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Matthew Chapter 24

Memory verses for this week:  James 5:8  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.


Introduction: In last week’s lesson, we saw Christ come down really hard on the Pharisees as he condemned them for being hypocrites.   He likened them to whited sepulchres that were full of dead men’s bones.   Christ desires for all of us is to clean up our lives from the inside out.   We closed as Christ spoke on how he would have gathered Israel like a hen gathers her chicks if they would have come.   We begin Chapter 24 with prophecy concerning the destruction of the temple.


I.  Destruction of the Temple

Mat 24:1  And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.

Mat 24:2  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

He temple was built  first by Solomon and then rebuilt by Ezra.  The once that was standing at this time was built by Herod.   The temple was the place that God chose to place His name.   Jesus says that this temple was going to be thrown down.  This had its fulfillment in 70 A.D. when the Romans completely destroyed the temple.

II.  The Threefold Question

Mat 24:3  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Mat 24:4  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

Mat 24:5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Notice the questions that the disciples ask:

1.  When shall these things be?  (Destruction of the temple)

2.  What shall be the sign of thy coming?

3.  And the End of the world?

Matthew Henry said this in his notes:

The disciples had asked concerning the times, When shall these things be? Christ gives them no answer to that, after what number of days and years his prediction should be accomplished, for it is not for us to know the times (Acts 1:7); but they had asked, What shall be the sign? That question he answers fully, for we are concerned to understand the signs of the times, ch. 16:3. Now the prophecy primarily respects the events near at hand—the destruction of Jerusalem, the period of the Jewish church and state, the calling of the Gentiles, and the setting up of Christ’s kingdom in the world; but as the prophecies of the Old Testament, which have an immediate reference to the affairs of the Jews and the revolutions of their state, under the figure of them do certainly look further, to the gospel church and the kingdom of the Messiah, and are so expounded in the New Testament, and such expressions are found in those predictions as are peculiar thereto and not applicable otherwise; so this prophecy, under the type of Jerusalem’s destruction, looks as far forward as the general judgment; and, as is usual in prophecies, some passages are most applicable to the type, and others to the antitype; and toward the close, as usual, it points more particularly to the latter. It is observable, that what Christ here saith to his disciples tends more to engage their caution than to satisfy their curiosity; more to prepare them for the events that should happen than to give them a distinct idea of the events themselves. This is that good understanding of the time which we should all covet, thence to infer what Israel ought to do: and so this prophecy is of standing lasting use to the church, and will be so to the end of time; for the thing that hath been, is that which shall be (Eccl. 1:5, 6, 7, 9), and the series, connection, and presages, of events, are much the same still that they were then; so that upon the prophecy of this chapter, pointing at that event, moral prognostications may be made, and such constructions of the signs of the times as the wise man’s heart will know how to improve.  [i]

Mat 24:6  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

Mat 24:7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

Mat 24:8  All these are the beginning of sorrows.

These verses will find their greater fulfillment in the tribulation period.  To some extent these things have been and will be fulfilled in this age from the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. until Jesus comes in the clouds.   There was to wars and rumours of wars, nation to rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes.   This will especially be the beginning of sorrow for the Jews in the tribulation.

Mat 24:9  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

Mat 24:10  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

While these verses speak of the times during the great tribulation, there was a partial fulfillment during the times of the apostles.    Many of the apostles died as martyrs for Christ.

Acts 4:1  And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,

Acts 4:2  Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Acts 4:3  And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

Acts 4:4  Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.


Acts 5:17  Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,

Acts 5:18  And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.

Acts 5:19  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,

Acts 5:20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

Acts 5:21  And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

Acts 5:22  But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,

Acts 5:23  Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.

Acts 5:24  Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.

Acts 5:25  Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.

Acts 5:26  Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.

Acts 5:27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,

Acts 5:28  Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.


Mat 24:11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

Mat 24:12  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Mat 24:13  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Verse 11 and 12 has been filled down through the ages.   Cold love by Christians is very prevalent in our hour.   Verse 13 has reference to the tribulation period.   Those that are saved in those 7 years will face MUCH persecution.

Mat 24:14  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Since the days of the apostles, the Gospel has been preached.

III.  The Great Tribulation (Last 3 ˝ years of the seventieth week of Daniel)

Mat 24:15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel refers to the man of sin and his reign during the tribulation.

