Three Timing Indicators of the Return of Christ
32 Learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near–at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words (prophecies) will by no means pass away. (Matthew 24:32–35)
But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only (Matthew 24:36).
- Jesus said present tense “knows.” Does Jesus know now that He is in heaven with the Father?
- We don’t want to get into specific ‘date-setting’ though we can ask the Father. We know exactly 7 years of tribulation so when it starts… We know the Harlot religion and Antichrist will come first (2 Thes 2:1-4, 1 Thes 5:3) but we must know the generation in which we live. Mat 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. Our ‘ark’ is inside us, by fellowshipping with the indwelling Holy Spirit and being led and protected Goshen in Exodus.
- There are many prophesied signs in Scripture that mark the final generation, that Jesus returns to, as unique. These signs give us the understanding that we are in a unique season in redemptive history. Yet many make wrong assumptions regarding Matthew 24:36 and 44:
- Wrong assumption #1: “No one can know the day or the hour”, which would falsely imply a sudden, unexpected departure. No one can know the day or the hour, but Jesus Himself made clear that we could (and should) know the season, or the generation, of His return.
- Wrong assumption #2: “No one will ever know the day or the hour.” It is true that “of that day” no one knows, only the Father Himself. That does not mean, however, that we will never know the time of His coming.
Jesus exhorted us to know the Generation
Luke 12:54 And he said also to the people, When all of you see a cloud rise out of the west, immediately all of you say, There comes a shower; and so it is. 56 All of you hypocrites, all of you can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that all of you do not discern this time?
- The Bible gives precise information to believers (number of days, months, and years pertaining to certain events in the last days) that will give us great hope in the midst of great trial. We may still not know the exact day or hour, but we will have great hope alive within us that there is a predetermined end to the trial that will soon come.
- The subject of the signs of the times is greatly neglected by many within the Body of Christ. Yet many Scriptures emphasize how important prophetic signs are at the end of the age. Scripture shows that Jesus, more than any of the apostles, instructed on our need to discern the times. Jesus gave severe rebukes to those who did not pay attention to the prophetic signs that pointed to His first coming. The following verses are examples of the mandate to Jesus to pay attention to signs of His return: Matthew 16:1-4 and 24:32-44, Luke 19:41-44, and Luke 21:34-36.
- There are three types of biblical “indicators” that indicate to the generation in which the Lord returns that His coming is near:
1). Sign events: these are predicted in Scripture and alert us to the timing of Jesus’ return.
2). Sign trends: both positive and negative sign trends will signal His coming
3). Prophetic experiences: subjective personal experiences alert us to the end times.
Jesus connected three events to his Return
- There are three key sign trends that strongly indicate that we are in the generation of the Lord’s return. Jesus personally connected the timing of His return to the earth to three events that are all emerging simultaneously in this hour of history:
- Jesus connected the timing of His return to the repentance and revival of Jewish political and spiritual leaders in Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37-39.
- Jesus connected the timing of His return to the preaching of the gospel throughout the whole earth in Matthew 24:14.
- Jesus connected the timing of His return to night and day prayer happening on the earth in Luke 18:7-8. He deliberately tied the idea of finding faith on the earth to a people crying out day and night for justice. Ultimate justice will only be found in His return. Rev 8:1-5 details bowls of prayers which the saints fill and then are poured out and answered at His return.
All three trends are, in a clear, measurable way, happening in this generation in a manner that is unique to any other time in redemptive history.
- Messianic (Jewish) congregations of believers in Israel and Jerusalem are experiencing more growth through conversions than any time in church history since the 1st century. There has been a notable statistical increase in particular over the past ten years. This trend is one that has also been reflected in the modern missions world: a notable spike in the increase of church planting and world evangelism over the past decade alone.
- Evangelical missions organizations are now conservatively projecting that the gospel will have been heard by every people group and language on the earth for the first time in church history in the time frame of 2025 to 2032.
- The recent increase of night and day prayer across the earth more unique than in any generation throughout church history – this is a historic hour for prayer initiatives (24/7 and otherwise), prayer gatherings, stadium gatherings, and the planting of houses of prayer worldwide. Isa 56:7 My house shall be called an house of prayer for all nations.
Inspired by Dave Sliker notes
Matthew 24 is the Premier Guide Jesus gave to knowing of the Time of His return, let’s look if we are close.
Jesus gave 12 trends as signs of the generation in which He will return (Mt. 24:4-8; Lk. 21:7-18). Matthew gave us 7 trends which are false christs, war, ethnic conflict, economic warfare, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. Luke described 5 more which are commotions, fearful sights, great signs from heaven, distress in the nations and roaring waves (Lk. 21:9-11, 23-26).
5 Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars…for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation…and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes…8 All these are the beginning of sorrows (birth pangs). (Mt. 24:5-8)
Jesus gave twelve major trends that are to be discerned and received as prophetic signs to help the Church prepare for the coming years (Mt. 24:4-8; Mk. 13:5-8, Lk. 21:7-18). Jesus gave us accelerator signs in different areas of life including spiritual (positive and negative), social, political, technological, natural (signs in heaven and earth).
