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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Matthew 24

 

 

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Verse 1-2

Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple ( Mark 13:1-2, Luke 21:5-6) - In Matthew 24:1-2 Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in response to the disciples' admiration of its beautiful buildings.

Matthew 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

Matthew 24:1Comments - Matthew last records Jesus entering the Temple in Matthew 21:23. Therefore, the teachings of Jesus that Matthew records in 21-23are probably the debates that took place on that day. When Jesus departed out of the Temple in Matthew 24:1, it would be accurate to say that He was leaving the Temple complex because in the next verse the disciples showed Jesus the "buildings," referring to many structures. Strong tells us that Herod's Temple in Jerusalem consisted of the entire sacred enclosure, which included the entire aggregate of buildings, balconies, porticos and courts surrounding the Temple proper.

Matthew 21:23, "And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?"

We can find a detailed description of the Temple complex from the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus (Antiquities 15113, Wars 5516) and from the Latin historian Tacitus (Histories 5812). 547] Its construction was one of the wonders of the ancient world, being truly magnificent in appearance, which must have caused many pilgrims in Jerusalem to tand in awe. Josephus tells us that Herod used large white stones that were twenty-five cubits long, eight cubits tall and twelve cubits wide as a part of this construction. Some of these large stones are still in place, the largest ones serving as the foundation of the walls. Archeologists believe that these large stones were too big to have been rolled on logs; for they would have crushed them. They may have been carved out of the hill as a round stone, rolled into place, then carved square while they were setting in their places. In addition, the columns, doors and walls were all beautifully adorned. This explains was why the disciples were talking about the Temple and its beauty.

547] Tacitus The Histories, trans.Clifford H. Moore and The Annals, trans. John Jackson, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1931), 189.

Josephus tells us that Herod the Great began building the Temple in the eighteenth year of his reign (Antiquities 15111) Although the main body of the Temple complex was completed by the time of Jesus' earthly ministry, forty-six years later ( John 2:20), work continued through the time of King Agrippa (Antiquity 20811). Jesus had grown up in Nazareth, and had journeyed to Jerusalem numerous times as a child; so He was already familiar with the Temple complex.

Why would the disciples want to show Him this magnificent Temple, which He had visited numerous times in the past? One possible reason for the admiration of the Temple is that the disciples were anticipating Jesus raising up shortly as King over the Jews and overthrowing Roman oppression using His glorious power, which He displayed during the course of His earthly ministry. They may have thought that Jesus was going to restore Temple worship to its former purity and glory, as in the time of Song of Solomon , so that these buildings would become the religious center of Jewry and the new kingdom. This magnificent Temple complex would serve to stimulate these thoughts in the minds of Jesus' disciples.

Perhaps the most popular reason the disciples want to show Jesus this magnificent Temple is because of the statement Jesus had just made when rebuking the Jewish leaders, saying, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." ( Matthew 23:38) The disciples must have wondered how a historic event of equal magnitude to the first destruction of Jerusalem in 586B.C. could take place again. They would immediately associate such an event with the end of the age, which questions are brought up when they arrive at the Mount of Olives.

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.

Matthew 24:2 — "See ye not all these things?" - Comments- The Greek literally reads, "You do see all of these things, don't you," with an implied "Yes," as the answer.

Matthew 24:2Comments- Jesus gave His disciples what must have been the opposite answer that they might have expected. They wanted to hear His agreement as to the beauty of this Temple, and perhaps give them hints as to its role in the new kingdom that they were eagerly anticipating.

Perhaps the most stunning part of the construction of this Temple is how King Herod constructed the wall as to expose these enormous foundational stones (Antiquities 15113). This was why Jesus refers to these foundational stones in its destruction, because the Jews felt that this city was now too strong and fortified to ever be destroyed again, as Josephus says, "immovable for all future times." Thus, the disciples felt proud of this great city from which Jesus would soon reign as king and they as leaders under Him.

"He also built a wall below, beginning at the bottom, which was encompassed by a deep valley; and at the south side he laid rocks together, and bound them one to another with lead, and included some of the inner parts, till it proceeded to a great height, and till both the largeness of the square edifice and its altitude were immense, and till the vastness of the stones in the front were plainly visible on the outside, yet so that the inward parts were fastened together with iron, and preserved the joints immovable for all future times." (Antiquities 15113)

Today, when one tours the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, which was a perimeter wall of the Herodian temple complex, one sees some of these enormous stones that were put in place during the reign of King Herod. It is said that on top of one of the largest of these stones, fourteen military tanks can be placed. In A.D 70 the Roman Emperor Titus besieged the city of Jerusalem and removed every single stone that was used to build the Temple building, although he left some of the surrounding wall because of the enormous size of those stones. Thus,, in this verse, it is possible that Jesus was referring to the stones of the Temple itself, for the surrounding wall was not fully thrown down.

Although the disciples were marveling at these huge stones and the architectural feat that Herod accomplished, Jesus made it clear how utterly devastating that the destruction of this second Temple would be.


Verses 1-46

The Fifth Discourse: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ - Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46 gives us Jesus' fifth and final discourse in the Gospel of Matthew , which is often referred to as the Eschatological Discourse. In this speech Jesus prepares His disciples for His departure by teaching about His Second Coming and how they are to prepare themselves for it. He tells them that the Temple will first be destroyed ( Matthew 24:1-2). There will follow a number of events that will herald in and lead up to the Great Tribulation Period ( Matthew 24:3-14). The Great Tribulation will prepare the world for His Second Coming ( Matthew 24:15-28). He then describes the events of His Second Coming ( Matthew 24:29-31). Jesus follows this description by giving His disciples signs to look for so that the Church will know the time, or season, of these events, though they will not know the day nor hour ( Matthew 24:32-44).

