MATTHEW 24:29-51, PART 2
Let's review the first part of message one of Matthew 24. The key verse to chapters 24 and 25 is verse 3 of chapter 24. The Lord spoke those words on the Mount of Olives in answer to questions by His disciples, "When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and the end of the age?"
Jesus had finished teaching near the Temple in Jerusalem. He and His disciples crossed the brook Kedron to the Mount of Olives and that's where this conversation begins.
Verses 1-2. "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and His disciples came to Him for to show Him the buildings of the temple. 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."
This wouldn't answer the disciples' first question as to "When shall these things be?" When Jesus spoke this prophecy those buildings looked substantial enough to stand for many centuries. The stones of the Temple were huge stones, cut to fit precisely, and weighing several tons each. There seemed to be no force on earth at that time that could destroy the Temple and the surrounding structure. Forty years later, the Roman army burned the Temple and the gold and silver fittings within it melted down between these huge stones. The Roman soldiers pried these stones apart to retrieve the precious metal. Not one stone was left upon another.
As so often is the case, this was but one fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy. The later fulfillment of that prophecy will come during the Great Tribulation. This is found in Luke 21:20-24. "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Their other questions, "And what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the age?" were answered by Jesus in Matthew 24:29-31. They will tell us of the end of the age and the coming of the Son of Man.
Matthew 24:29-31 "Immediately 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: and 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. And 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."
Verse 29: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days, then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven." There are some who think that the Great Tribulation is past. They think that the persecution of the church under pagan Rome in the first two centuries after Christ's ascension, or the persecutions preceding the Protestant Reformation may have been the Great Tribulation, but the Lord definitely states here that His second coming will follow a terrible time of trouble. The Lord has not returned to earth as of this writing, so it's evident that day is still in the future. When that day does come, everyone in the world will know that the Lord of glory has come. Great cosmic signs that will be unmistakable will announce His return. The Son of Man will be seen “coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
The tribes of the earth, or more properly, the tribes of Israel, are going to mourn as predicted in Zechariah 12: 10-12. "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart;" When they see the One they once rejected, the One they crucified and pierced with a sword, they will realize that He is the Messiah, the King they have waited for so long.
The return of the Lord will also be announced by a great trumpet blast that will be heard world wide. Isaiah 27:13. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem."
The angels will gather the "elect" from all quarters of the earth. These are they who accepted the kingdom message and are prepared to welcome the King at His return. This is not the Rapture of 1 Thessalonians 4. At the Rapture, the believers from the church age, living and dead, will be changed and raised from the grave, and caught up to meet the Lord in the air. This occurs before the Tribulation. When the Son of Man descends to the earth His elect will be gathered from the four winds to greet Him as their King. The throne of David will be set up again in Jerusalem, and the law will go forth from Mount Zion. Christ will reign in righteousness for a thousand years. Revelation 20 gives us the details.
Verses 32-35. "Now learn a parable of the fig tree: When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 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."
Jesus continued with another sign of His coming again. The "fig-tree" is the well-known symbol of Israel nationally. The Israelites, once claimed by God as His own covenant people, have been scattered for many centuries.
They had no national existence until 1948 when they started returning to the land of Palestine in large numbers. Today they are the dominant military power in the Middle East, second in world military power to the United States only, and the "fig tree" is budding again into a distinct nation.
This portion should speak to the people of God today as well as to the remnant of Israel in days to come! "When ye see these things, know that He is near, even at the doors."
His return is certain, His Word can never fail. Though heaven and earth should pass away His words shall never pass away. The "fig-tree" is putting forth its green leaves as prophesied by Christ and that indicates the soon return and acknowledgment of their Messiah and King. The Scriptures indicate the Jews would return to their land in unbelief, and after many have returned they would again become a nation. This is the case right now. This indicates that the day of Israel’s blessing is near, so the Rapture that precedes it must be even nearer.
Are you prepared to meet Christ in the air as your Lord and Savior?
Or, will you be left behind?
The uncertainty of the actual time of the second advent of Christ is the basis for the next verse.
Verses 36. "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only."
Verses 37-41. "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying. and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. Then shall two be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
The comparison of the day-to-day world of Noah's time is significant. Everyday activities were going on just as they had for centuries. There was no sudden change in them until the Lord brought the flood. In the days before the flood men lived pretty much as they pleased and didn't take God's warnings seriously. Noah preached to them for 120 years before the flood came and took all the non-believers away.
This world is going on just as it has for centuries. Everyday activities continue without much change. So will it be when the Lord returns and judges the nations. During the tribulation period, two will be working in the field, one a believer and the other an unbeliever. The un-believer will be taken away in judgment; the other will be left to enter the kingdom. Two women will be grinding corn and the same will occur. No one can know beforehand when Jesus will return in judgment. Scripture states that He will come as silently and suddenly as a thief in the night.
Matthew 24:42-44 "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But 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. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
No one can know beforehand just when the Son of Man will return. Those living in that day of trial should be prepared to meet Christ because "For in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh."
Responsibility to live for God and witness for Christ while waiting His appearing is stressed in the closing verses of this chapter. This chapter is written to the Jews of the tribulation period, but much of this can also be applied to us today in this day of grace.
To live for God and witness for Christ as we wait for the rapture
is the responsibility of the believer today
just as the saints of the Tribulation will live for God and witness for Christ
as they wait for the Lord's return to establish His Kingdom.
Verses 45-51. "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the 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, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Here we see a great promise for the faithful witnesses of the Tribulation period as well as a warning to those who profess to know Christ as their Savior and neglect to live for God and witness to the unsaved about Christ. It's a great responsibility to be given understanding of God's truth. He doesn't give it to us for our own information alone. 1 Corinthians 4:2 states "It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." The Lord expects those He has blessed with understanding to act as good stewards and share this spiritual knowledge. When the Lord returns for His Kingdom, the faithful servant will be rewarded.
But, if a person has knowledge of the truth of God and mis-represents it, or attempts to use it for their own gain, that one will be judged and God "shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." The person who does this is not a true child of God at all, and will be judged according to the profession he has made. It is a very serious thing to try to use God's gift for one's own purposes.
During the Tribulation, just as it is now, any service done for God is to be done with the coming of the King in view. Rewards for serving God will be given at the Rapture for those of the church age. At the Lord's second coming, the faithful saints of the Tribulation time will receive their rewards. See the following message on Matthew 25 "The End of The Age."