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#17 JESUS TEACHING IN Matthew 24
Understanding Matthew 24 Many misapply this passage. It is a very abused passage by many premillenialists. Perhaps it is because people do not like secrets being kept from them. Many believe that Jesus has told us all about His return and the events of the future can be traced so that a person can know when it will occur. They use Matthew 24 as a “proof” passage. They are in error when they do this.
Matthew 24:1-3- The Text • And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. • And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. • 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 thy coming, and of the end of the world?
Matthew 24:4-6- The Text • And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. • For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. • And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Matthew 24:7-9 • For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
Matthew 24:10-13 • And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Matthew 24:14-17 • And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Matthew 24:18-21 • Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Matthew 24:22-25 • And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.
Matthew 24:26-28 • Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Matthew 24:29-30 • 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: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Matthew 24:31-32 • And he shall send 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. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
Matthew 24:23-35 • So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
A Better Understanding In Mt. 23 • Jesus brings charges against the Jews and their mistreatment of the Law (23:1-32) • He then tells them the consequences of their actions in verses 33-36. • The Jews had killed men of God in the past and they would continue to do so. They were not above the deeds of their ancestors. • The penalty for killing God’s people would fall on that generation.
Shocking News • This is shocking news to those who were looking for a rebirth of the nation of Israel. • As Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jerusalem they began to point out to Him the glories of the temple. • Jesus used this opportunity to emphasize His point. He stated that the temple would be destroyed and not one stone would be left standing on another.
What Would This Mean? • To the Jews such news of the temple could only mean the end of Jerusalem, the nation and the end of the world. • When they had a private moment with Jesus they asked Him a threefold question.
What Would This Mean? • When will these things happen (the temple) • What will be the sign of your coming (on Jerusalem) • What will be the sign of the end of the age?
Jesus Answers • Jesus often answered questions not with the answer the person asking intended. • They may have been asking all of these questions expecting another answer, but Jesus answers each of these questions separately- not as a whole group.
Jesus Answers • This does not totally register with them as we can see in later chapters. • He answers these three questions in two sections- what would be the end of the Jewish nation and the temple in Matthew 24:4-34 and then addresses their question about the end of the age in Matthew 24:36- 25:46.
The Destruction of Jerusalem & The Temple • Jesus warns them this would take place soon. In fact it would happen in their generation. • (vs. 24:34; 23:36)
The Destruction of Jerusalem & The Temple • The words translated “this generation” do not refer to an age, but to the people living at the time Jesus is speaking. Matt. 16:28- some standing there who would not die till they saw the kingdom come, and 11:16-19- where Jesus scolds the people of that generation for not giving heed to John and Jesus.
The Observable, General Signs • The signs leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple would be unusual. • These are some general ones Jesus addresses. • There would be an increase in the number of wars, famines and earthquakes (24:6-8). • The persecution of the disciples would increase (24:9-13). • These things are supported by historians of the time period between 50 and 70 AD when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD ( Josephus, Tacitus etc). The Titus Arch in Rome has reliefs that celebrate the sacking of the temple and capture of Jerusalem.
Specific Signs Signaling Jerusalem’s Fall • 24:14- gospel would be preached to the whole world. Col. 1:23- Paul states this had been done. • The “abomination of desolation” prophesied by Daniel would take place. In Luke 21:20 we find that Jesus said the Roman army would surround Jerusalem prior to the desolation. Josephus speaks of a tyrant named Simon who slew those who came to offer sacrifice. The slaughter was so massive that the dead bodies of strangers and profane people were mingled with those of the Jews. Lakes of blood flowed before the altar and this happened just before Titus marched on Jerusalem.
Observe The Signs & Flee • These signs would give those who paid attention to them ample warning to flee (Mt. 24:32-33). Jesus tells them that when they see these signs get out of Jerusalem as quickly as possible (Mt. 24:16-22). He told them to pray that the siege would not come at such a time or season when the gates would be closed (sabbath or winter). Jesus warned them not to be deceived by those who would prophesy falsely (Mt. 24:23-28). Christians had their warning in Mt. 24:24-25 and all history indicates that not one single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Severe Destruction Limited • This destruction, while severe, was limited only to Jerusalem and the nation of Israel (Mt. 23: 25; 24:1-2). • The language used to describe the severity is language used by the prophets for the destruction of Babylon (Isa. 13:9-11; Joel 2:11) and Egypt (Isa. 11:12; 19:1).
Severe Destruction Limited • The Jews when walking into Rome had to pass through the Titus Arch and would walk through it backwards to show their contempt to Rome for this destruction even late on in history.
Two Historical Destructions • 586 BC by Babylon and 70 AD by Rome. • Note the similar expressions and language used to describe them. • 586 destruction: Zeph. 1:15- day of darkness, gloom and clouds; 7,14- near is the great day of the Lord; 15- a day of wrath, trouble, distress, destruction and desolation. Jer. 4:23,28-no light, heavens dark; 6:1,22- people coming from north, a great nation, Babylon; 4:19- sound of trumpet, alarm of war; 4:27; 5:10- yet not a complete destruction.
Rome’s Destruction Of Jerusalem • Zech. 14:6- no light, luminaries will dwindle- Mt. 24:29- sun darkened, moon turned to blood, stars fall from sky • Zech. 14:5- The Lord will come with holy ones- Mt. 24:30- son of man coming in clouds; 31- send forth His angels. Rome was the agent used by God. • Zech. 14:flee through the valley to the mountains- Lk. 21:21- flee to the mountains
Fulfillment Of First Fall • 2 Kings 25:1,2,3,7,10- Jerusalem was destroyed but not totally (Jer. 5:10; 4:27). • 1And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about. • 2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. • 3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. • 7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon. • 10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.
