WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THIS CHAPTER IN LIGHT OF WHAT JESUS WAS SAYING AND TO WHOM HE WAS SAYING IT, INSTEAD OF POPULAR MODERN ASSUMPTIONS. ALSO FOUND IN MARK CHAPTER 13 AND LUKE CHAPTER 21.
PREDICTING THE END
Matthew 24:1 "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple."
A. "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple"
1. This beginning of the chapter is a smooth transition from chapter 23.
2. All of chapter 23 took place at one of the several porches of the temple.
3. This is part of the background that we should take note of in order to properly understand chapter 24.
B. "and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple."
1. The disciples were obviously deeply impressed with the temple and it's accompanying buildings.
2. One of them exclaimed, "Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here" (Mark 13:1).
3. About the temple-
a. "Built of white marble, covered with heavy plates of gold in front and rising high above its marble cloistered courts- themselves a succession of terraces-the temple, compared by Josephus to a snow-covered mountain was a conspicuous and dazzling object from every side." (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
Matthew 24:2 "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."b. Stones used for the temple- 70 feet long, ten feet wide, eight feet high.
A. "And Jesus said unto them..."
1. Jesus is here dealing with the temple specifically and the city of Jerusalem in general.
B. "There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Matthew 24:3 "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?"1, This seems almost unbelievable.
A. "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives"
1. From the mount of Olives Jesus and the disciples could have a panoramic view of the temple, the outstanding architectural attraction of the city, and the rest of Jerusalem.
B. "Tell us..."
1. Three separate questions given here.
a. "When shall these things be?"
b. "What shall be the sign of thy coming?"
c. "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
2. Very likely that the disciples thought that they were really speaking of one great event.
3. They likely could not imagine a continuation of their world without the existence of the temple.
C. "When shall these things be?"
1. "These things" refer to what Jesus had just said about the temple- that not one stone would remain upon the other.
D. "and what shall be the sign..."
WARNINGS AGAINST BEING DECEIVED1. They probably thought that Jesus would return to the earth literally when the temple was destroy and would end the world.
Matthew 24:4,5- "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."
A. "Take heed that no man deceive you."
1. Jesus is probably telling His disciples these words to encourage them to not be tricked by others who will give false promise concerning the destruction of the temple and the coming of Jesus.
2. By perceiving the signs given by Jesus the disciples could recognize false prophets.
B. "For many shall come in my name, saying, 'I am Christ;' and shall deceive many."
1. It is possible that Jesus was speaking of individuals who would claim the be the messiah.
GENERAL SIGNS OF THE APPROACHING END2. It is also possible that Jesus was speaking of those who would claim to be speaking for Jesus.
Matthew 24:6 "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet."
A. "War and rumors of wars"
1. This would seem impossible in the day of Jesus.
a. The Roman world was in the middle of the "Pax Romana", the years of undisputed Roman rule.
2. But by the A.D. 60's there were wars and threats of war over the entire Roman world.
3. At the death of Nero civil war broke out ("Year of the Four Emperors, A.D. 68,69).
4. There would be rumors and whispers of advancing armies that would tend to make the populace nervous and afraid.
a. Whether they were true or not, they tended to make local inhabitants afraid.
5. In A.D. 40 the Emperor Caligula decreed that his statue be erected in the temple at Jerusalem.
a. The Jews refused to allow this, and braced for weeks for attack by the Roman armies.
b, Only by Caligula backing down was destruction avoided.
B. "See that ye be not troubled..."
1. When they heard these rumors of war they should not be anxious because there must be other things take place before the end of Jerusalem.
2. Jesus was giving Christians advance warning so that they might not be anxious and fearful.
a. They would know that God had foreknowledge of these events and would be able to deliver them.
C. "The end is not yet"
1. All these wars and rumors of war would not signal the end.
Matthew 24:7 "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."2, Other events must take place.
