When will these things happen – Matthew 24 and the vindication of Messiah

‘Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”‘ (Matthew 24:1-3)

After denouncing the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, and announcing that all the innocent blood ever shed from the time of Abel would be avenged upon that generation, Jesus abandoned the temple, and departed on the course followed by the Shechinah in Ezekiel’s vision (Eze. 11:23), namely towards the east and onto the Mount of Olives.

It was probably on the ascent of that Mount on the other side of the Kidron Valley that the disciples pointed back to the magnificent structure that the Herodians had spent more than 46 years in building (John 2:20). Alfred Edersheim imagines the circumstance:

“They had left the Sanctuary and the City, had crossed black Kidron, and were slowly climbing the Mount of Olives. A sudden turn in the road, and the Sacred Building was once more in full view. Just then the western sun was pouring its golden beams on tops of marble cloisters and on the terraced courts, and glittering on the golden spikes on the roof of the Holy Place. In the setting, even more than in the rising sun, must the vast proportions, the symmetry, and the sparkling sheen of this mass of snowy marble and gold have stood out gloriously. And across the black valley, and across the slopes of the Olivet, lay the dark shadows of those gigantic walls built of massive stone, some of them nearly twenty-four feet long.”1

Yet, ‘what is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight’.2 Our Lord did not hold sentimental affections and was not moved by aesthetic grandeur. He could see only the monument to pride and religious pretence that the temple had become – a place that the God of Israel had now finally abandoned.

In response to his disciples’ astonishment and disbelief, in full view of the revered structure and all its sublime splendour, the Lord confirms the desolation He announced earlier.3 “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

While the earlier destruction at the time of the Babylonians had served as a warning and precedent, Jesus’ prophecy hints at finality in the judgment that was about to come. Complete demolition (down to the last stone) was the final step prescribed by the Law of Moses for a contaminated dwelling, only after everything that could be done to preserve it had failed. (See Leviticus 14:33-45, or our article ‘The Leprous House’ which deals with this topic.)


It is Jesus’ confirmation that the Temple’s fate is sealed that leads to the disciples’ question: ‘When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’

Some argue this to be three separate questions, so that Jesus’ answer in the subsequent verses must be unravelled and applied to three different events, namely (i) the temple’s destruction, (ii) his coming and (iii) the end of the age. But this is not supported by the parallel accounts in Mark’s and Luke’s gospels. These render the disciples’ question as follows:

‘Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?’ (Mark 13:4)

‘Teacher,’ they asked, ‘when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?’ (Luke 21:7)

From their context it is clear that a single event is referred to.

In Matthew’s version of the disciples’ question, we must understand that the events Jesus prophesied against the Temple would, by implication, happen at his coming in judgment and would also, by further implication, bring about the end of that age.

Matthew records the disciples’ question in the prophetic idiom of the Hebrew scriptures, which was familiar to the Jewish audience for which his gospel was written. In this idiom, the execution of Divine judgment is spoken of as a visitation of the LORD, as either His coming or His coming in the cloud.

“Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous around him.” (Psalm 50:3)

For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. (Isaiah 26: 21. Cf. Mat 23:35-36 & Rev 18:24).

Even more pertinent is Micah’s prophecy against the ‘high places’ of Judah – being localities of false worship,4 which the Temple in Jerusalem had now become:

‘For behold, the LORD comes forth from His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be melted under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel  …  What are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem?’ (Micah 1:3-5).

From this we can understand ‘the Temple’s destruction’ as a consequence of  ‘the Lord’s coming in judgment’, but how are these events further linked to ‘the end of the age’?

The Temple was the only place under the Law of Moses where the Israelites were permitted to offer sacrifices and make atonement for sin (Deut.12,16, etc.). The loss of the Temple was consequently also the loss of their means of atonement under the Mosaic covenant, which would render that covenant ineffectual and mean the end of Israel as it was then constituted.

Daniel prophesied some 530 years earlier that ‘seventy weeks’ were decreed ‘for your people and your holy city … The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the Sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed’ (Daniel 9:24, 26b).

‘The end’ that Daniel spoke of 5 is apparently the same ‘end of the age’ the disciples are referring to, namely the end of Israel’s epoch under the Sinai Covenant, which also coincided with the Temple’s destruction.

If this is correct, what of the various events that Jesus describes in response to the disciples – all of which must then preceed the Temple’s destruction in AD70?


We are told in Luke’s parallel account that the events predicted by Jesus in response to his disciples’ question relate to the great distress which was to come upon ‘the land,’ and the ‘wrath upon this people’ (Luke 21:23).  From Matthew’s version we know that ‘this generation will not pass’ until all these things have come (v. 34, cf. Mat 23:36). From this we confirm that Jesus’ prophecy concerns the land of Israel and the Jewish people and would have to come about within forty years (one generation) of his death.

