The Key to Prophecy
Three Questions of Matthew 24:1-25:46
Tote, Tauta and Mathete Analytics
Expository Bible Studies
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Jesus provided a very clear Key to Prophecy in Matthew 24. This key helps us understand the prophetic timeline of events. The events in Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:30 occur in consecutive order. Once we grasp that simple fact, then we understand that Jesus provided a timeline there that allows us to place prophetic events outside of Matthew 24 (such as prophecies in Daniel and Revelation) into that same timeline. Jesus provided the timeline by answering some questions from the disciples. We need to study those questions and answers very carefully.
The disciples of Jesus asked three questions. Jesus answered those questions in order and help us understand the structure of Matthew 24-25, The Olivet Discourse (Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives as He addressed His disciples in Matthew 24-25).
We need to bring some tools with us to the study of Matthew 24:1-Matthew 25:30. Those tools help us understand the Greek terms recorded in the Bible. We will focus upon the conjunctions Matthew used to link the prophetic events together. Please remember that every word Matthew wrote in the original autographs was inspired by God, so that they perfectly convey the truth revealed by God. Two conjunctions require our attention and I call them Tote Analytics and Tauta Analytics. We also need to grasp the truths that Jesus emphasized as He presented the Key to Prophecy in Matthew 24, based upon the different events He placed on the timeline. I am going to call the truths Jesus emphasized Mathete Analytics.
Tote Analytics (abbreviated below as TEA) means that we analyze the timing of revealed events. Furthermore, when events happen must be distinguished from what happens. Tote analytics help explain the sequence of events, and what happens at that time. Jesus commanded us to learn from the revelation of time and events. In the Gospel of Matthew, the term “Τότε” appears more than eighty times. With one exception, and maybe one more, the term always designates later time, with maybe a few exceptions. Usually, it signifies a consecutive, subsequent event. We will see in Matthew that God used the term “Tote” to mark out the timeline in consecutive, narrative fashion (with some similarities to the Hebrew waw consecutive).
Tauta Analytics (TAA) means we analyze the things revealed. We must not confuse what happens, with when it happens.
Mathete Analytics (MA) means what we must learn from the revelation. Jesus issued commands related to the revelation. I will call them Revelation Commands, a part of MA.
For further study, I have attached some charts.
Appendix One: Chart of καὶ τότε Usage In the Gospel of Matthew
Appendix Two: Chart of τότε Usage in the Gospel of Matthew
Appendix Three: Chart of αἰῶνος Usage in the New Testament
Appendix Four: Chart of εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα Usage in the New Testament
Appendix Five: Chart of παρουσία Usage in the New Testament
Of course those modes of analysis will overlap and are subject to different interpretations of the text and differences of opinion. At times, categorizing language can be very subjective. I am only suggesting one means to analyze the passage using different categories to increase understanding of the relationships in the text and highlight the ways Jesus revealed the truth and its impact upon our lives as believers. Following this method, I find that Matthew 24:1–Matthew 25:46 follows consecutively in time and Jesus answered the three questions from the disciples in the order they asked the questions. Therefore, we may begin with the background to Matthew 24.
As Jesus exited the temple, His disciples pointed out the temple building. Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.” At this initial point, Jesus has already provided a look into the future. Every stone in the temple will be torn down, so that not one stone will not be left upon another. Historians tells us that in A.D. 70, Roman General Titus captured Jerusalem, quelled the rebellion, and tore down the temple, stone by stone. Was that destruction the one Jesus prophesied about in Matthew 24-25? To answer that question, we must go back to Matthew 24.
When will these thing happen?
(πότε ταῦτα ἔστα)
TEA and TAA
Answer: Matthew 24:1-14
What Will Be the Sign of Your Coming?
(τὸ σημεῖον τῆς σῆς παρουσίας)
What Will Be the Sign of the Consummation of the Age?
(συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος)
Note: Red indicates a major event in the timeline.
With those three questions in mind, we can see how Jesus answered those three questions. A chart helps me follow the chronology and the events.
The Questions of Matthew 24
Legend of Colors
TEA= Blue= Tote Analytics–When It Happened
TAA= Green=Tauta Analytics–What Happened
MA=Red=Mathete Analytics–Teaching of Jesus
Major Headings=Aqua=Major Headings
Question One Question Two Question Three
When will these things happen?
(πότε ταῦτα ἔστα)
TEA and TAA
Answer: Matthew 24:1–Matthew 24:14
What Will Be the Sign of Your Appearing?
(τὸ σημεῖον τῆς σῆς παρουσίας)
Answer: Matthew 24:15–Matthew 25:30
What Will Be the Sign of the Consummation of the Age?
(συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος)
Answer: Matthew 25:31–Matthew 25:46
24:1 The Temple Buildings
24:2a Do You Not See
24:15a Therefore When
25:31a But When
The Son of Man Comes in Glory
(ἔλθῃ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ)
And All the Angels with Him
(καὶ πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι μετ’ αὐτοῦ)
24:2b All These Things?
