Matthew 24 – Part 2

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.” – Matthew 24:14-16

These statements of Christ have been the subject of much speculation and confusion within Christendom. They’ve been interpreted to reference Antiochus IV Epiphanes who apparently sacrificed a pig in the temple and caused some problems for the Jews during the time period of the seleucid empire. Others believe this statement of Jesus refers to a future antichirst. It seems speculation and confusion abound when cryptic statements and symbolism are used in the Bible. This is most unfortunate as it often makes the task of the Bible Student difficult, especially as people fight tooth and nail for cherished theories and belief systems.

Proper deductions about what Jesus may be speaking about can first be gathered from the original context of Matthew 24, found in his statements about the temple in verses 1-2 and the question asked by the disciples in verse 3. Referring to the temple you may recall that Jesus said, “there shall not be left one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down” which prompted the disciples to ask “when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” 

Based on this original context, it stands to reason thus that whatever the abomination is it automatically can be read as 1. A specific sign of the coming of Christ and 2. Something which relates to the destruction of the Jewish Temple. The text which immediately follows directly references “Judaea”, which Strong’s helps us make the deduction of as being “a region of palestine.” The instructions Christ was giving with regards to the abomination of desolation had direct application for Christians who were occupying this area at one particular point in time.

Feminine of G2453 (with G1093 implied); the Judaean land (that is, judaea), a region of Palestine: – Juda.

It should be noted that Antiochus IV Epiphanes as a fulfilment of this text is eliminated for several reasons. First, this is outside of the original context of Matthew 24, which as shown relates to both the end of time and the future destruction of the Jewish temple. Antiochus has nothing to do with either event. At most, he historically sacrificed a pig inside of the temple and stirred up a hornet’s nest among the Jews [in the form of the Maccabees], but his actions would have no significance for Christians living in the time period after Christ, and thus could have no influence on their need to flee. Verse 16 therefore constitutes the second reason why this interpretation doesn’t fit the specifications of the text.

The third reason may be found in the timing of these events. Antiochus IV Epiphanes commited his actions well before Christ was ever on the scene. This can be demonstrated from the fact that some basic research on the man demonstrates that he was a king of the Seleucid Empire. The territory he would’ve been active in during his time was controlled by the Romans during the time of Christ. [Luke 2:1, Luke 3:1.] Since one existed well before the other, and Christ was obviously referring to something which in context had an application for those listening and us today, Antiochus IV Epiphanes has to be ruled out. He should be eliminated also on the grounds that it makes about zero sense that Scripture would put so much emphasis on an event which has of little consequence for us today.

The question of whether or not the abomination of desolation relates to a future antichrist at this point remains to be seen. Perhaps this may also be eliminated by the phrase “Judaea” in the passage which follows, although this statement given the original context of Matthew 24 cannot apply to that area and time period alone. In order to understand the meaning of this phrase, Christ gives us a clue as to where we may find answers. He states, “spoken of by Daniel the prophet.” The book of Daniel therefore logically holds the keys to understanding this symbol. In addition, the synoptic gospels may also hold keys which help unlock these mysterious statements of Christ.

Christians are not to be discouraged by this cryptic statement spoken by our Lord and savior. Christ plainly states in the passage “whoso readeth let him understand.” This implies strongly that we as Christians were meant to have an understanding of this passage. It is almost identical to the blessing pronounced on those who attempt to understand and read the book of Revelation. [Revelation 1:3.] Therefore in spite of it’s cryptic nature it can in fact be understood.

Other versions of this passage from the synoptic gospels do in fact provide more information. Notice especially that Luke 21 uses the same language of “desolation” but connects this terminology directly to armies that surround Jerusalem. A comparison of all three versions of this text shows that they all contain similar instruction, that once the predetermined sign was seen than those who were in Judaea should flee into the mountains.

The connections between Luke 21 and Matthew 24 are quite clear. Beyond the word “desolation” the setting of Jerusalem is mentioned, right before similar instruction is given immediately after Jerusalem is described as being compassed with armies. Other than being one of the synoptic gospels, Luke 21:20-21 is obviously connected to Matthew 24:15. The logical deduction to be drawn from here is that these texts actually help explain the meaning of this confusing passage from Matthew, showing that it would logically relate to the destruction of Jerusalem and ultimately the temple.

This interpretation would fit with the original context found in verses 1-3. But the second question asked by the disciples with regards to the signs of the end should also be considered. By default this would give the abomination of desolation a duel application relating 1. To the destruction of Jerusalem and 2. To the end of the world. Therefore we can expect that there is a past and future fulfilment with regards to this prediction of Christ.

“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains; and let them which be in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.” – Luke 21:20-21

“But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand), then let them that be in Judaea flee into the mountains.” – Mark 13:14

It should also be acknowledged that Luke 21 alone is not the sole key to understanding these cryptic statements. Jesus plainly pointed directly at the book of Daniel, and stamped on his statement “whoso readeth let him understand.” Therefore this is the second direction in which we may turn our heads to understand this passage. A concordance search reveals that there are several times in the book of Daniel in which the words “abomination” and “desolate” are used. As you can see from all of these texts below, they’re as equally cryptic as the first text.

“And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the Daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” – Daniel 11:31

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” – Daniel 12:13

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” – Daniel 9:27

All three of these passages come from the book of Daniel, which Christ plainly pointed to as having the key to unlocking his meaning. Given the obvious wording, the logical deduction is that at least one or all of these texts would have some bearing on Christ’s intended meaning. This would be the case since he plainly pointed at the book of Daniel without giving a full explaination as to which passage he was referring. Therefore an understanding of each text would theoretically help unlock these words of Jesus.

The third passage, that being the 27th verse of Daniel 9, is a part of a series of texts known as “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.” This Prophecy from the book of Daniel is misunderstood by many. One school of prophetic interpretation which is popular in this day and age interprets these texts as referring to a future Antichrist, who will restart the temple services and then cause them to cease. A seven year period of tribulation is also pulled out of these passages, particularly from the statement “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” 

Daniel 9 seems to be a major diversion from Matthew 24, but it’s obvious relation to Christ’s statements gives verse 27 and the surrounding texts [with context considered] bearing on this subject. We will therefore divert from Matthew 24 to examine Daniel 9. Our attention in particular will now be turned to Daniel 9:24-27. The issue of the confusing seven years of tribulation, based largely in part on these texts will be examined, in addition to whether or not the passage references a one man antichrist power who is to come in the future. But especially our focus is on the meaning of the phrases “overspreading of abominations” and “maketh desolate.”

