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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The apostles ask Jesus three questions; He answers two about the sign of the end of the age and the sign of His Coming. This is also recorded in Mark 13 and Luke 21. Matthew 24 and Matthew 25 is known as the Olivet Discourse, and makes up the last of three major discourses in Matthew’s Gospel. They are called major discourses because of the extent, content and intent of them.
Jesus Predicts The Destruction Of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:1-3)
Our Lord had denounced the religious rulers; He then turned His back on Jerusalem and told them that their house (Temple) would be left desolate (barren, deserted).
Matthew 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. (KJV)
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple . . . He was going to the Mount of Olives. The Temple had surrounding courts, porches, and other edifices (Mat.21:12).
He not only went out of it for that time, but took His final leave of it, never to return again to it; having foretold its desolation, which He, in part, by so doing, immediately fulfilled. This the apostles observed, and being intent on the outward splendor, and worldly grandeur of it, were concerned that so beautiful a structure should be deserted; and almost thought it impossible, that so strong, and firm a building could be destroyed. And his disciples came unto him . . . Mark says that the apostles pointed out the stones of the temple, as well as the buildings. "In that temple," says Josephus, the Jewish historian, "were several stones which were forty-five cubits in length, five in height, and sixth in breadth;" that is, more than seventy feet long, ten wide, and eight high. These huge stones, were mainly used in building the high wall on the east side, from the base to the top of the mountain. It is also said that they were beautifully painted with variegated colors.
For to show him the buildings of the temple . . . as He went, and as soon as He was away from the temple, but still in view of it. Whether this was done by them to in hopes He might change the sentence He had passed upon it, is not known; or whether this did not express their astonishment about the desolation of it; which Christ's answer, in the next verse, seems to imply. These were very likely the same stones the apostles pointed to, and admired. It is said that Titus was astonished at the size of those stones, and the beauty of the work, when he destroyed the temple; at which time his soldiers plundered it, and took away "the gifts", with which it is also said to be adorned. These were rich and valuable things which were dedicated to it, and either laid up in it, or hung upon the walls and pillars of it, as it was usual in other temples.
Matthew 24:2 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. (KJV)
And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? . . . “these great buildings", as in Mark; all these goodly stones, so beautiful and large, and so firmly put together: Verily, I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down . . . or broken, which prediction had a full and remarkable completion; and which is not only attested by Josephus, who relates, that both the city and Temple were dug up, and laid level with the ground; but also by other Jewish writers; who tell us that on the ninth of Ab, a day prepared for punishments, Turnus Rufus the wicked, "ploughed up the temple", and all round about it, to fulfil what is said, "Zion shall be ploughed as a field" . . . and to fulfill what Christ Jesus says here as well . . . “there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
Matthew 24:3 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? (KJV)
And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives . . . this mountain was east of the city of Jerusalem, "over against the temple", as Mark says, and where He could sit and have a full view of it; for the wall on the east side was lower than the others.
The disciples came to him privately . . . at least four of them: Peter, James, John and Andrew, according to Mark.
Saying, tell us, when shall these things be? . . . when would this house will be left desolate, when would these buildings be destroyed, and not one stone left upon another? This first question relates purely to the destruction of the temple, and to this Christ answers (Mat.24:4-23).
And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? . . . these two questions are put together, as what they thought would be at the same time, and immediately follow the destruction of the Temple. That He was come in the flesh, and was the TRUE Messiah, they firmly believed. He was with them, and they expected He would continue with them, for they had no idea of His leaving them, and Coming again. Any time that He spoke of His dying and rising from the dead, they could not comprehend it. They just did not understand it . . . so this Coming of His, the sign of which, they ask, is not to be understood of His Coming a second time to judge the world, at the last day; but of His Coming in His Kingdom and glory.
The first question, "When shall these things be?" . . . when one stone shall not be left upon another . . . is not answered in the Gospel of Matthew. We find it in the Gospel of Luke, and we some of it in the Gospel of Mark. Why is it not in Matthew's Gospel? Because Matthew is the Gospel of the Kingdom; it presents the King. The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 has something to do with this age in which we live, but it has nothing to do with the distant future when the King is coming, so Matthew does not carry that part of the Olivet Discourse.
Let's look at our Lord's answer to the first question, as recorded in Luke's Gospel: "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 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. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 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. 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" (Lk.21:20-24).
Without a doubt, many of those who heard the Lord Jesus say these things were present in A.D. 70 when the Roman armies surrounded the city, laid siege to it, cut it off from the rest of the world, then finally breached the wall and got in. What the Romans did was horrifying. They literally demolished the city. It was the worst destruction in its history, more devastating than that carried out by Nebuchadnezzar over six centuries earlier. When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the first part of the Olivet Discourse was fulfilled.
The next two questions asked by the disciples were these: "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]?"
The Lord is going to answer the disciples' questions in their chronological and logical order. He will answer their last question first and their second question last. The first thing the Lord deals with is the sign of the end of the world, or more accurately, the end of the age. The world will never come to an end. The old world will pass away and a new Earth will be brought on the scene. New Heaven, new Earth: (Isa.65:17; 66:22; Pet.3:13; Rev.21:1). It will be like trading in your old car for a new one. You have a car because you traded your old one in and got a new one. And the Lord is going to trade the old world in for a new one. The world will never come to an end. But it will come to the end of an age, and that is the word the disciples are using in their question to the Lord Jesus.
In this Olivet Discourse, when Christ speaks of His Coming, He is referring to His Return to the Earth to establish His Kingdom. The church is NOT in the picture at all. In fact, by the end of the age, the TRUE church will have been removed (1 Thes.4:13-18), and it will be the last days of the nation Israel. Jesus is speaking about the Great Tribulation period and He so labels it in this discourse (verses 21 and 29).
Jesus Traces The Characteristics Of This Age (Matthew 24:4-8)
Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (KJV)
And Jesus answered and said unto them . . . not to coddle their curiosity, but to instruct them in things useful that they should know, and which also might be warnings to them and others, against deceivers; confirm them in the faith of Himself, when they would see His predictions fulfilled; and to direct them in what might shortly come about.
Take heed that no man deceive you . . . the Lord Jesus warns us time and again, NOT to be deceived, as well as several other New Testament Passages. Do NOT be deceived: (Mat.24:4; Mk.13:5-6,22; Lk.21:8; 2 Cor.11:13-15; Eph.4:14; 5:6; Col.2:8,18; 2 Thes.2:3; 2 Pet.2:1-3; 1 Jn.4:1). Many deceivers today pretend to have words coming from God. BEWARE! Christ knew His apostles were in danger of being ensnared by these monsters; and so He gives them this suitable and reasonable advice, and warning. This goes for us as well.
Matthew 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (KJV)
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many . . . I think on that day, the Lord looked down from the Mount of Olives, and looked down to the end of the age . . . to the Great Tribulation period. Near the end of the age many deceivers will claim to be Christ. We have them with us now, for there are many antichrists, but as we get closer to the end of the age, this shall increase. In the end, there shall come the foretold Antichrist who will oppose Christ and set himself up as the only authority (Dan.7:20-26; 2 Thes.2:3).
This is the first sign, before the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem. Since there was a common expectation among the Jews of a Coming Messiah . . . One they thought would arise and set them free from the Roman yoke.
Matthew 24:6 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. (KJV)
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled . . . wars and rumors of wars are not the sign that we have reached the end of the age. I think that the Lord is building a bridge, from where the apostles are to the end of the age. It is easy to think that major wars pinpoint the fact that we are at the end of the age. They are not! There have been many major wars in the past few thousand years and only about two hundred years of peace. We have come a long way from World War II, and the end of the age still has not come. We shall hear about wars and rumors of wars, but we should not be troubled because all these things must come to pass. Man will never solve the problem of war. The League of Nations could not solve this problem, and the United Nations will not be able to solve it either. There will be NO peace until the Prince of Peace comes.
This is the second sign of the destruction of Jerusalem: it is clear that this, and some of the following signs, are given by the Jews, as signs of the Messiah's Coming; while they were forerunners of their own ruin . . . for they rejected Him who had already come.
For all these things must come to pass . . . these wars and the reports of them and the panic because of them; the commotions and slaughters, the terrible devastations by the sword must be. They are determined by God, predicted by Christ, and brought upon the Jews by their own wickedness; and suffered in righteous judgment, for their sin.
But the end is not yet . . . the end of the Jewish economy; the destruction of Jerusalem, meaning not the end of the world, but the end of Jerusalem and the Temple. The Jewish state, which was to continue, and did continue after these disturbances in it.
