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Matthew 24:1-51

Last Updated 1/17/01

CHAPTER 24:1-51 TEXT:

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 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. 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? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 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. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. 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. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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. 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:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. 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. 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. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 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: 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. 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. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe 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 Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 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. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 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, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

3  ... Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Jewish literature is replete with examples of what will proceed the coming of the Messiah. These events are known as the "Footsteps of Messiah."

Talmud - Mas. Sotah 49b - In the footsteps of the messiah insolence will increase and honour dwindle; the vine will yield its fruit [abundantly] but wine will be dear; the government will turn to heresy and there will be none [to offer them] reproof; the meeting-place [of scholars] will be used for immorality; galilee will be destroyed, gablan desolated, and the dwellers on the frontier will go about [begging] from place to place without anyone to take pity on them; the wisdom of the learned will degenerate, fearers of sin will be despised, and the truth will be lacking; youths will put old men to shame, the old will stand up in the presence of the young, a son will revile his father, a daughter will rise against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man's enemies will be the members of his household; the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog, a son will not feel ashamed before his father. So upon whom is it for us to rely? Upon our father who is in heaven.

Midrash Rabbah - The Song of Songs II:33 - The Rabbis say: In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the wise men of the generation will die and the rest will waste away with grief and sorrow and much trouble will come upon the community and cruel decrees will be promulgated, one coming on top of another. R. Nehorai said: In the generation in which the scion of David will come, the young will insult their elders and the old will rise before the young, as it says, The daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house (Micah VII, 6), and a son will feel no shame before his father. R. Nehemiah said: Before the days of the Messiah there will be great poverty and scarcity, and the vine will cast its fruit and the wine will turn bad and the whole of the government will be converted to minuth and there will be no reproof. R. Abba b. Kahana said: The scion of David will come only in a generation which is brazen-faced like a dog. R. Levi said: The scion of David will come only in a generation which is full of impudence and deserves to be exterminated. R. Jannai said: If you see one generation after another cursing and blaspheming, look out for the coming of the Messiah, as it says, Wherewith Thine enemies have taunted, O Lord, wherewith Thine enemies he taunted the footsteps of Thine anointed (Ps. LXXXIX, 52), and immediately afterwards it is written, Blessed be the Lord for evermore, Amen and Amen.

4  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many

It is important to place this verse (as with all the "New Testament") back into its Hebrew context. Yeshua is saying that many will come in His name. The final "anti-Messiah" will not come in opposition to Yeshua, but will be a counterfeit who will deceive almost everyone (i.e., verse 24 below).

A legitimate question to ask here is; How will this person be able to pull this off? After all, aren't there countless books, movies and web sites available today warning people about him (calling him the "Antichrist"), and describing everything that is going to happen in the last days?

In fact, a Christian book on the end-times/Antichrist, "The Mark," by Tim Laheye, was the number one book on the New York Time bestseller list in the month of December 2000. This was not a religious book list. It was the secular hardcover list -- so it would seem more than just Christians who are buying this.

As people everywhere are seemingly becoming "well aware" about what is coming, then one must ask; Where is the deception forecast by Yeshua? Also, where is the "lack of faith" to be found throughout the world, as prophesied by Him? (Luke 18:8) After all, doesn't over one-third of the planet declare themselves to be His followers?

Some people explain this problem by forecasting a great "rapture" of Christians and those "left behind" will believe some far-fetched reason responsible for this (i.e., UFOs), or have their memories "erased" somehow. This would then explain the great "lack of faith," prophecied.

The problem with these end-time scenarios is that they all come from a Torah-less base. By "Torah-less," we mean a faith that is not in continuation with that which God established prior to Yeshua's arrival (as He did not do away with this faith, i.e., Matthew 5:17-21, Romans 3:31). This includes any "faith" that may even include certain elements of Torah (as any counterfeit faith will).

A more difficult question to ponder is this; Are all the supposed "disciples of the Messiah" in the world today following the Torah-preaching Yeshua of the Hebrew Scriptures? Or is their view of the Messiah one that tells them that "they are not under the law (Torah)?"

This subject will be discussed in detail in our Revelation study over the spring and summer of 2001. See also Not Subject to the Law of God? in the YashaNet library.

6-8  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. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

See comments on "Footsteps of the Messiah," to verse 3 above.

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.

The Messiah cannot be separated from the Torah (see notes to chapters 5-7), nor from His Name.

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

11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

When people come to a faith in Yeshua, based in Torah, some of their worst enemies may be their friends and family -- including those who think that they are the ones with the "truth" and that the Torah-observant person is even doing Satan's will (by supposedly bringing them into the "bondage of law").

For more information on how this is actually becoming a reality, see our commentary, Signs of the Times - Growing Christian anti-Torah Hostility, in the Opinions Section of YashaNet.

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

Iniquity may be considered the same as sin, which is defined according to one standard -- God's Torah:

1 John 3:4 - Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law [Torah]: for sin is the transgression of the law [Torah].

Torah is what we are to use as our criteria to know if we are following God:

James 1:25 - But whoso looketh into the perfect law [Torah] of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work [Torah], this man shall be blessed in his deed.

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

Yeshua places a stipulation, that we are to endure. The idea of some "guaranteed salvation" based on simply "what you believe" is foreign to the Hebrew Scriptures.

Paul did not even make such a claim for himself:

Philippians 3:11-14 - If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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.

Yeshua makes it clear that the gospel message does not reach the ends of the earth until the very last days before He returns. This is the Torah-based Gospel that He and the original community of believers preached.