This outpouring of God’s wrath was moreover in fulfilment of all that the Hebrew Prophets had previously foretold regarding the fate of impenitent Israel: “For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22).

It is thus natural that Jesus should allude to the “things written”, i.e. by the Prophets, and should use their language and imagery to evoke in his hearers’ minds a recollection of those passages, and to demonstrate their fulfilment in the events he was predicting for that time. With this in mind, Jesus begins his response6 with an allusion to Daniel’s above-cited prophecy of the Temple’s destruction.

you will hear of wars and rumours of wars … but the end is not yet

war will continue until the end

and there will be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places

and desolations have been decreed

 then the end will come

the end will come like a flood:

 Mat 24:6,14

Dan 9:26b

Daniel and Jesus seemingly speak of the same events, i.e. those leading up to the destruction of the Temple and the end of that age.

While many are anxiously counting wars and natural disasters in the present time, we have it on the authority of both scripture and history, that war and famine ensued from the time of Jesus’ crucifixion to the time that the Romans conquered Jerusalem, forty years later.More than ten major earthquakes were recorded during that time.8

A critical intervening factor before ‘the end would come’ – not mentioned by Daniel in chapter 9, but announced earlier in his Book – was that the Kingdom of God would at that time be established, amidst the kingdoms of this world. “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

This kingdom would be established by means of ‘this gospel of the Kingdom’ which would spread out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, before the Temple’s destruction. In fulfilling this commission, the disciples would face persecution and suffering, and often pay with their lives.

“And you will hear of wars, and rumours of wars: see that you are not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there will be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in different places. All these are the beginning of birth-pangs. Then will they deliver you up to be afflicted, and will kill you: and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then will many be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another. And many false prophets will arise, and will deceive many. And because iniquity will abound, the love of many will become cold. But he that endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world, for a testimony to all nations; and then will the end come” (Mat 24:6-14).

The prediction of persecution corresponds with the earlier warnings in Matthew 10, John 15, John 16, etc. (‘… they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues,’ etc.).  It follows also as the consequence of Matthew 23:34, where Jesus predicts the murderous response of the religious sects toward those sent to advance the Kingdom after his ascent.

“Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.”

The hatred toward the apostles would spill over to the nations to which the gospel was later proclaimed, and stem not only from Jews of the Diaspora, but also from hostile Gentiles, many of whom were threatened by the demise of idolatry, paganism and emperor worship. There are ample records of these persecutions in the Acts and epistles,9 not to mention church history.

That many of the saints shrunk back at this time is also borne out by the testimony of scripture.10 But those ‘who endured to the end’ (Mat 24:13) – being, in this case, the end of their mortal lives11 – were preserved.

Despite the widespread opposition, the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ reached the ends of the earth before AD70. We have this also on the authority of scripture, in that Colossians 1:6 states that ‘all over the world this gospel is bearing fruit,’ and Romans 10:18 states that the gospel had ‘gone out into all the earth … to the ends of the world‘.12a  R. T. France helps us understand the intent of these words:

“‘The world’ is ‘oikoumene,’ lit. ‘the inhabited area’, a standard term originally for the Greek world (as opposed to barbarians), then for the Roman Empire, and subsequently for the whole of the then known world; it is thus not so much a geographical term which must include every area and community now known to be on earth, but rather an indication of the universal offer of the gospel to all nations, i.e. outside the confines of the Jewish community.”12b

As the gospel spread, it reached not only faithful Jews of the Diaspora, but also the estranged and assimilated descendants of Israel’s northern tribes and many God-fearing souls from among the Gentiles. This fulfilled Isaiah’s well-known prophecy: ‘It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth’.13

These three groups would thus be united to become heirs of the Kingdom, the Israel of God. Isaiah further predicted the new nation that would be born from the ashes of the Jerusalem that is from below:

Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: ‘Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, `Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame.
Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple!
It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve.
‘Before she goes into labour, she gives birth;
before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son.
Who has ever heard of such a thing?
Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day
or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labour than she gives birth to her
children.’ (Isaiah 66:5-8)

The events of Matthew 24:6-8 are thus described as ‘the beginning of birth-pangs’ – in an apparent allusion to Isaiah 66.14 At this time, the ‘physical’ and ‘temporal’ would give birth to the spiritual, and the ‘types and shadows’ of the Old Covenant bring forth eternal realities. It was not only the ‘end of that age’ that was near, but also the new beginning that was proclaimed by John the Baptist, and by the Lord himself through-out his earthly ministry, namely that “the Kingdom of God is at hand”.