Matthew 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (KJV)
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom . . . this seems to be a distinct and third sign, a forewarning of the general misfortune of the Jews; that there should be not only seditions and intestine wars, in the midst of their country, but there would be wars in other nations, one with another; and with the Jews, and the Jews with them: and this also is made a sign of the Messiah's Coming by them. Even now, we are still seeing this. The Lord’s prophecy is true.
And there shall be famines . . . a fourth sign of the desolation of the city and Temple, and which the Jews also say, shall go before the Coming of the Messiah: there will be "arrows of famine"; "a great famine" . . . "men, women, and children, and holy men, and men of business, shall die.'' One of these famines was in Claudius Caesar's time, and was foretold by Agabus, and is mentioned in Acts 11:28-29, a most dreadful one, while Jerusalem was besieged, and before its utter ruin, stated by Josephus. Any time there is war, famine will follow. It was so severe in Jerusalem, Josephus says, that many people perished for want of food, Ant. 20, 2. Four times in the reign of Claudius, (AD 41-54,) famine prevailed in Rome, Palestine, and Greece.
And pestilences . . . disease commonly follows famines, and are therefore mentioned together. When famine comes, pestilences shall come sooner or later. Pestilences = raging, epidemic diseases. Plagues remove multitudes of people at once. Diseases usually follow famines, and are often produced by it. A pestilence is recorded as raging in Babylonia, AD 40, (Joseph. Ant. 18, 9, 8) in Italy, AD 66, (Tacitus, 16, 13.) Both of these took place before the destruction of Jerusalem.
And earthquakes in divers places . . . in prophetic language, earthquakes sometimes mean political commotions. Literally, they are tremors or shakings of the Earth, and often shake cities and towns to ruin. The Earth opens, and houses and people sink erratically to destruction. Many of these are mentioned as preceding the destruction of Jerusalem. Josephus, who had probably never heard of this prophecy, and who certainly would have done nothing to show its fulfillment, records the phenomenon and signs which he says preceded the destruction of the city. He says a star resembling a sword, stood over the city, and a comet that continued a whole year. At the feast of unleavened bread, during the night, a bright light shone round the altar and the temple, so that it seemed to be bright day, for half an hour. The eastern gate of the temple, of solid brass, fastened with strong bolts and bars, and which had been shut with difficulty by twenty men, opened in the night of its own accord. A few days after that feast, he says, "before sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities." A great noise, as of the sound of a multitude, was heard in the temple, saying, "let us remove hence." Four years before the war began, the son of Artanus, a plebeian and a husbandman, came to the feast of the tabernacles, when the city was in peace and prosperity, and began to cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegroom and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!" He was scourged, and at every stroke of the whip he cried, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" This cry he says, was continued every day for more than seven years, until he was killed in the siege of the city, exclaiming, "Woe, woe to myself also."-Jewish Wars, B. vi. ch. v.
Matthew 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. (KJV)
All these are the beginning of sorrows . . . all the things mentioned were only a prelude unto more sorrows, and forerunners of them. They were only some foretastes of what would be, and were far from being the worst that would come. These were very light, in comparison of what befell the Jews, in their dreadful destruction. The word here used, signifies the sorrows and pains of a woman in travail.
But alas there was no other way of escaping them, but by faith in the TRUE Messiah, Jesus; and it was for their disbelief and rejection of Him, that these came upon them. These are characteristics of the entire age and are therefore not signs of the end of the age, "but the end is not yet" (verse 6). False Christs, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes characterize the entire church age, but it seems they all shall be intensified as we draw near to the end of the age. People are starving to death by the thousands, and this situation is going to increase. The black horse of famine (Rev.6:5-6), has not appeared yet, but at the end of the age the black horse and its rider will come forth. What we see today is just the beginning of sorrows.
The next verse begins with our first time word:
The Beginning Of The Tribulation With Its Signs (Matthew 24:9-14)
Matthew 24:9 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. (KJV)
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted . . . WHO is the you? Clearly, He is NOT speaking to the church but to the nation Israel. The affliction Jesus is talking about is anti-Semitism on a worldwide scale. As long as the TRUE church is in the world, it is my opinion that there cannot be worldwide anti-Semitism because TRUE believers would resist it. No TRUE believer in the Lord Jesus Christ could ever hate the Jews . . . that is impossible! I really think that the liberal wing of the church is presenting a false front to the Jews and that in the end, it will turn against them. But as long as the TRUE church is in the world, there will NOT be worldwide anti-Semitism. I believe that shall occur AFTER the TRUE church has been removed at the Rapture (1 Thes.4:13-18).
The Lord Jesus proceeds to explain to His apostles, what shall take place in this interval . . . it opposes their expectations, for they were looking for a temporal kingdom, and worldly grandeur . . . BUT He tells them instead, of afflictions, persecutions and death that would occur in these times, when this variety of signs would appear. The Jews continuing in their stubbornness and unbelief, would deliver them up to the civil magistrates to be scourged and imprisoned; either to their own Sanhedrim, as were Peter and John; or to the Roman governors, Gallio, Festus, and Felix, as was the Apostle Paul.
And shall kill you . . . as were the two James', Peter, Paul, and even all the apostles who suffered martyrdom, and that before the destruction of Jerusalem, all the apostles with the exception of John. To my meager knowledge, John is the only one not killed by them, although he truly suffered much persecution.
And ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake . . . as the apostles and first Christians were, by both the Jews and the Gentiles; the Gentiles being stirred up against them by the Jews . . . WHY . . . one big reason: they professed and preached in the Name of Christ . . . the Book of Acts reveal this.
Matthew 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (KJV)
And then shall many be offended . . . WHO are the many? Those who had heard the
apostles, those who had professed the Christian religion; those who had been highly pleased with it at first, and were tough advocates for it . . . while things were quiet and easy . . . BUT . . . when they saw that some of the apostles had been beaten and imprisoned, and others put to death, and others forced to flee from place to place to endure persecutions and affliction because of Christ and His Gospel . . . they feared they might befall the same, and were greatly discouraged. The closer they got to the foot of the cross, the more they stumbled at His cross, and their faith turned into fear as they turned away.
And shall betray one another . . . this means the apostates, who would fall away from the Christian religion . . . these would prove treacherous to TRUE believers, and give their names to the persecutors, or tell where they were, that they might be taken.
And shall hate one another . . . this does NOT mean that TRUE Christians would hate these false brethren, neither would they would betray them . . . for they are taught to love all men, even their enemies (Mat.5:44). This means that these apostates would hate the TRUE Christians, even though they were in a close association with them. Those who turn their backs on Christ and His Gospel, prove to be the most bitter enemies, and most violent persecutors of its preachers and followers.
Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (KJV)
And many false prophets shall rise . . . from among the churches of Christ. I think that false teachers are meant here, men with heretical values, pretending to have a spirit of prophecy, and to have a better understanding of the Scriptures; such as Simon Magus, Ebion, and Cerinthus, who denied the proper deity, and real humanity of Christ; Carpocrates and the Gnostics his followers, the Nicolaitans, Hymcneus, Philetus, and others. These are here with us today!
And shall deceive many . . . many of these false teachers had a large numbers of followers, whose faith was undermined by them . . . just like today . . . and who followed their pernicious ways (2 Pet.2:2). Many were seduced by their deceitful words, false pretences, and immoral practices.
Paul warns Timothy against similar characters (1 Tim.1:3-7,19-20; 2 Tim.3:8-9), and to Titus he writes, "There are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision; whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not for filthy lucre's sake." Tit.1:10-11). Also, the testimony of Peter and Jude is also very clear on the same point, for they speak in words of frightening earnestness concerning bad characters infesting the churches, "wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." (Jude 1:11-13; 2 Pet.2).
Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (KJV)
And because iniquity shall abound . . . the malice and wickedness of these outrageous persecutors, would greatly increase; the treachery and hatred of the apostates; the errors and heresies of false teachers; the wickedness that prevailed in the lives and conversations of some that were called Christians . . . it seems that all these are hinted at in this context, as making up the abounding iniquity spoken of here.
The love of many shall wax cold . . . this would be the case of many, but NOT of all . . . for in the midst of this abounding iniquity, there were some whose love to Christ, to His Gospel, and to the saints, did not decrease . . . BUT there were many (Mat.7:13), whose enthusiasm for Christ, was greatly dampened, because of the violence of persecution, and through the deceit of false brethren, they withdrew from the saints, for they knew not who to trust. Through the damnable heresies (2 Pet.2:1) of the false teachers, a form of godliness (2 Tim.3:5), and the vital heat of religion, many were almost lost; and because of a love of the world, and of carnal pleasure, love to the saints had grown very cold. This does not say their love shall be lost, but wax cold.
Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (KJV)
But he that shall endure to the end . . . there are millions who make a profession of faith and trust in Christ, despite the violent persecutions of wicked men; and in the pure and incorrupt doctrines of the Gospel. While many are deceived by the false teachers that shall arise; there shall be some who stick it out (Mat.7:14).
The same shall be saved . . . WHO is it who endures to the end? The Book of Revelation tells us that God will stop all the forces of nature and of evil while He seals a certain number of folk (Rev.7). So WHO is going to endure to the end? Those whom He seals! The Good Shepherd . . . in all ages . . . will bring His sheep through to the end. When He starts with a hundred sheep, He will come through with a hundred sheep.
What about someone who was very active in the church and has backslidden into sin. Is he/she saved? I do not know, only Almighty God knows. We will have to wait to see what happens on Judgment Day! Think about it this way: pigs will always in the end, wind up in the pigpen, and the prodigal sons will all find their way back to the Father's house. It is baffling to find a son in a pigpen and a pig in the Father's house. 2 Peter 2:22 . . . . . . and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (KJV) . . . It is my opinion that there are many well washed sows (pigs) that are in the churches today . . . and too, that there are some sons (sheep) that are knee deep in a horrible sloppy pigpen somewhere. No matter how much a pig may scrub, in the end, he would never be able to stay in the Father's House. Sooner or later he would go back to the pigpen where he belonged. It is the same with the “son” . . . he might backslide, fall back into a sloppy, filthy pig pen, but he/she would NOT stay there! He would eventually go back to his Fathers house. "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Sometimes a son, a Christian, will get into a pigpen, but since he is a son, he will get out someday. WHY? Because he has a wonderful Shepherd. "The same shall be saved." I absolutely believe in “OSAS” . . . once saved, always saved . . . I do not mean all these people who PROFESS to be “Christians” . . . but do not POSSESS Christ in their heart. These are deceivers, false prophets, hypocrites. But, anyone who sincerely has believed God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and accepted God’s only begotten Son as their Saviour and Lord (Jn.3:16), is saved. You cannot be sure, neither can I . . . BUT God knows these people, these “sons” and these are the ones who shall endure to the end.
Matthew 24:14 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. (KJV)
And this Gospel of the kingdom . . . the Gospel of the Kingdom is what John the Baptist preached . . . "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mat.3:2). And the Lord Jesus began His ministry with that same message . . . "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mat.4:17). He also sent His apostles out with that message (Mat.10). But in Matthew 11:28, the Lord's message changed to "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And in Matthew 20:28, He said that He had come to give His life a ransom for many. But during the Tribulation period the Gospel of the Kingdom will again be preached. I do not think it is for us today, because we are to preach the Gospel of the grace of God. Is the Gospel of the Kingdom another gospel? (Gal.1:6-7). No, it is not. It is the same Gospel with a different emphasis. We have no right to say that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand because we do NOT know. But when the Great Tribulation period begins, the people then will know that they are very close to the end, even though they will not know the day nor the hour. Therefore, the message will be, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," which Christ Himself preached, and which He sent His apostles to preach, in all the cities of Judah; by which means men were brought into the kingdom of the Messiah, or Gospel dispensation; and pointed out the saints' fitness for the Kingdom of Heaven, and their right unto it.
Shall be preached in all the world . . .
not only in Judea, where it was now confined, and that by the express orders of Christ Himself; but in all the nations of the world, for which the apostles had their commission enlarged, after our Lord's resurrection; when they were bid to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature (Acts 1:8); and when the Jews stubbornly refused the Gospel from them, they turned to the Gentiles. Before the destruction of Jerusalem, it was preached to all the nations under the heavens; and churches were planted in most places, through the ministry of it.
For a witness unto all nations . . .
meaning either for a witness against all who should reject it; or as a testimony of Christ and salvation, unto all who would believe in Him.
And then shall the end come . . .
not the end of the world, as the versions read, and others understand it; but the end of the Jewish state, the end of the city and Temple. The universal preaching of the Gospel all over the world was the last sign, of the destruction of Jerusalem.
Do you believe that there is more than one way of salvation? More than one Way to Heaven? If you do, you are wrong according to the Bible. God has always had just one Way to become His child, and one Way to go where He is. And that is JESUS, His only begotten Son.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (KJV)
Acts 4:10-12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (KJV) . . . Neither is there salvation in any other! NO other Way, except JESUS!
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV) . . . I pray that you NEVER belittle God’s Son, Jesus, and NEVER reject Him!
There is ONLY ONE WAY that God saves people . . . and that is the Cross of Christ. Unless you go to the foot of the cross of Jesus, in sheer humility, and accept His Offering that He made for you, you are NOT saved! Every offering before Christ went to the cross and died for you and me, looked forward to the cross of Christ, and every remembrance since He has come, looks back to the cross of Christ.
John the Baptist not only said, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mat.3:2), but he also said, "... Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (Jn.1:29). John identified JESUS as the Offering made in OUR place! Before the Christ came, everyone who had come to God on HIS terms was saved on credit. They were forgiven on the basis of the death of Christ on the cross. In the Old Testament God NEVER saved anyone by the Law. At the heart of the Mosaic system was the sacrificial system. They brought a lamb to God because the Law revealed that they were lawbreakers, that they were not obeying God, and that they needed to have a substitute to pay the penalty of their sins. The Law was given "... that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Rom.3:19). My friend, you and I break God’s Law every day! We are sinners desperately needing a Saviour. We must believe God (1 Jn.5:10-13), accept what Jesus did on the cross for us, and receive Him as our Saviour before He comes as the Sovereign of this universe when He will be your Judge.
The Great Tribulation With Its Trouble And Sorrows (Matthew 24:15-22)
Now Jesus gives the sign that will identify this period of time.
Matthew 24:15 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:) (KJV)
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet . . . WHAT is the abomination of desolation? Daniel speaks about two of them. One of them was Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian, who came down and destroyed Jerusalem (Dan.11:31). History does bear out the fact that Antiochus Epiphanes came against Jerusalem in 170 B.C., at which time over one hundred thousand Jews were slain. He took away the daily sacrifice from the Temple, offered the blood and broth of a pig upon the altar, and set up an image of Jupiter to be worshiped in the holy place. But I think that the Lord is referring to the second abomination of desolation to which Daniel speaks. Daniel 12:11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. (KJV) . . . I think that it will be an image of Antichrist which will be set up in the temple (Rev.11:2,7; 12:6; 13:5,7,14-15). During the Tribulation the Temple will be rebuilt and the nation of Israel will be back in Palestine. Clearly, the Lord is speaking of the Temple, NOT the church, because the church has NO holy place. But I am not 100% certain that this is the abomination of desolation to which the Lord refers in the this Passage, this is just my guess. The people in the last days will be looking for it because it will be the sign to prove that they are in the Great Tribulation period. Instead of our looking for Antichrist and his horrible abominations, we instead should be: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Tit.2:13).
Spoken of by Daniel the prophet . . . not in Daniel 11:31, but either in Daniel 12:11 or 9:27. This desolating abomination would follow the cutting off of the Messiah, and the ceasing of the daily sacrifice according to Daniel. Many Jews deny Daniel to be a prophet, although here, Jesus, the Great Prophet (Deut.18:15), confirms that he indeed was a prophet. Therefore, Daniel, under a spirit of prophecy, spoke of what would be seen.
Standing in the holy place . . . the holy place is in the Temple (Ex.26:33-34). Whatever this abomination of desolation is, it shall be set up in the holy place.
Whoso readeth, let him understand . . . there are some churches that do not teach or preach from the Old Testament. How sad! Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (KJV)
Three Reasons for Studying the Old Testament:
1. To compare ideas (Rom.10:6-8).
2. To show matching cases (Rom.2:24; 8:36; 9:27-29; 11:2-10; 15:21).
3. To clarify a doctrinal point (Rom.1:17; 4:6-8,18-21; 9:20-21; 10:15; 15:3).
Whoever reads the prophecy of Daniel; will understand the meaning of it, with the Holy Spirit’s help . . . and will see and know for certain, that now it is accomplished; and will consider how to escape the desolating judgment, unless he is given up to a judicial blindness and hardness of heart; which was the case of the greater part of the Jews. My friends, let us pray for them, that they see the Truth.
