In part number one of this series, we saw that the exact time of Christ’s coming and the end of the world would not be revealed to any man, nor angel, but only to God alone. (Matt 24:3-6, Matt 25:13, 2Pet 3:10) Also, because mankind will not be told of the exact time of Christ’s return, His return is described as if a thief was coming in the night. (1 Thess 5:1-11).
These teachings of God, bring into question the year 2012 theory for His return. According to the most popular version of the theory, the world is coming to an end on Dec 21, 2012. We know the Lord clearly says that He will not reveal the exact time of His coming; because of this the 2012 theory must be labeled unscriptural and, therefore, false.
We will now pickup with our Matt 24: study by looking at Christ’s teachings concerning the signs of his coming and the end of the world (Matt 24:3-28)
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? …. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (Mat 24:3-28)
Matt 24:3 – The context of our study… Christ is answering the question, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
The 10 great groups of signs pointing to His coming and the end of the world’:
Sign #1 - Matt 24:4-5 – The appearance of men who will claim to be anointed by God, but they will deliver a false message, some will even claim to be Christ Himself. (2 Cor 11:13-15, 2 Thess 2:3 )
Sign #2 - Matt 24:6- Wars will take place, combined with threatening of wars about to take place.
Don’t let these things surprise you, they are a part of God’s plan and must take place before the end. (Luk 21:9)
Sign #3 - Matt 24:7- Nations will oppose nations economically, politically etc. Also, famines will take place with deadly diseases and earthquakes. All of these things will take place in a variety of different, multiple places. (Ezek 14:21, Luke 21:11, 25-26)
Matt 24:8 – All the above signs (vs 4-7) are described as beginning of “sorrows”. The Greek word for sorrows means “birth pains”. The above signs are compared to birth pains, i.e. they will increase in frequency and intensity as the end times grow closer. Much like a woman’s birth pains increase in frequency and intensity before the child is born.
Sign #4 - Matt 24:9 – This speaks of the persecution of the followers of Christ. This includes physical, emotional, social, and economic abuse of God’s people. (John 15:19-20, Rev 2:10, Rev 6:9-10)
Sign #5 - Matt 24:10 – Disagreements, legal disputes, hurt feelings, physical confrontations will take place between individuals. These will stir up hatred for one another. (Matt 10:21,35-36, Matt 13:21)
Sign #6 - Matt 24:11 – Many men will teach a message of error, yet claim it is God’s Word. This is speaking of false religions that teach salvation is received apart from Christ. (1 John 4:1)
Sign #7 - Matt 24:12- Sin will be rampant as love for one another dwindles. Natural types of love will decrease (parents for child, man for woman, child for parents, etc.) Perverted, selfish lust will be on the rise. (Mark 13:12, Luk 21:16, Roms 1:26-32)
Matt 24:13 – One of the greatest marks of those who are saved is consistent service to Him. Perseverance in service to the Lord is one of the greatest proofs of genuine salvation.
Sing #8 - Matt 24:14- Worldwide gospel outreach by ministries of the Lord.
Sign #9 - Matt 24:15 – The Abomination of Desolation is Daniel’s account of the Hebrew temple being
defiled. This was done by the Antiochus Epiphanes in 170 BC when he slew the pig on the Israelite altar. (see for more info - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abomination_of_Desolation) .
This ceremonial defilement of the altar is a picture of God’s worship being defiled today through false teachings and harboring of sin in worship. This sign is about sin and error creeping into the Lord’s assemblies causing the true worship of Him to be defiled. (Daniel 9:-12:, 2 Pet 2:1-3, Rev 2:12-17)
Matt 24:16-20 – All of the above events will be unstoppable and world-wide, causing even God’s people to flee in terror, knowing that these things cannot be overcome by mankind’s efforts.
Matt 24:21-22 – At the completion of these signs, the Great Tribulation will be ready to commence. The Great Tribulation would even destroy God’s people, but the Lord will intervene and take them home before the GT begins.
Sign #10 - Matt 24:23-28 – False accounts of Christ’s return will radically multiply as the end draws near. These false teachings will include Him physically coming back to the earth. These false claims about His return will give support to the rise of false Christs with miracle working powers coming on the scene. They will be empowered through Satanic intervention deceiving virtually all men (with the exception of genuine believers. (2 Thess 2:9-11, Rev 13:13-14)
Only God’s people will reject these false teachings. Christ’s true followers will understand the Biblical teachings about His second coming. They will understand He will come in the clouds and take His people to heaven to be with Him. He WILL NOT return to the earth at this point in time.
(Note: I have included a few extra verses with each sign to supplement this study. There are many, many more verses I could have included but the length of this study restrained me.)
By looking at the above list of signs of His coming and the end of the world, it is plain to see that we are living in the last days. Every one of these signs has already appeared and many have become much more frequent and intense.
Although there is no way I can know exactly when he will come, I believe it will be soon… in any case, we all can echo Paul’s sentiments in Rom 13:11-14:
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. “
In the next part of our blog series we will be looking at our long-awaited event, the second coming of our Lord.
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