A. "For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom"
1. This again seems almost unbelievable to most inhabitants of the Roman Empire.
a. They were basking in the peace that the great Roman armies provided.
b. The Emperors were, for the most part, able leaders and controlled a bureaucracy that ruled the empire fairly.
c. Trade was flourishing.
d. Rome's enemies were kept outside the empire and were too weak to be much of a threat.
2. But after Jesus' time two wicked, insane, inept emperors (Caligula and Nero) came to the throne.
a. Rome fell into anarchy in A.D. 65-66 when four men served as emperor, with three of them assassinated in just the space of one year.
3. During this time there was continual rumors of one Roman army seeking to place it's favorite on the imperial throne.
a. This was one of the fatal flaws of the Roman Empire, there was no provision for orderly succession from one Emperor.
b. The best provincials could hope for was for a good emperor to appoint another good son as his successor. (This didn't happen very often.)
4. Jews suffered more than most during this period.
a. In Alexandria, Egypt 50,000 Jews were slaughtered.
b. The Jews revolted in Caesarea revolted, with the result being 20,000 Jews being killed.
c. 10,000 Jews were killed in Damascus.
B. "there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."
a. At least one spoken of in this time period by scripture.
1. Acts 11:28- "And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar."
b. Dio Cassius, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Eusebius, who were Roman historians, mentioned famines in Greece and Rome.
a. Usually a direct result of famine.
b. Suetonius tells of a disease that killed 30,000 persons in Rome in one autumn during the reign of Nero.
c. Josephus speaks of plagues in Babylonia at about A.D. 40.
d. Tacitus mentions epidemics in Italy in A.D. 66,
a. Several mentioned in the New Testament.
1. Matthew 27:51-54 (crucifixion of Jesus)
2. Matthew 28:2 (Christ's resurrection)
3. Acts 16:26 (the city of Philippi)
b. An earthquake occurred in A.D. 54 on the day Nero became Emperor.
c. Seneca in A.D. 58- "How often have the cities of Asia and Achaea fallen with one shock! How many cities have been swallowed up in Syria! How many in Macedonia! How often has Paphos become a ruin! News has often been brought to us of the demolition of whole cities at once"
d. Josephus, commenting on a great earthquake in Judaea- "These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men....and anyone would guess that these wonders foreshadowed some grand calamities were coming."
C. Luke 21:11 adds the phrase "great signs from heaven"
1. Probably refer to some great upheavals from heaven, such as meteor showers, volcanic eruptions, or devastating storms.
2. Josephus referred to a star that hung over the city like a sword in the night and a comet which was visible for a whole year.
a. Great commotions in the sky were reported were to appear chariots and armies fighting in the clouds and besieging cities.
b. This event was verified by Tacitus.
Matthew 24:8 "All these are the beginning of sorrows."3. While we cannot be positive concerning these events, they represent the fear, rumors, and anxiety of the days preceding the siege of Jerusalem.
A. "All these"
1. All the events referred to in the preceding verses.
B. "are the beginning of sorrows"
1. With all the anxiety that these events would produce, they would not signal the end.
2. It would only be the beginning.
3. "Sorrows" here is spoken of the Greek as being the kind of pain associated with childbearing, birth pangs.
a. Birth pangs herald the approaching end of pregnancy and sometimes take a period of time before childbirth.
4. These would only be general signs of the approaching end, they would not signal the end themselves.
THE PROMISE OF PERSECUTIONa. These general signs would serve as preliminary birth pangs, convincing Christians that the end was coming, though some time off.
Matthew 24:9 "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."
A. "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted"
1. Jesus is speaking of the persecution of Christians.
2. See Matthew 10:17-18.
B. "and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake."
1. Christians suffered the dual problem of being hated by not only the Gentiles, but the Jews also.
2. They were truly "people without a country.
a. The Jews hated them (Acts 12:1-3). The Romans despised them (Acts 16:21). The Greeks mocked the Christian message (Acts 17:32).
