I know many people will disagree with me, but here is what I believe.
As Jesus and His disciples were leaving the Temple, His disciples pointed out the buildings. Jesus said, “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
They went out to the mount of Olives and asked three questions (Matt:24:1-3):
- “When shall these things be?”
- “What shall be the sign of thy coming?”
- “And of the end of the world (or age)?”
Question #1: When shall these things be?
Keep in mind that Jesus is talking to Jews and there was no church at that time.
Jesus mentioned false Christs and wars and rumors of wars and He added, “but the end is not yet.” He mentioned famines, pestilences and earthquakes and He added, “All these are the beginning of sorrows (birth pains)” (Matt. 24:4-8).
All of these things are plural meaning there will be many false Christs and many wars before the end. There will be many famines, many pestilences and many earthquakes before the Second Coming and the end of the age. These things are just the beginning of the birth pains.
For whatever it is worth, Dr. J. Vernon McGee taught that the first eight verses of Matthew 24 are about the Church Age (Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Volume IV, Matthew-Romans, pg. 126). The Church Age must run its course before the end of the age.
Question #2: What shall be the sign of thy coming?
Jesus’ Second Coming is at the end of the Tribulation period. The Church is not on earth. The Church comes out of heaven with Him (Rev. 19:1-16). So, starting at Matt. 24:9 Jesus is talking about those on earth (Israel and others) during the Tribulation period and the Church will no longer be on earth.
Jesus said they (Israel and others) will face persecution, martyrdom, betrayal, false prophets, deceit, iniquity (lawlessness or corrupt government) and cold hearts. He added, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:9-13). All Israel will be saved at the end of the Tribulation period (Zech. 12:10-14; 14:1-11).
He said the gospel will go all over the world “and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). The preaching of the 144,000 Jewish servants of God, the Two Witnesses and an angel will fulfill this during the Tribulation period (Rev. 7; 11 and 14:6).
He said the abomination of desolation will stand in the holy place (Matt. 24:15). This will happen at the Temple in Israel at the middle of the Tribulation period (Dan. 9:27).
He said, “Then, let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” (Matt. 24:17). Judaea is the West Bank in Israel. This is another event that will happen in Israel at the middle of the Tribulation period (Rev. 12:13-14)
He told those who flee to not try to take anything with them and to pray that they don’t have to flee on the sabbath day (Matt. 24:17-20). Why? Because Israel will be back under the Law, offering animal sacrifices, etc., and they will be limited to how much they can carry and how far they can walk on the sabbath.
He said, “then shall be great tribulation.” That is the last half of the Tribulation period, Satan will be on earth and he will hate and kill Jews (Rev. 12:15-17).
Jesus mentions the “elect” three times (Matt. 24:22, 24, 31). There is no doubt that the word “elect” refers to the Church in many verses of Scripture. But here Jesus is talking to Jews about Jews under the Law during the Tribulation period after the Rapture of the Church. Understand that the word “elect” can also refer to Israel. God called Israel the “elect” (Isa. 45:4; 65:9, 22).
God doesn’t change. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Rom. 11:29). He has not forsaken Israel (Rom. 11:25-26; Heb. 13:8). He also called both Old Testament and New Testament Jews “saints” (Psa. 79:1-2; Matt. 27:52; Rev. 17:6). The words “elect” and “saints” can refer to Israel or the Church. In Matt. 24, Jesus keeps talking about Israel, but He never mentions or uses the word “Church.”
He said His coming will be like lightning coming out of the east (Matt. 24:27). He was still talking about His coming at the end of the Tribulation period.
He said, “Whersoever the carcase is there will the eagles be gathered” (Matt. 24:28). This is a Jewish proverb about Palestinian eagles (vultures) gathering for a feast at the battle of Armageddon in Israel when Jesus comes back at the end of the Tribulation period (Rev. 19:17-18).
He talked about cataclysmic events that will happen immediately after the tribulation of those days (Matt. 24:29-31). The sun will dim, the moon won’t shine, stars will fall, the universe will shake and people will see Jesus coming in the clouds.
He talked about the fig tree and that is Israel (Matt. 24:32-34; Hos.9:10; Jer. 24:1-10).
He talked about the generation that sees all these things and all of it happening in one generation (Matt. 24:33-34). The Church won’t be on earth to see the Antichrist defile the Temple, but Israel will (II Thess. 2:1-12).
Question #3: What shall be the sign of the end of the world (or age)?
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). He added, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt. 24:36).
No one knows the day or the hour of the Rapture or the Second Coming (Matt. 24:42), but in Matt. 24:36, Jesus was saying no one knows the day or the hour that heaven and earth (the world) will pass away.
To bring this to a close, this writer believes most of Matt. 24 is about Israel and the Tribulation period not the Rapture, or the Church or the Church Age. Jesus answered the three questions that He was asked including the one about the end of the world (or age).
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck