Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 20-21; Matthew 24
People have always been interested in the future. People want to know how things are going to end. People wonder will things get better, worse, or always be the same? The disciples were no different. In verse three they ask Jesus the important question, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25 has been better known as the Olivet discourse. Jesus is teaching this lesson on the Mount of Olives to His disciples who are wondering when Jesus will set up His kingdom. The teaching is about the second coming and not the rapture. Jesus is answering the question of what are things going to be like when he returns to set up His earthly kingdom, His millennial reign. Jesus starts by warning those who will be living during the end times, which will not include believers of the church age, about the dangers of deception. The deception of those days will be intensified and escalated as never before, as the Holy Spirit withdraws His restraining power and lets all the forces of hell have liberty to deceive and destroy. The evils, deceptions, sorrows, tragedies, conflicts, and animosities of those days will exceed all others the world has ever known. The next sign is that there will be wars and rumors of wars. There will be hot wars of combat and cold wars of economic and political conflict. We hear of potential wars almost on a daily basis, but in that day it will be on a greater and more measurable scale. Then the third sign is nation rises against nation and kingdom against kingdom while famines, diseases, and earthquakes in various places hit the world. There will not be any part of the world that is not affected by these terrible things. It is amazing to study the escalated number of devastating earthquakes in the last 20 years – not only their frequency but also their devastation. According to earth.webecs, there has been a 600% increase in earthquakes since 1994. Now remember that these are signs of His second coming but the rapture takes place 7 years prior. We may be very close to that wonderful day of being united with our Savior in the clouds. The fourth sign is that the Jewish people will be hated of all the nations because of God’s name and His blessing and protection of His chosen people. The Jewish people will be killed and afflicted because of this hatred of the nations. The fifth sign is the abomination of desolation. (vs. 15) This is when the antichrist desecrates the temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar and erecting a statue of Himself for the whole world to worship. The Jews will flea into the mountains of Petra to escape the persecution directed toward them. The next sign will be that the sun, moon, and stars will be darkened. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the word of God will never pass away. God’s word is truth and truth is timeless! At this point Jesus says the end is at the door. As God gets ready to come and rescue His people from the oppressive actions of the antichrist, life on the earth is chaotic. Jesus gives a challenge, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (vs. 42) “Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (vs. 44) Just as is the case for the rapture, God challenges His people to be watching for the Lord Jesus Christ. We must be anxiously anticipating the day. Looking with excitement for the fulfillment of God’s program and the implementation of His plan. This chapter challenges the Jews who are going through the tribulation period, but we will never see the tribulation. However, we are challenged to be just as vigilant regarding the rapture. Are you ready for the rapture? What if it were today?