3. Mark 13:9- "But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them."
a. This verse would seem to limit the persecutions that Jesus was specifically speaking of to the period before A.D. 70.
b. The Greek word for council is the same one used for the word Sanhedrin.
c. Quite likely speaking of the appearance of Christians before the Sanhedrin.
4. The apostles and other Christians suffered great persecution from both the Jewish leadership and the Roman authorities.
a. Example of persecution.
1. Peter and John - Acts 4.
2. All the apostles - Acts 5.
3. Stephen - Acts 7.
4. Saul's persecution of the church - Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-2.
5. James - Acts 12.
b. Most of the overt persecution came from the Jews in the early years of the church, because the Romans at first thought that the Christian were merely a sect of Judaism, which was granted special status in the Roman empire.
c. This changed as the Romans began to perceive that Christianity was not just another sect of Judaism but something completely different to it and a threat to the empire.
d. The first organized Roman persecution of Christians took place in A.D. 64-68 under the emperor Nero.
1. Blamed the Christians for burning Rome.
2. The persecution under Nero was particularly harsh.
Matthew 24:10,11 "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."a. Tacitus - "Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were even nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as nightly illumination, when daylight had expired."
A. "And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another."
1. Many would be willing to betray a friend or deliver a loved to an enemy to save his/her skin or for money.
2. While thousands of Christians gave their lives rather than deny Christ, many preferred betraying the Lord to death.
3. This would most assuredly included Christians but not be limited to them.
4. Josephus says that Jerusalem was divided into warring clans and parties.
a. Those who refused to side with any group were plundered and killed by all.
b. This internal fighting continued even after the Romans surrounded the city.
B. "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many."
1. The New Testament speaks in detail of false teachers arising.
2. See 2 Corinthians 11:13; Galatians 1:7; 2 Timothy 2:17-18
Matthew 24:12 "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."3. Read Acts 20:29-30
A. "And because iniquity shall abound..."
1. There would be a cumulative effect of anxiety from war, natural disaster, persecution, false teachers, etc.
2. These would cause many to depart from the faith and go back into the world.
B. The Scriptures urge us to remain faithful, in the face of problems and persecutions.
1. Revelation 2:10
Matthew 24:13,14 "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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."2. Galatians 6:9
A. "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
1. The "end" referred to here must be the end of the Jewish system with the fall of Jerusalem.
2. It is refers to the end of the world it must have happened in the generation of the apostles.
3. See verse 34. Also Romans 10:15, 18
B. "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."
1. This is another of the signs of the impending end.
2. When the gospel was taken to all the world, the end would come.
3. The premillinianists contend that this has not yet happened.
4. The Bible tells us that this took place during the lifetime of the apostles.
a. Colossians 1:23- "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;"
b. This would embrace the known world of Jesus' day.
THE TIME OF FLIGHTc. See Luke 2:1 for an example of "all the world."
Matthew 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:)"
A. "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet"
1. Daniel 9:26,27- "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
2. From consulting Luke we can understand that Jesus is speaking of the surrounding of Jerusalem by the armies of Vespasian and Titus.
a. Luke 21:20- "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh."
3. This would be a time when the Romans would surround Jerusalem, take it, and plant the eagle of Rome on the temple grounds.
a. Josephus - "And now the Romans, upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings round about it, brought their ensigns to the Temple, and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifice to them.
B. Luke adds a comment concerning vengeance.
1. Luke 21:22- "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled."
2. It would seem that Jesus is speaking of the vengeance of God, that He spoke of in chapter 23.
a. Matthew 23:31-35
C. "Stand in the holy place"
1. Literally a holy location.
Matthew 24:16-18 "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: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes."2. In a certain sense the entire city of Jerusalem was considered to be holy, thus if the Roman armies had appeared before the city with it's idolatrous standards, it would be considered a sacrilege.
A. "Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains"
1. They would need to flee to the mountainous regions because the Romans would be less likely to search for stragglers there.
B. "Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house"
1. When the opportunity came for escape there would be only a brief time, haste would be necessary.
2. The army of Titus, commanded by Cestius Gallus, for some inexplicable reason, lifted the siege of Jerusalem for a brief time and withdrew.
a. It was during this brief time that all the Christians fled the city for the mountainous area of Perea.
