Matthew 24: Signs of the Times

Why did Jesus and the disciples see the Temple differently?

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Matthew 24:1–2 As Jesus left the Temple, his disciples pointed out how impressive the Temple construction was. Do you see all these buildings as something great?”
Jesus said. “I guarantee, their destruction will be so great, one stone will not be left standing on the other.”
King James
Matthew 24:1–2 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 here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

Why do people want to know when the end will be?

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Matthew 24:3 Later, Jesus was sitting on the slopes of the Mount of Olives when his disciples came to him in private and said, “Tell us. When will all these things happen? what will signal your coming and the end of the world?”
King James
Matthew 24:3 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?

How can people be deceived when people claim to be someone they are not?

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Matthew 24:4–5 “Be careful,” Jesus said. “Do not let anyone deceive you. Many will claim to be the Messiah and will fool a multitude.”
King James
Matthew 24:4–5 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.

What must happen before the end comes? What does that information tell us about when the end will be?

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Matthew 24:6–12 “Do not panic when you hear about wars or battle threats. Such things must happen, but that does not mean the end has come. Nation will war against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places, but that is only the beginning of the tragedies. Men will hand you over to be flogged and even killed. Because of my name, you will be hated by people everywhere. Many will forsake their faith and betray one another, each hating the other. Many false prophets will come and lead large crowds astray. Because evil will flourish, most people’s love will grow cold.”
King James
Matthew 24:6–12 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. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. 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. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Why is faithfulness required “until the end”?

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Matthew 24:13 “But those who remain faithful until the end will be saved.”
King James
Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

What does Jesus say will come immediately before the end? How close might the fulfillment of that condition be?

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Matthew 24:14 “The good news of the Kingdom will be preached throughout the world for a testimony to all people. After that, the end will come.”
King James
Matthew 24:14 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.

To what extent did the disciples understand “the abominations and desecration” predicted by the prophet Daniel?

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Daniel 9:27 He will confirm his agreement for seven periods, and in the midst of that time, he will not accept sacrifices and offerings. The rising of abominations will bring desolation until the destroyer is judged.
Matthew 24:15–22 “When you see the abominations and desecration of the Holy Place as predicted by the prophet Daniel, those in Judea should flee to the mountains. People on their housetops should not take time to gather belongings from their houses. A man in the field should not go back home for his coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and nursing mothers. Pray that you will not have to flee in winter or on a Sabbath, because this will be the worst time of suffering that has ever been or ever will be. Except those days be few, no one would survive, but the time will be shortened for the sake of God’s people.”
King James
Daniel 9:27 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.
Matthew 24:15–22 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: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

How can a “false Messiah” be identified?

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Matthew 24:23–24 “If anyone says, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah,’ or, ‘There he is,’ do not believe it. False messiahs and ministers will perform such great signs and wonders that even God’s people would be deceived, if that were possible.”
King James
Matthew 24:23–24 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

How important are warnings? When are they not helpful?

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Matthew 24:25–26 “Pay attention, because I’ve warned you ahead of time. So if people say, ‘He is in an obscure place or is hiding somewhere,’ do not believe it.”
King James
Matthew 24:25–26 Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

How obvious or obscure will Jesus’ return be?

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Matthew 24:27–28 “When the Son of Man comes, his arrival will be as unmistakable as the lightning that flashes across the sky and is seen to the far east and west. As the gathering of vultures shows where the carcass is, these signs indicate that the end is near.”
2 Peter 3:10 For those who don’t know God, the Lord’s return will be a complete surprise, like a thief arriving one night. With an explosive sound, the skies will disappear, the elements will melt in intense heat, and everything on Earth will be consumed.
King James
Matthew 24:27–28 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

What will happen to plunge Earth into darkness? How will people be affected?

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Matthew 24:29 “Soon after those days of suffering, darkness will blanket the sky. The sun will hide and the moon will give no light. All the stars will disappear, and the powers of the universe will be shaken.”
King James
Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Who will mourn when Jesus appears? Why will they have no reason to rejoice?

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Matthew 24:30 “The Son of Man will appear in the sky, and the people of the earth will mourn. They will see him arrive in the clouds, with power and great glory.”
King James
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

How will Jesus’ messengers gather his people?

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Matthew 24:31 “With the mighty blast of a trumpet, he will send his angels to gather his people from everywhere on Earth.”
King James
Matthew 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

If first-century Christians anticipated Jesus’ imminent return and it didn’t happen, what evidence do we have that the time is near?

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Matthew 24:32–33 “From the fig tree, you can understand how it will be. When the branches bud and start to put on leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things come to pass, you will know the time is near.”
King James
Matthew 24:32–33 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

How are Jesus’ words more permanent than the physical realm?

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Matthew 24:34–35 “When all these things have been fulfilled, this age will come to its close. The skies above and the earth below will pass away, but my words will stand forever.”
King James
Matthew 24:34–35 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

If we don’t know when the end will come, why do some people work so hard to figure it out?

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Matthew 24:36 “No one knows the exact date and time, not even the angels in Heaven. Only the Father knows.”
King James
Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

In what ways might the days of Noah be compared to the coming of the Lord? Who will be taken and who will be left?

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Matthew 24:37–41 “The coming of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah. Before the flood, people were eating, drinking, and having a good time until the day Noah entered the ark. They did not believe until the flood swept them away. It will be the same when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working in the field. One will be taken, the other left behind. Two women will be grinding at the mill. One will be taken, the other left behind.”
King James
Matthew 24:37–41 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

What must people do to “always be watching”?

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Matthew 24:42–44 “Always be watching, because you do not know when your Lord will come. If a homeowner knew when a burglar would come, he would be prepared and would not allow him to break in. Because you do not know when the Son of Man will arrive, you must always be ready.”
King James
Matthew 24:42–44 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

In what ways do the faithful and wise servant differ from the irresponsible servant?

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Matthew 24:45–51 “How does the faithful and wise servant behave, the one whom the owner would want to put in charge of his business of meeting the needs of others? The good manager always focuses on business the same as if the owner were there, so he is found doing a good job when the owner arrives. Truly, such a man will be put in charge of everything. But if that servant is evil, he says to himself, ‘The owner will not be back for a while.’ He takes advantage of others and spends his time partying. The owner arrives when he is least expected, sees his hypocrisy, and terminates the servant without pay. The servant will be cast into the darkness, where there will be bitterness and weeping.”
King James
Matthew 24:45–51 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.