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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

End Times Prophecy (Matthew 24-25)

One of the greatest gifts God has given me is a push to thoroughly study what the Bible says about End Times Prophecy. My eyes have been opened to understand what is happening and still to come; resulting in joy and excitement instead of fear and dread.

Our Small Group spent the last 3 years studying the Biblical books of End Times Prophecy. It was important to us to know what God says about End Times Prophecy from His Word rather than studying what people say God says on this topic. We feel incredibly blessed from this study and so much better equipped to discern truth which is what Jesus tells us:

Revelation 1:3 "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near."

Jesus starts his teaching on End Times Prophecy in Matthew 24:4 with a warning He repeats through the rest of Matthew 24-25 that can be summarized as:

  • Do Not Be Deceived

  • Be On The Alert

  • Live Ready

What I now realize is if I wouldn't have taken the time to study what the Bible says about End Times Prophecy, I could easily be deceived and would have no idea how to be on the alert and live ready.

That deception is not going to come looking like something evil. It will always be packaged as something good and encouraging from someone who appears trustworthy. But knowing God's Word protects us.

Let's see what we can learn by summarizing Jesus' teaching in Matthew 24-25:

Matthew 24:1-3 - Introduction

  • The disciples ask Jesus two questions. Matthew only records the answer to the 2nd question, "What will be the sign of Your coming and the end of the age?" Yet Matthew's writing is actually the most detailed account of Jesus' teaching on End Times prophecy, aside from Revelation.

  • Mark records some of the same information as Matthew, but in more of an overview (cliff note) format.

  • Luke records the answer to the first question the disciples asked, "When will the temple be destroyed?" (Luke 21:20-24)

Matthew 24:4-8 - Birth Pangs

  • Jesus describes the Birth Pangs the world will experience before the 7-year Tribulation begins: wars and rumors of war, nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines, pestilence (infectious epidemic disease), and earthquakes. We are experiencing all of these Birth Pangs now. But what never occurred to me before the last few years is that God would bring evil people to cause famine and pestilence to happen at the right time on the Biblical timeline.

  • I've been tracking earthquakes for the last few years. Even secular seismologists say we have entered a "new age of seismic activity unlike any time before."

  • Jesus describes all of these symptoms as "birth pangs" meaning they will continue to increase in frequency and intensity like a woman in labor until the 7-year Tribulation begins.

  • No one knows when the 7-year Tribulation will actually begin. But we can sure tell by the increase in birth pangs that we are tremendously closer than ever before.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:1-7 tells us what must happen before the 7-year Tribulation begins and the Antichrist, "the lawless one," is revealed.

  • In fact, 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, Revelation 6:15-16, and Romans 5:9, tell us that Jesus will rapture His followers before the 7-year Tribulation. That's why Titus 2:13 tells us to be "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."

Matthew 24:9-14 - First half of 7-year Tribulation

  • Jesus describes the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation as a time of increased world-wide persecution on the followers of Jesus. It will be a time when many are easily offended and will hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many.

  • When we read this passage, we can see the shadow of that future time being cast over our time today, can't we?

  • But this first 3.5 years of the Tribulation will be even more than that. Revelation 6-11 tell us that during this time Jesus, Himself, will reign down 7 Seal Judgments and 7 Trumpet Judgments.

  • The purpose of these judgments is to get unbelievers to repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Thankfully many will. Revelation 7:9 and 7:14 tell us there will be a great multitude who come out of the Tribulation which no one can count, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes. Unfortunately there will also be many who will choose to reject Jesus and curse God for the judgments they face due to their sin.

Matthew 24:15 - Midpoint of the Tribulation

  • Jesus describes the midpoint of the Tribulation as the point when the "abomination of desolation is standing in the temple." This is when the Antichrist sets up an image of himself which everyone will be required to worship.

  • He will take his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself as being God.

  • This is also described in Revelation 13:14-15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

  • At this time, there will have to be a 3rd temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the Antichrist to "take his seat in."

  • But it could be that this 3rd temple will be built at the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation. Daniel 9:27 tells us the Jews will be allowed to resume sacrifice and grain offerings until the midpoint of the Tribulation, which will likely require a temple on the temple mount.

