"And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou
had known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!
but now they are hid from your eyes." Luke 19:41,42.
2. In what words did He foretell its destruction?
"For the days shall come upon thee, that your enemies shall cast a trench about
thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with
the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon
another; because thou knew not the time of thy visitation." Verses 43,44.
3. What pitiful appeal did He make to the impenitent city?
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kills the prophets, and stones them which are
sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen
gathered her chickens under her wings, and you would not!" Matt. 23:37.
4. As He was about to leave the temple, what did He say?
"Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." Verse 38.
NOTE.-That which was to fill up their cup of iniquity was their final rejection and
crucifixion of Christ, and their condemnation and persecution of His apostles and people
after His resurrection. See Matt. 23:29-35; John 19:15; Acts 4-8.
5. Hearing these words, what questions did the disciples ask?
"Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming,
and of the end of the world?" Matt. 24:3.
NOTE.-Christ's answers to these questions are worthy of the most careful study. The
destruction of Jerusalem and the overthrow of the Jewish nation attending it are a type of
the final destruction of all the cities of the world, and the overthrow of all nations. To
some extent, therefore, the descriptions of the two great events seem to be blended. When
Christ referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, His prophetic words reached beyond that
event to the final conflagration when the Lord shall rise out of His place "to punish
the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and when the earth shall disclose her
blood, and shall no more cover her slain." Isa. 26:21. Thus the entire discourse was
given not for the early disciples only, but for those who were to live during the closing
scenes of the world's history. During the discourse Christ did, however, give definite
signs, both of the destruction of Jerusalem and of His second coming.
6. In His reply, how did Christ indicate that neither the end of the world nor of
the Jewish nation was immediately at hand?
"Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For
many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And you shall
hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things
must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Verses 4-6.
7. What did He say of the wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes which were to
precede these events?
"All these are the beginning of sorrows." Verse 8.
NOTE.-These were to precede and culminate in the great calamity and overthrow, first,
of Jerusalem, and finally of the whole world; for, as already noted, the prophecy has a
double application, first, to Jerusalem and the Jewish nation, and secondly, to the whole
world; the destruction of Jerusalem for its rejection of Christ at His first advent was a
type of the destruction of the world at the end for its rejection of Christ in refusing to
heed the closing warning message sent by God to prepare the world for Christ's second
8. In what language did Christ briefly describe the experiences of His people
previous to these calamities?
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall
be hated of all nations for My name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall
betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and
shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax
cold." Verses 9-12.
9. Who did He say would be saved?
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
10. When did Christ say the end would come?
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a
witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Verse 14.
NOTES.-In A.D. 60 Paul carried the gospel to Rome, which was then the capital of the
world. In A.D. 64 he wrote of the saints of "Caesar's household" (Phil. 4:22);
and the same year he says that the gospel had been "preached to every creature which
is under heaven." Col. 1:23. Very soon after this (October, 66 A.D.) the Romans began
their attacks against Jerusalem; and three and one-half years later the overthrow of the
city and of the Jewish nation followed in the notable five months' siege under Titus, in
the spring and summer of 70 A.D.
Thus it was respecting the end of the Jewish nation; and thus it will be in the end of the
world as a whole. When the gospel, or good news, of Christ's coming kingdom has been
preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, the end of the world-of all
nations-will come. As the end of the Jewish nation came with overwhelming destruction, so
will come the end of the world. Armageddon, the battle of the nations, will be fought, and
the world will be swept with the besom of destruction under the seven last plagues. See
readings in Chapters 65. and 66. of this book.
11. What sign did Christ mention by which His disciples might know when the
destruction of Jerusalem was near?
"And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the
desolation thereof is nigh." Luke 21: 20.
12. When this sign appeared, what were the disciples to do?
"When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel
the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them
which be in Judea flee into the mountains." Matt. 24:15,16.
NOTE.-In October, 66 A.D., when Cestius came against the city, but for some
unaccountable reason suddenly withdrew his army from it, the Christians discerned in this
the sign foretold by Christ, and fled. After the departure of Cestius, Josephus, in his
"Wars of the Jews," chapter 20, says that "many of the most eminent of the
Jews swam away from the city, as from a ship when it is going to sink." It is a
remarkable fact that in the terrible siege which occurred under Titus three and one-half
years later, not a single Christian is known to have lost his life, while 1,100,000 Jews
are said to have perished in it. Here is a most striking lesson on the value and
importance of studying and believing the prophecies, and giving heed to the signs of the
times. Those who believed what Christ had said, and watched for the sign which He had
foretold, were saved, while the unbelieving perished. So it will be in the end of the
world. The watchful and believing will be delivered, while the careless and unbelieving
will be snared and taken. See Matt. 24:36-44; Luke 21:34-36; 1 Thess. 5:1-6.
13. When the sign appeared, how suddenly were they to flee?
"Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:
neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes." Verses 17,18.
14. Besides telling His disciples when to flee, how did Christ further show His
solicitude and tender care for them?
"But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath
day." Verse 20.
NOTES.-The winter would be an unfavorable time in which to flee, entailing discomfort
and hardship; and an attempt to flee on the Sabbath day would doubtless have been met with
difficulty, so false and pharisaical were the notions of the Jews respecting the true
character and object of the Sabbath. See Matt. 12:1-14; Luke 13:14-17; Mark 1:32; 2:23-28;
The prayers of Christ's followers were heard. Events were so overruled that neither Jews
nor Romans hindered the flight of the Christians. Upon the retreat of Cestius, the Jews
pursued after his army, and the Christians thus had an opportunity to leave the city. The
country also had been cleared of enemies who might have endeavored to intercept them. At
the time of this siege, the Jews were assembled at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of
Tabernacles, and thus the Christians of Judea were able to escape unmolested, and in the
autumn, a most favorable time for flight.
15. What trying experience did Christ then foretell?
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning
of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." Verse 21.
NOTES.-In paragraph 4 of his preface to his "Wars of the Jews," Josephus,
referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, says: "The misfortunes of all men, from
the beginning of the world, if they be compared to these of the Jews, are not so
considerable." In this terrible calamity, the prophecy of Moses recorded in Deut.
28:47-53 was literally fulfilled. He said: "Thou shall eat the fruit of your own
body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, . . . in the siege, and in the
straitness, wherewith your enemies shall distress thee." For an account of the
fulfillment of this, see Josephus's "Wars of the Jews," book 6, chap. 3, par. 4.
Following the destruction of Jerusalem came the persecution of the early Christians under
the pagan emperors during the first three centuries of the Christian era, that begun under
Diocletian in 303 A.D., and continuing for ten years (Rev. 2:10), being the most bitter
and extensive persecution of God's people the world had yet witnessed. Following this came
the still greater and more terrible persecution of the saints during the long centuries of
papal supremacy, foretold in Dan. 7:25 and Rev. 12:6. All these tribulations occurred
under either pagan or papal Rome.
16. For whose sake did Christ say the period of papal persecution would be
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for
the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." Verse 22.
NOTE.-Through the influence of the Reformation of the sixteenth century, and the
movements which grew out of it, the power of the Papacy to enforce its decrees against
those it pronounced heretics was gradually lessened, until with the exception of Spain,
persecution ceased almost wholly about the middle of the eighteenth century -the beginning
of an epoch of freedom.
17. Against what deceptions did Christ then warn us?
"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and
wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Verses 23, 24.
18. Answering the question as to what would be the sign of His coming and the end of
the world, what did Christ say?