Matthew 24 Jesus Prophecy of the End Times
So, with all the craziness going on and hearing of other pastors preaching on "end time" subjects, I thought I would do some study myself and share with you as I study through Mat 24-25. The chapter begins with Jesus and the disciples "sight-seeing" the temple area, and Jesus cannot help himself, but tells them in vs 2 that all these things that they see will be destroyed, "not one stone left upon another." Of course, this was fulfilled in 60 AD when Titus attacked Jerusalem and murdered thousands of Jews and burned their bodies in the temple. The fire was so hot that the gold of the temple melted and seeped into the cracks between the bricks. After it was over, the soldiers scraped the gold from every rock and brick of the temple, leaving not one left untouched, just as the Savior said.
This spurred the curiousness of the disciples, and they wanted to know more, so, when they had retired to the Mount of Olives, they asked Him three follow-up questions: "when shall these things be?" "What shall be the sign of thy coming?" and "When shall be the end of the world?" Jesus then begins to answer them in vs 4 and He begins with an astounding statement, "Take heed that no man deceive you." This is where a student of the scripture should ask himself or herself, "do I have any preconceived ideas about how this is supposed to happen?" Jesus is about to answer the disciples questions in the order that they asked it. But I can assure you, that people's minds fall pray to deception. The devil wants you to think that how the world works is just the way things are supposed to be. We are living through it now, where there is so much deception we don't know who is telling the truth, or when they are telling the truth, who's right, who's wrong. The devil has had over 6000 years to prepare the end of days lies, so much so, that when Jesus came the first time, the scholars and teachers missed it. Do not think it will be different this time around either, but very few will be Berean mindful. Why do I say all this, reread Mat 24 with me, forget that you have been trained on the end and how it is supposed to unfold, on the "rapture," on anything and let Jesus teach you. Don't be deceived!
Here is a quick breakdown of these questions:
"When shall these things be?" Mat 24:5-28
"What shall be the sign of thy coming?" Mat 24: 29-31, Mat 24:32 - Mat 25:13
""When shall be the end of the world?" Mat 25:14-46
Tomorrow we will discuss the first question.
Today, let’s look at this first question that the disciples ask in Mat 24:3, “When shall these things be?” Notice that Jesus does not give them a time, but rather things to look for. The first sign is the rise of false Christ’s, vs 5, many shall come and deceive many people. The name “Christ” means “anointed one.” These will be people who come on the scene declaring that they are of God, yet are not, or even claiming that they have the only way to God. God has sent people, but they look more like Moody not Muhammad!
As Jesus continues, He says that there will be wars and rumors of wars, vs 6. Also, along these lines will be nations rising against nations, and ethnic groups against ethnic groups, vs 7. You will see famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (Anyone seen these lately? I looked at some numbers two days ago, and just some rough math, but over the last 5 years, about ¼ of the world population dies from pestilences over this time period. These include flus, virus, cancer, etc. The world just has so many people that it replenishes these deaths so that we don’t notice as much.) Jesus said that these are just the beginning of sorrows! (vs 8)
Additional signs are: believers afflicted and killed – this is happening as we speak on an escalated scale, especially in Africa, China, and the Middle East. We have even had this happening in the US with attacks in church buildings, just because they claim Christ’s name. Other signs are that people are easily offended and betray – even hate one another, because they don’t agree. (That looks just like our political, moral, and even sports ideologies, vs 10) We will also see many false prophets, who deceive many! (We see this in the rise of the prosperity gospel, which, easily takes over an assembly.) In vs 12, Jesus says that iniquity abounds: basically, people gravitate toward sinful lives rather than holiness; and, true love gets “colder” and “colder.”
Even though there are so many negative signs, a positive sign is that the “gospel of the kingdom is preached in all the world” and once it reaches this climax, we begin to head toward the second question, with some additional signs. That doesn’t mean that all these other signs pause, they keep coming and just more things are added to them.
When we get to vs 15, I know that I will part company with many of my fellow believers, but, I hope you will consider my point of view. Jesus describes the “abomination of desolation as something standing in the holy place.” Many teach that this is the antichrist claiming to be God in the temple. The problem I have with this, is that it has been done many times already. Sometimes by Hebrew kings, but also by Greek and Roman kings. These are outrageous events, but not as bad as what is there right now, the Dome of the Rock! The Jews can’t even clean it; it is an abomination that has desolated the temple grounds! Jesus said that when you see this there will be great tribulation for the Jews. Do some research on how the Jews have been treated since this thing has been built about 691 AD. The anti-Semitism, inquisitions, and holocaust! Millions of Jews lost their lives, homes, jobs, and wealth. Seems like great tribulations that has never in the world been seen before. I know that many of “the church” folks think the end is just about them, but it is about both. The persecution of both the believers and the Jews all over the world is the sign (which has also happened if you check your Baptist history), and as it approaches the end, that there will be no safe place in the world for believers or Jews. There will be such an anticipation of the return of Christ, Jesus warns, don’t believe the lies that I am here or there, vs 23. There will be a rise of the occult in all nations and great signs and wonders, that will deceive all but the very elect. When you see all these together, look for the “sign of His coming!” – “Immediately after the tribulation of those days,” vs 29.
We will discuss the question, "What shall be the sign of thy coming?" Mat 24: 29-31, Mat 24:32 - Mat 25:13
Now let’s look at the second question the disciples asked: "What shall be the sign of thy coming?" Mat 24: 29-31, Mat 24:32 - Mat 25:13. There is no guess work associated here, Jesus tells us plainly in Mat 24:30, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven.” If you are looking for Jesus to return to rescue you from the problems facing the earth, don’t look to Matthew 24, because the scripture says, in vs 29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (vs 30) then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. There is no indicator that there has been a previous rapture event from these words that match Rev 6 so much. Regardless, at this juncture, when it appears there is no hope, Jesus appears, but it is not with much rejoicing; but rather, “all the tribes of the earth mourning, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Jesus then declares in vs 31, that “He sends His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” This is obviously the rapture event that we have so long, waited for.
