Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 24

I have never given much serious thought to the end of the world. I have read the entire Left Behind series and I lived through Y2K without incident, but I have never seriously sat down and thought the world was going to end short of in 2003 when the Chicago Cubs came within five outs of actually going to the World Series. I recognize that it is something that is going to happen eventually, maybe even within my lifetime. It has been prophesized for years, however, from people as serious as biblical scholars to the World Weekly News. Still, it has not happened.

That brings us to chapter 24 of the book of Matthew. In this book, Jesus outlines His second coming in cryptic tales that have been studied for centuries. Just what can we take away from this section? It is quite complex in that the disciples are told that their generation would not pass away before these things will happen, but obviously all the disciples have been long dead. This section of Scripture is both beautiful and confusing at the same time. Let's take a look at some of the more important sections of this chapter.

4Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains. – Matthew 24:4-8

Regardless of what this states, the inexorable march of time means we are closer to the return of Christ than ever before. We can see many of these events by looking at the news today. There is constant rumor of war and strife. The 20th century saw more war and bloodshed than any other time in human history, and as a world society we certainly have the capability of topping that number through the use of modern weapons and warfare. Just last week we saw a devastating earthquake in China. Even here in Indiana, where earthquakes are very rare, my wife and I were awoken one morning a few weeks ago by a stunningly strong temblor.

Does this mean the end is near? Should we stand on street corners with placards proclaiming this? It is possible, but it is also possible Christ could be awaiting His Second Coming for a thousand years yet. It is clear from this chapter that there will be a Second Coming, if only because Christ's promises always come to pass. There is a certain amount of futility in looking for it because we don't know the date and time. Not even Christ knows the date and time.

36"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. – Matthew 24:36-41

We must always be ready for the Second Coming, even if we are not actively looking for it. This is clearly a warning to accept the gift of Christ's salvation through His sacrifice on the Cross simply because we don't know when He will return. There could be plenty of time to make this decision. We could all be long dead when the event finally happens. It is also entirely possible it could happen before you even finish writing these words. There are dozens of schools of thought on what will happen in that moment, but it is best to be prepared before instead of after.


  1. How does this support the pre-Tribulation (Left Behind theory) of the Second Coming?
  2. What other signs are present today from this chapter?
  3. Is there a chance this isn't all true?

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