LESSONS INDEX

Matthew 24 Overview

Introduction


Consider, just as we have Jesus presenting 'The sermon on the mount' prior to the beginning of His public ministry, in similar manner, in Matt 24, we have His closing private message to His disciples not long before His crucifixion on Calvary. It was vital at this time that Jesus let His disciples know what was about to happen to them, and also to all who love Righteousness. How difficult it must have been for Jesus in forecasting the future, when, that future held (and still does), various harrowing times for lovers of Righteousness. It doesn't seem in the least bit fair that sweet spirited people should have to put up with antisocial people, or more to the point, psychopaths.

As Jesus spoke to His disciples, a state of 'war' between Righteousness and unRighteousness had been going on for at least 4 millennia. This ongoing battle was well known to Jesus before His birth in Bethlehem, for from the fall of Adam and Eve, evil people have been the bane of delightful, peace loving Souls. So here we have Jesus handling the difficult task of preparing His beloved disciples for the long haul ahead, with all that the world and the worldly have in store for them; short and long term.

Jesus had made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and after a while, as He and His disciples were leaving the temple, they pointed out to Him the temple buildings. Following these comments, Jesus presented to them his prediction of their fate in the not too distant future. Whereupon they asked him to explain what these things meant. So, what follows in Matt 24, is the presentation of Jesus' foretelling of the woeful experiences to be faced by the elect. It's imperative that we understand that satan is a sworn enemy of Righteousness. Indeed, he's a most determined and persistent foe who doesn't hesitate to pull the dirtiest of tricks upon the elect; and then some.

It must have been heartbreaking for Jesus to present this forecast to His beloved disciples. However, life being what it is, we all have freedom of will, and this liberty guarantees that personal preferences will lead, far more than we may like to acknowledge, to highly damaging consequences being brought by evil people upon the Righteous. Jesus Himself is the primary example of the Righteous being attacked and maligned by the evil in our midst. Indeed, these 'whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones' didn't rest until they had Him crucified. For sweet spirited people, it's extremely difficult for them to believe that there are those (Including some religious leaders) who have so given themselves to evil that they become thrilled at the thought of causing ill and tremendous suffering to the Decent. Why? Well, perhaps it's because they've abandoned themselves to evil. It's a difficult lesson for sweet spirited lovers of Righteousness to grasp, but it's real, there's no denying it. And if we're to be prepared for its manifestation in society, even amongst the elect (including our day and age), it's imperative that decent people personally choose to transcend their own naïveté by acknowledging this ongoing presence of evil; even in one's own life.

SO ...READ AND REFLECT, UPON THIS BELOW: 

24:1 The disciples mention the buildings 
24:2 Jesus says they'll all be demolished 
24:3 The disciples ask Jesus about this

Jesus presents His answer in a number of scenarios, with 2 conclusions!

24:4-14......scenario 1-1,...persecution,......NO sign of fall of Jerusalem 
24:15-22....scenario 2-1,...abomination,...........sign of fall of Jerusalem
24:23-28....scenario 2-2,...false Christs,...........sign of fall of Jerusalem
24:29-35....scenario 2-3,...1st conclusion,.........sign of fall of Jerusalem
24:36-51....scenario 1-2,...2nd conclusion,...NO sign of end of the world

Not long before His mockery of a trial, Jesus spent some time in Jerusalem with His disciples, then:

1 Jesus went out from the temple, and was going on his way. His disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, "Don't you see all of these things? Most assuredly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down." Matt 24:1,2.

The Jewish Nation, to whom the Temple in Jerusalem was the symbol of God's presence among mankind, especially the Jewish kind, took great comfort in this visible assurance of their favour with the most High God. However, upon leaving the temple, Jesus made a statement that shook His disciples;

"Don't you see all of these things? Most assuredly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down." Matt 24:2b.

If anything was to get their attention, surely, this was it. This startling news wasn't a puzzle for long though, as they asked Him for an explanation;

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?" Matt 24:3,

ie, the full end (sunteleio/consummation), of the age (aion).

Their memorable question consists of two parts: 

  1. When will these things be?
  2. What is the sign... 
    • Of your coming? 
    • Of the end of the age? (aion)

Their question covers a single event; destruction of the Temple buildings.

Just for fun, I looked up "Matt 24" online, and the search engine came up with tens of thousands of web sites, ouch! How could anyone plough through all that? Fortunately for lovers of Righteousness, there is a reliable source for figuring out the message of Matt 24, for both original listeners and readers in the first century AD, and for readers in our day and age. And..., surprise! surprise!! surprise!!! this reliable source is in Matt 24! How's that for convenience?

