After forsaking the temple to those who would have it filled with their own spirit of the world rather than His Holy Spirit, Jesus foretold its complete destruction. Now, on the Mount of Olives He is answering His disciples’ question for when that would occur, and what would be the sign of His coming in judgment to bring such a catastrophic end to that age of the Jews—which answer we believe also speaks to the end of our own evil age. Because they rejected Him as their Messiah who alone is able to provide the lasting peace of a true salvation from sin, they would be given over to the deceit of false messiahs and their promises for a worldly salvation. Because they would not be gathered spiritually under His wings of refuge by His holy angels, the reins of the Lord’s grace that restrained their folly would be released for them to fill up the measure of their sin and run headlong into the supposed safety of the fortified cities of a worldly Jerusalem. There they would become trapped, gathered by angels out of His kingdom as chaff and bundles of tares to be burned, even as those who believed the gospel were being gathered as grain into His barn. Having forsaken the light of the truth, their path could only lead to a time of great tribulation that would end in great darkness. And only as the light they hoped for was turned to darkness would the sign of the Son of Man become visible to all the tribes of Israel as they would see, and mourn, the Son of Man whom they had rejected coming on the clouds of heaven with a brightness of the truth that like lightning would consume all their lawlessness, and like rain would make the righteousness of His Church sprout up in its place—again, as a type of His coming at the end of our own age at which all the tribes of the earth shall also mourn.
From where does Jesus say the angels He would send forth would gather His elect out of the world as choice subjects for His kingdom? See Mat 24:31, Mar 13:27. Especially in regard to the Jews to whom belongs the covenants and the giving of the law, whose are the fathers and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh (Rom 9:4-5), what is the significance that they would be gathered from the four winds and the remotest parts of heaven and earth? Cf. Deut 30:1-4, Isa 43:6, Zec 2:6-7; cf. Jer 49:36. In what way had the Jews been scattered to the ends of the earth, and in what way were the elect from among them who returned to the Lord and obeyed Him with all their heart and soul gathered from the four winds into Christ’s kingdom? See Deut 4:25-29, Neh 1:8-9, Jer 31:10, Act 2:8-11,41, 13:14-15,43, 14:1, 17:1-4,10-12,16-17, 18:1,4,19, etc., Rom 1:16; consider too that the ministry of the twelve apostles as well as others like Barnabas and Philip would have been similar to that of Paul’s. Was it Jews only who were scattered over all the earth from whom God desired to gather into His kingdom of righteousness elect servants who are choice in His eyes? Cf. Gen 11:8, Isa 45:22, Joh 11:51-52. In what way then was the spread of the gospel message by the Church to both Jews and Gentiles a fulfillment of Jesus’ words that He would gather His elect from the farthest ends of the earth into His kingdom of righteousness? Cf. Mat 28:19, Rom 10:18.