Matthew 24, Part Nine

2 years ago

Here is Part One. All of the parts of this series are linked in that one place.

Before reading this installment, read the quoted text that’s the first half of Part Eight, and come back.

Note: We’re going to make some unqualified statements. TCJ is not the proper format for book-length material. (Insert “too late” joke here.) But more importantly, you must do the research to reach your own conclusions.

“That all these things came to pass in that generation, that is, before the overthrow of the Jewish capital, is questioned by many exegetes. We must therefore make appeal (a) to well authenticated facts, and (b) then inquire how far the facts really fulfill the import of the prophecy.” – M. S. Terry

That’s your task. Perhaps what you know is right, perhaps not. In the endnotes, we’ll link some study resources. Unless you drink of the water yourself, you won’t know for sure. Is God worth it? How badly do you want the truth in the face of what the American Churches are teaching? Something is wrong with Christian teaching in America. The church is not supposed to be scrimping by cowering in fear of the world. Christian victory over sin and the world start with the correct doctrine, which lends power to the believer to declare to the wicked that Christ is King! I believe the false teaching of Matthew 24 and the entire gospel narrative is a critical reason that His church is not dominating family, culture, society, business, and government. If the gates of hell shall not prevail against His church, why are we losing?

Now to the text, three important points need to be made first. One, there is a change of scene but not of topic. In Matthew Chapter 24, Jesus with His disciples leave the temple, have a brief exchange, and then go to the Mount of Olives. The location changes, but the discourse continues about the wrath that abides on that generation. Secondly, we remain squarely between 2 “this generation” statements; Matthew 23:36 and Matthew 24:34. There is no way around these facts except to make up some other circumstance and meaning behind these verses. Thirdly, lest your mind begins to wonder, in verse 24:16, Jesus refocuses us by referring to them that be in Judea. Who is to hear and know how to react to this discourse? He’s speaking to His disciples about that generation and specific events in and around Judea.

“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 24:1

As they leave the temple, the disciples show Him the magnificence of the structure. Read Mark 13:1 and Luke 21:5. The disciples may have brought up the temple because Jesus just said, “…your house is left unto desolate” (Chapter 23, verse 38), speaking of the temple. We couldn’t know for sure, but He may have indicated the temple during that statement. It’s widely agreed that “your house” refers to the temple. “Your house” may also refer to the entire Jewish estate under the Law of Moses.

So, the disciples point out how great an edifice the temple is to behold, and surely it was, but judgment is being passed; Jesus makes His decree:

“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.

It would be a stretch to claim to know what specifically Jesus was indicating by any gestures, but it doesn’t matter; God destroyed everything, within sight of their location, in that generation. Firsthand accounts explain that the temple was decimated, utterly leveled to the ground.

Jesus moves to the Mount of Olives, where the disciples ask two questions. Having just heard the (seven) woes (Matthew 23:13-31) against that generation and the declaration of the desolation (Matthew 23:38) and destruction of the temple as they walk off the temple grounds (Matthew 24:2), His disciples ask the questions. The Bible shows two questions, but the second one contains two points they seek to understand.

“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

When shall these things be? What shall be the sign of thy coming? And (what shall be the sign) of the end of the world?

Note carefully that they didn’t ask what things. They knew what things! The disciples ask “when” because Jesus just told them what. “What” are the destruction of the temple and all that’s been pronounced against that generation from the days of John the Baptist forward. The disciples need to know when because they will be there in Judea!

Suppose that God told you the city you live in was going to be destroyed; what would you ask? Would you say; Oh, we don’t much care about that; tell us about thousands of years from now? Or would you ask; really, when? And what will be the indicator (sign) that the time is imminent?

The topic has NOT changed from Matthew 23, only the physical location of Jesus and those with Him. As we’ve endeavored to show in this series of posts, these questions from the disciples are not asked in isolation. We are coming to the end of a three-year-long training of the disciples. This topic of the coming judgment of God is leveled many times at that generation by both the prophets and Jesus.

The wider context of the entire New Testament is the ending of the Old Covenant and the bringing in of the New Covenant. Matthew 24 is not randomly placed or outside of this context. Jesus (the bridegroom) is not patching an old garment or filling an old wineskin (Mark 2:20-22); He’s making a New Covenant with all men.

