By Pastor F. M. Riley
June 5, 2013
“STUDY to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15.
For the purposes of this exposition, I will be using Matthew 24 – 25, and referring to the other two accounts of the Olivet Discourse in Mark 13 and Luke 21 as needed, each of which were given on the same occasion, to the same disciples by our Lord Jesus Christ. I accept God’s Word as literal truth, I am also well aware that the Bible contains figures of speech, signs, symbols, parables, riddles, etc., but I am also aware that every one of these things were placed in God’s Word by Divine Inspiration in order to convey literal truth. If our readers want to critique my exposition of this study honestly and fairly, then I will expect them to carefully read every word in these three accounts of the Olivet Discourse. Otherwise, just keep quiet and learn! This will be a Scripture by Scripture, and when necessary, a word by word exposition of this discourse. In this exposition I will follow the logical divisions of the discourse based on the chronological and grammatical context which can be clearly seen by any reader willing to deal honestly with God’s Word. I invite our readers to join us for a Scriptural and chronologically sound study of this very relevant discourse given by our Lord.
The Background preceding the Discourse
On the 10th day of Abib [Nisan] [which was on Saturday in 30 A.D……”Palm Sunday” is an invention of the Roman whore religion] Christ had rode into Jerusalem in what is today referred to as His “triumphal entry, Matthew 21:1-11. Christ then went into the Temple and cast out the money changers and merchants for the second time in His ministry. His first cleansing of the Temple took place at the beginning of His personal ministry, and this last cleansing took place three years later at the end of the Lord’s personal ministry, a fact which some commentators and others appear to conveniently overlook due to a lack of serious Bible study. Compare John 2:13-16. Christ then left the Temple and went to Bethany and spent the night there, Matthew 21:17.
The next morning the Lord God returned into the city of Jerusalem, cursing the barren fig tree “in the way” into the city, 21:18-22. He then reentered the Temple as recorded in 21:23, and began answering the questions asked of Him by the Jewish religious leaders, and teaching a series of parables to the Jewish people, 21:23 – 22:46. Then in Matthew 23 the Lord God gave the most blistering rebuke to the Jewish religious leaders that is recorded in the entire New Testament. It is at this point that the account of the Olivet Discourse begins…..
CHRONOLOGICAL DIVISION NO. 1
24:1-2…..”And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and His disciples came to Him for to show 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.”
The entire Olivet Discourse was given shortly before the Lord’s crucifixion in 30 A.D. Therefore this first chronological division or “time element” obviously began in 30 A.D. Christ and the Jews were still living under The Dispensation of Law. But our readers should keep in mind that this is a
prophetic discourse, and as such, the different prophecies given in the discourse were to be fulfilled at different times in the future. Determining where each prophetic division chronologically “fits” in God’s great plan of the ages is vitally important to “rightly dividing” this study. .
The Motivation for the Discourse
After giving His blistering rebuke to the religious leaders of Israel in chapter 23, Christ departed from the Temple. The Jewish Temple and its surrounding buildings were some of the most beautiful architectural structures ever erected in human history. The Temple represented the glory of the whole nation of Israel, and Israel’s special position as “the chosen people of God.” Therefore the Jewish disciples of the Lord placed great value on the Temple. As Christ and His disciples departed from the Temple, the disciples began to point out different prominent features in the architecture of the Temple, which magnified the beauty of the Temple.
The Lord’s reply to them was both a mild rebuke and a prophecy. Paraphrasing, “You point out all these features in the Temple to Me! Take a close look at them yourselves, for “I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down,” 24:2. Oh my!
This statement of the Lord must have deeply troubled those Jewish disciples, possibly sounding to them like the “death knell” of the nation and people of Israel. It was so troubling to them that four of the disciples, Peter, James, John, and Andrew later came to the Lord privately [Mark 13:3-4], asking Him the three questions recorded in 24:3. The three questions that they specifically asked were…..
 “Tell us, when shall these things be?” This question quite obviously was referring to what the Lord had prophesied in 24:2 about the destruction of the Temple.
 “and what shall be the sign of Thy coming,…” This question was obviously asked by the disciples because they were well aware that the Lord God had always given “a sign” to the Jewish people each time He had chosen to communicate with them in some way, throughout their entire history. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:22. The Jewish people had come to expect this from God, and these Jewish disciples knew that that anything prophesied by the Lord to occur in the future, which would effect the Jews, would always be preceded or accompanied by “a sign.”
Notice that the word “coming” in this Scripture is translated from the Greek word, “parousia.” This Greek word occurs 24 times in the New Testament and is repeatedly connected with the pre-tribulation rapture of the Lord’s New Covenant believers and church. Since those disciples clearly used the word “parousia” in asking the Lord this question, and since they distinctly separated the parousia from “the end of the age,” then it should be obvious to any serious Bible student that the disciples did know about the rapture, and knew that the rapture and “the end of the age” were two different events which would occur at two different times. They clearly indicated such knowledge by using the word “parousia” here instead of the word “erchomai,” which is the word commonly and repeatedly used in the New Testament when referring to the Lord’s bodily, visible return to Israel at the end of the Tribulation. Yet many commentators [and others] would have us to believe that the Lord God had never even mentioned the rapture to His disciples. Even though they had followed Him for three whole years, sleeping where He slept, eating what He provided, and being in His presence daily as He taught them His Word, we are supposed to believe that they were kept in total darkness about the future rapture of New Covenant believers. Illogical ignorance! Such “willing ignorance” of God’s Word is not becoming to those setting forth themselves as serious students of the Word! Hello!
