Living in the End Times | Matthew 24:1-35

March 7, 2014

Book: Matthew

Scripture: Matthew 24:1-35


Today we are going to talk about the end times. Usually, when we talk about the end times, people have two responses.

Apathy – Lack of interest. End times don’t interest us. I want to live and just worry about my everyday life.

Excitement – Some people get too excited and they want to predict the times and the seasons. They get excited about world events, people etc. There are preachers who get you excited. Every political change is given an interpretation and every advance of the army is interpreted as some event from the scripture. In the end, will send you their banking details and they become rich.

People are either apathetic or overexcited about the end times.

Today we are going to look at what Jesus spoke about the end times.

Open your bibles to Matthew 24 & 25

Matthew 24 and 25 is called the Olivet Discourse because Jesus gave this teaching sitting on the Mount of Olives to his disciples.

  • This passage talks about the judgement on the religious establishment of Jesus’ day, the temple.
  • He also talks about the end time, his coming again.


  • What does Jesus want me to do in the midst of a difficult world?
  • How do we live in the end times, in a world that is out of control?


Matthew presents that Jesus came as Israel’s King and preached the Kingdom of God. They have rejected him all this while. Now, this is Passion week. Jesus has been anointed at Bethany, he enters Jerusalem on a colt and he goes and overthrows the money changers in the temple. His authority has been clearly demonstrated from his early ministry and now in the temple in numerous confrontations with these leaders. However, they will not believe in him. They reject him and set a plan to kill him. Jesus told all these parables about how the judgement is coming and how they had rejected the Messiah.

Jesus leaves the temple back to Bethany after an extended conflict with various groups of Jewish leaders which began in Matthew 21:17.

Background from the Gospels

Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

Jesus’ mission was to gather the people of Israel like hen, calling them to be like the new people of God. They are under Rome and Jesus called them for nonviolence but to enter the Kingdom of God and pursue peace. They reject him and they take the violent way to take over the Romans. See the consequence: Look, your house is left to you desolate.

Matthew 23:38-39 38Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Jesus says, “You are not willing to listen, you are going to be destroyed.”

Jesus gave them a very shocking statement, that the temple will be destroyed.

Matthew 24:1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.

Jesus leaves the temple for the last time during his earthly ministry. The temple was one of the most splendid buildings in the entire Roman world. As Jesus leaves the temple, the disciples call Jesus’ attention to the glorious temple architecture but Jesus speaks of its demolition.

Jesus explicitly predicting the destruction

Matthew 24:2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Jewish people expected God to defend this temple. Jesus spoke about the destruction of the temple. Temple was the national monument, national cathedral, and the national treasury all in one building. Jesus spoke about the destruction of the temple.

Matthew 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus and his disciples go up to the Mount of Olives where they can oversee the city. The disciples come to him and they ask how many questions here? Two

  • When is the destruction of the temple?
  • What is the sign of your coming and the end of the age?

Jesus answers

  • Fall of Jerusalem, Matthew 24:4-35. Jesus gives a timeline, this generation, v34

Matthew 24:34-35 34Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

What event is this and to whom he is speaking? He is speaking to the Jews and the Jewish temple.

History summary of this time:

Jesus is speaking around 30-33 AD.

The destruction of the temple in AD 70.

This is 40 years into history. Approximately the time of one generation.

  • Sign of His coming, Matthew 24:35-51. V36, nobody knows the time.

Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Matthew is probably writing this epistle after the destruction of the temple. His main motive to write this is to tell the readers: that Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple, seeing that has happened in the same generation. Jesus also spoke about the end times and his coming back, this is going to happen. His intention is to prepare his readers to be ready for Jesus’ coming.


This is like driving to the Ooty hills. You see many hills as you drive to Ooty, but we understand that one is further than the other but as you approach it looks so near.

Historical Account of the destruction of the Temple:

In AD 66, the Jews of Judea rebelled against their Roman masters. Israel was under Roman occupation at the time of Jesus. In response, Emperor Nero dispatched an army under the generalship of Vespasian to restore order. By AD 68, eradication of the resistance in the northern part of the province and the Romans turned their full attention to the subjugation of Jerusalem. That same year Nero died creating a power vacuum in Rome.

In the resultant chaos, Vespasian was declared emperor and returned to Rome. It fell to his son, Titus to lead the remaining army in the assault on Jerusalem. The Romans surrounded the city and began to slowly squeeze the life out of the Jewish stronghold. By 70 AD they took full control and resulted in the burning and destruction of the Temple which served as the centre of Judaism. In victory, the Romans slaughtered 1000’s those spared from death, 1000’s more were enslaved and sent to toil in the mines of Egypt. Others were sent to the arenas throughout the empires of Rome to be butchered for the amusement of the public. The sacred things of the temple were taken to Rome where they were displayed in celebration of the victory.

Jesus says, “Your house will be left to you desolate.”

The destruction and the desecration of the temple – Exactly 40 years after Jesus predicted it.

