- Sermon Notes
Illus. Look at the map.
Read: Matthew 24:15-31
As we look at these verses, I want to again give the context. What we must remember about Matthew 24, is that it follows Matthew 23. In Matthew 23, Jesus had confronted and rebuked the religious leaders in Jerusalem for their hypocrisy and rejection of Him. He expressed in 23:37-38 that He had desired to gather them in as a hen gathers her chicks, but they were unwilling. He desired to, He would, but they were not willing. As a result of their rejection of Him, He said that their house would be left to them desolate (23:38).
His disciples then drew His attention then to the splendor of the temple, in effect, “how could the glorious temple be destroyed?” But Jesus prophesied that it, in fact, would be destroyed and not one stone would be left upon another. Jesus’ very words were fulfilled in 70AD when the temple that seemed indestructible, was in fact destroyed.
God sent His Son to His chosen people and to Jerusalem, where He placed His name, the city of God’s possession. The temple was where the presence of God dwelt, but God had come in the flesh and they did not receive Him. The temple would be destroyed. Many of the prophesies in Scriptures speak to the temple being rebuilt, we also know that Jerusalem is so significant that when God establishes a new heaven and new earth, He will also establish a new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-7).
In and throughout Scripture there is a different reality both presently and in the future for those who reject Christ and those who receive Him as Lord. The context and content of Matthew 24 and 25 is centered around those in Jerusalem, the city of God’s possession who have rejected Him, and we will see parts of it that are specific to the Israelites in Jerusalem, this week.
The disciples asking the questions of Him would not see the events He describes, true believers in Christ will not personally see the events He describes which depict the great tribulation. In verse 15 of Matthew 24, we are in the middle of a description Jesus is giving about the great tribulation. And as Jesus describes these events,
I. Understand that God Has a Plan
- Last week I gave an order of future events that will take place in a particular order. I want to go over that again as we look forward and understand that God has a plan.
- Here is the way I interpret the order of events ahead as the Bible describes them…
Illus. What’s Coming: The rapture (where believers are caught up to be with Christ), the antichrist will be revealed after signing a 7 year peace treaty which sets of the 7-year tribulation period, at the end of the tribulation comes the second coming of Christ, then the millennial reign of Christ which is a 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth, after the millennial reign of Christ: a new Heaven and new Earth, God will dwell among His people, the New Jerusalem descends as a bride adorned for her husband.
- With the future things described in the Bible being likened to a map, we can look at it all and know there are certain areas on that map that those in Christ will, and will not go.
- One of the things we must know regarding the great tribulation is that it will certainly take place in the future, but it is not a future that those in Christ will face.
- For those who aren’t sure of the final destination, God gives the map so you can make your choice. Just as all things the Bible has predicted in the past have been true, so these future things will too.
Illus. Recap of last week.
Luke 21:28, Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
Matthew 24:25, Behold, I have told you in advance.
Illus. Look forward.
Read: Matthew 24:15-22
- Jesus here says that those who are in the tribulation will see something called the abomination of desolation.
- And He shows here that He is speaking of those in Israel specifically because those in Judea who see the abomination of desolation, are to flee for the mountains, they are to head for the hills!
- Those on housetops are told to not go grab their things but to run, those working in a field, are told not to go grab their coat; in other words, do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars…Run!
- As Jesus points them to the future, He talks about this event that was spoken of in the past by Daniel the prophet. It is called the abomination of desolation, and it was spoken of over 500 year before Jesus’ conversation with the disciples and is found in the book of Daniel.
- From Daniel chapter 9 we are given one of the reasons for the tribulation, we understand from there that the tribulation will last 7-years, we also learn about the abomination of desolation that will happen halfway through the 7-year tribulation.
- This abomination of desolation is something that will take place and will be standing in the holy place, it is also something that we the readers are told to understand.
- So, let’s look at where we see this in the book of Daniel 9:24-27.
Daniel 9:24, Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.
- 70 weeks is literally seventy sevens. Since 70 times 7 equals 490 years, the prophesy we are looking at in Daniel 9:24-27 is telling us that 490 years would transpire before the Messiah would return to establish His eternal kingdom of righteousness.
- The 490 years given, is specific to Israel and speaks of punishment that would come for their disobedience and rejection of what God had commanded.
- The 490 years is broken up into three parts:
- In the first 7 weeks (49 years), the city of Jerusalem would be rebuilt in a time of distress and temple worship would be restored (Nehemiah 2).
- After another sixty-two weeks of seven years (434 years), the Messiah will come to Jerusalem but then “will be cut off.” (Daniel 9:26)
- The total between the 7 and 62 weeks is 69 weeks of years, or 483 years and this prophecy was fulfilled to the very day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem in His triumphant entry, fulfilling a prophecy (Zechariah 9:9) that revealed Him as their King and promised Savior. Just a few short days later, Jesus was crucified and “cut off.”
Daniel 9:26a, And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off…
- So, after 483 years of the 490, something would change, the Messiah would we but cut off. The Messiah being cut off we know, is a reference to His crucifixion.
- In total, that time was 483 years (69 weeks of 7 years), historically, all but seven years of the 490 have already taken place.
- After the Messiah is cut off, we learn of one called “the prince who is to come” (the antichrist) and in Daniel 9:27, we learn of the final 7-years, also referred to as Daniel’s 70th week.
