Morning Reading for October 22

Matthew 24:15-28
(Mark 13:15-23; Luke 21:20-24)

Suggested further reading: Daniel 9:20-27

One main subject of this part of our Lord's prophecy is the taking of Jerusalem by the Romans. That great event took place about forty years after the words we have now read were spoken. A full account of it is to be found in the writings of Josephus. Those writings are the best comment on our Lord's words. They are a striking proof of the accuracy of every minute part of his predictions. The horrors and miseries the Jews endured throughout the siege of their city exceed anything on record.

It surprises some to find so much importance attached to the taking of Jerusalem. They would rather regard the whole chapter as unfulfilled. Such persons forget that Jerusalem and the temple were the heart of the old Jewish dispensation. When they were destroyed the old Mosaic system came to an end. The daily sacrifice, the yearly feasts, the altar, the holy of holies, the priesthood were all essential parts of revealed religion till Christ came, but no longer. When he died upon the cross their work was done. They were dead and it only remained that they should be buried. But it was not fitting that this should be done quietly. The ending of a dispensation given with as much solemnity as at Mount Sinai might well be expected to be marked with peculiar solemnity. The destruction of the holy temple, where so many saints had seen shadows of the good things to come, might well be expected to form a subject of prophecy. The Lord Jesus especially predicts the desolation of the holy place. The great High Priest describes the end of the dispensation which had been a schoolmaster to bring men to himself.

Flight from danger may sometimes be the positive duty of a Christian (v. 16). The servant of Christ undoubtedly is not to be a coward. He is to be willing to die if needs be for the truth. But the servant of Christ is not to run into danger unless it comes in the line of duty. He is not to be ashamed to use reasonable means to provide for his personal safety when no good is done by dying at his post. We must avoid being rash, as well as being cowards, avoiding the stopping of our usefulness by being over-hot and well as being over-cold!
For meditation: God destroys that which fails to fulfil its function.

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