 “…and of the end of the world?” The Greek word translated as “world” in this Scripture is the word “aion,” meaning “age.” There are at least seven “dispensations” of time set forth in the Scriptures, but ONLY three “aions; ages.” Compare Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 and 2 Peter 3:5-13. No place do the Scriptures ever teach that the world [earth; planet; globe] is ever going to come to an end. Rather, it is explicitly stated five times in God’s Word that the earth “is established for ever.” For those readers who want more Scriptural insight into this subject, write and request my Bible study, “The New Earth.” The disciples knew that there were different ages or dispensations, with a new “aion” following the preceding “aion.” What they were then asking about was the “sign” that would indicate that this present age [aion] was going to end.
Notice that questions 2 and 3 are actually one dual question requiring two answers. The disciples were asking for one “sign” that would indicate that the two different events were about to occur.
Now let’s turn our attention to an in-depth study of these three questions and the Lord’s answers.
CHRONOLOGICAL DIVISION NO. 2
 “Tell us, when shall these things be?”
Most commentaries today state that the Lord Jesus never answered this first question. Rather, the commentaries just skip this question and jump right into the Tribulation period which follows this present dispensation. Sadly, many of God’s people today make the same mistake instead of seriously studying these Scriptures to see what is actually and literally stated and taught. So much for commentaries filled with men’s opinions rather than Scripture! Especially, “religious” men who are depending on their own human intellect for understanding, rather than paying attention to and believing what God’s supernaturally inspired Word has to say about understanding the Scriptures. Read Proverbs 3:5-8, John 16:12-15, and 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 and believe what these inspired Scriptures say! You might also read 1 Corinthians 1:26-27.
I cannot even conceive of the Lord Himself who came into this world as a “light” to dispel “darkness” of being so rude that He would totally ignore this first question asked by His own troubled Jewish disciples. Read John 1:4-8. He didn’t! It is the commentators who are in darkness!
This second chronological division of the Olivet Discourse prophetically deals with the events which occur in this present dispensation of time from the crucifixion of Christ right up to the beginning of the Tribulation period which follows this dispensation. It was precisely at the crucifixion of Christ when the old Dispensation of Law ceased, and the new Covenant of Grace began. See Colossians 2:14 and believe it! This second division is described in 24:4-7 with the transition to the Tribulation period occurring in 24:8-9.
24:4-5…..”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.” It doesn’t require a great deal of study of Christian and Jewish history which has occurred during this present dispensation to understand that everything that was prophesied by the Lord God in these four verses has literally come to pass during this present dispensation, and these prophecies of the Lord are still being fulfilled at this present time even as I write. Proof? Gladly! Notice…..
The very first thing the Lord warned the four Jewish disciples [representing Israel and the Jewish people] about in these Scriptures was the coming of “false christs” who would claim to be the Messiah of Israel, and/or the Savior of all mankind. The Lord God knew that He had been rejected by the religious leaders of Israel and would be rejected and crucified by the Jewish people. But the Lord also knew that those “religious Jews” who did study the prophecies of the Old Testament Jewish Scriptures were expecting the promised Jewish Messiah to come at that very time in Jewish history. Since the Jews had refused to receive Christ [John 1:11-12] as their Messiah, the Lord God knew that they would be wide open and vulnerable to receiving some deceiver as the promised Messiah. Therefore He warned them sternly to beware of anyone coming on the world scene after Him, claiming to be the Jewish Messiah.
They should have taken heed to His warning, but they didn’t! Such deceivers did put in their appearance shortly after Christ had ascended back to His Father in Heaven. A large number of them! Foremost among them was Bar Kochba and Moses of Crete. Both of these men rose up claiming to be the promised Messiah of Israel who would lead Israel to victory over their Roman oppressors.
It was Bar Kochba who instigated the Jews to rise up in revolt against the Roman Empire. Thousands of Jews believed him to be the promised Messiah of Israel. Historians claim that nearly a million Jews who had followed Bar Kochba in his insurrection against Rome perished in the Roman-Jewish wars and by starvation in the siege of the city of Jerusalem.
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.”
The insurrection instigated by Bar Kochba and those who chose to follow him, resulted in the Roman-Jewish wars and the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 A.D. along with an estimated one million Jews perishing in the wars and by starvation in the city of Jerusalem. Didn’t the Lord plainly predict that there would be “wars and rumours of wars?” You know He did! Did such wars occur? They most certainly did! Beginning with the Roman wars, there have been wars throughout this entire dispensation, and such wars are still going on right at this present hour. This prophecy of the Lord did not have to wait until the Tribulation to be fulfilled. There is documented history of these “false Christs” arising, and leading the Jewish people into wars throughout this dispensation for those who want to put forth the effort to do the research.