The Old would become obsolete and disappear before the New could be finally established.15 David was anointed king during Saul’s lifetime, but not enthroned and accepted till after Saul’s death. So, also, the Jerusalem that was of the carnal realm had to be ‘cast out’ in order to make way for the eternal city of God (see Galatians 4:21-31), and Messiah’s reign over God’s kingdom would be incontrovertible only from the time of the Temple’s destruction.

Having completed his work on earth, obtaining redemption from sins through the gift of his blood, the Son of Man ascended to heaven and entered the presence of the Ancient of Days, as prophesied by Daniel, to receive ‘authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.’ 16


A more detailed description of the circumstances leading to ‘the end’ follows in verses 15-22:

“Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand). Then let those in Judea flee into the mountains. Let him on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house; nor let him in the field turn back to take his clothes. And woe to those who are with child, and to those who give suck in those days! But pray that your flight is not in the winter, nor on the Sabbath day; for then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:15-22).

The abomination that causes desolation, ‘spoken of by the prophet Daniel,’ is not the abomination spoken of in chapter eleven of his Book, but rather the abomination that would make the city and the Sanctuary desolate (Daniel 9:26), i.e. the Roman armies. We know this from the parallel account in Luke’s gospel, where the herald of imminent destruction is clearly identified as the armies that surround the city: “And when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that its destruction has come” (Luke 21:20).

From this account we also know that the holy place is not only the inner sanctum or even the temple complex as a whole, but rather the entire city, as it was often described, i.e. as the holy city or Jerusalem the holy.17

When the Roman armies came to encircle Jerusalem, the believers in Messiah would know to make their immediate escape. Those who were in the country would likewise not enter the city (Luke 21:21), as did the rest of the Jews – for the siege closed in at the time of the Passover, when the whole country was coming up to Jerusalem for the Feast. Josephus gives an account:

‘ … the number of those who perished during the whole siege [was] eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation, but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army …’ 18

Daniel saw that it would be ‘for the overspreading of abominations, [that] he shall make [the city and the Sanctuary] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate’ (Daniel 9:27, KJV).

In the time leading up to the siege, Jerusalem fell into anarchy, with rival factions of the Jews fighting for control. The faction most eager for war against Rome made the temple precinct its barracks and headquarters, and regularly went out from there to kill any of the Jews who favoured peace.19 The same faction took authority over the priesthood, deposing and appointing the High Priest at a whim, choosing their candidate without regarding lineage or qualification, by the casting of lots. For the proliferation of bloodshed and the atrocities that occurred (i.e. ‘the overspreading of abominations’), the deposed High Priest, Ananus, reportedly cried: “Certainly it would have been good for me to die before I had seen the house of God so full of so many abominations, or these sacred places, that ought not to be trodden upon at random, filled with the feet of these blood-shedding villains.” 20

The same temple courts from which Jesus had driven the money changers later became a mortuary for Jews killed in faction fighting, while there flowed through the inner courts of the Sanctuary the blood of priests killed ‘while performing their sacred ministrations,’ and of many worshippers interrupted at the altar by the darts and arrows of the bandits.21

It was thus not for the desecration wrought by Antiochus Epiphanes at the time of the Maccabees, i.e. the events described in Daniel 11, or for any similar or corresponding event in later history, but for the overspreading of the Jews’ own abominations that the Temple would be destroyed. It is perhaps this that called for ‘special understanding’ in the application of Daniel’s prophecy.22

The conditions that prevailed elsewhere in the city are recorded by Josephus in books 5 and 6 of The Jewish War. After one of the factions of the Jews set fire to the city’s grain supply, whole families and households succumbed to famine. The bandits obtained food by torture and dissected the dead for whatever half digested food they could find. A mother shamelessly made a meal of her infant child.

In summary, Josephus suggests: ‘neither did any other city ever allow such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world.’23 As for the extent of the tribulation that came upon Jerusalem at that time, ‘the multitude therein perished exceeded all the destruction that either men or God ever brought upon the world,’ and ‘the misfortunes of all men, from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to these of the Jews are not so considerable as they were.’24

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24: 21-22).

