The Governing Body has recently placed a large priority on simplicity and clarity in their teachings and publications. For example:
The Watchtower Study Edition, March 15, 2015, Pages 8-10:
In recent years, the spiritual instruction provided by Jehovah’s organization has reflected an increased emphasis on simplicity and clarity. Consider three examples. First, there is the simplified edition of The Watchtower.* This edition has proved to be, in effect, a loving gift to those who struggle with language or find reading a challenge.
As we might expect, over the years Jehovah has helped “the faithful and discreet slave” to become steadily more discreet. Discretion has led to greater caution when it comes to calling a Bible account a prophetic drama unless there is a clear Scriptural basis for doing so. Additionally, it has been found that some of the older explanations about types and antitypes are unduly difficult for many to grasp. The details of such teachings—who pictures whom and why—can be hard to keep straight, to remember, and to apply. Of even greater concern, though, is that the moral and practical lessons of the Bible accounts under examination may be obscured or lost in all the scrutiny of possible antitypical fulfillments. Thus, we find that our literature today focuses more on the simple, practical lessons about faith, endurance, godly devotion, and other vital qualities that we learn about from Bible accounts.
So that's why I am starting a new series of posts on this website entitled "Simplified Suggestions." I'll be giving suggestions to the Governing Body for much simpler, accurate, interpretations based on the context. Now, for this first post in this series, it will be all about...
Jesus' Prophecy of the End (Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13) -- Simplified Suggestion
First off, let's look and see that the 2015 Insight Book definitely acknowledges that the primary or main fulfillment of Jesus' words here applied to 70 C.E. when the Romans destroyed the Jewish Temple:
Insight Book (2015), Volume 1, Page 918:
Jesus Christ, when denouncing the Jewish religious leaders, concluded by saying: “Truly I say to you, All these things will come upon this generation.” History recounts that about 37 years later (in 70 C.E.) that contemporary generation personally experienced the destruction of Jerusalem, as foretold.—Mt 23:36. Later that same day, Jesus again used practically the same words, saying: “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.” (Mt 24:34) In this instance, Jesus was answering a question regarding the desolation of Jerusalem and its temple as well as regarding the sign of his presence and of the conclusion of the system of things. So his comment about “this generation” logically had an application down to 70 C.E.
Insight Book (2015), Volume 2, Page 1127:
When answering the question of his disciples concerning the sign of his presence and the conclusion of the system of things, Jesus mentioned a “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” (Mt 24:3, 21) As a comparison of Matthew 24:15-22 with Luke 21:20-24 reveals, this had initial reference to a tribulation to come upon Jerusalem. The fulfillment came in 70 C.E., when the city was besieged by the Roman armies under General Titus.
My Simplified Suggestion for this topic is to just take it one logical step further, in harmony with the Governing Body's new stance on clarity and elimination of unnecessary doctrinal details and confusing double-fulfillments, is to say that Christ's words only applied to 70 C.E. and do not have an antitypical second fulfillment today.
This would be in perfect agreement with Luke 21:5-7 (Revised New World Translation), which reads:
Later, when some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with fine stones and dedicated things, he said: “As for these things that you now see, the days will come when not a stone will be left upon a stone and not be thrown down.” Then they questioned him, saying: “Teacher, when will these things actually be, and what will be the sign when these things are to occur?”
This context clearly shows that Luke 21 (the parallel account of Matthew 24 and Mark 13) is Jesus and the disciples focusing only on the destruction of the Jewish Temple which they were looking at, not an antitypical future second fulfillment 2,000 years later.
Continue down and look at Luke 21:20-28, Jesus explicitly says that these things will occur when the armies surround the city of Jerusalem, which the Society admits was fulfilled in 66-70 C.E., concluding when General Titus destroyed the Temple.
Luke 21:20 (Revised NWT): "However, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then you know that the desolating of her has drawn near."
Earlier Christ had prophesied this same judgment and condemnation as a punishment on the Jews in Jerusalem for rejecting the Messiah during the time of the inspection/visitation.
This is found in Luke 19:41-44 (Revised NWT):
And when he got nearby, he viewed the city and wept over it, saying: “If you, even you, had discerned on this day the things having to do with peace—but now they have been hidden from your eyes. Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification of pointed stakes and will encircle you and besiege you from every side. They will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected.”
Jesus continued to warn about this same event, the destruction of the Jewish Temple, in Luke 23:27-31. Jesus once again warned Jerusalem about its destruction. All of this has nothing to do with some secondary antitypical fulfillment 2,000 years later.
Jesus just used hyperbole and symbolism to describe this event of the Romans destroying the Temple in 70 C.E., by saying they would see Jesus in the clouds and at the right hand of God. This symbolizes Christ's power and authority as King.
Matthew 26:64 (Revised NWT): Jesus said to him: “You yourself said it. But I say to you: From now on you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”