Matthew 24

The temple’s fate

1 Now Jesus left the temple and was going away. His disciples came to point out to him the temple buildings.
2 He responded, " Do you see all these things? I assure that no stone will be left on another. Everything will be demolished."

Beginning of troubles

3 Now while Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately and said, "Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?"
4 Jesus replied, “Watch out that no one deceives you.
5 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I'm the Christ.' They will deceive many people.
6 You will hear about wars and reports of wars. Don't be alarmed. These things must happen, but this isn't the end yet.
7 Nations and kingdoms will fight against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in all sorts of places.
8 But all these things are just the beginning of the sufferings associated with the end.
9 They will arrest you, abuse you, and they will kill you. All nations will hate you on account of my name.
10 At that time many will fall away. They will betray each other and hate each other.
11 Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
12 Because disobedience will expand, the love of many will grow cold.
13 But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.
14 This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony to all the nations. Then the end will come.

The great suffering

15 “When you see the disgusting and destructive thing that Daniel talked about standing in the holy place (the reader should understand this),
16 then those in Judea must escape to the mountains.
17 Those on the roof shouldn't come down to grab things from their houses.
18 Those in the field shouldn't come back to grab their clothes.
19 How terrible it will be at that time for women who are pregnant and for women who are nursing their children.
20 Pray that it doesn't happen in winter or on the Sabbath day.
21 There will be great suffering such as the world has never before seen and will never again see.
22 If that time weren't shortened, nobody would be rescued. But for the sake of the ones whom God chose, that time will be cut short.
23 “Then if somebody says to you, ‘Look, here's the Christ,' or ‘He's over here,' don't believe it.
24 False christs and false prophets will appear, and they will offer great signs and wonders in order to deceive, if possible, even those whom God has chosen.
25 Look, I've told you ahead of time.
26 So if they say to you, ‘Look, he's in the desert,' don't go out. And if they say, ‘Look, he's in the rooms deep inside the house,' don't believe it.
27 Just as the lightning flashes from the east to the west, so it will be with the coming of the Human One.
28 The vultures gather wherever there's a dead body.

Coming of the Human One

29 “Now immediately after the suffering of that time the sun will become dark, and the moon won't give its light. The stars will fall from the sky and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Human One will appear in the sky. At that time all the tribes of the earth will be full of sadness, and they will see the Human One coming in the heavenly clouds with power and great splendor.
31 He will send his angels with the sound of a great trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from the four corners of the earth, from one end of the sky to the other.

A lesson from the fig tree

32 “Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near.
33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you know that the Human One is near, at the door.
34 I assure you that this generation won't pass away until all these things happen.
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.

Day and hour

36 “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the heavenly angels and not the Son. Only the Father knows.
37 As it was in the time of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Human One.
38 In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark.
39 They didn't know what was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. The coming of the Human One will be like that.
40 At that time there will be two men in the field. One will be taken and the other left.
41 Two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken and the other left.
42 Therefore, stay alert! You don't know what day the Lord is coming.
43 But you understand that if the head of the house knew at what time the thief would come, he would keep alert and wouldn't allow the thief to break into his house.
44 Therefore, you also should be prepared, because the Human One will come at a time you don't know.

Faithful and unfaithful servants

45 “Who then are the faithful and wise servants whom their master puts in charge of giving food at the right time to those who live in his house?
46 Happy are those servants whom the master finds fulfilling their responsibilities when he comes.
47 I assure you that he will put them in charge of all his possessions.
48 But suppose those bad servants should say to themselves, My master won't come until later.
49 And suppose they began to beat their fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunks?
50 The master of those servants will come on a day when they are not expecting him, at a time they couldn't predict.
51 He will cut them in pieces and put them in a place with the hypocrites. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.

Matthew 24 Commentary

Chapter 24

Christ foretells the destruction of the temple. (1-3) The troubles before the destruction of Jerusalem. (4-28) Christ foretells other signs and miseries, to the end of the world. (29-41) Exhortations to watchfulness. (42-51)

Verses 1-3 Christ foretells the utter ruin and destruction coming upon the temple. A believing foresight of the defacing of all worldly glory, will help to keep us from admiring it, and overvaluing it. The most beautiful body soon will be food for worms, and the most magnificent building a ruinous heap. See ye not all these things? It will do us good so to see them as to see through them, and see to the end of them. Our Lord having gone with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, he set before them the order of the times concerning the Jews, till the destruction of Jerusalem; and as to men in general till the end of the world.