Matthew 24:16-20 - Jews flee

  • Jesus describes what will happen right after the midpoint.

  • The Antichrist goes from Mr. Nice Guy, allowing the Jews to perform sacrifices and grain offerings, to Mr. Nasty, persecuting them, causing them to flee to the mountains.

  • The Jews fleeing Jerusalem to the mountains is also described in Revelation 12:13-15.

  • Many people believe this mountain location will be Petra, 190 miles south of Jerusalem in Jordan. But Scripture does not name Petra as the location, so we can't be completely sure.

Matthew 24:21-28 - Second Half of 7-year Tribulation

  • Jesus describes the tremendous persecution on all who do not worship the Antichrist as "a great tribulation, such has not been since the beginning of the world."

  • Revelation 12-18 tells us this time will also be characterized by Jesus reigning down 7 bowl judgments.

  • The 2nd half of the Tribulation will no doubt be a terrible time. But the 1st half will be no picnic either. According to Revelation 6:7-8 (the 4th Seal Judgment) and Revelation 9:15 (the 6th Trumpet Judgment), half the earth's population will be killed before the midpoint of the Tribulation is even reached.

  • In fact, Revelation 6:15-16 describes the Seal Judgments during the first half of the Tribulation, as the wrath of God.

  • So the wrath starts at the beginning of the Tribulation, not at the Midpoint.

  • But those who are followers of Jesus today can live in gratitude not having to worry about this horrible period of God's wrath.

  • Romans 5:9 tells us "having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says "God has not appointed us to suffer wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."

  • In fact if followers of Jesus had to experience the 7-year Tribulation, the wrath of God, that would mean Jesus' death on the cross did not cover our sins as Scripture tells us it did. That wouldn't make sense would it?

  • This is why we are so blessed to study End Times Prophecy and truly understand the gift we have been given and our need to share God's message of love and redemption with those around us.

Matthew 24:29-31 - Jesus' Second Coming

  • Jesus describes the grand finale, the best part of all.

  • This is when Jesus returns with all of His followers who are in heaven with Him at this time, to defeat the Antichrist and False Prophet and all who oppose Him in what is known as the Battle of Armageddon.

  • Jesus' second coming is also described in Revelation 19:11-21.

Matthew 24:32 - Matthew 25:30 - Live Ready

  • After describing the basic rundown from the birth pangs before the Tribulation to the entire 7-year Tribulation, Jesus warns us to be on the alert and live ready.

  • Matthew 24:32-35 - Birth Pangs before the Tribulation

  • Matthew 24:36-42 - Birth Pangs will be like it was in the times of Noah. We are definitely seeing that.

  • Matthew 24:43-44 - Be Ready

  • Matthew 24:45-51 - Live Ready

  • Matthew 25:1-13 - Be on the Alert

  • Matthew 25:14-40 - Live Ready

Matthew 25:31-45 - Judgment of the Nations (Sheep vs Goats)

  • Jesus describes the judgment that will happen after the Tribulation.

  • After Jesus defeats the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and their armies in the Battle of Armageddon, there will be a time of judgment before Jesus ushers all of His followers into His Millennial Kingdom on this earth.

  • The judgment of the nations is only described here in Matthew. It is not recorded in the other gospels or in Revelation.

  • However, we can compare the blessing of the sheep in Matthew 25:34 with Revelation 20:4.

Unfortunately many churches are not teaching the wonderful blessings we receive from studying End Times Prophecy directly from God's Word. The lack of understanding results in many living in fear, uncertainty, and doubt rather than joy and anticipation. Without this understanding how can people be on the alert, live ready, and recognize the growing deception by false teachers? If you have not studied what God's Word says about End Times Prophecy, I would encourage you to take the time to study it for yourself so that you may be blessed, prepared, and live ready.

Dear Lord, Thank you for giving us what we need to recognize deception, be on the alert, and live ready in these End Times. Thank you for the blessing of being able to live in this time with joy and excitement for your return rather than with fear and uncertainty of what will happen next. Lord, I'm ready and I'm looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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