We’re hearing more and more about “End Time Prophecy.” In studying Matthew chapters 23 and 24 Jesus speaks with his disciples about that will happen during the “End Times”, and how people will know that He has returned. He told them that there would be many Anti-Christ’s that come before he does. We need to know how to recognize we are hearing the real Christ instead of an Anti-Christ. Let’s take a little closer look at what we can learn from these two chapters in Matthew.
In Matthew 23: 5-8 Jesus is telling the his disciples and the crowds in the Temple area that “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them Rabbi. But you are not to be called Rabbi, for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.”
Jesus then gave them seven woes regarding the Scribes and the Pharisees. In summary Jesus said:
“1. Woe to you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the Kingdom of heaven in men’s faces.
2. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel to make converts and then make them twice as worthy of hell as you are.
3. Woe to you, blind guides! You make an oath more binding over silver and gold than, binding on oath by the Temple.
4. Woe to you , teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices, but you have neglected the more important matters of justice, mercy and faithfulness.
5. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
6. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, you look good on the outside but on the inside you are full of dead men’s bones.
7. Woe to you, teachers of the las and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous and testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.”
Now let’s focus on Mathew 24:1-31
What I want you to understand is that these men that Jesus is taking about are the very ones that interpret the Law of God and speak for God to the people. Today we would call these people our Pastors/Teachers/Shepherds of the flock. Jesus is describing them as the Anti-Christs in these two chapters of Matthew that we are currently discussing. Now let’s get into the meat of Jesus’ teaching about the “End Times” and his imminent return.
Jesus had just been speaking about the Scribes [the teachers of the Law of God] & Pharisees [the men who claimed to speak for God to the people] to the people in the Temple Complex. Now, speaking to his disciples as they were walking to the Mount of Olives where he frequently taught them what to do after his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. In verses 1 & 2, Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple:
“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.”
Jesus knew what was coming very soon after His crucifixion. He was speaking to His disciples about what would happen in 70 AD when the Roman armies would totally destroyed the Temple and it still lies in ruins today. The Dome of the Rock is now standing where the Temple once stood. Jesus and his disciples walked through the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives where Jesus began to teach them about the “End of the Age”, that is, the end of time as we know it. The time when we move from this Material World into the Spiritual World where time ceases to exist; we will then be living in eternity in the Kingdom of God with Jesus.
Let’s take a look at what Jesus taught the disciples and by extension, what he still teaches us today through thee Holy Scriptures. In verses 3-14 we read:
“3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 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. 6 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 of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 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. 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.”
Jesus had already spoken to them about His resurrection from the dead. He had spoken to them of His second coming, to bring them into His kingdom for eternity. They were now asking Him when these things would happen. How would they know that the time had come? “What will be the sign of Your coming & the End of the age?” Then Jesus warns them not to be deceived by the many Anti-Christ’s who will come after Him. He said, “You will hear about Wars and rumors of wars”
Just listen to the daily news from anywhere in the world today:
1. Isis is at war with anyone who is not a Muslim
2. Iran is at war with Israel & the United States—“Little Satan & Big Satan”
3. Russia is at war with Ukraine & the other USSR countries that split from them
4. North Korea is at war with South Korea & the USA
5. Africa is at war with Radical Islam
6. China & America are in a Cyber War with every country around the world
Doesn’t this sound like Wars & Rumors of Wars around the world that Jesus told us would be coming before He was crucified? Jesus said that we would see nation rise against nation, famines, pestilence/disease, and earthquakes. There are many natural disasters around the world with more frequency than I have ever seen before.
Jesus warned against lawlessness around the world. Just look at all of the demonstrations & riots that go on in our country today. Remember, Ferguson, Missouri and Washington DC? The police who keep the peace for law abiding citizens have become the enemy if you believe what the media is reporting.
Then Jesus said: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” We have seen Christians taken to court because of their beliefs, we have seen Christians put in jail because of their beliefs and, God & Jesus has been removed from all aspects of our society in the name of “Political Correctness.”
Jesus said that many false prophets would rise up and deceive many. It is sad to say but we see this happening all over our country today, and even in some of our churches. Many churches have become entertainment venues, they are dark places that provide light shows and loud music like you might find in any secular concert. They appear to be secular entertainment instead of places to worship of the King of Kings.
