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The Olivet Discourse

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
April 18, 2021 12:01 am

The Olivet Discourse

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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April 18, 2021 12:01 am

While they were in Jerusalem, Jesus told His disciples that the city and its temple would soon be destroyed. Today, R.C. Sproul continues his exposition of Mark's gospel to examine a passage that proves the credibility of Christ's predictions.

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In Mark chapter 13 Jesus predicts that the temple in Jerusalem will be toppled sometimes we can make future prognostications based upon trends that are going on currently but there were no trends in the ancient world that would see the destruction of this magnificent building where the stones themselves would be cast down predictions uses prove that he had divine no but in that same conversation with his disciples. He foretold his own return to the question is why is it that happened today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul continues his verse by verse examination of the gospel of Mark. I'm about to sail my ship this morning into troubled waters, to say the least rest we come to chapter 13 of the gospel according to Mark, we come now to the longest discourse of our Lord contained in this gospel. It is Jesus lengthy discussion about the future destruction of the temple of the destruction of Jerusalem and of his coming in glory at the end of the age. On the one hand, this text represents the most amazing prediction of future events that we find in the New Testament if there is any text that should prove the divine claims of Jesus. It is this text, inasmuch as he predicts, without any doubt the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple years before that event came to pass. This is predictive prophecy and of the highest magnitude and you would think that this tax more than any other would vindicate and authenticate Jesus claims to being the son of God who speaks only those things that the father has authorized at the same time there is no text in the New Testament bears more dramatic witness to the inspiration of sacred Scripture, then this text because of its uncanny accuracy for predicting the future with respect to the destruction of the temple and the destruction of Jerusalem. However, there is no New Testament text that is been used more often with higher critical tools and from the pens of skeptics, both with respect to the identity of Christ and with respect to the trustworthiness of the New Testament, then this text will. How can that be when what Jesus said would take place, then take place clearly with the destruction of the Temple and the destruction of Jerusalem. Well, the problem is this, that in addition to his prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple incorporated in this discourse was his prediction about his own coming in clouds of glory at the end of the age and the problem is this, that, as we will see when the disciples asked for the time reference of these things Jesus here and also in Matthew's Gospel makes the assertion that that generation would not pass away until all of the things included in this discourse came to pass. I think it's the most weighty problem that we have in the New Testament with respect to the truth claims of the nature of Christ and of Scripture. So when I say were sailing in the troubled waters we are sailing in the troubled waters indeed. And I'm not sure I have to say this up front how to handle all of the difficulties that present themselves in the all of the discourse in the critical theories of our day. Much attention has been given to what is been called a close atonement theology or the story of the Caruso delay. That is the delay of Jesus coming in glory and the critical scholars say that later on in the New Testament in Paul's epistles.

For example, you already begin to see the church falling back to pond its fourth-down Jesus, as in common and the timeframe that the everybody expected him to come and so the New Testament has to revise its future expectancy of the return of Christ. All that's background for the problem and now I want us to take the time to look at the text itself, and as we do through the coming weeks, when we see these problems that are so painful I will endeavor to point them out and by God's grace. Give some optional ways to resolve the difficulties. Chapter 13 begins then that as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples said gym teacher see what manner of stones and what buildings are here as they're leaving this place where Jesus had seen the widow give her mind in the treasury and were so much of these debates had taken place now as they're leaving and making their way to the Mount of olives opposite the temple complex. One of the disciples turns and looks at this magnificent structure that truly was one of the wonders of the ancient world and still in amazement at this building, which is probably same. Hundreds and hundreds of times. He says that Jesus look. Isn't that something in that to which he directed the gaze of Jesus was, not the temple built by Solomon in the Old Testament, which temple had been destroyed. But now the temple that was being rebuilt by Herod the great, the construction of this temple had begun by Herod 50 years before Jesus was looking at us on this occasion and it still wasn't finished to give you some idea of the Rhodian Temple. The outer court measured 500 x 300 yards on feet. The outer court five football fields by three football fields.

