Introduction: Would you like to know when Jesus will come again?
Jesus’ disciples wanted to know! Their problem was that they were not
skilled lawyers who could construct a clear question about the end of
time. Jesus, no doubt, understood their confusion about His Second
Coming. But, for some reason He allowed their confusion remain.
Another problem for the disciples was preconceived ideas. This week
we study Jesus’ comments about end times to see what we can
understand. We will see if we can put our preconceived ideas aside.
Let’s dive into our study!
- The Confusing Question
- Read Matthew 24:1-2. What would be going through your mind
if you were one of Jesus’ disciples? (This would be the
worst tragedy they could imagine. Their nation would be
destroyed. Their beautiful place of worship ruined. This
had happened once before when the Babylonians destroyed
Jerusalem. Their lives would never be the same.)
- Read Matthew 24:3. How do you understand this question? Is
it only one question, or is it two or more? (I’m sure the
disciples were still in shock, so they might not have been
thinking clearly. This is really three questions: 1)When
will the temple buildings be destroyed; 2) When will be
the Second Coming of Jesus; and, 3) When will be the end
of the age? By this last, I think they mean the end of
- Are these three separate questions in your mind? (I
think they are all separate questions, but the
disciples thought they were only one question. They
conflated the three into one.)
- The Answer
- Read Matthew 24:4. What is Jesus’ stated concern? (They
will be deceived.)
- Why didn’t Jesus say, “Wait, you have asked Me three
- Are being confused and being deceived similar?
- Jesus obviously loved them. Why do you think He
answered as He did? (For some reason Jesus did
not want them to have perfect clarity about the
future. At the same time, he did not want their
lack of clarity to result in deception. From
that we should conclude that the areas in which
Jesus brings clarity are very important for us
to understand. In those areas in which He does
not bring clarity, it is important for us to
- Read Matthew 24:5-8. Which of the three questions is Jesus
answering here? (He specifically answers about His Second
Coming and “the end.” He is not talking about the
destruction of Jerusalem.)
- Read Matthew 24:9-14. What do these verses and the
earlier verses say are connected with Jesus’ Second coming
and the end of time? (Fake Christs. Wars, famines,
earthquakes, persecution, death, hatred of Christians,
false prophets, increased wickedness and decreased love.
The gospel is spread world-wide.)
- Do you see these things in the world now?
- Read Matthew 24:15-20. What is Jesus describing here?
Which question is He answering? (This must be the
destruction of Jerusalem, for He makes a geographical
reference to Judea.)
- Notice the language about the “abomination that
causes desolation.” Who does it say prophesied this?
- Let’s explore some texts from Daniel. Read
Daniel 9:26-27. Is this the prophesied
abomination that causes desolation? (It refers
to “the Anointed One” being “cut off.” It
refers to the “sanctuary” being destroyed. It
was not too long after Jesus was crucified that
Rome destroyed the temple in Jerusalem as Jesus
warned. This prophesy fits.)
- Read Daniel 12:9-12. Here is another reference
to the abomination that causes desolation. Is
it the same? (The language seems to preclude
this being the same event for it refers to a
period of time after the temple is destroyed
and thus the daily sacrifice ended.)
- Why is it fair to call the conquering Roman
army an “abomination that caused desolation?”
(It destroyed the way God’s people had
historically come to Him to have their sins
- What does this suggest about the second
abomination that occurs later? (It might also
be an attack on our ability to come to God and
have our sins removed.)
- What would that mean after Jesus’ resurrection?
What would that mean for us today? (Then and
now that suggests an abomination that attempts
to destroy righteousness by faith.)
- Can you think of some powers that fit that
- Read Matthew 24:21-25. Which question is being answered
here? (The reference to great distress could refer to
Christians who were in Jerusalem when it was destroyed.
Notice that verse 21 starts out “For then,” which ties the
distress to Judea. However, the distress could also refer
to the Second Coming of Jesus. Notice the “at that time,”
statement that is tied to false Christs. As we will
discuss next, this is a clear reference to the Second
Coming. It tells us that no followers of God would survive
if He did not intervene.)
- The Clear Points
- Read Matthew 24:26-27. How will you be able to positively
determine Jesus’ Second Coming from any fakes? (If someone
has to inform you that Jesus has come, it is not Jesus!)
- Read Matthew 24:28. Why is Jesus talking about vultures?
(If you see vultures gathering in the sky, you know
something died. Jesus tells us that looking up will help
keep us from being deceived.)
- Read Matthew 24:29. Is this a world-wide event? (It has to
be, given the context. That is why I think some prior
teaching of my church was ill-considered when it pointed
to events that were observed in the New England section of
the United States as the fulfillment of this prophesy.)
- What do you think is meant by the words “the heavenly
bodies will be shaken?” ( Revelation 21:1 tells us
that the old heaven will end and a new heaven will be
created. This suggests the disintegration of the
heavenly bodies is underway. This makes sense since
some of these stars are billions of light years away.
A cataclysmic event is taking place in the universe.)
- Read Matthew 24:30. What is the “sign” of the Son of Man?
Where does it appear? (Once again, we have something going
on in the sky that takes place before Jesus comes.
Doubtless, this gets everyone’s attention.)
- How does Jesus come? (In the sky and with power and
- Why will all nations “mourn?” (The righteous are not
mourning. This tells us that the majority of the
people have not accepted Jesus as their Savior.)
- Read Matthew 24:31. Where do the followers of Jesus live?
(They live all over the earth. This further proof that
these heavenly signs are not a regional event.)
- Read Matthew 24:32-35. Jesus tells us that we need to be
alert for these signs, and that His words are absolutely
reliable. He also says that this generation will not pass.
How should we understand this since Jesus’ listeners died
2,000 years ago and Jesus has not returned? (That
generation did not pass before Jerusalem was destroyed.
That question, of course, was the first one asked by the
disciples. Perhaps Jesus is also saying that the
generation that sees the signs will not pass before He
- Read Matthew 24:37-39. Is it a historical fact that the
people knew nothing about the coming of the flood? (Read 2
Peter 2:5 and 1 Peter 3:19-20. They infer that Noah warned
the people while he was building the ark. Thus, the “knew
nothing” people must be those who wish to know nothing.)
- Read Matthew 24:42. If you consider the points that seem
clear and those which are unclear, what should you
conclude about your preparation for the end times? (Our
lack of clarity commands that we keep watch, that we
- Friend, will you remain faithful? Why not ask the Holy
Spirit, right now, to help your understanding of end time
events and to aid you in remaining faithful until then?
- Next week: Worship the Creator.