Outline: Note the proposed outline:

1. Intro: Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple — Matthew 24:1-2

2. Events Preceding the Great Tribulation — Matthew 24:3-14

a. World Events — Matthew 24:3-8

b. The Role of the Church — Matthew 24:9-14

3. The Great Tribulation — Matthew 24:15-28

4. The Second Coming of Jesus Christ — Matthew 24:29-31

5. The Parable of the Fig Tree — Matthew 24:32-33

6. No One Knows the Day Nor Hour — Matthew 24:34-44

7. The Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servants — Matthew 24:45-51

8. The Parable of the Ten Virgins — Matthew 25:1-13

9. The Parable of the Talents — Matthew 25:14-30

10. The Judgment of the Nations — Matthew 25:31-46

The Recipients to the Five Discourses of the Gospel of Matthew - The five discourses that Jesus Christ delivered during His earthly ministry were primarily directed to His disciples ( Matthew 5:1; Matthew 10:1; Matthew 13:10-11; Matthew 13:36-37; Matthew 18:1; Matthew 24:3). Although the multitudes gathered together to receive miracles and to hear Him, Matthew is accurate to note that Jesus addressed these discourse to His disciples. Thus, the purpose of the five discourses was the training of the Twelve, preparing them for His final command to take the Gospel to the nations, which is traditionally called the Great Commission ( Matthew 28:18-20).

Background for Olivet Discourse- Prior to the Olivet Discourse ( Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46) Jesus had spent much of His day in the Temple teaching the people and condemning the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy and rejection of God's prophets. As He departed from the Temple His disciples began to relish in its beauty, perhaps thinking Jesus would soon take His place as the new king over Israel and sit enthroned again in this great city, restoring true worship to the magnificent building. But their false expectations were shattered by a shocking reply from Jesus that this great Temple, which took forty six years to build ( John 2:20), was going to be torn down. Without responding the disciples quietly made their way out of the city and followed Him up the slopes of Mount Olivet. There in the quietness of the evening they dared to ask Him for an explanation of His most recent statements about the Temple. In this mood of enquiry Jesus taught them the final lessons on the Kingdom of Heaven in the Olivet Discourse, as He described the end-time events leading up to His Second Coming. In this discourse He explained that the timing of these events was only known by the Father, who was going to orchestrate them at His own will. Jesus concludes the Olivet Discourse by addressing His disciples' responsibility in being watchful and ready by giving three closing parables and a description of the Final Judgment. Donald Hagner suggests Jesus intentionally left off revealing the time of these events, and instead, focused on the need for believers to be always ready and watching, which means the message in this discourse is as important to the Church today as it was to those disciples two thousand years ago. 537] Scholars generally agree that the three parables in the Olivet Discourse teach an eschatological lesson on the Church being ready and watchful for the Second Coming. 538] As such, Joachim Jeremias calls them "Parousia" parables. 539] C. H. Dodd calls them "eschatological parables" placed in a series of warnings about His impending Passion and departure, with each of them presenting a "moment of crisis". 540] Hagner describes these parables as "parables of exhortation" ( Matthew 24:37 to Matthew 25:46) that follow the preceding exposition ( Matthew 24:4-36). 541] They serve the shared purpose of emphasizing the need for readiness for the Second Coming. 542] The outline of Matthew's Gospel suggests the underlying theme of these three eschatological parables is also stated earlier in Matthew 7:21-23, where Jesus declared the kingdom principle that the doers of the Word, and not the hearers only, will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. 543] Specifically, these three eschatological parables teach how a believer is to sanctify himself by being doers of God's Word in light of these eschatological events Jesus was teaching about in His Olivet discourse.

537] Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 14-28, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol 33B, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker, (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 30b [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2004), S 683

538] Alfred Plummer, An Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to S. Matthew , (London: Robert Scott Roxburghe House Paternoster Row, 1909), 343; John MacArthur, Matthew 24-28, in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), 84.

539] Joachim Jeremias, The Parables of Jesus, trans. S. H. Hooke (London: SCM Press Ltd, 1954; Revised 1972), 51.

540] C. H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom, (London: Nisbet & Co. Ltd, 1935), 171. They are also called "crisis parables" by Dodd and Jeremias.

541] Hagner, Matthew 14-28, S 683

542] John Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew - A Commentary on the Greek Text, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 1002.

543] Craig L. Blomberg, Preaching the Parables: From Responsible Interpretation to Powerful Proclamation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 197. Blomberg is one of a number of expositors who accept a similar message between Matthew 7:23-25 and Matthew 25:13. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom, 173. Dodd understands the Parable of the Ten Virgins to belong to the same group of teachings seen in Matthew 7:22-23;

God Reveals His Time-line of Redemption to the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church - The Eschatological Discourse is addressed to one of three biblical people groups called the Church. We know from 1 Corinthians 10:32 that God's plan of redemption for mankind involved three people-groups. He began His work of redemption with the Jews, as recorded in the books of the Old Testament, then brought redemption to the Gentiles, as recorded in the book of Daniel , and finally created the Church out of the Gentile nations, as recorded in the books of the New Testament.

1 Corinthians 10:32, "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God."

Each of these people groups plays an important role in man's redemption. To each one of them has been revealed God's time-line to work redemption through them. When I first began to study end-time prophecy I looked for a single passage of Scripture that gave me an outline, or structure of end-time prophecy. I did not find one comprehensive time-line, but rather, three separate time-lines, one for each people-group. Daniel 2:1-49 gives us the time-line of God's redemptive plan for the Gentile nations with the vision of the image made up of different types of metals. In addition, Daniel 9:1-27 gives a time-line for the Jews, which is explained in the Seventy-Week Prophecy. We have to go to the New Testament to find the time-line for the Church, which Jesus gave to us in His Eschatological Discourse of Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46.

God revealed this time-line to King Nebuchadnezzar because he was asking for an understanding of the future events that related to him and his kingdom ( Daniel 2:29). Thus, God showed him the "Times of the Gentiles" in which there will be four periods involving four earthly kingdoms. Later in Daniel's ministry the angel Gabriel visited him and revealed to him the interpretation of Jeremiah's seventy-year prophecy of Israel's Babylonian Captivity. This was revealed because Daniel was seeking to know what was going to take place in the future for His people. When Jesus was leaving the Temple for the last time, His disciples asked Him about the future events of His Second Coming ( Matthew 24:3). This is why He explained to them the events leading up to the end of the Church Age.

