- Special Sections
- Public Notices
“We are wondering how Jesus viewed the end of time. Did He think it would be soon or far in the future?’”— Shannon and Kristina
The answer to your question is “both/and.” In His discourse on the end of time, Jesus’ words revealed two perspectives.
The first portrayed a sense of immediacy: “This generation will not pass away before these things happen” (Mt. 24:34). Jesus looked around at His closest friends and told them that in a short time, their world would come to an end. The fulfillment of this statement happened, in fact, within 40 years (A.D. 70), when the Romans as a consequence of Jewish rebellion destroyed Jerusalem.
Readers of John’s apocalyptic vision (the Book of Revelation) saw firsthand the realization of Jesus’ prediction and the utter destruction and suffering of those times.
The second perspective contained a future dimension. We can imagine that Jesus spoke these words with a distant look in His eyes: “One day … the Son of Man will return …” (Mt. 24:27-31). This prophecy would be fulfilled at some later time, one even He did not know (Mt. 24:36), one that cannot be calculated by the imaginations of men (Mt. 24:42, 44, 50).
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ remarks concerning “His coming and the end of the age” (Mt. 24:3) intermingled these two viewpoints. Alternating between them, He referred to events that were to happen soon and events, which would occur afar off.
These variations on a theme are what make this passage difficult to sort out and often subject to much misinterpretation.
The entire discourse makes one powerful point: Don’t waste a lot of time speculating upon the time of “the end.” Instead, make sure you are ready and live your life as if you genuinely expect someday soon to stand in His presence (II Pet. 3:3-18).