How would you like to know—step-by-step—all the events leading up to the end of the world? Maybe you’d rather not know. We really have a morbid fascination with the end of the world, don’t we? We fantasize about how to escape it, how to prevent it. We make movies about blowing up asteroids and
extinction-level events. It was chilling, several years ago, to actually watch as a comet slammed into a neighboring planet—piece by piece—and knowing that, if that ever happened here, it would be all over.
The question of the end of the world was raised 2,000 years ago by the disciples of Jesus, and they got an answer from Jesus himself. Actually, it was only a couple of days before Jesus was crucified that there were standing among the magnificent buildings of the Temple and said,
Master, look at the kinds of stones and what buildings they built here! Jesus replied,
Do you see these things? I tell you the truth: there shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.
It’s hard to imagine the impact of that statement on Jesus’ disciples. The Temple was the center of their religious life—where men prayed, where sacrifices where made—even the plan of salvation, in a sense, was played out upon the stage of the Temple. The idea that this building—God’s building—would be destroyed? It seemed absolutely unthinkable—though they knew it had happened before.
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 your coming, and of the end of the world?