‘For the sake of the elect,’ suggests R. T. France, means: ‘in order to allow the elect to survive, or perhaps because the presence of the elect in the world mitigates the severity of God’s judgment (cf. the righteous in Sodom, Genesis 18:23-32).’25

That ‘flesh’ would be saved, proves once again that the Lord is not speaking in these verses of the judgment at the end of the mortal age. A number of Jews survived the siege. Some were carried off as slaves to various parts of the Empire and about forty thousand were left free to remain in the Land or choose their own abodes.26


The prevalence of false prophets and false Messiahs at that time, is explained in the illustration of vultures gathering around a corpse (Matthew 24:28). Purveyors of falsehood prey on the spiritually destitute. That many such leaders arose at that time, probably with claims to divine authority and anointing, is once again evident from both Scripture and history.27 Josephus explains how the utter desperation of those caught up in Jerusalem’s ‘extremity’ induced them to hopes of deliverance, at a time when nothing but judgment could be expected from God:

‘A false prophet was the occasion of these people’s destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. Now there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose on the people, who pronounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes. Now a man in this adversity does easily comply with such promises … Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as believed God himself; while they did not attend nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation.’ 28

Knowing this would happen, Jesus warned his disciples that He would not again appear in the guise of mortal flesh or emerge from obscurity as He did at his first coming.

“Therefore if they shall say to you, Behold, He is in the desert! Do not go out. Behold, He is in the [storehouses]! Do not believe it. For as the lightning comes out of the east and shines even to the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:26-27).

Having established his kingdom and accomplished salvation unto eternal life, Messiah will not reappear to lead Israel in conventional warfare. God’s people are delivered and saved by the Word that shall never pass away. In the same way the believers of that time escaped the judgment on Jerusalem by heeding Jesus’ prophecy (not by his military intervention). Ultimately we have the assurance that nothing in all creation, not even death itself, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).

Jesus would reappear for judgment – on the Jew first and then later on the Gentile (Romans 2:29) – and to save those who are waiting for him, in accordance with the promise of John 14:3. In both these comings His identity and Divine glory would be unmistakable.


“And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in the heavens. And then all the tribes of the [land] shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His [messengers] with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree. When its branch is still tender and puts out leaves, you know that summer is near. So you, likewise, when you see all these things, shall know that it is near, at the doors. Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass until all these things are fulfilled” (Matthew 24:29-34).

The tribulation of those days is the distress that came on Jerusalem at the time of the siege, and the end of that extremity would also be the end of that city and of that age, as Daniel prophesied. The end would come immediately after, ‘like a flood’.

Cosmic disintegration was a prophetic allegory for God’s judgment on nations and dynasties, as we see from various precedents:

 Babylon  Egypt  Israel
the stars of the heavens and their constellations shall not give light; the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not reflect its light. And when I put you out, I will cover the heaven and make its stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. The earth shall tremble before them; the heavens shall shake. The sun and the moon shall grow dark, and the stars shall gather in their light. the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken
 Isaiah 13:10  Ezekiel 32:7  Joel 2:19  Mat 24:29

The sun, moon and stars have a deeper significance in Israel’s case since Jacob and his wife and children were described in this metaphor.29

The appearance of a sign (verse 30) would not be necessary if the Son of Man would come visibly at this time. The sign is necessary because his coming in the clouds of heaven, in power and vindication glory, alludes once more to Daniel, who spoke of ‘one like the son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven,’ to receive from the Ancient of Days ‘authority, glory and sovereign power’ so that ‘all peoples, nations and men of every language’ might worship him. The fall of Jerusalem was itself the evidence that Jesus was enthroned at the right hand of the Father in heaven, bringing judgment on the city.30 Josephus mentions the appearance of a bright star over Jerusalem – similar to the one that marked the nativity at Bethlehem – before the Temple’s destruction. 30a

Adam Clarke comments on verse 30: “The plain meaning of this is, that the destruction of Jerusalem will be such a remarkable instance of Divine vengeance, such a signal manifestation of Christ’s power and glory, that all the Jewish tribes shall mourn, and many will, in consequence of this manifestation of God, be led to acknowledge Christ and his religion.”

Since Deuteronomy 18:22 establishes the fulfilment of prophecy as the test for a true prophet, Jesus would be fully vindicated at the time that his prophecy was fulfilled. He is thus affirmed by the destruction of the temple and city as the risen King, ruling from the right hand of the Father in heavenly glory, with power to execute judgment and bring salvation.

The trumpet call that called back the exiles in Isaiah 27:13 would now call in the elect from the four corners of the earth. This harvest of souls to whom the gospel was sown, from far and wide for Messiah’s glory, is contrasted with the tribes of the land (Greek – της γης), who would mourn for the one they had pierced, in accordance with Zechariah 12:10. (See our article, They shall look to Me whom they have pierced,  published in the 1st quarter of 2005.)

It was the second time in Israel’s history that judgment was pronounced upon a generation. The first being after the majority in the wilderness scorned God by doubting their deliverance into the promised Land. (This in spite of the many miracles He gave to prove His faithfulness, from the time He led them out of Egypt.)

