Matthew, Chapter 24
Matt. 24:1 "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his
disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. 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."
Several things in
the scriptures cause us to understand that the disciples were looking
for the same thing that multitudes of people are looking for today. They
were looking for a Messiah to come, reestablish the Kingdom of Israel,
and make them a great kingdom once again.
First, they did not want to believe when Jesus spoke of his death and
resurrection. They could not get past what he said that he would die.
Peter even rebuked the Lord for speaking of his death and resurrection:
Mk. 8:31 "And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer
many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests,
and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he
spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him."
Second, before the
Lord ascended back into glory, the disciples asked: Acts 1:6 "When they
therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou
at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"
Third, the temple
was a central part of the worship in the nation of Israel. For the
temple to be destroyed was contrary to what the disciples at that time
believed would happen.
Many people today
are looking for a Messiah to come and to establish a kingdom and reign
in that kingdom for a thousand literal years. Today there are plans
underway to restore the temple in Jerusalem. The temple is central to a
reestablished kingdom. All of this shows a misunderstanding of the true
kingdom of God.
The disciples came
to show the Lord the buildings of the temple. They were proud of that
temple and perhaps thought that this is where Jesus would reign and be
worshipped. To their surprise, Jesus said, "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." This, no doubt, was a shock to
the disciples and prompted the questions that followed in verse 3. These
questions we will consider in the next essay.
Matt. 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?"
These three questions the disciples asked in response to what Jesus had
said concerning the temple, "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."
The third question
is controversial even among Primitive Baptists. The controversy
surrounds what is meant by "end of the world." The word, "world," is
translated from the Greek word, "aion," meaning age. Were the disciples
asking for a sign for when the "age of the law covenant" would end? On
the other hand, were they asking for a sign for when this time world
would end? I have read and heard well thought out arguments and
rationale for either side of this issue. I will not fall out with any
brother who disagrees with my position on this issue.
I believe the question the disciples were asking was for a sign for when
the "age of the law covenant would end. My reasons for believing this
are as follows:
1. The questions of
the disciples was in response to what the Lord had said about the
destruction of the temple. To ask for a sign for the end of this time
world would seem to have no direct correlation to what the Lord said
about the destruction of the temple.
2. In the accounts given in Mark and Luke only the first two questions
are listed and yet the answer the Lord gave is substantially the same.
a. Mark 13:4 "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the
sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?"
b. Luke 21:7 "And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these
things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to
3. The statement the Lord said in verses 34 and 35, "Verily I say unto
you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." It
would appear that the generation of which the Lord was speaking was the
generation of the apostles. If this is so, then all the things of which
the Lord spake were fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem about 70
An objection is
sometimes raised as to the meaning of "Heaven and earth shall pass
away." Some have taken this to mean the end of this time world. However,
the phrase "heaven and earth" is sometimes used to indicate the age of
the "law covenant" and the age of the "covenant of grace." See Rev.
4. Some of the
things that are sometimes attributed to the end of the time world just
do not seem to fit.
a. Verses 42 through 51 are associated with the sign of the Lord's
coming and indicate the need to watch unless dire consequences happen
due to failure to watch. Yet, there will be no dire consequences for
God's children in heaven or rewards or punishments in heaven.
b. The statement that one shall be taken and the other left does not fit
what we are told will happen in the end of this time world. The
scriptures teach that there will be a resurrection of the just and the
unjust. There will be none left on earth, but the "just" shall be
carried to glory and the "unjust" shall be cast into the lake of fire.
Based on the above I
believe that the three questions the disciples raised pertain to the
time of the destruction of the temple and the sign of the Lord's coming
in judgment upon the nation of Israel and the sign of the end of the law
Matt. 24:4 "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man
deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and
shall deceive many. 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. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and
earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
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. 10 And then
shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one
another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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."
Almost all of the
things mentioned above are prevalent in the world today. However, at the
time this was said unto the apostles, those fierce persecutions and that
deception concerning false Christs had not yet come. The Lord was
telling the apostles of circumstances and changes that they would be
able to recognize and understand when the time of the destruction of the
temple drew near and of his coming in judgment and of the end of the law
Deception is one of
Satan's chief tools today. He uses deception to cause people to worship
a false Christ. He has his ministry to preach a false Christ and to
teach about a false church and to preach a false works system salvation.