During the forty years from the crucifixion of Christ to the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 A.D. there was also another man on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean who rose up claiming to be the Messiah of Israel. He called himself Moses. He convinced hundreds of Jews living on Crete that, like Moses, he would lead them back to the Holy Land and establish the promised Kingdom. He told them that on a certain day he would walk off the island into the Mediterranean Sea, and that the sea would open up just like the Red Sea had done for the real Moses hundreds of years previously and the Jews would be able to walk over the dry sea bed back to Israel, where they would vanquish their enemies and live in the promised Kingdom. This demon possessed “false Christ” must have been totally convinced of what he was proclaiming for on the day he had appointed, he did walk off the island of Crete into the sea followed by several hundred Jews and all of them were drowned in the sea. Folks, this is documented history, and can easily be verified by anyone willing to do the research.
From time to time since then throughout this dispensation, other deceivers have shown up claiming to be the Jewish Christ [Messiah] or simply Jesus Christ. With the passing of time every one of them has been exposed as a phony and a deceiver. Yet they continue to come on the world scene from time to time. Again, these Scriptures did not have to wait for the Tribulation period to be fulfilled. They have been fulfilled during this present dispensation, and are still being fulfilled right today. I would suggest that some get their heads out of men’s books on eschatology, which is mostly the personal opinions and theories of those who wrote them, and seriously get into God’s Word to see what the supernaturally inspired Word of God actually and literally says. Hello!
24:7…..”For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”
This prophecy of the Lord has been, and continues to be, fulfilled during this present dispensation. The word “nation” in this verse is translated from the Greek word, “ethnos.” This literally means “race or ethnic culture.” In other words a clash between ethnic races and cultures because of their differences. Can any reader deny that we living today have seen this clash between ethnic races and cultures fulfilled in this present dispensation, and are still seeing such clashes occurring today? Didn’t we see such an ethnic clash occur between the black and white races occur in the late 1950’s and during the 1960’s, as the civil rights movement occurred across America? How about the Women’s Liberation movement? How about the Gay rights movement, which is being promoted across this country right today? Can any reader tell me with a straight face that there has been no clashes between ethnic groups and cultures in this present dispensation, exactly as the Lord predicted? This prophecy of the Lord is not awaiting fulfillment during the Tribulation. It is happening RIGHT NOW, just as it has been happening throughout this present dispensation.
And most certainly there has been “kingdom against kingdom” fulfilled in this present dispensation. Germany rose up against the other nations of the world in the First World War and then again in the Second World War. Japan also rose up, pitting “kingdom against kingdom.” Then where Israel and the Jewish people were concerned, the Jews not only had to fight their war of independence in 1948-49, but had to fight three more wars to maintain their freedom, all of these wars fought during this present dispensation. RIGHT NOW while I write there are numerous wars going on, and rumours being circulated that certain conflicts are going to develop into World War III. Is this all just “coincidence,” or is it a direct fulfillment of this prophecy of the Lord during this present dispensation?
But let’s not forget the “pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Just since the end of World War II we living today have seen more strange and previously unheard of “pestilences” come into existence than ever before in human history. Such “pestilences” that medical research cannot keep pace with trying to find antidotes or cures for them.
Notice that the very last thing prophesied by the Lord Jesus in these Scriptures were “earthquakes, in divers places.” Any true believer living today who will deny that this entire dispensation has been characterized by earthquakes on an ever increasing scale and magnitude, will only make themselves look foolish by their denial. I have a detailed report laying on my desk right now as I write revealing that there has been well over a thousand earth tremors and serious quakes in the last 9 days. The entire interior of the earth is shaking like a leaf shaken by a might wind. And the worst is yet to come during the coming Tribulation period! Hello!
Those who are teaching that these prophecies of the Lord in 24:4-7 have not been fulfilled and have to wait until the Tribulation for their fulfillment, are either totally ignorant of the history of this present dispensation, or they simply have adopted a “theological position” they prefer to cling to rather than humbly submitting to Scriptural truth. Which is it? These Scriptures, 24:4-7, do not pertain to the Tribulation period, even though some of the same things will continue to happen during the Tribulation on an even greater scale. But these particular Scriptures refer to this present “dispensation of grace.” The Lord Himself verified this truth by explicitly stating in 24:8, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Another way of expressing this same truth is that “All these events predicted in verses 4-7 are simply “birth pangs” bringing Israel and the Jewish people, and all of humanity, up to the beginning of the Tribulation period.” Any reader living today who has much spiritual discernment need only look at what is happening in this country and around the whole world today to see that life is becoming increasingly hard and bitter day by day, especially for the Jewish people and for true Bible believing Christians. It is glaringly obvious that the Tribulation period is staring humanity in the face RIGHT NOW! Throughout this dispensation mankind has seen these events predicted by the Lord in 24:4-7 occurring, all of which are bringing humanity closer and closer to the terrible Tribulation period, which begins in 24:9 in this Olivet Discourse.
