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102: The End of the Age–Part I [Generalities]

May 15, 2009

Major Text: Matthew 24:1-14

Harmony Texts:

Matt. 24:1-14       Mark 13:1-14      Luke 21:5-19

Key Verse: Matt. 24:4,13

Outline:

  1. Two Big Questions Matt. 24:1-3
  2. Jesus Answers in General Terms Matt. 24:4-14

Context/Comments/Discussion:

Jesus and His disciples leave the temple area after a full day of teaching on this Tuesday. They pass by buildings built of stone and marvel at their construction, size, and beauty. Jesus takes this opportunity to explain that these buildings will all be destroyed.

They settle in at the Mount of Olives [they are no longer staying at Bethany], probably camping along with many other pilgrims because of it’s proximity to the Temple, to water, and available shade. The disciples come to Jesus privately, away from the crowds, asking two questions; 1] “ When will this happen?” [the Temple destruction] and 2] “What signs will they have in advance to know the end of the age?” They asked the questions as if they were one but they are really two questions.

Jesus does not give His disciples a specific sign or time for the Temple’s destruction. We know it happened at the hand of the Romans in 70AD. Archaeological evidence proves Jesus was right in saying one stone would not be attached to another and no stones would remain. It is speculated that the hot fire caused the water in the limestone to expand [steam] and the stones literally exploded into a pile of rubble. By 70AD there were wars, there was persecution of the Saints, there were legalizers in the Church [Galatians], the Gnostics were beginning to speak out [false prophets], and the Gospel was being preached to the known world. All these fit with the 9 general signs Jesus gave:

  1. Deceivers/anti-christs.
  2. Wars and rumors of wars.
  3. Famines.
  4. Earthquakes.
  5. Persecution of Believers.
  6. Family rebellion [Mark 13]
  7. False Prophets.
  8. Rise of wickedness and the subsiding of love.
  9. Gospel message known to all men.

Just reading this five part discourse by itself will leave you with the sense that Daniel’s 70th week starts after Jesus’ crucifixion. Some still hold to this interpretation today. But let me refer you to Romans 11:25 [also Luke 21:24] which indicates an interlude for the Gentiles/Church. So be careful when studying prophecy and be sure to include passages in Daniel, Revelation, I and II Thessalonians, and many of the Minor Prophets. Use all of Scripture to get the full picture.

Let me summarize in this manner. The signs in this passage are General. The message is Be on Guard! His purpose is to provide us with Understanding and His promise is that By standing firm, we will not be touched [Luke] but be saved.

Also consider that Matthews account is written from a Jewish perspective, Mark’s account [Peter] is written from the disciples perspective, and Luke’s account is written from the Church’s/Gentile’s perspective.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Understand that these signs are general in nature. Beware of those who would deceive you. Stand firm in your faith.
  2. There is an end of what we know to be. Only those who have placed their faith in the True Christ will be saved.
  3. God is Sovereign and knows the future. Place your trust in Him alone.
  4. There is a bumper sticker that reads: No Peace; Know Peace. There will be no lasting peace until Jesus comes again. But we can have His lasting Peace now just as soon as we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
  5. Life as we know it will continue to deteriorate further. Expect natural disasters and man-made conflicts. Know the signs so you will not be led astray.
  6. We, as Christians, can and must do much to lessen the rate of descent/decline from love to wickedness but recognize Satan rules for now. Know the Word and be prepared to stand up against deceivers and false prophets.

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