Introduction: Our study of the prophecies of Daniel show that God is
interested in sharing the future with His people. God’s interest in
this continued when He came to earth to live with us. This week we
turn our attention to the prophecies that Jesus shared with His
disciples. Let’s explore these predictions that come directly from
the lips of our Lord!

  1. The Temple

    1. Read Matthew 24:1-2. What building is Jesus discussing?
      (The temple in Jerusalem.)

      1. What do you understand Jesus to be saying to His
        disciples? (He was telling them that the most
        important center of worship for Jews was going to be
        totally destroyed.)

      2. Where have we recently discussed this in our study of
        the visions of Daniel? (Read Daniel 8:11-12. Remember
        that Daniel was sick for several days ( Daniel 8:27)
        when he heard about the destruction (again!)of the
        temple. Jesus’ disciples were now hearing that same

      3. How could Jesus know the future of the temple? (This
        is one of the faith-building aspects of prophecy.
        Jesus was not only familiar with the prophecies of
        Daniel ( Matthew 24:15), God knows the future. He
        shares that future with us when He thinks it will be
        helpful. See Amos 3:7)

    2. **Read Matthew 24:3. Does Jesus have the attention of the

      1. What do they want to know? (They want to know “when”
        in the future. They want to know dates, and they want
        to know what “signs” they will get as further

      2. What assumptions are the disciples making about the
        prophecy that are warranted? (They show that they
        understand that Jesus is coming back a second time.
        We have often discussed how their pre-conceived ideas
        mislead them as to the future. However, this makes
        clear they did understand that Jesus was coming

      3. What assumptions are the disciples making about the
        prophecy that are not warranted? (They assume that if
        the temple in Jerusalem is destroyed, this will be
        the end of the world.)

        1. What lesson about interpreting prophecy do we
          learn from this unwarranted assumption? (Do not
          go beyond the prophecy. Do not “supplement”
          prophecy with our own assumptions.)

    3. Read Acts 1:6. What picture of the future did the
      disciples have in mind? (They were looking forward to
      political power on earth.)

      1. How could they “fit” the idea that the temple would
        be destroyed into their ideas of earthly power? (It
        boggles my mind that they could hold both of these
        opinions at the same time. They thought Jesus would
        overthrow the Romans and they would be princes of
        that kingdom. At the same time Jesus is telling them
        Jerusalem will be destroyed.)

  2. The Antidote to Deception and Fear

    1. Read Matthew 24:4. What is Jesus’ goal for his disciples?

      1. The lesson suggests (Sunday, bottom) that Jesus was
        deliberately being unclear to His disciples because
        they would have been unable to stand the truth. What
        do you think of this suggestion? How does it sound in
        the light of Matthew 24:4? (I feel very uncomfortable
        with the notion that Jesus was either intentionally
        or by default confusing His disciples (for their own
        benefit, of course). This seems difficult to accept
        when Jesus stresses the importance in v. 4 of not
        being deceived. Frankly, they seemed plenty confused
        on their own without any “help” from Jesus.)

    2. Why did Jesus share this vision of the future with His
      disciples? If the future was too painful for them to be
      given a clear vision of it, why get into this topic at
      all? (Read Matthew 24:5-6. Jesus gives us at least two of
      His reasons to pull back the curtain on the future. First
      (v.4), He wanted to guard His disciples against being
      deceived. Second (v.6), He wanted to insulate them against

      1. How can a revelation of the future guard us against
        deception and fear?

    3. Notice that verse 5 warns the disciples about persons who
      impersonate Jesus. How could Jesus own disciples be
      deceived (v.5) by someone who said they were “the Christ?”
      (I am not sure how this could happen to the disciples, but
      the warning to us – who have not seen Jesus – is very
      clear. We must be extremely cautious about anyone who
      claims to be the returned Jesus.)

    4. Read Matthew 24:7-8. Jesus attaches a time frame to His
      prophecy. What is your understanding of the timing of
      these events when Jesus calls them (v.8) the “beginning of
      birth pains.”

        1. Why is birth a good example? (“Birth pains” end
          up with new life. Jesus is simply saying that
          these kinds of disasters are just the beginning
          of the end. The good news is that Satan is
          active, but limited in those days, but Jesus is
          coming to make things new. Something good will
          come out of all of this bad stuff.)

  3. The Good and the Bad

    1. Read Matthew 24:9-12. Let’s list those bad things that
      Jesus told His disciple would occur in the future. Has
      this happened? Will it happen in the future?

    2. I have heard Christians say that if we truly lived the way
      we should, the world would hate us. What do you think
      about the truth of that kind of statement?

      1. How does such a statement “fit” into verse 9? (Jesus
        made a number of statements about the world hating
        light and hating Him because He spoke against evil.
        ( John 3:20, 7:7, 15:18-19, 1 John 3:13) However,
        Matthew 24:9 suggests this is not the normal rule of
        our life. It suggests that at certain times in
        history this will be true and Christians will not be
        at fault for it. However, if you find that this is
        the “norm” for your life, and you are “hated” at
        work, perhaps you need to examine these texts and
        your Christian life more closely.)

    3. Read Matthew 24:13. What is Jesus prophesying about now in
      this verse? What comfort do you find here?(Jesus is
      speaking of the end of time – His Second Coming. We are
      comforted by His promise that if we hold on, He will save

    4. Read Matthew 24:14. What is required before Jesus can come

    5. Read Matthew 24:15-18. Whose prophecy is Jesus quoting?
      ( Daniel 9:27)

      1. Is this something in the future or something in the
        past? (Clearly Jesus is speaking of the future
        destruction of the temple.)

      2. Why does Jesus give us explicit instructions about
        how to flee? (Eusebius reports that because
        Christians followed Jesus’ advice, there is no
        evidence that a single Christian was killed in the
        destruction of the temple. Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. lib.
        3 Chapter 6.)

    6. Was the temple in Jerusalem destroyed as Jesus had
      predicted? (Yes, it was destroyed by Rome in the year 70
      A.D. If we accept that Matthew, one of the twelve
      apostles, was the author of the gospel of Matthew (and the
      early church fathers all agreed he was), then this record
      of Jesus’ prophecy would have been written before
      Jerusalem was destroyed.)

    7. Read Matthew 24:20. Why was Jesus concerned about Sabbath-keeping years after His death and resurrection? (This is
      additional proof of the continued (post-resurrection)
      importance of the Sabbath.)

  4. Preparation

    1. Read Matthew 24:43-44. What important principle of
      apocalyptic (end-time) prophecy do we learn here? (Jesus
      tells us the bottom line on prophecy is to always be
      ready. “Prophetic arrogance,” if it causes you to delay
      being ready, can get you killed eternally.)

    2. Read Matthew 24:32-33. What, then, is the point of Jesus’
      prophecy if we still have to be ready at all times? Is
      there any point to studying it? (As we see things happen,
      we can have confidence that God is with us. God knows the
      future and what is happening to us at any particular time
      is within His understanding, if not ours. Jesus’ picture
      of seasons lets us know that we can have a general
      understanding of the end-time.)

    3. How do you think the people felt to actually see Jesus’
      prophecy fulfilled? (It no doubt gave them greater
      confidence that He was the Messiah.)

  5. The Return

    1. Read Matthew 24:30-31. What is the most important part of
      Jesus’ prophecies in Matthew 24? (That He is coming again
      to take us home with Him!)

    2. Friend, Jesus predicts the road may be rough for those who
      follow Him, but the end reward is worth it all. Will you
      “sign on” – today – to be one of the elect?

  6. Next week: The Child, the Church, and the Dragon: Revelation 12.