Signs of the End of the Age
Comments for Study 29
Memory Verse: 30
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* Jesus had just finish teaching in the temple, thus ending his public ministry. A time line is as follows.
Friday -Jesus arrives in the Jerusalem area. (John 11:54-12:1)
Saturday (Sabbath) -a day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38.
Sunday -Jesus' triumphal entry. (Matt. 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19)
Monday -Jesus curses the fig tree (Matt. 21:18-19; Mark 11:12-14). Jesus clears out the Temple. (Matt 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18)
Tuesday -Jesus' authority questioned. (Matt. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:18) Jesus teaches in the temple. (Matt. 21:28-22:46; Mark 12:1-44; Luke 20:9-21:4) Jesus wept over Jerusalem's leader's unbelief and rejecting him as their King. (Matthew 23:1-39) Jesus anointed at Bethany. (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 13:3-9; John 12:2-11)
Wednesday -another day of rest; no event recorded except Luke 21:37-38. The Jews plot to kill Jesus. (Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6)
Thursday (Hebrew month Abib the 13th day) -the Passover meal begins at twilight (see below note) when Jesus and the disciples celebrate the Last Supper. (Matt. 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20; John 13:1-18) Jesus comforts the disciples (John 14:1-16:33) Jesus prays at Gethsemane. (Matt. 26:26-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:40-46)
Friday (Hebrew month Abib, 14 day) -According Hebrew time Jesus is arrest and tried from night to daylight. (Matt. 26:47-27:26; Mark 14:43-15:15; Luke 22:47-23:25; John 18:2-19:16) Jesus' crucifixion at 3:00pm, and death before sunset which is the end of the Hebrew day and Passover. (Matt. 27:27-56; Mark 15:16-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30) Jesus is buried at sunset. (Matt. 27:57-66; mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42)
Saturday (Sabbath Abib 15, Seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread begins) Jesus' body is in the tomb. He appears in Sheol and accompanies the saints previously dead to heaven.
Sunday (Abib 16; day of First Fruits Sheaf Wave) Jesus' morning resurrection and appearing to the women. (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18) Then he appeared to the two on the road. (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-35) Then to the ten apostles (no Thomas or Judas) in the evening. (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)
Saturday (Sabbath) -Jesus appears to Thomas and the rest of the apostles. (John 20:26-31)
A week later -Jesus talks and eats with some disciples by the Sea of Galilee. (John 21:1-25)
Forty days since his resurrection -Jesus ascends to his Father from the Mount of Olives. (Matt. 28:15-20; Mark 18:19-20; Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11)
* Note: The Passover is linked to the 14th days of the month not the day of the week. Passover starting on Thursday at twilight is a very rare event; unusally it starts on a different day of the week. (Hebrew days start at sunset/twilight and go thru the night till the next day's sunset.) Falling on a Thursday that year made it possible for Jesus to fulfill the meaning behind the feasts associated with the Passover. His crucified was on Friday (still Passover), the Sabbath (Saturday) rest was the Feast of Unleavened Bread (always on the first Sabbath after Passover), and Sunday was the third day since his death, the day of the First Fruit Sheaf Wave, and the day that Jesus rose from the dead. All three feasts were thus fulfilled by Jesus.
I. The Beginning of Birth Pains (1-14)
>1. Where was Jesus?
* "Jesus left the temple and was walking away when..." (1a)
* "Jesus left the temple" -Jesus had been teaching in the temple.
* While in the temple the Pharisees, Sadducees, teachers of the law and the leaders of Isreal tried to trap Jesus. Jesus pronounces "woes" (a mournful prophesied judgement) over Jerusalem and the religious leaders who rejected him. (Also in Luke 20:45-47, 11:38-51, 13:34-35)
* Jesus' teaching in this chapter is about the end of this age. This teaching is mainly for Christians, true believer's in Jesus, especially those who will come to believe him during the tribulation period. Jesus' prophecy was also important to the first believers. At that time a Jewish revolt in 66 A.D. was crushed by Vespasian and then his son Titus finished the defeat in 70 A.D. Jerusalem, the Temple, and most Judea towns and strongholds were destroyed and many were killed.
>What did his disciples do?
* "...his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings." (1b)
* "his disciples came up to him" -Jesus had an open and close relationship with his disciples. They felt free to come to him and share their feelings with him.
* "to call attention to its buildings" -The disciple pointed this out because he and the others had a hard time accepting what Jesus said about the destruction of the temple. He was saying, "Look at these stones, will they really be toppled down? Their so big. Take a look at how big they are. Who can tear down such large stones?"
* Herod the Great came to power in 37 B.C. and determined that he would please his Jewish subjects and show off his style of kingship to the Romans by making the Jerusalem Temple bigger and better than it had ever been. His most notable contribution was the magnificent stonework of the Temple platform which was greatly enlarged. The descriptions in Josephus and the Mishnah have been fleshed out by recent archaeological discoveries. (source: Holman Bible Dictionary.)
* A description is in Ezra 6:1-6, and chapters 40 to 42.
* One stone was thirty-seven feet long.
* Herod's rebuild took forty-six years. (John 2:20)
* The temple mount at this time is a collection of large carved rocks that vary in stone material, size, and shape. A good look shows that the stones collected from diffferent sources and restacked. When the Roman's tore down the temple they left a few to show how big the are so that everone would know that nothing can stand if the Romans wanted it down.
* Recent, archaeology, restoration, and rebuilding the temple mount has steadily increased since Israel obtained control of Jerusalem and the mount in 1967. I just read in a newspaper article that while working at the sight they found a small gold bell in a drainage sewer dating back to the time of Christ. These bells were required on the priests clothing by Moses.
