2. The disciples were to understand that when they saw the Roman Armies surrounding Jerusalem it would mean Temple was about to be destroyed. The Jews mounted an unsuccessful revolt against Rome in 66 AD and by 70.AD. Jerusalem and the Temple lay in ruins. Further desecration occurred in 135 A.D. by Vespasion. Jews were then forbidden to even enter Jerusalem, for ever. It was renamed Aeolia Capitolina. The Judean hills were lined with crosses on which dead Jewish bodies were affixed. In answering the 2nd and 3rd questions asked, Jesus began with an overview. In the times ahead there would be false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars, but they would not signal the end. He said nation would rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There would be famines and earthquakes in various places. He characterized these as the beginning of birth pangs, meaning they would be indicators that the time of the 2nd Coming was near. He said the Jewish people would be persecuted and hated by all nations because they would be blamed for His death. There would be false prophets, and an increase of wickedness, but he who stands firm to the end would be saved. (Matt. 24:4-13). We know he wasn’t talking about the Church here because our salvation is not contingent upon standing firm to the end. Our salvation was assured from the moment we believed (Ephesians Ch.1:13-14). God has set His seal of ownership on us and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing this (2 Cor.1:1-22). Jesus had post rapture believers in mind here, because they have no such guarantee. As you’ll see there’s no mention of the Church at all in this discussion, because Jesus was speaking as a Jewish prophet who expounded prophetically to Jews (just as we see throughout Matthew) by explaining to His Jewish disciples about the end times as they concern the Jewish people. Remember, their questions to Him were about the remaining seven years of Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy, which is all about Israel.
They, as a nation are God’s “timepiece”. Geoffrey