Summary: It can get very confusing when we talk about Israel and the end times. But here is what Jesus says on the matter.
Passage: Matthew 24:15-28
Intro: Any study of the end times can get very confusing very quickly.
1. approaches, viewpoints, interpretations abound.
2. but the more I study God’s word, the more I am convinced that God speaks with incredible clarity.
3. and we need to come to this potentially confusing passage, with tons of interpretations, with the same understanding about the perspicuity of God.
4. let’s assume for a moment that He speaks clearly, and wants us to understand.
5. then let’s open the pages of Scripture and hear the clear words of our Lord Jesus Christ.
6. the context of this discourse found in Matthew 24 is judgment of Israel
7. saw last week a pattern that is now repeated.
8. disciples questions about Israel’s future, but Jesus expands to all mankind
9. now watch as He returns to Israel briefly, then again expands the view.
10. always look for the principles contained in the details.
I. Israel: A Revealing Example
1. v15 refers to a well-known OT reference in Daniel.
2. actually three verses, but we will look at one.
PP Daniel 11:31, reference to Antichrist
3. scholars argue about if this has happened, or is still to happen. Answer? Yes
Il) in 168 B.C., Antiochus Epiphanes built an altar to Zeus in the Temple. Later, Macabees took it back.
4. but look at the example without getting lost in the details!
5. God reveals events before they happen
6. just like Jesus is doing now in Matthew 24:2, 15
7. there has been a time of trouble for Israel, and another one is coming.
8. there will be an abomination, probably of the Temple, and Israel will know a time of intense persecution and scattering.
9. clearly, this happened in 70 A.D., and Israel was scattered to the winds from then until they became a state in 1948
10. what do we learn?
11. God reveals truth, Satan deceives, Satan is revealed as a destroyer, attacking the plan and work of God.
12. and thru it all, God continues to tell us the truth, both predicting the actions of the enemy, and continuing to work out His plan.
13. but this example doesn’t just stop here.
14. Israel is part of God’s intensifying revelational plan, but the plan doesn’t stop there.
15. things aren’t as bad as they could be, because…
II. Inevitable Involvement of the Whole World.
1. Jesus said something very interesting in v.14
2. perhaps temporarily misunderstood by disciples, but we get it.
3. every Gentile believer here is proof of God’s global plan.
4. the same principles are now played out on a bigger stage.
5. v21, the distress will grow, become huge, never to be equaled before or after
6. how can this possibly refer to the Jewish nation, especially in light of the book of Revelation?
7. Jesus predicts here a time of intensifying trouble.
8. and we know that much of it is God’s increasing judgment on the world, and other is Satan’s increasing persecution of believers.
9. God initiates, Satan opposes.
10. God reveals, Satan seeks to conceal
11. so intense that God “cuts those days short” to spare His children.
12. from Himself? Of course not.
13. He limits the power of Satan, thru the work of the Antichrist, to destroy the people of God.
14. He tries to deceive, but he cannot v24
15. why not? Because we have the clear warning from Jesus that that is exactly what he is going to do.
16. vv23-24, there will be deceivers all around, some in the church, some outside.
17. in the global end times, the time of Great Tribulation, there will be powerful deception.
18. so we can expect powerful delusions in response to God’s powerful revelation.
19. What God asks from us?
III. Don’t Be Deceived
1. 10 references to deception in these 28 verses of Matthew 24. Important
2. troubled times, persecution, we want rescue!
3. Here is your hope, out in the desert, hiding in a room.
4. don’t panic, don’t get sucked in by the predictable deception of the enemy.
5. instead, wait for God to show Himself as He always does, with great power and glory. WAIT, because…
IV. The Truth Will Be Unmistakable
1. I love verse 25. 3 words in Greek
2. “See, I have told you beforehand”
3. we have a phrase, “forewarned is forearmed”
4. if you know what the enemy is going to do, you will be ready.
5. we know Satan masquerades as “an angel of light.”
6. so we are so ready that even if he threatens to kill us, we will not believe his lies.