CHRONOLOGICAL DIVISION NO. 3
This 3rd division, 24:9-14, introduces the Tribulation period, and sets forth the first half of the seven year Tribulation period.
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.”
Oh no! I’ve been told that this simply cannot be right, because verse 9 is speaking of the Jewish people being “afflicted” and “killed” and “hated of all nations.” Some insist that this already happened nearly 2,600 years ago under the Assyrian Empire and the Babylonian Empire, so this Scripture, according to them, cannot possibly be referring to the future. Is that so?
No, it isn’t so! If one is going to study the Scriptures, especially the prophetic Scriptures, then I suggest they STUDY all of them, not just those parts which appeal to them. They might also try living in reality.. RIGHT NOW as I write, all the Muslim Arab nations of the Middle East are burning with HATRED for the Jewish people, have the nation of Israel surrounded, and have a desire to totally annihilate the nation and people of Israel. This is reality! It is also true that most of the other nations of the world today have convinced themselves that if Israel did not exist as a nation, there would be peace in the Middle East. Sic! There is more hatred for Israel and the Jewish people today than ever before in their history. Israel and the Jewish people are about to enter the most terrible time of persecution and fiery trials they have ever known. The Jewish Holocaust under Hitler and the Nazi’s was terrible, yet it was confined to Europe. The fiery trial they are now facing will be world wide, wherever there is a Jew living anywhere in the world.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy,” 1 Peter 4:12-13.
This Scripture, contrary to what is commonly taught, is speaking to and about the Jewish people, not about New Covenant believers. Most New Covenant preachers have totally ignored the fact that there are three epistles in the New Testament specifically written to the Jews, about the Jews, and for the Jews, and one of them is the First Epistle of Peter. The other two New Testament epistles specifically written to and for the Jews are Hebrews and James. Read the salutation to 1 Peter for yourself in 1 Peter 1:1-2. It is the Jewish people who are going to have to go into and through a “fiery trial” during the coming Tribulation period, that the “dross” of their present unbelief, rebellion, and SIN might be purged from them. See Proverbs 25:4, Isaiah 1:21-25, Jeremiah 9:1-9, Ezekiel 22:17-22, and Zechariah 13:8-9, and Malachi 3:1-3.
Joel 3 is a prophetic chapter regarding the future Tribulation period. No, this is not simply my opinion. Joel 3:1-2 explicitly states, “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivitiy of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat and will plead with them there for My people and for My heritage, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land.” Any reader who cannot understand that this is a prophecy to be fulfilled during the future Tribulation period, ought to either get serious about studying Bible prophecy, or else just keep their mouth shut until they learn how to believe and “rightly divide the Word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15.
In this Scripture, 3:2, the Lord God explicitly accuses the “nations” [remember the U.N.?] of “parting My land.” This is exactly what the United Nations, in cahoots with the leaders of the Muslim leaders, are attempting to do RIGHT NOW to supposedly achieve “peace” in the Middle East.. Now look at the next Scripture…..
Joel 3:3 explicitly states, “And they have cast lots for My people, and have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.” Folks, this is not past history. This is prophecy to be fulfilled during the future Tribulation period. Compare also verse 6 of this chapter. These are things which are yet to be fulfilled against the Jewish people during the coming terrible Tribulation period. Is it just “coincidence” that these prophecies in Joel 3 are in perfect harmony with what the Lord Himself predicted would happen to the Jews right after the beginning of the Tribulation in Matthew 24:9? Hello!
24:10, “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” This describes the emotional confusion, distrust and betrayal of each other, and the turmoil that will occur among the Jewish people as they are hated and persecuted by the Gentile nations and peoples of the earth during the first half of the Tribulation period.
24:11, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Just as has occurred previously in Jewish history during times of apostasy and spiritual turmoil, so “false prophets” will once more arise among the Jewish people, taking advantage of all the unrest and confusion in order to line their own pockets, not through any sense of love for Israel and the Jewish people.
24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” This prophecy of the Lord reveals that “iniquity” will increase and abound among the Jewish people [and certainly among the Gentile peoples]. The word “iniquity” in this Scripture is translated from the Greek word, “anomia,” which literally means “lawless; rebellion against or contempt for the Law; refusing to acknowledge the Law.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 48, Strong’s No. 458. The word indicates a stubborn attitude of rebellion against the moral restraints imposed upon the Jewish people by God’s Law.
Just as there was rebellion against the Law by many of the Jewish people after it was given to Israel at Mt. Sinai some 3,500 years ago, so there will still be rebellion against the Law when it is re-instituted upon Israel and the Jewish people during the Tribulation. I remind our readers that only one-third of the Christ rejecting, unbelieving Jews who enter the Tribulation are going to be saved during the Tribulation. Two thirds of the Jewish people will die in their unbelief during the Tribulation. Read it for yourself in Zechariah 13:8-9 and compare Romans 9:27-29.