24:15b You See
He Will Sit Upon His Glorious Throne
(καθίσει ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ)
24:2c Truly I Say To You, Not One Stone Will Be Left upon
Another, Which Will Not Be Torn Down
(ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον ὃς οὐ αταλυθήσεται)
24:15c The Abomination of Desolation
which Was Spoken of through the Prophet Daniel, Standing in the Holy Place
(τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ)
25:32a And Will Be Gathered All the Nations
(καὶ συναχθήσονται πάντα τὰ ἔθνη)
24:15d Let the Reader Understand
(ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω)
MA, Revelation Command
25:32b And He Will Separate From One Another as a Shepherd the Sheep from the Goats
(καὶ ἀφορίσει αὐτοὺς) ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων, ὥσπερ ὁ ποιμὴν ἀφορίζει
τὰ πρόβατα ἀπὸ τῶν ἐρίφων)
24:3b Will Be These Things?
25:33 And He Will Put His sheep on His Right, and the goats on the Left
24:3c What Will the Sign of Your Coming?
(καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον τῆς σῆς παρουσίας)
24:16b Those Who Are In Judea Must Flee to the Mountains
(οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ φευγέτωσαν εἰς τὰ ὄρη)
MA, Revelation Command
The King Will Say To Those On His Right
(τότε ἐρεῖ ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῖς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ)
24:3d And of the End of the Age?
(καὶ συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶ)
24:17 Whoever Is on the Housetop
Must Not Go Down To Get the Things Out That Are in His House
(ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος μὴ καταβάτω ἆραι τὰ ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας αὐτοῦμὴ καταβάτω)
MA, Revelation Command
MA, Revelation Command
24:4 See To It No One Misleads You
(Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ)
MA, Revelation Command
MA, Revelation Command
24:5a For Many Will Come in My Name, Saying
(πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐλεύσονται ἐπὶ
τῷ ὀνόματί μου λέγοντες)
TAA / TEA
24:18b Whoever Is in the Field Must Not Turn Back To Get His Cloak
(ὁ ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ μὴ ἐπιστρεψάτω
ὀπίσω ἆραι τὸ ἱμάτιον αὐτοῦ)
MA, Revelation Command
25:34d the Kingdom Prepared for You
from the Foundation of the World
(τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν βασιλείαν
ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου)
24:5b I Am the Christ
(Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ χριστός)
24:19a But Woe to Those Who Are Pregnant and to Those Who Are Nursing Babies
(οὐαὶ δὲ ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις
καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαι)
MA, Revelation Command
25:35-36 Explanation to the Righteous
24:5c And Will Mislead Many
(καὶ πολλοὺς πλανήσουσιν)
24:19b In those Days
(ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις)
24:6a You Will Be Hearing of
(μελλήσετε δὲ ἀκούειν)
24:20a But Pray that Your Flight
Will Not Be
(προσεύχεσθε δὲ ἵνα μὴ γένηται ἡ φυγὴ ὑμῶν)
MA, Revelation Command
25:37-39 Righteous Questions
24:20b in Winter, or on a Sabbath
(χειμῶνος μηδὲ σαββάτῳ)
25:40 Royal Answer
24:6c And Rumors of Wars
24:21 For Then Will Be
(ἔσται γὰρ τότε)
24:6d See That You Are Not Frightened
(ὁρᾶτε, μὴ θροεῖσθε)
MA, Revelation Command
24:22a Unless Those Days Shortened
(καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐκολοβώθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι)
No Life Would Have Been Saved
(οὐκ ἂν ἐσώθη πᾶσα σάρ)
25:41b Depart from Me
(πορεύεσθε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ)
MA, Revelation Command
24:6e For Those Things Must Take Place
(δεῖ γὰρ γενέσθαι)
24:22b For the Sake of the Elect
(διὰ δὲ τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς)
Those Days Will Be Cut Short
(κολοβωθήσονται αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖνα)
25:41b-43 Royal Explanation
24:6f But Not Yet The End
(ἀλλ ‘οὔπω ἐστὶν τὸ τέλος)
If Anyone Says Behold,
(ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ,
ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ ριστός)
TEA and TAA
24:7a For Will Rise
24:23b Do Not Believe
MA, Revelation Command
25:44b Righteous Question
24:7b Nation against Nation
(ἔθνος ἐπὶ ἔθνος)
24:24 False Christs and False Prophets
(ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται)
24:7c And Kingdom against Kingdom
(καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν)
24:25 Behold, I Have Told You In Advance
(ἰδοὺ προείρηκα ὑμῖν)
MA and TEA
25:45b-46 Explanation to Righteous
These Will Go Away into Age Punishment, but the Righteous into Age Life
(καὶ ἀπελεύσονται οὗτοι εἰς κόλασιν αἰώνιον, οἱ δὲ δίκαιοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον.)
