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 your coming, and of the end of the world?
All Commentaries on Matthew 24:3 Go To Matthew 24
George Leo Haydock
Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the consummation of the world? We must take good notice with St. Jerome, that three questions are here joined together. 1. Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem; 2. of the coming of Christ; 3. of the end of the world. Christ's answers and predictions in this chapter, are to be expounded with a reference to the three questions. This hath not been considered by those interpreters; who expound every thing here spoken by Christ of the destruction of Jerusalem; nor by others, who will have all understood of his coming to judgment, and of the end of the world. (Witham)
It is probable the apostles themselves did not understand that they were asking about two distinct events. Being filled with the idea of a temporal kingdom, they thought that Christ's second coming would take place soon; and that Jerusalem, once destroyed, the Messias would begin his reign on earth.