24:13, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” This prophecy of the Lord is specifically speaking to and about the salvation of the Jewish “remnant” made up of the one-third of the Jews who will physically survive the Tribulation period. This Scripture has nothing to do
with the salvation of any Gentile, nor does it set forth the way of salvation for either Jew or Gentile. It was spoken to the Jews about the Jews, and therefore strictly applies to the Jewish people. It also literally means what it says. Every Jew who manages to live through and survive the Tribulation will be saved, not because they managed to survive, but because they will turn to the Lord God in faith with their whole heart and soul. Read it for yourself in Jeremiah 29:13 and 24:7. Compare Hebrews 8:7-13 and Jeremiah 31:31-34. From the end of the Tribulation when the Jewish “remnant” turns to the Lord God in faith with their whole heart, there will never again be a lost Jew in all of the ages to come. Those readers who would like to use this particular Scripture to teach “salvation by works” [enduring to the end of one’s life] better look elsewhere for support for their heretical theory, for salvation is ONLY by God’s grace through faith in the precious blood of Christ shed at Calvary for your soul and mine, Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5.
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.” I literally get tired of hearing preachers trying to steal this Scripture from the Jewish people to whom it was specifically spoken.
Folks, we New Covenant believers do not now, nor have New Covenant believers throughout this dispensation, ever emphasized the preaching of “the gospel of the kingdom.” While we who are true believers most certainly do look forward to the Millennial Kingdom and refer to it from time to time in
our preaching, it is not the main emphasis of our preaching and teaching. Rather, we who are the Lord’s New Covenant believers preach the way of salvation, and an overcoming life through “the gospel of the grace of God in Christ Jesus.”
The “gospel of the kingdom” is the announcement by the 144,000 that the promised and long awaited Millennial Kingdom is right “at hand.” This is the same message preached by John the Baptist some 2,000 years ago at the first coming of Christ, when he was actually expecting the Lord to set up His kingdom at His first coming, Matthew 3:1-2; Mark 1:14-15. It is the same message Christ Himself preached at His first coming until He was rejected as the promised Messiah and King by the Jewish people. Then His Kingdom was postponed, Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:14-15. Compare Luke 19:11-27.
If any reader doesn’t know the difference in these two gospels, then I suggest they make a serious study of the five gospels set forth in the New Testament. I sometimes hear some preachers make the statement that ”The church has now preached the gospel in all the world,” or, “The gospel has now been preached throughout the whole world, therefore we are at the end and it is time for the Lord to come.” Sic! I grieve for the truth every time I hear such silly statements.
Folks, right after the beginning of the Tribulation there will be 144,000 Jews who will turn to the Lord with their whole heart, Revelation 7:1-8. Those 144,000 Jews will be saved, sealed, and commissioned to carry “the gospel of the kingdom” to all “the habitable earth.” Look up and seriously study the expression in this Scripture, “in all the world.” It literally means “in all the habitable earth.” In other words, the 144,000 saved, sealed, and commissioned Jewish evangelists are going to carry “the gospel of the kingdom” to every place on this earth where there is even one soul to hear it. The real truth is, that after 2,000 years of preaching “the gospel of Christ” to the nations, over one-half of the people living today have never heard the name of the Lord Jesus Christ even one time, and don’t have a clue as to who Jesus is. This ought to make every true believer weep in shame. Folks, whether some like it or not, when it comes to evangelizing the world, the Lord’s churches are just as big a failure as was ancient Israel. Remember that 1 Peter 5:5-6 is still in the Bible!
But by the power of God the 144,000 will finally accomplish what ancient Israel and the Lord’s churches have failed to accomplish in all of these thousands of years. They will literally evangelize the whole world with “the gospel of the kingdom” in the space of three and one-half years [the first half of the Tribulation], and millions of people will turn to Christ and be saved, Revelation 7:9-17. Glory to God! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
Folks, when reading this Scripture in Matthew 24:14, stop trying to steal the glory that belongs to the 144,000 Jewish evangelists yet to be saved right after the beginning of the Tribulation period. Those readers who would like more Scriptural insight into the 144,000 Jews should read my study about them entitled, “The Salvation, Sealing, and Ministry of the 144,000.” It will be sent to any
reader upon request.
CHRONOLOGICAL DIVISION NO. 4
This fourth division, 24:15-20, has to do with the middle of the Tribulation period.
24:15…..”When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (who readeth, let him understand:”)
This Scripture is a definite “time marker.” The references to “the abomination of desolation” in the Scriptures clearly indicate that it is an image which will be erected in the court yard of the rebuilt Tribulation Temple at the middle of the Tribulation period. See Daniel 11:31, 12:11, Mark 13:14, and Revelation 13:14-15.