Mt. 24:7 For nation will rise against nation [ethnos], and kingdom against kingdom. Ethnic conflict or civil disorder based on racism is making world headlines (Mt. 24:7). The Greek word for nation is ethnos from which we get the word ethnic. Thus, nation against nation is “ethnic group against ethnic group.”
The ethnic wars in Cambodia, Albania, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and Sudan along with China’s Cultural Revolution (1966) have caused the number of people who have been murdered by their own people to exceed 150 million. The militant Islamic leaders have especially targeted Israel, the USA, and the European Union. Since 1945, over 150 major wars have occurred, killing over 25 million. Since the Berlin Wall fell (Nov. 1989), conflicts have forced 50 million people from their homes worldwide. There were over 70 wars in 1995, which is double the number in 1989.
KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM
A. Economic warfare can devastate a nation (Mt. 24:7). Kingdom against kingdom refers to making war in the arena of national resources.
MATT. 24:4-8 – THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS:
A. Jesus spoke in Matt. 24:8 of the “beginning of sorrows” – a time frame that would represent a marked shift in the time in history that would represent the “beginning of birth pangs”, or the chain of events that would culminate with the end-time judgments and the Second Coming.
These disruptive prophetic signs would precede the final seven years and the beginning of the Great Tribulation in Matt. 24:15 – thus the generation of believers who witnessed these signs were exhorted by Jesus to “see that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Though I believe that we have seen a significant shift in the season and time of history, I do not believe we have seen the beginning of this prophetic season yet.
B. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” The context has been established in Israel for many to emerge as false political “messiahs” to bring forth the deliverance of Israel from her enemies and establish the Torah again nationally. These
false leaders may also be instrumental in instigating the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, which Daniel spoke of in Dan. 9:27 (and Paul spoke of in 2 Thess. 2:3).
C. “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars…For nation (ethnic group) will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” in the 20th century alone 100 million people were killed in war; 1993 saw a record number of wars fought in one year – 29; the first century to see global
conflict of any kind. Ethnic conflicts and genocides, already increasing in number and frequency, will become widespread and bring a “global gloom” that will be accompanied by the other signs that Jesus predicted. The peoples of the earth will long for peace and provision.
D. “And there will be famines”: 4 million people a year currently die of starvation; the World Health Organization estimated that over 1/3 of the earth’s population is under-fed; and in ten years (1990-2000) over 100 million children died of illness and starvation.
E. “…pestilences”: virtually unheard of hundreds of years ago are over 100 different kinds of cancer that now kill over 5 million people per year; the AIDS virus alone has killed tens of millions; new and untreatable strands of malaria, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, cholera, and the
Black Death have emerged over the last 10 years; disease is the number one enemy of tsunami victims throughout Asia.
“…and earthquakes”: one of the critical signs of the times to watch for, according to Jesus, was the reality of “earthquakes in various places” as a precursor to the coming cataclysmic
earthquakes described in the book of Revelation that would be greater in scope and destructive
force than any other earthquakes in history. The initial tremors related to the birth pangs will
come in “various places” – I do not think that this means that there will be more earthquakes in
the final hours of history, but that earthquakes will continually increase in severity as we get
nearer to the end. These earthquakes, like the increase in famine and pestilence, will shift the
global mood drastically and create a greater desperation in a greater number of people for social
and societal change.
Mt. 24:9 They will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
A. Hatred toward believers is on the rise (Mt. 24:9). Jesus prophesied that believers would be hated, delivered up to tribulation, and killed by all nations because of their loyalty to Him.
B. The number of martyrs over 1900 years was nearly 25 million. In the 20th century, there have been almost 50 million martyrs. Persecution of believers continues to increase in parts of China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, North Korea, and Sudan, etc. It will reach an all-time high in
the generation Jesus returns (Dan. 7:21, 25; 8:24; 11:33-35; 12:7, 10; Rev. 6:9-11; 7:9, 14; 9:21; 11:7; 13:7, 15; 16:5-7; 17:6; 18:24; 19:2; Mt. 10:21-22, 28; 24:9; Lk. 12:4-7; 21:16-19).
Unrighteous legislation will permit the state to control and even kill believers (Rev. 13:15-17).
~Martyrdom sets into motion a domino effect in the spirit realm, which intensifies prayer. Murder backfires on the Antichrist. The shedding of the saints’ blood fuels the prayer movement, purifies the Church, and releases the harvest. It will result in fearless dedication to Jesus and zeal in the prayer movement, which releases judgment (Rev 6:10).
Mt. 24:10 Then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
A. Relational breakdown in society is making world headlines. This does not refer specifically to
believers, but to people in general being offended and betraying and hating one another.
B. Currently, the breakdown of the family with the divorce rate is exploding worldwide. In the US, it is 50%. Social order will break down when family members and friends betray each other.