The Motif of Watch and Be Ready in the Eschatological Discourse - The Eschatological Discourse carries the motif of charging the Church to watch and be ready for the Second Coming of Christ Jesus. The importance of knowing the events of His Second Coming are found in Matthew 24:24; Matthew 24:33. The reason we are to know these events is so that we will not be deceived ( Matthew 24:24), and so that we will know when His coming is near ( Matthew 24:33).

Matthew 24:24, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

Matthew 24:33, "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors."

The key words in this passage are "watch" and "be ready," for it is only those who are watching and are ready that will be taken in the Rapture.

Matthew 24:42, "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."

Matthew 24:44, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."

Matthew 25:13, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."

The Parabolic Scheme of the Parables of the Eschatological Discourse- Some scholars identify individual themes within these three parables in the Olivet Discourse, creating a parabolic scheme between them. 544] For example, Arland J. Hultgren gives a particular emphasis to all of the eschatological parables: not knowing the time ( Matthew 24:36-44); fulfilling duties ( Matthew 24:45-51); be wise and expect a delay ( Matthew 25:1-13); give one's best in serving the Lord ( Matthew 25:14-30); and, judgment will follow the Second Coming ( Matthew 25:31-46). 545] G. Campbell Morgan and Herbert Lockyer propose the following: "communal responsibility" ( Matthew 24:45-51), which teaches how one behaves towards one another within the community of believers; "individual responsibility" ( Matthew 25:1-13), which teaches about one's attitude and relationship towards the coming King, expressed by a readiness for His Return; and, imperial responsibility ( Matthew 25:14-30), which teaches about a believer's responsibility towards the gifts entrusted to him. 546]

544] In addition, Grant Osborne believes the arrangement of the Parable of the Ten Virgins immediately after the Parable of the Unfaithful Servant was an effort by Matthew to show how Jesus honored the role of women role in society as equally important as men. Osborne supports this view by noting two other passages in Matthew where Jesus paired men and women: the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south ( Matthew 12:38-42) and the parables of the man sowing the mustard seed and the woman who mixed leaven in bread ( Matthew 13:31-33). See Grant R. Osborne, "Women in Jesus' Ministry," Westminster Theological Journal 51:2 (Fall 1989) 274-75.

545] Arland J. Hultgren, The Parables of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000, paperback 2003), 176.

546] G. Campbell Morgan, The Parables and Metaphors of Our Lord (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co, 1943), 148; Herbert Lockyer, All the Parables of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963), 238.

Parabolic Scheme of Faith, Hope and Love: In light of these proposals given by the above scholars, it is possible to present a similar parabolic scheme based upon the related underlying theme of Paul's first epistle to the Thessalonians, which carries the same eschatological message of Jesus' Second Coming as do these three parables. First Thessalonians teaches a three-fold emphasis on the believer's need to prepare himself for the Second Coming, described in the epistle's opening passage as "work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope" ( 1 Thessalonians 1:3). When Jesus reached into the Palestinian culture for an illustration of a "work of faith", or faithfully serving as a doer (or disciple) of God's Word, Jesus chose the illustration of a steward who had been set over his lord's household of servants (the Parable of the Unfaithful Steward in Matthew 24:45-51), who was to faithfully fulfill his office over his master's servants. In order to illustrate the theme of "patience of hope", or maintaining an expectant hope in His Second Coming, Jesus chose the illustration of ten young bridesmaids waiting excitedly to walk in the wedding processional with the bride and groom. In order to illustrate the theme of a "laboring in love" as a doer of God's Word, Jesus chose the illustration of a wealthy man delivering his goods to be faithfully managed by loyal and devoted servants (the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30). In other words, in light of Jesus' Second Coming, one must be a doers of God's Word according to Matthew 7:21-23 by faithfully serving the Lord in the calling he has been given (Parable of the Unfaithful Steward), while setting his affections and hopes on things above and not becoming distracted with the things of this world (Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13), while being lovingly devoted to the prosperity of his Master's goods to the degree God has gifted him (Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30). This describes the three-fold aspect of a balanced Christian life that will be pleasing to the Lord on the Day of Judgment (Parable of the Judgment of the Nations in Matthew 25:31-46).

Parabolic Scheme of Chronological Events of Second Coming: Another possible parabolic scheme is based upon the chronological events immediately surrounding the Second Coming of Jesus, in particular, those that will take place in the believer's life at the time of Jesus' Second Coming. These series of parables teach the believer how to live and what to expect in light of Jesus Second Coming. The Parable of the Unfaithful Servant ( Matthew 24:45-51) refers to the period of time when the Church awaits the Coming of Christ. This parable reflects the need for each believer to be faithful to the calling given him during the course of his lifetime, for he shall be rewarded according to his faithfulness. The Parable of the Ten Virgins ( Matthew 25:1-13) refers to the Rapture of the Church immediately before the seven-year Tribulation period, indicated by the opening word, "then," or "at that time," which refers to the return of the master of the house in the previous parable. The Parable of the Talents ( Matthew 25:14-30) refers to the time of the Judgment of the Saints that follows the Rapture, when Jesus sets up His throne in Jerusalem and rules and reigns a thousand years. At that time Jesus will reward His servants by giving them rule during this Millennial Reign. This parable teaches us that believers will be rewarded according to how fruitful they had been with their gifts and callings. The Parable of the Judgment of the Nations ( Matthew 25:31-46) refers to the time immediately following His Second Coming when He will judge the nations as a part of establishing His Kingdom upon the earth, where some were found to be doers of the Word of God and others were not, or it may refer to the Great White Throne Judgment that takes place at the end of the Thousand Year Reign. This is the scheme that I prefer.


Verses 3-14

Events Preceding the Great Tribulation ( Mark 13:3-13, Luke 21:7-19) - In Matthew 24:1-13 Jesus tells His disciples about the events that will precede the Great Tribulation. These events will come after the destruction of the Temple in A.D 70.

