Now, let’s go back to the beginning of the chapter. In Matthew 24:3, Jesus was asked three separate questions:
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
The first question is: what will be the sign of Your coming?
The second question is: what will be the sign of the end of the age?
The third question is: when will these things be?
Jesus added two sets of information which the disciples did not ask about, which are: what needs to have happened already before the actual sign occur? and what you need to avoid believing concerning the second coming?
So, let’s analyse all of these five points but in a different order:
-I- What will be the sign of Your coming?
Instead of giving a straight forward answer, Jesus replied by showing: What you need to avoid believing concerning the second coming? This means that Jesus refused to give the disciples any signs. The only signs He has given where the ones who should dismiss.
1- “4 …“Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’…” Don’t be deceived by lies
2- “6 And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Don’t fret when you see big things happening before the ultimate sign
-II- what will be the sign of the end of the age?
A- What is the End of the Age?
According to the Oxford dictionary, an age is:
1The length of time that a person has lived or a thing has existed.‘he died from a heart attack at the age of 51’‘he must be nearly 40 years of age’
- 1.1 A particular stage in someone’s life.
‘children of primary school age’
- 1.2mass noun The state of being old.
‘fine wine improves with age’
- 1.1 A particular stage in someone’s life.
2A distinct period of history.‘an age of technological growth’
- 2.1Geology A division of time that is a subdivision of an epoch, corresponding to a stage in chronostratigraphy.
- 2.1Geology A division of time that is a subdivision of an epoch, corresponding to a stage in chronostratigraphy.
It is understood clearly from the context that Jesus did not mean the age of a person but a distinct period of history. Also, among all the various meanings provided by the dictionary, the meaning of the end of the world is not listed. However, it was long believed that Matthew 24 was discussing the signs of tribulations and the end of the world.
2000 years later, Christians of the 21st century are able to confirm at last the exact date of the end of the age the disciples were enquiring about.
Jesus era is considered by scientists as the Age of Classical Antiquity which is part of the Ancient History period. Classical Antiquity is, in fact, a “broad term for a long period of cultural history centred on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.”
So, what was the age that succeeded the Christians of 1AD and when did the end of the previous age occur?
Post-Classical History – Period of time that immediately followed ancient history. Depending on the continent, the era generally falls between the years CE 200–600 and CE 1200–1500. The major classical civilizations the era follows are Han China (ending in 220), the Western Roman Empire (in 476), the Gupta Empire (in the 550s), and the Sasanian Empire (in 651).
The answer to the disciple questions, I believe was 200 years later. They knew they were at the end of an age and near the beginning of a new one like us today. The world knows it is at the end of this current age as it knows the current system cannot sustain itself any longer and things are about to shift and change.
Since Jesus resurrected we had two ages that separate our eras; namely the Post-Classical History and the Middle Ages. We are now living at the end of the third age which we call Modern History. So, what were the signs of the end of the Classical Antiquity Age?
1- “7 For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.”
The Roman Empire in its expansion fought many wars the worst was the one fought against Israel when the temple was raised in 70CE. 43 CE Claudius commences the Roman conquest of Britain, 51 CE Briton rebel leader Caratacus defeated, rebellion crushed, 54 CE – 60 CE Roman general Corbulo successfully campaigns in Armenia, 68 CE – 69 CE Year of the Four Emperors: Civil war in Rome, 75 CE – 77 CE Romans defeat the last of the Northern tribes; Roman conquest of Britaincomplete, 85 CE – 86 CE Dacians invade Moesia and defeat the Romans, 86 CE The Roman general Cornelius Fuscus invades Dacia. He is ambushed and his army is annihilated, 88 CE Resolved to avenge Fuscus’ defeat, Domitian sends another army to Dacia under Tettius Iulianus. This general is victorious on the mountainous pass of Tapae, in the south-west of modern Romania, 101 CE – 106 CE Trajan conquers Dacia. 106 CE Jerash in Jordan becomes part of the Roman province of Arabia, 115 CE – 117 CE Rome occupies Mesopotamia, 116 CE Invasion and annexation of the Fertile Crescent region by Rome under Trajan, 167 CE – 180 CE Marcomannic Wars, 168 CE Germanic tribes cross the Danube into the Roman Empire, 192 CE Emperor Commodus is murdered, civil war ensues (until 197 CE), 195 CE First Parthian war, 197 CE – 198 CE Second Parthian war, and then bizarrely the Roman will enter a period of peace (the New age) until the year 367 CE when Picts, Scots, Saxons, and Franks attack the Roman Empire.