* Not only buildings but other things in the world can impress us; such as cars, aircraft and boats, beautiful dresses, big and elegant houses, art, music, ect. The glory of all such things is temporary. However, the kingdom of God is eternal.
>Why? (cf. Mk. 13:1)
* "As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, 'Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!'" (Mk. 13:1)
* One of the disciples spoke up for the rest. He was impress by its size, the size of its blocks, and the look of it. At this time marble was being added to the sides of the temple.
* Most of the disciples were from small farming and fishing towns and villages in Galilee. They were not use to seeing such sights and so was easily impressed.
* It was not coveting but it was similar to idol worship.
* Jerusalem and especially the temple was the heart of Israel to a Jew. It was the simble of nationalization and stirred up the pride of a Jew.
* The temple meant so much to the Jewish people. Since they were not allowed to govern their people (Herod was not a Jew) the temple became the symbol of their nation and religion. The disciples still hung onto the belief that Jesus would soon become the king of Israel. With the temple gone that could not happen. Therefore, their hopes were shaken by Jesus' predictions.
>How did Jesus answer? (2)
* "'Do you see all these things?' he asked, 'I tell you the truth no one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.'" (2)
* "I tell you the truth" -Even though Jesus and his disciples had a close relationship Jesus did not compromise. He taught the truth even when it hurt the disciples feelings.
* "no stone here will be left on another" -This temple was stated to be stronger than Solomon's and Zerubbubel's temple. (Zerubbabel was governor of the Persian Province of Judah and the grandson of Jehoiachin, penultimate king of Judah. He is the leader of the stone workers and other craftsmen who are allowed by the Persians to return to the Holy Land to build the Second Temple.)
* "every one will be thrown down" -Jesus' prediction would mean that there must be either a terrible war or natural disaster (i.e. earthquake). Since God controls nations, they most probalby thought that this meant only Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed by an enemy, probably Rome.
>To what was he probably referring to?
* The temple and Jerusalem as a whole was destroyed in 70 A.D. as mentioned above.
* Jesus continually reminds and teaches during his last hours before crucifixion what would happen to Jerusalem and the temple. It was God's warning to repent.
>What does the destruction of the temple mean to us?
* Animal sacrifices are no longer needed because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.
* The temple was to be a meeting place between God and his people. Now since the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts our bodies are his temple. (1 Cor. 3:16-17, 6:19-20; Eph. 2:21-22)
* Everything in the world will fall apart or will be destroyed eventually. We should not put hope in things in this world.
* God is everywhere, the temple was only meant as a place for God's people to come to him in prayer and with sacrifices.
* John 4:21-24 "Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth."
>2. What did the disciples ask Jesus privately? (3)
* "As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, 'Tell us,' they said, 'when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?'" (3)
* "sitting on the Mount of Olives" -The Mount of Olives looked across the Kidron valley down into the Jerusalem and the temple. It is about 200 feet (67m) higher.
* Jesus reply was alarming words to those who were with them. They were alarmed by his words.
* They did not doubt that what he said would come true. They believed even though they did not like to see it happen for it most likely to them would mean the end of their nation and society.
* Again it shows the intimacy and openness between Jesus and the disciples.
* "the disciples" -Mark 13:3-4 tells us that it was Peter, James, John and Andrew.
>What did they mean by "your coming" and "the end of the age"?
* "your coming" -They didn't mean his second coming (parousia) since the disciples did not want to accept his death. It must mean his coming as a king; that is from their understanding his being established as King of the Jews.
* "The end of the age" -Meant to the disciples the end of the age when Israel is oppressed by other nations like Rome.
* "the end of the age" -The end of the age was a very popular subject in those days as the Dead Sea Scrolls revealed. God has set up ages. Each age has a different way that God interacts with man.
* "End of the age" and "end of the world" are often exchanged. In truth, this world will not end until after the one thousand year reign of Jesus (Millennium) and is recorded at the end of the book of Revelation and other places. Revelations end states that a new heaven and a new earth will be created.
* Most Jews had two understanding of the future;
1) Israel would be a nation with a Jewish king, the Messiah.
2) The world would someday end. The Dead Sea Scrolls show these beliefs clearly.
* When Jesus rose from the dead they asked this again. (Acts 1:6-8)
>3. How did Jesus answer them? (4)
* "Jesus answered, 'Watch out that no one deceives you.'" (4)
* "Watch out" -Jesus is recorded saying this in Matthew 7:15-17. It records, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit." When Jesus went to pray just before he was arrested he told his disciples to pray and keep watch.
* "Watch out" -Jesus is saying that we need to be spiritually alert.
* "no one deceives you" -We need to take Jesus' words very seriously. Jesus is saying that if we do not pay careful attention we could be deceived. Many have come either predicing dates, or claiming Messiahship, and/or both and have deceived many who accepted Jesus. Paul's letters deal with some churches who had people coming doing just that.
* Jesus answered:
1) the last question, "What will be the sign... of the end of the age" first (verses 4-22)
a) with the signs of the end of the age answered in verses 4-14
b) and Jerusalem's end answered in verses 15-22 (Luke 21:20-24 and Mark 13:14-20 record more of Jerusalem's end).
2) Jesus answered the second question, "what will be the sign of your coming" next (verses 23-31)
3) Jesus did not answer the first question, "when will this happen", as he explains in verses 32-51.
* Luke 21:20-24 "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."
* Jesus' answers are called the Olivet Discourse because he was in the Mount of Olives.
>What are the terrible things Jesus mention in verses 5-7?
* "'For many will come in my name claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to will be famines and earthquakes in various places.'" (5-7)
* People on an individual level have little or no control over these things.
* "claiming 'I am the Christ'" -Many people calling themselves Christians will not be true believers in Jesus. They might even believe it themselves. However, they will not be.