The Order of the Signs of the Times - In Matthew 24:3-14 Jesus answers the disciples' questions by taking them through the years leading up to the seven-year Tribulation Period and through this time up to His Second Coming at the last great battle as the nations of the world surround Jerusalem. This is why Jesus ends Matthew 24:14 by saying, "and then shall the end come." Many scholars suggest that the statement in Matthew 24:34, which says, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled," means that all of the events that Jesus predicted in this passage will take place within a man's lifetime. If we find a parallel to this time frame in the story of Noah and the Flood, we know that he was "a preacher of righteousness" for 120 years according to Jewish tradition. If the signs of the times will began perhaps 120 years before His Second Coming, we can observe that scientists are now telling us that natural catastrophes have been on the increase for about a century, and increasing rapidly towards the end of the twentieth century. During this time, a number of false "Christs" will rise up declaring themselves as the Messiah and others predicting the exact day of His Second Coming ( Matthew 24:5). This will be followed by the first major sign of His Second Coming, which is an increase in wars and rumors of wars ( Matthew 24:6). Jesus tells us that we will know that the time of His appearing is drawing near by observing the these signs of the times ( Matthew 24:7). These signs will come as a woman in travail with labor pains ( Matthew 24:8). Any woman who has experienced birth pains understands how these pains being softly and they intensify in frequency and in intensity of pain. In the same way, we will see the signs of the times begin to increase in number and in intensity. This is exactly what scientists are observing around the globe with weather and what politicians are observing with wars.

Note that the signs of the times will begin with wars. These wars, which are initiated by Satan, will largely be directed against God's people, which are Israel, and the Christian nations. These unjust wars will bring divine judgment upon these nations. God's judgments will come in the form of famines, pestilences and earthquakes. Many nations will blame Israel and the Christians for these problems of wars and natural catastrophes and begin to persecute them ( Matthew 24:9). This will cause some carnal Christians to blame and to betray one another ( Matthew 24:10). Satan will bring deception by raising up false prophets to deceive people ( Matthew 24:11), since they are looking for the supernatural to deliver them from the fears that are coming upon the earth. Paul refers to this deception in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-11 as Satan working with all power and signs and lying wonders to deceive those who love not the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:7-11, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:"

This will be a time of an increase in wickedness as well as in increase in the power and anointing of the Church to preach the Gospel to all nations ( Matthew 24:12-14).

The book of Revelation suggests that many of these events listed in Matthew 24-25 will happen before, during as at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation period that lasts seven years. For example, the event prophesied by Daniel of the abomination of desolation will happen in mid-Tribulation when the antichrist and the beast set up their "throne" in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:37-39 to refer to story of Noah and the Flood as a story that gives parallel events that will take place in the end times.

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?

Matthew 24:3 — "the disciples came unto him privately, saying" - Comments- The description of the disciples coming to Jesus privately means that the crowds were no long with them. Jesus was now alone with His few disciples.

Matthew 24:3 — "Tell us, when shall these things be" - Comments- The disciples thought that Jesus was about to set up His kingdom in Jerusalem. His reply to them in Matthew 23:38 and Matthew 24:2 that the Temple would be destroyed has now confused their eschatology. They are now asking Him to reconcile these future events.

Matthew 24:3 — "and what shall be the sign of thy coming" - Comments- The Greek word translated "coming" used in this passage is " παρουσία" (Parousia). Burton Easton says in Hellenistic Greek, this particular Greek word was used for "the arrival of a ruler at a place, as is evidenced by inscriptions in Egypt, Asia Minor, etc." 548] Therefore, the disciples were asking Jesus when He was going to take over as a king and rebel against the Roman rule. Their question to Jesus was when was He going to come as a Ruler over Israel? The Jewish mind understood that God always preceded redemptive events with signs ( Matthew 12:38-39, 1 Corinthians 1:22).

548] Burton Scott Easton, "Parousia," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Matthew 12:38-39, "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:"

1 Corinthians 1:22, "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:"

Although Matthew is the only evangelist to use this word ( Matthew 24:3; Matthew 24:27; Matthew 24:37; Matthew 24:39), it is found in the epistles of Paul, James , Peter, and John , or a total of twenty-four uses in the New Testament. Because five of the eight New Testament writers use this word, we can conclude that the early Church adopted the word παρουσία to describe the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

As believers in these last days, we must be careful not to impose our ways of thinking upon these early disciples; for they believed that Jesus was getting ready to restore the kingdom of Israel to its former glory. They had no idea that the Second Coming of Jesus would not take place for another two thousand years.

Matthew 24:3 — "and of the end of the world" - Comments- The phrase "the end of the world (age)" is used six times in the New Testament ( Matthew 13:39-40; Matthew 13:49; Matthew 24:3; Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 9:26), with five of these uses being found in Matthew's Gospel. This phrase refers to the final judgment and the fulfillment of all things as the world is ushered into eternity.

We must understand that the first century Jews held a doctrine of Eschatology, or of the End Times; for the Old Testament Scriptures make prophetic references to such an event.

Matthew 24:3Comments - Matthean Rabbinic Formulas Opening the Discourses - Some scholars believe that Matthew's account of Jesus being seated and His disciples (or crowds) coming to Him in the opening verses of three of the five major discourses was intentional, since it describes the traditional setting of the Jewish scribe being surrounded by his pupils ( Matthew 5:1; Matthew 13:1-2; Matthew 24:3). 549] The second and fourth discourses begin with one aspect of this formula, either Jesus gathering His disciples ( Matthew 10:1), or them coming to Him ( Matthew 18:1). In addition, this rabbinic formula is found in the middle of the third discourse simply because Jesus changes locations before completing this discourse ( Matthew 13:36).

549] Christopher R. Smith, "Literary Evidences of a FiveFold Structure in the Gospel of Matthew ," in New Testament Studies 43 (1997): 542.

Matthew 5:1, "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:"

Matthew 10:1, "And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."

Matthew 13:1-2, "The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore."

Matthew 13:36, "Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field."

Matthew 18:1, "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

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?"

Comments- Comparision of Parallel Passages in Matthew and Luke - When we compare Matthew 24:3 to Luke 21:7, we see that Luke's Gospel leaves out the question, "What shall be the sign of thy coming?"

Luke 21:7, "And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?"

