself to be God. He will then put into the temple a statue of himself which they say will be "the abomination of desolation."
The late John F. Walvoord (ThD), former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, commenting on Matthew 24:15, wrote:
Such a temple will be rebuilt and these prophecies literally fulfilled (like Jerusalem's destruction in AD 70 wasn't literal enough). If upon this revival of their sacrificial system such a future temple is suddenly desecrated, it would constitute a sign to the nation of Israel of the coming time of great trouble just preceding the second coming.
But is that what Yeshua is talking about in our text? No! Yeshua is talking about something that would happen in His generation (Matthew 24:34).
Every Christian I know (including myself), from their earliest Christian days, was taught these false ideas about the future Second Coming of Christ. We have read books on it, watched movies about it, and seen pictures depicting it. It was all we were ever taught, and, sadly, it is the only teaching many know about the Second Coming. Thus, every Christian must unlearn unbiblical teaching before they can understand the truth of Scripture.
I guess our first task is to get an understanding of what the "abomination of desolation" is. To the Jews, an abomination was anything that involved the worship of false gods in sacred places.
Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. 1 Kings 11:7 ESV
Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. Ezekiel 5:11 ESV
"Abomination of desolation" is a Hebrew expression meaning an abominable or hateful destroyer. To the Jews, the "abomination of desolation" spoken of by Daniel brought to their minds the Assyrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes.
According to Jewish history recorded in the Apocrypha, the passages in Daniel were fulfilled in the intertestamental period. 1 Maccabees records how Antiochus Epiphanes (who ruled Syria from 174 to 164 B.C.) came against Jerusalem. The Jews called what he did “the abomination of desolation." Antiochus had surnamed himself Epiphanes, which means "the God Made Manifest." It was his goal to stamp out the Jewish religion. A royal edict was proclaimed that suspended its practice under penalty and pain of death. He even turned priests’ rooms and the Temple chambers into public brothels. In December 168 B.C., the Temple was dedicated to Zeus. A statue of Zeus, which resembled Antiochus, was placed over the altar, and a pig was sacrificed on the alter itself! This was a filthy abomination in the sight of the Jews.
Josephus said of Antiochus Epiphanes:
He also spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant practice of offering a daily sacrifice of expiation for three years and six months…he compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of their country, and to keep their infants uncircumcised, and to sacrifice swine's flesh upon the alter" [Josephus, vol. 1, pp. 10-11].
Yeshua said that this "abomination of desolation" had been "spoken of by Daniel the prophet." This expression, "abomination of desolation," is found four times in Daniel.
Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one who spoke, “For how long is the vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled underfoot?” Daniel 8:13 ESV
And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” Daniel 9:26-27 ESV
This passage clearly refers to something which is to follow the coming and death of Messiah (i.e. to something connected with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans).
Keil and Delitzsch, in their Commentary on Daniel, write:
The interpretations (of Daniel 9:24-27) may be divided into three principal classes. 1. Most of the church fathers and the older orthodox interpreters find prophesied here the appearance of Christ in the flesh, His death, and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. 2. The majority of the modern interpreters, on the other hand, refer the whole passage to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes… (Daniel, p. 336)Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. Daniel 11:31 ESV
And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. Daniel 12:11 ESV
According to Jewish history recorded in the Apocrypha, these passages were fulfilled in the intertestamental period. Many today still see in these verses in Daniel a reference to Antiochus, but Yeshua said in His day that the "abomination of desolation" spoken of by Daniel was still future.
Dr. John A. Broadus said: "It is evident that our Lord interprets the prediction in Daniel as referring to the Messiah, and to that destruction of the city and temple which he is now foretelling; and his interpretation is authoritative for us."
I agree. Yeshua bypassed any declared fulfillment in Antiochus Epiphanes and interpreted the prophecy as relating to the events at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Many commentators find an allusion to the standards of the Roman legions in the expression, "The abomination of desolation." The eagles were objects of worship to the soldiers. We know from Josephus that the attempt of a Roman general, Vitellius, in the reign of Tiberius, to march his troops through Judea was resisted by the Jewish authorities on the grounds that the idolatrous images on their ensigns would be a profanation of the law.
