THE LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson, we finished up Matthew 23. In this lesson, we will begin examining one of the most misunderstood chapters in the Bible by those in religious world. Those who teach the rapture doctrine and say that we are looking for signs for the end of time get their view from this chapter. We will be focusing on Matthew 24, though I do recommend that you also read the parallel accounts in Mark 13 and Luke 21.
Before we begin looking at Mt. 24, I want to give you some basic guidelines that you should follow in order to figure out what is going on in any given chapter within the Bible.
1. One of the most important things you must do is to look at the context so you can know what is going on. This means you need to look at the previous chapter as it may give you great insight to what is going on.
2. Also, it's important to examine any other verses or parallel accounts of the contents of the chapter you want to examine.
3. When you are examining a more difficult chapter, try to find verses within that chapter that might help you unlock the true meaning of the text.
I will be using these basic guidelines to show what Mat. 24 teaches.
The first thing we need to do is to find out what was going
on in Mat. 23. In this chapter, Jesus is in
"Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' guilt. 33 "Serpents, brood of
vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 "Therefore, indeed, I send
you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify,
and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to
"that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the
blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you
murdered between the temple and the altar.
36 "Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will
come upon this generation. 37
Jesus makes it clear
that these Jews had rejected Him and that the blood of the prophets would be on
their heads. He is pronouncing a judgment on these Jews, and He tells them that
this judgment will happen to their generation and that God has left their house
desolate. In other words, God’s presence was no longer in the temple. The
judgment Jesus was talking about was the destruction of
With this in mind, I
want to show you a key verse in understanding Mt. 24.
"Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass
away till all these things take place.
matter how you decided to explain Mt. 24, Jesus makes it easy for us to see
that the events described before verse 34 would happen in that generation. Just
as we saw at the end of Mt. 23, those events described in these verses were to
occur sometime within a 30 to 40 year time span.
seem to think that the generation being spoken of will not begin until the
signs of Matthew 24 begins. Of course, they think those signs have begun and
that our generation is supposedly the generation Jesus spoke of. They change
the meaning of generation in our key verse to simply denote the Jewish race. In
other words, they have Jesus saying that the Jewish race will not pass away
until all these things take place. This is how they justify stretching out the
time span of when these signs are to occur. But even they will admit that the
word generation is rarely used to mean race. Instead, the word generation is
almost always defined as,
sum total of those born at the same time, expanded to include all those living
at a given time”
fact, out of the 37 times this word is used in the NT, I could not find where
it was ever used to refer to a race. Let me give you an example of what I am
Matthew 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen
Obviously, the word
generation is talking about a time span and not a race because this verse
wouldn’t make any sense if you substituted the word generation with the word race.
Please keep this in mind as we begin to examine Mt. 24. My goal is to show you
that Mt. 24 talks about 2 different events. Verses 1 – 34 talk about the
destruction of Jerusalem. and verses 36 – 51 talk
about Jesus’ second coming when the end of the world will occur.
Matthew 24:1 Then
Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show
Him the buildings of the temple. 2
And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say
to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be
thrown down." 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came
to Him privately, saying…
Verse 3 teaches us that
when Jesus departed from the temple, He went to the
This was an amazing
statement because at this point, they were still building on the temple area,
which was not completed until A.D. 64, and Jerusalem was at a time of peace,
yet Jesus said it would be destroyed and would happen in their generation just
as we read in Mt. 23. Immediately, His disciples asked Him some questions.
In Matthew’s account, we
see 3 questions. However, the last 2 questions are grammatically tied together
by the conjunction and.
Matthew 24:3 "Tell us,
when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
Luke’s account shows 2
Luke 21:7 So they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, but when will
these things be? And what sign will there be when these things
are about to take place?"
Mark’s account also shows
Mark 13:4 "Tell
us, when will these things be? And what will
be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?"
