Matthew 24 Questions and Answers
There are many views and speculations about the end times and in what order things happen and who will experience the various events mentioned with Christ's return and the end of the age. Since most views can be substantiated with scripture, for this lesson I would encourage sticking with the text and staying focused on what it says and seeking to understand it. You may end up with more questions than this chapter will give answers for and that is okay. Keep searching and asking God for wisdom in understanding. Enjoy the study!
1. Read Matthew 24:1-2. What prophecy did Jesus give to his disciples?
- Not one stone will be left on top of each other; every one will be thrown down - talking about the Temple buildings.
- This happened in AD70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, including the Temple.
2. Read Matthew 24:3-14. What question did this bring up in the minds of the disciples?
- When will it happen?
- What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? What they were really asking was, "When are You going to arrive in Your full Messianic revelation? When will You become all that we anticipate You to be?" They didn't think in terms of His leaving and returning; they simply thought the Lord would soon make a transition to setting up His kingdom.
3. What does the "end of the age" mean according to Matthew? (Matthew 13:39-43, 49-50)
- The end of the age refers to the complete end of the age of mankind. The end of time as we know it now - end of the current world system.
- In Matthew 28:20 Jesus said to the disciples, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age." He will be with us until the final end.
- In the parable of the wheat and the tares Jesus said, "The harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels. As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this age" (Matt. 13:39-40). The phrase is used twice in those verses. The end of the age is when God separates the wheat from the tares and sends the tares to hell. Verses 42-43 say He "shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
- The phrase is used again in Matthew 13:49-50: "So shall it be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and separate the wicked from among the righteous, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
- The "end of the age" then refers to the time when God comes in ultimate, final judgment and sends unbelievers to hell and takes believers into His presence.
4. What are some of the things that Jesus mentions that will happen before the end of the age? (Read also Mark 13:4-13)
- Many will come claiming to be Christ and will deceive many vs 5
- There will be wars and rumours of wars - but we are not to be alarmed vs 6 The increase in wars won't signal that the end is imminent. Sin will still need to run its full course, and other things have to happen before the second coming.
- Nations will rise against nations, kingdoms against kingdoms. Vs 7
- There will be famines, earthquakes in various places - these are the beginning of birth pangs vs 7 (when do birth pangs happen in a pregnant lady? Just before she gives birth. These signs too will precede just before Christ returns, at first slowly and then picking up with speed and intensity)
- Christians will be persecuted and put to death, be hated by all nations because of Christ vs 9 In Mark it talks about being handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. They will on account of Jesus stand before governors and kings as witnesses. When arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say what the Holy Spirit gives you to say.
- Many will turn away from the faith and betray and hate each other vs 10 Even family members will betray each other and children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Are the ones who turn away from Christ true believers? No. If they had been, they would have continued in the truth. 1 John 2:19 says anyone who professes to be a Christian but later rejects Christ was never a Christian in the first place.
- Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. vs 11 Who will be behind all the deception? Satan
- There will be an increase in wickedness and the love of most will grow cold - but those who stand firm to the end will be saved vs 12 How will you be able to tell who the true believers are? They won't turn away from Christ, false teachers won't deceive them, and they won't love evil. Those who endure until the end are the true Christians. They will be delivered from the wrath to come- God's judgment at the end of the age (1 Thess. 1:10). Endurance is always the mark of the saved.
- The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world and then the end will come vs 14 In spite of all the terrible and scary things that will happen before Christ returns there will be a worldwide proclamation of the gospel. Then the kingdom of Christ will come.
5. Read Matthew 24:15. What is Jesus referring to when He talks about the abomination that takes place in the holy place that causes desolation?
- Daniel spoke about it in Daniel 9:27. "The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven,(probably a week) but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him." Then Christ will come to make an end of sin (Dan. 9:24) and bring everlasting righteousness.
6. Read Matthew 24:16-28. What instructions does Jesus give his disciples if they see the abomination in the holy place happening?
- Flee to the mountains if you are in Judea. If you are on your rooftop or in your field, don't even go back into the house to get any of your possessions.
- Pray that you don't need to flee on the Sabbath or in winter.
7. What are 2 things that will happen after the abomination in the holy place?
a. There will be calamity.
- This event will be the most stressful time since the beginning of the world and it will never be equalled again.
- God will shorten those days for the sake of His elect - otherwise no one would survive
- How dreadful it will be for pregnant and nursing mothers and other weak and helpless people.
b. False Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracle to deceive even the elect.
- If someone says "Here is the Christ" do not believe him. Or is someone says Christ is in the desert or in a room, do not go out or believe him.
- Miracles in themselves do not prove that God is at work. Eg Simon in Acts 8:9 and Elymas in Acts 13:8.
- How will people know who the true Christ is? Christ's coming will be publicly visible like lightning that comes from the east is visible in the west. All nations will see Christ appear in the sky and mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
8. In Matthew 24:28 Jesus uses another analogy to show how you can tell that the end is near.
- Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.
9. Read Matthew 24:29-31. What do we learn about what will happen when the Lord returns and how He will return? (Read Luke 21:25-26)
- Right after the distress Matthew just talked about, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light; the stars will far from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. So, just before the Lord appears, the universe will begin to disintegrate. Luke 21:25-26, a parallel passage to verse 29, adds more details of what the Lord said: "And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken." Luke tells us there will be signs on earth as well as in the heavens-- signs so dramatic and cataclysmic that men's hearts will be terrified to the point of failing them. The Greek word translated "failing" in verse 26 actually means "to expire." People will drop dead from terror.