24:7d And There Will Be Famines
(καὶ ἔσονται λιμοὶ)
24:26a If They Say, Behold
(ἐὰν οὖν εἴπωσιν ὑμῖν, Ἰδοὺ)
24:7e And Earthquakes in Various Places
(καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους)
24:26b Do Not Believe
MA, Revelation Command
24:8a But All These Things Are
(πάντα δὲ ταῦτα)
24:27a For just as the Lightning
(ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ ἀστραπὴ)
24:8b The Beginning of Birth Pangs
24:27b So Will Be the Appearing of the Son of Man
(ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ
24:28 Wherever the Corpse Is, There the Vultures Will Gather
(ὅπου ἐὰν ᾖ τὸ πτῶμα, ἐκεῖ
συναχθήσονται οἱ ἀετοί)
24:9b They Will Deliver You to
(παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς)
24:29a Immediately after
(Εὐθέως δὲ μετὰ)
24:29b The Tribulation of those Days
(τὴν θλῖψιν τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐκείνων)
24:9d And Will Kill You
(καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς)
24:29c The Sun Will Be Darkened
(ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται)
24:9e And You Will Be Hated by All The Nations Because of My Name
(καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ
πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου)
24:29d And the Moon Will Not Give Its Light
(καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς)
24:10a At That Time
24:29e And The Stars will Fall from the Sky
(καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες πεσοῦνται ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ)
24:10b Many Will Fall Away
24:29f And The Powers of the Heaven Will Be Shaken
(καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται)
24:10c And Will Betray One Another
(καὶ ἀλλήλους παραδώσουσιν)
24:30a And Then
24:10d And Hate One Another
(καὶ μισήσουσιν ἀλλήλους)
24:30b the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky
(φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ υἱοῦ
τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν οὐρανῷ)
24:11a And Many False Prophets Will Arise
(καὶ πολλοὶ ψευδοπροφῆται ἐγερθήσονται)
24:30c And Then
24:11b And Will Mislead Many
(καὶ πλανήσουσιν πολλούς)
24:30d All the Tribes of the Earth Will Mourn and See the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of the heaven with
great power and glory
(κόψονται πᾶσαι αἱφυλαὶ τῆς γῆς
καὶ ὄψονται τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ανθρώπου
ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ
μετὰ δυνάμεως καὶ δόξης πολλῆς)
24:12a Because Lawlessness Is
(καὶ διὰ τὸ πληθυνθῆναι τὴν ἀνομίαν)
24:31a And He Will Send Forth His Angels
with a Great Trumpet
(καὶ ἀποστελεῖ τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ
μετὰ σάλπιγγος μεγάλης)
24:12b Most People’s Love Will Grow Cold
(ψυγήσεται ἡ ἀγάπη τῶν πολλῶν)
24:31b And They Will Gather His Elect
from the Four Winds, from One End of the Sky to the Other.
(καὶ ἐπισυνάξουσιν τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺςαὐτοῦ ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ἀνέμων ἀπ’ ἄκρων οὐρανῶν ἕως [τῶν] ἄκρων αὐτῶν)
24:13a But The One Who Endures
(ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας)
24:32a Now Learn the Parable from the Fig Tree
(Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν)
MA, Revelation Command
24:13b To The End
24:32b When its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near
(“ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος”)
TEA and TAA
24:13c Will Be Saved
24:33a So, you too, when you see all these things
(οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς, ὅταν ἴδητε πάντα ταῦτα)
24:14a This Gospel of Kingdom Will Be Preached to the Whole World
(καὶ κηρυχθήσεται τοῦτο τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ)
MA, Revelation Command
24:14b As a Testimony To
All the Nations
(εἰς μαρτύριον πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν)
24:33c that He is near, right at the door
(“ὅτι ἐγγύς ἐστιν ἐπὶ θύραις”)
24:14c And Then
24:34 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things place
(ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ
ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη ἕως ἂν πάντα ταῦτα γένηται)
24:14d the End
24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
(Ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ παρελεύσεται,
οἱ δὲ λόγοι μου οὐ μὴ παρέλθωσιν.)
24:14e Will Come
24:36 But concerning that day and hour
no one knows, not even the angels of
heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
(Περὶ δὲ τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης καὶ ὥρας οὐδεὶς οἶδεν, οὐδὲ οἱ ἄγγελοι τῶν οὐρανῶν οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός, εἰ μὴ ὁ πατὴρ μόνος.)
24:37 For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
(Ὥσπερ γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ Νῶε, οὕτως ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.)
24:38 For as in those days before the
flood, they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark
(ὡς γὰρ ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις [ἐκείναις] ταῖς πρὸ τοῦ κατακλυσμοῦ τρώγοντες καὶ πίνοντες, γαμοῦντες καὶ γαμίζοντες, ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας εἰσῆλθεν Νῶε εἰς τὴν κιβωτόν)
24:39 and they did not understand until
the flood came and took them all away;
so will the appearing of the Son of Man be
(καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν ἕως ἦλθεν ὁ κατακλυσμὸς καὶ ἦρεν ἅπαντας, οὕτως ἔσται [καὶ] ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου)
24:40b there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.
(δύο ἔσονται ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ, εἷς παραλαμβάνεται καὶ εἷς ἀφίεται)
24:41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
(δύο ἀλήθουσαι ἐν τῷ μύλῳ, μία παραλαμβάνεται καὶ μία ἀφίεται.)
