Summary: Jesus tells us that the Great Tribulation will be a time of great sorrow, but He also gives us hope.
The Messiah and Forrest Gump
Text: Matt. 24:15-22
1. Illustration: Movie clip "Run Forrest, Run!"
2. Today I get to talk about two things; one I like to talk about and the other I would rather not talk about but need to talk about.
a. The thing I like to talk about is one of my all-time favorite movies "Forrest Gump."
b. The thing I would rather not talk about, but need to talk about is the Great Tribulation.
3. When it comes to the Great Tribulation, Jesus tells us about...
a. The Need to Pay Attention
b. The Need For Speed
c. The Need For Good News
4. Let's stand together as we read Matt. 24:15-22.
Proposition: Jesus tells us that the Great Tribulation will be a time of great sorrow, but He also gives us hope.
Transition: The first thing that Jesus tells us about the Great Tribulation is...
I. The Need to Pay Attention (15).
A. Reader Pay Attention
1. There has been more volumes of books than I care to count about the End Times and the Great Tribulation. However, in my mind, the place to start is what did Jesus say about these things?
2. Jesus said, “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about..."
a. Moving from general characteristics of this age until his return, Jesus now points to an event prophesied in Daniel 9:27.”
b. Some contend that at this point Jesus focuses exclusively on the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, while a wide spectrum of scholars hold that these events also foretell a future time of eschatological defilement and destruction.
c. That is the interpretation, in my mind, that fits best here because when it is compared with Paul’s prediction of the eschatological man of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:1 – 12) and with John’s vision of the beast in Revelation 13:11 – 18, which are remarkably similar to Jesus’ prophecy.
d. Together they indicate some “evil, deified figure such as the Antichrist.”
3. What best warrants this interpretation is that Jesus referrs to Daniel talking about "the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.”
a. Daniel 9:27 (NLT)
The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him.”
b. So what is Daniel talking about? More importantly, what does Jesus mean when He mentions Daniel's prophecy?
c. When Daniel first spoke of the sacrilegious object that causes desecration, he was referring to the initial fulfillment of that prophecy, which happened around 168 BC.
d. At that time the Governor Antiochus Epiphanies set up a statue of the Greek god Zeus in the temple and sacrificed a pig on the altar (and remember, to the Jews pigs where considered unclean).
e. However, both Daniel and Jesus saw something beyond that event. Most likely, they were referring to the time of the Antichrist.
f. There will come a time when the Antichrist will set himself up as god and demand that people worship him (Horton, 521).
g. This reference shifts the focus to activities at the end of the age. Jesus is thus giving a mixture of prophetic elements that speak both to his generation and to the future (Wilkins, 769-796).
4. What appears at the end of this verse is an editorial comment my Matthew which says, "(Reader, pay attention!)"
a. The event that Daniel was talking about is long in the past and what Jesus is referring to is something yet to come.
b. That is the reason that Matthew adds the note "reader pay attention."
c. The reader is to recognize something that is in keeping with what Antiochus did.
d. In other words do something so appalling and blasphemous that it defies comprehension (France, 911-912).
B. Attention to Detail
1. Illustration: When Forrest and Bubba first arrive in Viet Nam they meet their new commander, Lt. Dan. His advice to them is two fold: always have clean socks and don't get yourself blown up. What Lt. Dan is telling Forrest and Bubba is the same thing that Jesus is telling us; pay attention to the details.
2. We need to pay attention because the things will happen when we least expect it.
a. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 (NLT)
2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.
3 When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.