But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.
If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
What Does Jesus Teach Us about God’s End-Times Plan?
Dr. Roger Barrier Preach It, Teach It 202123 Feb
I’m a new Christian, and I was reading through the Gospel of Matthew. I got really excited when I came to chapter 24 and read Jesus’s teachings about the End Times. I’d like to understand more. Could you please help me?
Matthew 24 is the only place where Jesus laid out his picture of the End Times. Therefore, it’s good to study what He had in mind and how it can apply to our lives today.
This passage is often called the “Olivet Discourse,” because Jesus was with His disciples on the Mount of Olives. Also, note that it was the Monday before He would be crucified on Friday.
The Context Is a Broken-Hearted Christ
The account really begins at the end of chapter 23:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matthew 23:37-39)
Notice that Jesus did not say, “the Temple;” he said “Your house…” The Temple was no longer God’s House. It had been ruined by materialism, moneychangers, and deceitful leaders…some of the ungodly people in first-century Israel. Jesus then described the Temple as “desolate,” because the glory of God had departed from it.
In response, Jesus’s disciples called His attention to the Temple buildings. Jesus replied, “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down” (Matthew 24:1-2).
The disciples were speechless. They sat for a while in silence, and then they asked him three specific questions (see Matthew 24:3):
1. When will the destruction of the Temple occur?
2. What will be the sign of Your coming?
3. What will be the sign of the End of the Age?
Jesus answered the second and third questions first—and the first question last. Before we dig into the specifics, I want you to notice that Jesus used a number of literary devices in Matthew 24. His teaching is not chronological. He describes events but not a timeline. It’s like He states an event and then swings it around in a circle that comes back to Him.
For example, when Jesus answered the “sign questions,” He jumped from place to place, from time period to time period, and from the signs of His coming to signs of the end of the Age.
You may find it difficult to sort out Jesus’s teaching here. Don’t despair; careful reading can bring out the truth.
Several Prophetic Principles to Unpack Matthew 24
The Humility Principle
Any discussion of future events calls for cautious humility.
Jesus Himself said that He didn’t know the day or the hour of His return. This statement brings into judgment all of those who claim to know a specific date.
At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (v. 23-24)
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (v. 42-44)
The Mountain Peak Principle
Imagine driving in the mountains. You see what appears to be one large mountain in the distance. However, as you get closer you recognize that there is not one mountain peak, but two, separated by a long distance. In the distance, now you see a third mountain peak.
What you thought was just one mountain was really three mountains lined up in a row with distance between them.
In Matthew 24, Jesus lumped together three events that seem to occur simultaneously. However, they are separated in time.
Peak One: The Temple will be destroyed.
Peak Two: Christ will return.
Peak Three: The End of the Age will come.
The Multiple Fulfillment Principle
The “Abomination of Desolation” mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24 has a triple fulfillment.
1. The first Abomination occurred in 163 B.C. when Antiochus Epiphanies slaughtered a pig on the Temple altar and began a reign of terror upon the Jews. Thousands were murdered. He was finally defeated by the Maccabees.
2. The second Abomination occurred in 70 A.D. when Titus, the Roman general, set up banners with the image of the emperor on them. He erected an altar to Zeus in the Temple courts and slaughtered a pig in the Holy of Holies. He turned the treasury rooms into public brothels and a great persecution began, leading to genocide.
Rumor had it that the Jews had put gold in the mortar which cemented the walls together. The Romans left no stone unturned looking for it, just as Jesus predicted.
3. The third Abomination, called the “Abomination of Desolation,” occurs during the middle of the seven years of Tribulation when the false prophet will erect an image of the Antichrist in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The statue is speaking blasphemous things against Jesus and the kingdom of God.
Notice that each time that an Abomination appears, incredible waves of death and tremendous persecution follow. That’s why we read in Matthew 24 that Jesus told his people to run away as fast as they could in order to avoid persecution and death.
So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. (vv. 15-18)
For example, when the second abomination occurred, most Jews crammed themselves into the city of Jerusalem and took protection behind the walls—that folly multiplied the horror of famine and siege.
The Jewish historian, Josephus, recorded some of the events in 70 A.D. and gives us a feeling of the horror that occurred in those days.
Josephus (Wars of the Jews, 5.12.3): “Famine devoured whole families. The streets were filled with the dead bodies of the aged. Children and young men wandered the streets like shadows, all swelled with famine. As for burying the dead, the sick were too weak and the stronger were so overwhelmed with the task that they didn’t bother to try.