24:42-43 Therefore Be on the Alert
MA, Revelation Command
24:44a Thief in the Night Illustration
For This Reason You Also Must Be Ready
(διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι)
MA, Revelation Command
24:44b For the Son of Man Is Coming at an Hour When You Do Not Think
(ὅτι ἧ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται)
24:45-51 Faithful Slave Illustration
Faithful Slave Put in Charge of All His Possessions
Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing
When He Comes
Evil Slave Cut in Pieces and
Assigned Place with the Hypocrites;
place of Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth
25:1-13 Ten Virgins Illustration
Foolish Virgins Took No Oil
Wise Virgins Took Oil
Must Be Ready When Bridegroom Comes
Be on the Alert, therefore,
MA, Revelation Command
For You Do Not
(ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε)
the Day Nor the Hour
(τὴν ἡμέραν οὐδὲ τὴν ὥραν)
25:14-30 Talents Illustration
Now after a Long Time
(μετὰ δὲ πολὺν χρόνον)
The Master Came and Settled Accounts with Them
(ἔρχεται ὁ κύριος τῶν δούλων
ἐκείνων καὶ συναίρει λόγον μετ’ αὐτῶν)
In this study, I first intended to trace out the chronology of Matthew 24:1-Matthew 25:46. As I studied the passage, I noticed that Jesus provided a Key to Prophecy. I also found many interesting details concerning the passages at issue. Therefore, I will endeavor to stick mainly to a discussion of the chronology, although I will add a few notes I found of interest. Like other chapters in the Bible, God provided a key to understanding the future in Matthew 24:1-Matthew 25:30 which unlocks an outline of prophetic events through the end of the age. The evidence will show that timeline follows in order both the questions from the disciples and the verses in the chapters. Using the Key to Prophecy, we may understand many other prophetic passages in the Bible and resolve other prophetic issues because Jesus provided a timeline of events. I have used a blue highlighter below to outline all the events Jesus described as they occur in consecutive order.
Question One: When Will
These Things Happen?
Beginning of Birth Pangs
As Jesus answered this first question (When will these things happen?), He drew the attention of the disciples to the temple buildings standing right before them. Then, Jesus predicted the total destruction of the temple. Jesus used the three questions of the disciples to present a prophetic timeline of events in the future. The entire discourse follows in consecutive order, just as the three questions from the disciples followed a consecutive order.
Jesus began His answer to the first question with a command: “See to it” (Βλέπετε). Jesus did not discuss abstract theology, but provided clear directions for living today. Jesus linked the future to our every day life. Jesus disclosed the future with an emphasis upon Godly living. When will these things about the destruction of the temple take place? Jesus answered with a list of things to happen first. Jesus started with commands to avoid certain temptations.
Jesus described the initial period as a time of birth pangs. Just as a pregnant female begins to feel sudden, sharp pains signaling the beginning of childbirth, so Jesus provided specific commands and signs for the disciples regarding this period of birth pangs. He also described temptations facing the disciples.
Matthew 24:4 Temptation One: Misled: See To It No One Misleads You. Jesus taught His disciples the significance of future events and also gave them specific commands, referred to as Mathete Analytics (MA in the chart above). Because many people will come and try to mislead the general population, including believers, Jesus commanded: see to it that no one misleads you ( Βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ). Many will come and try to mislead the disciples saying they are the Christ and come in His name. Jesus commanded His disciples not to fall for such claims. Notice how Jesus reveals the future and answers their questions in the context of commands to avoid temptation. Many will be tempted and the fall into the sin of following false Christs.
Matthew 24:5 Temptation Two: Fear. Wars and Rumors of Wars. The disciples will hear about wars and rumors of war. Jesus commanded: See that your are not frightened (ὁρᾶτε, μὴ θροεῖσθε–See Mark 8:15: ” Ὁρᾶτε, βλέπετε”). Though wars and rumors of war abound, Jesus commanded us not be frightened by such conflicts.
24: 4-6 But Not Yet The End. Jesus explained that end was not yet (ἀλλ ‘οὔπω ἐστὶν τὸ τέλος).
24: 7-8 All These Things Are The Beginning of Birth Pangs. All these events were merely birth pangs (πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων) before the Tribulation would begin. Those birth pangs included many signs, detailed in the text.
Summary of Signs for the Beginning of Birth Pangs
♦ Many False Christs
♦ Many People Misled
♦ Rumors of war
♦ Many People Frightened
♦ Nation Rises Against Nation
♦ Kingdom Rises Against Kingdom
♦ Famines in Many Places
♦ Earthquakes in Many Places
After the beginning of birth pangs, then comes the Tribulation.
24:9 Then They Will Deliver You. After the birth pangs, then evil men will deliver believers to tribulation (τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν). Notice that the timing word τότε describes consecutive time here. After the birth pangs, specific events take place.
♦ Evil men will deliver believers to tribulation.
♦ Evil men will kill believers.
♦ All nations will hate believers because of the name of Jesus.
24:10-12 Fall Away, Betray, Hate, False Prophets, Mislead, Lawlessness, Love Grows Cold. Following the birth pangs (καὶ τότε), as the Tribulation starts, many people will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. Notice the many and most terms. From Daniel 9:26-27, we know that a week of years (seven years) will be the time period for the Tribulation. During that time, the prince who is to come will make a covenant with the man, but in the middle of the week, that is at the mid-point of the Tribulation, he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering, and on the wing of abomination one will come who makes desolate will come, until a complete desolation is poured out on the one who makes desolate. Likewise, Revelation 12:6 provides that woman fled into the wilderness for one-thousand two hundred and sixty days which divided by 360 days of the Jewish calendar, equals three and a half years. Furthermore, Revelation 12:14 says that the woman was nourished in the wilderness for a time, times, and half a time, which also equals three and a half, concurring with three and half years. Therefore, we know that during the last of half of the Tribulation lasts three and a half years. All of the numbers from Daniel, Matthew, 2 Thessalonians and Revelation all harmonize at seven years for the total Tribulation period, and then at the middle of the seven years, the abomination of desolation will be set up, and the one who makes desolate takes his place in the temple. The devil will be thrown down to earth and the Great Tribulation (last half of he Tribulation) will begin.