2- “7 And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. In 165 CE – 167 CE there was a plague epidemic in the Roman empire. The historians Tacitus talked about the earthquake Pliny the Elder Asia minor, 17 AD Lydia earthquake, destroyed 13 cities in Asia (minor)
3-“9and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” So far, this hate phenomena only happened during the first few centuries. Nowadays, Christians enjoy a very good reputation worldwide, even from their worse opponent; Islam itself.
4-“9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you,” Again, this only happened during the first few centuries it was accepted by Rome. However, it may come a time when the remnant (the real Christians) will be condemned and forsaken by the system.
5- “10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another and will hate one another. The comment that applied to war and natural disasters apply here too.
6- 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. This has already happened even shortly after the resurrection took place.
7- “5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.“ The first person to officially claim to be the Messiah was Simon ben Kosiba – “This is the only example apart from Jesus that we know was claimed to be the Messiah. The influential elderly rabbi Akiva declared ben Kosiba to be God’s anointed and changed his name to ben Kokhba (‘son of the star”) and led a four-year rebellion against Rome which was finally brutally crushed by Hadrian in AD 136. Interestingly, the Christian writer Justin says Simon persecuted Christians, ordering them to be executed unless they denied Jesus was the Messiah – clearly he didn’t like the idea of rival claimants, even dead ones.” To read fun stories about other claimants before, during or after Jesus resurrection, visit this link: https://www.quora.com/Who-were-the-major-messianic-figures-besides-Jesus-in-Graeco-Roman-Palestine-and-environs
This is a list of people who claimed to be the Messiah and saviours of the world in the modern age: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_claimed_to_be_Jesus
8- 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
This comment is deeper than one expects. It is indeed predicting the shifts in the belief system of the Christian faith in the time of Jesus, later on, and in our modern age. Lately, this happened since the new invention of a theology based on salvation by faith alone. This theology does not promote grace just to appease the fear of many, which is a very legitimate deed for which Grace was provided by God. On the contrary, Grace is now taught as an excuse for sin. It is a theology that teaches its followers not to search their hearts and souls as recommended in Psalm 4:4 and as practised by Jesus himself. It goes as far as creating the concept of a Religious Evil Spirit that can possess people and turn them into Christians who are seeking righteousness by work. The best way to describe these people is in Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!“
This type of theology that prospered in the modern age had its roots in the Gnostic Christian faith of the first few centuries AD. This sect started as part of the main steam Christian religion and some of its leaders were prominent Christian bishops and church leaders. Marcion, for example, was originally a Christian bishop, but around the year 144 AD, he concluded that “the teachings of Jesus were incompatible with the actions of the God in the Old Testament, and developed a dualistic belief system that he used to reconcile the supposed contradictions he saw between the Hebrew Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus and Paul.”
The writings of early Church Fathers like Irenaeus, Tertullian and Hippolytus, refute the teachings of the Gnostics and present orthodox Christianity. These works also identified a number of prominent leaders of the Gnostic sect in early Christianity. Saturninus, whose Gnosticism betrays an oriental influence, appeared in Syria in the first half of the second century. Basilides who worked in Egypt around the year 125 and Valentinus who was active in Rome from 135 to 160 espoused a philosophically sophisticated version of Gnosticism. Some Church Fathers maintain that Gnosticism has its roots in Simon Magus (Acts 8:9-24), whose teaching was deemed as the prototype of all heresy.