24:16…..”Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains:”
When this abominable image [Deuteronomy 7:25-26] is erected, it will be a “sign” to the people of Israel who have any genuine fear of God to flee for their lives,
It is at or during this same time frame that the New World Order Illuminist one-world government will become a reality, Revelation 13:1-2. The prophesied anti-christ will then become the ruler over the whole one-world governing system, Revelation 13:2. Notice that while the “beast” described here contains every element of the three previous world empires, it has only one mouth. In other words, the anti-christ will speak for the whole one-world government. There is no question that such an elevated position will swell the wicked ego of the anti-christ, filling him with pride in himself. The anti-christ will then break his covenant with the Jewish people, Daniel 9:27. He will enter into the rebuilt Tribulation Temple, set down on the replica of the mercy throne, and tell himself that he is God, 2 Thessalonians 2:4. When he emerges from the Temple the “false prophet” [likely a Muslim leader] will insist that the peoples of the nations build a huge image of the anti-christ and erect it in the courtyard of the Jewish Temple, Revelation 13:14. I personally suspect that the specific location of this image will be selected because of the intense hatred of the Muslim religion for the Jewish people. That it will be in the “holy place” [courtyard] of the Jewish Temple is specified by the Lord Himself in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14.
24:17…..Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house.”
In the middle East even today, many houses are built with a flat roof. The people literally do work and rest upon the roofs of their houses. There is almost always a stairway on the outside of the house to permit access or exit to and from the roof. The Lord in this Scripture is making it quite clear that they are not to go back into their houses to take anything, but to instantly flee for their lives. This suggest an extreme urgency.
24:18…..Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.”
It will therefore be of the utmost urgency for the Jews to flee immediately upon learning that the “abominable image” has been erected. Seconds will make the difference in saving their lives or perishing. The Lord explicitly instructs them in these Scriptures not to be concerned about their material possessions, but to be concerned only with saving their lives. But why this urgency?
Because of another prophecy which is commonly overlooked or ignored. Right after the image is erected, a surprise attack will occur on the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem by the nation of Egypt. Carefully study Jeremiah 46 and read the prophecy for yourself. Very likely a nuclear bomb or device of some kind will be exploded in or over Jerusalem, for the Scriptures are quite clear that a fire” will be kindled in Jerusalem which shall never be quenched. Read it for yourself in Jeremiah 4:4, 7:20, 17:27, and 21:12.
I would also point out that the anti-christ himself will be forced to flee from Jerusalem during this surprise attack. His boast that he “is God” will be exposed as false almost immediately. He will be just another man, and to save his own neck he will flee just like the Jews flee. The difference is that the anti-christ will flee to the ancient city of Babylon and build up that city as his capital from which he will literally rule the world during the last half of the Tribulation period [Isaiah 14], while the Jews will flee to the ancient city of Petra in the present nation of Jordan where they will be fed and protected during the last half of the Tribulation, Isaiah 16:1-4; Revelation 12:6; 12:14.
Those readers who would like a more in-depth study of these subjects should request my Bible
studies entitled “The Abomination of Desolation” and “Israel’s Flight to Petra & then home again.” They will be sent to any reader upon request.
24:19-20…..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:”
These Scriptures clearly reveal the great love and concern that the Lord God has for His Jewish people and for the little children. Even though these things must come to pass in order to bring about the redemption of Israel and the Jewish people, that does not lessen the Lord’s love and concern for their suffering. Surely, any true believer can discern the Lord’s love and concern set forth in these Scripture passages. What a great and loving God and Savior we believers have! Glory to God!
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.”
Here is another “time marker” which correlates with the middle of the Tribulation, and the events which begin to occur at that time. It is at the middle of the Tribulation that “the great day of His [God’s] wrath” begins, Revelation 6:17; 14:6-7; 11:13-19.
This is the same time period when God the Father says to His Son, “…Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool,” Psalm 110:1. In other words, it is the time when Father God Himself takes matters into His own hands, and in terrible rage pours out His wrath upon a sin cursed humanity who has obstinately and willfully rejected and refused His Son as their Savior and has rejected Him as their only means of salvation. This is the time when Almighty God Himself will do “His work, His strange work, and bring to pass His act, His strange act,” Isaiah 28:21. If our readers will look up these terms in their Concordance or Lexicon, they literally refer to Father God doing a work which is totally out of character with His own Divine nature. God’s Divine nature is normally characterized by “LOVE,” 1 John 4:7-11.
Those readers who think God’s patience with fallen mankind is infinite need to let these truths soak in, not just into your brain, but into your very soul. Father God is the One who “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16. Yet after 2,000 years mankind on the earth still refuses to believe in the One true God or upon His Son. Today, after all of these centuries of human history, a large portion of humanity even goes out of their way to mock and ridicule God, Christ, God’s Word, Christianity, and Christian believers. Yet God is gracious and longsuffering, full of compassion and mercy, Psalm 111:4; 112:4; 145:8-9. Even the first half of the Tribulation period is a time of “peirasmos” [trial; testing] to see whether mankind will submit to the Lord God. During the first half of the Tribulation, God will reveal His reality and presence to every living person upon the earth as He has never previously done before in human history. People upon the earth will be able to visibly see God sitting upon His throne in Heaven with their own eyes, and the Lord Jesus standing at His right hand. Read it for yourself in Revelation 6:14-16. That will be the day atheism crashes to an end.
