This may be one of the most oft studied chapters of Matthew’s Gospel, but tragically I think it is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted. Matthew 24 is the opening of what is commonly referred to as the “Olivet Discourse,” because it was delivered by Jesus while seated upon the Mount of Olives, overlooking the temple in ancient Jerusalem. Many modern evangelicals are drawn to this passage because it is the longest eschatological teaching of Jesus in the Scriptures. I’m certain that I could spend a huge amount of time writing and talking about this passage, but I won’t. That said, I think there is one important point I’d like to draw your attention to.
Jesus’ disciples ask Him some questions at the open of this chapter that many of us would like the answer to: “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Jesus begins by informing His followers what are not the signs. Unfortunately, unless we read His response carefully, we’ll wrongly teach these signs as the signs, when Jesus said they’re not.
Don’t be deceived. False Christs; wars and rumors of wars; famines, pestilence and earthquakes in various places; tribulation, false prophets, and lawlessness (according to Jesus) are not the signs of His coming. A careful reading of Matthew 24:4-14 makes this clear. These things are “the beginning of sorrows,” but “the end is not yet.” This is the description of life in a fallen world, but every time there is a great war, a famine, a massive earthquake and increased persecution Christians start to say, “This is the end!” Don’t be deceived… this is life in a fallen world.
I’ve already written too much. What’s the sign of the end?
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), … “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
– Matthew 24:15 & 21
Don’t get caught up in the hysteria of Bible prophecy cryptography. Just be a student of the Scriptures. And don’t be afraid when you see all the craziness of the world. The last words of the Bible make it clear. In the end, He wins!
Enduring Word Commentary with Pastor David Guzik
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Additional Daily Devotionals
My Utmost for His Highest | Oswald Chambers
Morning & Evening | Charles Spurgeon
Books on the Gospels
“Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” by Alfred Edersheim