Summary: When it comes to end times we see the: 1. Problem of the Temple (vs. 14-15). 2. Pride of the Antichrist (vs. 15-16). 3. Pressure of the tribulation (vs. 16-21). 4. Promise of the Lord's salvation (vs. 22-28 & 13-14). 5. Panic of the ungodly (vs. 29-31).
The Second Coming of Christ - Part 3
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - June 24 & July 1, 2015
*Learning about the second coming of Christ takes us from the Old Testament to the New. We go from prophecies written hundreds of years before the Lord was born to prophecies written almost 100 years after Jesus was born. And as we look into God's Word, we will find different viewpoints and different levels of understanding. Tonight we will review some of the information we looked at three weeks ago, and we will explore some of the other issues surrounding the Lord's return.
*First: Let's go back to the beginning of Matthew 24 to see what prompted the Lord's discussion of His return. Jesus had just finished strongly condemning the Jewish religious leaders. The Lord condemned them for stubbornly rejecting Him as the Messiah, plus their arrogance, lack of mercy, hypocrisy and more.
*Matthew 24:1-3 tells us what happened next:
1. Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple.
2. And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.''
3. Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?''
The disciples wanted answers, and that's what we are looking for in Matthew 24. We need to learn everything we can about the second coming of Christ, and God will surely bless us as we look into His Word.
1. First tonight, we face the problem of the Temple.
*When we talk about the Lord's return, we have to face the problem of the Temple. This problem arises down in vs. 14-15, where Jesus said:
14. . . "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
15. Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place'' (whoever reads, let him understand)."
*Jesus told them to look for the abomination of desolation. That means an idolatrous foul thing that makes the holy place in the Temple desolate. The prophet Daniel spoke of the abomination of desolation three separate times.
*But who is the Antichrist who will commit the abomination of desolation? As we saw last time, some think that it was Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian king who reigned in Palestine around 170 B.C. Antiochus desecrated the Temple by slaughtering a pig on the altar, forcing the priests to eat pork and setting up an idol to Zeus. But he cannot be the abomination Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:15, because Jesus was warning about something in the future.
*Most Biblical experts agree that the abomination of desolation the Lord spoke of here had its initial fulfillment 40 years later when Jerusalem was conquered by the Romans, and the Temple was destroyed. That was a terrible, terrible thing. Over a million Jews were killed. But that massacre also must not be the ultimate fulfillment of the abomination of desolation. I say that, because as bad as that was, worse things have already happened. In the 20th century, Communists and Nazis were responsible for the deaths of over a hundred million people.
*But in Matthew 24:21 Jesus said: "Then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be." The final fulfillment of this prophecy must come in Daniel's final seven-year period of Jewish history when the abomination of desolation is committed by the Antichrist in the Jerusalem Temple. And that puts an obstacle in the way, because there is no Temple in Jerusalem today.
[PICS 1-4] -- These pictures help us understand what was on the Temple Mount when the Lord first spoke these words. But right now, there is no holy place where the Antichrist can perform the abomination of desolation.
[PIC 5] -- Instead, this is what sits on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem today.
[PIC 6] -- This is another view from the Western Wall. That building is an Islamic shrine called "The Dome of the Rock." It was completed in 692 AD, and is the oldest existing Islamic building in the world. It sits right where the Holy of Holies in the Temple used to stand. Muslims believe that the rock in the heart of this building is the place where Mohammad stepped when he rose to the heavens to receive a message from God.