By Tom L. Ballinger

For three and one-half years, the Lord Jesus Christ taught that the Kingdom of Heaven was “at hand.” He constantly taught things that related to the coming Kingdom. His Jewish audience understood that when the Kingdom would be established on earth, God would rule the world on His righteous terms. They understood that Israel would become a priestly nation, and that through Israel, all of the nations would be blessed of God.

The devout Jews were raised on the words of the Prophets. God spoke of the coming Kingdom age and the restoration of the world through the “mouth of all His Holy Prophets” (Acts 3:21). They believed that the Glory of God was going to be revealed, and this would restore the world to its pristine pre-flood condition.


1. “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.”

The Temple complex was said to have been a marvelous sight to behold. It had many beautiful buildings, chambers, and courtyards. The disciples were very impressed with the buildings, and they went to Him wanting to show Him the splendor of the buildings on the Temple grounds. But, He stopped them dead in-their-tracks.

2.” And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

History informs us that about forty years later, the entire city of Jerusalem was leveled; including all of the buildings which made up the magnificent Temple area. Even though Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Romans, that did not end God’s plan for the City or for a re-built Temple.

3. “ 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 thy coming (parousia), and of the end of the world?”

The disciples wanted to know when shall these things come to pass? The word translated as “coming” is “parousia.” The word “parousia” does not simply mean “coming.” Jesus was, then, present with them when they asked about His coming. So, how is it they would ask Him when He would be coming to them, if He was already with them? They always seemed very puzzled every time He told them that He was going to leave them. They, obviously, didn’t expect Him to leave, so they couldn’t have been asking when He would come back.

Many have recognized that “parousia” does not merely, mean “coming,” so they have said it means “personal presence.” This is partially correct, but it is not the whole of the matter. The Greeks used the word “parousia” when someone had to be present at an event because of who he was and what official function he was to perform.

If I went to the court house to watch a trial, my presence would be a “pareimi.” That was the Greek word for “personal presence.” I was there just to observe the court proceedings.
The disciples were not asking Jesus when would He be personally present (pareimi) with them because He already was. So, they were really asking when would His Parousia be.

Let’s say I was appointed the Executor of my deceased aunt’s estate. And, I had to make a court appearance before the Probate Judge to sign documents that only the Executor could sign. My appearance in court would be a “parousia.” In other words, I had to make a “parousia” at the courthouse. I, alone, was the only one able to do what had to be done. The official office I held was that of the Executor of the estate, and as the Executor, I was the only one who could execute the official probate documents. My court appearance was more than just a “pareimi;” it was a “parousia.”

So, the disciples privately asked the Lord Jesus; “What will be the sign of your Parousia?” He was personally ( pareimi ) present with them. But, His presence with them was not in a “Parousia.” His “Parousia” would have to wait until He was officially present on the earth to fulfill the office only He could fill; as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The disciples knew they were asking about the future age of the coming Kingdom. What would be the sign of His “parousia” and the end of the age?

The “end,” in Matthew 24:3, does not mean end in the sense of the end of a game, the end of a movie, or the end of a war. The word for the actual “end” of something is “telos.” The word employed for “end,” here, is “sunteleia,” in Greek. The word, “sunteleia,” is the word used for the consummation of something. When something is consummated, that doesn’t mean the end of it, but it is the point at which something, that has been aimed for, is finally reached, or attained, or achieved.

An illustration could be that a man and a woman agree that they will become husband and wife in the future. They become engaged and begin to make plans for their life together as husband and wife. After all of their plans are formulated, they decide to be married on the first day of the next month. They may go through receptions and wedding showers. They may have a state official (a pastor or civil servant) perform a marriage ceremony, and with authority of the state, the official pronounces them man and wife. However, they are not man and wife until their marriage is consummated by sexual intercourse. That is not the “end” of marriage. The consummation of marriage opens the door for all of the benefits and responsibilities that marriage presents.

There can be no doubt that the word, “sunteleia,” means a coming together of all actions that have been working toward a desired goal, result, or end—becoming husband and wife.

What the disciples were really asking was; “What would be the sign of the consummation of the eon (age)― the grand Parousia of Jesus Christ?” They knew Christ was not to be in a Parousia during the times of refreshing coming from Him. They knew He was not to be in Parousia on the earth when all things are restored. The consummation of the Day of Jesus Christ will be when He returns to earth with great fanfare and mighty power (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and have rule and dominion over the heavens and earth from David’s Throne in Jerusalem. He will be in a Parousia for a thousand years.

4. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”

The Lord Jesus issued a very solemn warning to His disciples. We should not be careless students of the Word by expanding the use of the pronoun, “you.” Very often, the pronouns God uses are misused with no thought being given to the antecedents of the pronouns. Unless an idiomatic expression is used, every pronoun must have its antecedent in the context. Without a doubt, the pronoun, “you,” in the context has as its antecedent the word, “disciples.” This passage tells us that these disciples will have been raised from the dead in order for the warning; “Take heed that no man deceive you,” to be meaningful to them. And that’s not all; this will be prior to the consummation of the eon with the Parousia of the Lord Jesus Christ. For this warning to be applicable to the disciples to whom Christ was speaking, it necessitates that they be raised from the dead and live throughout the Kingdom Age; anticipating the Glory of His Parousia.

5. “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

The disciples will be alive on earth and will personally witness the claims of the false-Christs who show up in the “latter days” of the Kingdom. These false-messiahs show up in the Jerusalem of the new earth of Isaiah 65 & 66; not in the U.S.A., nor in Great Britain, nor in the Jerusalem that now is, but in a new Jerusalem as found in Isaiah 65:18.

6. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

It should be pointed out, again, that Christ uses the pronoun, “you” (ye). This means that the disciples He was talking to will have to have been raised from the dead and will have lived through the long duration of the Kingdom Age. It will be profoundly significant to them that they “shall hear of wars and rumors of wars.” Significant, because wars will be made to cease when the Kingdom comes (Psalm 46:9; Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3), and universal peace was imposed upon the world. But, over time, the restraints the Lord imposed upon the world will be gradually relaxed, and there will be small, localized warfare and rumors of even great wars to follow. “But don’t you disciples be troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end (telos, not sunteleia) is not yet.” Telos is the final issue, or result of a state or process (Vines Expository Dictionary). Christ said, “the end,” that is, the final state of things is not yet.

Throughout the recorded history of man, there have been wars, and rumors of wars. There is not the slightest evidence that Christ meant, by this prediction, that there would be worse, more frequent and widespread wars, and rumors of wars. This is what modern-day teachers of prophecy and preachers of doom have mistakenly read into the passage, but this is not what Christ said. This is not significant to us. Wars, and rumors of wars, are part and parcel of our everyday life.

But, to these disciples who will be resurrected to live in a war-free environment, it will have great significance to them when they hear of wars, and rumors of wars.

7. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”

Christ told His disciples, on the Mount of Olives, that one of the signs of the nearness of the consummation of the age would be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. These were common in the lives of His disciples as they sat and listened to Him. Ever since the Flood, these maladies had been rather common place. To say the famines in Bangladesh, and the AIDS in Africa, and all of the earthquakes in various places, today, are signs of the “time of the end” is a perversion of what our Lord was telling His disciples.

Encapsulated in His teaching, regarding the coming Kingdom of God, was the fact that natural disasters, hunger and starvation, and diseases would disappear from the face of the earth. All traces of the curse are to be removed. God spoke concerning these things “by the mouth of all His Holy Prophets.” It would be foolish, on our part, to think Christ’s disciples were not aware of these facts.

In those days of the disciples, all of the maladies existed. In order for these to be noteworthy to the disciples, they would have to live in a world environment in which there was an absence of famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. This means they will have to live again, in resurrection, on the new earth of Isaiah 65 & 66. Then, and only then, can they recognize these things as having a significant bearing on things to come.

8. “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Truly, the end (telos, the actual end) is not yet, because all of the things Christ outlined to His disciples were to be the beginning of sorrows. For sorrows to have a beginning there needs to have been a time when sorrows did not exist.

The disciples were very privileged to have been taught by the Lord Jesus Christ. We read in Luke 10:23-24; “And He turned Him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

When Christ Jesus establishes His Government in the earth, at His appearing and kingdom, sorrows and sighing shall flee away (Isaiah 35:10). But, over time, as He relaxes His restraints in the earth, there comes an unraveling which results in a world-wide apostasy, rebellion, and the events which surround it as described in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

Tom L. Ballinger