There will be a widespread spirit of murder and open hatred directed at the church in the coming days (Matt. 24:9). This would be followed by “the love of many growing cold” (Matt. 24:12) in which great betrayal and offense will be revealed from within the church – among the brethren. Many will turn from the Lord in that time.
Mt. 24:12 Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
A. Lawlessness is abounding in increased expressions of violence and immorality. It will cause the breakdown of the social order as love grows cold for God, as well as for family members.
B. Sin is now reaching greater expressions and will reach its fullness (Rev. 14:18; Dan. 8:23).
23 In the latter time…when the transgressors have reached their fullness… (Dan. 8:23)
11 There will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven…25 And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars… (Lk. 21:25)
There will be great signs in the sky as seen in the sun, moon, and stars (Lk. 21:11, 25). The weather patterns are affected by what happens in the heavens. We are experiencing record levels of floods, fires, hurricanes, volcanoes, and other natural disasters.
B. Meteorologists warn that changes in global weather patterns mean that we will have hotter and more turbulent weather for the next 100 years or so. Four out of five of the costliest natural disasters of the past 40 years have occurred since 1989, including hurricanes Andrew and Hugo.
The most costly earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and floods are happening.
When comparing Mt. 24 with 1 Thes. 5:2-3 we see 3 distinct prophetic time frames related to the final 7-year period of this age. First, the beginning of birth pangs (Mt. 24:8). Second, the worldwide period of counterfeit peace and safety (increased birth pangs; 1 Thes. 5:2-3; Dan.
9:27). Third, the Great Tribulation (heavy birth pangs; Mt. 24:21; Jer. 30:5-7). These 3 prophetic time frames are related to the last 7 years of this age (Dan. 9:27).
The last 7 years is made up of 2 distinct periods each lasting 31/2 years.
- First time frame: beginning of birth pangs with distress in the nations (Mt. 24:4-8; Lk 21:23, 25)
- Second time frame: increased labor pangs with counterfeit world peace (first 31/2 year period)
- Third time frame: hard labor pangs with the Great Tribulation (final 31/2 year period)
UNDERSTANDING THE FIRST TIME FRAME: DISTRESS IN THE NATIONS (MT. 24:4-8)
1. The beginning of birth pangs occurs before the 7-year period starts. Israel is the timetable for God’s prophetic plans. They are the reference point for understanding redemptive history past and future. Therefore, my opinion is that the beginning of birth pangs started in 1948 when Israel
became a nation or in 1967 when Jerusalem came under Israel’s authority.
2. Jesus spoke of a specific period of time called the “beginning of birth pangs.” The Greek word birth pangs is translated as sorrows (NKJV). It is to be compared with the increasing trauma a woman experiences during childbirth. This trauma will result in a new world order being birthed at the Millennium. Paul spoke of creation as groaning for the Millennial earth.
Matthew 24’s Nine Signs
The 12 negative sign trends that bring distress to the nations are deception and false prophets (Mt. 24:4-5, 11, 24), ethnic conflict (Mt. 24:7), economic warfare (Mt. 24:7), famines, pestilences, and earthquakes (Mt. 24:8), hatred of believers (Mt. 24:9), relational breakdown in society (Mt. 24:10), lawlessness causing love to grow cold (Mt. 24:12), fearful sights (Lk. 21:11), signs in the sky and disturbances in the sea (Lk. 21:11, 25). In the same way that we must embrace the positive sign trends in our lives in this hour, so we must resist and expose these negative sign trends at this time, before they escalate.
2. These trends have always existed in society, but in the end times they will have a distinct intensity that will make global headline news. In them, God has a message to a generation. Jesus gave these signs to answer the question of what would be the sign of His coming (Mt. 24:3).
These are prophetic signs that are meant to give believers confidence that the Lord is near.
3.These birth pangs will create a many-faceted crisis, unparalleled in history. They must be discernable to be prophetic signs to help the Church. Birth pains are measured by frequency (how far apart the contractions are) and intensity (amount of pain they cause). As the frequency and intensity of the contractions increase, it signals the soon arrival of a baby. A woman experiencing birth pains notices that something is different. These signs will get the attention of the planet. Jesus didn’t give us a way to measure them. They have a discernable message in them from God that makes people cry out to God. As we stay in the Scripture and close to Jesus, we will understand.
B. 24:9-10 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
Persecution against believers: will be unique in the generation in which the Lord returns (Dan. 7:21, 25; 8:24; 11:33-35; 12:7, 10; Rev. 6:9-11; 7:9, 14; 9:21; 11:7; 13:7, 15; 16:5-7; 17:6; 18:24; 19:2; Mt. 10:21-22, 28; 24:9; Lk. 12:4-7; 21:16-19). The number of martyrs over 1900 years was nearly 25 million. In the 20th century, there have been almost 50 million martyrs.