B.H. Carroll (1947) writes:
Pilate, at that time Roman Procurator, sent from Caesarea, the seaport of that country on the Mediterranean Sea, a legion of Roman soldiers and had them secretly introduced into the city and sheltered in the tower of Antonio overlooking the Temple, and these soldiers brought with them their ensigns. The Roman sign was a straight staff, capped with a metallic eagle, and right under the eagle was a graven image of Caesar. Caesar claimed to be divine. Caesar exacted divine worship, and every evening when those standards were placed, the Roman legion got down and worshiped the image of Caesar thereof, and every morning at the roll call a part of the parade was for the whole legion to prostrate themselves before that graven image and worship it. The Jews were so horrified when they saw that image and the consequent worship, they went to Pilate, who was at that time living in Caesarea, and prostrated themselves before him and said, “Kill us, if you will, but take that abomination of desolation out of our Holy City and from the neighborhood of our holy temple.” [An Introduction of the English Bible, p. 263-264]
Matthew wrote that they will see this "abomination of desolation… standing in the holy place.” This does not need to be understood as the temple only but can include Jerusalem and any part of the land of Israel as well. To the Jews, all Jerusalem was considered holy.
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple Matthew 4:5 ESV
“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city… Daniel 9:24 ESV
but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. Revelation 11:2 ESV
Mark states it as "standing where it ought not" which means the same thing. But Luke really clears it up for us.
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Luke 21:20 ESV
By reading the surrounding verses, you cannot deny that this is a parallel account to Matthew's Olivet Discourse. Parallel accounts cannot have a different meaning. By combining Luke's statement with secular history, it is clear that Cestius Gallus and his Roman army were the abomination of desolation. It was fulfilled in A.D.66 when the Romans surrounded the city of Jerusalem.
"For this it seems to me that the abomination of desolation means the army by which the holy city of Jerusalem was made desolate." (The Ante-Nicene Fathers)
Augustine wrote (A. D. 379):
Luke to show that the abomination spoken of by Daniel will take place when Jerusalem is captured, recalls these words of the Lord in the same context: When you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army, then know that the desolation thereof is at hand (xxi. 20). For Luke very clearly bears witness that the prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled when Jerusalem was overthrown. (vol. 6, p. 170)
C.H. Spurgeon wrote (1888):
This portion of our Saviour's words appears to relate solely to the destruction of Jerusalem. As soon as Christ's disciples saw “the abomination of desolation,” that is, the Roman ensigns, with their idolatries, “stand in the holy place,” they knew that the time for their escape had arrived; and they did flee to the mountains. (Matthew: The Gospel of the Kingdom. . p. 215).
Albert Barnes wrote (1949):
"The abomination of desolation means the Roman army, and is so explained by Lu, xxi. 20. The Roman army is further called the abomination on account of the images of the emperor, and the eagles, carried in front of the legions, and regarded by the Romans with divine honours" (Matthew p. 254)
The Roman armies were an abomination and were considered desolating ones to the Jews—not only because they consisted of heathen men, and uncircumcised, but also because of the images of their gods, which were upon their ensigns. Such images and idols were always an abomination to the Jews. Our Lord informs his disciples that when they see the Roman armies encompassing Jerusalem with their ensigns flying with the abdominal images upon them, they should know that its desolation was at hand.
This was, therefore, Christ's explanation of the abomination of desolation—the heathen Roman army with its heathen images and standards, ready to sacrifice to idols on the temple altar and working the desolation of Jerusalem and the temple.
"Let the reader understand"—is designed to draw the attention of the reader of Daniel to the true meaning of the passage: “When ye shall see the abomination which makes desolation spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, standing in the holy place, where it ought not to be.” In other words, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, that is the sign of its destruction.
This makes a lot of sense when we take literally the word of Yeshua to the disciples: "Therefore when YOU see the 'abomination of desolation.'" He is talking to his disciples. He said “when "you" see the "abomination of desolation." He was neither referring to the Jews in general nor to the Jews of some future generation. How would the disciples see it if it is yet in our future?
