Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, "Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?"
How did the disciples know that this referred to the end of the world? Yes, they knew about the prophecy in Zechariah 14, but they were expecting Jesus to set up his kingdom right away, with no cross or resurrection.
This is from "A Commentary on the New Testament From the Talmud and Hebraica" by John Lightfoot:
See here the doctrine of the Jews concerning the coming of the Messiah:
1. That at that time there shall be a resurrection of the just: The Messias shall raise up those that sleep in the dust.
2. Then shall follow the desolation of this world: This world shall be wasted a thousand years. Not that they imagined that a chaos, or confusion of all things, should last the thousand years; but that this world should end and a new one be introduced in that thousand years.
3. After which eternity should succeed.
From hence we easily understand the meaning of this question of the disciples:--
1. They know and own the present Messiah; and yet they ask, what shall be the signs of his coming?
2. But they do not ask the signs of his coming (as we believe of it) at the last day, to judge both the quick and the dead: but,
3. When he will come in the evidence and demonstration of the Messiah, raising up the dead, and ending this world, and introducing a new; as they had been taught in their schools concerning his coming.
So the disciples weren't really asking when Jesus was going to return to set up his kingdom but when he was going to do all this since he was already with them.
No wonder Jesus told them, "Don't let anyone mislead you." They were already mislead in how they thought his kingdom would be set up.
Lord, I'm so glad that you don't do things the way we expect. For your ways are higher than ours.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
This Week's Memory Verses
This is what the LORD says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts from the LORD."
Romans 1:16 (NIV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 (NIV)