This is why it is
important that we look at the parallel accounts in the gospels. Because when we
look at just one, we don’t get the complete picture. However, when we look at
all of them together, then we will get the complete picture. For example,
Luke’s and Mark’s accounts only record two questions, which deals with the
In Mt. 24, they also want
to know what will be the sign of Jesus’ coming and of the end of the age? Some believe these questions also refer to the
Another example can be
seen in Mt. 13 when Jesus spoke several parables about the kingdom that was to
come, which was spiritual and not physical. He also taught them about the end
of the world or the end of the age. When He was done, He asked them if they
understood what He was talking about, and they all said “yes we understand” in
verse 51. Yet, when we come to Acts 1:6, just before Jesus is about to ascend
into heaven, His disciples want to know when He will restore the kingdom to
Again, we can see that
they were still looking for a physical kingdom instead of a spiritual one. So,
this is why I say it is certainly possible that they thought the destruction of
However, it does not
really matter what they were thinking or if they were confused because Jesus is
going to answer these questions, and He is going to set the record straight. We
will see Him talk about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world,
and we will see how both of these events happen at different times.
In verse 4 – 14, Jesus
warns His disciples not to be fooled by the false signs they would experience
before the destruction of Jerusalem would occur.
Matthew 24:4 And
Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
Jesus says there will be
many people who will come in His name trying to say they are the Messiah. The
Bible tells us in Acts 5:35-37 that some men had claimed to be something great
and led some people away to a slaughter, and it also mentions an Egyptian who
did this as well in Acts 21:38. Also, historians like Josephus recorded how
false messiahs were stepping up during those days as well.
"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not
troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not
yet. 7 "For nation
will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be
famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 "All these are the beginning
These are things that are
going to take place before the destruction of Jerusalem, but these are not
signs that mark the end of Jerusalem. Instead, they mark the beginning of
sorrows. Jesus tells His disciples not to be troubled or bothered by these
things because these signs are just the beginning and are not the actual signs
that will show that the destruction of
Those who teach the
rapture doctrine thinks these signs mentioned are the signs we are to look for
before Jesus comes again, but these kinds of signs have been happening
throughout history. It is also noteworthy to point out that our text does not
say that these signs will increase during this time, it simply says they will
be happening. Please note the following,
Vincent notes that
between this prophecy by Jesus in 30 A.D. and the destruction of Jerusalem
there was an earthquake in Crete in 46-47 A.D., at Rome in 51 A.D., at Apamaia
in Phrygia in 60 A.D., and at Campania in 41 -54 A.D. He also notes 4 famines
during the reign of Claudius in 41 – 54 A.D. One of these famines is mentioned
in taught in Acts 11:28. Also an early writer named Tacitus (Annals xvi. 10-13)
describes hurricanes and storms in Campania in A.D. 65.
There are more events I
could list, but these are sufficient enough to show that they had those things
happening before the destruction of
"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will
be hated by all nations for My name's sake.
The Book of Acts reveals
the fulfillment of this prediction. The apostles were beaten and put in prison
(Acts 4-5), Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 6-7), there was a great persecution
against the church (Acts 8-9), and James was beheaded (Acts 12:1-2) just to
name a few.
Mark adds this in his
Mark 13:11 "But
when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or
premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that;
for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
This certainly limits
these events that were going to happen to the first century because when they
were arrested, the Holy Spirit would give them the words by which to speak. Now
this would be a study all by itself, but 1 Cor. 13, Eph. 4, and other passages
make it clear the miraculous speaking of tongues and the like were limited to
the 1st century because once God’s Word was fully revealed, miracles
would cease. Also, only the apostles had the ability to impart miraculous gifts
by the laying on of their hands, and there are no apostles alive today. So, being able to allow the Holy Spirit to
speak for you cannot happen today.
"And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate
one another. 11 "Then
many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 "And because lawlessness
will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
We can see these things
happening in Scripture as well, such as 2 Tim 4:10, 16, which also happened
before A.D. 70.