C. 24:11-12 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
There will be a falling away from the faith at the end of the age (Mt. 24:9-13; 2 Thes. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:1-7; 4:3-5; 2 Pet. 2:1-3). A doctrine of a demon is a teaching inspired by demons. 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, (1 Tim. 4:1-3) 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables… (2 Tim. 4:3-4) Sound doctrine teaches obedience and allegiance to Jesus. It requires endurance. To turn the ear away means that the people will no longer hear what God intended in various Bible passages. Many churches now today deny Scripture as infallible and therefore, as the moral plumb line.
We will see Scoffers and mockers even within the church as we proclaim End-time truth: Peter highlighted we first of all we should brace ourselves to be mocked. (2 Pet. 3:3-4) Loving the truth is more than agreeing with it; it involves standing for the truth despite the cost.
9 The coming of the lawless one [Antichrist] is…with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and unrighteous deception…because they did not receive the love of the truth.(2 Thes. 2:9-10)
Jesus prophesied 3x about an increased deception in the end times 4 Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many…11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many…24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Mt. 24:4-5, 11, 24)
UNDERSTANDING THE SECOND TIME FRAME: FALSE PROPHETS AND COUNTERFEIT WORLD PEACE
A.Two signs that Paul gave to indicate the time of Jesus’ Coming are a falling away from the faith combined with the revealing of the Antichrist on the world stage to establish peace (1 Thes. 5:3).Widespread deception will lead many to embrace the harlot Babylon religion (Rev. 17:2-6) and cause many to fall away from Jesus (Mt. 24-11; 2 Thes. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Tim. 3:1-7; 4:3-5).
The second prophetic time frame occurs in the first 31/2 year period. It begins with the Antichrist being revealed as a man of peace who solves the “distress in the nations” (Mt. 24:4-8) (Dan. 9:27) and then establishes a counterfeit world peace (1 Thes. 5:3). At this time the Harlot Babylon religion persecutes the Church (Rev. 17:2-6) leading to many falling away from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1). The nations will rejoice in the unity and world peace that this religion will seemingly bring. Since many military and economic conflicts are linked to religious differences, many are looking for a “religious solution” that will set the stage to accomplish world peace and prosperity. 3 When they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them. (1 Thes. 5:3)
B.There are two stages in Satan’s end-time plan to be worshipped by all nations (Rev. 13:8). First, he will establish the Harlot Babylon worldwide religion as a means to deceive the nations and cause Christians to fall away from the faith. Next, he will establish the Antichrist religion.
C.Babylon will deceive the nations with sorcery, which is a combination of drugs and demonic power (Rev. 9:21; 18:23; Isa. 47:9, 12). Her dark supernatural power will fascinate people.
23 For by your [Babylon] sorcery all the nations were deceived. (Rev. 18:23)
D.Israel’s national and spiritual harlotry consisted of worshiping idols (Ex. 34:12-17). When Israel turned to idols, God called it “playing the harlot with other gods.” There are 90 passages in the OT that refer to Israel’s national harlotry. In each passage, harlotry is a religion based on idolatry. Spiritual harlotry is synonymous with idolatry and false religion that involved demon worship (1 Cor. 10:20-21; 1 Chr. 5:25; Ezek. 23:37; Hos. 4:12-13). Idolatry is usually combined with immorality (orgies), drugs, demonic rituals, and the sacrifice of animals or humans.
E.The Harlot Babylon will be a counterfeit “justice” movement and religion that will masquerade as an answer to injustice as it deceives the earth by feeding the poor, meeting humanitarian needs, loving peace, and championing the dignity of humanity with no moral absolutes. The two main characteristics of the Harlot’s ideology are moral relativism and religious pluralism.
E. The Harlot religion serves as a “forerunner” to prepare the nations to worship the Antichrist. Revelation 17:1-6 vividly describes the seductive power, cruel persecution, and destruction of Harlot Babylon’s one-world religious system.
F. The Harlot’s system will cause the nations to be drunk with her seductions that offer great benefits including humanitarian aid, unified religion (that ends war) and a prosperous world economy. The nations will get drunk or intoxicated with joy with her promises of goodness, prosperity, compassion and a theology of tolerance (Rev. 17:2)
G. The Harlot religion will have great prominence. It will be arrayed in purple (royal status) and will be respected by the elite financial leaders of the earth who will give their allegiance to her (Rev. 17:4)
A. John prophesied about Babylon from Rev. 17:1-19:10. He ended the section by defining the true spirit of worship and prophecy as that which testifies, or magnifies, the truth about Jesus. The testimony of Jesus includes His life, death, resurrection, and the primary issues on His heart.
10 Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev. 19:10)
B. One aspect of false prophecy is to promise peace and prosperity in a time of judgment.
(Jer. 23:16-22)10 They have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace… (Ezek. 13:10)
C. There is a great need for forerunner messengers to speak the truth faithfully, boldly, and tenderly. Allegiance to Jesus and loving the truth are primary issues in the end times (2 Thes. 2:10). The Body of Christ must tolerate all religions in the sense of greatly valuing the dignity of their people and religious liberties. They possess great dignity before God. Yet, we are not willing to let them go to hell by refusing to love them by telling them the truth about Jesus. A false application of tolerance is foundational in the movements that lead to the harlot religion.