“And the LORD’S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the LORD was consumed” (Numbers 32:13).

In keeping with the precedent, the judgments Jesus announced in sight of that great edifice, from the slopes of the Mount of Olives, occurred also within forty years of His word (i.e. upon “this generation”).

The apostle Paul answers his own question, ‘did, then, God’s word [as pertaining to Israel] fail’ in the negative. The remnant of his people, saved by grace, received the Holy Spirit and became heirs to the kingdom. These same Jews within a single generation brought Abraham’s blessing to the world – in fulfilment of God’s promise: all nations will be blessed through you. The same also formed the natural branches of the olive tree, which continued in the nourishing sap of the word of God and the faith of the patriarchs, being the root and stem of Israel as reconstituted under the New Covenant, to which a great multitude has been added over the past two thousand years.


In much the same way as a person might unwittingly wait for a bus that has already passed, our ignorance of the history of the interval between Jesus’ ascension and the Roman siege of AD70 has contributed much to our expectation that events mentioned in Matthew 24 must still come to pass.

In addition, a more thorough study the Prophets will acquaint us with their idiom, language and allegory, and thus free us from our bland literalism.

Excerpts from Josephus, The Jewish War, have been published on our website under the menu item ‘Jesus revealed in prophecy’. These excerpts are highly recommended, together with the New Testament histories of F. F. Bruce, to increase knowledge of the events of that time.

Links to ‘War of the Jews (1) – the seige on Jerusalem’  and ‘War of the Jews (2) – the last days of the Temple’.



  1. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book 5, ch. 6.
  2. Luke 16:15.
  3. Mat 23:38. Cf. Jeremiah 26:1-11.
  4. See Leviticus 26:30; Numbers 21:28, 22:41, etc. Cf. Micah 1:5.
  5. See also Daniel 8, verses 19 & 24.
  6. Begins, that is, after warning his disciples not to be deceived by those who falsely claim God’s anointing.
  7. Acts 11:27-30 records a famine that ‘spread over the entire Roman world’.
  8. In Crete, Smyrrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, Laodicea, Hierapolis, Colosse, Campania, Rome, Judea and Pompei.
  9. Acts 5:40, 16:23, 12:2, 26:10, among other references. Of those in the epistles, 1 Thes 2:14-16 is the most pertinent: ‘For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.’
  10. See 2 Tim 1:15 & 4:10 as examples.
  11. “Endurance is a prominent apocalyptic theme … To the end … is a standard phrase for ‘right through’ (it lacks the article [in the Greek text], which would be needed, as in vv. 6 and 14 to refer to ‘the End’.)” R. T. France, Matthew, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, IVP, Leicester, 1985, p. 339.
  12. (a) Cf. Mat 28:18-19 & Col. 1:23 (with thanks to Michael Korn); (b) R. T. France, op. cit., p. 339.
  13. Isaiah 49:6.
  14. “The beginning of the sufferings (lit. ‘birth-pangs’ [being] a technical term in apocalyptic for the period of suffering which must lead up to a new age …” R. T. France, op. cit., p.338.
  15. Hebrews 8:13
  16. Daniel 7:14.
  17. Isaiah 48:2, Isaiah 52:1 and Nehemiah 11:1.
  18. Yosef ben Mattatias (Flavius Josephus), The Jewish War, Whiston translation, Book 6, ch. 9, par. 3.
  19. Josephus, The Jewish War, op.cit., Book 4, ch. 3.
  20. ibid., at paragraph 10.
  21. Josephus, The Jewish War, op. cit., Book 6, ch. 2 paragraph 1.
  22. The ‘overspreading of abominations’ in Daniel 9:27 thus referring to the polluted religion for which the Pharisees and Sadducees had been denounced, and the ensuing desecration of the Temple before and during the siege, of which Josephus gives such a detailed testimony.
  23. Josephus, The Jewish War, op. cit., Book 5, ch. 10, par. 5.
  24. Josephus, The Jewish War, op. cit., Book 6, ch. 10, par. 3 & Preface, par. 4.
  25. Op. cit., p. 341.
  26. Josephus, The Jewish War, op. cit., Book 6, ch. 8, paragraph 2.
  27. Acts 5: 36-37; 21:38. R. T. France, op. cit., pp. 338 & 342. F. F. Bruce, New Testament History, London, 1982, pp. 320-322.
  28. Josephus, The Jewish War, op. cit., Book 6, ch.5, paragraphs 2 & 3.
  29. Genesis 37:9. Cf. Revelation 12:1-6.
  30. Matthew 26:64 , Mark 14:62        30a. Josephus, op. cit., Book  6, chapter 5.