3. The houses in Jerusalem, for the most part, were built flat and close together. It would be possible for a person to leap from one roof to another, never coming down, and reach the walls of the city.
4. If the opportunity for escape presented itself while one was working on the roof, he was not to tarry long enough to come down, but to make a quick escape.
C. "Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes."
1. ASV translates "cloak."
2. This over clothing would not be worn in the field while working.
Matthew 24:19,20- "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:"3. This again illustrates that they would have to move quickly if they were to make their escape.
A. "And woe unto them that are with child..."
1. Jesus speaks of both those who are pregnant and those who would be nursing a child.
2. It would be unfortunate for these women because this would tend to slow down the escape from the city.
B. "But pray ye that your flight be not..."
1. Winter would hinder them because them because of the possibility of inclement weather.
2. The Sabbath day would hinder them because the city would be still in the hands of those Jews who were keeping the Sabbath day.
a. The gates of the city were always closed on 6:00 p.m. of Friday and reopened on 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.
b. They would be unable to flee if the gates were closed and the time of flight.
3. See also Nehemiah 13:19-22
C. Something else very important is taught in verse 20.
Matthew 24:21 "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."1. Jesus teaches the power of prayer for His people and the fact that God would work providentially in answer to the prayers of the saints.
A. "For there shall be great tribulation"
1. This refers to the tribulation that will come upon the Jewish nation, not a great end-time tribulation.
2. Luke 21:23- "But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people."
B. "Such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, not ever shall be."
1. Many will refer to this passage and state that this cannot refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 but to some great period of tribulation at the end of the world.
2. It is not the numbers alone that sets this tribulation apart but the quality of the destruction.
a. Never before or since has God turns his wrath upon His own people.
1. Never had a nation experienced such a concentrated degree of affliction at the hands of God.
b. Never before or since has there been such carnage that resulted from fighting among the enemy.
c. Never before or since has there been such carnage in such a small area in such a short time.
1. Thought that as much as 1,500,000 Jews perished in the siege.
Matthew 24:22 "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."2. Hiroshima pales in insignificance compared to this.
A. "And except those day should be shortened"
1. While the death and destruction was intense it was for a relatively short period.
2. The actual siege would only last about five months.
B. "There should no flesh be saved"
1. While the Judean Christian would know to flee the city of Jerusalem itself, the continued hostilities would cause a mass slaughter of individuals in Judea proper, which would spill over to those Christians who had gone into hiding.
C. "But for the elect's sake"
1. The elect refers to Christians.
2. See 1 Peter 1:2; Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:4.
D. "Those days shall be shortenend."
1. Shows the great concern that God has for his people.
2. God would be willing to step in to cut short the slaughter, not for the unbelieving Jews' sake, but for the sake of His people. 3. Notice some examples of the principle of loving concern for His people.
a. Noah and the ark.
b. The destruction of Sodom.
1. If only ten righteous people were in Sodom God would have spared all.
2. In any case, He made a way for the saving of those who were righteous.
4. God can use the wicked to punish and destroy, the save and build up.
Matthew 24:23,24 "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."a. See Isaiah 10:5-7
A. "Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not."
1. The Jews were still looking for the messiah, one that suited them, one who would drive the Romans out of Judea.
2. Christians, armed with Jesus' words of warning concerning the signs of Jerusalem's fall and the signlessness of His second coming, should not fall victim to any pretender.
B. "There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets"
1. There would be a proliferation of such false teachers.
2. These "messiahs" would either lead the people into a false sense of security, or would counsel them to resist the Romans.
3. Paul warns of such individuals, these are really doing the bidding of Satan.
a. See 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
C. "And shall show great signs and wonders;"
1. Signs and wonders are very similar.
2. They are miraculous powers, or at least counterfeited powers.
3. These powers, while not being able to be exactly reproduced, can have a appearance of being from God.
4. See Acts 8:9-10
5. It was stated by Josephus that during the reign of Nero false teachers were apprehended and executed almost on a daily basis.