B. The conflict in the end times will center upon defining who Jesus is and how we love Him. We must love God on His terms. Love for God is loyalty to His truth, as seen in Jesus. Our love must be expressed in alliance with the Jesus of the Bible, not the Jesus of humanistic sentiment.
C. Truths about Jesus that offend humanists include His deity and, thus, His right to establish absolute standards of living. Jesus does not accept humanistic views of righteousness and love that exclude Jesus as the only way of salvation, and His right to judge sin, now and in eternity.
D. Refusal to stand by such truths is proof that they operate under the spirit of delusion. This is true of famous people who work in the White House, who host talk shows, who fill stadiums with concerts for the poor, or who lead mega-churches. There are many voices with a false application of tolerance, and they are currently preparing the nations to embrace this harlot religion.
E. The end-time Church will lead the greatest hope and justice movement in history. In Jesus, we have a hope that is far superior to all humanistic movements. The true forerunners are the greatest hope-bringers in history. They will be filled with love, purity, and humility as they
engage in works of justice and compassion while giving a clear witness of the truth.
Mt. 24:12 Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
A. Lawlessness is abounding in increased expressions of violence and immorality. It will cause the breakdown of the social order as love grows cold for God, as well as for family members.
B. Sin is now reaching greater expressions and will reach its fullness (Rev. 14:18; Dan. 8:23).
23 In the latter time…when the transgressors have reached their fullness… (Dan. 8:23)
How does such a man as the Antichrist come into such great power and authority? It will be the fruit of the desires of the nations for this kind of king, who represents everything that they long to be. As Israel chose Saul over David, so the nations will choose this man over the true King, Jesus. This will not be a momentary decision – the coming of the “lawless one” will be the fruit of the maturity of lawlessness (Dan. 8:23) when the “transgressors reach their fullness”. God will give men the god they desire when Satan is cast down to the earth (Rev. 12:7-9) and will “give them over” to the king they desire as well (Rom. 1:26).
D. 24:14 14 This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations (ethnos) and then the end will come. (Mt 24:14)
A. There are positive spiritual trends prophesied in the Scripture that will occur in the generation the Lord returns in great measure with a unique intensity on a global basis. They’re measurable.
B. Gospel preached to all nations: Jesus connected the timing of His return to the preaching of the gospel to all nations. Mission organizations project from statistical data that the gospel will be heard by every people group and language on the earth for the first time by 2015.
C. Churches exist in all 232 nations and territories of the earth. The greatest harvest of souls in history is occurring now. The Bible has been translated in over 2,000 languages (used by 98% of the world’s population). Wycliffe plans to have it translated in every language by 2040.
D. Salvation of Israel: Messianic (Jewish) congregations in Israel are seeing more Jewish people come to Jesus than any time since the first century. There are over 120 Messianic congregations in Israel totaling over 10,000 believers. This is an increase of over 500% in the last 10 years.
39 You shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”
(Mt 23:39) 26 All Israel will be saved, as it is written… (Rom. 11:26)
E. Bridal identity: John connected Jesus’ return to the Church worldwide understanding her bridal
identity. This is occurring in a global way for the first time in history (Rev 22:17; Mt. 25:1-13).
F. Global prayer movement: Jesus connected the timing of His return in Lk. 17 to night and day
prayer in Lk. 18. Isaiah prophesied of 24/7 prayer ministries continuing until Jesus’ Coming (Isa.
62:6-7) and energized by those who have a bridal identity (Isa. 62:4-5). The recent surge of 24/7
prayer with many stadium prayer events occurring worldwide is a sign of the times. The Spirit is
raising up a end-time prayer movement (Rev. 22:17; 5:8; 8:4; Lk. 18:7-8; Mt. 25:1-13; Isa. 62:6-
7; 24:14-16; 25:9; 26:8-9; 27:2-5, 13; 30:18-19; 42:10-13; 43:26; 51:11; 52:8; Joel 2:12-17, 32;
Jer. 31:7; Mic. 5:3-4; Zeph. 2:1-3; Ps. 102:17-20; 122:6; Zech. 12:10).