* "and will deceive many" -not just a few will be deceived. False jesuses and messiahs have come in the hundreds even in the last century.
* "deceive" -trick, fool, and look real and genuine, but are not.
* False messiahs give false hope and false dreams and false ways of life. They are selfish and often force themselves on people.
* False messiahs destroy. False messiahs waste time and energy.
* False messiahs can have false achievements and miracles that deceive. (1 John 2:18-27)
* False messiahs can be very convincing. How can we know if they are not a true savior and lord? The Holy Spirit will teach us as we study the Bible.
* "wars and rumors of wars" -Somewhere on the earth there one nation or region has attacked another almost non-stop since Jesus' time. Rev. 6:4 tells of the fiery red horse of war that will be sent the world during the seven years of tribulation. Billy Graham wrote about this riders approaching hoof beats; that is about the increase of wars in our time.
* "famines" -Most famines, including the worse, are caused by mankind's wars and greed. Rev. 6:5-6 tells of the black horse famine that will be sent to the world during the seven years of tribulation. Billy Graham wrote about this riders approaching hoof beats as he did the one above.
* "see to it that you are not alarmed" -We have a God who loves us and will take care of us. Life many not be comfortable and we may even be killed, but God works out all things for the good of those who love him.
>How did he view them?
* "'All these are the beginning of birth pains.'" (8)
* Jesus outlook to the future was optimistic in light of the kingdom of God. However, the future of the world as it is now is often grim. Jesus was a realist in the fact that he sees the world as it is and will be and deals with it accordingly. Jesus planted hope in the kingdom of God when there was little hope in this world. Jesus didn't teach false hope; he taught truth.
* "the beginning of birth pains" -Disasters are a process to a new age, a better age. The disasters before the soon to happen seven year great tribulation period is just the beginning. Other rabbis at this time also foretold of a time of "birth pains" as the Old Testament foretells.
* Birth pains come at the right time. They begin gradually. Rather quickly they increase in intensity and strength and then very quickly they end.
>What can we learn here?
* We should not be alarmed or troubled when disasters and troubles come because such things must happen. Instead we should be encouraged because they are a sign of a great thing coming.
* We should give thanks to God and hope in him when such things come.
* we should continually keep faith and do God's work no matter what happens.
* We shouldn't put hope in the world, but in Jesus.
* We know that things will get worse before they become better.
>4. In verses 9-14, what else did Jesus say would happen?
* "'Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.'" (9-14)
* Events in order:
1) the apostles (and others) will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death (9a)
2) hated by all nations (9b)
3) many will turn away from the faith (10a)
4) will betray and hate each other (10b)
5) many false prophets will apear and deceive many people. (11)
6) the increase of wickedness (12a)
7) the love of most will grow cold (12b)
8) he who stands firm to the end will be saved (13)
9) this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations (14a)
10) and then the end will come.'" (14b)
* "fall away from the faith" -Jesus did not say "their" faith. The faith here represents a general concept of faith, not a personal faith.
* "by all nations" -Since Christians are members of the kingdom of God this is referring to kingdoms of men. At the middle of the tribulation all nations will hate Jews because all of them will have accepted Jesus as the Messiah. Already anti-Semitism has reached great proportions, greater than experience during World War II. If it were not for the church, anti-Semitism would be global.
* "false prophets" -The church in earlier verses was warned of false teachers and false christs. The warning against false prophets is towards Jews who have accepeted Jesus as the Messiah. As more and more Jews are accepting Jesus as the Messiah right now, fale prophets are increasing in numbers.
>Why do people hate Jesus' people?
* There is no reasonable explanation to their hate. (John 15:25)
* They hate us because:
1) they do not know God. (John 15:21)
2) of him (Jesus) (John 15:21)
3) we do not belong to the world. (John 15:19a)
4) Jesus chose us out of the world...(John 15:19b)
5) Jesus' people live different lives than people of the world do; they don't party, they don't sin nor do they advocate sin, they live godly lives.
6) preach the gospel (Col. 4:3)
>Who might false prophets be?
* False prophets teach things that go against Jesus teachings. They destroy God's set order and way.
* Example of false prophets: Muhammad, Marx and Marxism, Hitler, Capitalism, Materialism, Evolution, Humanism, Hinduism, New Age, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, The Way International, etc.
* False prophets give false hopes apart from Christ, or Christ plus something else (i.e. works, keeping the law, circumcision, baptism, speaking in tongues, witnessing, science and technology, medical field, weapons and armies, etc.)
>What happens under their influence? (12)
* "turn away from the faith" -They do not live by faith in Jesus.
* "Wickedness will increase" -Jesus said that we can tell false prophets by their fruit. It may take time, but eventually it will be seen that they are not of Christ.
* "people's hearts will become cold" -False prophets lead people away from Jesus, the source of God's love and the source of brotherly love.
* 2 Peter 2:1-3 "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."
>What must Jesus' people do in such times? (13-14; cf. 2 Tim. 4:7)
* "Stand firm to the end" -Repeated many times in the New Testament. Sometimes living by faith in Jesus and the kingdom of God is not easy. Yet we need to have faith to the end.
* "Preach the gospel of the kingdom in the whole world as a testimony" -Jesus will not come before preaching the gospel of the kingdom is finished. The church has been waiting for Lord Jesus to come because it is taught that his coming for us is imminent. So what is he saying here? Jesus often preached about the kingdom of God. Its true that when the apostles all had died the gospel went very far beyond Judea and into all the continents except North and South America. The gospel has since spread to every nation, every kingdom, every people group. There are perhaps only a few people that have not heard the good news. And there are some places that the gospel had been preached, but isn't preached anymore or has been quieted. Yet, during the seven years tribulation the gospel will have reached every nation.