D. "Insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Matthew 24:25,26- "Behold, I have told you before. 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."1. If they did not know what the Lord had told them they might possibly be led away.
A. "Behold, I have told you before"
1. He had warned them earlier in his discourse concerning false teachers.
B. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold he is in the desert"
1. These false teachers would lead the gullible into deserted places that would lead to the masses being killed.
2. Josephus tells of a false teacher leading a large number of the residents of Jerusalem into the temple area to "await the messiah."
Matthew 24:27,28 "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 carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together."3. Jesus urged His disciples to not be misled by the false teachers.
A. "For as the lightning cometh out of the east"
1. The Roman army came out of the east after fighting the Parthian empire and stopped at Jerusalem to put an end to the Jewish rebellion.
2. This also likely refers to the qualities of lightning.
a. When lightning shines out from the east it streaks across the horizon quickly and forcefully.
b. This is a picture of the Romans armies, which came out of the east quickly with massive armies.
3. Some commentators, including many brethren, contend that this refers also to the coming of the Lord at the conclusion of this age.
a. But when we remember that Jesus said that these events would take place in the lifetime of his disciples (verse 34) we see that this cannot directly refers to the coming of Jesus to end the world.
b. Language like this has been used before to show the Lord coming in judgment over some particular nation.
1. See Isaiah 19:1
c. It is likely, like the entire passage concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, that it serves as a type of the Second Coming or a shadow of it.
B. "For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together."
1. The carcase is likely the Jewish nation, which upon rejecting the Messiah, had forfeited any right to exist as a separate nation and people with the protection of Jehovah.
a. The Jewish religious system was like a rotting carcase, ready to picked clean.
b. See Hebrews 8:13
2. The eagle was the symbol of Rome, it was placed upon the top of every legionary standard.
Matthew 24:29 "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:"a. It, along with the suckling wolf, were the two most precious symbols of the Roman empire.
A. This is one of the more difficult passages in the this section for many commentators.
1. Many, under the charm of literalism, will insist that this cannot refer to the destruction of Jerusalem because these they didn't happen after it's destruction.
2. This presupposes that these words MUST be taken LITERALLY.
3. Again, we must understand that such figures (i.e. sun and moon being darkened, stars falling, etc.) can refer to the fall of nations and catastrophic and great events in general.
a. See Acts 2:19-21
b. In the Old Testament see Isaiah 13:10,13 (Babylon); Amos 8:9 (Northern Kingdom); Jeremiah 15:9 (Jerusalem).
B. "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the...."
1. "Immediately" refers to right after the event.
2. This refers to the great effects that would happen to the Jews with the fall of Jerusalem.
3. It would affect the Jews throughout all the Roman world.
C. Luke adds this extra information.
1. Luke 21:28 - "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
a. With all of these traumatic events taking place all around them, how was the church to react?
b. Jesus had already spoke of the great anxiety that these day would bring to mankind in general.
Matthew 24:30 "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."c. Jesus is saying that the Lord had not forgotten them, that he would deliver them from the time of terror.
A. "The sign of the Son of man in heaven"
1. Notice that this was not the coming of the Son of man but the coming of the Son of man.
2. "The sign" would not be a special miraculous event but would be the fall of Jerusalem itself.
B. "and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn"
1. This refers to the Jews scattered throughout the world.
C. "they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
1. Again, it must be remembered that the coming of the Son of man does not have to refer to a visible coming.
2. Isaiah 19:1
Matthew 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."3. Matthew 16:28; 26:64
A. "And he shall send his angels"
1. "Angels" - Does not always an angel in the sense of one from Heaven.
a. Greek - aggelos, ang'-el-os; from aggello "to bring tidings)"; a messenger; esp. an "angel"; by impl. a pastor:--angel, messenger.
