Matthew Chapter 24
Jesus Foretells the Future:
(Read Matthew 24:1-31)
In chapter 24 and 25 we have Jesus’ last discourse known as the Olivet Discourse. This message includes the prediction of the fall of Jerusalem and signs of the end time. Jesus left the Temple and went to the mount of Olivet. His disciples came to him and asked Jesus three questions. “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age”. The entire discourse is the answer to these three questions. The key to interpreting this passage rests on ones’ view of the gospel and the church. The signs of the end time are general characteristics of the present age. These are followed by more specific signs of the Tribulation period and the return of Christ (Matthew 24:13-26). Jesus warns that believers should not be led astray by false prophets. Many will come in Christ’s name. The religious deception will go from bad to worse (Matthew 24:4-5). There will be war and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6-7). Natural disasters will be intensified. The believers will face severe persecution (Matthew 24:9-13). Because of the increase of sin, the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). The gospel will be preached throughout the whole world (Matthew 24:14). It will be a time of great horror. But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come. Unless the time is shortened the entire human race will be destroyed. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s elect. The false Christ and prophets will perform miracles and try to deceive even the elect. Though believers suffer, there is no need to fear because God is our source of strength. Their suffering cannot be compared to the glory that will soon be revealed (Romans 8:18). Then Christ will return to establish His Millennial Kingdom on earth. Many Scholars believe that first, Christ will come in the cloud for the church, then he returns with the church to judge the world (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:8).
Signs of the coming of the Son of Man:
(Read Matthew 24:32-51)
This passage gives the importance of being ready for the coming of Christ. His return will be marked by the signs of great power and glory. These signs will be intensified and become frequent before Christ's return. He will send his angels to gather the elect from the ends of the earth. The fig tree is symbolic of the nation of Israel. When its branches become tender and puts out its leaves, the summer is near. Some view the fig tree as Israel's budding in the last days as a nation. Prior to the return of Christ, sin will grow worse. The last days began with the church and continue today. Do not speculate the day of Christ’s return because only the Father knows it (Acts 1:7). But it will be like the days of Noah. Before the flood, people become casual and indifferent toward the coming judgment. Some would be taken, and others will be left out for judgment. Some scholars consider this as rapture of the church. This section ends with a warning. “Therefore, be prepared, because you don’t know what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). The Parable of two servants shows how serious their responsibility is. They must be always ready because Christ can return at any time. Blessed is the servant who will be found alert and serving the master faithfully. The wicked servant will be judged and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Those who are faithful and watchful will never regret about the hardship they endure and staying ready for the Master's return. Christians should wait eagerly for the return of Christ.