1 THE STUDY OF REVELATION BEHOLD I COME QUICKLY THE OLIVET DISCOURSE Matthew 24 LESSON 2 (THREE QUESTIONS Matthew 24) JESUS OFFERED THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL As we proceed through Matthew 24 and 25 (The Olivet Discourse) we will focus on the parallels with the book of Revelation. Many pastors and teachers attempt to interpret Matthew 24 and 25 in terms of the church, while most theologians who take the literal approach stress the Jewish nature of the Gospels and prophecy in particular. Prophecy in Scriptures are given the perspective of what will happen to the Jewish people and their nation Israel. That Jesus ministry focus was on the Jewish people and nation is clearly shown in His response to the Canaanite woman. Matt 15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. All prophecy in the Old and New Testaments focuses on the Jewish people and nation. The Gospels were concerned about offering the Kingdom to Israel. The church did not exist at the time of the Olivet Discourse, although the concept was present after Jesus and His message were rejected. Jesus then revealed His intention of establishing the church in Matthew 16, but the church was not established until Acts chapter 2. It should be clear that Jesus mission was to Israel. THREE QUESTIONS Matt 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]? The disciples asked Jesus three questions:
2 1. When shall the temple be destroyed? 2. What shall be the sign of Jesus coming? 3. What shall be the signs of the end of the age? When Jesus spoke these words the church was not yet a reality. The Jews were asking literally, What is going to happen to Israel and the Jewish people? They understood that the temple would be destroyed, but they knew that Jesus was coming again to set up the promised Kingdom. These were Jewish concerns and questions. They also wanted to know how it would all end. As you study Matthew 24 and 25, notice the interpretation in light of the Jewish people and Israel without inserting the church. The answer to the first question ( When shall the temple be destroyed? ) is not found in Matthew because Matthew s Gospel is about the kingdom Matthew presents the King. The answer is found in the parallel passages of Luke. 1 Luke 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. This occurred in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, the temple, and carried the Jews into captivity. The answer to the first question was thus fulfilled. Notice that this answer is about the Jews and the nation of Israel, not the church. 2 As we shall soon discover, the second question about the signs of the Second Coming is answered in Matthew 24: The third question about the signs of the end of the age is found in Matthew 24: Matt 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ [Messiah]; and shall deceive many. Many of these signs that Jesus speaks about in the opening verses of Matthew 24 are signs that are with us today. We experience deception, famine, plagues, earthquakes, but we see that they seem to be gradually increasing in intensity and frequency. These are all signs, and we might say that they are the beginning of sorrows, but the horseman have not yet been released. The signs Jesus was presenting in these opening verses offered a bridge from the disciple s time until the very time of the end. We may have seen these signs during this present age, but at some point will come the Seal Judgments which will see an increase in unremitting intensity. 4 Jesus first warns about deception as a sign of the end-times. There is great deception in this world today, such that it is difficult to discern the truth. More importantly, there are false 1 J. Vernon McGee, THRU THE BIBLE with J. Vernon McGee, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, Vol. IV, Matthew- Romans, p McGee, THRU THE BIBLE with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. IV, Matthew-Romans, pp. 124, McGee, THRU THE BIBLE with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. IV, Matthew-Romans, p McGee, THRU THE BIBLE with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. IV, Matthew-Romans, p. 126.