Verses 4-28 The disciples had asked concerning the times, When these things should be? Christ gave them no answer to that; but they had also asked, What shall be the sign? This question he answers fully. The prophecy first respects events near at hand, the destruction of Jerusalem, the end of the Jewish church and state, the calling of the Gentiles, and the setting up of Christ's kingdom in the world; but it also looks to the general judgment; and toward the close, points more particularly to the latter. What Christ here said to his disciples, tended more to promote caution than to satisfy their curiosity; more to prepare them for the events that should happen, than to give a distinct idea of the events. This is that good understanding of the times which all should covet, thence to infer what Israel ought to do. Our Saviour cautions his disciples to stand on their guard against false teachers. And he foretells wars and great commotions among nations. From the time that the Jews rejected Christ, and he left their house desolate, the sword never departed from them. See what comes of refusing the gospel. Those who will not hear the messengers of peace, shall be made to hear the messengers of war. But where the heart is fixed, trusting in God, it is kept in peace, and is not afraid. It is against the mind of Christ, that his people should have troubled hearts, even in troublous times. When we looked forward to the eternity of misery that is before the obstinate refusers of Christ and his gospel, we may truly say, The greatest earthly judgments are but the beginning of sorrows. It is comforting that some shall endure even to the end. Our Lord foretells the preaching of the gospel in all the world. The end of the world shall not be till the gospel has done its work. Christ foretells the ruin coming upon the people of the Jews; and what he said here, would be of use to his disciples, for their conduct and for their comfort. If God opens a door of escape, we ought to make our escape, otherwise we do not trust God, but tempt him. It becomes Christ's disciples, in times of public trouble, to be much in prayer: that is never out of season, but in a special manner seasonable when we are distressed on every side. Though we must take what God sends, yet we may pray against sufferings; and it is very trying to a good man, to be taken by any work of necessity from the solemn service and worship of God on the sabbath day. But here is one word of comfort, that for the elect's sake these days shall be made shorter than their enemies designed, who would have cut all off, if God, who used these foes to serve his own purpose, had not set bounds to their wrath. Christ foretells the rapid spreading of the gospel in the world. It is plainly seen as the lightning. Christ preached his gospel openly. The Romans were like an eagle, and the ensign of their armies was an eagle. When a people, by their sin, make themselves as loathsome carcasses, nothing can be expected but that God should send enemies to destroy them. It is very applicable to the day of judgment, the coming of our Lord Jesus ( 2 Thessalonians. 2:1 ) calling and election sure; then may we know that no enemy or deceiver shall ever prevail against us.

Verses 29-41 Christ foretells his second coming. It is usual for prophets to speak of things as near and just at hand, to express the greatness and certainty of them. Concerning Christ's second coming, it is foretold that there shall be a great change, in order to the making all things new. Then they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds. At his first coming, he was set for a sign that should be spoken against, but at his second coming, a sign that should be admired. Sooner or later, all sinners will be mourners; but repenting sinners look to Christ, and mourn after a godly sort; and those who sow in those tears shall shortly reap in joy. Impenitent sinners shall see Him whom they have pierced, and, though they laugh now, shall mourn and weep in endless horror and despair. The elect of God are scattered abroad; there are some in all places, and all nations; but when that great gathering day comes, there shall not one of them be missing. Distance of place shall keep none out of heaven. Our Lord declares that the Jews should never cease to be a distinct people, until all things he had been predicting were fulfilled. His prophecy reaches to the day of final judgment; therefore he here, ver. 34, foretells that Judah shall never cease to exist as a distinct people, so long as this world shall endure. Men of the world scheme and plan for generation upon generation here, but they plan not with reference to the overwhelming, approaching, and most certain event of Christ's second coming, which shall do away every human scheme, and set aside for ever all that God forbids. That will be as surprising a day, as the deluge to the old world. Apply this, first, to temporal judgments, particularly that which was then hastening upon the nation and people of the Jews. Secondly, to the eternal judgment. Christ here shows the state of the old world when the deluge came. They were secure and careless; they knew not, until the flood came; and they believed not. Did we know aright that all earthly things must shortly pass away, we should not set our eyes and hearts so much upon them as we do. The evil day is not the further off for men's putting it far from them. What words can more strongly describe the suddenness of our Saviour's coming! Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenly the Lord of glory will appear. Women will be in their house employments, but in that moment every other work will be laid aside, and every heart will turn inward and say, It is the Lord! Am I prepared to meet him? Can I stand before him? And what, in fact, is the day of judgment to the whole world, but the day of death to every one?

Verses 42-51 To watch for Christ's coming, is to maintain that temper of mind which we would be willing that our Lord should find us in. We know we have but a little time to live, we cannot know that we have a long time to live; much less do we know the time fixed for the judgment. Our Lord's coming will be happy to those that shall be found ready, but very dreadful to those that are not. If a man, professing to be the servant of Christ, be an unbeliever, covetous, ambitious, or a lover of pleasure, he will be cut off. Those who choose the world for their portion in this life, will have hell for their portion in the other life. May our Lord, when he cometh, pronounce us blessed, and present us to the Father, washed in his blood, purified by his Spirit, and fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

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Matthew 24 Commentaries