The temple itself took up 35 acres of ground. The building were in here this morning is situated on just slightly less than 6 acres that we own. Here and if you can multiply that six times not just this building with the whole acreage by six times to get some idea of the size of the temple Herod was known throughout the world for his incredible construction products and for the development of what has been called ever since. How Rhodian stone. Josephus tells us that some of the stones that made up the temple were 60 feet long toward one stone 60 feet long 11 feet high 8 feet deep. Each stone weighing over a million pounds and again some of the historians of antiquity, said that the temple of Herod in Jerusalem looks like a mountain of marble, decorated with gold. Now the wall of the temple hundred and 50 feet high. The sanctuary itself was 150 feet high.

This is like 33 feet grub more than five times and you get the idea of the height of the interior of the sanctuary of the temple in Jerusalem. If you've ever been to Jerusalem today in the modern. It's an incredible sight where you see the walls of Jerusalem rising out of the desert floor at night there, illuminated with giant searchlights and you can see that wall now that surrounds the old city is 75 feet high and it takes your breath away when you look at it and then you go inside and you see the archaeologists have dug down below the wall 75 more feet where they reached the base of the wall that surrounded Jerusalem at the time of Jesus and that did just blows you away when you realize what you're looking at today is only half of what was there at the time of Jesus. And so the columns that held up the portico for example were so large that it would take three men expanding their arms to fingertips and three men could barely put their arms around one call so obviously I don't need to tell you much more. This was an incredible building in there looking at this and sending an of what seems to be an impregnable structure that no thing imaginable could ever destroy. And so is a disciples are in all at this magnificent edifice, and Jesus responds and says do you see these great buildings, not one stone shall be left upon another, shall not be thrown down. See those 60' x 8' x 11' stones of a million pounds. The crushed into the dust. Sometimes we can make future prognostications based upon trends that are going on currently but there were no trends in the ancient world that would allow somebody a natural prediction or prognostication that would see the destruction of this magnificent building where the stones themselves would be cast down. Indeed, in the future. History would take the full measure and magnitude of the entire power of the Roman armies to bring this prophecy to pass.

Now they reached the Mount of olives, and as he sat on the Mount of olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, and here's where we begin to get into some trouble because the questions that the disciples brought to Jesus about his prediction of the destruction of the temple was this tell us he said when will these things be and what will be the sign when all of these things will be fulfilled. Whether there's a phrase here that we have to take note of because it occurs throughout the all of the discourse and it is the phrase these things Alta and the phrase when will be the sign that all these things taught up onto all of these things shall come the past two questions here when and what will be the sign that it's about to happen.

And so when we read the response of Jesus to this, let me ask you to do something, try to imagine that you're one of the disciples who just asked that question. Jesus is made a specific prediction about the destruction of the temple and Ali say when that's a straightforward question is and will be the sign. The outward manifestation that all of this is about to happen there asking about the signs of the times they are asking about the signs of the fulfillment of this prophecy, which is we will see later includes Jesus prediction of his return in the clouds of glory.

We will see later on in the text that encompassed within the phrase. All of these things includes his prediction of his return at the end of the age. And as I said the destruction of Jerusalem salami telescope. These just for a moment if Jesus says what three things are going to happen. One, the steps can be destroyed to Jerusalem was destroyed three I'll be coming in on the cause of glory at the end of the age and the first question arouses ones that now the standard view that you find among Christians today is that this will happen, but perhaps soon since so many things going on in Israel and Jerusalem. Now that maybe we are at that point, when finally Jesus is going to return and all of these prophecies in the all of it.

This course will be fulfilled for long time past the demise of that first generation but I'm again. Imagine yourself in the disciples shoes and they say to Jesus. One of these thinking to take place and he says to them, not one generation will pass away until all of these things are fulfilled. What would you think he meant would you imagine that he's talking about something is going to take place more than 2000 years later or something that's going to take place in the near future, at least within the framework of one generation, which in Jewish terms measured 40 years elsewhere in similar predictions. Jesus says you will not go over all of the cities of Israel until you will see the kingdom of God coming in power elsewhere.

He says some of you will not taste death until all of these things are fulfilled. If you look at those three texts together as critical scholars do. And as Bertrand Russell Davises is clear that Jesus taught and expected the consummation of his kingdom to occur within the timeframe for years than happen. So here we are trying to dig up his bones and the bones of Mary Magdalene. Well, let's look at how Jesus answers their very straightforward question. Jesus answering them began to say, take, eat, that no one deceives you, for the first thing he warns them about his deception, ask one of these thinking to take place. The said first of all, you have to be careful because there will be attempts to deceive you about these matters, so be careful for many will come in my name, saying, I am he, and will deceive many.