Nor was any mourning nor lamentations made. Those who were going to die looked upon the dead with dry eyes and open mouths. A deep silence seized the city…and everyone died with their eyes fixed upon the Temple.”
Josephus (Wars of the Jews, 6.3.4): tells the dreadful story of a woman during the siege who actually killed and roasted and ate her suckling child.
Practical Steps to Take as the End Times Approach
Be careful not to assume that every disaster is the beginning of the end:
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14)
Some Christians would sell tickets to the Battle of Armageddon if they could.
But Jesus specifically warns us that we are not to imagine that events that seem to be cataclysmic—such as wars, earthquakes, wide-spread famines—are infallible signs that the end is near.
They are the normal features of this age. They are what Jesus called the “birth pains” preceding the End. However, they will intensify until they are full-blown during the tribulation.
Signs that Will Have a Double Fulfillment
The signs that Jesus enunciates in Matthew 24 will also be fulfilled in the book of Revelation. They are:
1. False Christs
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (v. 4)
These are not only religious fanatics. They could be rebel groups that promise solutions that deceive people so that they themselves can gain control of a nation.
Think of Hitler’s Germany. Or the Holocaust. Or Islamic militants. Or ISIS.
2. Warfare Among Nations
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (vv. 6-7)
Think of Middle Eastern Conflicts today and the future battles between the country that occupies the land of present-day Russia and a North African coalition versus the Antichrist (see Ezekiel 38-39).
3. Devastations in the Physical World
There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (vv. 7-8)
Consider natural disasters, climate change, etc.
4. Hatred and Persecution of Christians
Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. (v. 9)
Think of the two million Sudanese Christians who were murdered by a Pro-militant-Islamic government. Or remember the Campus Crusade missionaries in Turkey who were recently kidnapped from a Bible Printing House and tortured.
5. Apostasy (Falling Away of False Believers)
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (vv. 10-13)
A person who genuinely belongs to Christ continues to confess Him, to serve Him and to suffer for Him when necessary. But it is not a person’s endurance that will produce salvation; his or her endurance will be a Spirit-empowered product and proof of the reality that or she is saved.
6. Worldwide Gospel Presentation
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (v. 14)
Despite all the hatred, betrayal and persecution, the Gospel will cover the earth. In Revelation, 144,000 Jews for Jesus are commissioned to share the Gospel around the world. Then, just before the Bowl Judgments are poured out and the final holocaust begins, God will send an angel to preach the “eternal gospel” (Revelation 14:6-7).
Eternity in Heaven
Take heart! We who have trusted Christ as Savior will experience eternity in Heaven with Him.
I imagine that Jesus was very excited when He said the next few verses!
Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (vv. 29-31)
These days will bring hope and glory to every person who has received Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Notice these wonderful, glorious truths:
1. God has not abandoned the world.
For all its wickedness, the world is still the scene in which God’s purpose is being worked out. He has not abandoned us.
2. Both judgment and a new creation are certain.
God sees the world in both justice and mercy. God’s plan is not the obliteration of the world but a re-creation of a world that is nearer to His heart’s desire.
3. The focus is not on the Signs. The focus is on alertness, self-control, faith, and love.
4. His return will be without warning. Be ready. He will come when we least expect it.
We are to live as if his coming is in the next 10 minutes; but, plan as if he’s not coming for thousand years.
5. Our security is bound up in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Well, William, I hope that I’ve answered your question. If you have any more questions, please let me know.
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his 35-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
Editor’s Note: This Ask Roger article features insights from Roger’s daughter, Brie Barrier Wetherbee, a sought-after Bible teacher and conference speaker, author, analyst, and Christian theologian.
8 References to ‘BE WATCHING or WATCHFUL.’ ‘8’ indicates that a new ‘era or epoch’ is arriving. Be it the rapture, the tribulation, the year of the Jews redemption or the year of the onset (2028) of the 1000 year millennial reign of Christ (2028-3028).
Matthew 24:42; Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Matthew 25:13; Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Mark 13:35; Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.
Luke 21:36; Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man
Luke 12:37-39; Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
‘Increasing Like Labor Pains.’ ‘Fearful Sights.’ ‘Perilous Times.’ ‘Men’s hearts failing with fear.’ Great Convergence of Signs.’ REDEMPTION IMMINENT.
In His Service,
Night Watchman Ministries
Make Your Decision for Christ NOW!!!!!!! Time is Up!!!!!!!
Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:
The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)
A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.
. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).
. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).
B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.
. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).
C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.
. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).
. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).
. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).
. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).
. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).
. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).
. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).
. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).
. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).
. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).
True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:
Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Romans 12:19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Categories: Revelation of Jesus Christ