2. See Matthew 11:10 and James 2:25
3. The angels here would seem to refer to preachers and teachers of the gospels who would go forth with renews vigor and success after the fall of Jerusalem.
B. "with a great sound of a trumpet."
1. The trumpet is symbolic of the heralding of glad tidings, of announcing some great event, etc.
2. The message of the gospel would go forth to the world as a messenger blowing a trumpet to announce a statement from the king.
C. "and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
1. This represents a worldwide harvest of souls.
Matthew 24:32,33- "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; 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."2. The shackles of official Jewish persecution would be removed, along with the problem of Judaizing teachers.
A. "Now learn a parable of the fig tree:"
1. Hal Lindsey has used this verse to try to prove his premillinial theories.
a. He says that Jesus is using the fig tree to represent national Israel, and that the putting forth of leaves represents the birth of the nation of Israel. He combines this with verse 34 to "prove" that Jesus would return in judgment within a generation of 1948.
2. But this is a false interpretations based on erroneous assumptions.
a. The only place where the fig tree is mentioned refers to individuals, not to the nation of Israel.
1. See Luke 13:6-9; Matthew 21:19
b. The point of the "fig tree" illustration is not to teach something concerning a representation of the fig tree, but of timing of the events described.
3. Matthew 21:19 is used to by premillinialists to support their interpretation of Matthew 24:32-32.
a. While it seems quite clear that Jesus is referring to individuals in this passage, the national Israel interpretation on this passage destroys makes the premillinialist interpretation of chapter 24 false.
b. Jesus said "Let no fruit grow on these henceforward for ever."
c. This would contradict the premill. interpretation of Matthew 24:32-33.
B. What is the point of the fig tree passage?
Matthew 24:34,25 "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."1. Just as one can know that summer is near by the putting forth of the fig leaves, so too can one see that the end (of the Jewish nation) is close at hand from the fulfillment of the events mentioned earlier.
A. This generation
1. The generation that Jesus was speaking to.
a. "Basically, the sum total of those born at the same time, expanded to include all those living at a given time, generation, contemporaries." (Arndt and Gingrich Lexicon, p. 152)
2. A flight of fancy to think that Jesus was speaking of some future end-time generation.
B. "till all these things be fulfilled."
1. Everything that Jesus has spoken about concerning the signs, earth shaking events, and destruction, would be fulfilled in the generation of Jesus disciples.
C. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
1. Jesus is emphasizing that no matter what happens in this world, that his words concerning Jerusalem and it's fate would come true.
2. Jesus is using an figure of speech known as hyperbole to emphasize a truth.
a. Of course, the world would not come to an end with the destruction of Jerusalem, as we shall see from Jesus description of his end-time coming.
b. We use this figure of speech often, ("I'll love you until the oceans run dry.")
3. This interpretation does not rule out the clear Bible truth that the universe, including our earth will be destroyed by fire at the end of time.
a. 2 Peter 3:10-11
4. This also teaches, in a general sense, that God's word will last forever.
a. John 12:48
Matthew 24:36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."b. 1 Peter 1:25
A. "But of that day and hour"
1. From a comparison of the preceding and following verses we see that Jesus is speaking of two events.
2. Jesus has just told his disciples that the fulfillment of the preceding event would take place in their lifetime, and there would be definite signs to foretell the event taking place.
B. "knoweth no man"
1. This should seal the difference between the preceding verses and what Jesus is about to discuss.
2. It should seal the question of whether a persons can "set a date" when it comes to Jesus end-time judgment.
3. Anyone who tries to pinpoint the time of Jesus second coming is saying that Jesus is a liar.
C. "no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
1. Mark goes even farther in quoting Jesus in saying that even the Son does not know the date of his return.
Mat 24:37-39 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.a. See Mark 13:32
A. "But as the days of Noe were"
1. In some ways the coming of Jesus back to earth at the end of the world would be like the time of Noah.
2. Jesus will proceed to tells us the way.
B. "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage..."
1. Just as there was no advance warning of the exact day of the flood, so too would be the coming of Christ.
2. Just as the second coming had the witness of preaching, the generation of Noah was warned about the coming end.
a. Noah was a preacher of righteousness- 1 peter 2:5.