* Paul claimed, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have keep the faith." (1 Tim. 4:7)
* 1 Corinthians 10:32-33 speaks of our mission to the Jew, the Gentile, and the church, "Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks (Gentiles) or the church of God-- even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved."
>What does this mean?
* Always belive in Jesus and proclaim him everywhere in spite of what happens and what people say and think.
* Our testimony about Jesus is an ongoing life event.
* Speading the gospel is a personal life mission given to us by Jesus.
II. They Will See the Son of Man Coming (15-31)
>5. What do verses 15-16 mean?
* "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel -let the reader understand -then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (15-16)
* "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood; War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.'" (Daniel 9:25-27)
* 2 Thessalonians 2:4 "He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."
* "standing in the holy place" -The temple interior consisted of two large main rooms. The rooms were separated by a shear curtain. (Matt. 27:51) The back room was the "Holy of Holiess" and the front room was the "Holy Room".
* "the mountains" -The Transjordan mountains where Pella was located.
* "in Judea" -This is not the rest of the world, this is for the Jews (those in Judea). All of them are to go to Pella.
>What does this "abomination" refer to?
* "abominaion" -Abomination is something that elicits great dislike or abhorrence.
* "desolation" -Desolation means a ruin or a wasteland.
* The Syrian/Greek Antiochus first profaned the temple in December, 164 B.C. by pouring swine's blood and broth on the alter and building an alter to Jupiter in the Holy Place. Later, Rome also did this during what they called "The Jewish Wars". In 70 A.D. the conqueror of Jerusalem for Rome set up the Roman plague (see also Luke 13:1) on the temple and Jerusalem was soon completely destroyed. This will be done another time, during the seven years Daniel speaks of, just before the second coming of Christ.
* Mark adds "does not belong" because only the high priest, descendants of Levi, were allowed to go in the this area, and that only once a year after they had been purified by the spinkling of blood. (Heb. 9:1-8)
* Soon someone will again set up something that God greatly dislikes that causes ruin on a wing of the temple. When this happens everyone can be warned to leave Judea to the mountains for trouble times will come. The temple in Jerusalem has not been built yet. However excavations, satellite images, plans, and preparations have been started ever since Israel gained control of Jerusalem in 1967 A.D. Stones have been cut, all the temple artefacts are made, the priest's clothing is finished, the priests have been identified and are trained. Everything is ready except the building being finished.
* "let the reader understand" -Added by Matthew. He's telling us to look up Daniel and study the Bible to find out what this means.
* This is not the rapture of the church, the congregation/body of Jesus. This will happen after a seven year treaty has been signed between the antichrist and Israel.
>In what respect does this abomination reflect an inverted creation order?
* Replacing something in the place of God places creation and man before God. Since it has happened already twice and will happen again. The abomination that causes desolation is evidence of our spiritual condition; that is, not putting God first in worship, service, and our life. It is inverted creation order.
>In what respect is this a preview of the end of the age?
* Its a sign that man will become utterly corrupt and rebellious to God as in the days of Noah.
* The extent of the inverted creation order in the time that I live has grown to great proportions. Many are seeking to remove anything to do with God from every aspects of human life with great success. False religions that invert the creation order is on the rise. Many are falling away from worship of the one and only true Creator God, the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 1:1-14)
>6. In such terrible times, how do materialism and attachment to the world ensnare people? (17-18)
* "Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak." (17-18)
* "on the roof of his house" -The cool place during the early evening hours in the middle east in ancient times was a "porch" set up on their flat roofs. The roof either had a hole in it or a ladder was placed on the outside of the house so people could go up there to cool off. The roof often had a canopy supported by poles over it and cushions for relaxing in the shade. (Acts 10:9-22)
* Many Christians fled to the mountains when the Roman army came to Jerusalem. (Hebrews 13:12-14)
* The Letter to the Hebrews was written a few years before 66 A.D. Chapter 13:11-14 states, "The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come."
* Placing a value higher than God and obeying his words to something else will lead to being ensnared. Jesus taught in the parable of the four different soils that the soil with thorns and thistles stopped the plants from producing fruit.
>What can we learn from this?
* We need to keep God first in our hearts had lives.
* We should not hold onto things in this world.
* We should be ready to go and to die at the right time and at any time.
* Sometimes faith has to overcome logic.
* We need to remember Lot's wife. she turned to look back at Sodom and turned into a pilar of salt.
* We should search our hearts to see if we are eager for Jesus to come right now, or do we have plans and loves that keep us from a pure hope in the kingdom of God.
* I remember a time many years ago when I was young in faith. A booklet came out titled 88 reasons Jesus will come in 88. I did not believe it, yet it did make me search my heart. Do I look for and want him to come right now. Or do I love something in the world or have a hope in the world that wants me to have him hold off for a while.
>7. What must we do in such times of distress? (19-21)
* "How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again.'" (19-21)
* "pray" -We need to pray and keep watch.
* "or on the Sabbath" -Matthew was the only one to include this because his audience was mainly Jews. Jews were only allowed to travel up to half a mile (800m) on the Sabbath.
* "dreadful" -striking terror, unpleasant
* "pregnant women and nursing mothers" -the most vulnerable
>How will God help his own people? (22)
* "'If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.'" (22)
* "cut short... those days will be shortened" -This is confusing and can be understood several ways. Does he mean the twenty-four hour day will be less hours as some have claimed? This seems unlikely because it would imply the world would spin faster. Though God stopped the earth for Joshua or made it turn backwards for Hezekiah, this does not seem to be the case here.
