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Matthew 24




SCRIPTURE: Matthew 24

This chapter is just full of eschatology.  Eschatology literally means last words or last things.  It is the word that we, in the church world, use to refer to the last days.  Since there have been books and volumes of books written on this subject, it is virtually impossible for me to completely deal with any aspect of this chapter much less the entire chapter.  But there are, perhaps, a few things that we could take a look at that might help with this chapter.

Before I lay any of those out for you, it is important that you know my view of the last days.  I hold to a premillennial, pre-tribulation rapture view of the last days.  I know there are other ways to view the last days but I am convinced this is the right one.  If you want to disagree with me, feel free.  But I won’t fight about it

The reason the previous paragraph is important is it actually informs my understanding of this chapter.  I am convinced that this chapter is written from a Jewish perspective to a primarily Jewish audience.  When you stop to think about who Jesus was actually talking to at the moment, the Jewishness of this is obvious.

Although there is a lot in play here, my view of the end times would dictate that all that we read in this chapter will occur after the rapture of the church.  I realize the concept of the rapture of the church may be new for some of you.  So, let me give you a brief explanation.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is a good place to read about this event.  But basically, the rapture of the church is when Jesus comes back to the clouds (not the earth) and calls up all Christ followers from all ages.  The spirits of those who have already died will reenter their bodies and will rise first and be caught up to heaven.  Those of us who are alive will also be caught up to heaven.

This rapture is what launches the world into the Great Tribulation which is a seven year period of the worst troubles this world has ever seen.  This seven year period will culminate in the Second Coming of Christ.  

The chapter we have before us today explains part of what will happen during the Great Tribulation.  That ends in verse 28.   A description of the return of Jesus begins in verse 29.  Beginning in verse 32 we are given some more basic but important information about these last days.

Verse 36 has always interested me.  First, the day and the hour of the Second Coming of Jesus have already been established.  God knows exactly when this will happen.  I understand why the angels wouldn’t know that.  But why Jesus wouldn’t know.  After all, He is God the Son.  How could He not know?

Part of the answer lies in the fact, that although Jesus was fully God and fully man when He walked upon the earth, He voluntarily laid aside some of His privileges as God.  (Philippians 2 speaks to this.)  For example when Jesus took on flesh, He voluntarily laid aside His privilege of being omnipresent, being everywhere at once.

There is some evidence in the Gospels that Jesus even chose to limit His omniscience or His knowing all things.  For example, Luke 2:52 says Jesus increased in wisdom. And John 15:15 says Jesus made known to His disciples what the Father made known to Him.

However, now that Jesus has ascended back to heaven, there is no reason to believe that He doesn’t know the day and the hour of His return.  He is after all now omniscient in every sense of the word.


Posted by Joe Ligon with

Matthew 23




SCRIPTURE: Matthew 23

Most of this chapter is a rather scathing denunciation of the activities of the Pharisees.  Although there is much here that we could and should learn from, I want to take you to the end of the chapter.  There we find about three verses that teach us much about Jesus, His mission, and us.

As verse 37 begins, we find Jesus lamenting over the city of Jerusalem.  His grief is over the many opportunities for salvation that had been squandered over the centuries.  Not only did the people of Jerusalem (Israel) not take advantage of the countless offers of help God sent their way, they actually mistreated and killed some of the prophets and messengers God sent to them.

But even with that history, we see Jesus’ amazing grace as He talks about how many times He would have come to gather His people and save them from the coming storm.

It is in that statement of “How many times would I… but you were not willing” that we find so much truth.  Here we see evidence of divine sovereignty as well as human responsibility.  God has chosen not to force His salvation on people.  But He has also chosen not to change the consequences that are the result of our stubborn rejection.  He truly has left the choosing up to us.

Jesus talks about how many times He would have gathered His people (brood) and protected them.  But they would not allow it.  Jesus was willing to take upon Himself the full force of the storm will protecting His people.  But they would not allow it.

The result in verse 38 is their house would be left desolate.  It is difficult to know if this reference to a house was about the Temple in Jerusalem or their individual homes.  Regardless, the result was the same.  In AD 70, the Roman armies destroyed the Temple to the point of tearing down the huge stones that made up its walls.  Many homes in the city were destroyed at the same time.  The city of Jerusalem experienced incredible devastation during that time.

On one hand, it would be easy for us to say that’s what the Jewish people deserved because of their consistent rejection of Jesus.  Maybe we would even think they earned this sort of judgment.  And perhaps, we would this would be the end of Jesus’ efforts to save the Jewish people.

But then we read in verse 39 about the promise of Jesus’ return.  And upon this return, He will be greeted by His people with a statement from one of the great Messianic Psalms (Psalm 118).  

So, what is the take away today?  It is impossible for me to read these verses and think about these words without being struck by how longsuffering God really is with all of us.  His patience is absolutely incredible.  His patience may actually be scandalous.  How can a holy God wait as long as He has for the likes of you and me?  How can a holy God hold back eternal judgment when He would have been more than justified to pour it out a million times over?  How can a holy God lament over the people who are satisfied to be so far from Him?

There is only one possible answer.  That is who He has chosen to be.  

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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