- In the midst of this chaos and blackness Christ will appear in the sky. In verse 3 the disciples ask for a sign of His coming and the end of the age. Until now Jesus has given some general signs but not THE sign. In verse 30 we see that THE sign is Jesus coming in blazing unveiled glory.
- Jesus will come on the clouds of the sky. Just as Jesus returned to His Father in the cloud, so He will return to earth in the clouds.
- He will return with power - power to get the universe reeling - He has power over creation. He has power over Satan, he has power to gather His elect together, and to set up His kingdom. There is nothing as great as Jesus' power.
- All the nations of the earth will mourn when He comes. I wonder if the nations will mourn because they did not believe what they heard about Jesus and therefore did not accept Him as Lord and Saviour.
- The angels will gather all the elect from everywhere. Sounding a trumpet was the familiar Jewish way of calling an assembly. When the trumpet is blown, the angels gather God's elect from their hiding places. No one will be missed.
10. Matthew 24:32-34. Who are the signs in Matthew 24:4-25 reserved for?
- Just as the leaves come out you know summer is near. In the same way, the generation that is alive when those signs in verses 4-25 are fulfilled will not pass away until Christ comes. That tells us the signs in verses 4-25 are reserved for those who live in the end times.
- "As soon as its twigs get tender" refers to when the sap in the tree begins to flow through the branches at springtime, causing them to become tender and swollen. The new life pulsating through the branches produces buds that will become fruit. And because the branches are tender, the tree needs to be cared for. So Jesus was saying that when spring comes, that means summer is near, and summer is harvest time for the fig tree. Whenever Christ spoke about harvests in the New Testament, He referred to the time when He will return to separate the good from the bad--when He returns to the earth in judgment.
11 a. What are "all these things" Jesus is referring to in Matthew 24:33?
- The birth pains in verses 4-14, the abomination that causes desolation in verse 15, the need to flee because of the great distress that will happen in verses 16-28, and the events that will happen in the universe of verses 29-31. All those things will signal the nearness of Christ's return, just as a tree with new shoots signifies that summer is coming.
11 b. What will be near?
- Christ's return to set up His Kingdom. In fact at this point it is so close that it is like knocking at the door and when you open it, there He is.
12. In Matthew 24:35 how does Jesus once more confirm that everything in God's Word will happen?
- God's words will never pass away but will happen just as God has said it would, even though heaven and earth will pass away
13. Read Matthew 24:36-51. When will Christ return? Who knows and who doesn't know?
- People don't know, the angels don't know and Jesus didn't know while here on earth. God, the Father, knows.
- Why didn't Jesus know? Jesus Christ is fully God (John 1:1,14), but when He became a man, He voluntarily restricted the use of His divine attributes (Phil. 2:6-8). He didn't put His deity or divine attributes aside; He simply restricted the use of them. He lived without using His omniscience unless the Father authorized for Him to use it. Jesus didn't have to restrict the use of His omniscience but He chose to act as a servant to redeem mankind and to identify with the people. That Jesus humbled Himself and took upon Himself the form of a servant means He limited the use of His divine attributes, including His omniscience. John MacArthur speculates that Jesus may have known when He would return once He was resurrected. He said before He ascended into Heaven, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons [of the second coming], which the Father has set by his own authority" (Acts 1:7). He said only that the disciples wouldn't know the time of His return; He didn't include Himself as He did in Matthew 24:36. So when Christ rose from the dead, He had a new body and potentially resumed full use of His attributes and therefore had full knowledge of when His second coming would be.
- Life would change considerably if we knew exactly when the Lord was going to come. People wouldn't make plans for the future; long-term relationships would be affected. So the Lord, in all His wisdom, has kept secret the time of Christ's return. He didn't want people to take advantage of such knowledge for their own selfish reasons.
- Therefore, it is not our duty to speculate when Christ will return, but to prepare ourselves and to watch for it.
- God doesn't want us to know when the second coming will be because He wants every generation to live in expectation of it. He wants everyone to be prepared at all times. So ever since the New Testament era, Christians have always lived in eager anticipation of the second coming of Christ.
14. How can we prepare or be prepared for Christ's return?
- We need to be ready for Christ's return with a prepared heart by receiving Christ as your Savior. Christ's second coming is often said to be like the coming of a thief (Luke 12:35-40; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 3:3; and 16:15). That's because Christ will come suddenly and unexpectedly, at a time unknown to anyone. However, our watching for Christ's return is not with terror or fear but with eager expectation.
- We need to be alert to the signs Jesus gave that would happen before Jesus returns in the clouds
- The attitude which leads to disaster to thinking there is plenty of time.
- We need to be faithful to the Lord's Word and the stewardship He has given us. When we faithfully fulfill what God has called us to, we are given a greater place; but the one who doesn't will be dealt with severely. They will face eternal sorrow and mourning.
15. Do you think it is today like it was in the days of Noah when he entered the ark? In what ways?
- As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.
- I think if Christ returned today, we would have the same scenario - people would be eating, drinking, getting married and going about daily business, like any other day. One would be taken and the person next to them would be left behind. Many people aren't alert and watching for Christ's return.
- These verses are a warning to not become so engrossed in our life here on earth that we forget eternity.
- When Noah told the people that God's judgment was near, they didn't care. Similarly, people during the end times will notice all the signs and wonders going on around them, but many of them won't consider what's happening and why.
16. Are you watching and waiting for Christ's return? In what way?
17. In a capsule what have we learned about Christ's return?
- No one except the Father knew when Christ would return
- He will come after the signs Jesus gave have been fulfilled
- Christ will come suddenly and unexpectedly
- It will be a time of separation
- This will be a time of reward for faithfulness and punishment for unpreparedness.