Matthew chapter 24

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4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6And 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. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9Then 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. 10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 23Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25Behold, I have told you before. 26Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

What does Matthew chapter 24 mean?

After proclaiming God's judgment on the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:13) and the city of Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37–398), Jesus leaves the temple, walking toward the Mount of Olives with His disciples. Someone in the group refers to the temple, saying something about the buildings. Jesus responds with another dire statement about God's coming judgment on Israel. He says the temple will be destroyed: every brick displaced. History indicates that this prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70. After a siege of the city and the slaughter of its people, the Romans burnt the temple, then tore it apart brick by brick to reach the precious metals that had melted into the rubble (Matthew 24:1–2).

After Jesus takes a seat on the Mount of Olives with the temple in view, the disciples ask Him for more details. Their questions focus on "the end of the age," meaning the end times. They also wonder about when Jesus will return. Christ's response fills the remainder of this chapter, as well as the next (Matthew 24:3).

Jesus begins to describe a time when He will be gone from the earth and the disciples will be on their own. He warns them that many will come claiming to be the Christ: the Messiah. They will hear news and gossip about violence, conflict, and other tragedies. There will be international conflicts and famines and natural disasters. None of these will mean the end has arrived. At most, they are signs that the end is approaching (Matthew 24:4–8).

That era will bring great suffering to the followers of Christ. They will be persecuted and murdered. This hate will be due to the world's rejection of Christ. Many who seemed sincere in following Jesus will fall away under this pressure and even betray and hate their former friends. Liars will arise and lead many self-identified Christians away from the faith. Rejection of morality and law will expand. The influence of godly love will fade from the world. Those who survive these events, however, will see the gospel preached throughout the world, right as the end comes (Matthew 24:9–14).

One vivid sign of these end days will fulfill a prophecy mentioned extensively by the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:13; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11). This "abomination of desolation" involves some undefined, depraved defilement of the temple. Those who see this happen should run for their lives, not even hesitating to gather supplies. Those days will be terrible beyond imagining. Jesus describes them as a great tribulation, worse than anything else in history. In fact, those events will be so terrible as to threaten all human life (Matthew 24:15–22).

While many terrible things happen in AD 70, they don't rise to the levels depicted in these descriptions. Most likely, all that Jesus describes in these passages is set to happen in what is—at the time of this writing—still the future. When Christ's second coming finally occurs, it won't be secret in any way, shape, or form. Those who claim they need to tell others that Christ has returned will be liars, without exception. The second coming will be obvious to everyone in the world, including apparent signs in nature and around the world. An otherwise-unexplained "sign of the Son of Man" will appear. As Jesus sends angels to gather His chosen ones, the rest of the world will mourn (Matthew 24:23–31).

Jesus next says that when people see these signs, they will know that His return is truly, immediately upon the world. Just as budding leaves on a fig tree signal the imminent arrival of summer, those events will indicate the return of Christ. The generation of Jesus' own time will not be the ones to see this (Matthew 21:43). Rather, those who observe the catastrophic signs will be the ones to see the end (Matthew 24:35).

At the same time, the time of Jesus' coming cannot be known or predicted by any person. The signs will be obvious—but only when they happen. Prior to then, there will be absolutely no truth behind claims to know the date of Jesus' return. That's why His followers must live in a constant state of readiness. Jesus begins to deliver parables to show how Christians should live out this attitude of preparation. The servant found faithfully doing what the master instructed will be blessed. The one wickedly serving himself will be subjected to a gruesome, miserable fate.
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