“Seventy Weeks are determined upon thy People and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconcilation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.” – Daniel 9:24

Reading from Daniel 9:1-23, there is enough background information evidently present to make the deduction that “thy people” is meant to address Daniel’s people. In this sense, that would obviously be the Jews or the people of Israel. By default, this would make “thy holy city” a reference to Jerusalem. It should be noted however that the book of Nehemiah directly refers to Jerusalem by the title “holy city”, eliminating any chance at speculation.

“And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of the ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities.” – Nehemiah 11:1. 

Seventy Weeks are “determined upon thy people.” A time period encompassing seventy weeks in total is targeted at the Jews, and thus the entire timespan given [seventy weeks] relates to them alone. The rest of the chapter, as can be demonstrated from verses 25-27, divides this time period up into parts, attaching various events which are to take place during the divisions to them. Nevertheless the entire time period of seventy weeks clearly relates to the Jews in context, and has no other application.

Just exactly how long is seventy weeks? There are seven days in a week. Seven times seventy is 490, therefore there are 490 days in the entire seventy week timespan. According to Ezekiel and the book of Numbers, a day in prophetic symbolic language represents a year. Without this understanding, this prophecy cannot be properly understood. Therefore 490 days translates into 490 years, and the prophecy of seventy weeks stretches to that length. We can then see that a timespan of 490 years is “determined” upon the Jews.

“And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for year.” – Ezekiel 4:6

“After the number of days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know the breach of promise.” – Numbers 14:34

The entire purpose of this seventy week or 490 year timespan is stated in the same verse. It is given to “finish the transgression”, to “make an end of sins”, “to make reconcilation for iniquity”, and to “bring in everlasting righteousness”, to “seal up the vision and prophecy”, and to “anoint the most holy.” Right away it should be pretty clear from this language that none of this really has anything to do with a future antichrist, or seven years of tribulation. In fact, much of the language actually points to Christ’s mission and sacrifice. As we scroll through the rest of the verses, this will become much more apparent.

Pay close attention however to these facts. The word “iniquity” as noted in part 1 is typically in reference to sin, lawlesssness, law-breaking, or general wickedness. The Greek word where it was used in Matthew 24 reflected this general meaning in it’s definition, and the same is true of the Hebrew word used in Daniel 9:24. As shown below it means “perversity, that is (moral) evil.” The seventy week prophecy has to do with “reconcilation for iniquity.” Where else in Scripture are we told of a similar concept?

עָווֹן    עָוֹן
‛âvôn    ‛âvôn
aw-vone’, aw-vone’
From H5753; perversity, that is, (moral) evil: – fault, iniquity, mischief, punishment (of iniquity), sin.

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” – Romans 5:10

“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given unto us the ministry of reconcilation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their tresspasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconcilation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Terms like “reconcilation”, “reconciled”, and “reconcile” are words in Scripture which are generally connected to the concept of justification. As shown above, this is generally received through the death of Christ. Romans 5:10 demonstrates this fact rather clearly. It is therefore logical to conclude that the seventy week prophecy found in Daniel 9:24-27 has something to do with the death of Christ. This would be the only reconcilation for iniquity which in this particular case would be worth a prophecy about. Otherwise the system to which Daniel was familiar [that being the ceremonial/sacrificial system of the Jews] normally used sacrifices which pointed to a redeemer to come for this end, and thus no need would exist for there to be a predicted timespan of 490 years in order to bring such a thing in.

In addition, words such as “everlasting righteousness” and “to make an end of sins” point in a similar direction. The mere sound of the phrase “Everlasting righteousness” in and of itself seems to have a gospel flare to it, as does “reconcilation for iniquity”, and the statement “to make an end of sins” paints the same picture. In actual fact, “end of sins” carries a similar thought to a statement which John the Baptist made concerning Christ and his mission. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” – John 1:29. 

The Seventy week prophecy therefore appears to relate to the mission of Christ. And as noted it is especially targeting Jerusalem, the Jews, and relates to the mission of the coming Messiah [hence “reconcilation for iniquity”, “bring in everlasting righteousness.”] Given the overall context of the 490 year or seventy week prophecy, forcing an interpretation of an antichrist to come into Daniel 9:24-27 is starting to appear much more far-fetched.

“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” – Daniel 9:25

“The going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” is a statement which theoretically would provide the starting date for the overall 490 year prophecy. The primary decree which fits these descriptions, that being the restoration and construction of Jerusalem, is found preserved in Ezra 7:11-28. In this command from Artaxerxes, there are descriptions given of treasure to beautify the house of God, civil power restored [through magistrates, judges, the ability to execute death-based punishments, the power to make laws], and an unlimited amount of people intent on going up to Jerusalem with Ezra. This decree would best fit the specifications given in the prophecy.

The timespans given from here are seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks. Verse 25 has now begun the breakdown of the overall seventy week prophecy. It should be noted for easier understanding that the word “threescore” is an old english word for “sixty”, and thus the time divided in this text is “62 weeks.” Seven plus sixty-two is sixty-nine, giving us around 483 years, when you apply the day for a year principle. 483 years stretches from the time of the construction and restoration of Jerusalem “unto Messiah the prince.”

The phrase “Messiah the prince” is another connecting link which points the finger straight at Jesus Christ. You could not find a clearer declaration of precisely who this prophecy is ultimately about. This ties in with the language given in verse 24 [“bring in everlasting righteousness” and “reconcilation for iniquity.”] Obviously Daniel 9:24-27 is a Messianic prophecy, which should be clear enough from the word “Messiah.” However, the words “the prince” are another connecting link to Christ. The title of “prince” is attached to Jesus in many locations across the Scriptures. Some might be somewhat surprised, and even think this interpretation of things incorrect, given that he is also referred to as “king of kings, and lord of lords” in 1 Timothy 6:14-16.

In spite of holding that title, he was referred to as a prince in the book of Acts. Isaiah also calls Jesus the “prince of peace”. The book of Revelation calls Jesus the “prince of the kings of the earth.” Jesus was also clearly identified as the Messiah in the new testament [John 1:41], and the word “Christ” even holds the definition of Messiah in Greek according to Strong’s Concordance. Since verses 24-25 unquestionably point to Jesus and his mission, we’re well on our way to putting away ideas of a future antichrist so far as these prophecies are concerned.