The Liberty Commentary says, "You, must be taken generically, since the disciples have not lived to see this take place." Yeshua said they would see it; the Liberty Commentary says they didn't. I wonder whom we should believe? The Bible says nothing about a temple being set up in our future. Yeshua was talking about an event that would happen in His generation (Matthew 24:34). The predicted "abomination of desolation" mentioned by Yeshua is a thing of the past, fulfilled during the events of A.D. 66-70.
Because the prophecy in Luke says "armies" and not "army," some say this did not happen when the Roman army (singular) destroyed Rome. But if you read the historical accounts, you will see that Jerusalem was destroyed by "armies" (plural). Syria sent over 25,000 soldiers and Arabia sent 6,000 soldiers—all of which were under the command of Rome. It was a multi-national coalition of armies, and Rome was in control.
Phillip Schaff, in his History of the Christian Church, gives us a vivid picture of the destruction of Jerusalem in the following:
Titus (according to Josephus) intended at first to save that magnificent work of architecture, as a trophy of victory, and perhaps from some superstitious fear; and when the flames threatened to reach the Holy of Holies he forced his way through flame and smoke, over the dead and dying, to arrest the fire. (6) But the destruction was determined by a higher decree. His own soldiers, roused to madness by the stubborn resistance, and greedy of the golden treasures, could not be restrained from the work of destruction. At first the halls around the temple were set on fire. Then a firebrand was hurled through the golden gate. When the flames arose the Jews raised a hideous yell, and tried to put out the fire; while others, clinging with a last convulsive grasp to their Messianic hopes, rested in the declaration of a false prophet, that God in the midst of the conflagration of the Temple would give a signal for the deliverance of his people. The legions vied with each other in feeding the flames, and made the unhappy people feel the full force of their unchained rage. Soon the whole prodigious structure was in a blaze and illuminated the skies. It was burned on the tenth of August, A.D. 70, the same day of the year on which, according to tradition, the first temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar.
"No one," says Josephus, "can conceive a louder, more terrible shriek, than arose from all sides during the burning of the temple. The shout of victory and the jubilee of the legions sounded through the wailing of the people, now surrounded with fire and sword, upon the mountain, and throughout the city. The echo from all the mountains around, even to Perea, increased the deafening roar. Yet the misery itself was more terrible than this disorder. The hill on which the temple stood was seething hot and seemed enveloped to its base in one sheet of flame. The blood was larger in quantity than the fire, and those that were slain were more in number than those that slew them. The ground was nowhere visible. All was covered with corpses; over these heaps the soldiers pursued the fugitives. (7)
The Romans planted their eagles on the shapeless ruins, over against the eastern gate, offered their sacrifices to them, and proclaimed Titus Imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy concerning the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place." (8) (Philip Schaff, vol. 1 pp. 397-398).
The "abomination of desolation" is a past event, fulfilled in the events of A.D. 66-70. It was a sign for the disciples that Jerusalem was about to be destroyed and for them to flee from Jerusalem in order to escape the great tribulation which was coming upon the Jewish people.
Frank Gaebelein, in The Expositors Bible Commentary, says this, "Although many commentators hold that Matthew here portrays not just the Fall of Jerusalem but also the Great tribulation before Antichrist comes, the details in vv. 16-21 are too limited geographically and culturally to justify that view. "
then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Matthew 24:16 ESV
When the Roman armies were seen surrounding Jerusalem, this was the sign to get out of the entire country as soon as possible. They were not to be concerned when they HEARD of wars and rumors of wars, but when they SAW Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, THIS was a sign to flee to the mountains.
The phrase in verse 15 "standing in the holy place," must mean the city itself, for by the time the Romans had actually desecrated the temple in A.D. 70, it was too late for anyone in the city to flee. The exhortation to flee is given to those in the adjacent country as well as to those in the city. The temptation was probably to run into the city for protection from its walls, but Yeshua said, "flee to the mountains." While the Christians fled, the Jews in general rushed into the city, resulting in a horrible blood bath.
The church historian Eusebius, (A.D. 270-340) who wrote the only surviving account of the Church during its first 300 years, writes,
"The whole body, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella."
Josephus gives us an account of the Roman army pulling back from the battle at Jerusalem for no apparent reason.