Verses 4-5:

“4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” – Matthew 24:4-5

Many men claimed to be Christ, but they could not deceive God’s elect. You will need to study this yourself. The facts of, for example, the Babylonian captivity are painstakingly detailed, and Christian Scholars readily point to the historical records of men. Still, some Christians refuse to examine the first-century history of the events prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24.

Verses 6-8:

“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. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.” – Matthew 24:6-8

Know first that wars and rumors of wars have existed since before the flood. What could Jesus be talking about? Jesus told His disciples that they were not to be troubled by hearsay and rumors because the end is not yet. Still needing to know when, Jesus tells them that these are the “beginning.” (of sorrows.)

You will have to study these verses, perhaps from the material listed below, along with Jewish and Roman historians of that time. Also, the words kingdom and nation should be examined closely in the New Testament. When Jesus mentions kingdoms and nations and earthquakes, He may be looking afar off to other parts of the Roman Empire, but we doubt that He is looking forward in time. This is about the first century as He addresses the men before Him. We’re still between two “this generation” statements, and He shortly (verse 16) brings the discourse back locally to Judea.

Nation and kingdom can also denote local rulers and the tribes of the 12 sons of Jacob.

As to verse 09, Remember first what our Lord told the apostles in Chapter 10:

“21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”  – Matthew 10:21-23 )Verse 23 of Matthew 10 is discussed in Part Three.)

Here is verse 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 24:9

The things described in Matthew 24 are not delivered to casual observers or observers at all. These disciples had their charge; their mission had clearly been stated and taught over three years. None of Matthew 24 is an intellectual exercise. Jesus had already told these men that they would die for Him. They actually need the information imparted here to carry out their training and the orders given by the Son of God. The two questions in verse 3 are no abstraction of a vaguely foreseen future thousands of years off.

Hated by all nations can mean all the tribes of the sons of Jacob, but indeed Christians are hated the world over up to this day. Well, the Christians that carry out the mission of Christ are hated. The fake ones get along just fine.

Verses 11-13:

“11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – Matthew 24:11-13.

Many suppose these verses to be about us today. That may be a proper application for edification so that we are warned against these things. But John says that the spirit of antichrist was already at work in the world (1 John 4:3) after the resurrection. We doubt that these verses point expressly to some far future day. It’s been this way from the very start. Take heed and be warned today, but these verses don’t change the date of the destruction of Jerusalem.

Jesus tells them, “he that shall endure unto the end” So, this is not “when” either.

Some use these verses to show how Christianity is defeated and shrinks back as the Second Advent approaches. But this contradicts the many “Kingdom of Heaven” parables, especially the Mustard Seed and Leaven parables (Matthew 13:31-33, discussed in Part Six). Instead of rightly seeing Matthew 24 and Revelation as the first-century consummation of the Old Covenant order and bringing in the New Covenant with Christ, they see these two prophetic scriptures as the Second Advent Only. Either we win by conquering sin and the world through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, or we deny the power of God unto salvation. The notion that it’s all going to worsen and that Christians should hold on tight to the end is born out of a false understanding and, therefore, false teaching of Matthew 24 and Revelation; now is the Kingdom of God and of His Christ through the power of Gospel.

Verse 14:

The Gospel entered in as a flood and has been rising ever since. Before the destruction of the old religion, the Gospel was preached into all the (Roman Empire) world, spreading the good news unto all men through belief by faith. The Gospel was well established before the destructive event upon the old. In terms of the span of the entire course of human history, this appears to be one event; the Kingdom of God was born. Then the end of everything the apostles knew; history, society, and culture, all of which revolved around the Mosaic Law and the temple; it was all over. Since this Gospel witness is ongoing today, many conclude that this verse also stretches into far history.

“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

Jesus tells them that once they’ve preached in all the world, “then shall the end come.” Then shall be the end of former estate, the Old Testiment, will be completed and with it that entire system of worship is ended. They’ve been trained for this; this is their task; preaching the Gospel to every creature unto the uttermost part of the earth is what disciples do.

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