Matthew 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: (KJV)
Then let them which be in Judea . . . this has to do with people who are in Judea. Our Lord is giving that prophecy to those people, not to us. When this sign takes place, let them that are in the city of Jerusalem, depart out of it. Those who are in any other parts of Judea, in any of the towns or cities . . . let them not go to Jerusalem, thinking they may be safe there, in so strong and fortified a place, but let them flee elsewhere (Lk.2:21), It is observed, that many did flee about this time; and it is remarked by several interpreters, and which Josephus takes notice of with surprise, that Cestius Gallus having advanced with his army to Jerusalem, and besieged it, on a sudden, without any cause, raised the siege, and withdrew his army, when the city might have been easily taken; by which means a signal was made; and an opportunity given to the Christians, to make their escape: which they accordingly did, and went over Jordan, as Eusebius says, to a place called Pella; so that when Titus came a few mouths after, there was not a Christian in the city, but they had fled as they are here bidden to . . .
Flee into the mountains . . . or any places of shelter and refuge. Destruction would not only visit the city, but would extend to the surrounding part of Judea. The mountains . . . in the mountains of Palestine, caves abound, a safe retreat for those pursued. All through the ages these caves were the favorite places of robbers; and were also resorted to by those in danger. In the mountains they would be safe. Caves: (Gen.19:30; 23:9,19; 25:9; 49:30; 50:13; Josh.10:16-18,22-23,27; Judg.6:2; 1 Sam.13:6; 22:1; 24:3; 2 Sam.23:13; 1 K.19:9; 1 Chron.11:15; Isa.2:19; Eze.33:27; Jn.11:38; Heb.11:38; Rev.6:16)
Matthew 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: (KJV)
Let him which is on the housetop . . . housetops in Palestine are like our porch or patio. Remember that the Lord is speaking to the people in Palestine, not to you and me. Housetops were for both pleasure and for private meditation and prayer (Acts 10:9), for social conversation, and sometimes for public preaching (Mat.10:27). The warning here does not apply to us; for we do not spend our time on our housetops!
Not come down to take anything out of his house . . . I think this means that he who is on the housetop when this calamity came upon the city, should flee without delay . . . he should not even take time to take any clothing from his house, because so sudden would be the calamity, that any delay would endanger his life.
Matthew 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. (KJV)
Neither let him which is in the field return back to take clothes . . . this refers to people working in the fields. If a worker left his jacket at the end of the row when it got hot, and the word comes that the abomination of desolation has appeared, he is not to go back and get it, but to flee as quickly as possible.
Matthew 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! (KJV)
And woe unto them that are with child . . . not that it would be a crime for them to be with child, or a judgment on them; for it was always counted a blessing to be fruitful, and bear children. This expresses the miserable circumstances these would be in, who, by reason of their heavy burdens, would not be able to go as quickly. This reveals the Lord’s great care and concern for mothers and little children. It will be a time when one should not have children.
And to them that give suck in those days . . . the mother’s love will not allow them to leave them the children behind, but in their weakness, the children will be a great hindrances to their speedy flight. So that the case of these mothers is worse than that of men on the house top, or in the field, who could much more easily leave their goods and clothes, than their children, as well as they had more agility and strength to flee. So "women with child, and that give suck"; are mentioned together in the Jewish writings, as such as were excused from certain fasts, though obliged to others.
Matthew 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: (KJV)
But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter . . . the destruction was coming. It could not be prevented. Yet it was right to pray for a mitigation of the circumstances, that it might be as mild as possible. So too, we know that calamity is before us; sickness, pain, bereavement and death, are in our path; yet although we know that these things must come upon us, it is right to pray that they may come in as mild a manner as may be consistent with the will of God. We all must die; but it is right to pray that the pains of our dying may be neither long nor severe. In the winter . . . because of the cold, storms and wind. For these who are forced to take up residence in caves, would be a double calamity.
Neither on the sabbath day . . . journeys were prohibited by the law on the Sabbath (Ex.16:29). Remember that these are Jews who observe the Sabbath day, which is Saturday. This is ye another proof that Christ is speaking directly to the Jewish people. I do not observe the Sabbath, I observe the day of rest as Sunday because my Lord rose from the dead on that day.
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (KJV)
For then shall be great tribulation . . . this is urged as a reason for their speedy flight; since the calamity that would come upon those who should remain in the city, what through the sword, famine, pestilence, murders, robberies would
Be such as was not since the beginning of the world, to this time, no, nor ever shall be . . . the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, the bondage of the children of Israel in Egypt, their captivity in Babylon, and all their distresses and afflictions in the times of the Maccabees, are nothing to be compared with the calamities which befell the Jews in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. Great desolations have been made in the besieging and at the taking of many famous cities, as Troy, Babylon, Carthage but none of them are to be mentioned with the deplorable case of this city. Whoever reads Josephus's account will be fully convinced of this; and readily join with him, who was an eyewitness of it, when he says, that "never did any city suffer such things, nor was there ever any generation that more abounded in malice or wickedness.'' And all this came upon them for their impenitence and infidelity, and for their rejection and murdering of the Son of God; for as never any before, or since, committed the sin that they did, or ever will, so there never did, or will, the same calamity befall a nation, as did them.
Matthew 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. (KJV)
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved . . . those days of tribulation which began at the siege of Jerusalem, cannot refer to the times before it, and the shortening of them by it, which were very dreadful and deplorable through the murders and robberies of the cut-throats and zealots; but to those after the siege began, which were very distressing to those that were within the city; and which, if they had not been shortened, or if the siege had been lengthened out further, there should no flesh be saved. If the calamities of the siege should be lengthened out, none of the nations would be preserved alive. All the inhabitants of Judea would perish. The war, famine, and pestilence would entirely destroy them.
But for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened . . . the elect here no doubt means Christians (Rom.1:7; Eph.1:4; 1 Thes.1:4; 1 Pet.1-2). The word elect means to choose. It is given to Christians because they are "chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thes.2:13). It is very likely that in Jerusalem and the adjoining parts of Judea, there were many who were true believers of Christ. Sop, because of them, to keep them alive, and to make them the instruments of spreading the Gospel, the Lord said those days would not be lengthened out, and suffered to bring about their destruction. It is related by Josephus, (Jewish Wars, book i. chap. 12, 1) that Titus at first resolved to reduce the city by famine, he therefore built a wall around it, to keep any provisions from being carried in, and any of the people from going out. The Jews, however, drew up their army near the walls, engaged in battle, and the Romans pursued them, provoked by their attempts, and broke into the city. The affairs of Rome also at that time demanded the presence of Titus there and, contrary to his original intention, he pressed the siege, and took the city by storm . . . thus shortening the time that it would have been occupied in reducing it by famine. This was for the benefit of the "elect." So the designs of wicked men, intended by them for the destruction of the people of God, are intended by God for the good of his chosen people.
Matthew 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. (KJV)
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not . . . the Jews expected the Messiah to deliver them from Roman oppression. In the time of these great calamities they would anxiously look for Him. Many would claim to be the Messiah. Many would follow these deceivers. Many would rejoice to believe that He was come, and would call on others to follow them. Believe it not . . .they had evidence that the Messiah had already come, and they are not to be deceived by the unlikely pretensions of others. Either at the time when the siege shall begin, and the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place; or during the days of tribulation, while the siege lasted; or after those days were shortened, and the city destroyed, and the Roman army was gone with their captives. The destruction of Jerusalem was an abominable desolation, but it was not the one of which Daniel spoke in Dan.9.27. It would have been impossible for Titus to have made a covenant after the Temple was destroyed, and then in the middle of the ‘week’ of that covenant (after 1260 days--about 3 years and 5½ months) to have put an end to sacrifice and offering. Because after the Temple was destroyed there was no sacrifice and offering to abolish since there was no Temple.
The second reason Titus could not have been the “prince who is to come” is that Jesus prophesied that “the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel,” will happen after the Gospel has been preached to all nations, at the time of the end. Will it be preached by angels in the last days? (Rev.14:6-7).
Matthew 24:24 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. (KJV)
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets . . . False Christs are people claiming to be the Messiah. False prophets are people claiming to be the Prophet spoken of by Moses (Deut.18:15), or people pretending to declare the way of deliverance from the Romans, and calling the people to follow them (verse 5).
And shall show great signs and wonders . . . make a big show of doing them, although they really did not do them. They gave themselves up to sorcery and magic.
If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect . . . the elect are those who keep their faith in Christ, and who, even though they might be bewildered and distressed by the signs and wonders of the pretenders, could not be deceived into accepting false Christs. The believer in Jesus in all ages and in all countries has this advantage . . . NO pretender anywhere can present credentials equal to Jesus, nor give us reason for any confidence in them as we have in Jesus. A TRUE believer, one of the elect, has the Holy Spirit residing within them. The devil cannot deceive the Holy Spirit! (Jn.14:16-17; Rom.5:5; 8:9).