But what will be the result of such a revelation of Almighty God and a testing of mankind upon the earth? Read it for yourself, “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues [those judgments poured out upon mankind during the first half of the Tribulation] yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood, which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts,” Revelation 9:20-21.
Folks, under the most severe testing mankind will have ever experienced, and the most plain revelation of God Almighty ever visibly seen by men, there will still be masses of mankind who will not turn to the Lord God in repentance and faith for salvation. Is it any wonder then, that Father God “blows up” in fierce anger and fury and does “His strange work” upon God hating, Christ rejecting, humanity left upon the earth?
As I read these Scriptures and contemplate this time of God’s “wrath” upon mankind during the last half of the Tribulation, I am so thankful that, by His saving grace, I do know the Lord and will have been taken off of this earth by the pre-tribulation rapture before this time comes upon mankind, exactly as the Lord God Himself promised every true New Covenant believer, Revelation 3:10. Praise His Holy Name! Glory to God! Hallelujah!
CHRONOLOGICAL DIVISION NO. 5
This fifth chronological division, 24:22-31, has to do with the last half of the Tribulation period.
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.”
After warning the Jews to flee in view of the “abomination of desolation” in 24:15-21, the Lord now emphasizes to them the severity and dangers that they will be facing in the last half of the Tribulation period. As stated in 24:21, the last half of the Tribulation will be the greatest time of trouble on earth that has ever occurred in the history of the human race. It will be such a time of trouble that all flesh upon the earth, man and animals, [1 Corinthians 15:39] would be destroyed, except for the mercies of the Lord God in “shortening the days.” This Scripture, right along with Mark 13:20, clearly indicates that the length of “the days” during the last half of the Tribulation will be shortened. Pay close attention to this statement! Most don’t! No place in the Scriptures does it say that the last half of the Tribulation will be shortened. The length of the Tribulation period and the number of days in each half of the Tribulation is stated explicitly and repeatedly. See Daniel 7:25, 9:27, 12:7, 12:11, Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, 12:14, and 13:5. The Lord God has never violated His own Word, and never will. Therefore, it is “the days” which are to be shortened, not the length of the Tribulation.
Impossible some say! Sound’s crazy, others say! Does it? Tell me dear readers, are “all things possible with God,” or are they not? The Lord God placed the solution to this problem right there in His Word, but many today either overlook it, ignore it, or just refuse to believe it.
Under the fourth Trumpet judgment in Revelation 8:12-13, the Scripture explicitly states that there will be a catastrophe in the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. The Scriptures explicitly state that the Sun then will not shine for one-third of the day and the Moon for one-third of the night. I take this as a literal statement, as I do all of God’s Word. This calculates to mean that for a period of time [the Scriptures do not say how long] a day will be only 8 hours in length instead of the usual 12 hours, and the night likewise. Or another way of putting it is that during this period of time the total length of a full day will be 16 hours instead of the present 24 hour day. Now if this situation were to continue for a long period of time, or even throughout the rest of the Tribulation, then the length of the Tribulation would be shortened by 8 hours every day, yet the number of days in the Tribulation would remain exactly the same. Isn’t our God Great and Amazing? Only our Great God would think of doing something like this, and only our Great God could bring it to pass. Let all those who know Him praise His Holy Name. Glory to God! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
24:23-26…..”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 show 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.”
These Scriptures are a warning to the Jews who have fled to Petra to not let any man deceive them into leaving that place of safety by claiming that the promised Messiah has come and is in such and such a place. Compare Mark 13:21-23, and Luke 17:23. As long as the Jews stay in Petra they will be safe. Those who are foolish enough to leave that place of safety will likely be killed.
24:27…..”For as the lightning cometh out of the east, shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
To emphasize the need for the Jews to stay put in Petra, Christ points out that His coming will be highly visible to everyone. No man [deceiver] will have to slip around spreading the news that Christ has returned. The coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation will be visibly seen by everyone still alive on the face of the earth, Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:30; 26:64. Just as a bolt of lightning flashes across the entire sky from east to west in a split second of time, lighting up the entire sky, so the coming of the Lord at the end of the Tribulation will literally “light up the whole earth,” Ezekiel 43:2. Praise God! Glory to God! Hallelujah!
24:28…..”For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”
Our readers need to keep in mind that as Christ returns He will defeat and destroy all wicked, God hating, Christ rejecting, rebellious humanity left alive on the face of the earth. Read it for yourself in Psalm 37, 104:35, Isaiah 13:9, 63:1-6, 66:16, Jeremiah 25:33, Ezekiel 39:17-20, Amos 9:10, Zechariah 14:2-3, Revelation 14:18-20, and 19:17-21.
The Greek word translated as “carcass” in this Scripture is the word, “ptoma.” This word literally means, “dead body; carcass, corpse, dead bodies.” See Strong’s No. 4430. The Greek word translated as “eagles” in this Scripture is the word, “aetos.” This word literally means, “vulture; buzzard; carrion eating bird.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 13, Strong’s No. 105.