If we look at the underlying themes of these Gospels, we can understand why there is a slightly difference emphasis within these two parallel verses. The theme of Matthew's Gospel is the coming of the Messiah, the King of Israel, as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. In contrast, Luke's Gospel places emphasis upon the accuracy of eyewitness accounts of Jesus' earthly ministry. Thus, Matthew would be more interested in the coming of the King than would Luke , as is evidence when comparing these two verses.

Comments- The Disciples Ask Jesus Eschatological Questions - In response to Jesus' statements about the desolation of Israel ( Matthew 23:39) coming upon this generation ( Matthew 23:36), accompanied by the destruction of the Temple ( Matthew 24:2), the disciples ask Jesus an eschatological question when they arrive on the Mount of Olives. The crowds are no longer around them, so they have learned that Jesus speaks to them on a more intimate level in private. They want to know when this desolation will take place, what are the signs of Jesus coming to reign as King in Jerusalem (the Parousia) and the end of this age. The disciples want to know the time of the Parousia and the events that preceed this final phase of Israel's redemption. Jesus proceeds to answer these questions in the fifth major discourse.

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

Matthew 24:4Comments - The idea of deception in Matthew 24:4 means to be misled by others on biblical eschatology.

Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Matthew 24:5Comments- Jesus will tell us in Matthew 24:24 of this passage that many false Christs will arise and deceive many.

Matthew 24:24, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

In the beginning of this period leading up to the Great Tribulation period there will be only a few of these incidents. As the world approaches the Great Tribulation period, such world calamities will cause mankind to look for a deliverer. This is when many will take the opportunity to present themselves as false Christs.

In troublesome times, mankind tends to follow anyone or anything that proclaims deliverance. For example, Paul Crouch was in India interviewing a local Indian who was also a Christian. Crouch asked him why the local people knelt down and kissed his feet. The reply was that these people considered him a "holy man". The Indian went on to explain that enormous respect that Indians have for spiritual and religious figures. He said that if someone said that they saw a god in the mountains, or in the river, then everyone would run to the mountains or the rivers. If someone saw a supernatural manifestation, they the people would go to worship it. This is how people desperate for a deliverer will respond. This is how the multitudes responded to Jesus' public ministry. They were like sheep without a shepherd, looking for someone to guide them.

The first-century Jews were longing for someone to lead them out from under oppressive Roman domination. We see from Acts 5:36-37 how two Jews rose up earlier and caused an insurrection against the Romans.

Acts 5:36-37, "For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed."

Josephus described Judea as a place of much insecurity, with "ten thousand other disorders" and "full of robberies."

"Now at this time there were ten thousand other disorders in Judea, which were like tumults, because a great number put themselves into a warlike posture, either out of hopes of gain to themselves, or out of enmity to the Jews…." (Josephus, Antiquities 17104)

"And now Judea was full of robberies…" (Antiquities 17108)

Horatio Hackett says, "Josephus gives an account of four men named Simon who followed each other within forty years, and of three named Judas within ten years, who were all instigators of rebellion." 550] (note Antiquities 2051, 20856, 20810; Wars 2135, 2174, 2178, 652)

550] Horatio B. Hackett, A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, in An American Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Alvah Hovey (Philadelphia, PA: American Baptist Publication Society, c 1882), 82.

Conclusion- Thus, Jesus' statement to His disciples saying, "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many," most likely serves as a warning against those followers of His who would want to rise up in rebellion against government authorities; for this was not how Jesus was going to usher in the Kingdom of God, nor was it the way the Church was going to serve their Christ. We see how Peter took his sword out and cut off the servants ear in the Garden, but Jesus quickly brought this insurgency to a halt. If fact, it was the Jewish rebellion against the Roman government that provoked Titus to surround the city of Jerusalem and raze it to the ground in A.D 70. Song of Solomon , Jesus is preaching against such rebellion.

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.

Matthew 24:6 — "see that ye be not troubled" - Comments- The word "troubled" means, "disturbed, frightened."

Matthew 24:6 — "for all these things must come to pass" - Comments- The Greek text literally reads, "all these things are necessary to be."

Matthew 24:6 — "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars" - Comments- The period the proceeds the Great Tribulation will begin with wars. I believe World War I and II ushered the world into these last days, which may consist of a one-hundred year period beginning with the first world war at the beginning of the twentieth century. The rumours of wars will spread through the mass media, which characterizes this period because of the development of radio, television, mobile telephones and the internet.

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.

Matthew 24:7Comments- For a description of nations, we can refer to the table of seventy nations listed in Genesis 10:1-32. The prophets recognized the names of these nations in their prophecies throughout the Scriptures, but a kingdom would be defined as a ruler who rules over nations, such as Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece and Rome as prophesied in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the giant statue in Daniel 2:31-45.

Matthew 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Matthew 24:8Word Study on "sorrows" - The Greek word ωδί ν (G 5604) means, "the pang or throe, especially of childbirth." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 4times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "sorrow 2, pain 1, travail 1."

Matthew 24:8Comments- In other words, the events described in Matthew 24:4-7 will lead us up to the time of the Great Tribulation.

Matthew 24:8 tells us that Jesus' Second Coming can be compared to a woman who is about to deliver a baby. When the time comes for the child's birth, she will experience contractions. These contractions will begin to increase in intensity and in frequency. This is what we are seeing happening in the world today. Jesus listed these "birth pangs" in Matthew 24:5-7. Jesus says in Matthew 24:8 that these events are the beginning of sorrows, or birth pangs. We see an increase in the number and intensity of each one of these events. Thus, the birth pangs are listed as deception through false "messiahs," wars, famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.

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.

Matthew 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

Matthew 24:10Comments- Those who are offended fall away and are led into sin ( Mark 4:17).

Mark 4:17, "And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word"s sake, immediately they are offended."

Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

Matthew 24:11Comments- The word "rise" suggests that false prophets will be in places of leadership and influence and recognition.

When men reject the Gospel as mentioned in the previous verses ( Matthew 24:9-10), they open the door to deception by the devil. Paul tells the believers in Thessalonica that God will send strong delusion to those who reject the truth ( 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11).

2 Thessalonians 2:10-11, "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Matthew 24:14 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.