7 Shall God not avenge (bring justice) His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though
He bears long with them? 8…He will avenge them speedily (Tribulation). When the Son of
Man comes, will He really find faith (agreement with His plans in prayer) on the earth? (Lk. 18:7-8) 4 You shall be called Hephzibah…for the LORD delights in you…5 As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. 6 I have set watchmen (intercessors) on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night…7 and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. (Isa. 62:4-7)
More Signs: Global worship movement (Isa. 42:10-13) End-time outpouring of the Spirit Unparalleled understanding of End-Time prophecy: (Jer. 23:20; 30:24; Dan. 11:33; 12:10; 12:4, 9-10).) Global youth focus in the Kingdom (Mal. 4:5-6) A marked increase of knowledge (not wisdom) as many run “to and fro” to obtain it (Dan. 12:4); 5 years worth of research material is produced by scientists every 24 hours; 80% of all the scientists who have ever lived are alive in our generation; 500,000 new books are produced every year
24:22 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
With great rage, Satan will target Natural Israel for extermination (Rev. 12:13-17) in the final three and a half years before Jesus returns. Then the woman (the remnant of Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they (Gentile believers) should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days (Jacob’s Trouble). (Rev. 12:6) However, out of mercy, the Lord will target Natural Israel for preservation at the same time. Jesus’ goal will be to contend for, preserve and win over this group. Satan’s goal will be to deceive, destroy, and eliminate this group, and thus stop them from enthroning the true King and ensuring his defeat. At the most extreme point of trouble for the Jewish people, Jerusalem, and Israel— when all the nations are gathered against them (Zech. 12:3), two-thirds of the Jews
have perished (Zech. 13:8), and half of Jerusalem is in captivity (Zech. 14:2) with many others in prison camps throughout the nations as well (Is. 42:5-9; 49:8-12; 61:1-7)—the Lord will initiate the prophetic cry from the heavens: what I hope would be 100 million Gentile intercessors will, in unity with the Holy Spirit, cry out that the time has come for Jesus to return (Rev. 11:15-19).
The prophetic cry will be related to the need for Jerusalem to be liberated from theAntichrist and his demonized armies (gathered from among the nations) (Rev. 16:14). In response, the Greater Moses will come (Deut. 18:15) to effect the end-time deliverance of His people from the “greater pharaoh.”
24:21-22 When you see the ‘Abomination of Desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place…21 for then there will be GREAT TRIBULATION, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved (physically killed); but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Mt. 24:15, 21-22)
A. The revealing of the man of sin follows. This is a second, distinct time frame (according to Revelation 17) in which the Antichrist emerges and destroys the Harlot system to create a global context for loyalty to him and worship of him. To establish his supremacy as the true god of the earth, he will stand in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem (that he most likely helped to rebuild – Dan. 9:27) and place an image of himself, the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15; Rev. 13:14-15) in the Holy Place and demanding that all acknowledge his supremacy over every other God – but especially the Hebrew and Christian God and His Son. All will be forced to worship this image or be killed.
B. His emergence, according to Jesus, marks the beginning of the most extreme time frame for believers in human history, the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:15-31). Revelation 5:8 – 6:1 describe this time frame beginning after the church has come into significant maturity and testing at the hands of the Harlot system (Rev. 17:6).
C. The very Terrible Day will be the greatest crisis in history called the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21; Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Rev. 3:10) emphasizing the negative dimensions of the 3½ years before Jesus’ return. The great trouble will be caused by the wrath of God on the rebellious by the Antichrist’s reign of terror and the actions of evil people (on both believers and unbelievers) along with convulsions in nature (earthquakes, storms, etc).
24:21-22 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
The purpose of the Great Tribulation is to purify God’s people, bring in the harvest (including the salvation of Israel), vindicate the saints, expose false believers within the Church, demonstrate God’s power in protecting the saints (Rom. 9:17), punish sin (2 Thes. 1:6-10; Isa. 26:21), and
purge the earth from the defilement of sin (Isa. 24:4-6; Zech. 13:2). God’s judgment removes options that often function as props that we falsely trust in and temptations that we yield to. The principle of judgment: God uses the least severe means to bring the greatest numbers to salvation
at the deepest levels of love without violating anyone’s free will in training the future rulers of the earth.
Mt. 24:24 False christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. False signs and wonders arise (Mt. 24:24; Mk. 13:22; 2 Thes. 2:9; Rev. 13:13-14; 16:14; 19:20). There will be a specific hour, during a season of great pressure, when many people will openly and publicly reject Jesus and the Church. The pressure will be more than “social,” in nature, it will be a political and religious pressure. People will be pressured to conform to a compromised faith that has come about due to the teachings and proclamations of deceptive “false prophets” (Matt. 24:11). The deceptive arguments of these false prophets will be so convincing, that even the “elect,” the fiery, passionate believers, may be unsure of what is true in the midst of it all – though they will never be convinced by the false prophets and will stand firm (Matt. 24:24).
2. The false prophets will be emissaries of a religious system that seems attractive in every way in its ability to deliver world peace, economic stability and prosperity, even physical comfort and security. We will know this religious system as Babylon (Rev 17:1-4).
3. During the early period of false “peace and safety,” (1 Thess. 5:2) many saints will lose their lives (be martyred) because they resist the pressure to conform and refuse to do so. Also, many saints will be offended, betray other saints, and hate one another their love for Jesus will grow cold (Matt. 24:10-12).
4. This “shaking” and purifying of the Church will initially be intense; it will be the “dark night of the soul” for the many people who burn with love for Jesus despite the affliction (Song 5:6-16). It will intensify during the Great Tribulation under the direction of Antichrist. However, this time period will also be the purified Bride’s finest hour (Dan.11: 33). Jesus encourages us to “endure to the end” in Matthew 24:13.
