.Jesus Telling of Dark Days to Come
by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut
JESUS WALKED across the Court of the Gentiles or Strangers, the large outer court of the Temple, toward the Mount of Olives. On that side of the court stood Solomon's Porch, a double row of pillars, having a roof above to shield it from the sun. Under this porch they stepped down a marble staircase to pass out of the Temple grounds through a gate called "The Golden Gate." As they drew near this gate the disciples called his attention to the great stones in the wall, the pillars and the splendid buildings around.
"Are you looking at these stones and buildings?" said Jesus. "I tell you now, that the time is coming, and not far away, when all of these stones shall be torn apart, and of these fine buildings not one stone shall be left standing in its place; all shall be thrown down!"
The disciples heard these words with alarm and sadness. They knew that their Lord spoke as a prophet; and whatever he said would be sure to come to pass. But they looked upon Jerusalem as the holy city, and upon the Temple as the house of God. To them, the fall of the city and the Temple seemed like the end of the whole world.
They walked after Jesus in silence across the valley of the brook Kedron and up the steep sides of the Mount of Olives. On its top they sat down to rest, and looked over the valley at the city, its towers and roofs rising in their view.
While they were sitting on the mountain, Peter and Andrew, with the brothers James and John, came to Jesus, and said to him:
"Tell us, Master, what your words mean, and when these terrible things will come to pass? Are you going away, and then coming back again? How may we know when to look for you?"
Then, sitting on the mountain, with the twelve disciples around him, Jesus gave a long talk about the things that were to come. He began by warning them against following after men claiming to be Christ, the King of Israel.
"Take care," he said, "that no one lead you astray. For many will come saying, 'I am Christ, the King of Israel,' and they will lead away many people. But do not follow any of these false Christs.
"You will hear of wars that have come, and reports of wars that are coming; but do not be frightened. These must come, but they are not the end. Nation shall make war with nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and you shall hear of earthquakes in many places; and times shall come when there will be no bread for the hungry to eat.
But all these are only the beginnings of the trouble; and the worst is yet to come.
"But before these take place there are some other sufferings that you must meet because you are my disciples. Enemies will rise up against you. You shall be brought before councils and courts to be tried; you shall be seized and beaten in the churches of the Jews; you shall stand before governors and kings to give account for yourselves as my followers. But when they seize you and bring you to be tried, do not be anxious as to what you shall speak; for the right words shall be given you in that hour of trial. It will not be you that speak, but the Spirit nof God that speaks through you.
"In those times of trial fathers and mothers shall turn against their children, and brothers shall give up brothers who believe in me. Some of you shall be put to death in those days. And all men shall hate you because you are my disciples. But if you are faithful to the end, even to death, you shall be saved to everlasting life."
Then Jesus told of the terrible times that were coming to Jerusalem and the land of the Jews. He said:
"When you see great armies encamped on these hills all around Jerusalem, then know that the time has come for the city and the Temple to be destroyed.
Let this be a sign for everyone in Judea to hide among the mountains. If a man at that time is on the roof of his house, let him not go down to take anything out of his house; nor a man in the field go home after his cloak; but hasten away just as he is, with the clothes that are upon his back, and find a safe hiding-place.
"If anyone tells you in such times as those, 'Here is Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it, for false Christs will come and false prophets will appear; and they will show signs and wonders, so as to lead astray even some of God's own people. I tell you truly that many who are now living shall see all these things come to pass."
Jesus had already told his disciples that he was soon going away to leave them, but in his own time he would come again. He now spoke about his "coming again."
"As to the coming of the Son of Man, no one knows about that day or hour; no man knows when it will be, nor the angels, nor even the Son himself, but only the Father. It will be then as it was in the days of Noah; they went on eating and drinking, marrying and being married, until the day Noah went into the ark; and they took no notice until the flood came and swept them all away.
"So will it be when the Son of Man comes. Then there will be two men working together in the field; one shall be taken and the other left.
Two women will be grinding grain with the hand mill; one shall be taken and the other left.
Keep on the watch then, for you never know what day the Lord will come. Be sure of this, if the owner of the house had known at what time in the night the thief would come, he would have been on the watch for him, and would never have allowed his house to be broken into.
So be ready all the time, for when you least expect him, the Son of Man will come."