Matthew 24 - Jesus Describes the End of the Age

Turn to your Bible to Matthew 23:37:

 

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”[g]

 

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

 

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

 

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

 

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

 

15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’[c] spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

 

23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.

 

26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.

 

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it[d] is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

 

May God bless the reading of His word.

 

Let us pray.

 

Having studied the book of Daniel, I thought it might be interesting to look at our Lord's reference to this same time from His perspective. This takes place during the final week, after the Triumphal Entry.

 

Jesus laments Jerusalem's disobedience, her killing of the prophets. This lamentation must take place in the Temple, for we are told that he exited the Temple and then the disciples came up to Him. They wanted to show Him the grandeur of the Temple building, but Jesus does not see them as they are, He sees them as how they will be in a short 40 years. This is why He asks them:

 

“Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

 

This in itself is prophecy.

 

When the Romans stormed Jerusalem, the commander, Titus, was determined not to destroy the Temple. Despite his best efforts, God had decreed that the Temple would be burned and God's will is always fulfilled. Josephus tells us:

 

So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the Temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the Holy House; but, as for that House, God had for certain long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of the ages: it was the tenth day of the month Lous, [Av,] upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon; although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for upon Titus's retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the Holy House fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning in the inner court of the Temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the Holy House itself.

 

At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the Holy House, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward the Jews made a great clamour, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered anything to restrain their force, since that Holy House was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard upon it.

 

Historians go on to tell us that the gold melting from the fire, proceeded to seep into the cracks between the stones of the buildings and even the courtyard. When the fire was put out, the soldiers proceeded to tear the complex apart, stone by stone, in order to recover the melted gold, fulfilling Jesus' prophetic vision.

 

Perhaps they were walking toward the Mount of Olives even as Jesus was telling them these things, we don't know.

 

We do know that we next see Jesus and the disciples on the Mount of Olives and the discussion of the destruction of the Temple probably brought to mind the End of Days to the minds of the disciples. So they ask Jesus;

 

“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

 

It's important to understand that everything from here forward describes the things to come. Jesus first tells the disciples;

 

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

 

First, Jesus warns them to make sure no one deceives them. This is extremely important in and of itself, because many false cults have been established and meany people have perished because of deceivers who convinced people that the end was coming. We know of two such modern day examples, Jim Jones and David Koresh both deceived people into believing that the were the Christ and that the end was near, but certainly there will be more.

 

Next Jesus tells them that there will be wars and rumors of wars but we aren't to worry because the end has not yet come. It's interesting to look at this passage in it's correct context, because so many times the wars and rumors of wars actually cause us to misinterpret this passage and to think that this is a sign of the end time, but it isn't.

 

Jesus then tells us what will be the beginning of sorrows;

 

  • Countries fighting each other

  • Famines

  • Pestilences

  • Earthquakes in various places

 

Referring to the New English Translation the translators do not include pestilences and instead of the beginning of sorrow, they translate it as the beginning of birth pains.

 

Jesus goes on to describe what will happen after the birth pains start. We read;

 

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

 

So killing of the followers of Jesus and hatred of them because of their loyalty to Jesus. Jesus tells us that many will be offended. Without a reason being specified it is reasonable to say that this offense comes from our Christianity and that people will betray each other because of their love for our Lord.

 

Persecution of the saints has not stopped since the stoning of Stephen but the magnitude of persecution in our generation overshadows any other, indeed all other persecutions of Christians since the beginning of Christianity.

 

The International Business Times reported in June of 2011:

 

The International Conference on Inter-religious dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims took place in Hungary, and the figures were announced by the representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Massimo Introvigne.

 

Every five minutes, a Christian is killed for his faith, he said.

 

That's more than 105,000 a year and that was before the rise and strengthening of Daesh or ISIS, Bokka Haram and other haters of Christianity.

 

But this hate and persecution of those who confess Jesus as their Lord will not be constrained to a few small groups. Jesus says that we will be hated by all nations “for His name's sake.”

 

Jesus also tells us that many false prophets will rise up. We know that there is a phenomenal increase in the various “sects” and “cults” that spread false religion.

 

Jesus warns about lawlessness and the loss of love in the world, which sounds like an apt description of society today anywhere in the world.

 

He tells his disciples;

 

But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

 

As we have seen, true Christians have an assurance of their salvation. God is the one Who saves us and our hope is secure.

 

Why then does Jesus Himself tell this?

 

He tells us this to embolden and strengthen us in those days when we will be tempted to give up.

 

We see Jesus' final requisite for the coming of the end of the age in verse 14. Jesus tells the disciples;

 

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

 

This verse is a huge motivation for those who are tasked with translating the Bible into languages which don't have their own translation yet, as well as for those on the missionary filed, not to mention those home churches that actively support missionaries.

 

The Gospel needs to be preached to all the Earth.

 

It is our commission.

 

Our duty.

 

In verse 15 we come to a direct reference to Daniel's vision. Jesus says;

 

15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’[c] spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

 

Remeber, everything from verse 4 on is prophetic. We know that an abomination of desolation occurred in 167 BC, but that is not and cannot be what Jesus is referring to here. Jesus is talking about the abomination of desolation that Daniel refers to in Chapter 11. Jesus refers to the historical event so that the disciples understand what it is that the ruler will do in the future, and then he warns them that if this occurs that they need to flee immediately.

 

Jesus' words in verse 27 affirm that Jesus is coming back physically to claim His kingdom. Jesus tell the those listening;

 

For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be

 

Then in verses 29- He we read;

 

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

This gives us a hint into the timeline that will happen. This all lines up very closely with what John tells us in Revelation about the vial judgments a Jesus' return as described there.

 

In verses 32-35 Jesus tells us to be vigilant, understanding the time and seasons through in order that we might to be caught unawares.

 

From there ensue several parables which teach us the importance of being prepared and aware.

 

If you confess Jesus as Lord it is import to see that Jesus urges us to look forward to and be actively involved in that which God is doing to bring His Son's kingdom into it's fullness.

 

We cannot prognosticate, we cannot ignore it, nor can we hide from it, or trivialize it.

 

We need to prepare for whatever comes our way, being ever vigilant as to how these blooming of the fig tree.

 

Our Lord is coming back.

 

We need to hope for His return, expectantly, every day

 

And if you have never confessed Jesus as you Lord, you need to seriously consider the fact that Jesus is talking about coming back.

 

There are only two types of people on this Earth, those who worship God, and those who don't.

 

Not worshiping God is actually a sin. So you can't try and argue that you have never sinned. The Bible says otherwise. It says that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

 

It also tells s that the wages of sin is death, which means eternity in the outer darkness, where Jesus says there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.

 

But there is hope, because if he reality of God is becoming real to you and his wrath against you makes you fear for your mortal soul, then God is changing you into a new creation.

 

Quit rebeling.

 

Confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and be saved,

 

For Romans 10:9-10 tells us;

 

if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[f] 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”[g]

 

Won't you do it toda?

 

Let us pray

 

 

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