Please do not miss what the Lord He is saying here. The so-called ability to work miracles in our day should be looked upon with suspicion because the next great miracle worker will NOT be Christ; he will be Antichrist with his false prophets.
"If it were possible they shall deceive the very elect." WHO are the elect? In the Scriptures there are two elect groups: the elect of the nation Israel and the elect of the church. We have to use common sense to determine which group is meant. Who has our Lord been talking about up to this point? Israel. So, Israel is the elect in this verse as well . . . I think it is the Christian Jews that Jesus is speaking to. Jesus is not talking about the church of today. But I think there is something here for us as well. We must remember that you can fool some of the people some of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time . . . BUT . . . you cannot fool God's children all of the time. It cannot be done.
Matthew 24:25 Behold, I have told you before. (KJV)
Behold, I have told you before . . . Mark adds a little more, actually a more outright warning: Mark 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. (KJV) . . . The reason why He told them before, was so that they might be on their guard, and be prepared for those calamities.
Matthew 24:26 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. (KJV)
Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert, go not forth. . . any of the false prophets, or the deceived followers of false Christs. The Jews had formed the expectation that the Messiah would appear suddenly, from some unexpected place, so many would be looking toward the desert places, expecting that He would come from there. For that reason, most of the impostors and pretended prophets led their people into the deserts. Go not forth. Do not follow them. They will only deceive you.
Behold, he is in the secret chambers, believe it not . . . in the secret chambers . . . concealed in some house, or some far off part of the city. Many would no doubt, imagine that the Messiah was concealed there; and, either for the purpose of encouraging or deceiving the people, would pretend that they had discovered Him.
Matthew 24:27 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. (KJV)
For as the lightning cometh out of the east . . . the eastern part of the horizon, And shineth even unto the west . . . to the western part of it, with great clearness. In a moment; in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor.15:52), filling the whole space; so Shall also the coming of the son of man be . . . this must not be understood of His last Coming to judgment, although that will be sudden, visible, and universal; He will at once come and be seen by all, in the clouds of Heaven, and NOT in deserts and secret chambers.
This is not meant the quarter from which He would come, but the manner. The Lord does not mean to say that the Son of man will come from the east, but that He will come in a speedy and unexpected manner, like lightning (Job 37:3; Ps.18:14; 77:18; 97:4; 135:7; 144:6; Jer.10:13; 51:16; Eze.1:13-14).
The coming of the Son of man . . . it has been doubted whether this refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, or to the Coming at the Day of Judgment. Consider this:
#1. That those two events are the principal scenes in which our Lord said He would come, either in Person or in judgment.
#2. That the destruction of Jerusalem is described as His Coming, His actions for their great crimes.
#3. That these events . . . the judgment of Jerusalem and the final judgment, in many respects greatly resemble each other.
#4. That they will therefore, be described in the same language.
#5. Therefore, the same words often include both events, as properly described by them. The words, therefore, almost certainly had a primary reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, but the extent of meaning could also speak of His Coming in judgment.
Matthew 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (KJV)
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together . . . the words in this verse are proverbial. Vultures and eagles easily determine where dead bodies are, and come to devour them (Job 9:26; 29:27-30; Eze.39:17-19; Mat.24:28; Lk.17:37; Rev.19:21). So it was with the Roman army. Jerusalem is like a dead and putrid corpse. Its life is gone, and it is ready to be devoured. The Roman armies will find it out, as the vultures do a dead carcass, and will come to devour it. This proverb also teaches a universal truth. Wherever wicked men are, there will be assembled the instruments of their chastisement. The providence of God will direct them there, just as the eagles are directed to a dead carcass.
Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (KJV)
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened . . . the images here used are not to be taken literally, but symbolically. They are often used by the sacred writers to mean any great calamities, such as the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars would be an inexpressible calamity, so any great catastrophe, any overturning of kingdoms or cities, or dethroning of kings and princes, is represented by the darkening of the sun and moon, and by some terrible convulsion in the elements. The destruction of Babylon is foretold in similar terms (Isa.13:10); and of Tyre (Isa.24:23). The slaughter in Bozrah and Idumea is predicted in the same kind of language (Isa.34:4). Also see: (Isa.50:3; 60:19-20; Eze.32:7; Joel 2:30-31; 3:15; Amos 5:20; Acts 2:20; 2 Pet.3:10; Rev.6:12). Luke’s version to this description in Matthew is as follows: Luke 21:25-26 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (KJV) . . . Perplexity means doubt, anxiety; not knowing what to do to escape. Their fears would be so great that it would take away their courage and strength.
And the moon shall not give her light . . . this is also symbolic, and refers to the
ceremonial law, the moon, the Jewish church is said to have under her feet (Rev.12:1), so called because the observance of new moons was one part of it, and the Jewish festivals were regulated by the moon; and too, because like the moon was variable and changeable. Now, although this in right, was abolished at the death of Christ (Mat.5:17), ceased to give any true light, when He, the substance, was come; yet was kept up by the Jews, as long as their temple was standing. But when the Temple was destroyed, the daily sacrifice ceased, and so it has been ever since; the Jews regarding it unlawful to offer sacrifice in a strange land, or upon any other altar than that of Jerusalem; and are to this day without a sacrifice.
And the stars shall fall from heaven . . . stars represent great teachers of the church, apostles and evangelists (Rev.1:20). When the apostles were dethroned by the Roman apostasy, “the stars fell from heaven,” symbolically. Other stars, great church lights who apostatized, also fell from heaven in another sense.
And the powers of the heavens shall be shaken . . . the falling of stars, those meteors which are called falling stars by the common people, was considered an omen of evil times. It is my understanding that all of the above things will literally take place at Christ's Second Coming to the Earth (Zec.14:1-5; Rev.19:11-21).
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (KJV)
And then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven . . . at the destruction of Jerusalem, the sign or evidence of His Coming was found in the fulfillment of His predictions. At the end of the world, the sign of His Coming will be His Personal appearance with the glory of His Father and the holy angels (1 Thes.4:16; Lk.21:27; Mat.25:31; 26:64; Acts 1:11).
All then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn . . . meaning all the tribes or people of the land of Judea shall mourn at the great calamities coming upon them at the destruction of Jerusalem, or all the nations of the world shall wail when He comes on Judgment Day. All the wicked shall mourn at the prospect of their doom (Rev.1:7). The cause of their wailing on Judgment Day shall mainly be that they have pierced, killed and rejected the Saviour, and that they deserve the condemnation that is coming to them (Jn.19:37; Zec.12:10-12; Rev.1:7).
And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory . . . this could refer more directly to His Coming at the last day, although I think it may also mean that the evidence of His Coming to destroy Jerusalem shall then be seen. In the clouds of heaven. He ascended in a cloud (Acts 1:9), and He shall return in like manner (Acts 1:11). With power . . . power, so obvious in the destruction of Jerusalem, by the wonders that preceded it, and by the overturning of the Temple and city. In the day of judgment, power shall be obvious by consuming the material world (2 Pet.3:7,10,12), by raising the dead (Jn.5:29-30; 1 Cor.15:52); by changing those who may be alive when He shall come (1 Thes.4:17; 1 Cor.15:52); by bringing the affairs of the world to a close, receiving the righteous to Heaven (Mat.25:34; 1 Cor.15:57), and by sending the wicked, however numerous or however strong, to Hell (Mat.25:41,46; Mk.9:44,46,48-49; Lk.16:26; Jn.5:29; 2 Thes.1:8-9; Rev.14:10-11; 20:10,15; 21:8). Great glory. The word glory here means the visible display of His honor and majesty. This glory will be manifested by the manner of His Coming, and the presence of the angels of God.
Matthew 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (KJV)
And he shall send his angels . . . angels are literally, messengers, (Lk.7:24; 9:52). The word is often applied to anything that God employs to rescue His people from danger (Ps.104:4). But angels usually refer to the race of creatures more exalted than man, who are often employed in the work of man's rescue from ruin, and his salvation (Heb.1:14). In either of these senses, it might here refer to deliverance granted to His people in the calamities of Jerusalem. But this seems to refer rather to the end of the world; and no doubt its principal application was intended to be to the gathering of His elect, on Judgment Day.
With a great sound of a trumpet . . . Jewish assemblies used to be called together by the sound of a trumpet (Lev.25:9; Num.10:2; Judg.3:27). When they spoke of calling together an assembly, they spoke also of doing it by sounding a trumpet. Our Saviour, speaking to Jews, used language to which they were accustomed, and described the assembling of the people at the last day in language which they were accustomed to use in calling assemblies together. It is not certain that He meant that this would be literally so, but only to indicate the certainty that the world would be assembled together. Similar language is often used, when speaking of the Rapture (1 Thes.4:16; 1 Cor.15:52).
They shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other . . . the elect (verse 22). The word means Christians, the chosen of God. IF this refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, it means, God shall send forth His messengers, signs, wonders, human messengers or His angels themselves; and gather Christians into a place of safety, so that they shall not be destroyed with the non-believing Jews. There is reason to believe that not one Christian perished in the destruction of that city, God having in various ways secured their escape, so that they fled to Pella, where they dwelt when the city was destroyed. IF this refers to the last judgment, as it doubtless in a primary or secondary sense does, then it means that He will send His angels to gather His chosen, His elect, together from all places (Mat.13:39-43). This shall be done before the living shall be changed (1 Cor.15:51-52; 1 Thes.4:16-17). From the four winds . . . that is, from the four quarters of the globe . . . east, west, north and south. The Jews expressed those quarters by the winds blowing from them. Four winds: (Job 1:19; Jer.49:36; Eze.37:9; Dan.7:2; 8:8; 11:4; Zec.2:6; Mat.24:31; Mk.13:27; Rev.7:1). From one end of heaven . . . Mark 13:27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. (KJV) . . . The expression means that they shall be gathered from all parts of the Earth where they are scattered. The word heaven is here used to mean the visible heavens or the sky, meaning that through the whole world He would gather them. The elect spoken of in this verse is still the nation Israel. The prophets in the Old Testament foretold of a miracle that would bring the Jews back into their land. The Lord will come in Person to receive the church with the sound of a trumpet, and His voice will be like that of an archangel. He will not need any help to gather His church together. He died for the church, and He will bring it to Himself all on His own. When the Lord says that the "angels... shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other," we can be certain that He is talking about the nation Israel. Ministering angels have always been connected with Israel.
The Parable Of The Fig Tree As A Sign (Matthew 24:32-51)
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
Matthew 24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: (KJV)
Now learn a parable of the fig tree . . . I honestly cannot see how the fig tree could symbolize anything except the nation Israel. I think that the Lord is using the fig tree as a symbol of that land. Fig tree, symbol of Israel: (Jer.24; Joel 1:7,12; Nah.3:12; Hos.9:10; Mat.21:19-20; 24:32; Mk.11:20-21; 13:28).
When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh . . . Israel is a symbol, or comparison to the fig tree, which was a tree well known in Judea. Its putting forth its branches, leaves and fruit, was known by everyone there. When its branch is yet tender . . . you know that summer is near when the fig tree puts forth its leaves,
Matthew 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (KJV)
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things . . . when you see "all these things" you will know that it (the destruction of Jerusalem) is nigh. The comparison is unclear until we determine what things are included in "all these things," previously mentioned (verse 6) and what is meant by the it which was to be near when "all these things" had been seen. The term all, is not to be understood as including every single event previously mentioned, because the fact that the occasion of the other events was to be a sign that the Excepted One was drawing near, and shows that this was to be the last of the series. The last event of the series is the Coming of the Son of Man, was accompanied by the darkening of the heavenly bodies, and the gathering together of the saints. This event, then, was to be near when all the others had been seen. In the same way, when they see what Jesus had predicted, the signs around Jerusalem, then they would know that its destruction is at hand. It is my belief, that we should keep our eyes on the fig tree. She is the main perspective in these the last days. Keep your eyes on Israel.
Know that it is near, even at the doors . . . meaning that the Son of Man is near, even at the doors; and thus the fig tree putting forth its leaves, is a sign that summer is not only near, but is already come, for the Scripture divides the whole year only into two parts, summer and winter. Summer and winter: (Gen.8:22; Ps.74:17; Isa.18:6; Amos 3:15; Zec.14:8). Jesus says that these calamities and desolations on the Jews, were a sign that the Son of Man was come, was in the gates, displaying His power and His glory. The redemption and deliverance of the people of God was at hand, from the persecutions of the Jews; for until the destruction of Jerusalem, the persecutions of the Christians was mainly from the Jews. The Kingdom of God, or a more enlarged state of the Gospel dispensation was near; the winter of the legal dispensation (Law) was over, the summer of the Gospel dispensation was come, through the preaching of John the Baptist, Christ and His apostles. The general spread of the Gospel now went all over the Gentile world. The Second Coming of Christ, will be a summer of joy and comfort to all the saints. They will enjoy full redemption and salvation . . . the winter of sorrows, afflictions, and persecutions, coldness, darkness and desertion, will be over. The sun shall no more go down, nor the moon withdraw itself (Isa.60:20), for the Lord will be the Everlasting Light of His people (Rev.21:23).
Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (KJV)
Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass . . . the Jews shall not cease from being a distinct people, until all the counsels of God relative to them and the Gentiles be fulfilled. Some translate this generation, to mean the persons who were then living, that they should not die before these signs took place: but although this was true, as to the calamities that fell upon the Jews, and the destruction of their city, government and Temple, yet as our Lord mentions Jerusalem's continuing to be under the power of the Gentiles until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in (Lk.21:24), until all the nations of the world would receive the Gospel of Christ, after which the Jews themselves should be converted unto God (Rom.11:25). I think it might be better to keep the meaning here to the few years which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem; but also to understand that the care taken by Divine providence to preserve the Jews as a distinct people, and yet to keep them out of their own land, and from their Temple service. John probably lived to see these things come to pass (Mat.16:28; Jn.21:22).
The war began, as Josephus says, Ant.b.xx.c.11.s.1, in the second year of the government of Gessius Florus, who succeeded Albinus, successor of Porcius Festus, mentioned in Acts 24:27, in the month of May, in the twelfth year of Nero, and the seventeenth of Agrippa, mentioned in Acts 25 & 26, that is, in May, A.D. 66.
The Temple was burnt August 10, A.D. 70, the same day and month on which it had been burnt by the king of Babylon: Josephus, Ant.b.xx.c.11.s.8. The city was taken September 8, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, or the year of Christ 70. Ant. b. vi. c. 10.
That was the end of the siege of Jerusalem, which began, as Josephus several times observes, about the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, or our April. See: War, b.v.c.3.s.1, c.13.s.7; b.vi.c.9.s.3. Another remarks: There is also an ancient inscription to the honor of Titus, "who, by his father's directions and counsels, had subdued the Jewish nation and destroyed Jerusalem, which had never been destroyed by any generals, kings, or people, before."
Till all these things were fulfilled . . . Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (KJV) . . . Many did, and as there is reason to believe they must, since all these things had their accomplishment, in and about forty years after this. It is certain that the apostle John, outlived the time by many years; and, it is probable that many of the Jewish rulers then living when Christ spoke these words, lived until the city was destroyed. This is a proof, that not anything that is said before, relates to the Second Coming of Christ, the Judgment Day and end of the world; but that all belong to the Coming of the Son of Man, in the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the end of the Jewish state. Since His prophecy reaches to the day of final judgment; therefore He here in verse 34, foretells that Judah shall never cease to exist as a distinct people, as long as this world shall endure. Men of the world scheme and plan for generation after generation, but they do NOT consider the approaching, non-stoppable, overwhelming and most certain event of Christ's Second Coming, which shall do away EVERY human scheme, and set aside FOREVER all that God forbids. Judgment will be a very surprising a day, like the Flood was to the old world. We must first apply this to temporal judgments, especially that which was then hastening upon the nation and people of the Jews. BUT, what about eternal judgment? What was the state of the old world when the Flood came? They thought that they were secure and they were careless (Gen.6:5). They knew not, until the Flood came; and they believed not. Do people today realize that all earthly things must shortly pass away, we should not set our eyes and hearts so much upon them as we do. Judgment Day is NOT further off just because people dismiss it from their minds! What words can more strongly describe the suddenness of our Saviour's Coming! The next scheduled event on God’s calendar is the Rapture. We do NOT know when it shall be! We must WATCH! (Mat.24:42-43; 25:13; Mk.13:33-35,37; Lk.21:36). Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenly the Lord of glory will appear in the sky. Women will be doing their work, but when He appears, every work will be laid aside. One shall be taken, another left behind. Are you prepared to meet Him? Are you ready to stand before him? What is this day of judgment to the wicked world? To those left behind? It means these must go through the Great Tribulation period (Rev.6-18). Have you ever considered this fact?