3. But while Noah warned of the coming end, we have no evidence of their having advance warning of the end.
4. The flood took place unexpectedly, because there were normal events taking place. (eating, drinking, and marriage)
C. "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."
1. Jesus says that the people of Noah's day did not know of the time of the end until the day that God destroyed them with water.
Mat 24:40,41 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.2. He says that this is how the coming of the Lord shall be.
A. One lesson to learn from these two verses.
1. There will not be an air of crisis, doom, or destruction taking place.
2. Remember how Jesus had earlier talked about fleeing and hiding.
3. Here he says that life is continuing as it always does.
B. A lesson in division.
1. The Second Coming will divide families, friends, fellow workers.
a. The Gospel will divide in this life as well as in eternity.
b. Matthew 10:34-37
2. They will be divided on the basis of prepared and unprepared.
Mat 24:42-44 "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."3. Matthew 25:32-33
A. "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour...."
1. A great need for watchfulness.
a. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
2. A great need to be alert and thoughtful concerning one's duty to the Lord.
B. "But know this, that if the goodman of the house..."
1. Jesus draws his conclusion from an illustration that every person in every age can understand-the thief.
2. If one knew the hour and night of a thief's robbery they would stand prepared.
a. But a thief attacked when no one is prepared.
C. "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
THE SERVANT'S RESPONSIBILITY1. Because the Lord will come in a time when no one knows, therefore we need to be constantly ready.
Mat 24:45,46 "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing."
A. "Who then is a faithful and wise servant...."
1. Jesus changes from the figure of a homeowner on guard for a thief to that of a faithful servant who has been entrusted with the care of the house until the master's return.
2. Jesus is speaking of stewardship, of which the Bible speaks extensively.
3. See 1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:10
4. See also Luke 12:35-38
B. "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing."
1. In this context, this is the definition of faithfulness in a nutshell.
2. We should obey when not in the presence of the Lord that he may come back and see our obedience in his presence.
Mat 24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.a. See Philippians 2:12
A. "Verily I say unto you..."
1. Here is the reward for faithfulness.
2. Most, by virtue of accepting the false doctrine of faith-only, object to the concept of reward for faithfulness.
a. While we know that we can never deserve what Jesus has done for us, what he has prepared for us, we simply accept what the Bible teaches, that the faithful will be rewarded for their faithfulness.
b. See Matthew 25:21-23
B. "Ruler over all his goods"
1. We should understand this to mean that the servant will be repaid far more than he was every entrusted with.
2. The figure of the crown is used in the New Testament great glory and honor for the faithful servants of God.
Mat 24:48-49 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;a. See 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10
A. "that evil servant"
1. The evil servant is the one who seeks to take advantage of his lord's absence to do wickedness.
B. "And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken."
1. This would perhaps suggest the sins of mistreatment of fellow brethren and moral impurity.
2. It is possible that it simply speaks of sin and wickedness in general.
Mat 24:50,51 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.3. "To eat and drink with the drunken" signifies that this servant was not interested in being prepared for the Lord's return.
A. "The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him."
1. The wicked servant has lived like his master would never return, now he must pay the price for such wickedness.
2. It catches him completely unaware.
a. See verse 44
B. "And cut him asunder"
1. Not a reference to total annihilation.
2. See Mark 9:43-46
C. "and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites"
1. This is the punishment for not being a faithful and watchful servant.
2. "The hypocrites" have always be spoken of as the worst of sinner, trying to make people believe that they are something that they are not.
a. See Matthew 23:33- their final reward.
D. "there shall weeping and gnashing of teeth"
1. This is a picture of Hell.
2. Weeping because of the separation of the soul from God and gnashing of teeth because of the intense pain involved.
3. See Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 49-50; 22:13;25:30
Copyright 1999 by Grady
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