Various modern theologians and preachers are aware of this hidden yet strong relationship between Gnosticism and certain denominations within the Protestant belief system. In an article called Unlearn, Lex Meyer emphasises the importance of understanding Gnosticism and its relationship to early Christianity because he says: “it will help us to better understand certain New Testament verses that are written in direct opposition to Gnosticism. It is also important to understand this heresy, so that we can identify it’s influence on the modern Church, and so that we can avoid repeating their mistakes.”
He says, later on, that “Sin was not really an issue for Gnostics, because they saw salvation as the soul being freed from matter. To a Gnostic, the created world is the problem (not sin), and therefore, Gnostics tend to be somewhat Antinomian. Antinomianism is the belief that the moral law is of no use or obligation. Gnostics claimed that Christians were not actually responsible for what they did in the flesh, and could not actually sin. We see echoes of this in the Christian belief that we are merely human and cannot be expected to live according to all of God’s commandments.” Meyer then takes a closer look into the Gnostic doctrine as a whole and points at the many dangerous heresies that have found their way into modern Christian thought.
“Marcion believed the Old Testament God was separate and opposite to the New Testament God… Obviously no Christian would admit to believing in two gods, however, many Christians are convinced that Jesus came to set us free from the God of the Old Testament, claiming that “Jesus freed us from the Law.” However, they do not realize that if Jesus is one with the Father, then He is the one who gave the commandments. This is why John chapter 1 is so significant because Jesus was with God in the beginning. He is the Word of God that spoke everything into existence. Did Yeshua come to free us from Himself? No, that would be ridiculous. In fact, Yeshua had some things to say on this very topic.“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to make full. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)
Yeshua came to set us free from sin, and sin is lawlessness. Therefore, if we are free from sin, that means we obey the Law. That is why Paul said, “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish [uphold] the law.” (Romans 3:31)”
Going back to the verse 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” What verse 13 means is; the one who endures doesn’t fall into lawlessness and isn’t deseived by lawlessness. So why people fall into lawlessness and why is it tempting for a person of faith to fall into it? The reason behind lawlessness is the soul. When the Law of God confronts the soul, it brings about fear. This fear can seem irrational as the person of faith – who may consider himself saved- should not, in theory, feel vexed by the law of God. In fact, it is not him that feels vexed but the spirits that inhabit his soul. They trigger the alarm bell in the person’s brain to bring in him the fight or flight mode. It is because these bad spirits are territorial and intelligent. They know that the law of God is against them because they are the source of all evil. They know that they are going to be judged and condemned and their reaction is to keep hold of the body of the person as a refuge until the person is entirely destroyed; body and soul. When the person who is ignorant of the workings of his soul is triggered, he usually surrenders to his fears instead of praying to be released from the power of darkness. Persistent fear magnificence doubt and steals or shakes the person faith; something which can trigger even more fear. To escape this vicious circle, the human mind surrenders to deceitful doctrines that do not threaten the existence of the power of the enemy within the soul. This dark spiritual powers can only be discovered, in some Christians, after years of prayer, contemplative meditation and a hunger and thirst after righteousness. The process of purification requires a lot of patience, faith and perseverance before salvation can take place. This is what verse 13 meant. Unfortunately for those who surrender to their fears and allow themselves to be deceived, they will be tormented by the Word of God, so much so that they’ll avoid it like a plague. They go and plunge themselves into ministry work, looking after bricks and mortar, while their own temple is in chaos. The more they engaged in that busy life schedule the less they have time to develop wisdom and contemplation. The more they are away from studying the Word of God with passion, the more they are led away from the truth.
9- 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” The Roman Empire took the gospel as far as Gaul, Germany, Noricum, Britain, Tarraconis, Cappadocia, Galatia, Bythinia, Asia, Greece, Mesia, Dacia and Pannonia.
-III- What will be the signs of Your coming?
Major events happening at the same time, etc.
IV-When will these things be? An exact date.
-V-What will be the sign of the end of the age? What are the major events that will take place when this age comes to an end?
What is the meaning of age in this context?
Most people confuse between the end of the age, the end of time, the end of the world and the end of the universe. So, what is an age in the history of humanity from a biblical perspective?