Summary: There is a Purpose There is an End We Win
What Jesus said to His Followers
“About End-Times Tribulation”
March 29, 2009
Chapter 24 of Matthew is one of the most discussed and debated chapters of the New Testament—especially of the words of Christ. Whole books have been written on just this chapter. Every time you speak about End-Times Tribulation whether you’re here, in Daniel or Revelation. Things can get sticky.
This is a tough one, because I should cover chapters 24-25 and spend about eight weeks covering it. There are multiple teachings in these two chapters that are all tied together.
So, I hope I can do it justice while hitting the hi-lights.
Today, I want to give you my interpretation (that has changed over the years) while sprinkling in a few other interpretations, while not losing sight of the “central most important message of the passage.
Turn to Matthew 24
Introduction to text:
Jesus had spent all day Wednesday of Passover week teaching in the temple, now He is headed to the Mt. of Olives to be alone with His disciples. Remember this is the last week Jesus will spend with his disciples so what He says to them now He considers to be very important stuff.
What would you say to the people you love the most if you knew you were in your last week of life?
I believe every person in this room should wrestle with that question.
Answering that question has changed the lives of countless individuals.
Because they realize the answer is not what they envisioned, therefore they set out to change their life in order to change the answer
“I am convinced that it is not the fear of death… that haunts our sleep so much as the fear…that as far as the world is concerned, we might as well never have lived.”
Jesus had many things to tell His disciples; among them was a brief picture of the end and how it was going to play out.
I’m going to read the whole passage to get it in our minds, and then we will come back and talk about it.
READ Matthew 24:1-28
The whole concept was not new to the disciples. The Old Testament and extra Biblical writings both pointed to a great time of distress and tribulation before the end of time would come. – But they believed that Christ was going to overthrow Rome, take over Jerusalem and reign on David’s thrown.
So, they asked the question (v. 3) “when will this happen? Tell us the sign.”
Now there are three primary schools of thought toward this passage.
1. It all happened in 70 A.D.
People believe this because in 70 A.D. the Romans sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the temple and massacred a million Jews. Josephus later writes that the temple was so destroyed that if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t know it was ever there. Note: some of the stones were 12 x 12 x 40 ft. and weighed 100 tons.
2. It began in 70 A.D. and is continuing in the church age.
People believe this because they can’t neatly fit all of the text into A.D. 70, so they say the temple destruction started the clock and it continues through the church age.
3. It is all future.
This is the school I have my desk in. (Circle Three) When I say it’s all in the future, I mean the temple destruction was in A.D. 70. But we are reading two different discussions that should not be put together---- let me explain.
Verses 1-2, they are at the temple complex. The disciples mention the temple’s beauty. Jesus says, “It’s all coming down—not one stone will be left on the other. We know this very thing happened in A.D. 70. In 638 Muslims took the land from the Byzantines and later built the Dome that still stands today – the third holiest site of the Muslim faith.
Back to the story: [to blank slide] Jesus said what he said, while still in the temple complex. From there they would have left out the East gate and walked down the hill of the Mt. of Olives.
The base of the Mt. was about 400 yards from the gate as the crow flies. At that point was the garden of Gethsemane. Matthew doesn’t say they were in the garden. He says they were on the Mt. which could have been as much as a half a mile a way (as the crow flies). Actually the road was a wining road.
Why did I say all this? Verse 2 and 3 are separated geographically (as much as a half a mile). Chronologically ( at least 30 minutes to several hours because the text says, “as Jesus was sitting.”). And, I believe anyway, grammatically. There is nothing in the text that links the two.