Matthew 24, Part 10

BY PGF
8 months ago

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

As background to this passage in Matthew 24, civil order is falling apart leading up to 70AD. Leader is turning against leader (kingdom) and tribe against tribe (nation). The century-long, openly cozy arrangement between the Sanhedrin civil leadership in Jerusalem and the Caesars of Rome is on shaky ground because Jewish infighting has begun. Many on the ruling council believed on Jesus, and many did not (brother against brother).

The relationship has to fall apart as the Jews rebel against Rome because the Lord of Hosts is bringing judgment. Keep in mind; God needs an army to effect His wrath. That army is Roman; they are the world power at that time; this fits the prophetic judgment practice throughout Scripture. “Great tribulation” was coming. This also fits with the historical accounts and the hyperbolic language patterns of Scripture. Do your research.

One could make the case to point out; “this generation” had violated most every one of the commandments God gave in Deuteronomy 27:14-26 and thereby brought these curses upon themselves.

Matthew 24, verses 15 and 16:

Verse 15 refers to Romans, who are not Levitical Priests but unclean (abominable), being in the holiest of holies in the Temple. Many surmise this to be perhaps a Roman general. There is no person “The Antichrist,” so it’s not that.

“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:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” – Matthew 24:15-16

This is the signal event. Now the disciples know the answer to “when.” When the disciples see Roman soldiers in the Temple, this is the sign; it’s time to flee Judea into the mountains.

Verses 17-22 are the “Great Tribulation” verses in Matthew 24. Let’s look at the parallel “Great Tribulation” verses from Luke 21:

“20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” – Luke 21:20-24

Luke 21, verse 23 declares: “wrath upon this people.” Yes, upon that generation. This passage seems pretty plain to understand. When Roman armies begin to surround Jerusalem, this, again, is the signal event. When the disciples saw troops in the religious, cultural, social, and civil center (Temple) and beginning to surround the city with men and equipment, it was time to go. Jesus is making a very practical point. Jesus mentions Jerusalem and Judea specifically. The capital was, in fact, laid siege by the Romans within that generation. All these things came to pass just as Jesus prophesied them to occur.

Verses 23-27:

“23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 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. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 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. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” – Matthew 24:23-27

These verses should also be read in conjunction with Luke 17:22-37. The parallel passage to Matthew 24 is in Luke 21. But, “I have told before” (about the false Christs that will arise) in verse 25 would indicate that Jesus has already told His disciples not to be deceived by these soon-coming events. He is reminding them. That section of Luke 17 doesn’t appear to be out of place when understood in this context.

Many false men would appear and try to lead the elect away into believing that they were the returning Christ. We show verse 27 with verses 23-26 to point out that the events spoken of by Jesus Christ were of coming in great power and glory, with terrible tribulations to behold as He implemented judgment on that generation. He would not be the teaching meek Galilean again but as the Lord of Hosts coming on clouds of power (Matthew 24:30) unmistakable in His glory.

Verse 27 is a wonderful view of apocalyptic language. The coming of Christ was unmistakable, with great power and years of tribulations, as the eyewitnesses to these events tell it. There was no “light pollution” from cities back then. When lightning cracked the sky from horizon to horizon, God’s fantastic display of power was something incredible to behold. So too was the coming of the Son of man. (Luke 17:24)

Verse 28:

“For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” – Matthew 24:28

This verse references the banner of the Roman legions (Luke 17:37). The “world” at that time, especially Israel, was under military occupation by the Romans. The Roman soldiers would carry a banner with an eagle depicted on it. Everyone would have known precisely what Christ meant when he said: “there will the eagles be gathered together.”

Everyone hated to see the Roman bands of soldiers marching into their district. It meant nothing good was about to happen. The plain meaning of Matthew 23 and 24 is that judgment was at hand, and it would be the Roman armies used by the Lord of Hosts to destroy the Temple. This would fulfill the Old Testament ending the prior religious system of animal sacrifices. Jesus Christ, the only true spotless Lamb of God, was soon to be the final sacrifice once for all, and then the Gospel would be preached throughout the empire. Then the end would come in 70AD, and with the Temple, all of Jerusalem would soon be destroyed, and Judea and greater Israel with it. The law and prophets (OT) were being fulfilled in Christ.

Interestingly, in Jeremiah 19:7-8, though probably not related, we see similar prophetic language. There are other sections of Scripture, too, where the wicked are left to be torn by wild animals as they are eaten. That Jesus brings this prophetic language to a practical level about the Roman armies destroying Jerusalem is proof that He is God. The men He’s talking with are Jews. They would understand the references and know that it was the banner of the Roman legions to which He referred.

Verses 29-31 are hyperbolic language typical of an Apocalypse (Revelation of God). It fills one with awe and wonder at the things of God. Christ would soon ascend to have all power over heaven and to rule events on earth. Being seated at the right hand of Power, His authority was on display as He drove the armies of destruction to His purposes in the first century. Read Hebrews 12:24-29. Jesus is not only shaking the sons of men but the sons of God in earth and in heaven. Everything is changing; nothing of the old is to be left.

Verse 34 is the last “this generation” statement in the discourse. Based on the last question (Matthew 24:3): “…and (what shall be the sign) of the end of the world?” We must decide if the topic shifts away from what would affect those disciples and that generation to “the end.” Most think that the subject changes to a much distant future second physical coming at “the end of the world.” They say that Jesus is answering the second half of the second question about the end.

At any rate, be ready. If it is “the end,” consider studying this section in conjunction with Second Peter, who also, under the power of the Holy Spirit, likens the end to the days before the flood, as does Jesus here. But God’s covenant promise in Genesis 9 will not be broken, so the end of the world comes by fire the second time. There are those also who see  Matthew 24 in a double sense, both as the destruction of Jerusalem and as a foreshadowing of events in the second coming. And, of course, some refuse to acknowledge what is plainly meant by Jesus in connection with the events that did take place in that generation.

I have my doubts that the topic shifts away from the first century after the final “this generation” statement. The end of the world, a consummation of the age, was upon them. The Jewish worship system and the Jewish estate were ending with it. Christianity was born and changed the whole world (the Roman Empire) as they knew it. These birth pains were all part of the inception of the New Covenant, a better covenant with all men that by the grace of God, salvation had come to the Jew first and also to the Gentile, extending to the heathen in the uttermost parts of the earth and by these means; the church of the holy and almighty living God was birthed as Christ ended the age. The Gospel entered in as a flood and has been rising ever since, giving God’s own Son a new bride.

Matthew 24 is the end of the age; Anno Domini, the year of the Lord, has arrived.

The weak and beggarly attitude of those who profess Christ but deny His power to conquer every aspect of society as God puts all enemies under the feet of Jesus is destroying the church and civilization with it. If only they could understand the power that lives in them to bring in His kingdom. God, open their blinded eyes!

It’s not precisely known when the end of the world will be. When He returns, I want to be found tending to His vineyard, hand to the plow, bearing fruit in serving my Master.

————–

We don’t necessarily agree with everything in these resources. They may help.

https://www.kennethgentry.com/olivet-discourse-made-easy-book-by-gentry/

https://libertyfellowshipmt.com/Store.aspx#!/The-Destruction-Of-Jerusalem-DVD-By-Pastor-Chuck-Baldwin-PASTOR-BALDWINS-MOST-REQUESTED-MESSAGE/p/147743354/category=15986016

https://www.amazon.com/Destruction-Jerusalem-Absolute-Irresistible-Christianity/dp/0967831725


Comments

  1. On March 31, 2022 at 9:40 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Thank you much for this very special series and the hard work you’ve put into this PGF.

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