So the first sign that he gets of the fulfillment of his prophecy is the sign of false messiahs that will come again. People that are looking for a yet future fulfillment of this points to people in our day who claim to be God incarnate, then false prophets that abound here and there. However, the first century was known was significant false messiahs who claimed to be the return of Jesus and those are documented in Jewish history, particularly in the writings of Josephus, so Jesus predicted false messiahs would calm and false messiahs did come before the temple was destroyed. Let's keep that in front of us. Second, when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled for such things must happen, but the end is not yet I see people reading the paper today and is it every time a war breaks out in Iran or Iraq or whatever it is. This is see this is a sign of the time Jesus coming in right around the corner because were hearing all about these wars and rumors of war. The course there was wars and rumors of wars in every generation.

Meanwhile, you're sitting there. You're one of the disciples, and there asking Jesus what will be the sign when these things lap and he said well be careful. Don't be deceived, there will be rumors of wars and wars before these things take place here had disciple of Jesus in your thinking that these rumors of wars and wars, or something that will be a harbinger that will come before the destruction of the temple and before the destruction of Jerusalem to pay attention in your lifetime to wars and to rumors of wars in A.D. 40 the mad Emperor Caligula tried to establish a statue of himself in the sacred precincts of the temple in Jerusalem, and because of that, rumors were rife. That war was about to break out where the Romans were going to invade the Jews to try to stop their protests against this profound sacrilege of an Emperor trying to establish is statue in the sacred place of the Jewish Temple. But, as it were, they were just rumors and war did not break out until the Jewish revolt in A.D. 66 which then ended in the destruction of the temple and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Jesus says you hear about these things. Don't be troubled. Such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be earthquakes in various places and there will be famines and there will be troubles and these are just the beginning of sorrows. So again today. Modern prognosticators who are looking for the return of Jesus anytime in the next few weeks call attention to the serious famines that affect the world in our day famines that have broken out in the Armenia famines that have taken such a tremendous toll in Ethiopia and other nations in Africa in our time.

Yet at the same time in between the years 41 and 54 A.D. during the reign of Claudius who came after Caligula and before Nero, there were several serious famines that affected the near Eastern community also a tremendous earthquake hit the region of Phrygia in the year 61 A.D. and leveled the city of Pompeii in the year 63. So in that timeframe of the first generation terrible famines, wars, rumors of wars and earthquakes all took place in the lifetime of most of the surviving disciples and apostles, the historian, the ancient historian Tacitus records in great detail.

Manifold disasters that took place between Jesus prediction of this destruction and the actual destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. which leads me to conclude that when Jesus is talking about the signs here that have to take place before the end actually occur. Those signs that are just the beginning of sorrows.

I believe our Lord was calling attention to things that were going to happen in the first century, which in fact did happen in the first century, but the reason that we transferred them and transpose them to the yet unfulfilled future is because what didn't happen.

Apparently was his return in the clouds of glory. So you see how this kind of squeezes and puts the pressure on our temples here, as we see to understand Dr. RC Sproul, providing helpful insight into what is been a confusing passage for many glad you joined us today for Renewing Your Mind. I'm Lee Webb and each Sunday we returned to Dr. Sproles expository sermon series, through the gospel of Mark, the style of preaching allows us to see the flow of the entire book and allows RC to expand on each verse or resource offer today will be a great study companion for you in your own examination of Mark's gospel when you contact us today with a donation of any amount we will be glad to send you a digital download of Dr. Sproles commentary on Mark you can go online to requested at Renewing Your if you found this study helpful. You may want to check out a special selection of video courses offered on Lincoln here connect that's our interactive online learning platform. You can watch videos review study guides and test your knowledge with quizzes and discussion questions when interconnect is reflective of our desire to bridge the gap between Sunday school and seminary so I hope you'll check it out. Just go to connect.linear.or next Sunday.

Dr. Sproles continue preaching through Mark chapter 13 predictions Jesus made in that passage should not causes confusion with fear.

Learn more about the next week here on Renewing Your Mind

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