Matthew 24:14 — "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" - Comments - Some nations would embrace the Gospel, and other nations wuld reject the Gospel. In Matthew 24:20-24 Jesus told the cities that rejected the Gospel that Tyre and Sidon and Sodom would receive a lesser judgment than themselves. He also said the dust of the feet of those who proclaimed the Gospel would serve as a witness against them ( Mark 6:11).

Mark 6:11, "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."

Matthew 24:14 — "and then shall the end come" - Comments- The age that Jesus is referring to that will come to an end is the "Times of the Gentiles," which will end with the Great Tribulation. Then the world will enter the thousand-year Millennial Reign of Christ on earth.

Matthew 24:14Comments- The Gospel will be preached among all nations before the end of this age comes because God so loves the world that He wants everyone to have an opportunity. This is why Peter says, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." ( 2 Peter 3:9) It is God's love for this world that causes Him to delay His Second Coming.

Matthew 24:13-14Comments- "unto the end….and then shall the end come" - The disciples had asked Jesus in Matthew 24:3, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Thus, Jesus completes His answer to His disciples by saying "And then shall the end be."


Verses 15-28

The Great Tribulation ( Mark 13:14-23, Luke 21:20-24) - In Matthew 24:15-28 Jesus gives us the events that will take place during the Great Tribulation that prepares the world for His Second Coming.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem — Matthew 24:15-22

2. The Deceptions Prior to the Second Coming of Jesus — Matthew 24:23-28

Matthew 24:15-22The Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem - Some scholars have interpreted Matthew 24:15-22 as a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem represents the nation of Israel. Eusebius (A.D 260 to 340) tells us that this passage is a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D 70. As Eusebius describes the horrors of perhaps the most tragic event in the history of the Jewish people, he credits this event to the judgment of God because of the rejection and crucifixion of the Lord and Saviour by the Jew. (Ecclesiastical History 371-10). However, we know today that this prophecy has a greater reference to the end-time period known as the Great Tribulation. Although Matthew does not refer to an army attacking Jerusalem, the parallel passage in Luke's Gospel makes a clear reference to a great battle where armies surround the holy city Jerusalem ( Luke 21:20). It is possible that the prophecy of Matthew 24:15-20 has a two-fold meaning of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D 70 as well as some events that will take place during the Great Tribulation such as the battle of Armageddon, which is spoken of in a number of Old and New Testament passages.

Luke 21:20, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh."

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:)

Matthew 24:15 — "(whoso readeth, let him understand:)" - Comments- Note how Daniel also exhorted his readers to attempt to understand his prophecy:

Daniel 9:23, "At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision."

Matthew 24:15Comments- We find a number of references in the Old and New Testaments to an event called the "Abomination of Desolation." There are passages in Daniel that refer to the abomination of desolation. This Old Testament prophet tells us that this event will take place in the "midst of the week," which we interpret as the middle of the seven-year Tribulation Period.

Daniel 9:27, "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."

Daniel's vision in the eleventh chapter reveals that it will be a time when the Antichrist first removes the Temple sacrifices and three and a half years later he exalts himself above God. This tells us that the nation of Israel will succeed in rebuilding the Temple and reinstating the Temple services before the Great Tribulation begins. This will be a place where Gentiles are forbidden to enter because it will be against Jewish law.

Daniel 11:31, "And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate."

Daniel 11:36, "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done."

Daniel 11:45, "And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him."

Daniel 12:11, "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days."

Paul also tells us about this event in his second epistle to the Thessalonians. Paul calls this person "that man of sin" and "the son of perdition".

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."

This person is possessed by Satan unlike any other person in the history of mankind. Paul clearly tells us that this individual sits in the holy Temple and declares himself to be God. Not how the antichrist will attempt to reign from Jerusalem immediately before Jesus Christ comes to set up His earthly kingdom in Jerusalem. Satan knows that this throne is to be given to Jesus Christ shortly, so he makes his last attempt to stop God's divine plan on earth and to rule in Christ's stead. He deceives the people with his signs and wonders and imitates a "second coming" of the Messiah to make the world believe that the antichrist is the true Messiah. This will be a time of great deception as Jesus tells us shortly in Matthew 24:24, so that if these days were not shortened, even the elect would be deceived.

Matthew 24:24, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

Matthew 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Matthew 24:16Comments- In light of this command from our Lord and Savior, it is interesting to note the historical record of Eusebius regarding the event of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D 70 He tells us that the Spirit of the Lord bade the church that was in Jerusalem to flee to a certain city for safety, as if in fulfillment of His command.

"But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a Revelation , vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella. And when those that believed in Christ had come thither from Jerusalem, then, as if the royal city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy men, the judgment of God at length overtook those who had committed such outrages against Christ and his apostles, and totally destroyed that generation of impious men." (Ecclesiastical History 353)

Illustration- Matthew 24:16 describes a situation of ultimate terror and destruction upon the cities and populated areas of a nation. The scenes of Afghanistan people fleeing their nation in fear of U.S. retaliation is descriptive of this verse. These people are fleeing into the mountains and into the neighboring country of Pakistan in anticipation of a horrific devastation that the United States has threatened to do because of the bombing of the Pentagon and World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Matthew 24:19Comments- In today"s modern wars, the high-tech bombings of cities and military structures send many refugees running for safer places. In these times when refugees can number into the millions, it is the women and smallest children that suffer the most. Therefore, this verse appears to be describing major devastations caused by war.

Matthew 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

Matthew 24:20Comments- Sadhu Sundar Singh says that "winter" represents a time of great distress and especially the time of the Tribulation in the last days. The "Sabbath day" represents the rest of the Millennial reign.

"Now is the time to obtain and keep in the vessels of our hearts the oil of the Holy Spirit, as the five wise virgins did (Matt. xxv 1-13); otherwise like the five foolish ones we shall meet with nothing but grief and despair. Now also you must collect the manna for the true Sabbath, otherwise there will be nothing left you but sorrow and woe (Ex. xvi 15 ,27). "Pray, therefore, that your flight may not be in the winter," that Isaiah , in time of great distress or the last days, "or on the Sabbath day," that Isaiah , the reign of a thousand years of eternal rest, for such an opportunity will never occur again (Matt. xxiv 20)." 551]

551] Sadhu Sundar Singh, At the Master's Feet, translated by Arthur Parker (London: Fleming H. Revell Co, 1922) [on-line]; accessed 26 October 2008; available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/singh/feet.html; Internet, "III Prayer," section 3, part 5.