“The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and savior, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” – Acts 5:30-31

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the Government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” – Isaiah 9:6

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” – Revelation 1:5

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” – Daniel 9:26

After the passing of sixty-two weeks, “shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himsef.” 62 times 7 is 434. There is a stretch of about 49 years or so which has been left out of verse 26 [that being the original seven weeks], which theoretically between verses 25-26 have passed, leaving 434 years. After the 434 year stretch, “shall Messiah be cut off.” The phrase “cut off” suggests that an individual, in this case the Messiah, is to be killed. In the book of Exodus, there are two passages in which God stated he would “cut off” the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Then these very nations are described as being destroyed in the book of Deuteronomy. The term “cut off” thus means to kill or destroy.

Other examples can be produced from multiple locations across the Scriptures in which the phrase “cut off” is used in the same sentence or passage as destroy, slay, or fall by the sword. This appears in the books of Amos, Micah, and Ezekiel. All of the relevant passages on this mysterious phrase “cut off” have been produced below. We can see thus that the Messiah was to be killed “but not for himself” implying that it was on the behalf of others. It is a well-known fact that Christ died so that “whosoever beleiveth in him” shall not perish but have everlasting life [John 3:16.] The death of Jesus on the cross was on behalf of others and in no way “for himself”, just as the prophecy specifies.

“But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.” – Exodus 22:22-23

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.” – Ezekiel 25:12-14

“But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:” – Deuteronomy 20:17

“And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:” – Micah 5:7-10

“But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof: And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD.” – Amos 1:7-8

After the time elements, Daniel 9:26 describes the “people of the prince” who were to come and to destroy the “city and the sanctuary.” What city and sanctuary are here being referred to? The context of Daniel 9:24-27 clearly references Daniel’s people and Jerusalem, and thus by default Jerusalem is the target which verse 26 has in mind. The “people of the prince” were to come and destroy both the city and the sanctuary. You may recall that in Matthew 24:2, Jesus stated clearly that concerning the temple there was not one stone upon another which was not going to be thrown down.

In view of these facts, already Daniel 9:24-27 is starting to connect with Matthew 24. All of the links so far are:

  1. Context. Jerusalem is mentioned in verse 25. When you scroll down to verse 26 you then have a vague reference to the destruction of a city and sanctuary. Context is about the only way that you can make a proper deduction as to what the target is, that being Jerusalem.
  2. The word “Sanctuary” paints an obvious picture of the temple. The sanctuary is here in verse 26 being destroyed by the “people of the prince”, and Jesus stated plainly in Matthew 24:2 that the temple would be completely destroyed.
  3. Since Jerusalem is in fact referenced in the context, it should be noted that Matthew 24:15 is explained by Luke 21:20-21 via the word “desolation”, defining the whole thing as being about the armies which were to compass Jerusalem. Verse 26, especially with it’s context, is describing the same event. [Hence “people of the prince” shall “destroy the city and the sanctuary” implies an army seeking to demolish them.]
  4. Jesus directly pointed to the book of Daniel in and of itself, which as we’ve seen contains at least three references to an abomination of desolation, or places where those two words “abomination” and “desolation/desolate” are used in one form or another. These words appear in verse 27 of Daniel 9, for which verse 26 forms the context, and thus the content of the two texts are connected.

Our attention next turns to the mysterious phrase “people of the prince.” On the surface, it would seem strange that the people of Christ would come and destroy the city and the sanctuary. This would be assuming that the “people of the prince” are indeed interpreted to be Christians, due to the obvious fact that “Messiah the Prince” is in reference to Christ. In a general sense Christians are a non-violent bunch of whom it would seem odd and even an evidence of apostasy that they would in fact attack Jerusalem and burn both it and the Jewish temple to the ground. But this is obviously not the case, especially in view of the fact that Luke 21:20-21 cited armies surrounding Jerusalem as a sign in which God’s people were to flee. They’re obviously not the ones conducting the siege if the siege itself is a sign that they should run for the hills.

In spite of the fact that “Messiah the Prince” is a clear reference to Jesus Christ, the term “people of the prince” is not in any way a reference to Christians. There is a series of passages in the book of Deuteronomy which actually help to unravel the meaning of this statement. In the midst of a series of blessings and curses pronounced on Israel if they would obey or otherwise, there is a statement which says “The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth.” 

The “people of the prince” is a reference back to this curse, in which the Lord would use another nation to bring about a scourge ontop of Israel if they were not obedient. It is a statement of ownership over a tool which is being used as punishment. You might observe that these statements from Deuteronomy hold some links back to Daniel 9 and Luke 21:20-21. This is beacuase both clearly reference armies laying siege to Jerusalem, encompassing it, or coming to destroy the city and the sanctuary. Near the end of verse 52 of Deuteronomy 28, it states that “and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates.” It is logical to conclude either that these statements from Deuteronomy prophetically reference the destruction of Jerusalem foretold in Matthew as well, or that the same curse was carried over into New Testament times and fulfilled when the temple was destroyed.

“The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.” – Deuteronomy 28:49-52

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” – Daniel 9:27

The confirmation of the covenant was to take place for one week. “He” in context is a clear reference back to “Messiah the Prince”, which as we saw is a statement talking about Jesus Christ. Therefore Jesus was to confirm the covenant with many for one week, which is aproximately a seven year stretch of time when the day/year principle is applied. In the middle of this week or seven year period, he was to cause the “sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” The Hebrew word for “midst” is defined as “the half or middle” by Strong’s. 7 divided by 2 is 3.5. Therefore after about a 3.5 period of time, the Messiah would cause the “sacrifice and the oblation” to cease.

From H2673; the half or middle: – half, middle, mid [-night], midst, part, two parts.

From an unused root meaning to apportion, that is, bestow; a donation; euphemistically tribute; specifically a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary): – gift, oblation, (meat) offering, present, sacrifice.

It should be noted that after the death of Christ, the sacrificial system lost it’s significance and reached it’s end. Colossians 2:14-17 specifically speaks of the end of the sacrifical rites and how Christians no longer need to practice them due to the fact that they were nailed to the cross. In addition, during Christ’s death the veil of the temple was rent in half, signifying the end of the ceremonial system. [Matthew 27:51]. It would be logical thus to conclude that the sacrifice and the oblation ceasing and the Messiah cut off but not for himself are referencing the same event, that being the death of Christ on the cross.