What the Lord was literally pointing out in these Scriptures is that at His literal, visible, bodily, return He will be seen over all the whole earth, and that He will literally slaughter the incorrigible wicked, so much so that wherever the bodies or carcasses of the wicked fall, there will the carrion eating birds gather to feast on them. Unbelievers today should take heed while they still have an opportunity to come to the Lord and be saved. Don’t put it off any longer. Tomorrow may be one day too late! Read 2 Corinthians 6:1-2.
24:29-30…..”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.”
In these Scriptures the Lord explains exactly how He will first be seen by wicked mankind on the earth, as He returns “after” the end of the Tribulation period. He will not be coming secretly, as He does at the time of the rapture, but rather openly and in a great display of His mighty power.
I would point out that a fine jewel is best seen against a dark background. At the end of the Tribulation there will be a great earthquake, of such magnitude as has not occurred previously in all of human history, Revelation 16:17-21. Compare Haggai 2:20-22 and Hebrews 12:25-29. Even while the earth is being shaken, the heavens above the earth will also be shaken. The Sun will be darkened, the Moon will not give its light, and the stars [asters…asteroids] will fall from out of the sky, plunging the entire heavens above the earth into total blackness.
Suddenly, against this terrible black background will appear the glory of the Lord blazing forth in brilliant light. The Scriptures do not tell us the length of time required for this scene to unfold, but apparently for several minutes or even hours [?] all of surviving mankind upon the earth will literally and visibly see the Lord coming in the heavens above the earth, 24:30; Revelation 1:7.
The Lord God will be accompanied by “all His saints,” Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:13. This makes it clear that every saved person on the earth will have been martyred by the anti-christ and his wicked followers, Daniel 7:21; 7:25; Revelation 6:9-11; 13:15. The incorrigible wicked thought they were through with these believers when they brutally killed them. Imagine the shock and terror that will rise in the hearts of the incorrigible wicked on the earth when they see the Lord coming and the very believers they had killed alive and well and accompanying the Lord back to the earth. Glory to the Lord! How great and mighty is our God! Hallelujah!
In the interim between the appearance of the Lord coming in His glory in the heavens above the earth, and His actual arrival on the earth, apparently some on the earth will finally turn to the Lord with their whole heart and soul and be saved as they see Him coming “in the clouds of heaven.” I am driven to this conclusion because there will be a saved flesh and blood humanity still on the earth, both Jew and Gentile, which will enter into the Millennial Kingdom and who will repopulate the earth. Carefully study and compare Matthew 25:31-46. Glory to God!
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.”
This speaks of the re-gathering of the Jewish people from every place on earth where the Jews have been scattered into the Gentile nations of the earth. The sounding of this “great trumpet” is also mentioned in Isaiah 27:13. Every Jew on earth will be bodily and miraculously transported back to the “promised land” at some point during the Tribulation, Ezekiel 20:33-38. Not one Jew will be left in any Gentile country on earth, Ezekiel 39:28. The “remnant” of the Jews who turn to the Lord with
their whole heart will then inherit “the Kingdom” the Lord covenanted to their Father Abraham many centuries ago. See Genesis 15:18-21. Study this passage carefully!
The inheritance the Lord God promised to Abraham and his Seed, by an everlasting Covenant includes all the land from the river of Egypt to the south of present day Israel to Mt. Hermon in Lebanon to the north and to the Euphrates river to the east. What a great area of land and a mighty superpower nation Israel will be during the Millennial Kingdom and right on into the Eternal Age. Glory to the God of Israel! I thank God, that by His grace, the God of Israel is my God and my Savior and Lord. Praise the Lord! Glory hallelujah!
Conclusion to Part I
Just as the Lord God gave His Law to ancient Israel in a brief Ten Commandments [Exodus 20:1-17], and then used the rest of the Book of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy to amplify and explain the Law and how it should be applied , so the Lord Jesus Christ followed a similar pattern in Matthew 24.
The Lord’s answers to the questions asked by the four Jewish disciples of the Lord are all answered in the first thirty-one Scriptures in Matthew 24. Then beginning with 24:32 and extending through 25:46 the Lord then amplifies and explains the details of events which He has already prophesied to occur in the first thirty-one verses of Scripture. This is not hard for a true believer to see and understand, if they are willing to seriously study this discourse for themselves while humbly asking the Lord God in prayer for His help and guidance, rather than relying on the commentaries and theories of men.
Due to the length of this discourse, and my fervent desire to share its wonderful truths with our readers in a manner which will not become tedious and boring, I am going to bring this first part of this exposition to a conclusion with this 31st verse. The Lord permitting, and by His grace, I will be dealing with the rest of this Olivet Discourse in a second part, hopefully to be posted soon. I need and desire the prayers of God’s people. May our gracious Lord bless this exposition to the heart and soul of every reader is my prayer.
TO BE CONTINUED…..
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Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written.
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Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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