♦ Many people will fall away
♦ Many people will betray one another
♦ Many people will hate one another
♦ Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many
♦ Lawlessness will increase
♦ Most people’s love will grow cold
24:13 Saved. But the One Enduring to End Will Be Saved (ὁ δὲ ὑπομείνας εἰς τέλος οὗτος σωθήσεται).
♦ Some will endure to the end. See Zechariah 13:8, one third of Israel will be survive, although they will be refined with fire, and tested as gold.
♦ They will be saved.
24:14a Gospel of the Kingdom Will Be Preached to the Whole World (καὶ κηρυχθήσεται τοῦτο τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ).
♦ The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to the whole world during the Tribulation.
♦ God will send an angel to preach the Gospel to those who live on earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people (Revelation 14:6).
24:14b And Then the End Will Come (καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος). Please keep in mind the consecutive nature of events in all the items listed in Matthew 24, including verses 10-12. With these words, Jesus has finished His answer to the first question. The temple will be destroyed before the end of the Tribulation.
♦ The end will come after the birth pangs and after the Tribulation.
♦ The temple will be destroyed before the end of the Tribulation.
Question Two: What Will Be
The Sign of Your Coming?
Jesus responded next to the question about the sign of your coming. This question focuses upon “the sign” and the coming of the Son of Man.
24:15a Therefore When You See. The answer to the Second Question, What Will Be the Sign of Your Coming? (τὸ σημεῖον τῆς σῆς παρουσίας), begins with Matthew 24:15. Notice that the disciples were looking for signs of the coming of Jesus. The time marker here designates that the end is about to come (καὶ τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος) (Matthew 24:14). Jesus said when you see (Οταν οὖν ἴδητε–temporal coordination of action), marking the first sign of His coming.
♦ The end is about to come
24:15b Abomination of Desolation. The first sign of His coming will be the Abomination of Desolation (τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως), which all will see standing in the Holy Place. Jesus intended for the readers to understand the reference here. We know from Daniel 9:27 that one who makes desolate comes on the wing of desolation (עַ֨ל כְּנַ֤ף שִׁקּוּצִים֙ מְשֹׁמֵ֔ם). Furthermore, the son of destruction will take his place in the temple and display himself as being God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
24:16-18 Then Those Are In Judea Must Flee. Jesus then explained that when the Abomination of Desolation stands in the Holy Place, then the people in Judea must flee (τότε οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ φευγέτωσαν). People on the housetop must not go down to get things out of the house. Likewise, those in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. Jesus warns people that they must flee immediately.
♦ Abomination of Desolation stands in the holy place
♦ People of Judea must flee immediately
♦ People on the housetop must not go down to get things out of the house
♦ People in the field must not return to get their cloaks
24:19-20 In Those Days. In those days (ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις) described the days immediately following the appearance of Abomination of Desolation in the Holy Place. During those days, woe to those who are pregnant or nursing babies. Instead, Jesus taught that people should pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. The people need to flee quickly and farther than a Sabbath Day’s journey.
♦ Days immediately following the appearance of the Abomination of Desolation
♦ Woe to those people who are pregnant or nursing
♦ Pray that your flight will not be in winter or on a Sabbath
24:21 For Then There Will Be a Great Tribulation. Following the Abomination of the Desolation, then begins the Great Tribulation (the last 36 months of the Tribulation) (ἔσται γὰρ τότε θλῖψις μεγάλη–the only only occurrence of γὰρ τότε). Since the beginning of the world, nothing compares to the the Great Tribulation, nor will anything in the future.
♦ Great Tribulation (the last 36 months of the Tribulation) begins with the appearance of the Abomination of Desolation.
♦ Great Tribulation like nothing before it or after it.
24:22a Unless Those Days Shortened. If God had not shortened the days of the Great Tribulation (καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐκολοβώθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι), then no flesh would have survived.
♦ God shortened the days of the Great Tribulation or no flesh would have survived
24:22b Those Days Will Be Cut Short. God cut short those days (κολοβωθήσονται αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖνα) for the sake of the elect.
♦ God shortened the days of the Great Tribulation for the sake of the elect (believers).
24:23a Then If Anyone Says. Then if anyone says (τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ). Jesus used a series of “behold” statements to provide warnings about people falsely claiming that He had returned.
24:24b Behold, Here Is the Christ or There. When someone says, “Behold, Here is the Christ (Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ χριστός), or There (ἤ· Ὧδε),” do not believe him (μὴ πιστεύσητε). For many false-Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and great wonders (δώσουσιν σημεῖα μεγάλα καὶ τέρατα) (see Sections Two and Three of this link) so that would be misled, if able, also the elect.
24: 25 Behold, I Have Told You Beforehand. Jesus then issued another warning, saying, “Behold, I have told you beforehand” ( ἰδοὺ προείρηκα ὑμῖν).
24:26a Behold, He is in the Wilderness. So, if anyone says to you, “Behold, He is in the wilderness” (Ἰδοὺ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἐστίν), do not go out.
24:26b Behold, He is in the Inner Rooms. If anyone says, “Behold, He is in the wilderness (Ἰδοὺ ἐν τοῖς ταμείοις), do not believe them.