The Abomination Of Desolation Dan 11:31 "His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abominationthat causes desolation.” Matt 24:15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:”) Luke 21:20-21 "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. Josephus relates that when the city was taken, the Romans brought their idols into the temple, and placed them over the eastern gate, and sacrificed to them there, "Jewish Wars," b. 6 chapter 6 , section 1.
Fulfillment Of Second Destruction Matthew 24 was fulfilled and secular history records it as an historical fact. • Josephus, "Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of fury...Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple." Wars, Book 7:1:1
Fulfillment Of Second Destruction • The people of that day understood the symbols of the prophets and there previous usage. Jewish Christians and the Jews who were unbelievers knew what was meant by the symbols of darkness and the sun and moon being dark. Much like veterans of WWII understand D-DAY, but future generations may wonder at what is meant. The generation and even a couple of more, will understand but the further you get from the event the less one may be able to see. This is why we study the prophets!
Prophecy & Fulfillment • Isa. 13:1, 6-13- about 730 BC- day of Lord is near- fulfilled by Babylon in 539 BC • Isa. 19:1- Lord comes riding on a cloud- 730 BC fulfilled on Egypt in 480 BC • Isa. 34:4-5- sky will be rolled up like a scroll-730 BC fulfilled on Edom before 400 BC • Ezek. 30:3-4- 590BC- day is near- fulfilled on Egypt in 480 BC • Amos 5:18-20; 8:9- 755BC- darkness- sun will go down at noon- fulfilled on Israel in 722BC • Mt. 24:29-30- Son of Man coming in the clouds sitting at right hand of power- prophesied 30 AD- fulfilled 70 AD
Prophetic Language Explained • Clouds- indicate Divine power- Ps. 104:1-4: • Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. • Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: • Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: • Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:
Matthew 24:36-51 • But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Matthew 24:36-51 • Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
Matthew 24:36-51 • Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Prophetic Language Defined • Send angels- Mt. 24:31- “And he shall send 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.” • Angel means messenger- Heb.-malak- angels 110 times; messenger(s)100 times; ambassadors 2 times; envoys 1 time. • Usage in NT- created beings superior to man most common. Used to announce, pronounce or carry out judgment. Used accomodatively to describe- Jesus; John the Baptist; and their followers. • Four winds- all the earth; the whole world. • Trumpets-signaled the start of battle; warning; announcement of presence.
Passages & Language Of 2nd Coming • 2 Pet. 3:10-13- But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. • 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, • 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? • 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. • Notice the finality of this language.
Second Coming Passages • Rev. 1:7-Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. • Acts 1:9-11-And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. • 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; • 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. • Observe the finality of this language again.
Language of Prophecy • We can safely conclude that the language used by Jesus to describe Jerusalem’s destruction in the first half of the passage 24:3-35 is referring to something observable and filled with warning. • He talks in the second half of a day that no one can observe or know. One that does not come with observation. He describes what will be happening as the course of any day or hour. This is talking of a day that will surprise everyone. This is the language of the second coming of Christ at the end of time when He will judge the world (evil and good).
The End Of The World • Jesus now moves to a new topic, concerning when the end of the world will take place. Unlike the end of Jerusalem, the time for the end of the world is not known even Jesus did not know when the end will be (Matthew 24:36). Notice that Jesus calls this event "that day." This is the same phrase used by Paul (I Thessalonians 5:2) and Peter (II Peter 3:10-13) in regard to the end of the world.
The End Of The World • The end of Jerusalem would be preceded by unusual events, but at the end of the age, the times will appear to be normal (Matthew 24:37-39). Paul said people would be thinking content thoughts of peace and safety (I Thessalonians 5:3). Nothing unusual would precede the end. No warnings, no signs, nothing to mark the event in advance.
The End Of The World • Without advance warning, there is no possibility of preparing for the end at the last moment. Therefore, we must be prepared for the event to happen at any time (Matthew 24:42-45; I Thessalonians 5:4-11). Nor will there be an opportunity to hide from this event (Matthew 24:40-41; I Thessalonians 5:3). This will be a universal judgment (Matthew 25:31-46), whom no one can escape.
Destruction of Jerusalem Matthew 23:36-24:35 Destruction of the World Matthew 24:36-25:46 The time is unknown It will happen on "that day." The events prior will be typical There will be no warning The example of the thief. The judgment will be universal No advance sign of the end. There will be no time for flight • The time is identifiable • There will be time to escape the judgment • It will occur in "this generation” • The events prior will be unusual • There will be advance warnings • The judgment will be local on the nation of Israel. • Specific signs of the coming judgment can be seen
Conclusions • We have seen that the language used by Jesus in the first 35 verses of Matthew 24 cannot refer to the end of time. • These verses were 100% fulfilled in 70 AD • The language is prophetic language used to describe the destruction of nations. The nation destroyed in this section is the Jews. There house was left to them “desolate” (Mt. 23:38).
Conclusions • Matthew 24:36-25:46 uses language that refers to the second coming of Christ. • Christ has answered the three questions. • What will be the signs of the destruction of the temple? What will be the signs of the coming of the Lord’s judgment on Jerusalem? What will be the signs of the end of the world (age)? The signs of the first two will be observable and their will be no signs of the coming Christ at the end of time.
Parable Of The Ten Virgins • Matt 25:1-13 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
Parable Of The Ten Virgins • And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.