General Idea of Matthew 24: 1-28, Part 1
This is part one of a several part study as a prelude into The Book of Revelation. It is essential we understand the events that are to come and not bow to false teachings or sensationalism, and the best way to do that is see what our Lord Jesus Christ taught on the matter.
This passage is referred to as the Fifth Great Discourse of Jesus, and called “The Olivet Discourse” (Matt. 23:37-24:-35; Mark 13). It is a template to knowing the signs of the times, or what will occur in the “Last Days.” Jesus is giving us a glimpse into the future and things to come for Jerusalem, most of which was fulfilled in the destruction of the Temple, and He tells us why it will be destroyed (Jer. 13:27; 49:22). The Jewish leadership fell to hypocrisy and personal agendas and the people followed like dumb sheep (Matt. 23). The Temple was physically destroyed by the Roman army in 70 A.D.; the Romans were the means but not the reason. This passage also gives us a glimpse of what happens when we fail spiritually and refuse to repent, so that our sins accumulate and escalate, while God’s grace is seeking to resolve, heal, and reconcile us to Him.
Jesus is explaining to us the events in the first part of the Tribulation symbolically in this passage, and the rest in the next (Matt. 24:29-35), the Judgment of Jerusalem.
This is not about one event but many to come when He returns to earth in power and glory! Jesus gives us some of the signs that will be warnings of things to come. The call is to watch and to be ready, but not be consumed or worried, for He is still in control. We are to look to Him (Phil. 3:20), not just the signs. We are to trust in Him, not in the times; our faith is in Him, not what will or may happen!
A lot of Christians, over the years, have seen this passage as a prelude to Jesus’ second coming, which it is. However, some take it to the point that this is all it means. However, many of the events have been fulfilled, such as the destruction of the Temple, while we still wait for Jesus’ second coming and more prelude signs of Him (Luke 21:20-24).
We have to be careful that our interpretation of Scripture is accurate in word and meaning before we make an application to it! We are never to ignore His words, and absolutely never to replace them with ours! It is not about what we think or wish for; it is about His will and His timing! Jesus can come at any time; He is not bound by the limits of our understanding of Eschatology (End Times Theology). He is God, and His timing and control are sovereign! Our age will end and a new age will be birthed—the accumulation of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
The debates as to when and how are irrelevant; what is important is, we know it will occur. We are to be watchful and discerning that people do not deceive us falsely and that we do not give into despair when things get really tough. We are also to make sure we do not become complacent and ignore the signs, or we will be unable to flee them. Stress and tribulation will produce either panic or perseverance; this result can be in your control by surrendering yourself to His control! The possibilities are His also, even when we do not see them!
Even in severe tribulation, there is hope—the hope of Christ (Psalm 19:7-14; 97:1-98:9; Rom. 8:28-39)! No matter what will or may happen, God will redeem those who are in Him!