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Question #384

What about Matthew 24?

What is your interpretation of the following passages:

Matthew 24:3, 30-31; 25:31

Luke 21:27-28; 22:29-30

Mark 13:26-27

Would you please explain these verses please? Thank you.

Revelation 11:15

Revelation 15:18

Daniel 2:34-35,44

Also: When does the physical resurrection of the saints take place?

The Answer:

In Matthew 24:3 the disciples ask Jesus to answer two questions: 1) what shall be the sign of thy coming, and 2) and what shall be the sign of the end of the world. At the end of chapter 23 he had charged the Jews with shedding righteous blood from that of Abel to Zacharias. He declares that the Jew’s house is left to the desolate. He concludes by telling them that they will not see him hence until they say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Jesus had been speaking in the Temple from which he went out (24:1), and then he tells his disciples of the destruction of the temple. It is that context that gives rise to the questions of the disciples. While the disciples may not have fully understood that they had asked two questions, Jesus took advantage of the manner in which they asked two teach them about two comings – the first to destroy Jerusalem and the second at the end of the world.

Note that earlier in chapter 23 Jesus had pronounced woes upon the scribes and Pharisees, concluding with the charge of shedding righteous blood. At the end of that discourse Jesus said that the penalties for “all these things shall come upon this generation.” Beginning in 24:4 Jesus begins answering the first question that relates to the destruction of Jerusalem. Everything from that point to 24:34 relates to his coming to destroy Jerusalem. We know that that is the case because verse 34 declares that “this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” When you add these verses together, you learn that “this generation” (i.e., people living at that time) will pay the penalty for the killing of the righteous (23:36), and that all verses beginning in 24:4 and 24:33 will happen before “this generation” passes or dies (24:34).

The language used in these verses is common to Biblical prophecies of God’s judgments on nations. He does give them signs to know when it will happen, e.g. 24:15. That further indicates that this language is not referring to the final judgment because that day will come as a thief in the night without warning.

That is in fact what Jesus says as he proceeds in 24:36 to answer the second question that inquires about signs of the end of the world. No person, including Jesus knows when that will be – only the Father knows. Given the no man knows when the world will end and there are no signs to warn him that it is near, Jesus enjoins being always prepared, and underscores that injunction in chapter 25 with parables which includes 25:31 which begins a judgment scene.

You will find these verses discussed in other places on this website. You should be able to find them by using “Search the site” on the home page. For a discussion of the verses from Revelation and Daniel you should see the commentaries on those book available on the website.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)