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Lesson 7: Matthew 24 and 25 *

Introduction: Would you like to know when Jesus will come again? Jesus' disciples wanted to know! Their problem was that they were not skilled lawyers who could construct a clear question about the end of time. Jesus, no doubt, understood their confusion about His Second Coming. But, for some reason He allowed their confusion remain. Another problem for the disciples was preconceived ideas. This week we study Jesus' comments about end times to see what we can understand. We will see if we can put our preconceived ideas aside. Let's dive into our study!

  1. The Confusing Question

    1. Read Matthew 24:1-2. What would be going through your mind if you were one of Jesus' disciples? (This would be the worst tragedy they could imagine. Their nation would be destroyed. Their beautiful place of worship ruined. This had happened once before when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. Their lives would never be the same.)

    2. Read Matthew 24:3. How do you understand this question? Is it only one question, or is it two or more? (I'm sure the disciples were still in shock, so they might not have been thinking clearly. This is really three questions: 1)When will the temple buildings be destroyed; 2) When will be the Second Coming of Jesus; and, 3) When will be the end of the age? By this last, I think they mean the end of civilization.)

      1. Are these three separate questions in your mind? (I think they are all separate questions, but the disciples thought they were only one question. They conflated the three into one.)

  2. The Answer

    1. Read Matthew 24:4. What is Jesus' stated concern? (They will be deceived.)

      1. Why didn't Jesus say, "Wait, you have asked Me three questions?"

      2. Are being confused and being deceived similar?

        1. Jesus obviously loved them. Why do you think He answered as He did? (For some reason Jesus did not want them to have perfect clarity about the future. At the same time, he did not want their lack of clarity to result in deception. From that we should conclude that the areas in which Jesus brings clarity are very important for us to understand. In those areas in which He does not bring clarity, it is important for us to trust Him.)

    2. Read Matthew 24:5-8. Which of the three questions is Jesus answering here? (He specifically answers about His Second Coming and "the end." He is not talking about the destruction of Jerusalem.)

    3. Read Matthew 24:9-14. What do these verses and the earlier verses say are connected with Jesus' Second coming and the end of time? (Fake Christs. Wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution, death, hatred of Christians, false prophets, increased wickedness and decreased love. The gospel is spread world-wide.)

      1. Do you see these things in the world now?

    4. Read Matthew 24:15-20. What is Jesus describing here? Which question is He answering? (This must be the destruction of Jerusalem, for He makes a geographical reference to Judea.)

      1. Notice the language about the "abomination that causes desolation." Who does it say prophesied this? (Daniel.)

        1. Let's explore some texts from Daniel. Read Daniel 9:26-27. Is this the prophesied abomination that causes desolation? (It refers to "the Anointed One" being "cut off." It refers to the "sanctuary" being destroyed. It was not too long after Jesus was crucified that Rome destroyed the temple in Jerusalem as Jesus warned. This prophesy fits.)

        2. Read Daniel 12:9-12. Here is another reference to the abomination that causes desolation. Is it the same? (The language seems to preclude this being the same event for it refers to a period of time after the temple is destroyed and thus the daily sacrifice ended.)

        3. Why is it fair to call the conquering Roman army an "abomination that caused desolation?" (It destroyed the way God's people had historically come to Him to have their sins removed.)

        4. What does this suggest about the second abomination that occurs later? (It might also be an attack on our ability to come to God and have our sins removed.)

        5. What would that mean after Jesus' resurrection? What would that mean for us today? (Then and now that suggests an abomination that attempts to destroy righteousness by faith.)

          1. Can you think of some powers that fit that description?

    5. Read Matthew 24:21-25. Which question is being answered here? (The reference to great distress could refer to Christians who were in Jerusalem when it was destroyed. Notice that verse 21 starts out "For then," which ties the distress to Judea. However, the distress could also refer to the Second Coming of Jesus. Notice the "at that time," statement that is tied to false Christs. As we will discuss next, this is a clear reference to the Second Coming. It tells us that no followers of God would survive if He did not intervene.)

  3. The Clear Points

    1. Read Matthew 24:26-27. How will you be able to positively determine Jesus' Second Coming from any fakes? (If someone has to inform you that Jesus has come, it is not Jesus!)

    2. Read Matthew 24:28. Why is Jesus talking about vultures? (If you see vultures gathering in the sky, you know something died. Jesus tells us that looking up will help keep us from being deceived.)

    3. Read Matthew 24:29. Is this a world-wide event? (It has to be, given the context. That is why I think some prior teaching of my church was ill-considered when it pointed to events that were observed in the New England section of the United States as the fulfillment of this prophesy.)

      1. What do you think is meant by the words "the heavenly bodies will be shaken?" ( Revelation 21:1 tells us that the old heaven will end and a new heaven will be created. This suggests the disintegration of the heavenly bodies is underway. This makes sense since some of these stars are billions of light years away. A cataclysmic event is taking place in the universe.)

    4. Read Matthew 24:30. What is the "sign" of the Son of Man? Where does it appear? (Once again, we have something going on in the sky that takes place before Jesus comes. Doubtless, this gets everyone's attention.)

      1. How does Jesus come? (In the sky and with power and great glory.)

      2. Why will all nations "mourn?" (The righteous are not mourning. This tells us that the majority of the people have not accepted Jesus as their Savior.)

    5. Read Matthew 24:31. Where do the followers of Jesus live? (They live all over the earth. This further proof that these heavenly signs are not a regional event.)

    6. Read Matthew 24:32-35. Jesus tells us that we need to be alert for these signs, and that His words are absolutely reliable. He also says that this generation will not pass. How should we understand this since Jesus' listeners died 2,000 years ago and Jesus has not returned? (That generation did not pass before Jerusalem was destroyed. That question, of course, was the first one asked by the disciples. Perhaps Jesus is also saying that the generation that sees the signs will not pass before He returns.)

    7. Read Matthew 24:37-39. Is it a historical fact that the people knew nothing about the coming of the flood? (Read 2 Peter 2:5 and 1 Peter 3:19-20. They infer that Noah warned the people while he was building the ark. Thus, the "knew nothing" people must be those who wish to know nothing.)

    8. Read Matthew 24:42. If you consider the points that seem clear and those which are unclear, what should you conclude about your preparation for the end times? (Our lack of clarity commands that we keep watch, that we remain faithful.)

    9. Friend, will you remain faithful? Why not ask the Holy Spirit, right now, to help your understanding of end time events and to aid you in remaining faithful until then?

  4. Next week: Worship the Creator.
* Copr. 2018, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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