The Lord told the
disciples that the time would soon come that there would arise false
Christs (those taught by the false prophets) and many would be deceived.
Notice that they come in the name of Jesus Christ and thus deceive many
into believing in a false Christ.
"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. For nation shall rise
against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines,
and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the
beginning of sorrows." During our time of great technological advances
and extremely rapid communications, we read and hear about all of the
things mentioned here almost daily. We are also brought to realize that
these things have been happening somewhere in the world for a very long
period. Yet in the day of the apostles, the communications of events
happening in far places and isolated regions was generally never
communicated to most people. Only when the events happened in their
neighborhood did they usually know about them. The things, the Lord told
the apostles, which would happen, prior to the destruction of the
temple, were things that they would actually hear about.
Living as I do in Farmersville, Texas there are many things I would not
hear about if it were not for the technological advances of the last
century. Today, through television, radio, and the internet you hear
about things happening almost as soon as it happens. That was not true
in the days of the apostles.
"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. And then shall many be
offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." The
Lord was telling the apostles that before the destruction of the temple,
there would be arise great persecutions against the apostles and
disciples and there would come a falling away of many of the disciples
along with the betrayal of many of the disciples. History tells us that
these things happened both to the apostles and to many of the disciples
prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple.
"And many false
prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall
abound, the love of many shall wax cold." This statement is true of
every generation since the apostolic age. However, it was not yet true
at the time the Lord was telling this to the apostles. It soon came to
pass after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord
that false Judaizing teachers began to teach things they ought not for
filthy lucres sake and brought about Paul's admonition to the elders at
Ephesus: Acts 20:28 "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the
flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed
the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I
know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among
you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise,
speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." To
what would those that endure be saved from? They would be saved from the
wrathful judgment of God that would come upon the nation of Israel
because of all the innocent blood they had shed and because of the blood
of the prophets, and because of their rejection of the Lord.
"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." The gospel went unto all the
Jewish world on the day of Pentecost. Furthermore, the gospel went out
into all the Roman Empire world prior to the destruction of Jerusalem at
70 A. D: Col. 1:5 "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven,
whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 6 Which
is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit,
as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace
of God in truth."
Matt. 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:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the
mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any
thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return
back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and
to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be
not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 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. 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."
The Lord was giving
the disciples the time and a sign of when the disciples should flee into
the mountains preceding the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. He
refers them to the "abomination that maketh desolate" spoken of by
Daniel the prophet. This abomination that maketh desolate would stand or
be placed in the holy place. There are two passages that Daniel spoke
1. Dan 11:31 "And
arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of
strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place
the abomination that maketh desolate."
2. Dan 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."
There are two things
that stand out as signs that the disciples could lay hold on to
determine when they should flee Jerusalem to the mountains. First, there
would be the taking away of the daily sacrifice. Then there would be the
placing of the abomination that maketh desolate in the temple or holy
place. While we are not told in Daniel what this abomination is, it
would appear to be an abominable idol probably placed there by the Roman
government. Upon seeing these two signs, the disciples were instructed
to flee to the mountains in order to escape the wrathful judgment of God
rendered at the hands of the invading Roman army.
"Let him which is on
the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18
Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in
those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter,
neither on the sabbath day." History tells us that when the Roman army
surrounded Jerusalem, there was no avenue of escape for those within
Jerusalem. The time window for escaping the wrathful judgment was very
narrow and the disciples were not to tarry, but to flee with haste.
Further, the avenue to flee apparently was treacherous and perhaps
especially for the women carrying children in their wombs or nursing
"For then shall be
great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to
this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be
shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake
those days shall be shortened." Secular history tells us of the great
suffering and tribulation that was endured by those in the city of
Jerusalem during the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. Apparently,
great multitudes starved to death and barbarous acts were committed
within Jerusalem including mothers eating their own children. This was
called in the book of Luke the time of vengeance: Luke 21:22 "For these
be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be
fulfilled." This is the vengeance pronounced by the Lord in Matthew
chapter 23:34 "Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise
men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some
of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from
city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed
upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of
Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the
altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this
In the midst of
God's vengeance, he had mercy on the elect disciples as he shortened the
time of that judgment.