Matthew 24:2 Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.
The temple in Jerusalem was one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Many of the stones were massive, and some weighed nearly a million pounds. But within forty years, the Romans captured Jerusalem, and set fire to the temple. The gold leaf on the roof melted between the stones, and the Romans pried them apart to recover it. No two stones were left together—just as Jesus foretold.
Biblical prophecy proves the Bible is God’s word, and Jesus is God’s Messiah. Christ was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), descended from David (Jeremiah 23:5), performed miracles (Isaiah 34:5-6), rode a donkey into Jerusalem while receiving praise (Zechariah 9:9), was rejected (Isaiah 53:3), died for our sins (Isaiah 53:5), and rose from the dead (Psalm 16:10). These seven prophecies should be enough to convince any reasonable person.
Imagine a meeting between a spy and a government employee in which the spy was to identify himself by seven pre-arranged signs. First, he was to write a letter to the government employee saying he was in town. Second, he was to wait until a certain date. Third, he was to go to a certain statue. Fourth, he was to wear red socks. Fifth, he was to stand with his middle finger in a book. Sixth, when approached, he was to comment on the statue. Seventh, he was to say he was from Oklahoma. The prearranged signs would guarantee that he was the proper contact, and the prophecies Jesus fulfilled guarantee that he is God’s Messiah.
Matthew 24:10 [M]any will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.
Instead of the world becoming increasingly Christian, we can expect much of the world to become post-Christian. There was a time when most of Europe was at least culturally Christian, but church attendance there is now extremely low. Many can remember a time when the United States was at least culturally Christian, but it has become post-Christian as well.
I know that I am getting old, but I can remember when sexual purity was a virtue, and premarital sex was sin. Living together apart from marriage was called living in sin, and homosexuality was an abomination. Today, the highest civic virtue is tolerance, and we tolerate everything except calling sin by name. We live in an age of national apostasy.
But apostasy is personal before it is national, and often comes with a sense of impending doom. A college professor was raised in a Christian home and studied for the ministry. But he rejected Christianity and now has alarming thoughts.
When I fell away from my faith—not just in the Bible as God’s inspired word, but in Christ as the only way of salvation, and eventually from the view that Christ was himself divine, and beyond that from the view that there is an all-powerful God in charge of this world—I still wondered, deep down inside: could I have been right after all? What if I was right then but wrong now? Will I burn in hell forever? The fear of death gripped me for years, and there are still moments when I wake up at night in a cold sweat (Bart D. Ehrman, God’s Problem).
Whenever we are tempted to walk away from Christ, we should reconsider. The Christian life is not easy, but it’s not as hard as eternal punishment. And if you know someone who has fallen away from Christ, do not forget about them. Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins (James 5:20), wrote James.
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
In spite of a great apostasy, Jesus also predicted a great advance of his kingdom. This must have seemed optimistic compared to how small the movement was at the time of Jesus’ death. The core group was only around a hundred twenty people (Acts 1:15). But Christianity grew dramatically on the day of Pentecost, and it’s now the largest religion in the world.
Furthermore, with the help of technology, Bible translation is happening faster than ever. A reasonable estimate is that by the year 2030, every known people-group will have part of the Bible in their own language. This may signal the end of the age since Jesus said, this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world . . . and then the end will come.
It is remarkable that Jesus predicted the globalization of Christianity, as well as a great apostasy, since they seem to be contradictory. Globalization suggests progress, and apostasy suggests regress. One speaks of gaining ground, the other of losing ground. But over the course of history, that is precisely what we find. Christianity is always growing somewhere, and declining somewhere else. This would be difficult to predict apart from the mind of God.
Reflection and Review
Why does biblical prophecy prove that Jesus is the Messiah?
Are you ever tempted to turn away from Christ?
Do you think Christ will return before you die?