Another possibility claimed by some is that Jesus is saying that he will stop what man is doing as "those days" refers to the time of the great tribulation. Thus, when the armies of the world meet in Megido to attack Israel at the end of the seven years of tribulation Jesus will stop them. In other words, the Lord Jesus will stop their war by coming in the sky with the glory of the Lord and wiping them out. (Ezekiel 38 seems to indicate this.) Jesus said that he will do this because if he didn't no one would survive the great war against God's people.
One other possibility is that during the latter part of the seven years the prophetic clock will be stopped by his sudden unexpected coming before the seven years are finished. He will come before they are finished to protect his people, this stopping the prophetic clock. Then he will start his 1,000 year rule (Millennium). After the 1,000 years finish the prophetic clock will start up again and the seven years will be finished. The way that Daniel was told about the seventy weeks makes this a possibility. Already once after 69 weeks the prophetic clock was stopped for two thousand years. Few Israelites and Jews (if any) before Jesus' coming understood that Daniel's seventy weeks prophetic clock would stop after 69 weeks. The two thousand years age of preaching the gospel was a great surprise even to the apostles. So it is possible that the 70th week will be interrupted too. This I believe to be the most probable.
* "no one would survive" -Mankind would destroy himself and God's people if God didn't stop it.
* "for the sake of the elect" -When God’s wrath is poured out on the unrepentant and unbelievers, he will not pour it out on his beloved ones, his forgiven bride. Many verses back this up, for example Exodus 12:12-13. Also, God protected Noah and his family, and Lot and his family before those judgments. 2 Peter 2:5-9 states, “if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)-- if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.” See also Mark 13:20, Luke 17:24-36, Heb. 11:5, Gen. 5:24, and Jude 1:14-15)
* The Lord Jesus has always acted on the behalf of his people. He is always with the elect. Psalm 34:15-19 agrees with this. It says, "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all" Because his people are in the world, in a country, in a state, in a city, then those areas are blessed by the Lord Jesus.
* "elect" -eklektos in Greek meaning chosen, by implication also favourite.
* God controls and prearranges past, present, and future.
* Even if the number of the elect is small, God will still act because of those few. We are his salt and light. Abraham asked the Lord if only ten were left would he spare the city of Sodom, and the Lord said he would.
* The last minutes before the rapture and Jesus' coming it will be hard to be a follower of Jesus. Standing out as a follower of Jesus at times will be hard. In these days we must really believe and stand out for Jesus and the gospel. We shouldn't be like Lot who slowly blended in and suffered for it though a righteous man.
>8. How will some try to deceive God's people? (23-26)
* "'At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.'" (23-26)
* "At that time" -At that time and other phrases like it (i.e. "in the last days", "in the day of the Lord") are often used by the prophets and apostles as well. This refers to the coming of Jesus and the day of God's wrath. (2 Timothy 3:1; Isaiah 13:6,9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Joel 1:15; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Malachi 4:5; perhaps Zechariah 14:1 too)
* "in the last days" -"In the last days" and "in that day" and "in the day of the Lord" all refereed to the future from the Old Testament prophets' and the New Testament apostles point of view. They all referred to events concerning Jesus first and second coming. The day of the Lord is the time when God reveals His sovereignty over human powers and human existence.
* Seven Old Testament prophets (Isa. 13:6,9; Eze. 13:5, 30:3; Joel 1:15; Amos 5:18,20; Oba. 1:15; Zep. 1:7,14; Mal. 4:5; perhaps Zec. 14:1 too) uses the term "the day of the Lord". Sometimes they abbreviated it to "that day". It was familiar to their audience, a term by which the audience expected light and salvation (Amos 5:18), but the prophets painted it as a day of darkness and judgment (Isa. 2:10-22; 13:6,9; Joel 1:15; 2:1-11,31; 3:14-15; Amos 5:20; Zeph. 1:7-8,14-18; Mal. 4:5). The Old Testament language of the day of the Lord is aimed at warning sinners among God’'s people of the danger of trusting in traditional religion without commitment to God and to His way of life. It is language that could be aimed at judging Israel or that could be used to promise deliverance from evil enemies (Isa. 13:6,9; Ezek. 30:3; Obad. 15). The day of the Lord is thus a point in time in which God displays His sovereign initiative to reveal His control of history, of time, of His people, and of all people.
* Eschatology is the teaching concerning the last things in world history. The Greek word "eschatos" means “"last"” or “"final".” Accordingly, eschatology is the study of the things expected to occur at the end of history. This does not include what will happen after the Lord Jesus creates the new heaven and the new earth as described at the end of Revelation.
* For more information on the future of believers in Jesus read the manuscript The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires.
* "false christ" -False christs are self proclaimed saviors of men and/or mankind. They are often impressive to behold. False christs are possible in a society ignorace of God's word, not living by the Spirit, and living a confusion of lies.
* "there is the Christ" -They will point to other types of saviors and leaders.
>How can we avoid being deceived? (24-27)
* "'For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible, See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.'" (24-27)
* "if that were possible" -The elect know Jesus and his teachings. They eagerly seek out his meanings and live by his commands. Bible study is very important and is a vital part of watching and discerning.
* "see I have told you ahead of time" -We need to study the Bible to be told.
* A common theme of false teachers, false prophets, and false christs has always been, "We have a new and/or changed revelation". The final antichrist will have this message too.
* Jesus has revealed all in his word, both New and Old Testaments. No new revelation is needed. As we study the word the Holy Spirit reveals truths to us. We need understanding which comes from the Holy Spirit through prayer, fasting, and clear literal Bible study.
* "lightening...so will be the coming of the Son of Man" -This is referring to the rapture of the church and his physical coming at the end of the seven years of tribulation.
* 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 states, "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."
* Revelation 22:18-19 states, "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."
>What does verse 28 mean?