Perhaps at this point it should be clear what the phrase “And he shall confirm the covenant” means, in view of the overall context and the surrounding statements. It would logically fall on the confirmation of the new covenant, which according to Scripture was confirmed via the ministry of Jesus. Note the passages below which help to clarify this fact by their use and answer of the same phrase found in Daniel, or of statements which hold a similar meaning.

“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” – Matthew 26:28

“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” – Romans 15:8

“And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” – Galatians 3:17

Usually it is from the statement “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” that some scholars derive the popular concept of the seven years of tribulation. This is done through inserting a gap of several thousand years inbetween the 69th and the 70th week, the application of the day for a year principle, and ripping the statement “And He” away from it’s original context and applying the words to a future antichrist. Obviously, in context the phrase “and he” is in reference to Messiah the prince, which I’ve conclusively proven is a statement referencing Jesus Christ. Thus the application of these statements to a future antichrist is far-fetched and not Biblical.

It should be noted that the statement “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” doesn’t even remotely sound like a period of tribulation in the slightest. An actual period of persecution foretold in Scripture, around Daniel 7:25, predicts that the little horn power was to “wear out the saints”. This is a statement which on it’s direct surface sounds like tribulation, persecution, and affliction. But to verify all you would have to do is go back to the Hebrew meaning of the word “wear” and see that it in fact references affliction. I’ve produced Strong’s definition of this word below for your perusal. In fact, I would go so far as to say that reading tribulation into “confirm the covenant” is nothing short of Eisegesis, at a level which is worse than taking the bear of Daniel 7 and claiming that it is Russia without scriptural evidence.

In addition, between verses 26-27 there is no indication that the 70th week is to be thrown thousands of years into the future. The non-existant gap is simply not there, and cannot be located even when you use a fine-toothed comb to pick apart the words of all four passages, and allow the Scriptures to explain themselves. Popular interpretations involving a secret rapture, a seven year period of tribulation, or a future Antichrist are not as Biblical as they might seem. To be clear, there is an Antichrist. You will find it plainly revealed in the book of Daniel that there is a little horn power, and two beasts in Revelation 13 whose actions have direct bearing on last day events. But popular notions of the Antichrist being a one-man hitler to come in the future are not as Scriptural as they may seem. Stick with me and you will see precisely how.

We now turn to the phrase “and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate.” The words “abominations” and “desolate” are clear links back to Matthew 24:15 and Luke 21:20-21. As we saw from verse 26 and 25, these prophecies are under the clear context of the destruction of Jerusalem. “Desolations” is a word which is even used in verse 26, the same text which references the people of the prince destroying the city and the sanctuary. Luke 21, Daniel 9, and Matthew 24:15 therefore all-together reference the people of the prince who were to come and to destroy Jerusalem via a siege, as foretold by the curse in Deuteronomy 28.

If the past application of the abomination of desolation has to do with the temple and the destruction of Jerusalem, what is the future fulfilment? It is evident that there is in fact one, based on the overall context of Matthew 24. This is clear from the question asked by the disciples, “when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” There are still two passages remaning in the book of Daniel which hold the potential keys to understanding this topic. However, the question remains, how does the abomination of desolation apply to God’s people in the future?

So far as Daniel 9 is concerned, if you’re interested in more information regarding these texts of the Scriptures, click here. The video below also will expand your understanding of Daniel 9, if you prefer to watch rather than read.

That said, part 3 will pick up our examination of Matthew 24.

Matthew 24 – Part 1

Having fixed my mind upon the second coming of Christ, I have found myself drawn to the study of the prophecies. Especially has my attention been absorbed by those which relate to this great event. In view of the fact that many have struggled to understand the cryptic language used in Bible Prophecy, I have felt it my duty to relate to you my findings in the study of this subject. It is my hope that all posts I write along these lines will encourage you in your own study of the Scriptures, as well as help you to come to a better understanding of God’s word.

This post on Matthew 24 is therefore meant as an introduction to a series of posts I am intent on writing, which will be written as my own personal “Bible Commentary” for your perusal on the Prophecies of the Scriptures. They will especially target books and passages which relate to the final events of this earth’s history and the books of Daniel & Revelation. However, there are some things I want you to understand about these commentary posts.

  1. Even though they’re based upon countless hours and even years of Biblical research and study, you cannot within reason rely solely upon them for all of the answers. You must study and research things for yourself.
  2. In order to encourage you to further research and study, I will not always give you all of the answers for a prophecy’s particular meaning and fulfilment in these articles. I will only give the full explanation where I deem it absolutely necessary that you have all of the information available on a topic relating to Bible Prophecy.
  3. I am a very detail oriented person and I have an analytical mind, which means you can expect my commentary posts to reflect those qualities. In other words, this could get very deep and complex at times. Try very hard to stick with me.
  4. It should be known that there have been revisions to my notes as I have grown in my understanding of the prophecies and the rest of the Scriptures. I am not a “know-it-all”, and I am not infallible in my interpretations of the Scriptures. These articles are subject to revision as I continue to grow and learn, just as my notes have been.
  5. Not everything which will appear in these posts is based on the exact content of my notes. Some of it will be studied as I write the post, other portions are strictly from memory.
  6. This is your official disclaimer. I am in writing this post assuming some familiarity with the Bible, and how to properly study it. If you do not know how to study your Bible, than you should read part one and two of my series on this subject. But this post is not necessarily designed for babes in Christ. For those just beginning their Christian walk, I would recommend studying a variety of other subjects before taking on anything to do with final events.

That being said, it is my hope that my commentary on the prophecies based on my notes will be of great benefit to you. Therefore from this point forward I ask that you crack open your Bibles and engage in prayer to the Lord for guidance, as we embark on a study of God’s word.

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” – Matthew 24:1-2

Some helpful background information for understanding these passages can be drawn from the preceding chapters of the book of Matthew. Around the 21st chapter is recorded an event known as the “triumphal entry”, in which Jesus is depicted as entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The entire account can be read in Matthew 21:1-11. It should be noted that in verses 12-17, Christ entered the temple and from there onto this point had yet to leave. Everything which follows in chapters 22-23 is simply a record of Christ’s teachings and parables while in the temple, and his denunciations of the Pharisees. You then arrive at verse 1 of Matthew 24 and he exits the temple.