Mt. 24:25 See, I have told you beforehand.
A. The nature of God is always to warn before releasing judgment. It is not consistent with His nature that He would come without warning to surprise the whole earth. 7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His…prophets. (Amos 3:7)
B. Jesus said, “I have told you these things beforehand,” because He wanted us to know the info.
24:27-31 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The lightning fast speed speaks of the start of the Coming procession, not the full duration
A. It seems clear that the seventh trumpet in the book of Revelation corresponds with what Paul called “the last trumpet” in 1 Corinthians 15:52. Why did Paul reveal that there would be a “final” trumpet – and what progression of trumpets was he speaking of?
B. The apostle John would witness firsthand what Paul was revealing in part in Revelation 9-11. John sees and hears a series of “trumpet blasts” related to the release of end-time judgments that shake the earth significantly before the coming of the Lord. The culmination of these trumpet judgments is the “last trumpet” – the time of the return of Jesus and the victory of the saints.
C. It is at the sounding of this trumpet in Revelation 11:15-19 that Jesus breaks into the sky above to take His great power over the earth and reign over the nations in a direct way. The possession of the nations, rightfully His, will now become fully His as it is time to remove all of His reprobate (fully seared in conscience) enemies who have rejected His kingdom invitation. It is now time to purge the earth of all of the wicked that would violently resist or reject His rule, or “destroy those who destroy the earth.” The nations are enraged by His judgments and, as they have become fully seared (or taken the mark of the beast) they are completely “dead” in their conscience and have no hope of salvation or redemption. Their time of final judgment is at hand.
24:33-34 33 When you see all these things, know that it is near–at the doors! 34 Assuredly…this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place…
B. Jesus commanded the people in the generation of His return to know that His return was near when they saw ALL the sign events of Mt. 24 occurring at the same time. There is only one generation in which all these things happen simultaneously on a global basis.
C. How long is a biblical generation? A generation in Scripture ranges from 40 to 100 years (Gen. 15:13-16; Num. 32:13; Ps. 90:10; Mt. 1:17; Acts 7:6). Moses spoke of Israel’s captivity in Egypt as lasting 400 years or 4 generations (Gen. 15:13). Thus, a generation could refer to 100 years. There were 14 generations from Abraham to David (Mt. 1:17) each averaging about 70 years.
D. Jesus rebuked His generation for not being able to read the signs of His first coming. Asking for a sign was a legitimate request because Joel prophesied that the Messiah would give signs from heaven (Joel 2:30). Their hypocrisy was in testing Jesus by asking for signs beyond those He did.
1 The Pharisees…came testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven…2
Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of
the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign… (Mt. 16:1-4)
F. Paul taught that the Church should know the times and seasons related to the Lord’s coming. (1 Thes. 5:1-6) Paul said that we are not in darkness that the Day of the Lord should overtake us as a thief. A thief causes one to suffer loss of things that could have been avoided by watching. The thief motif mostly emphasizes the element of loss that one suffers because of an unexpected coming.
24:37-39 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
LAWLESSNESS: DAYS OF NOAH (VIOLENCE) & THE DAYS OF LOT (IMMORALITY)
A. Lawlessness will abound: sin will reach its fullest expression (Mt. 24:12; Rev. 14:18).
12 Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. (Mt. 24:12)
23 In he latter time…when the transgressors have reached their fullness… (Dan. 8:23)
21 They did not repent of their murders…sorceries…sexual immorality or thefts. (Rev. 9:21)
1. Murder: as the primary sin on earth (Rev. 6:9-11; 7:13-14; 9:21; 13:7, 10; 16:6; 17:6)
2. Sorceries: occult and demon worship will fill the earth (Rev. 13:3-4, 8, 12-15; 14:11)
3. Immorality: demon-energized perversion (Rev. 9:20-21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:3; 19:2)
4. Theft: legislation and persecution motivated by theft (i.e., the Nazi’s anti-Semitism)
B. The days of Noah: VIOLENCE (Mt. 24:37; Gen. 6:11-13; 2 Tim. 3); great violence will be seen in terrorist acts, race riots, wars in the streets, increasing murder rates worldwide.
5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of
the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…11 The earth was corrupt before God, and
the earth was filled with violence… (Gen. 6:5-11)
12 God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way
on the earth. 13 God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is
filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them… (Gen. 6:12-13)
1. Abortion: nearly 50 million abortions worldwide each year or 1/4 of all pregnancies (over
100,000 per day). Over 1.5 million babies are aborted per year (4,000 per day) in the US.
2. Breakdown of the family: the divorce rate is exploding worldwide (in the US it is 50%)
and brother shall betray brother even to death (Mk 13:12).
C. The days of Lot: IMMORALITY (Lk. 17:28-30; Gen. 19:1-28); immorality will greatly increase in the End-Times (Rev. 9:21; 14:8; 17:1-4; 18:2-4, 9-10; 19:2; 21:8). This is seen in many ways.
