By Steven J. Hogan
~ A Saturday Morning Post #10 ~
I know I am old school, but I love road maps. When I travel, I like to know where I am at and where I am going. I like to know what cities I will pass through before I get to my destination. A map gives me clear directions. It also gives me confidence about my journey, for when I pass through those cities, I can say, “I’m right on target.” With respect to prophecy, God has given us many road maps, but Matthew 24 is one of the best road maps there is for Christians living in the end times. The following is a succinct summary and analysis of this important chapter. (I encourage you to read Matthew 24:3-36 before you read this post.)
Matthew 24:3. The disciples knew Jesus was leaving, and so they ask Him to give them some signs that would let them know when He was coming back. Jesus answers their questions but He goes on to tell them, and now He’s telling us, many more things that will be taking place before His coming, and before the rapture and resurrection of the believers.
Matthew 24:4-8. We learn: 1) There will be “birth pains”, and these are false christs, wars, famines and earthquakes. 2) As times goes on, these “birth pains” will increase in frequency and intensity. 3) They don’t affect all the people in the world, for they occur in various places. 4) They are not God’s wrath but are events leading up to the end of the age. 5) They are only beginning birth pains, and the end of the age, Christ’s return and God’s wrath is still to come.
Matthew 24:9-14. We learn: 1) These events occur after the beginning birth pains. 2) Whereas the beginning birth pains affect all kinds of people, these events focus primarily on the Christians. 3) The Christians are being hated, persecuted and martyred all over the world. 4) The gospel is being preached to the end of this age, and many Christians endure to the end of the age and then they are saved, are raptured into heaven.
Matthew 24:15-27. We learn: 1) This focuses on the Jews. 2) The Antichrist desolates the Jewish temple in Jerusalem at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week. 3) He begins great tribulation against Jews in Jerusalem which then spreads to Jews and Christians all over the world. This tribulation is cut short by Christ at the end of this age. 4) These events take place in the same time frame as verses 9-14, which means God’s work with the Jews in the end times is in conjunction with and coinciding with His work with the church. 5) The final event listed is Christ’s coming, which corresponds with the end of the age that is spoken of in verses 3, 13 and 14.
Matthew 24:28. Many people are dying all over the world because of these events.
Matthew 24:29-31. We learn: 1) The sign of the end of the age is cosmic disturbances which occur after the tribulation, the persecution of the Christians. 2) The sign of Christ’s coming is the heavens being lit up by the Shekinah glory of Christ. 3) Verse 31 is a resurrection and rapture verse, for believers will be gathered together from the heavens (those who have died in the past), and from the earth (those who survive the tribulation). 4) God’s wrath will occur after these two signs and the rapture of the church on earth. Isaiah 13:9-10, Joel 2:31
Matthew 24:32-34, 36. No one knows the day and hour of Christ’s return, that is, the specific time of Christ’s coming. But Christians can know the general time, for the events given in this chapter are to inform and encourage us that Christ’s coming is getting closer and closer.
Matthew 24:35. This chapter is God’s Word, and the events discussed here will absolutely, unquestionably, undoubtedly and undeniably take place, and maybe in our lifetime.
In conclusion let me say: 1) It is 2017, and we are now in verses 4-8, in the beginning birth pains. 2) People will say all kinds of things about the end times in the years to come, and so don’t be naïve or deceived, but rather examine Matthew 24 so you can be discerning, so you can not only know what events are going to occur, but the order of these events. 3) Twenty different events listed in Matthew 24 need to happen before Christ’s coming and the rapture of the church. 4) As Christ’s coming gets closer, the believers living on earth will be seeing these events taking place. Therefore, encourage one another as you see the day of Christ drawing near. Hebrews 10:25
P.S. I’ve just added an important new article on trials, which I hope and trust will encourage you!