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (KJV)
Heaven and earth shall pass away . . . our Saviour confirms the Truth of what He had said, assuring those to whom He spoke, that even though there would be a change of the Heavens and the Earth (2 Pet.3:10,12-13), the Truth of what He had said would NOT fail. Heaven and Earth as we know it shall change from one condition to another. Pass away, as a person passes away in death, or as old things pass away at the new birth (2 Cor.5:17). It NEVER means annihilation, but only a change. The Heavens and Earth are eternal (Ps.72:5-17; 89:3-37; 104:5; Ecc.1:4), and CANNOT pass out of existence. They will be changed (Heb.1:10-12; 12:25-28; Rom.8:21-23); be renovated by fire (2 Pet.3;5-13); and be renewed (Rev.21:1); but NEVER pass out of existence.
But my words shall not pass away . . . they will be changed BUT Jesus’ Words will NOT be changed. He will NOT change His Word; it will stand throughout the eternal ages (Jer.31:36-37).
Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (KJV)
But of that day and hour knoweth no man . . . although they will know that this period is drawing near, they will not know the day or the hour (Mk.13:36). There have been so many in our day who have tried and failed, to pinpoint the time of Christ's Return. I may be wrong, but I think that the Rapture is the first part of Christ’s Return, it being for the church (1 Thes.4:13-18). I am sure that in that future, there will be others who will try to figure it down to the very hour. But NO one will know either the day or the hour.
No, not the angels of heaven . . . who dwell there, and always behold the Face of God, standing in His Presence ready and willing to do His will.
But my Father only . . . to the exclusion of all creatures, angels and men; but not to the exclusion of Christ as God, who, as such, is omniscient; nor of the Holy Spirit, who is acquainted with the deep things of God, the secrets of His Heart, and this must be understood of Christ as the Son of Man, and not as the Son of God; for as such, He lay in the bosom of the Father (Jn.1:18), and knew all His purposes and designs.
Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (KJV)
But as the days of Noe were . . . the Lord will use the illustration of Noah, which is to be understood, not of the Second Coming of Christ (Zec.14:1-5; Rev.19:11-21), the end of the world, and the last judgment; but of the Coming of the Son of Man, to take vengeance on the Jews. This refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, but I also think it refers to the Rapture. Remember the Rapture removes the church, and then the Great Tribulation would come. I think the Great Tribulation is for the Jews, but it will also include all those “left behind” at the Rapture. Noah is usually called Noe by the Septuagint; the sense is, as were the practices of the men of that generation, in which Noah lived, so will be the practices of the men of that age, in which the Son of Man comes; or as the Flood, which happened in the days of Noah, was sudden and unexpected; it came upon men careless about it, although they had warning of it; and was universal, swept them all away, excepting the few (Mat.7:14), that were saved in the ark (Gen.7:7,13,23).
So shall also the coming of the son of man be . . . Christ will come in a day which will be similar to the days of Noah, no one paying attention, no one watching, people will be wickedly living in immorality. It will be a day of vengeance on the Jews, coming suddenly and unawares, when they would NOT be looking for it, both at the destruction of Jerusalem and the Rapture. Even though the Jews were forewarned of it by Christ and His apostles, their destruction would be widespread; all would be involved in it, except a few (Mat.7:14), that were told a little beforehand, to go out of the city of Jerusalem to Pella; where they were saved, as Noah and his family were in the ark.
Matthew 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, (KJV)
For as in the days that were before the flood . . . this does not means the days from Creation of the world; but the days right before it.
They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage . . . none of these were criminal in themselves, had they not been abused. It was lawful to eat and drink, and to marry and be given in marriage, when the laws and rules are observed, so this must be understood of their totally giving themselves up to the pleasures of life and lusts of the flesh, without any concern about God and the worship and glory of God. They simply did not consider the wellbeing of their souls and the approaching danger, of which Noah the preacher (2 Pet.2:5) had given them repeated warnings. They kept on in their luxury and gluttony, in eating and drinking, and of their lewd, lustful and unlawful marriages. It seems that the meaning here signifies eating in the manner of brute beasts; they indulged themselves in a brutish way, in gluttony and drunkenness; and it is certain from the account given of them in (Gen.6:1-5), that they entered into unlawful marriages, and unclean sexual intercourses. These people were really very sinful and wicked, and continued a non-stop course of sinning, a constant practice of these sins of overindulgence and lust. This sounds very much like our world today.
Until the day that Noe entered into the ark . . . the ship, the boat, the vessel which God directed Noah to make, to save himself and his family. The men of that generation persisted in their wicked course of living, after and in spite of the warning God had given them by Noah, that the Flood would come upon them, and all the while the ark was being built, even up to the very day that Noah and his family, by the order of God, went into the ark, and God shut the door (Gen.7:16). Can you hear those people screaming and clawing at the door, wanting to go in? I can, and it makes me ill.
Matthew 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (KJV)
And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be . . . they did not know the exact time, until it was upon them. So too says the Lord, it shall be when the Son of Man shall come. They shall not know the precise time until He comes. They shall be living life unconcerned, uncaring. They did not pay attention to what Noah was saying to them about it. I can hear them scoffing and persecuting Noah. They snubbed and despised his warnings; they did not believe him, that what he said of the Flood was true; they had been put on notice about it, but they would not accept it, and therefore God gave them up to judicial blindness and hardness of heart . . . and they remained so, until the Flood came upon them . . . all at once . . . and took them all away . . . the whole world of the ungodly, EVERY man, woman and child. Only eight persons, Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives . . . were safe in the boat! The Flood was universal, and reached to ALL the inhabitants of the world, who all perished in it, except the above persons. So shall also the coming of the son of man be . . . such was the case of the Jews before the destruction of Jerusalem. They gave themselves up to all manner of wickedness and uncleanness; they disregarded the warnings of Christ and His apostles; they were careless and thought they were secure from any danger; they would not believe that their destruction was at hand, very soon to come. And, just as in the days of Noah, only a few (Gen.7:12-16; Mat.7:14) were saved. So too, shall it be at the Rapture when the Lord Jesus comes in the clouds to remove the TRUE church. BEWARE! We all must watch and obey the warnings in the Bible. Today, it is getting very much as it was in the days of Noah and the destruction of Jerusalem. We are told that whatever we do . . . whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we are to do all to the glory of God (1 Cor.10:31). BUT . . . the people in Noah's day or the destruction of Jerusalem, or in today’s world, were NOT eating and drinking to the glory of God. The truth is they were then, and are now, living as though God did not exist. BEWARE! God has provided an "Ark" for us! It is JESUS! Enter in before it is too late.
Matthew 24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (KJV)
Then shall two be in the field . . . the calamity of Noah’s time, and of Jerusalem’s destruction, came suddenly. There shall be NO escape for those whom it overtakes.
The one shall be taken, and the other left . . . to go about their lives. Today only a meager few pay attention to the preaching of the Gospel, just as it was in Noah’s day and before the destruction of Jerusalem. For us today, the next scheduled event on God’s calendar is the Rapture (Jn.14:2-3; 1 Cor.15:51-52; 1 Thes.4:13-18). We do NOT know when this will be, but it could happen at any moment. That is why we should be very careful how we live our lives. We should watch, and pay attention to what God has to say to us in His Word. One shall be taken. The word taken may mean, either to be taken away from the danger, rescued, as Lot was (Luke 17:28-29), or to be taken away by death. In the Rapture, we shall be taken up to be with the Lord in the clouds (1 Thes.4:13-18).
Matthew 24:41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (KJV)
Two women shall be grinding at the mill . . . grinding in the East was performed, as it is now, mainly by hand. The millstones were about two feet in diameter, and six inches thick. The bottom one was stationary, while the upper one was turned by a handle, or crank, moved by two persons, who sat opposite to each other. One took hold of the mill-handle, and turned it half way round; the other then grabbed it, and completed the revolution. This was usually done by women; by servants of the lowest order; and was a very hard job. (Ex.11:5; Job 31:10; Isa.47:2; Judg.16:21). The meaning of this verse is much like the one above . . . of two persons sitting near each other, one shall be taken to be with Jesus in the Rapture, and the other left on Earth. The calamity would be so sudden, and would come upon them before they knew what was happening. The custom of grinding was not of the Jews only, but also of other countries too, and of both Greeks and Barbarians.