In other words, Matthew 24:20 tells us to pray that we not be a part of the great distress during this period of time. If we will stay filled with the Holy Spirit, we will not be in distress and flight of terror.

Matthew 24:23-24Comments - Warning of False Prophets- Jesus warned about false Christs earlier in this passage in verses 4-5. Just there will be an increase in frequency and in intensity of wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes, so will there be an increase in deception. Satan will raise up many to deceive those who reject Christ Jesus. Note:

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

Revelation 13:13, "And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,"

Matthew 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.

Matthew 24:25Comments - Jesus has told us in advance, or before these event will take place.

Matthew 24:26 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.

Matthew 24:26Comments- The secret chambers are inner room or hidden room.

Matthew 24:28Word Study on "the eagles" - Strong says that the Greek word ἀετός (G 105) carries a broader meaning of "eagle (from its wind-like flight)." However, the reference to a carcass in Matthew 24:28 sounds more like a reference to a vulture than to an eagle. If we examine the Old Testament, we find support for the translation of a vulture in this verse. The Enhanced Strong says the Hebrew word נֶשֶׁר (H 5404) is used 26 times in the Old Testament, bring translated in the KJV as, "eagle 26." Gesenius says this Hebrew word can carry a wider range of meanings beside "eagle." He says that the reference in Micah 1:16 refers to a bird that is bald, which more closely describes a vulture than an eagle, and Job 39:30 and Proverbs 30:17 describe a bird that eats carcasses, something more likely to describe a vulture than an eagle.

Job 39:27-30, "Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she."

Proverbs 30:17, "The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it."

Micah 1:16, "Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee."


Verses 29-31

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ ( Mark 13:24-27, Luke 21:25-28) - Matthew 24:29-31 tells us that the seven-year period known as the Great Tribulation will be immediately followed by the Second Coming of Christ Jesus and a gathering together of the saints. The signs in heaven will indicate to mankind the imminence of a great event ( Matthew 24:29), Jesus will appear from heaven ( Matthew 24:30), and He will gather His saints together ( Matthew 24:31).

The Rapture- The Rapture will be a glorious day for the Church, but a time of surprise and mourning for the world ( Matthew 24:29-44, Luke 21:25-36). Jesus first refers to a Rapture of the saints in His Eschatological Discourse. Matthew's Gospel suggests that the Rapture will take place immediately after the Tribulation Period, for it says, "Immediately after the tribulation" ( Matthew 24:29). However, Luke's account suggests that the Lord will deliver His saints from the Tribulation Period through the Rapture, which will take place immediately before the Tribulation Period.

Luke 21:36, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

A Comparison of Parallel Passages in Matthew and Luke - If we understand the two different recipients of Matthew and Luke , the explanation is simple. The Gospel of Matthew is written to Jewish converts who were looking for the Second Coming of Christ to set up His kingdom on this earth. Luke wrote to Gentile Christians who were looking for deliverance from the wickedness of this world. Thus, Matthew explains what will take place at His Second Coming, how Jesus will return and gather His saints together and set up His kingdom on earth and rule and reign from Jerusalem, while Luke exhorts the saints to prepare themselves for the Rapture that will catch the Church up immediately before the Tribulation Period.

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:

Matthew 24:29Comments- Isaiah 44:21-23 supports the truth that when Israel prospers, the entire earth and all of creation are blessed. Since Israel was recreated in 1947, we have been able to predict the events coming on the earth by watching what the Lord was doing in the nation of Israel. As we watch the events unfolding in Israel each day, we can be sure that these same events will overflow into the nations on the earth.

Isaiah 44:21-23, "Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel."

Illustration- For example, when the Palestinians began to wage war against the nation of Israel from 2000 to 2003, these events overflowed into the U.S, where the Islamic Revolution caused the tragedy of September 11, 2001, where almost three thousand people were killed in the destruction of the World Trade Centers. As the events of the tribulation gear up into full force, this travail upon earth for seven years will overflow into the heavens. Thus, this verse in Matthew 24:29 says that the sun, moon, and stars will be shaken. This is why the Jews consider Jerusalem to be the center of the Universe, because everything that affects the earth and heavens proceeds from the events around Jerusalem.

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.

Matthew 24:30 — "and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" - Comments- The book of Daniel portrays the Messiah riding on a cloud ( Daniel 7:13). The eschatological passages of the New Testament tell us that Jesus Christ will come to earth a second time riding upon a cloud ( Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64, Mark 13:26; Mark 14:62, Luke 21:27, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Revelation 1:7). This cloud of heaven may be likened to a royal chariot, horse or palanquin upon which ancient kings often rode. These royal vehicles were often preceded by forerunners, men who ran before the king to announce his coming. We see such a scene when Elijah ran before Ahab's chariot ( 1 Kings 18:46). The Song of Solomon 3:6-11 describes a wedding processional with the bride in a royal palanquin perfumed with spices ( Matthew 3:6; Matthew 3:9-10), accompanied by sixty valiant men armed with swords ( Matthew 3:7-8) approaching Jerusalem.

Daniel 7:13, "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him."

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."

Matthew 26:64, "Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

Mark 13:26, "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory."

Mark 14:62, "And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

Luke 21:27, "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."

1 Thessalonians 4:17, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

Revelation 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 Song of Solomon , Amen."

1 Kings 18:46, "And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel."

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.

Matthew 24:31Comments - If there is only one appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven, then Matthew 24:31 shows that the rapture of the Church takes place at the end of the Tribulation Period, a view called the post-tribulation rapture. This view equates Matthew 24:31 with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 to 1 Thessalonians 5:11. However, many believe that the rapture of the Church described in 1Thessalonians takes place prior to the Tribulation, a view called the pre-tribulation rapture. Such a view requires Jesus to return on two occasions, one appearing to receive the Church in the rapture before the Tribulation, and one appearing afterwards to establish His Kingdom upon earth and usher in the Millennial Reign of Christ.