And the one who shows the way in Matt 24, is non other than Jesus Himself. So, let's check-out His words of wisdom as He responds to their question, "Tell us, when will these things be? etc":

24:4-14......scenario 1-1,...persecution,......NO sign of fall of Jerusalem

4 Jesus answered them, "Be careful that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will lead many astray. 6 You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you aren't troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. 8 But all these things are the beginning of birth pains. 9 Then they will deliver you up to oppression, and will kill you. You will be hated by all of the nations for my name's sake. 10 Then many will stumble, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray. 12 Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matt 24:4-14.

In His reply to the disciples' question, Jesus began by warning them, "Be careful that no one leads you astray." Thus, we may see verses 4-14, as an edited overview of Jesus' three and a half years of public ministry, and of those who resist the Holy Spirit; the deceivers. This scenario is also an overview that lovers of Righteousness will continue to face during their sojourn upon this sin sick world. Many would come (in His name no less!) and lead many astray; not few, many! It's not a pretty picture, all is woe, woe, and more woe, even brethren turning upon each other. No surprises here, for even in our day and age there are those with the same impenitent habits. In other words Jesus is saying that it'll be business as usual. All these tragedies are not a sign of the end, vs. 6. On the contrary, the 'end' will only arrive after the gospel of the kingdom is preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, vs. 14, ie, the end (telos) of the world (kosmos), not, the end of the age (aion).

Their question about when all these things will happen vs. 3, was first answered by Jesus explaining, what the sign wouldn't be. Initially, He was presenting a picture of the world from their time, right through to the very end of the habitable world. His answer covers not simply the time prior to and during the destruction of Jerusalem, but to the end of time. Thus, the message in verses 4-14, includes an overview of our present day and beyond; to the end of the world. Verses 4-14, are about the trying times of all the faithful; in all periods of time.

However, having answered their unarticulated question in verses 4-14, that there'll be no sign that warns about the end of the world (kosmos). He adds that the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to all the world; before that end.

Having cleared up any possible misunderstanding that people may have about signs and what they could possibly mean generally, Jesus now answers their question, "Tell us, when will these things be?" vs. 3, ie, to the Temple buildings in Jerusalem, thus:

24:15-22....scenario 2-1,...abomination,........A sign of fall of Jerusalem

15 "When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader 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 out things that are in his house. 18 Let him who is in the field not return back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are with child and to nursing mothers in those days! 20 Pray that your flight will not be in the winter, nor on a Sabbath, 21 for then there will be great oppression, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever will be. 22 Unless those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved. But for the sake of the chosen ones, those days will be shortened. Matt 24:15-22.

The ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION, is applied to the scenario of Jerusalem by Jesus, and if readers have difficulty figuring it out, Matthew uses this editorial comment (let the reader understand), to exhort them to pay special attention. This is the 'consummation' question the disciples asked Jesus, vs. 3. And here, He is answering it for them, so let us have a look at this passage in Daniel;

He shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate; and even to the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out on the desolate. Dan 9:27.

The writer of Hebrews informs us that when Jesus gave His life upon the tree at Calvary, the Law of Moses was done away with, being replaced by the Law of the New Covenant:

9 then he has said, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He takes away the first, that he may establish the second, 10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb 10:9,10.

The doing away of the Law of Moses upon the cross, was legal instantly. However, the consummation of that removing (as we now know) took place at the destruction of Jerusalem. In a similar way, the replacing of the Law of Moses by the Law of Christ upon the cross, was also legal immediately, ie, at the same time. However, the consummation of the replacing of the Law of Moses with the Law of the Christ, took place about seven weeks later on the day of Pentecost with the gospel first being preached, and to which 3,000 people responded by being baptised for the forgiveness of their sins. In similar fashion, the elect's salvation is consummated upon going to be with their Lord at their passing from this earthly life, consider what the apostle Paul had to say:

7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables. Exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise has some value, but godliness has value for all things, having the promise of the life which is now, and of that which is to come. 1 Tim 4:7,8.

Peter warned against the failure to grow into spiritual maturity: 

20 For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state has become worse with them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of Righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, "The dog turns to his own vomit again," and "the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire." 2 Pet 2:20-22.

However, it's possible to have a healthy assurance that's based upon spiritual maturity, consider the apostle Paul's thanks for the delightful Thessalonians:

2 We always give thanks to God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father. 4 We know, brothers loved by God, that you are chosen, 1 Thess 1:2-4(4).