24:27 The Coming of the Son of Man. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes into the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be (ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου). See Appendix 5 concerning the term “παρουσία.” The exact phrase “the coming of the Son of Man ” only occurs in Matthew 24:37 and Matthew 24:39. Many passages provide insight into Coming of the Son of Man, including the following events: (1) the resurrection of those who are Christ’s at His coming (ἔπειτα οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ) (1 Corinthians 15:23); (2) Paul described the Thessalonians as our hope, joy and crown of exaltation in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming (ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῇ αὐτοῦ παρουσίᾳ) (1 Thessalonians 2:19); (3) Jesus will come with all His saints ( ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ μετὰ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων αὐτοῦ); (4) the saints will not shrink away in shame at His coming (μὴ αἰσχυνθῶμεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ) (1 John 2:28). We should always remember that the coming of the Lord is near (ὅτι ἡ παρουσία τοῦ κυρίου ἤγγικεν) (James 5:8). Before Jesus comes, the man of lawlessness, who will work according to Satan, will come (οὗ ἐστιν ἡ παρουσία κατ’ ἐνέργειαν τοῦ Σατανᾶ) (1 Thessalonians 2:9).
♦ Then if anyone says
♦ Behold, there is the Christ or Here
♦ Do not believe them
♦ Many false-Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and great wonders.
♦ Many will be misled, even the elect if possible.
♦ Behold, I have told you beforehand
♦ Behold, he is in the wilderness
♦ Do not go out
♦ Behold, he is in the inner rooms
♦ Do not believe them
♦ Like lightning flashing from east to west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
24:28 Corpse and Vultures. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Jesus likened the destruction of His enemies to corpses lying on the ground with vultures gathering for the feast. In short, death and vultures eat the corpses of the armies slain by by Jesus at His coming. See Ezekiel 39:4 and Revelation 19:17-18.
♦ Jesus is about to return.
♦ Jesus is about to slay His enemies, including all their armies.
♦ Corpses will litter the ground.
♦ The vultures and other birds will come to feast upon the carcasses of the slain.
24:29a Immediately after The Tribulation of Those Days. Jesus provided another very clear time marker: “Immediately after the Tribulation of those days: (Εὐθέως δὲ μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐκείνων). Jesus identified the events immediately following the period of seven years He called the Tribulation, with the last three and one half years identified as the Great Tribulation.
24:29b The Sun Will Be Darkened. Jesus described a series of events after the Tribulation. The first event is that the sun will be darkened (“ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται“).
24:29c And the Moon Will Not Give Its Light. The second event is that the moon will not give its light (“καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς“). Please notice that the conjunction is a simple “and” (“καὶ”), denoting contemporaneous time here.
24:29d The Stars Will Fall from The Sky. The third event is that the stars will fall from the sky (“καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες πεσοῦνται ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ”). The simple “and” (“καὶ”) indicating simultaneous time. Also, the stars (perhaps asteroids) fall from outer space, and so the better translation may be heaven.
24:29d The Powers of the Heavens Shall Be Shaken. The fourth event is the powers of the heavens will be shaken (“καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται”). Matthew again used the simple “and” (“καὶ”) indicating simultaneous time.
♦The sun will be darkened.
♦ The moon will not give its light.
♦ The stars will fall from the heaven.
♦ The powers of the heavens will be shaken.
24:30a And Then. Matthew again used the phrase “and then” (“καὶ τότε”), meaning subsequent action. As the Tribulation closes, with the vultures about to gather, a sign appears in the sky. That sign is the Sign of the Son of Man, signaling the close of the Tribulation period, and the appearance of Jesus, the Son of Man.
24:30b The Sign of the Son of Man. Jesus prophesied that “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky . . . .” (“φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν οὐρανῷ”).
24:30b And Then. The next time marker is “and then” (“καὶ τότε”), indicating subsequent action. Immediately after the appearing in the sky of the Sign of the Son of Man, a series of events will unfold.
24:30c All the Tribes of the Earth Will Mourn. All the tribes of the earth will mourn, because they have seen the Sign of the Son of Man in the sky.
24:d And. Matthew used the conjunction “and” (“καὶ “), indicating simultaneous time.
24:e They Will See the Son of Man Coming on the Clouds of the Sky with Power and Great Glory. All the tribes of the earth shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (καὶ ὄψονται τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ μετὰδυνάμεως καὶ δόξης
♦ The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky
♦ All the tribes of the earth will mourn
♦ They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
24:31a And. Matthew used the conjunction “and” (“καὶ “), indicating simultaneous time.
24:31b He Will Send Forth. Jesus will send forth His angels (“ἀποστελεῖ τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ).
24:31c Great Trumpet. The angels go forth with a great trumpet (“μετὰ σάλπιγγος μεγάλης”).
24:31d And. Matthew used the conjunction “and” (“καὶ “), indicating simultaneous time.
24:31e They Will Gather His Elect from the Four Winds, from one end of the sky to the other. The angels will gather the elect of Jesus from the four winds, from the four corners of the earth (“καὶ ἐπισυνάξουσιν τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ἀνέμων ἀπ’ ἄκρων οὐρανῶν ἕως [τῶν] ἄκρων αὐτῶν”). (See Jeremiah 23:3; Isaiah 11:11-12, 16; Jeremiah 31:7-8; 32:37 God will gather Israel from the four corners of the earth). See Matthew 8:11. Many come from the east and the west.
♦ Jesus will send forth His angels.
♦ Great Trumpet will sound.
♦ The angels will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
24:32-35 The Parable of the Fig Tree. Jesus made teaching points throughout Matthew 24 and 25, referred to as Mathete Analytics (MA in the chart above).