* "'Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.'" (28)
* Jesus' coming will be obvious to all.
* Revelation 19:17-18 states, "And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great."
>9. What did Jesus promise will happen at the end? (29-30)
* "'Immediately after the distress of those days, 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will shaken' At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. " (29-30)
* "Immediately after the distress of those days" -The events that Jesus describes here is also found in Revelation 6:12-14, 8:12 and Mark 13:24-25 (quoted from Isaiah 13:10, 34:4 and Joel 3:14-15). These are the days of the great tribulation. The seven year period before Jesus comes will start when the antichrist signs a seven year treaty with Israel. Halfway through this seven period the antichrist will break this treaty. All this is explained in Revelation, Daniel and other prophets. That is when the abomination that causes desilation is set up in the Most Holy Place in the Temple (or Tabernacle) in Jerusalem on the temple mount. The last three and a half years are the great tribulation that these events will happen. Immediately after these events Jesus will come. Please read Revelations 19.
* God will pour out seven years of wrath and judgment. (Revelation 6-18, Daniel 9:24-27, Jeremiah 30:7, Isaiah 34:2) During the seven years a few will repent and accept Jesus as their King and Bridegroom. Many if not all Jews will also accept Jesus as the Messiah. (Rev. 7 & 14) During the seven years the man of lawlessness will be revealed, deceiving many, uniting them against the Kingdom of God and all who belong to it. (2 Th. 2:1-12) At the very end of the seven years all the armies of the earth will gather together in the valley of Megiddo in Israel to battle each other and Jesus, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. (Ps. 2) The battle is referred to as Armageddon. (Rev. 16:16) When the armies are gathered together Jesus will return to earth marking the beginning of the next age, the Millennium. (Rev. 12:16-21) Jesus’ enemies have been telling people that Armageddon is the end of the world. This is a lie. Armageddon is not the end of the world. It is the end of this age and the beginning of the greatest age mankind has ever experienced, the Millennium. (Rev. 19)
* See pictures of a solar eclipse (left) and a lunar eclipse (right) event to the right.
* "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light" -Some believe that this will be due to volcano eruptions, meteors, large explosions, cities burning during wars, and/or forest fires. Others believe God will make them grow dark super naturally (miracle). A new understanding of this is explained by Pastor John Hagaee's in his book and three DVD series titled "The Four Blood Moons". He explains that in 2014 and 2015 on Passover and Sukkot during both years the moon will have a partial eclipse that will turn it red and inbetween these four there will be a total eclipse of the sun on the first day of the Hebrew calendar.
* "the stars will fall from the sky" -Some believe this will be meteors. Revelation 8:10-11 states, "The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water-- the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter." The Old Testament prophets also spoke of stars falling.
* Jesus quoted Isaiah 13:10 and 34:4.
* "At that time" -The sun, moon, and starts will be an announcement that Jesus is coming in glory.
* "the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky" -Some say the sign is a special arrangement of the moon, stars and planets. However, Jesus just said, "the moon will not give its light." I believe this is the "shekinah" presence of God. "Shekinah" is a Hebrew word translated "Glory." More on that in the points below.
* "They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky" -Jesus' reply to the chief priest during his trial says the same thing. "The high priest said to him, 'I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' 'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied. 'But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'" (Matthew 26:63-64)
* "coming on the clouds of the sky" -Jesus will be coming in glory to judge the nations and save Israel and Judah. The cloud of heaven is the bright shining glory of the Lord. Glory is "kabad' in Hebrew meansing a bright sinning cloud surrounding the LORD God. The glory of the Lord came on Mt. Sinai just after the Lord led the Israelites out of Egypt (Ex. 16:7-10, 24:16-17), in desert Tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-38; Lev. 9:6, 23; Num. 14:10), and in the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Ki. 8:10-11; 2 Ch. 5:14, 7:1-3, Isa. 6:1-4). Jesus coming in the glory of the Lord is prophecies by Isaiah (Is. 4:2-6; Isa. 35:1-2; 40:4-5; 59:19-20; 60). Ezekiel also saw the glory of the Lord. (Ez. 1:25-28; 3:12, 22-23; 9:3-4; 10:3-4, 18-22; 11:22-23; 43:1-5; 44:4). Luke 2:9 says the glory of the Lord shown over the shepherds when they angles said Jesus was born. Paul calls Jesus the "Lord of glory" in 1 Cor. 2:8 and the "radiance of God's glory" in Hebrews 1:3.
* Jesus revealed his past glory and future glory while on the mount of transfiguration. (Matt. 17:1-17) John the Apostle stated at the beginning of his gospel, "We have seen his glory..." John also saw Jesus in the glorious resurrected body and recorded it in Rev. 1:7-18 and 4:1-11.
>Who are the two kinds of people he will find on earth?
* "'And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.'" (31)
* The faithful and the unfaithful.
* See a picture of two silver trumpets to the right.
* "with a loud trumpet call" -This trumpet is the last (1 Corinthians 15:52) of seven to gathering "his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." Revelations speaks of seven trumpets and the Feast of Trumpets has a continual blowing of trumpets. Joshua and the people of Israel marched around Jericho seven times in as many days. Each day they sounded trumpets as they marched. The trumpet that calls the church to heaven is the last of many trumpets to come, this trumpet.
