Read Matthew 24
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
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?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 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 come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 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.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
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. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 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; 39 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. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready,because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 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. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The Day and Hour Unknown
In Matthew 23, Jesus left the temple in Jerusalem crying out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…” (v. 37). Sadly, He knew the majority of His own people had rejected Him as Messiah. His public teaching is finished, and now here He is telling His disciples many prophecies of what’s to come in the future.
The first prophecies concerned the total destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which ultimately occurred in 70 AD. He then taught the disciples earthly signs of his return including false teachers, wars, world strife, famines, earthquakes, flagrant evil, and brutal persecution of Christ followers. The disciples were told to notice these “birth pains” and remain “ready” in their faith. In verse 21, Jesus said, “There will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” Verses 29-30 vividly described what His return will look like. We as believers, now, must take all these signs and descriptions to heart. Christ is telling the disciples and us to stand ready in faith in Him alone. He reminds his followers of Noah and those who did not take heed to the judgment that was coming. Unrepentant people laughed and ridiculed Noah (and God, too) over his faith and obedience. We all know how the story ended.
While there is now way for us to know the exact time or date of Jesus’s future return (v. 42), we do know we should diligently do all that we can to further the Kingdom here on earth while we wait with hopeful anticipation of what’s to come. The joyous answer to all this is in this summary of verses 45-46:
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.”
Shall we be afraid that we won’t measure up when Christ returns? No! By faith in Christ alone, we are His forever and receive our inheritance of eternal life with Him. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” When Christ returns (and He will because He said so), may all of us be found with hearts that are sincere, pure, and joyous seeing Christ face to face!
- Are you prepared to meet Him? If not, what must you do to be prepared?
- What is your standing today before Jesus?
- Depending on your answer above, write a prayer of repentance or rededication to Christ. It will bring joy and peace to your soul!
Matthew Henry wrote, “The Lord’s return will be happy to those ready! A repenting sinner looks and sees Christ. Impenitent sinners shall see who they pierced, though laughing now, will mourn and weep.”
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