- Something specific sets of the final 7-years that have been prophesied.
Daniel 9:27, And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.
- So, there it is, the deceitful prince, with a lowercase “p,” the antichrist will make a covenant of peace which sets off the 7-year tribulation.
- He will make this 7-year peace treaty during a time of great turmoil and difficulty, Israel’s enemies will become more and more powerful, tensions will rise in the Middle East to levels never before seen, and this will give an opportunity to the man we know as the antichrist to put together the plan bringing complete peace in the middle east.
- For the first 3.5 years, He will seem as Israel’s friend and protector, but halfway through the week of 7 years (3.5 years in), the antichrist will turn against Israel, set himself up as God, commit the abomination of desolation.
Matthew 24:21, For 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.
- Revelation 13:14-15 describes it as an image of himself, which can speak, and all are forced to worship or they will face death.
- The antichrist, which means against Christ, also seeks to be a replacement for Jesus Christ. He is a false messiah.
- But He isn’t going to initially be the picture of what one might think they would see.
- He will be an impressive intellectual, charming, engaging, charismatic. He rises onto the world scene to solve the middle east peace problem and get Israel and the middle eastern nations to live in peace for a short period of time.
- We know that the temple will be rebuilt which was destroyed in 70AD, and the abomination of desolation will take place in the holy place of the temple.
- People will look at the antichrist as one who brings peace on earth, but it is just a show and the Bible tells us this so that we would know.
- Daniel 9 verse 27 calls him the “p” prince who is to come, also referred to in the Bible as the man of lawlessness, the beast, the antichrist, little horn, king, man of sin, wicked one, son of perdition, the antichrist.
- The antichrist will require worship of himself and image, will cause all to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, establish global control through a cashless society whereby there is not buying or selling without the mark (Revelation 13:16-17).
- The mark people are given is on their hand and head is not original at all…
- First, we know that the 144,000 Jews preaching the Gospel during the tribulation will have a seal on their foreheads, placed there by God.
- Secondly, we see the significance of hand and forehead in the Old Testament.
- Recently we looked at something called Phylacteries in Matthew 23. They were worn in that day and still today by many orthodox Jews. Phylacteries are a small leather box strapped to the forehead or left arm of Jewish men during twice daily prayer. Inside the boxes were Scriptures (Ex. 13:1-10, 13:11-16, Deut. 6:4-9; 11:13-21).
Deuteronomy 11:18, Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
- The antichrist will want his mark on hands and heads of all in the world, if one doesn’t take it, he will seek to have them taken out.
- That mark is not something that people will take unknowingly (Angel in Revelation 14:9).
- Let me say that in order to have the mark, you have to have the beast. And the beast won’t be revealed until the 7-year tribulation begins, which will happen, but will happen after Jesus comes to take the church to be with Him.
Titus 2:11-3, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
- Keep Looking for Jesus Christ
- Revelation 6:16, speaks of the great tribulation as the wrath of the lamb.
1 Thessalonians 5:9, God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 3:10, Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
- Jesus says for those who will be here in those future days, to run and hide because what is happening on the earth at that time is great tribulation.
Read: Matthew 24:21-22
1 Thessalonians 1:10, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Luke 21:34-36, “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
- There is great tribulation, it has been mapped out in God’s Word, but what has also been mapped out is a future and a hope for those in Christ. This means we do not need to live looking for the antichrist, rather, we need to keep looking to and for Jesus Christ.
- As Jesus describes the end of the tribulation, leading up to His second coming, we understand that there will be the antichrist, but there will continue to be many false Christs and false prophets.
Read: Matthew 24:22-27
- In times of difficulty, many assert solutions that are incomplete. Near the end of the tribulation people will declare that Christ is here, or Christ is there.
- But Jesus says, “don’t believe them.” When He returns, He will return visibly, like lightning in the sky and for all to see.
- In verse 25 we see His words, “Behold I have told you in advance.”
Revelation 1:7, Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
Philippians 2:9-10, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
- While this is talking about what is still yet future, I want to take a moment to apply this to the way I see many going currently.
- Many are placing their hope and source of Salvation in the wrong things. Don’t be misled.
Acts 4:12, And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
- Where is your hope found? Peter said there is salvation in no other name.
- Fix Your Life on Following Him
Read: Matthew 24:29-31
- Jesus will return visibly and for all to see. The tribes of earth will mourn on that day.
- This is an interesting reality because it will be a happy day for heaven, but a sad day for earth.
- Israel will mourn specifically as they realize that Jesus Christ was their Messiah all along.
Zechariah 12:10, I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
- Zechariah 13:6 tells us that when Israel looks at Jesus and sees the wounds in His hands, they will say to Him “where did you get those wounds.” And Jesus will respond, “I was wounded in the house of my friends.”
John 1:11-12, He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God…
- He came to Jerusalem, to His own, but those who were His own did not receive Him.
- Those who did not receive Him, when He returns will see, every eye will see that Jesus is Lord.
- Many would receive Him, however, and those that did throughout history, and do currently, He gives the right to become children of God.
- In Revelation 19:11-14, we see details of Jesus’ second coming, where He will return to earth on a white horse, and on white horses, we will follow Him on.
Illus. Rapture Vs. Second Coming.
Colossians 3:2-3, Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
What is your choice today?
Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.