The one shall be taken, and the other left . . . just like before, one shall be taken by the Romans, and either put to death, or carried captive; and the other shall escape their hands, through the remarkable providence of God. Christ foretells His coming in vengeance upon the Jews in the destruction of Jerusalem. It is usual for prophets to speak of things as near and just at hand, to express the greatness and certainty of them. Concerning Christ's Second Coming, as I said before, I think the Rapture is the first part of that Coming. The Son of Man shall come in the clouds and take His church home with Him. Sooner or later, ALL sinners will be mourners; but repenting sinners can look to Christ now, and mourn (Mat.5:4), and those who sow in those tears shall shortly reap in joy (Ps.126:5). BUT, impenitent sinners shall see Him whom they have pierced, and even though they scoff and laugh now, shall one day mourn and weep in endless horror and despair. The elect of God are scattered abroad; there are some in all places of the world, in all nations . . . but when that great gathering day comes, there shall NOT be even one of them missing. This goes for the Rapture for the church, and for the Second Coming of the Jews (Zec.14:1-5; Rev.19:11-21). Distance or place will NOT keep any out of Heaven. The Lord clearly states that the Jews would NEVER cease to be a distinct people, until all things He had been predicting were fulfilled (verse 34). Are you prepared to meet the Lord? Can you stand before Him? A question we all should ask ourselves as we live in this wicked world.
Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. (KJV)
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come . . . Be looking for His Coming. Be expecting it as near; as a great event; as coming in an unexpected manner. Watch for the signs of His coming, and be ready. Watch: (Mat.24:42-43; 25:13; Mk.13:33-35,37; Lk.21:36; 1 Thes.5:6; 1 Pet.4:7; Rev.3:3; 16:15). Today we are to wait and long for His Coming. In that future day the Jews will watch with anxiety for His return.
Matthew 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. (KJV)
But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up . . . comparing the Coming of Jesus and that of a thief is the more striking difference between the two characters. There is only one point of comparison . . . the uncertainty of the time of their coming. As the goodman of the house, had he known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and have prevented his house from being broken into, so too we, by watching for the coming of the Son of Man, may prevent it from finding us not ready. The "goodman of the house", or householder, is every Christian, or believer in Christ, who has a house to look after, his own soul, and the spiritual details and everlasting salvation of it, things concern unto him. Just as the early Christians, before the destruction of Jerusalem, had notices of Christ's Coming in that way, by our Lord's predictions, by the hints the apostles gave, and by the signs of the times; so too the saints have of Christ's Coming to judgment. My friend, the Rapture is judgment . . . Christ judging the TRUE believers from the hypocrites and the wicked. He shall lift out the TRUE church from the evil world before the Great Tribulation starts. Just as the Jews were to watch back then, so too are we today to watch.
Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (KJV)
Therefore be ye also ready . . . be prepared for the Coming of the Son of Man; which is said to be like a thief in the night, expresses the suddenness of it, may motivate them to watchfulness and readiness.
For in such an hour as ye think not, the son of man cometh . . . this is true of His Coming in power to destroy Jerusalem, and of His Second Coming to judgment. The Jews say much the same of the Coming of the Messiah, whom they expect . . . there are three things, they say which come without knowledge, or unthought of, or unawares; and they are these, the Messiah, anything that is found, and a scorpion.
Matthew 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? (KJV)
Who then is a faithful and wise servant . . . by the behavior of a faithful and wise servant He means a faithful Christian, a servant of God.
Whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household . . . this has no reference to God. It means the lord or master of the servant. Applied to Christian teachers, in the spiritual meaning of the parable, it refers to Christ, who has appointed them as teachers, and who is their Lord and Master (Jn.13:13-14). Over his household . . . Christian pastors and teachers are the servants of God serving the church, the family of Christ (1 Thes.5:12-13; 1 Cor.3:5; 4:1-2).
To give them meat in due season . . . meat here means food of all kinds. When the Bible was translated into English, it included, as the original does, all kinds of provisions requisite to support and nourish life. In due season . . . at the proper time, as they need it. This was the office of a steward. Among the ancients this office was often filled by a slave . . . one who had shown himself trusty and faithful. The duty was to have a general superintendence over the affairs of the family. Applied to Christian ministers, it means that they are to feed the flock of God, to minister to their wants, and to do it as they need it. Stewards: (Gen.39:1-6; 43:16-17; 44:1-2; Isa.22:20-24)
Matthew 24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (KJV)
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord, when he cometh shall find so doing . . . be it in the way of judgment, as against Jerusalem, or at death; when He comes to remove him into eternity; or on Judgment Day, when He, the Righteous Judge, will give the crown of righteousness to him (2 Tim.4:8), because of his faithful service to the household of God, giving to all wholesome food, a proper portion of it, and at the right time.
Matthew 24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. (KJV)
Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods . . . nothing is of a greater truth, more certain, or to be depended on, than the Word of God. This does not mean that ministers shall have a higher rank or office, but is a circumstance of the parable or story, designed to show the effect of faithfulness. ALL faithful servants of Christ shall be rewarded, not only the pastors. This will be done by His approval, and by the rewards of the heavenly world. Much of a person's usefulness can be lost by his doubt and unfaithfulness, especially a pastor who serves as a shepherd.
Matthew 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; (KJV)
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming . . . so many doubters, so many scoffers in the world, then and now. An evil servant is also foolish and faithless. Even though he may have great gifts and talents, yet he is destitute of the grace of God. If a person lacks the amazing grace of God, he doubts, he refuses to believe the Truth. The worst enemy of Christ is within the church! It is the professing servant of the Lord whose practices are evil, and who thinks that he can escape punishment for his crimes. He CANNOT! The Judge knows it all! My prayer is that all the greedy preachers in today's world, realize what damage they are doing . . . to themselves and to their flock.
Matthew 24:49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; (KJV)
And shall begin to smite his fellow servants . . . there is no sin more common among those who are clothed with authority than oppression. There have been no worse oppressors than rulers and priests, and greedy TV evangelists.
And to eat and drink with the drunken . . . it is said that what first disgusted Luther with the faith in which he had been reared was the corruptness, licentiousness and self-indulgence of the priests and monks. It has often been the case that the Vatican was a hot-bed of immorality and scandal. It still exists today in Catholicism, but also other denominations. By abusing the power given to the servant, the shepherd of the people, grabbing power over their faith, and imposing on their consciences things which Christ has never commanded; vexing and burdening them with trifling rites and ceremonies, and other unnecessary things. Heads of churches simply become literally drunk with power, besides drunk with drink.
Matthew 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, (KJV)
The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of . . . He will certainly come, and come when the servant is not ready, not prepared for him. I think that the majority of the wicked who die in their sins expect to face a kind and loving Judge Who would NOT condemn them to Hell (Jn.3:18-19). They are wrong. The Bible is full of judgment on the wicked! IF a person is wise, he will be better prepared for the end of life, for we know not how long we shall be on this Earth. We may not be here tomorrow. Death sometimes comes very unexpectedly. We must be ready!
Matthew 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (KJV)
And shall cut him asunder . . . an ancient method of punishment which was practiced among the Israelites (1 Sam.15:33; 2 Sam.12:31). The idea here is that very severe punishment shall be inflicted upon him, while weeping and gnashing of teeth would indicate a life of intense suffering. Both these expressions must be regarded as imagery, signifying a terrible and certain punishment. Cut him asunder could also indicate death. Death is separation . . . separation of body and soul by physical death. When death occurs, God shall take away all His gifts and talents from the person, remove him from his place and office, and from the church of God, and communion of the saints, and out of this world.
And appoint him his portion with the hypocrites . . . Luke says, "with the unbelievers" (Lk.12:46). It is possible that both phrases were used by Christ; meaning that those who make a profession of Him, and have only a form of godliness (2 Tim.3:5), without the power of it, and are wicked and hypocritical men, will share the same fate with those that do not believe at all. The portion of these is the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (Rev.19:20; 21:8). This means all such persons who put on the mask of religion, and do not live up to the character they bear: and are unfaithful to the trust rested in them, therefore will made examples of righteous judgment, and have their part in the lowest hell (Deut.32:22).
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth . . . see Mat.13:42.
To watch for Christ's Coming, is to be able to say that IF the Lord came today, you would be ready to meet Him. We must trust, not doubt, and we must obey the Lord Jesus! Trust and obey, for there is NO other way! Trust and obedience is bound together in the same package! We cannot have one without the other!
We do know that we have just a little time to live on Earth. But, we cannot know how long a time we have, and we certainly do NOT know the time set for judgment. The Lord's Coming will be happy to those that shall be found ready, but extremely dreadful to those that are not ready. If a man, professes to be the servant of Christ, is an unbeliever, covetous, ambitious, or a lover of pleasure, he will be cut off. The vast millions who choose the world for their portion in this life, will have Hell for their portion in the life to come. May the Lord Jesus, when He comes, pronounce us blessed, and present us to the Father, washed in His Blood (Rev.1:5), purified by His Spirit (1 Pet.1:22), and fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. (Col.1:12).
Gospel of Matthew
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