Under that context, it should be clear that the temple mentioned in verse 1 of Matthew 24 is the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. This would make Christ’s statement in the second verse a statement of its total destruction. Jesus is here depicted as giving a prophecy indicating that the temple was to be destroyed. These two passages of Matthew 24, as will be shown, actually form the context of a question the disciples were to ask Christ, and events described further into the chapter.

“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? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” – Matthew 24:3-5

Jesus exits the temple in Matthew 24:1, predicts its destruction, and then sits on the mount of olives. Afterwards his disciples come to him asking, “when shall these things be?” The phrase “these things” is under the clear context of the previously examined texts. The disciples were after information regarding the timing of the destruction of the temple. But their question seemed to embrace more than this subject alone. It encompassed “the end of the world” and “the sign of thy coming.”

Christ had already come the first time. He stood directly before them as they asked him this question. Thus they obviously had some future time in mind. In view of this fact, it is logical to conclude that their question is targeting the signs of the second advent and the end of the world. It also clearly targets the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. As Christ answers their questions, he makes no clear distinction between the events. The most logical deduction is that he has mingled descriptions of both events together. This will become clearer as we examine the rest of the passages of Matthew 24.

Jesus opens his answer to their questions by saying, “take heed that no man deceive you.” He then immediately follows by saying, “for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” The obvious reason for his warning with regards to deception can be derived from his statement that people will come, claiming to be Christ. In recent times, there have been more than a few people who’ve arrived on the scene claiming that they were in fact Jesus. It has been said that some have even gone on talk shows with the claim. Others have apparently gained large followings in times past.

Yet when the comparison is made with other passages, one cannot help but feel that something deeper is targeted here. Perhaps the occasional insane blasphemous narcissist trying to get his fifteen minutes of fame is not all that Christ had in mind when he gave this warning. While these passages undeniably hold equal force and weight when it comes to such persons, simply just the statement “take heed that no man deceive you” should be enough to cause the followers of Christ to pause and contemplate that warning carefully.

What do other Bible passages teach about deception in connection with the final events of Bible Prophecy? This would undeniably relate to the subject in question, as the disciples have clearly asked about the signs of the coming of Christ and the end of the world. Thus other texts which speak of the deceptions of the last days automatically relate to this warning to “take heed that no man deceive you.”

“And then shall that wicked be revealed, Whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” – 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God almighty.” – Revelation 16:13-14

Notice the descriptions given in 2 Thessalonians by Paul the apostle. The context of chapter 2 [verses 2-6] indicate that the phrase “that wicked” is in reference to the man of sin, the mystery of iniquity, and the son of perdition. A separate study would be required to identify this “son of perdition”, but it is noted that as we scroll down to verses 8-9 again this power is to be destroyed by the “brightness of his coming”, that being the second coming of Christ. The word “his” in verse 8 is, by context obviously referencing the statement “whom the Lord shall consume”. Thus as you come to verse 9, “even him” is still in reference to our Lord Jesus.

The passage then states “whose coming is after the working of Satan.” Verse 9 is positioning the second advent chronologically after the working of the devil with signs, power, and ‘lying wonders.’ It should be noted that terms like “signs” and “wonders” are often connected to miraculous phenomenon in Scripture. In Mark 16:17, Jesus said “these signs shall follow them that believe” before listing phenomenon such as casting out devils and the ability to speak with “new tongues”. [The second of which appears in the book of acts, where the holy spirit essentially acted as a universal translator. See Acts 2:4-11]. Thus the word “sign” where it is appropriate with the context can be applied to a miracle. In the book of Acts and Hebrews, the word “wonders” is listed in the same sentence as “miracle” or “miracles.” [Acts 15:12, Hebrews 2:4].

The working of Satan with all power, signs, and lying wonders is in reference to the miracle-working power of the devil. The sequence of the coming of Christ is said to be directly after this deceptive working of Satan. The positioning of these events, which is to take place before the second coming, should be sufficient to add some illumination to Christ’s warning about deception. Before Christ comes back the second time, deceptive miracles will be performed. Are we as Christians at a point in which we’re ready to ignore everything our senses are telling us in order that we may place faith in and follow the word of God alone?

This text from 2 Thessalonians is not the only non-gospel new testament warning about deception. While the new testament abounds with numerous warnings about false teachers and prophets, in Revelation 16 there is a very specific prophetic prediction relating to deceptions of the last days. As shown above, verses 13-14 of Revelation 16 depict three ‘unclean spirits’ coming out of the mouth of the beast, the dragon, and the false prophet. It is beyond the scope of this article to identify all three of these symbols, but suffice it to say that at least one of them can be unraveled by Revelation 12:9, which identifies the dragon as Satan. Daniel 7:23 seems to suggest that a beast is to be defined as a kingdom in Bible Prophecy, and thus we have some incomplete identification of at least two of these symbols.

Verse 14 automatically associates these “unclean spirits” with devils, in fact it directly identifies them as such. Demons are poured out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of Satan at the end of time, as well as out of the mouth of the false prophet. The very next event is that they go forth to the kings of the earth and to the whole world, gathering them together for the last battle of that great day of God almighty. The kings of the earth are obviously earth’s leadership or rather the rulers of countries, as can be deduced from the plain language employed in the text.

The wording of “and of the whole world” is slightly confusing, and on its surface appears like a redundancy. In actual fact, the whole world and the kings of the earth are two separate things. The devils not only go forth to the rulers of earth, but to the general populace as well. They’re described as “working miracles” and having the purpose of as noted gathering them “to the battle of the great day of God almighty.” Miracles are worked by devils in order to gather the rulers of earth and its general populace into a battle. Precisely what battle might this text be in reference to?

Investigating the key phrases of this text may help us find the answer to this question. The first key is found in the phrase “day of God”, which appears also in 2 Peter 3:12. Another can be derived from the fact that the kings are here clearly gathered together for a battle. Is there another place in Scripture where the kings of the earth are gathered for a battle in which the Lord is involved?

2 Peter 3:12 states, “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be disolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” Two verses above, 2 Peter 3:10 gives descriptions of the “day of the Lord” which the passages state is to come as a “thief in the night.” The text then goes on to use similar descriptions as those found in verse 12, that being especially of the elements melting with fervent heat, the heavens passing away with a great noise, and the earth being burned up. The expressions “day of the Lord” and “day of God” are thus obviously connected with the end of the world. The obvious reference to fire is also a link back to the second coming of Christ, in which Jesus is described as taking vengeance on those who obey not the gospel “in flaming fire” [2 Thessalonians 1:7-9].