Many people want to be entertained and feel good about the religion they practice. The current programs in many churches make the church [The Body of Christ] look like the world so that they can add numbers to their rolls. We need to be concerned about adding souls in Heaven instead of numbers to the attendance rolls of our churches. I don’t believe that these churches are concerned about convicting people of the need for them to make a lifestyle change so that they will not be an offense to a Holy God. All of this is done in the name of “Political Correctness” lest anyone in the church offend anyone coming into the church on Sunday morning, or perhaps on Easter or Christmas. Jesus said: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
He said that when the gospel is preached to every nation, the end will come. I believe that there is not any nation in our world today that has not been exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Internet goes everywhere in the world today. We even have internet access on the Oceans and in Outer Space. I believe that the time is ripe for Jesus’ return to claim His followers. We need to be ready or we may be left behind to “endure” the Great Tribulation. Let’s see at what Jesus has to say about the “Great Tribulation.” We pick up our teaching in verses 15-28.
“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), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. 23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christ’s and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. [Those who elect to follow Jesus Christ] 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
Daniel 9:27 says: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one seven. In the middle of the seven he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
Daniel 11:31 says: “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.”
Daniel 12:11 says: “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1290 days (3.5 years).”
A peace treaty will be signed with Israel and there will be peace for 3.5 years. But there will be great tribulation and sorrow for the people living at this time. The 3.5 years of tribulations & sorrows will complete the seven year prophecy of Daniel 9:27.
We are told in vs. 16-20 that we should not go back for anything. We should go into hiding because the Tribulation has come after 3.5 years of peace. I believe this speaks to the scriptures that say that Israel and the people of God should hide in the mountains. Christians and Messianic Jews will have to join together in their hiding for support, food and protection until Jesus returns to set up his 1000 year reign.
Vs. 21-22 tells us that this tribulation is worse than any before this time, or any after this time. And if the days were not shortened no one would endure it. But, for the elect’s sake the days will be shortened by God. The “elect” are the people who have accepted Jesus as Savior & Lord. We don’t know how God will shorten the days, but we know that He will.
Jesus also tells His disciples that many will claim to be “The Christ,” but, we should not believe it. He said that His coming will be quick & powerful, like the lightening flash. Many people have been struck by lightning and if you ask the ones who have lived through it, they will tell you it is a powerful experience. They will tell you that it happens so fast that you can’t do anything about it. I believe that Jesus is saying that it will surprise many when He comes again. People won’t be expecting Him. People will be scurrying around wondering what they’re going to do. They will say to Jesus, “Lord, Lord didn’t we do all these things in your name.” (Matthew 7:21-22). Then he will tell them plainly: “I never knew you, away from me you evil doers.” (Matthew 7:23)
Now we move into the section of this scripture when Jesus speaks about His “Second Coming.” Verses 29-31.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Remember this scripture in vs. 29 because it tells you exactly when Jesus will be coming again. It will happen: “Immediately after the Tribulation…” not before. Jesus tells us that many false Messiah’s will come pretending to be Him. Do not be deceived—He won’t come until after the Tribulation. Jesus, told us not to believe it when people say: Here he is, or There he is. That’s why he told us what the sign of His coming would be.
We’re told that the “powers of the heavens will be shaken.”—What does that really mean to us? The Greek word used here for “power” is dunamis this is where we get our word dynamite from. Here we are talking about miraculous powers or miracles occurring on the earth and then “the Son of Man will appear in heaven.”
He then tells us that “all the tribes of the earth will mourn,…” Why will they mourn? I believe that every country, every ethnic group will mourn because: There is no more time for them to accept Jesus as their Savior. They will realize that they have believed a lie; instead of the truth of God’s WORD. It is too late for them to accept Jesus as their Lord & Savior.
We are told that Jesus “will send His angels: [(Greek: angelos) meaning: messengers; or pastors] with a great sound of a trumpet.” [(Greek: sal'-pinx) meaning: a quavering or reverberation or vibration.] These angels; messengers; and/or pastors will “gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
I believe that we should seriously consider this bit of scripture, so that we can be prepared for when Jesus comes again to take us to spend eternity in Heaven with Him, The Father, and our loved ones who have gone before us.
Will you be ready?
Will you recognize the true Jesus?
Will you live in the New Heaven & Earth with Jesus for Eternity?
Time as we know it is running out—Accept Jesus as your Lord & Savior NOW. Make a lifestyle change and obey His teachings. I don’t want you to spend eternity in Hell.