The false Messiah, being a man of "lawlessness" (2 Thessalonians 2:3), and his followers, will preach a Torah-less "gospel" in the name of "God."

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:)

There was a previous fulfillment to this verse about two centuries before Yeshua spoke these words. Antiochus IV Epiphanies became king of the Syrian-Greeks who ruled over Israel. He commanded the Jews to do away with Torah and accept the Greek culture and religion. He bore down ruthlessly on his Jewish subjects and defiled  the temple, placing a Hellenistic priest in charge and sacrificing pigs on the altar. This led to a successful revolt under Judah Macabee, the rededication of the Temple and the Feast of Chanukah, which we seeYeshua Himself celebrating in John 10:22.

For more information on these events, read our article on Chanukah, or turn to the Apocryphal book of  Macabbes.

Yeshua's words forecast yet another one that will come in opposition to Torah.

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.

God has promised to reunite all of Israel -- the "lost tribes" of the northern Kingdom under Ephraim with the southern Kingdom under Judah. These are the elect along with those gentiles who join them.

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

Those whose faith is grounded in Torah will be less likely to be deceived as Torah is God's truth. Any concept of "faith" independent of God's Torah is a lie. God will allow those rejecting this truth to be deceived:

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 - And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

"Unrighteousness" is defined solely by God's Torah.

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:

How can a star fall from heaven? As this is not possible, it gives us a clue that this verse might contain a deeper meaning. (Also, if the sun was darkened, all life would cease to exist, and this does not happen at this time either.)

Although there may be some literal physical fulfillment of these things, Yeshua is very much speaking in metaphorical terms. These hidden aspects of the last days will be addressed in our Revelation study.

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.

The term "tribes of the earth," is an incorrect translation. Yeshua is speaking of a fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy. The correct translation is tribes of "the land," (of Israel):

Zechariah 12:10-12 - And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;

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.

The "gathering of the elect" is a fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy (above). God will regather all of Israel to their Messiah and to the land of Israel. The "trumpet" is representative of the Shofar, which is found throughout Hebrew literature that is concerned wih Messiah and the "end times."

This trumpet blast could very well be the "last trump" prophecied by Paul in two of his letters:

1 Corinthians 15:52 - Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 - For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

A common Jewish belief was that all people would die before God instituted His Kingdom and the World to Come (Olam Haba). Paul states that this is not the case, that some would enter the Kingdom of God without dying first.

The reference to His gathering His elect, "from one end of heaven to the other," in verse 31, is likely a reference to the dead raised incorruptable (in 1 Corinthians 15:52) and the dead in Messiah (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

Our Revelation study will explore all of these themes in greater detail.

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

This study will not enter the long time debate over what Yeshua meant by "generation." Suffice it to say, He is speaking of a chain of events (the "footsteps of Messiah), that once they begin, will not stop until He comes.

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

Why doesn't Yeshua know the day? A hidden message here is that the day is not truly "fixed," in that the actions of His followers, here on earth, can either hasten its arrival. Hebraic teachings say that if the people act righteously, they will merit Messiah's arrival.

An example of this is found in Midrash Rabbah, which says that although there is a "determined date," for Messiah's arrival, there also remains the possibility that His coming could be advanced:

Midrash Rabbah - Exodus XXV:12 - R. Levi said: If Israel kept the Sabbath properly even for one day, the son of David would come. Why? Because it is equivalent to all the commandments; for so it says, For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the flock of His hand. To-day, if ye would but hearken to His voice! (Ps. XCV, 7) R. Johanan said: The Holy One, blessed be He, told Israel: ‘Though I have set a definite term for the millennium which will come at the appointed time whether Israel returns to Me in penitence or not, still if they repent even for one day, I will bring it before its appointed time.’ Hence, ‘ To-day, [redemption cometh] if ye would but hearken to His voice’; and just as we find that the son of David will come as a reward for the observance of all commandments [one day], so also will he come for the observance of one Sabbath day, because the Sabbath is equivalent to all commandments.

Another example of this can be seen in Acts chapter 3, where Peter tells His Jewish brethren, that if they turned in faith to the Messiah (who was just killed and resurrected), that Yeshua would immediately return and usher in the Kingdom.

Interestingly, if the people become completely unrighteous (see verse 37 below), this will also bring on His arrival, albeit in not such a pleasant fashion.

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

We know that evil permeated the earth to such a degree in Noah's time, that God intervened by killing all but a handful of people. Again, at the end of days, there will be widespread destruction.

Beyond this however, Noah's time was also one of great demonic activity, as cited in the book of Jude:

Jude 1:6 - And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

This "days of Noah" will be dealt with in detail in our Revelation study. (Revelation shows a great deal of demonic activity in the last days.) We will investigate a resource with much information on this subject, the book of Enoch -- which was held in high esteem at the time of Yeshua, and is quoted by Jude:

Jude 1:14-16 - And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

40  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken ...

The terminology here (one shall be taken), is the same used for Jewish nuptial language in John 14:1-3. Contrary to some popular modern theologies, the "marriage in heaven" between Messiah and His people comes after the time of Tribulation on earth, and makes up the first seven years of the Millennial Sabbath:

Revelation 19:1-9 - And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

This marriage involves more than the Lord and His righteous ones, as Scripture tells us that New Jerusalem, which is "our Mother" (Galatians 4:26) is the bride (Revelation 21:2). Our Revelation study covers these mystical aspects in great detail.


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