Another time in which the kings of the earth are gathered to make war against God is found in Revelation 19. In verse 19, they are described as being gathered together to make war “against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” Verses 11-16 provide the context, giving the much-needed background information. Much of the key words in these texts help us to see that the events described in this chapter relate to the second coming of Christ, that the one who sits on the white horse is Jesus, and that the kings of the earth are gathered for war against him. The way in which they’re gathered together for battle against God mirrors the way in which the demons gather them for battle in Revelation 16. Based on this evidence, the logical deduction is that the phrase “the battle of that great day of God almighty” is the final battle of this earth’s history, with its climax at the second coming.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called faithful and true, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called the word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, king of kings, and Lord of Lords.” – Revelation 19:11-16 [See 1 Timothy 6:14-16, Revelation 3:14, Revelation 1:12-17, John 1:1-2 for the proofs that this is in reference to Jesus Christ.]

Miracle working power is used as a means of gathering the world and the kings of the earth for this battle. This strongly implies a deception taking place at the end of time which uses miraculous phenomenon as its primary vehicle. These texts from Revelation 16, 2 Thessalonians, and Matthew 24 all line up with each other. Although Christ mentioned people claiming to be him as the reason for his warning with regards to deception, it is clear from other texts of Scripture that the statement “take heed that no man deceive you” may hold greater significance than perhaps we give it credit for. According to Scripture, the deceptions coming are nothing short of really bad. There is a definite need to be grounded in the word in order to be prepared to stand up to what is coming.

But according to 2 Thessalonians, there is actually more to it than a deep understanding of the word. According to verses 10-12, we need a love of the truth. “And with all deceiveableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

You may understand the reasons of your faith and be well-grounded. But if you do not love the truth, you might willfully accept something you would otherwise have known to be wrong. Some while unacquainted with the evidences pointing to truth, would still rather choose deception, for the truth interferes with the sinful practices that the carnal heart loves. Beyond having a thorough grounding in the word, it all comes down to the motives of the human heart. If you want to do and believe something which you know to be wrong, than Satan is happy to supply deceptions with even miraculous phenomenon to support them. If we love the truth over deception however, than we can be in a position similar to what Christ described: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” – John 7:17. 

At the same time, these facts do not lessen the importance of a thorough understanding of your Bible. Without being well conversant with the Scriptures, you may still be swept up by the powerful delusions of the last days, even if you want to do what is right. You should not only know the reasons of your faith, but be well enough acquainted with Scripture to where you can detect when something is quoted out of context, read esiegetically, or twisted outside of its original meaning.

Another point is the danger of reliance on miraculous phenomenon. Isaiah 8:20 presents a test by which we can be sure that something is true or false, and it is “to the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Emotional religion relies on experiences. There is a tendency in Christendom to put too much stock in impressions, dreams, miracles, the supposed hearing of voices, and other apparent signs or wonders. Reliance on these things as a test of what is true or false, as well as in substituting them in the place of Bible study [as has been the case with impressions and the supposed hearing of voices] is dangerous. The warnings about Satan’s miraculous working at the end of time should be sufficient to give the Christian pause about blind acceptance of miracles as a test, and drive them to Bible Study to be sure of the exact source of such phenomenon. I would even be very guarded in how one makes reference to such things, lest you open a door for the devil to ensnare you.

“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” – Matthew 24:5

“And he said, take heed that ye be not deceived, for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near, go ye not therefore after them.” – Luke 21:8

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are typically referred to as the synoptic gospels. This is because they go over the same stories and information, but often at times include an expansion of details. Especially as you go over Matthew 24, studying them all together can greatly expand your understanding of the same passages. In this case the chapters of interest are Mark 13 and Luke 21, both closely following the content of Matthew 24, but expanding on the details given. In verse 8 of Luke 21, an identical warning of people claiming to be Christ may be found. It adds the statements, “and the time draweth near” and “go ye not therefore after them.”

The only time of significance related to this subject matter is that of Christ’s second coming. As we begin to see people coming onto the scene claiming to be Jesus, according to Luke 21 this is a sign that the time is drawing near. But perhaps terms like “many” indicate that there will not only be an abundance of people making this claim, but that there will be just as many who will be deceived by their claims. The majority of Christians in this day and age are able to see through attempts at deception, for this reason I would suspect that Christ had something much worse in mind than the occasional weirdo claiming to be him. In view of his command to not go after them, I would suspect that it doesn’t matter whether or not it is the occasional insane blasphemous narcissist or something much more deceptive, we’re not to follow after them.

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” – Matthew 24:6-8

We have now transitioned from predictions with regards to deception and people claiming to be Jesus into what is often believed to be the vaguest prophecies in all of the Bible. Everything else is usually very specific, but these passages are very vague and general. Theoretically, because of their vagueness, you could apply them to almost any war, famine, earthquake, or pestilence that arises upon the earth and make the claim that Jesus is soon to return. The question then arises, why so vague? Did Christ have something much more specific in mind?

It is important to note that close attention should be given to the succession of this list. War, famine, pestilence, and earthquakes have been given one after another. All of them are in the plural, indicating that there is to be more than one which will occur. You might observe that in the book of Job, there was a time period in which Satan was given a green light to do his thing by God. In Job 1 and verses 6-22 you can read of this story. Especially it should be noted that the abuse Satan was allowed to heap upon Job occurred in rapid fire succession. Is there any reason to believe that as we approach the final events of this earth’s history the signs thus described by Christ will not occur in the same manner? When Satan is no longer barred from causing mass destruction, perhaps we can be sure of the fact that such movements will be in rapid fire.

Almost everyone who is confronted with these events as signs of the times will state that these things have always been around. I would say that such is a truthful statement, for even the Bible itself acknowledges this. Many Scriptural examples of wars fought may be gathered from the historical books of the Bible, from Genesis on. The same may be said of Famines. A couple of specific examples may be read in Genesis 14, and Genesis 41:48-50. I would suspect that not just any war, famine, or earthquake is targeted by these predictions but instead a rapid fire succession of events. This would add some illumination to Christ’s statement not to be troubled, as I would suspect things might get rather crazy and hair-raising when it comes to these particular problems as we approach the end.

Wars and rumors of wars is a statement which stretches to include not only the conflict itself, but also the rumor of it. There may be many stories of war floating around as we approach the end of time. We may even hear of conflict abroad. As noted previously, both are in the plural implying that there is to be many of these things. Jesus then clearly states that “all these things must come to pass” and “the end is not yet.” The language employed implies that conflict must take place, and though this may be occurring we have yet to hit the climax of things.