24:32 Now Learn the Parable of the Fig Tree. Jesus used the fig tree parable to teach His disciples.
24:32a Now Learn. Jesus said: “Now learn” (“μάθετε”–imperative). Jesus not only explained the future, He also told us to learn how the future impacts our lives today.
24:32b The Parable of the Fig Tree. Jesus commanded us to learn from the parable of the fig tree (Ἀπὸ τῆς συκῆς μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν). See the similar phrases in Matthew 9:13: learn about “I Desire Compassion;” see also Matthew 11:29: “Learn from Me.”
24:32c When. When (“ὅταν”). This term means contemporaneous time here. Here, “when” also serves as a trigger to learn something.
24:32d Its Branch Has Already Become Tender and Puts Forth Its Leaves. The fig tree parable emphasized a time: “you see its branch has already become tender and puts forth it leaves” “(ἤδη ὁ κλάδος αὐτῆς γένηται ἁπαλὸς καὶ τὰ φύλλα ἐκφύῃ).” The fig tree parable links the events described in the previous verses with the coming of Jesus. It does not refer to the birth of Israel in 1948 or any other time because the political nation of Israel is not in view in this passage. Jesus gave answers to the three questions about the timeline of God.
24:32e You Know. Jesus said “you know” (“γινώσκετε”). Jesus wanted His disciples to learn and to know. Learning and knowing go hand in hand. Then, what you know determines what you do. So when you see the events described above, then you know that Jesus is coming soon.
24:32f That Summer is Near. Jesus used the fig tree parable to give events leading up to His return to the Mount of Olives: “that summer is near” (“ὅτι ἐγγὺς τὸ θέρος”). This “ὅτι ” clause identifies the coming event, a product of what you see, leading to what you know is near. Just as the fig branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, and you know that summer is near, so also when you see all the events described in the surrounding verses, then you know the coming of Jesus is near.
24:33a So, You Too. Jesus now interprets and applies the parable of the fig tree with “So, you too” (“οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς”).
24:33b When. When (“ὅταν”). This term means contemporaneous time here. Here, it means learn now from the parable of the fig tree.
24:33c You See All These Things, Recognize that He Is Near, at the Door.” Jesus revealed another point to to learn: “When you see all these things, know that He is near, at the door” (“ἴδητε πάντα ταῦτα, γινώσκετε ὅτι ἐγγύς ἐστιν ἐπὶ θύραις”). His disciples will know He is near, at the door, when they see these events.
24:34a Truly I say to You. Jesus employed the common phrase: “Truly I say to you” (“ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν”).
24:34b That This Generation Will Not Pass Away until All These Signs Take Place. Jesus then referenced the future generation that would see all the signs taking place with “This generation” (“ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη”). It will not pass away until all these things take place: “that this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (“ὅτι οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἡ γενεὰ αὕτη ἕως ἂν πάντα ταῦτα γένηται”). See Matthew 23:35 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἥξει ταῦτα πάντα ἐπὶ τὴν γενεὰν ταύτην); see Matthew 11:16, this generation (“τὴν γενεὰν ταύτην”), referring to the children in the market place indicating the present generation hearing Jesus speak during His incarnate ministry. The generation of Matthew 24:34 may be identified by the tie back to Matthew 24:33, “when you see” and “in those days.” In Matthew 24:19, the same phrase occurs: “in those days (ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις), referring to the future generation enduring the Tribulation. See also another use of “those days” (αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖνα) in Matthew 24:22, also referring to the Tribulation period. Jesus limited the time frame for all the events to one generation. Furthermore, he used a double negative “οὐ μὴ” (see οὐ μὴ in Matthew 15:6 regarding not honoring fathers) for emphasis, meaning that future generation in the Tribulation would not pass away until all those events occurred.
24:35 Heaven and Earth Will Pass Away, But My Words Will Not Pass Away. Jesus emphasized that both “heaven and earth will pass away” (“Ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ παρελεύσεται”). In contrast, the words of Jesus will never pass away (“οἱ δὲ λόγοι μου οὐ μὴ παρέλθωσιν”). Jesus again used a double negative (“οὐ μὴ”), indicating no possible chance that His words would pass away. Jesus meant that the heaven and earth will end, and a new heavens and new earth will come one day. But, His prophecies and all His words would never pass away, they will remain forever. Some people may seize upon this verse and claim that Matthew 23 is not chronological because the world ends in Matthew 24:35. Such arguments oppose the context of the verse. Jesus presented a Mathete (learn) section (Matthew 24:32-41) here, with an illustration about heaven and earth passing away, and not placing that “passing away” as an event on the time line of Matthew 24 at this point. He described heaven and earth passing away in contrast to the eternality of His words, and specifically, His prophecies which always come true and remain forever. Jesus likewise in this Mathete section described Noah and his day, without placing those events on the timeline of Matthew 24 at this point. Jesus employed illustrations from various parts of the Bible to illustrate Mathete points, not to add those illustrations to the timeline of Matthew 24.
♦ The Parable of the Fig Tree.
♦ The generation seeing all the events above (during the Tribulation) will not pass away until those events come to pass.
♦ The words of Jesus will never pass away.