1. Human trafficking (Rev. 18:13; Joel 3:3). There are currently 35 million slaves on the earth. It is growing nearly 5 million per year. 2. Pornography: nearly $100 billion is spent each year on pornography worldwide. 3. Homosexuality: is sweeping across the world as nations are accepting homosexuality in clergy and marriage. Paul prophesied that marriage would be outlawed in some places. 1 The Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits…3 forbidding to marry… (1 Tim. 4:1-3)
24:32-44 Learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you KNOW that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see ALL these things, KNOW that it is near–at the doors! 34 Assuredly…this generation will by no means pass away till ALL these things take place… 36 Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels…but My Father only…42 Watch…for you do not know what hour your Lord is
coming. 43 Know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would
come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you
also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Jesus commanded us to know the generation that the Lord returns.
The Church will look up and lift their heads in encouragement knowing Jesus is coming soon.
28 When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your
redemption draws near. 29 He spoke…a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31
So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near…
Asking for a sign was a legitimate request because Joel prophesied that the Messiah would give
signs from heaven (Joel 2:30-32). In hypocrisy, they were seeking signs beyond those done by
Jesus and given by Scripture with the intention of testing God. Jesus’ miracles were signs to bear
witness of Him (Jn. 5:36).
24:32-35 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. 36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only
A. There are many prophesied “signs” in the prophetic scriptures that mark the final generation as unique. These signs give us understanding that we are in a unique season in history. The
assumption that many make regarding Matt. 24:36 and 44 is that:
1. No one can know the day or the hour, which must mean a sudden, unexpected departure.
This cannot be true, as the apostles themselves understood that there would be signs and events that they would be able to use to mark the season change that would mark His coming. No one can know the day or the hour, but Jesus Himself made clear that we could (and should) know the season, or generation of His return.
2. No one will ever know the day or the hour. “Of that day” no one knows, only the Father Himself. That does not mean, however, that we will never know the time of His coming.
3. The Bible gives precise information to believers (number of days, months, and years pertaining to certain events in the last days) that will give us great hope in the midst of fiery trial. We may still not know the exact day or hour, but we will have great hope alive within us that there is a predetermined end to the trouble that will soon come.
4. Many use Mt. 24:36 to justify their unfamiliarity and their lack of study of biblical prophecy.
They use this passage in the opposite way that Jesus intended in its context.
24:40 Then two men will be 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 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
The context of this passage describes those taken in judgment in a sudden and unexpected manner. These will be “swept away” in death by God’s judgment coming on the earth. Many people in Noah’s day were surprised by the flood of judgment that killed them. In the same manner, many will ignore the signs that Jesus described in Matthew 24:3-35. Jesus told them clearly that those taken were taken by death to the place the eagle or vultures will eat them.
Noah and his family prepared for an entire generation without knowing the specific day or hour.
7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared
an ark for the saving of his household…and became heir of the righteousness… (Heb. 11:7)
Watchfulness is to establish a lifestyle of encountering Jesus. It is essential in hindering Satan as
the thief from stealing our inheritance (Jn. 10:10). Our primary inheritance is our heart
connection with Jesus. Satan seeks to steal this aspect of our inheritance, knowing that by doing
this that he will also gain access to our ministry inheritance.
24:45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing…48 But if that evil servant says in his heart, “My master is delaying his coming,” 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants…, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus addresses leadership or those who rule over and feed God’s people. He categorized them into good and evil leaders. Then in Mt. 25:1-13, Jesus further categorized the good leaders into wise and foolish. The good leaders here, in the context of end-times give ‘food to the housefold in due season.’ One of the temptation they face is drunkeness with those who are drunk.
This is similar to Luke 21:34: “But take heed to yourself, lest your hearts be weighed down with fear”—that is exhortation one. Then, in Luke 21:36, Jesus tells them to pray always. So the two exhortations that Jesus gives is: take heed to yourself and pray always.
It says in Luke 21:34, exhortation one: “Take heed to yourself, lest your hearts be weighed down
with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.” He
says, “Why? Because if you do not pay attention to yourself, your heart will be weighed down
with carousing, drunkenness, and the cares of this life.” The net result is this: the Day of the
Lord, the second coming, and the events related to it will come upon these people, even
believers, unexpectedly because their hearts are weighed down, and they do not have an alert
spirit. They do not know what is happening, even when the generation they are living in is the
generation of the Lord’s return. Their hearts are weighted down because they did not pay
attention to the way they were living. We are talking about believers as well. He is talking to His
people here—people who would read the Bible and believers.
JESUS PROPHESIED OF A SNARE THAT WOULD CHALLENGE EVERYONE
It is as if Luke is saying, “Let me give you the bigger context” (Lk. 21:35, paraphrased). Why is
it that this is so important? Luke 21:35 is a bit ominous. It is a little bit overwhelming almost.
Well, it is actually hard to understand except by the Spirit of God. Luke says in 21:35: “It will
come”—the Day of the Lord, the end-time events—“as a snare upon all those who dwell on the
face the whole earth.”