He also includes a statement that we’re not to be troubled by these things. By itself, perhaps war is something which can bring great disturbance to the anxious troubled heart. Christ’s words are meant as an encouragement for those who might be distressed as they observe the warfare taking place on this planet at the end of time. No doubt, the extreme nature of the events thus listed as signs would cause any man to be afraid as they are observed. Than it is clear that Jesus here meant to encourage his people by telling them not to be troubled when see these things happening. This also implies that the events described are of such an extreme nature as to cause distress in the first place, otherwise Jesus would have no need of making such a statement.

“But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.” – Luke 21:9

Luke 21 expands on some of the details used in Matthew 24, stating that these things “must first come to pass.” It also adds “commotions” in the place of the rumors of wars. The word “commotions” is vague enough to apply to almost any troublous phenomenon taking place, and is perhaps how Christ meant it to be taken. But paying close attention, the words “these things must first come to pass” would lead one to believe that these events are to occur first before the end comes.

Afterwards Jesus goes on to describe nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom in Matthew 24:7. On the surface this statement bears the appearance of a redundancy. But it should be acknowledged that the term “nation” as used in Scripture does not necessarily reference a country in the sense that we today would picture it doing so. According to the Greek, the term is “a race, that is, a tribe, specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one.” The logical deduction is that one nation rising against another is race or tribal based conflict, whereas kingdom vs kingdom refers to typical conflict between countries. Theoretically “nation against nation” might be applied to ethnic-based warfare, or fighting similar to the tribe of Judah fighting against Manassah, which would be sort of like a civil war in a way.

Probably from G1486; a race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): – Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

Famine and pestilence are the next signs on the list alongside earthquakes in diverse places. Pestilence is obviously disease, whereas famine is a scarcity of food typically coupled with starvation. An earthquake of course needs no explanation. Though it is interesting to note that at the end of earthquakes we find the phrase “in diverse places”, implying that they’re to be widespread across many locations rather than just in one place. Luke 21:10-11 provides a greater expansion of details. Verse 10 adds “great earthquakes” into the equation, implying that we’re not dealing with your typical everyday 1.0 that is barely felt, but that we can probably expect larger earthquakes that cause a great deal of damage and suffering. These also are in ‘diverse places’, again implying that we’ll see very destructive earthquakes widespread across the globe. One can only speculate as to the amount of destruction this would cause.

Luke 21:11 adds several signs to the list, taking things beyond simply just wars, earthquakes, pestilences, and famines. “Fearful sights” and “great signs” from heaven make their way onto the list. This bears the suggestion of fearful miraculous phenomenon, possibly to the level of essentially being crazy, hair-raising, and striking extreme levels of fear into people’s hearts. [Hence “fearful sights.”] Mark 13:8 also adds the word “troubles” alongside famines, which is as equally vague as “commotions.” These terms could be applied to almost any trouble or problems which may appear to be coming down the pike, and so the Christian should be careful not to chase after headlines or speculate and instead attempt to discern whether or not Christ had something specific in mind when he made these statements.

The words for “troubles” and “commotions” have reference to instability and tumult. I would suspect that when Christ used these words, he had something such as what one would normally consider civil unrest in mind. This may be gathered as one pays close attention to the Greek definitions for these two words, as shown below. Although I would caution one not to read our modern definitions of civil unrest into the Bible, the meanings of these words definitely paints a picture of rioting and general chaos. This is pictured alongside war, famine, earthquakes, and other disasters.

From G182; instability, that is, disorder: – commotion, confusion, tumult.

Feminine from G5015; disturbance, that is, (of water) roiling, or (of a mob) sedition: – trouble (-ing).

In both Matthew and Mark, these things are termed “the beginning of sorrows.” The events portrayed up to this point, as disturbing as the picture may seem by itself, is only the beginning. There are perhaps more “sorrows” to come in addition to the picture here painted, but our hearts are still not to be troubled or terrified according to the word of Christ.

“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. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” – Matthew 24:9-11

The term “afflicted” is an archaic old english word, which many today probably are not familiar with. For a better unraveling of its meaning, one should note that Isaiah 53, which is a prophecy that relates to Jesus, uses the term in connection with what would happen to him. Around verse 4 of Isaiah 53 it states, “yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Most Christians are familiar with the crucifixion of Christ, in which he was ‘scourged’ before being nailed to the cross. [Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15.] The term “afflicted” or “affliction” is also used by Paul in connection with persecution at least twice [2 Corinthians 4:7-17, Philippians 1:12-16.]

This would logically imply that God’s people [that being “you”] are being delivered up to be beaten or scourged in some way. The phrase “deliver you up” means you are being given over to and brought forth for the purposes listed, that being to be afflicted and killed. Torture and execution are pictures painted in my mind by these words. “And shall kill you” definitely implies the presence of martyrdom as we approach the end of time. Stephen, who was stoned in the book of Acts [Acts 7:58-60], is an example of martyrdom taking place well before these events described by Jesus. Thus by default not every case of martyrdom and persecution that occurs in the world is a direct sign of the end, theoretically these things have always been present in the world.

The statement “and shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” perhaps sheds some light on the issue. All nations is a phrase which implies all tribes or races of the earth will hate God’s people. In theory, this could be the reason for delivering Christ’s followers up to be afflicted and killed, because they hold a strong hatred for the people of the Lord. This phrase might also point to persecution on a world-wide or perhaps global scale, if it may indeed be looked at as the motivation for the persecution thus described.

It should be noted however that although Martyrdom is a possibility which Christ’s followers will face as they approach the end, not everyone will be martyred. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 plainly describes those of us who are “alive and remain” at the coming of Christ, implying that there will be some of the followers of Jesus who will survive the persecutions of the last days, and will go through until the very second coming of Jesus.

Verse 10 of Matthew 24 follows by saying that “many shall be offended.” Again this is another confusing old english word. To take offense at something in our modern vocabulary is to be insulted. This is not what Christ had in mind when he said “many shall be offended.” Matthew 26 actually explains this confusing and mysterious phrase for us, and illuminates this text of Matthew 24.

“Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” – Matthew 26:31-34

“But this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.” – Matthew 26:56. 

