Eyes Wide Open to the End Times
Topic: End Times Scripture: Matthew 24:3–:44
Series: “Eyes Wide Open”
Eyes Wide Open to the End times
As we begin our new series“Eyes Wide Open” our goal is not to create fearor panic, but rather it is to observethe warningswhich the bible gives us regarding certain issues. Today we will look at scripture to see what Jesus warnsus about regarding the end times.
Having said that, I must clarify that no one knowsthe hour in which our Lord and Savior will return. But we know that it will certainlyhappen someday, and we are to be watchfulfor His return.
There are several things that Jesus gives us as cluesto watch for regarding His return.
3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your comingand of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of warsand rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginningof the birth pains.
The disciples start off by asking a specific question. Mainly what will be thesignof your comingand the sign of the end of the age? So, as we traverse through the next few verses let us keep in mind that Jesus is answeringtheir question. The events mentioned will take place at some point in the futurenear the end of timeas we know it which will be culminated by the return of Christand the gatheringof believers.
Jesusgives a couple thingsto look for which point to the beginning of the endif you will.
- Many “false Christ” will arise and lead many astray(that is people proclaiming themselves to be Christ)
- Hear of warsand rumors of wars(nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom)
- Faminesand earthquakes(natural disasters)
Jesus says these are just the beginningof the birth pains. (see chart) Birth pains occur when a woman ispregnant, she will experience various types of pains throughouther body during the entire pregnancy. But the implication is that there is new lifeinside. There is a supernatural miracleinside which is about to be revealedto the world. So, it is with the kingdom of God.
When these signsbegin to take place, we can be sure that the birthing processof a supernatural miracle is on the way. This miracle is referring to when Jesus will come backin the clouds to gather His church. Those who have died in Christwill be caught up to meet Him in the clouds. Furthermore, we will be given glorifiedbodies, just as Jesus had a glorified body after His resurrection. This miraclewill be revealedto the entire world.
But let us keep in mind when we see many being led astray by false Christ,when you hear of warsand rumors, when you see faminesand earthquakes, these are just the beginningsigns of things to come.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulationand put you to death, and you will be hatedby all nations for my name'ssake.
- What will kick off this tribulation?
If we scrolled down to verses 15 & 21
15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.
We learn that the tribulationwill followthe abomination of desolation. What is that you may ask.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
The Great Tribulationwill take place after the abominationof desolation takes places in which the man of lawlessness will proclaim himselfto be God in the temple of God.
Jesusdescribes the Great Tribulationto be so great that there will not be a timelike it either past present or future. Which is hard to comprehendwhen we consider those who have already died as martyrsfor the faith.
- Peterand Paulwere slain at the hands of Nero. Peterwas crucifiedupside down, Paulwas beheaded.
- Andrewwas the first to bring the gospel to the Soviet Unionwhere he was crucified
- Thomaswent preaching the gospel as far as India, it was there that he was spearedto death
- Philippreached in North Africaand Asia Minorit is there was he was cruellyput to death
- Matthewthe converted tax collector preached in Persianand Ethiopiawhere he was stabbed
- Bartholomewtravelled all overpreaching the gospel he too died a martyr’sdeath
- Jamesministered in SyriaHe was stonedand clubbedto death
- Simon the zealotministered in Persiaand was also killed
- Matthias(chosen to replace Judas) preached in Syria, was burnedto death
- Johnwas a leaderin the church of Ephesus. It is believed that he was the only one who died a natural However, it is believed by Latin traditionthat he escapedunhurtafter being thrown into a boilingpot of hot oil.
- Stephenwas selected to wait tables, yet he was filledwith the Holy Spirit and began to boldly proclaim the gospel, consequently he was stoned to death
Their willingnessto die for the cause of Christbrings immense validityto the gospel message. Until theend of timewe will continue to see Christians martyrsfor the sake of Christ.
But the tribulation which Jesus warnsof, is a far greater tribulationwhich has not yet been experiencedand is coming in the end time. Verses 10-28 describewhat will happen from the beginning of the birth painswhich we just described until the coming of Christ. We will only look at verses 10-14.
10 And then many will fall awayand betrayone another and hateone another. 11 And many falseprophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessnesswill be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
- Great persecution Vs 9
- The Great Falling Away Vs 10,12
- False prophets (accompanied with signs and wonders) vs. 11
- Increase of Sin vs. 12
22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.
Meaning if God were to extendthe tribulationpast the allotted time(3-1/2 years) then the tribulation would destroy everyoneon earth and there would be no one left. But He cuts it shortfor the elect’ssake. What does that tell you?
That God’s people will go through the tribulation. But for our sake, because He loves usand has called us according to His good purpose, He will have mercyon us by not extendingthe “Great tribulation” beyond it’s allotted time.
Another thing that happens before the return of Christ is that the gospelwill be proclaimedthroughout the whole world
Then the End will Come! The signthat will precedethe coming of Christis found
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
If you are in our men’s bible study, we talked about how Israel will come to faith in Jesus Christ. Here it mentions the tribes of the earth they will see Jesusfor who He is and they will mourn.
From this verse we are to expect the coming of Jesusto followimmediately after the tribulation.
31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
From this we learn that the elect will be gatheredafterHis arrivalwhich is afterthe tribulation.
The ones whom God has electedfor salvation will be gatheredup together to meet himin the clouds. Those who have died in Christwill be gathered first and then those who are still living will go up to meet Him as well.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.
42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
We are to be watchfulfor the end times. We are to anticipatethe coming of Christ. The biggest faultof the Jewishpeople was the fact that most of them did not believe that Jesus was their Messiah. They did not receive Him when He came to the earth because they had lost the anticipationof His arrival. They were not watchingfor it. Though the prophetsof old have fore toldof His coming, over time the Jews eventually lost sightand even lost hopeof His coming.
Let us not fallinto the same trap. Let us learnfrom their mistakes. We gentileswho have been graftedin (Romans 11) let us remain watchful, let us anticipatewith hopeful expectationthat Jesuswill be true to His wordand that He willcome backand gatherup His churchwho has made herself ready.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bridehas made herself ready;
The most importantthing to know about the end timesis not whenChrist will return but whoHe is coming back for. He is coming back for a bridewho has made herselfready.
27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.