TODAY’S READING: MATTHEW 24-26
The King’s return (chapter 24:1-25:46); the King’s preparation (chapter 26:1-56); the King’s trial (chapter 26:57-27:26).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
The first verse in today’s reading is tremendously significant: “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple” (24:1). Once Jesus (the glory of the Father – John 1:16), “departed” out of the Temple, He would not return again(!) and that Temple was doomed for destruction. You could say that He wrote “ICHABOD” over the door (I Samuel 4:19-22 – “Ichabod” = “the glory is departed”). Jesus walks out and immediately begins to talk about the Temple’s destruction (24:2).
Verse 3 of chapter 24 is also tremendously significant. After leaving the Temple, Jesus and His disciples make their way to the Mount of Olives, and there they ask Him a very important question. They say, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” What is so incredible, is that as they ask this question about the time of the second coming, Jesus is sitting in the exact place His foot will first touch when He comes!!!! (See Zech 14:4). Wow! Does God have a sense of humor, or what?!
Now, chapter 24 is one of those key places in Matthew where people allow themselves to get spiritually disoriented and doctrinally discombobulated. The context here has nothing whatsoever to do with the church! By the time the events Jesus is about to describe take place, the “parenthesis” of the church has already been raptured out (I Thess. 4:13-17), and Daniel’s 70th week has kicked in. The events He describes in chapter 24 and 25 have nothing to do with the church age, but will be fulfilled during the Tribulation Period, the time of Jacob’s Trouble (Dan 12:1; Jer. 30:7). In fact, these very signs Jesus describes are listed in this exact order during the Opening of the first six of the Seven Seals in Rev. 6:1-16, which also is describing the Tribulation Period, or in the words of the disciples in verse 3, “the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world.”
First Sign (Matt. 24:5)– FALSE CHRIST = First Seal (Rev. 6:1-2).
Second Sign (Matt. 24:5)– WAR = Second Seal (Rev. 6:3-4).
Third Sign (Matt. 24:7)– FAMINE = Third Seal (Rev. 6:5-6).
Fourth Sign (Matt. 24:7)– PESTILENCE = Fourth Seal (Rev. 6:7-8).
Fifth Sign (Matt. 24:8-9)– MARTYRDOM = Fifth Seal (Rev. 6:9-11).
Sixth Sign (Matt. 24:29)– PHYSICAL CHANGES IN SUN MOON & STARS = Sixth Seal (Rev. 6:12-16).
Once you identify the context of Matthew 24, some verses start making a whole lot more sense. For example:
24:13 – “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Remember, God will be dealing differently in the Tribulation Period. Those who call upon the name of the Lord will not be sealed with the Holy Spirit as they are in this dispensation (see Eph. 1:10-14). They must endure to the end in order to be saved. That is, if they take the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:11-18), their destiny in the lake of fire will be forever sealed.
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.” Wow, you hear this one a lot. “The sooner we get the gospel to all of the nations of the world, we’ll bring the kingdom in!” Whoa, whoa, whoa! First of all, we don’t preach the “gospel of the kingdom” in this dispensation, and if we did, we’d be asking for a curse according to Gal. 1:7-9! Secondly, the church has already been raptured by the time the 144,000 will fulfill this prophecy in the Tribulation Period. This has nothing to do with TBN’s claim that they are fulfilling this verse every time a new tower goes up in some nation of the world, or to missionaries carrying the gospel of I Cor. 15:1-4 in this age.
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.” Recognize that this is a rapture, but it is not the rapture of the church (I Thess. 4:13-17). This is a rapture of Jewish saints (Ps. 50:2-5) at the end of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:11-12) just before the Battle of Armageddon (Isa. 26:20-21).
25:1-12 –This passage is another one people use to teach that a believer in the body of Christ can lose their salvation. A few simple observations can help. Notice that the context is clearly stated in verse 1 as “the kingdom of heaven.” We know already that we’re dealing with a strictly Jewish context. Those involved here are “virgins” (plural), not a “virgin” (singular). “Virgins” are found in the Tribulation Period, not the church age (Rev. 14:1-6). The Bride of Christ is a “virgin” (II Cor. 11:1-13), and is always referred to as one collective “virgin,” never “virgins.” The virgins in the passage do not “marry” anyone, they go to “meet” someone, and the someone they go to meet is already married (Luke 12:36). Note in verse 13 that it is the “Son of man” coming as a married bridegroom, not the “Son of God” coming for His bride.
Most of chapter 26 is familiar and self-explanatory. As you read it, however, let it minister to you in a fresh, new way.