It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world. But when the robbers perceived this unexpected retreat of his, they resumed their courage, and ran after the hinder parts of his army, and destroyed a considerable number of both their horsemen and footmen. (Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, book II, Chapter XIX, Section, 7)
William Whiston, (1737) the translator of Josephus, has this footnote:
There may another very important, and very providential, reason be here assigned for this strange and foolish retreat of Cestius; which, if Josephus had been now a Christian, he might probably have taken notice of also; and that is, the affording the Jewish Christians in the city an opportunity of calling to mind the prediction and caution given them by Christ about thirty-three years and a half before, that “when they should see the abomination of desolation” [the idolatrous Roman armies, with the images of their idols in their ensigns, ready to lay Jerusalem desolate] “stand where it ought not;” or, “in the holy place”; or, “when they should see Jerusalem any one instance of a more unpolitic, but more providential, compassed with armies”; they should then “flee to the mountains.” By complying with which those Jewish Christians fled to the mountains of Perea and escaped this destruction.
John Gill (1949) says this:
...it is remarked by several interpreters, and which Josephus takes notice of with surprise, that Cestius Gallus having advanced with his army to Jerusalem, and besieged it, on a sudden without any cause, raised the siege, and withdrew his army, when the city might have been easily taken; by which means a signal was made, and an opportunity given to the Christians, to make their escape: which they accordingly did, and went over to Jordan, as Eusebius says, to a place called Pella; so that when Titus came a few months after, there was not a Christian in the city… (John Gill, on Matthew 24:16).
According to Foy Wallace (1966, The Book of Revelation, p. 352):
It is a remarkable but historical fact that Cestius Gallus, the Roman general, for some unknown reason, retired when they first marched against the city, suspended the siege, ceased the attack and withdrew his armies for an interval of time after the Romans had occupied the temple, thus giving every believing Jew the opportunity to obey the Lord's instruction to flee the city. Josephus the eyewitness, himself an unbeliever, chronicles this fact, and admitted his inability to account for the cessation of the fighting at this time, after a siege had begun. Can we account for it? We can. The Lord was fighting against Jerusalem Zechariah 14:2: 'For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city: The Lord was besieging that city. God was bringing these things to pass against the Jewish state and nation. Therefore, the opportunity was offered for the disciples to escape the siege, as Jesus had forewarned, and the disciples took it. So said Daniel; so said Jesus; so said Luke, so said Josephus.
History records that for no known reason Cestius Gallus suspended the siege, ceased the attack, and withdrew his armies. At this time, every believing Jew had the opportunity to flee the city as the Lord had instructed them.
Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. Matthew 24:17-18 ESV
The idea here is that when the armies came against the city, they were to get out as fast as they could. Delay might mean being captured, being turned back, or perhaps even being killed. The general thought is clear: They were to waste no time in making their escape from the doomed city.
And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Matthew 24:19 ESV
Women who were pregnant or had nursing babies would have a difficult time fleeing from the city.
Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. Matthew 24:20 ESV
To flee from your home and have to live in caverns in the mountains would be more difficult in the winter. The manmade Sabbath rules imposed on the Jews by the Pharisees would make fleeing on the Sabbath more difficult because few would help, and many would try to prevent traveling farther than a Sabbath day's journey. Yeshua clearly expects these events to take place while the strict Sabbath law is in effect.
The instructions Yeshua gives his disciples about what to do, in view of verse 15, are so specific that they must be related to the Jewish War. If these verses were speaking of some future second coming of Christ, none of these conditions would matter. Yeshua spoke these words to His disciples and history records that all these things took place in A.D. 66-70 in the Jewish war. These verses have nothing to do with a future-to-us second coming of Christ.
In spite of all the evidence, biblical and historical, some see "the abomination of desolation" as referring to an event in our future. Because they cannot accept that the Lord returned in A.D. 70, they say this event has not yet happen. Some do see this as fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, but they look for yet another fulfillment in the future. This is called the double-sense theory.
The proponents of this theory contend that the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem were but a type of the final eschatological events which they believe are still to come. For example, William Hendriksen, in his commentary on Matthew, says this about "the abomination of desolation":
"When shall this - destruction of Jerusalem and its temple - be? Jesus answers it now, but in such a way that the answer suits more than one event in history."