* The trumpets that the Bible speak about concerning Jesus' second coming is one of the many subjects I wrote on in the manuscript The Believer's Future- Hope That Inspires. The Feast of Trumpets (Lev. 23:23-25; Num. 29:1-6) is just one place that the Bible foretells of his second coming. The Feast of Trumpets is on the first day of the seventh month in the Hebrew Calendar. Each month of the Hebrew Calendar starts on the day that the first sliver of the new moon is seen in Jerusalem. No one knew then or now exactly when the new moon would appear over the two to three days that it is completely dark. This is impossible to predict because of the changing and erratic rotation of the earth and orbit of the moon. For example recent earthquakes and volcano eruptions have changed the speed and wobble of the earth's rotation. Priests would stand on the Temple Mount and stare into the sky looking for the first sliver to appear. When they first saw the moon they would blow a trumpet signalling other trumpets all throughout Israel to sound. Each month this would be the beginning of a New Moon Festival. On the seventh month it would also be the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets.
>What will his coming mean to each of them?
* The faithful will see Jesus' coming with joy. They will reign with him during the Millennium. Their home will be in the New Jerusalem.
* The unfaithful will be judged and go to hell.
* Revelation 3:11-13 "I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
* Revelation 21:1-4 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
* God is just.
* Verse 30 states that all will know the Jesus is coming no matter what. The sun will go dark so that all will see his glory.
* Zechariah 12:10-14 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, and all the rest of the clans and their wives."
* John 19:37 speaking of Jesus' crucifixion stated, "and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."
* Revelation 1:7-8 "Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.'"
III. Be a Faithful and Wise Servant (32-51)
>10. How can Jesus' people have spiritual insight to interpret the times? (32-34)
* "'Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all thses things have happened.'" (32-34)
* Now learn this" -We need to study to learn. We need the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth as we study.
* "As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out" -Jesus and his disciples were sitting in an olive garden in the spring time. The garden might have contained fig trees too. The leaves would have been coming out at that time.
* "from the fig tree" -The fig tree and olive tree are often symbols of Israel and Judea in the Bible. (Hos. 9:10, Matt. 21:18-20, Mark 11:12-20, Luke 13:6-9, Rom. 11:13, 17-24, Ezek. 37:5-27, Jer. 11:16-17) Israel originally consisted of twelve tribes when they entered and conquered the land God promised them. Just after the reign of Solomon, David’'s son, the twelve tribes split into two nations; the northern and the southern kingdoms of Israel. (1 Kings 12) The northern kingdom consisted of ten tribes of Israel and was called Ephraim (Hos. 4:17, 5:3, 7:1), Samaria (Hos. 7:1, 8:5-6, 13:16), house of Joseph (1 Kings 11:28), and house of Israel (1 Kings 12:21, Jer. 31:31). The southern kingdom consisted of the other tribes of Israel and was called Judea. The two kingdoms grew to hate each other through most of their existence. (1 Kings 11, 12, 2 Chron. 10)
Assyria conquered the northern kingdom and brought them into captivity around 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17:7-23) Most never returned to the land God promised them. They lost their national identity. They intermarried with the other nations of the world. The ten tribe's DNA is scattered throughout the world. By Jesus’ time the land of the northern tribes was called Samaria (Luke 17:11, John 4) and Galilee of the Gentiles (Matt 4:15). God divorced the northern kingdom, an unfaithful wife. (Jer. 3:6-8)
The southern kingdom was defeated by Babylon and taken into captivity in 605 B.C., 597 B.C., 596 B.C., and 581 B.C. (2 Chronicles 36) Though they were an unfaithful wife, God did not divorce the southern kingdom. (Ps. 89:1-3, 28-37) Starting in 538 B.C. some Jews began returning to the land God promised them. First, they rebuilt the Temple and then Jerusalem's walls with Artaxerxes’s decree in 445/4 B.C (Nem. 2:1-8). They often called themselves Israel although the reborn nation was only two and one half tribes of the original twelve tribes of Israel (Judea, Levi, and half the tribe of Benjamin). By Jesus’ time they were an occupied nation whose leader was never Jewish nor David's descendant. (Luke 3:1)
Jesus told his disciples that Judea would again fall. In 70 A.D., forty years after his death and resurrection, Judea ceased being a nation when the armies of Rome attacked and burned Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city, tore down the Temple, the center of the Jewish religion, and devastated all the other towns and villages in Israel. The short Roman military campaign forced most Jews to quickly leave Israel’s borders and scatter into many countries throughout the world. Most kept their national identity and longed to return to the land God promised them. For many years the land was uninhabited other than a few Gentile nomads and scattered peoples. (Luke 21:24)
Many Jews began returning to the land of Israel at the ending of World War I in 1918. From the beginning of the Jewish return to the Promised Land it has been a time of war and trouble. The amount of Jews returning rose dramatically when the Nazis and Soviets persecuted and murdered Jews before, during and shortly after World War II (1939-1945). By 1948 Jewish population amount and hearts were ready to be a nation again. Jews there proclaimed freedom from British rule and called their land Israel. Most see this as the fulfillment of Jesus’ words concerning Israel the fig tree sprouting leaves.
Yet Jesus prophecy goes beyond Jews (and all Israel) returning to the land of their forefathers and re-establishing an Israel nation. God's compassion is for people. Since the early 1970s many Jews have accepted Jesus as the Messiah. Not since Jesus established the church (when at that time the church was comprised of almost all Jews) has this happened. Surely this is more of a fulfillment of Jesus’ words than Israel being established as a nation.
Jesus words concerning Israel being fulfilled stirs hope that the physical Kingdom of God on this earth is near. Our King's coming is near. We know that Jesus will soon come and establish his physical kingdom on this earth answering the believers’ prayers, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” During the current age the King rules in the hearts of a few; in the soon to come age, the King will rule in heart and in physical form in his world wide government. The King’'s coming kingdom is his bride’s hope.
* "when you see these things" -Jesus has just mentioned a lot of signs.
* "this generation" -The things that Jesus spoke of happened during his generation with the exception of the gospel being preached to the ends of the earth (as noted above it is believed that it did not reach North and South America). The generation alive during the seven years of tribulation will also see all the things Jesus just prophecied.