2 Th 2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

2 Th 2:4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Mat 24:16  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Mat 24:17  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

Mat 24:18  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

Mat 24:19  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

Mat 24:20  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

Christ gives them instruction as to what they are to do when they see the man of sin take his place in the temple declaring that he is God.  The reason they are to flee is because the man of sin will persecute the Jews at this time like they have never been persecuted. 

Rev 12:13  And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

Rev 12:14  And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

Rev 12:15  And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

Rev 12:16  And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

Rev 12:17  And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

We are told that the persecution against Israel will be severe during this time.

Mat 24:21  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Mat 24:22  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

Mat 24:23  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

Mat 24:24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Mat 24:25  Behold, I have told you before.

Mat 24:26  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

This gives us a description of what takes place in the last half of the tribulation in verses 21-26.  There will be rumors of Christ being in certain places… this will be all around the world.  Christ warns the Jews that these are false rumors, and to not believe them.  The false Christ appearing at this time will be able to do great signs and wonders to the extent that they would be able to deceive the very elect (Israel) if it were possible.

J. Vernon McGee had these comments:

We read in the Book of Revelation that during the Tribulation one third of the population of the earth will be destroyed. On another occasion one-fourth of the population will be destroyed. It is absolutely unique. Using the simile given to us in Revelation 6, the red horse of war, the black horse of famine, and then the pale horse of death will ride during that period, and the population of the earth will be decimated. There was a time when this seemed to be an exaggeration. Even some good commentators considered it hyperbole. However, now that several nations of the world have atom bombs, which could destroy the population of the world, it no longer appears to be exaggerated.

However, there is comfort in this verse—“but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” God will not let mankind commit suicide. That is the reason this will be such a brief period. [ii]

IV.  The Return of Christ in Glory

Mat 24:27  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Mat 24:28  For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Mat 24:29  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Mat 24:30  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Mat 24:31  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Remember when the Bible says Christ returns in power and great glory, he is speaking of His return at the close of the tribulation when he comes to take the throne of David to reign for 1,000 years.  (This is 7 years after he comes to take the church out in the rapture.)  Verses 27-28 describe the coming of Christ.

Rev 6:12  And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

Rev 6:13  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

Rev 6:14  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

Rev 6:15  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

Rev 6:16  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

Rev 6:17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Verses 29-31 and these verses here from Revelation should be read together because they both speak of the close of the tribulation when Christ comes to fight the battle of Armageddon and judge the nations.

V.  Parable of the Fig Tree

Mat 24:32  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

Mat 24:33  So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

Mat 24:34  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

The fig tree represents Israel.  When he speaks of the fig tree putting forth leaves he is speaking of the regathering of Israel which took place since 1948 to this present time.  He warns when we see this we know that the second coming of the Lord  will be in this generation.  Heaven and earth will pass away but God’s word shall not pass away.   What God says… we can depend upon.  EVERY WORD!!!

Mat 24:36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

Mat 24:37  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Mat 24:38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

Mat 24:39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

No man can set a date and be correct as to when Jesus will return.  The angels of heaven do not even know when the Son of God is to return.   We know when Christ does return, that it will be like the days of Noah.  People will be living it up and not expecting the return of the Lord.  (Does this sound a bit like today?)

Mat 24:40  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Mat 24:41  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Mat 24:42  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Mat 24:43  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

Mat 24:44  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Notice in verses 40 – 42 concerning the two women in the field… one is taken, the other is left.  This speaks of one being saved, the other being lost.  When Christ comes, only the saved will be taken.  The lost are left to go through the seven years of tribulations.   We are warned to watch.. for we know not what hour our Lord doth come.  In verses 43-44 we are given an illustration of a thief coming in the night when the good man of the house is unaware… this is like us not watching for the coming of the Lord.

Mat 24:45  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

Mat 24:46  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

Mat 24:47  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

Mat 24:48  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

Mat 24:49  And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

Mat 24:50  The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

Mat 24:51  And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In view of the events mentioned in verses 36-44, our Lord urges us to be watchful and faithful.  God’s people are to be faithful at the task of spreading the gospel when the Lord comes.   Unfortunately, I am afraid many of us will be asleep like Peter was in the garden with Christ.   Unfaithfulness will be met with  severe penalties, but the faithful and wise servants will be rewarded when their Lord returns.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

[ii]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.