3 teachers claiming to have truth. 5 Jesus warns against this. The Jews are still deceived about their Messiah. They still refuse to recognize Jesus as Messiah. They were looking for a political and military savior, not a humble shepherd. In the past, the Jews have followed false Messiahs such as Simon bar Kokhba who seemed to offer a military solution to their oppression. Many believed that Simon bar Kokhba was the long awaited Messiah who would restore their national independence. The bar Kokhba revolt of AD against Rome resulted in the annihilation of the Judean population, suppression of Jewish religious and political autonomy, and Jews and Christians were banned from Jerusalem. Judea was then renamed and merged into Syria Palaestina province. The name change was done to eliminate any memory of Judea or Ancient Israel. A total of 580,000 Jews were killed and 50 fortified towns and 985 villages were razed. Many more died of famine and disease. When the revolt was crushed, those who survived were sold into slavery. The Talmud refers to Simon bar Kokhba as a false Messiah. 6 There have been many false Messiahs in Jewish history, the last of which was Jacob Joseph Frank ( ) who claimed to be a reincarnation of King David and preached a synthesis of Christianity and Judaism. 7 The next one could well be the Antichrist. 8 THE FIRST SEAL DECEPTION 9 The two verses of Matthew 24:4-5 parallel the first seal of Revelation 6: 10 Matt 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ [Messiah]; and shall deceive many. Rev 6:1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. This white horse rider is the counterfeit Christ (Antichrist). He has a bow, but no arrows. This is likely a political leader that conquers without war. His means of battle is most likely deception, and he has gained such political power that no one can oppose him. 11 Both Revelation 6:1-2 (Seal Judgments) and Matthew 24:4-5 (deception) refer to the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation. It is not referring to the Great Tribulation which begins after the midpoint, or the last 3-1/2 years. 12 Notice that it is the Lamb (Jesus) who opens the Seals and initiates the judgments of the Tribulation. It is therefore God that initiates the judgments (wrath) throughout the entire seven years. Keep in mind that the Seal judgments, particularly the White Horse Rider, introduce the first 3-1/2 years of Tribulation McGee, THRU THE BIBLE with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. IV, Matthew-Romans, p BAR KOKHBA REVOLT, Wikipedia. 7 Norbert Lieth, HIDDEN SIGNS IN THE OLIVET DISCOURSE, Columbia, SC: The Olive Press, 2005, p. 17.LIST OF MESSIAH CLAIMANTS, Wikipedia. 8 McGee, THRU THE BIBLE with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. IV, Matthew-Romans, p John F. Walvoord, EVERY PROPHECY IN THE BIBLE, Colorado Springs, CO: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1990, 1991, pp. 552, Walvoord, EVERY PROPHECY IN THE BIBLE, pp. 552, Walvoord, EVERY PROPHECY IN THE BIBLE, pp. 553, 554.
4 Matt 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. The preceding verses of Matthew parallel the Seal Judgments of Revelation, Seal 2 through 6. THE SECOND SEAL WAR 14 Matt 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Rev 6:3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. THE THIRD SEAL FAMINE 15 Matt 24:7 there shall be famines. Rev 6:5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. THE FOURTH SEAL PLAGUES 16 Matt 24:7 and pestilences. Rev 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. THE FIFTH SEAL PERSECUTION Lieth, HIDDEN SIGNS IN THE OLIVET DISCOURSE, p Lieth, HIDDEN SIGNS IN THE OLIVET DISCOURSE, p. 20.
5 Matt 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. Rev 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. THE SIXTH SEAL NATURAL DISASTERS AND ANARCHY 18 Matt 24:7 and earthquakes. Matt 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Rev 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? In Matthew 24, verse 12, Iniquity shall abound. In other words, people will do whatever they please, sinful or not. The love of many shall wax cold, indicates that people will recognize the iniquity and will choose to do nothing. They won t care. 19 Great natural disasters occur and anarchy reigns as men hide from God. Notice that after the great men had experienced the Seal Judgments that they hid themselves from the wrath of the Lamb, implying that they realized that they were already in the wrath of God from the beginning of the Seal Judgments. It was the Lamb that set in motion the events of the Great Tribulation. J. Dwight Pentecost writes in support of the Seal judgments being an unfolding of God s wrath during the Tribulation: John announced (Rev. 6:16-17) that the program there being unfolded is related to the wrath of the Lamb. The aorist tense in verse 17 elthen (has come), signifies, not something that is about to happen, but that which has taken place. Thus, in unfolding the program of the seals, John announces that these represent the wrath that has already come. In the same connection, with the sounding of the seven trumpets, John again relates these trumpets to the program of the outpouring of the wrath of God, for in Revelation 11:18 it is set forth that these events are connected with the wrath that has come (aorist tense again). Thus, neither the seals nor the trumpets can be divorced from the divine program associated with the pouring out of wrath upon the earth. 20 Additionally, the reference to the great day of His wrath is come may be an acknowledgement by those who are hiding (Rev 6:16) that the wrath of God has already come 18 Lieth, HIDDEN SIGNS IN THE OLIVET DISCOURSE, p McGee, THRU THE BIBLE with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. IV, Matthew-Romans, pp. 126, J. Dwight Pentecost, THINGS TO COME, A Study in Biblical Eschatology, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1958, pp. 183, 184.
6 with the horrors they have already experienced. They now realize that there are more and greater horrors yet to come. 21 One seal remains, the seventh. We will address that in the next lesson. 21 David M. Levy, REVELATION: Hearing the Last Word, Bellmawr, NJ, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 1999, pp Renald E. Showers, THE PRE-WRATH RAPTURE VIEW: An Examination and Critique, Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001, pp. 79, 80.