Matt. 24:1-2-Jesus and the disciples leave the Temple area. Herod the Great began building the Temple in 20 B.C. and it was finished in 64 A.D. Huge stones 10-12 feet in length would have been plainly visible. Even as they are being used for the construction of the Temple, Jesus says that they will be destroyed.
Matt. 24:3-Jesus and the disciples make their way out of the city gate, across the Kidron Valley, and up onto the Mount of Olives. From there, they would have a clear view of the Temple area. While they were sitting there, in response to Jesus saying that the Temple would be destroyed…the disciples ask Him: #1.-“when will these things be”; and, #2.-“what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age”. He responds by answering only question #2. He reverses the order of the question and speaks of the signs of the end of the age in 24:4-28 (vv. 4-14 deal with the first half of the tribulation period, while vv. 15-28 deal with the second half) and answers “what will be the sign of Your coming” in 24:29-25:30 (24:29-31 is the Sign of His coming, 24:32-35 is an Illustration of His coming, and 24:36-25:30 are Six Admonitions on How We Should Live Based on His Coming).
Matt. 24:4-14-this is a description of the first half of the Tribulation period (cf. Rev. 6:1-8). He tells them: 1. don’t be misled…many false Christ’s will come; 2. don’t be afraid…many wars will come, along with natural disasters…these are the “birth pangs”. 3. Then…you will be attacked for following Jesus…and many will fall away (and even turn against those who don’t…out of hate). Many will be led away by false prophets. Lawlessness will be so prevalent that people will lose the ability to love…because they will be like animals and know nothing but the instinct to survive. 4. But regardless of all these things…the Gospel will continue to be proclaimed throughout the entire world. Then…the end will come.
Matt. 24:15-28-Then, when you see the “abomination of desolation”…this is speaking of the Antichrist (“the man of sin”, 2 Thes. 2:4) when he stands in the Temple in Jerusalem and demands to be worshipped. He had previously made a covenant with the Jewish people at the beginning of the Tribulation period (Dan. 9:27)…but now he breaks it. It signifies the beginning of the second half of the Tribulation…”the great tribulation” (24:21), when many will be martyred. That is the reason for the urgency that is conveyed in vv. 16-22. There will be people saved during the Tribulation period (“the elect”, :22). But because of the intensity of the persecution, especially during the second half of the Tribulation, it will become more and more difficult for people to make that decision.
Prayer: Father, I believe that You are absolutely sovereign and despite whatever may happen in my life, or in the world around me…You are in control. You not only know the past…but, You are in control of the future. That includes my future. So please Lord, help me to trust You with each day…the challenges, the decisions, the opportunities and the oppositions, the temptations, the struggles, the thoughts, the people, the joys…everything that I face. Help me to be constantly aware that there is nothing that surprises You and that there is nothing that can overwhelm You. Keep me strong in my faith in You.