The term “offended” as used in Matthew 24 appears, as shown above, in Matthew 26. There it is used in the context of a prediction of something Christ’s followers were to do that night. Jesus’ quotation of the smitten shepherd whose flock is scattered abroad is a clue as to what he had in mind, given that Jesus referred to himself as the “good shepherd”. [John 10:11] But as you scroll into the dialog between Peter and Christ, things become much more clear. Peter claims that he would “never be offended” to which Jesus replied that he would deny him three times that night. The reply of Christ is obviously aimed at answering Peter’s statement, which by default connects the word “offended” to a denial of Christ. Later in the chapter, the disciples are described as forsaking Christ and fleeing. Thus to be offended is to deny Jesus and to forsake him in time of persecution.

Matthew 24:10 predicts that “many shall be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” This prediction is implying that a large degree of the followers of Christ are to be offended and to forsake him as time of persecution arises. Those who have not acquired an experience that would enable them to stand in Christ alone during such a time are likely to apostatize as events unfold, for when they’re confronted with martyrdom or possibly torture they may shrink.

It should also be noted that the passage references those who will betray one another. Mark 13:12 and Luke 21:16 expand on this predicted betrayal. In Mark the brother is predicted to betray the brother, the father betrays the son, and the children rise up against the parents and cause them to be put to death. Luke 21 simply states that you’ll be betrayed by brethren, parents, kinsfolk, and friends. The implication is that you cannot trust anyone because parents, friends, and family will betray you in the end. The mutual hatred and betrayal across the board encountered perhaps by both secular people and Christ’s followers [neither are really specified in any of these passages] indicates not only a breakdown of society, but also the possibility that you cannot even trust those with whom you attend Church. You must be prepared to stand in Christ alone, putting your trust in him and letting loose of all reliance on other people.

Scrolling to Matthew 24:11, it should be noted that Christ warned about false prophets twice in the entire chapter. The second warning appears in Matthew 24:24, where Jesus states that they will show “great signs and wonders.” As stated before, miraculous phenomenon is no test as to whether or not something is true or false. Specifically addressing the issue of whether or not some one is a genuine or false prophet, Deuteronomy 13 presents the scenario of such a person arising. They come forward with a sign or wonder, which appears to “come to pass”, and then make the heretical statement “Let us go after other Gods.” Deuteronomy 13 then warns not to follow them. [Deuteronomy 13:1-4.]

Isaiah 8:20 as well as Matthew 7:15-20 present tests by which you can be enabled to see through those claiming to be Prophets. But much like with the deception discussed at the beginning of the chapter, you must be well grounded in your Bible in order to properly apply the tests. If you do not have a thorough understanding of your Bible, you may inadvertently believe that something is true when it is actually false.

Yet again, in the case of Matthew 24:11 it should be noted that the word “many” is used twice. An abundance of false prophets are to arise as we approach the end, who are to deceive many. The 24th verse adds not only the great signs and wonders, but the possibility that they could “if it were possible, deceive the very elect.” Huge amounts of people will be deceived by these false prophets, whose work will be marked with deceptive miracle-working power, and whose deceptions are clearly aimed at God’s people.

It should be acknowledged that the phrase “if it were possible” in Matthew 24:24 should not be read as though it is impossible for God’s people to be deceived. This attitude would bear similarities to a ‘once saved, always saved’ view of salvation, which as will be shown in a later article is not in harmony with Scripture. Instead the phrase should be compared with Romans 12:18, which states “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” This text from Paul’s writings is not meant to convey the idea that it is impossible to live peaceably with all men, instead it is suggesting that every effort should be forth for this end. Thus “if it possible” as used in Matthew 24 is more suggesting that every effort is going to be put forth by these false prophets to deceive the very elect, rather than it being impossible for the elect to be deceived by their signs and wonders.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all of the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” – Matthew 24:12-14

Iniquity is a generic term in the Bible for sin, lawlessness, or general wickedness. This can be demonstrated from the Greek, as shown below. This is to abound or increase as we approach the end of time, leading to a “love of many” waxing “cold.” The Greek word for Love as shown below in this case is “Agape” which more references benevolence than anything else. Temperatures, as depicted in the Bible by terms like “cold” or “hot”, are sometimes used to signify the intensity of zeal or love that a person has, or to give a description of their spiritual state. One example of this is found in Revelation 3:15-16, in which the Lukewarm state is attributed to Laodicea. With Love said to grow cold as a result of abounding iniquity, this prediction is suggesting that people will start to love and care about each other less and less because of an increasing wickedness and moral depravity in the world.

From G459; illegality, that is, violation of law or (generally) wickedness: – iniquity, X transgress (-ion of) the law, unrighteousness.

From G25; love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast: – (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love.

The next passage that follows states that “he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” As we’ve shown in other articles on this blog, we’re expected to endure the trials of the last days. We as Christians will not receive extraction from this earth until after these events foretold in Matthew have transpired. The promise is that if you stand through the trial, you will have salvation. Not that you will receive rescue to pull you out of the mess. This would fit with Biblical pictures seen elsewhere in Scripture, showing that God doesn’t always necessarily extract his people when the going gets rough. See Noah and his family hiding in the ark in the midst of the storm, and observe Daniel’s three companions tossed in the fiery furnace and preserved from harm while inside the flame. [Genesis 7:1-24, Daniel 3:8-30]

Verse 14 then states that “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all of the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.” This statement plainly declares that once the gospel is preached throughout the world, then the end will come. It should be observed that back in verse 6 it was clearly stated that “the end is not yet.” This was after it was declared that there would be wars and rumors of wars. Everything afterwards is also plainly stated to be the “beginning of sorrows” until you arrive at descriptions of the persecutions. The implication is that these things may be going on, yet the end has not yet arrived. Additionally, the gospel is said to be preached in the entire world and “then” shall the end come. This implies that the disastrous events mentioned earlier in Matthew 24 are not necessarily held back by the gospel not having been preached in all of the world yet. Therefore wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in diverse places, famines, pestilences, commotions, and troubles may all be going on and yet the gospel has yet to reach every corner of the globe.

You might observe this post is titled “part 1”. This is because I made the accurate deduction that writing a commentary on Matthew 24 would have to be a series of posts due to the length of the posts themselves. Many commentary posts will likely take on this format, as there is no doubt in my mind that they will be quite long. Splitting them up into a multi-part series is the best way to attempt to keep the posts at a decent size, although this one turned out long. My commentary on Matthew 24 will be continued in part 2.