Deception is one of the key areas that was stressed to us by Jesus that would be happening during last days. The word deception is defined as; the act of making someone believe something that is not true: the act of deceiving someone: an act or statement intended to make people believe something that is not true.
In fact, Jesus tells that many will be deceived. It seems that one of the most prevalent signs of the last days is that of deception. Jesus warns about deception in verses 5, 11, 24.
How do we keep ourselves from being deceived? One example we can look at in order to protect ourselves from deception is what the government does in order to help them stop counterfeiters. The US Treasury Department has a special group of people whose job it is to track down counterfeiters. They are not trained by spending hours examining counterfeit money. Rather, they study the real thing.
That is what we seek to do. To look at the real person (Jesus) in order that we can determine who and what are counterfeiters. Before we do let gets some background of what is going on in Matthew 24:1-4.
Matthew 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. (KJV)
The disciple seemed to be very excited about showing Jesus the Temple of Herod that he had spent some 40 years in construction. One of the other gospels tell us that the disciples had been talking to Jesus about how impressive the stones were. In fact, according to Josephus they were huge stones. Many of them weighing up to one hundred ten to one hundred and twenty tons. Josephus went to write that Herod used stones that were 37 feet long, 12 feet high, and 18 feet thick. This sounds impossible, however but in the excavations of the retaining wall that Herod built for the Temple mount they uncovered stones that are 45-feet long and 6-feet high and 8-feet thick. How in the world they ever carved these so perfectly and lifted them into position is still a mystery today? The engineering by which Herod built the Western Retaining Wall using many of these same huge stones is still an engineering marvel today. However, they did it.
We now know that Herod did indeed use large stones. You can still the remains of southeast corner of the retaining wall. They have discovered the huge pavement stones that were used for the street in the cheese makers' valley. These huge stones were cracked and fractured by the large stones that lie in random fashion on top of them. They are no doubt the stones that once made up a part of the Temple that were pushed over the wall by the troops of Titus when they demolished the Temple in 70 A.D.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
This prophecy of Jesus was literally fulfilled some forty years later, when Titus came into Jerusalem with the Roman troops set fire to the temple, which was the last stronghold in which the inhabitants of Jerusalem were holding out. And so they set fire to the temple actually against Titus' order. He wanted to preserve the temple but some drunken soldier shot a flaming arrow the temple caught fire the people inside were cremated. The gold in the dome melted and came down in these crevasses. And so Roman troops seeking to recover the gold threw down the temple stone by stone until finally not one stone was left standing upon the other.
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
So he sat upon the mount of Olives, they had a great view of the wall of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount area and the surrounding areas. At this point the disciples came unto him privately and they said, tell us when shall these things be? The “these things” being the destruction of the temple that He had just prophesied. When is it going to happen? When is the temple going to be destroyed? Secondly they asked and what will be the sign of your coming. Thirdly they asked and the end of the age?
It is interesting that they are asking concerning the sign of His coming because at this point they were really believing that the kingdom was still going to be immediately set up. And the idea of your coming that is your coming into your kingdom, the end of the age is the end of the world governments. We are living in what the Bible terms the “time of the Gentiles.” It began with the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the Jews going into captivity. From that time the Jews did not really exist as a nation until 1948, that is a sovereign nation. They were always under the rule of some other power. And so this is what is known in the scripture as the “times of the Gentiles”.
And so they are asking Jesus the signs of His coming, the end of the age, and asking for the time of the destruction of the temple. So in the intervening discourse by Jesus, you have actually intertwined here prophecies of the events that will precede the destruction of the temple, along with prophecies that will be the signs of His coming and the end of the age.
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Continue next week…