That was not unusual. Whenever Israel sinned, God allowed the Temple’s destruction or desecration. We see that first by the Babylonians, by Antiochus Epiphanes, and in AD 70 by the Romans.

Jesus gave an explanation of this

Matthew 24:15-21 15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

For the Jews it was the end of the world to see their temple come down. But you flee.

Matthew 24:22-25 22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

Don’t let people cheat you or deceive you, you just bear witness to the good news of the gospel.

Matthew 24:29-31

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Jesus quoted this from Isaiah 13, see your footnote for v29. Isaiah is talking about the defeat or the judgement of the Babylonians in 539 BCE.

See this description for the then world

Isaiah 13:4-5

Listen, a noise on the mountains,
like that of a great multitude!
Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms,
like nations massing together!
The Lord Almighty is mustering
an army for war.
They come from faraway lands,
from the ends of the heavens—
the Lord and the weapons of his wrath—
to destroy the whole country.

Isaiah 13:10

The stars of heaven and their constellations
will not show their light.
The rising sun will be darkened

Isaiah 13:17-18
and the moon will not give its light.

See, I will stir up against them the Medes,
who do not care for silver
and have no delight in gold.

Isaiah 13:19

19 Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms,
the pride and glory of the Babylonians,[
will be overthrown by God
like Sodom and Gomorrah.

When Babylon fell, it was like the end of the world for the people then. In Jesus’ eyes, Jerusalem has become Babylon, so he predicts its downfall the say way Isaiah did.

Signs of the End Age

Besides events fulfilled in AD 70, Jesus also gives non-signs for the end. Jesus gives the general world conditions during this period of time that we call, the church age. The church age is between the ascension of Jesus or the day of Pentecost and his second coming. Our term for this time period is the church age. We are living in this age. But end times is the word that we find in the Bible. Jesus spoke about what will be like in the church age and this is how we are to live in this age.

Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.

End-Time Scenario

  1. Deception from within the church in the end times: False messiahs. False Prophets

False prophets, 24:4-5. They just have an agenda, they will take the name of Jesus, do ministry and proclamation and make money. So, watch out.

  1. Evil Happenings in the world

Wars, rumours of wars, 24:6-7

Famines, earthquakes, 24:7

Matthew 24:6-7 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Wars and earthquakes have happened before Jesus. This has happened before and even after the destruction of the temple. This is happening in our time. Jesus says we live in a difficult, wicked world.

Jesus describes the world as a woman in labour. Full of difficulties and problems. Labour pain leads to new birth. But this world’s wickedness is leading up to Jesus’ kingdom coming down on earth to give new life.

  1. The lives of the Disciples of Jesus in the end times.

What the disciples can expect during this church age/end time:

Matthew 24:9-13 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Life in the present age for those who believe in Jesus will be difficult. Jesus says that in the church age, there will be persecution. Right from Acts 2, we read about the incredible persecution that took place and they are going on today. Jesus prophesied it all.

Persecution – Put to death, hated by all nations because of Jesus.

Apostacy – Many will turn away from the faith. Love of most will grow cold.

Betrayal – People will betray each other, and hate each other.

Jesus tells us that Christian life will be hard. It is going to be difficult but we need to persevere.

The author has been speaking about believers’ persecution in his gospel.

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 10:16-20 16“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Paul talks about persecution and suffering.

We won’t receive rest from our sufferings until Jesus comes to destroy the wicked and publicly glorify the saints, 2 Th. 1:5-10

2 Thessalonians 1:5 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

God permits his elect to suffer with his concern that their suffering will not result in their spiritual ruin. Suffering according to Jesus is a way of life for his disciples throughout the whole period between his resurrection and his coming.

In fact, suffering is one of our callings.

1 Peter 2:21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

How Should One Live In The End Times?

Matthew 24:12-13 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

  1. Stand firm to the end. Endurance.

This is about becoming an intentional disciple of Jesus. There are all kinds of social forces, there are all kinds of fears that kind of distract me and pull me in all directions. But I need to stand firm and follow Jesus and follow his teaching.


Just hang on following Jesus.

Second, Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Jesus is acknowledging here that the fall of Jerusalem is not the end of the world. There is a whole world mission of his disciples to live in love and spread the good news to all the nations.

  1. Bear Witness To The Good News Of Jesus.

So we need to stand firm and bear witness to Jesus. That is how we are to live every day.

So then, how does Jesus want his followers to live in a world that is constantly on the verge of crisis and a world that is constantly falling apart?

Jesus wants us to trust that history is in his hands. Stand Firm. Spread the Good News.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 

5All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.

8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.


Most importantly, His death and his resurrection mean that the most powerful forces of evil don’t get the last word in this world. This has always been bad and that life is probably going to continue on like in the last 2000 years, there will be evil and wickedness. But one day, Jesus will return and confront evil and bring his kingdom. So we need to stand firm, spread the gospel, and watch and prepare for his coming.