It is to delightful people like these who were to find themselves as the elect in Judea, who Jesus is urging;

15 "When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Matt 24:15,16.

This is His directive, there's this driving urgency for them to get out of Judea (which includes Jerusalem) without a moments hesitation, thus He says "flee":

This wasn't the time to organise a committee; discuss it, have a bun-fight, and then agree to disagree. Simply, they were to;

FLEE! FLEE!! FLEE!!!

The elect were given the responsibility of praying that this event will not be on the sabbath, or in winter, or it'd be disastrous for them. For on the sabbath the gates of Jerusalem would be shut, and thus the elect wouldn't be able to get out. And how dreadful for nursing mothers. In our day and age we see parents struggling to get their young charges into the family car and buckling them up etc. Whereas, in the first century not only did they have no such comfort, but they had to walk everywhere. It would take ages for them to travel what is to us, a short distance.

Now, ...after the warning to flee Judea etc, there's another one; don't return.

Fortunately for the elect, those days were shortened. And as Jesus continued to warn them of the trauma that was to unfold in Judea (especially Jerusalem) in their lifetime, He saw the danger ahead for those who, while fleeing from Judea to the mountains during those days of tribulation, would be tempted to return, or even head to Jerusalem itself, or into the desert, eg:

24:23-28....scenario 2-2,...false Christs,........A sign of fall of Jerusalem

23 "Then if any man tells you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or, 'There,' don't believe it. 24 For there will arise false Christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones. 25 "Behold, I have told you beforehand. 26 If therefore they tell you, 'Behold, he is in the wilderness,' don't go out; 'Behold, he is in the inner chambers,' don't believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes forth from the east, and is seen even to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there will the vultures be gathered together. Matt 24:23-28.

So, here's a picture of them while en route to the mountains, fleeing in fear from Judea and Jerusalem, around which the armies are gathering, which is likely to keep them in a state of abject fear. Unsurprisingly, the danger of longing to go back/head to, the "Holy City of God" is a possible lure for the traumatised elect, of whom false Christs and false prophets would try to take advantage. Thus in the midst of this horror, there'll be false christs and false prophets, trying to persuade them to go to Jerusalem itself, or into the desert. Odd, but there have always been those who have more confidence than is justified. They just seem to make up their minds that something is "Such-n-Such," and their confidence appears so genuine that the naïve, especially the deeply traumatised naïve, may be in danger of succumbing to their deceit. These deceivers are people who "believe" that Jesus actually is in the secret chambers, or desert, ie, personally there, and the naïve in their terror, are very likely to grasp at anything in such horribly stressful times like these. This is the danger that Jesus is well aware is a possibility, and that's why He's forewarning the elect with such scenarios of false Christs and false prophets.

However, Jesus told the disciples that when He does come back personally, they won't need to be told where He'll be, because they'll all be able to see Him, just as they're able to see lightening shining from the east to the west. Therefore, no matter how urgent the false Christs and false prophets are in presenting their stories about Jesus being personally present somewhere, ie, secret chambers or desert, these people are giving a false message, and thus, the urgent warning to the elect by Jesus is:

don't believe it! don't believe it!! don't believe it!!! 

At the time of the destruction of Jerusalem (consummation of the ages, Matt 24:3,15), the Law of Moses had been dead for nearly 40 years (a carcass), again;

For wherever the carcass is, there will the vultures be gathered together. Matt 24:28.

And this dead carcass was definitely unclean. It was no longer worthy of anything but the attention of vultures. In this case, the Roman army of Titus.

After Jesus had given the scenario 2-1, warning them to get out of Judea, followed by the scenario 2-2, warning them not to believe the false Christs and false prophets, who are trying to get them to return to Judea, and Jerusalem, or to go into the desert, Jesus presents them with the scenario 2-3, His 1st conclusion, which is about Jerusalem:

24:29-35....scenario 2-3,...1st conclusion,......A sign of fall of Jerusalem

29 But immediately after the oppression of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; 30 and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 He will send out his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. 32 "Now from the fig tree learn this parable. When its branch has now become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that the summer is near. 33 Even so you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Most assuredly I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matt 24:29-35.

The sun shall be darkened, etc, this is a figure of speech denoting the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The "Holy City" (and all still in it) is the enemy, what a change in fortune for its people. Consider these passages below:

For the stars of the sky and the constellations of it shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine. Isa 13:10.

Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed; for Yahweh of Hosts will reign on Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; and before his elders shall be glory. Isa 24:23.

These two passages in Isaiah are telling of the destruction of the enemies of Israel, and, horrors of horrors, Jerusalem itself is now seen to be, and proven to be, the enemy of God and His people, and for 40 years at that, before the actual destruction of Jerusalem! Therefore, whatever the elect were to do, they mustn't remain/go back, to Judea; including to Jerusalem itself where the vultures were gathered.

Also, in vs. 31, it tells the good news of the elect being looked after, even in the midst of the enemies of God, in this passage our Lord gathers together the Faithful as in Deuteronomy:

If any of your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of the heavens, from there will Yahweh your God gather you, and from there will he bring you back: Deut 30:4.

So, to the disciples' question, "Tell us, when will these things be?" Matt 24:3. (fall of the temple buildings), Jesus sums up by saying;

"Now from the fig tree learn this parable." Matt 24:32a.

 They'll recognise that it's near, by witnessing the events that He's been warning them of in these scenarios. Also, they can know that just as a criminal who's been sentenced before a judge has no legal standing as a free man in society, he will, at a later date have the sentence physically carried out; consummated. In like manner Jerusalem was sentenced before the court of heaven, being without legal standing, and then at a later date its sentence was carried out; consummated. Notice, this public carrying out of the sentence upon Jerusalem in AD 70 (Temple Buildings), was the consummation of the ages.

Thus, the physical end of the Law of Moses was consummated before the eyes of the elect 40 years after it was legally removed at the cross, being legally replaced by the Law of the Lord Jesus Christ at the point that Jesus gave up His life upon that cruel Roman cross.

This consummation of the end of the Law of Moses (legally ended upon the cross), was carried out during the generation to whom Jesus was speaking. Again, Jesus said, "Most assuredly I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished." Matt 24:34.

Now let us continue: 

24:36-51....scenario 1-2,...2nd conclusion,...NO sign of end of the world 

36 But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 "As the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 and they didn't know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one will be left; 41 two women grinding at the mill, one will be taken and one will be left. 42 Watch therefore, for you don't know in what hour your Lord comes. Matt 24:36-42.

vs. 36 "But no one knows of that day and hour," What day and hour? Jesus says in verse 34, "Most assuredly I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished." (consummation of the ages, Matt 24:3,15), then, in vs. 35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." then, in vs. 36, "But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

So, ...when is "that day and hour" of vs. 36? In context, "that day and hour, of vs. 36" is referring to, "heaven and earth passing away," as in, vs. 35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." but, "of that day and hour," vs. 36, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven," ie, no one at all knows, "when heaven and earth shall pass away." However, there is one exception, "but my Father only." vs.36. Thus, ...No warning of the end of the world (kosmos)!

In verses 36-42, Jesus is continuing with the discussion recorded in verses 4-14, not the consummation of the ages, ie, the destruction of the Temple Buildings. There are two distinct 'comings' of Jesus:

  1. Coming figuratively at the destruction of Jerusalem, verses 15-35
  2. Coming personally at the end of the world, (kosmos) 36-42

We today, are living between these two events:

  1. End of the age (aion)
  2. End of the world (kosmos)

...events which are currently separated by nearly 2,000 years. And in this period of time (His personal coming), there'll be No warning as there was before the destruction at Jerusalem; none! As in the days of Noah, everything's the same, nothing unusual, then:

SURPRISE! SURPRISE!! SURPRISE!!!

42 Watch therefore, for you don't know in what hour your Lord comes. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore also be ready, for in an hour that you don't expect, the Son of Man will come. Matt 24:42-44.

Thus, keep on watching!

This loving reminder to the elect of the end of the world, is still in effect today, so beloved: 

WATCH! WATCH!! WATCH!!!

AND PRAY,

WHILE REFLECTING UPON THIS

45 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has set over his household, to give them their food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his lord finds doing so when he comes. 47 Most assuredly I tell you that he will set him over all that he has. 48 But if that evil servant should say in his heart, 'My lord is delaying his coming,' 49 and begins to beat his fellow-servants, and eat and drink with the drunken, 50 the lord of that servant will come in a day when he doesn't expect it, and in an hour when he doesn't know it, 51 and will cut him in pieces, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites; there is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be. Matt 24:45-51.

THEREFORE, REMEMBER THIS GOOD NEWS;

"THE REWARD OF STEADFASTNESS IS LIFE"

AMEN! AMEN!! and AMEN!!!



LESSONS INDEX