"Tacitus, the Roman historian, records, `that
several Christians at first were apprehended, and then by their discovery, a
multitude of others were convicted, and cruelly put to death, with derision and
Now when a person gets to
verse 13, they might want to apply that to salvation in heaven and it certainly
is true that if we endure as Christians to the end of our lives, we will be
saved. But, based on context, I do not believe this verse is talking about
salvation of the soul. Luke’s account adds that not one hair of their heads
would be lost (Lk. 21:18).
Since Jesus goes on from
this verse and tells His disciples what they can do to escape the destruction
that is going to take place, I believe He is saying that those who endure and
don’t allow themselves to be tricked by the false signs and take heed to the
real signs that precede the destruction of Jerusalem will not lose their
Josephus and others
historians back this fact up because not one Christian was recorded of losing
their life during the destruction of
Matthew 24:14 "And
this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to
all the nations, and then the end will come.
This is another important
verse because whatever the end is that these verses have been talking about
cannot occur until the gospel is preached in all the world as a witness to all
the nations. Those who teach the rapture doctrine would say that this has not
happened yet, but consider what the Bible says,
Colossians 1:5 because
of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in
the word of the truth of the gospel, 6
which has come to you, as it has also in all the world,
Colossians 1:23 if
indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved
away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to
every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Romans 10:18 and 16:26 all show that the gospel had indeed been preached to all
the world. The Book of Colossians was written around 61 - 63 A.D. and the Book
of Romans was written around 57-58 A.D., which clearly shows that the gospel
had been preached to all the world before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.
70. So, we can see that end Jesus is
talking about is the destruction of Jerusalem. All these things Jesus has been
talking about so far would happen before the destruction of Jerusalem, but now,
Jesus is going to tell His disciples the real signs they could look for and
know without a doubt that the destruction of Jerusalem was about to happen.
Matthew 24:15 " Therefore when you see the 'abomination of
desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place"
(whoever reads, let him understand),
The word ‘abomination’
means detestable things such as idolatry, and the word desolation means destruction.
Daniel spoke of this event during his day in Daniel 9, 11, and 12. In all 3
chapters, abomination of desolation is used to describe the defilement of the
temple, but the specific prophecy Jesus is talking about has to do with the 70
weeks of Daniel in Chapter 9: 24- 27.
Luke’s account shows us
exactly what Jesus has in mind about the abomination of desolation that they
could see and know that
Luke 21:20 But when
you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.
Also, earlier in the book of Luke, Jesus makes the
Luke 19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city
and wept over it, 42
saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the
things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 "For days will come upon
you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and
close you in on every side,
44 "and level you, and your children within you,
to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because
you did not know the time of your visitation."
So, without a doubt, the
abomination of desolation was the Roman army led by Titus who did this very
thing in A.D. 70, which led to the destruction of Jerusalem where they did not
leave one stone on top of another. Even some of the Jews of that day understood
that the destruction of A.D. 70 was that which Daniel prophesied of. Please
note what Josephus wrote who was an eyewitness of these events:
In the very same manner Daniel also wrote
concerning the Roman Government, and that our country should be made desolate
by them. (Josephus, Antiquities of the
And now the Romans, upon the flight of the
seditious (sah-dish-us) into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house
itself, and of all the buildings lying round about it, brought their ensigns to
the temple, and set them over against its eastern gate, and there did they make
Titus imperator. (imp-ar-tor) (Josephus, War of the Jews, 6:6:1)
I believe the evidence
overwhelmingly proves that Jesus is talking about the destruction of Jerusalem
and not some future event that is supposed to take place sometime in our
Well, I wish I could
continue on, but we will stop right here and we will pick right were left off
in our next lesson, but I hope you have already seen that Jesus is has been
talking about the destruction of Jerusalem so far and not about things
concerning the end of the world. So, I hope you will join us for the next