Now Jesus does not leave us hanging, trying to figure out what this looks like, so, He uses some parables to describe His answer to “when shall be the sign of Thy coming?” The Savior describes this event like a fig tree in vs 32, “When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh, so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” This parable explains how to know when He is going to return, you see all those bad things we talked about yesterday happening all around the world at the same time! There is no country where you can specifically run to, to escape the tribulation of those days.
These are topped off with an event from vs 29, that resembles a massive volcanic explosion. Jesus also clarifies that there is a final “generation,” in which, this convergence is witnessed. Some say this can be anywhere from 70-120 years. If 1948, when Israel was renewed as a nation as the marker (which many believe so) we hit the 70 year mark already in 2018. You do the rest of the math. Jesus says that know one knows the exact day, but we should have a clue, just like in the days of Noah. However, people will get accustomed to the craziness and will accept it for “this is just how things are.” They will continue going through the motions of life according to vs 38, and neglect their eternal preparation.
Jesus, also, describes this event happening suddenly: “Two working in the field, one taken the other left, two grinding at the mill; one taken the other left.” He advises us who are believers to “Watch therefore, because we know not the hour.” “If you knew that your house was going to be robbed, you would prepare and secure your home. (vs 43) Therefore, be ready for the Lord’s return!” “Who then is faithful and is a wise servant of God” who will be ready when Christ return, “will Jesus find faith in you!
The final question in this text is, ""When shall be the end of the world?" Mat 25:14-46
Jesus does not make the distinction between the change of subject, as He did with the first two question. However, the relationship between the last two are liked, so that is possibly the reason. His answer comes in the form of parables that highlight more the “end of a person’s world” rather than the “end of the earth.” The transitional verse seems to hover around Mat 24:51, as He describes that those He finds faithful will be greatly rewarded, but warns that you don’t automatically deserve it! Those who claim the name of Christ, but are really just playing games and have no real relationship with their Creator, Jesus states, vs 51, “these shall be cut asunder, and appointed their portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Again, Jesus clarifies this with a pictured parable. In Mat 25, He describes this as ten girls who are preparing for a wedding, each have a lamp. Five were wise and prepare with extra oil for their lamps and ready for the bridegroom, but the other five were foolish and prepared not. The five foolish were depending on the other five to get them through this waiting period, nor were they concerned about it until the bridegroom was there and ready. The five foolish wanted the wise to help them, but it was too late. The five foolish tried at the last minute to obtain what they needed, and when they came to the door, the Lord said, “I know you not.” These are very sad words to hear. These girls heard the same messages, attended the same church, sang the same songs, but just going through the motions and never allowing Jesus to be Lord and King of their life. Because of this neglect on their part, they were rejected. It was not God who chose this for them, they chose it for themselves.
Jesus illustrates another end of the world scenario from Mat 25:14-30. Here, a man (Jesus) calls his servants and delivers all he has into their hands: one he gives five talents, another two, and to another one, and went on his journey, vs 15. The servants with five and two talents, used them to obtain gain, however, the servant with the one, buried it. After a while, the master returns and holds his servants accountable for what they did with what the master made them stewards over. The servants with five and two, had doubled what the master had given them to use, and the Lord commended, rewarded, and promoted them. Here Jesus even says to these servants, “enter into the joy of the Lord!” (vs 21 & 23) However the servant who had received the one, makes excuses for his cowardice and laziness; and, tells the Lord that he buried it to keep it safe. The Lord is angry with him and declares him to be a “wicked and slothful servant!” (vs 26) What was a given to him is taken away and given to the servant with now the ten, he is determined to be “unprofitable, and cast into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (vs 30) Basically, God is going to look at your life, true servants advance the kingdom; liars seek to try and protect themselves. True servants are workers, false servants are slothful, and both will be rewarded accordingly!
This concept is “foot-stomped,” beginning in Mat 25:31, as Jesus declares that when He comes in His glory, He is the judge of the world and all the people of the world, because He will be the one sitting upon the throne! Before Him all nations will be gathered and He will determine who is a “sheep” (a true servant) or a “goat” (an unprofitable servant) (vs 32). These will be divided the sheep to the right and the goats to the left. The ones on the right are welcomed, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” vs 34. However, the ones on the left are told to “depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” vs41. It seems that neither group really understands why they received reward or punishment, but, they are told it is how they operated according to the spirit. Whether they busy looking for those in need and being the “hands and feet” of Jesus or rather “serving self.”
The verses 35-40, are not talking about a since of “duty” or “works centered salvation,” but these are things on your heart, you just can’t help yourself. You desire to get the gospel out no matter what! It is so engrained in your born again self, that you really don’t even know you are doing these things when you are doing them. Perhaps it is even in your prayer, when you ask God to “let you be a blessing to someone, today.”
So when is the “end of the world?” It is when you stand before Jesus Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords, and give account of yourself. It is when He judges you, and the reward is passed; when you either, hear the words: “well done! Thou good and faithful servant, welcome into the joy of the Lord!” or “thou wicked and slothful servant, depart from me into outer darkness where there is crying and gnashing of teeth, into the everlasting fire, made for the devil and his angels!” Today is the day of salvation! Do not wait until the end of your world, for then it is too late.