So, the double-sense advocates can say, "Yes, these verses speak of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 but they also speak of a future “abomination of desolation." One of the leading Dispensationalists shows why the "abomination of desolation," spoken of by Matthew, cannot be taken in a double-sense.
John Walvoord, in his commentary on Matthew, says this,
This portion of the Olivet discourse is crucial to understanding what Christ reveals about the end of the age. The tendency to explain away this section or ignore it constitutes the major difficulty in the interpretation of the Olivet discourse. In the background is the tendency of liberals to discount prophecy and the practice of some conservatives of not interpreting prophecy literally. [Which is exactly what Walvoord does, he does not interpret it literally. He sees it as a yet future event]
If this prediction means what it says, it is referring to a specific time of great trouble which immediately precedes the second coming of Christ. [This is correct, but because he sees the second coming as an earth-burning, end-all event, he cannot let the Scripture mean what it says] As such, the prediction of the great tribulation is “the sign” of the second coming, and those who see the sign will be living in the generation which will see the second coming itself. [Right again. Yeshua was speaking to his disciples, so wouldn't that be a literal interpretation? The sign was to them. The Lord returned to them—in that generation.]
Accordingly, the interpretation of G. Campbell Morgan, which relates this to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, and the view of Alfred Plummer, which relates it to the second coming of Christ as if fulfilled in the first century, are unjustified interpretations, if the passage is taken seriously. (Note: All bracketed comments are mine, DBC).
Why? If you are going to take this passage seriously, you need to see it as fulfilled in that generation, just as the Lord said it would be. Walvoord does not see a double-sense here because he realizes that there would have to be multiple second comings.
On the Double-sense Theory of Interpretation, James Stuart Russell wrote the following:
Far be it from us to make God speak with two tongues, or to attach a variety of senses to His Word, in which we ought rather to behold the simplicity of its divine author reflected as in a clear mirror (Ps. xii. 6; xix. 8.) Only one meaning of Scripture, therefore, is admissible: that is, the grammatical, in whatever terms, whether proper or tropical and figurative, it may be expressed.
Dr. Owens has this to say about the Double-sense Theory, "If the Scripture has more than one meaning, it has no meaning at all: and it is just as applicable to the prophecies as to any other portion of Scripture.”
Canon Ryle says this:
I hold that the words of Scripture were intended to have one definite sense, and that our first object should be to discover that sense, and adhere rigidly to it. I believe that, as a general rule, the words of Scripture are intended to have, like all other language, one plain definite meaning, and that to say that words do mean a thing merely because they can be tortured into meaning it, is a most dishonorable and dangerous way of handling Scripture. Canon Ryle, Expository Thoughts on St. Luke, vol. i. P. 383.
What would keep anyone from applying this "double-sense" principle to the prophecies concerning the life and death of Christ? Should we expect a "second fulfillment" of Christ's birth, death, and resurrection by some man in the twenty first century? Why not? Once God fulfills that which was spoken, it is finished.
After many predictions about the kingdom of God being taken from Jews and about Jerusalem's destruction, the Lord told his disciples that not one stone of the temple would be left upon another; it would all be destroyed. The disciples responded with the questions; "When, and what will be the sign of your presence and the end of the Jewish age?" In answer to their question, Yeshua tells them that first the gospel must be preached to all nations and then the end would come. Then he tells them that THEY (not some far distant generation) would see the "abomination of desolation" spoken of by Daniel the prophet. He told them it would be a sign to THEM of his presence and of the end of the Jewish age. He said it would all happen in THEIR generation. It did! They saw the "abomination of desolation" and when they did, they fled to the mountains. Yeshua can be trusted, his Word is true.
We need to take the words of Scripture seriously. Yeshua said he would return to that generation, and he did. It is time we believed his words:
Yeshua answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” John 18:36 ESV
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Luke 17:20-21 ESV
Despite the clear words of Yeshua, many are looking for a physical kingdom. His kingdom is here now. It came in A.D. 70. It is a spiritual kingdom, not a physical fleshly kingdom, and it did not come with observation.