>What is the eternal standard? (35)
* "'Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.'" (35)
* "My words will never pass away" -Jesus' words are sure and true, absolute through eternity.
* 2 Peter 3:3-7 "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men."
* We need to live by faith in the word of God.
* The world will not come to an end through man's wars or a natural disaster. God is in total control of the world and all in, over, and above it.
>11. Who knows when the end will come? (36)
* "'No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.'" (36)
* "No one knows about that day or hour" -The day he is referring to is the day mentioned in verse 35 "heaven and earth will pass away". The first question the disciples had asked "when will this happen" Jesus did not answer. Many have predicted dates for the rapture, the time of the tribulation period, and the end of the world. They all have been wrong and brought much disgrace to the people of God. Stop predicting dates and start preaching the gospel. Jesus did not command us to predict dates; he commanded us to preach the gospel.
* "not even the angels in heaven" -The angels know a lot, yet they do not know all.
* "nor the Son" -The Bible does not reveal the dates of heaven and earth passing away. Revelation 19 (fourth to last chapter) tells of Armageddon. Revelation 20 tells of the thousand year reign or Christ and the saints, Satan being set free from Hades and deceiving the nations for an unstated time, Satan's final doom, and the judgment of people, death, and Hades. Then Revelation 21:1 states, "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea." How long the events of chapter 20 take is not known because none of Scripture records the day or hour of these events.
* "Son" -Two of Jesus' many titles are Son of Man and Son of God.
* "only the Father" -Jesus called God his Father because when he was conceived in and entered Mary's womb she was a virgin. Hebrews 1:5 says, "For to which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father?' Or again, 'I will be his Father, and he will be my Son'?"
>How will it be at his coming? (37-41)
* "'As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.'" (37-39)
* "in the days of Noah" -A study of Genesis chapters 6 to 9 shows the characteristic of his time. After that take a look at your city and the local, national, and international news. Doing so will reveal what people were like in the times of Noah and Lot.
* "they knew nothing about what would happen" -The people were not ready for the flood even though they were told because they did not believe.
* Hebrews 11:7 states, "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith."
* Peter wrote that the spirits in prison "who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ," (1 Peter 3:20-21)
* Peter also wrote, "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)-- if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority." (2 Peter 2:4-10a)
* "'Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.'" (40-41)
* "one will be taked the other left" -Some say this is talking about the rapture. Others say that since Jesus had just got finished talking about Noah being saved in the ark and the unrepentant being taken away that those Jesus says here is "taken" are the unrepentant at the time Jesus physically comes to earth during the battle of Armageddon. The later seems correct because it goes with the flow of Jesus' teaching.
* Isaiah 63:1-6 says, "Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save." Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? "I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground."
>In light of this, what does he command us? (42-44)
* "'Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the heir was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.'" (42-44)
* "Therefore" -From here thru to the end of the next chapter Jesus will teach parables to describe all that he had just literally foretold.
* "you do not know on what day your Lord will come" -Jesus tells his bride, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed,” (Rev. 16:15) and “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book. (Rev. 22:7) Again he states most assuredly, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:12-15)
The Morning Star is the name given to the planet Venus when it brilliantly appears in the East (morning sky) before sunrise. Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary, “(Jesus) is the foundation of all light… as such has given to his churches this morning light of prophecy, to assure them of the light of that perfect day which is approaching.” Henry Morris wrote in his book The Revelation Record, “This is, thus, a blessed reminder to all His people in the churches, that they should watch through the night for His coming, not being led astray by Lucifer, who had aspired to rise above God but whose rebellion would soon be put down.”
Jesus wants his bride to always be ready and eagerly wait for his coming to take us away to be with him for eternity; at any moment, any day, any hour, and any second. (1 Cor. 15:51-52, Phil. 3:20, 1 Thess. 1:10, 1 Tim. 6:14, James 5:8) The trumpets blasts and the bride being taken away (rapture) is the next occurrence in the Hebrew calendar. This is when Jesus will appear in the heavens (though not touching the earth; Acts 1:9-11) and his angels reaping the harvest of believers (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Then we shall see him with our own eyes (Psalm 17:19, 1 John 3:2). The above verses are not the only place that Jesus tells us this. Many of his parables teach us this. (Matt. 13:30, 21:34, 25:19, Mark 4:29, 12:2) Imminence means something is about to happen. Jesus' bride has always looked to his coming to take them away imminently; including the apostles, Clement, Cyprian, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Letimer, A. W. Tozer, Billy Graham, etc.
* Several points in this study is taken from the manuscript The Believer's Future- Hope That Inspires
>What does it mean to keep watch?
* "keep watch" -Before Jesus comes to take us away the true believers continually pray and stay spiritually alert in joyous anticipation. The watching here is a bit different.The Greek word for watch has eight different meanings. When the sign of the Son appears they will watch in anxiety and fear.
>12. What does it mean to be a faithful and wise servant? (45-47)
* "'Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in is household to give them their food at the proper time? It wil be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.'" (45-47)
* "gave them their food" -The word of God is our daily bread. Jesus is the word incarnate.
* "doing so when he returns" -We need to continually preach and teach the world of God.
>What does the other kind of servant do, and why? (48-51)
* "'But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time.' And he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.'" (48-49)
* "that servant is wicked" -Wicked is described as:
3) self centered
4) doesn't consider himself responsible and accountable for his actions
6) doubts his master coming (unbelief)
>What happens to him?
* "The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'" (50-51)
* If you are saved you will have to give an account before Jesus to see if you earned the rewards prepared for you or if you will lose them. If you are not saved you will stand before Jesus and be found wanting and thus guilty.
>What can we learn here?
* Repent and believe.