Verses 32-35

The Parable of the Fig Tree ( Mark 13:28-31, Luke 21:29-33) - In Matthew 24:32-35 Jesus gives His disciples the illustration of the seasonal budding of the fig tree as a figurative way to know when the time of His Second Coming is drawing near. As the budding of the fig tree indicates the nearness of a change of seasons, so do the preceding events described up to this point in the Eschatological Discourse indicate the approaching of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The Symbolic Meaning of the Fig Tree as the Rebirth of the Nation of Israel - Some scholars suggest that the fig tree is symbolic of the nation of Israel, and its budding symbolic of the rebirth of this nation in 1948. This symbolic application could be interpreted to mean that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would take place during the same generation of people who witness the rebirth of the nation of Israel.

The Scriptures use symbolic language to describe Israel as a fig tree ( Hosea 9:10) or other fruitful trees and plants, such as the olive tree and grape vine ( Ezekiel 36:8, Hosea 14:6-8).

Hosea 9:10, "I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved."

Ezekiel 36:8, "But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come."

Hosea 14:6-8, "His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found."

Matthew 24:32 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 24:32Comments - The Jews in Palestine were very familiar with their environment. They knew the behavior and characteristics of the animals and plants around them. Growing up in the panhandle of Florida, I understood that the wild Common Blue Violet (viola sororia) puts forth its flower in February as a sign that the mild Florida winter would soon be over. If Jesus were speaking to me, He might have use the wild violet to make the same point as the fig tree with the Jews of Palestine.

Matthew 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

Matthew 24:33 — "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things" - Comments- Not only will we hear of these events, but we will "see" these things taking place. With the recent invention of televisions and satellite coverage across the world, giving mankind a visual access to end-time events, we will be able to not only read and hear about these events; but we will be able to see them taking place as well.

The phrase "all these (things)" means that when we see all of these taking place on the earth during a single period of time. These events will occur throughout the history of mankind, but this period immediately preceeding the Second Coming will be characterized by all of these events taking place during a short period of time.

Matthew 24:33 — "know that it is near, even at the doors" - Comments- The Lord does not want His children to be taken unawares when these times come and His Second Coming is at hand. It will come as a thief in the night for the world, but for His children, they will be looking up, knowing that their redemption is drawing near. Note:

1 Thessalonians 5:4, "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."

Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Matthew 24:34Comments- Many scholars suggest that when Jesus said, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." ( Matthew 24:34), He was saying that all of the events that Jesus predicted as signs of His Second Coming will take place within a man's lifetime. It is possible that, just as Noah preached 120 years before the Flood, God will again work within a 120-year time frame with His Second Coming. We know from Genesis 6:3 that a man's lifetime was reduced to one hundred twenty (120) years at the time of the Flood.

Genesis 6:3, "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with Prayer of Manasseh , for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."

It is also possible that the events prophesied in the Eschatological Discourse that God will use as signs leading up to Jesus' Second Coming will take place within a period of one hundred twenty (120) years, which Jesus refers to as "this generation."

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.


Verses 36-44

No One Knows the Day Nor Hour ( Mark 13:32-37, Luke 17:26-30; Luke 17:34-36) - In Matthew 24:26-44 Jesus tells His disciples to watch and be ready because no one knows the exact time of His coming. We will only know that the time and season is at hand.

Matthew 24:37-39Comments- A Comparison of End-time Prophecy with Noah's Flood- I was meditating upon the idea of how to piece together the eschatological passages in the books of Revelation ,, Daniel , Ezekiel and Zechariah. During this time I felt the Lord quicken to me to read about the Flood.

This description basically describes the peoples of the earth indulging in worldly activities while being indifferent to the coming of the Lord and indifferent to living a Godly life. In both stories, mankind was increasingly sinful, refused to repent at the divine warnings, and was caught unaware in God's judgment.

Matthew 24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Matthew 24:41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Matthew 24:40-41Comments - Man's Toils- Matthew 24:40-41 draws a picture of man harvesting in the field and of women grinding grain preparing for a meal. This illustration describes how people will be going about their daily chores when the Son of Man returns. Perhaps this illustration also implies that people will be toiling about earthly affairs rather than focusing on His Return.

Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Matthew 24:42Comments - The word "watch" means to be alert. We are to do so because we do not know what hour Jesus will come. Jesus not only answered the disciple"s questions which they asked in Matthew 24:3, but Jesus tells them how to live in light of these events. How should we "watch"?

1. We must be doing the Word as faithful and wise servants

Matthew 24:46, "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing."

2. We must be caring for the needs of others:

Matthew 25:34-40.

3. We must be watchful, sober and prayerful:

1 Peter 4:7, "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."

1 Thessalonians 5:2-6, "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."

Matthew 24:43 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.

Matthew 24:43 — "he would have watched" - Comments - That Isaiah , "He would have stayed alert and awake."

Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Matthew 24:43-44Comments - Jesus Comes as a Thief in the Night- There are a number of Scriptures that refer to Jesus Christ coming as a thief in the night ( Matthew 24:43-44, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15).

Matthew 24:43-44, "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."

1 Thessalonians 5:2, "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night."

2 Peter 3:10, "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."

Revelation 3:3, "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."

Revelation 16:15, "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."


Verses 45-51

The Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servants ( Luke 12:41-48) - In Matthew 24:45-51 Jesus gives His disciples a parable in order to illustrate how to watch and await His Return by telling them the story of the faithful and the unfaithful servants.

Matthew 24:45 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 24:45Comments - Matthew 24:45 gives us a picture of God's ministers being set over the Church to deliver the Word of God to the people.

Matthew 24:49Comments - Matthew 24:49 symbolizes a leader who indulges in fleshly pleasures.

Matthew 24:48-49Comments - This is like workers on a job when the boss leaves. Many times workers stop working and get idle without being caught.

Matthew 24:50 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,

Matthew 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Matthew 24:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/matthew-24.html. 2013.

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