24:36a But Concerning. Jesus used the phrase “But concerning” (“Περὶ δὲ”). He continued His Mathete (Now Learn) section, directing attention to the day and hour of the appearing of the Son of Man. The “δὲ” here functions as a mild adversative. Jesus had disclosed in His Fig Tree Parable that His disciples should learn the parable so that they would know the events leading to HIs return. Having provided certainty regarding the events leading up to His return to earth, He then tacked away to revealing that only God the Father has knowledge of the exact day and hour of the appearing of Jesus as He comes back to earth to reign. He then illustrated this new tack with Noah and his time.
24:36:b That Day and Hour. Jesus focused upon the day of the appearing (“ἡ παρουσία”) with the words “that day and hour” (“τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης καὶ ὥρας”–Jesus referred to the previous reference of the day of His appearing). Jesus distinguished the day (“τῆς ἡμέρας”) of His appearing from the hour (“ὥρας”) of His appearing. Because God inspired the words of the original autographs, we must too must seek to understand each word. The day of the appearing of Jesus refers to a longer time frame. The hour of His appearing describes a particular, shorter time within the day of His appearing.
24:36c No One Knows, Not even the Angels of Heaven, Nor the Son, but the Father Alone. Jesus revealed that only God the Father (“ὁ πατὴρ μόνος”) knew the day and hour of the appearing of Jesus. One may question how Jesus, God in the flesh, did not know that day and hour if He was omniscient God, knowing everything. The answer remains clear: Jesus was both truly human and truly God. As a human, He had limited knowledge and emptied Himself of the independent exercise of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:6-8). At times Jesus spoke as a human, prophesying about the future as God the Father gave Him the words to speak. Jesus repeatedly described what His audience did know with the phrase “you know that” (“γινώσκετε ὅτι”) in Matthew 24:32, 33, and 43). Compare the lack of knowledge in Matthew 24:43 of “But know the same, that if the head of the house knew” (“Ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε ὅτι εἰ ᾔδει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης”) referring to the time the thief would come and steal.
24:37a For like. Jesus said: “For like” (“Ὥσπερ γὰρ”). That phrase provides another part of the Mathete section. Jesus used illustrations from well-known passages in the Bible to illustrate His points about the appearing of the Son of Man. Here, Jesus directed attention to the days of Noah.
24:37b The Days of Noah. Jesus looked back at the days of Noah (“αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ Νῶε”). Jesus intended to use the familiar account of Noah to show how destruction came suddenly upon the world. See 2 Peter 3:3-6.
24:37c So Also Will Be. This phrase, “so also will be” (“οὕτως ἔσται”) indicates the similarity between two events: (1) the days of Noah and (2) the appearing of the Son of Man. As the supreme teacher, Jesus used perfect illustrations, building upon the old to explain the new.
24:37d The Appearing of the Son of Man. Jesus then elaborated on the appearing of the Son of Man (“ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου”) and how that future appearing had some things in common with the days of Noah.
24:38a For As. Jesus used the phrase “for as” (“ὡς γὰρ”). This conjunction ties the verses together.
24:38b In Those Days. Again, Jesus used the phrase “in those days” (“ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις [ἐκείναις]”) to describe a particular similarity between the future day of the appearing of the Son of Man with the days of Noah.
24:38c Before the Flood. Jesus pointed to the coming flood as one point of similarity. God Intentionally destroyed the world during the days of Noah (2 Peter 3:6), because every intent of the thoughts of man was only evil continually (“כָל־יֵ֨צֶר֙ מַחְשְׁבֹ֣ת לִבֹּ֔ו רַ֥ק רַ֖ע כָּל־הַיֹּֽום“). God was sorry that He had made man on the the earth, and was grieved in His heart (Genesis 6:6).
24:38d They Were Eating and Drinking, Marrying and Giving in Marriage, until the Day that Noah Entered the Ark. Jesus then highlighted other similarities between the days of Noah and the day of the appearing of the Son of Man. Jesus listed the things they were doing as normal events: (1) eating and drinking; and (2) marrying and giving in marriage. Those normal events continued until the day when Noah entered the Ark (ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας εἰσῆλθεν Νῶε εἰς τὴν κιβωτόν”). When Noah entered the Ark, God began to destroy the world; moments before the judgment began, they were eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage. Notice everyone outside of Noah’s ark was destroyed by the judgment of God upon their evil. He suddenly destroyed that world by water flooding the entire earth.
24:39a And They Did Not Understand. The evil people of Noah’s day did not know (“οὐκ ἔγνωσαν”). Caught up in all their evil, living their lives as normal, the evil people had no idea that God’s judgment was coming with supreme force.
24:39b Until the Flood Came. Until the flood came (ἕως ἦλθεν ὁ κατακλυσμὸς), the evil people did not know that judgment was coming. Then the flooding rains came and the judgment of destruction had begun.
24:39c Took Them All Away. The flood came and took them all away (“καὶ ἦρεν ἅπαντας“). They were swept away in the flooding judgment of God upon the earth and its inhabitants. We learn more about the word “took them away” in other passages. In Matthew 9:6, Jesus healed a lame man and told him to “take up your bed” (“ἆρόν σου τὴν κλίνην“) and go home. In Matthew 17:27, Jesus directed the Peter to take up the first fish (“πρῶτον ἰχθὺν ἆρον”) that he found in the sea. The idea of picking up and taking away characterized the judgment of flooding rain taking up and sweeping away the evil people.
24:39d So Will Be. Jesus used the phrase “so will be” (“οὕτως ἔσται“). Just as the judgment came swiftly upon all the people outside the ark, so also judgment will come upon all the evil inhabitants upon the earth. Jesus linked the sudden, unforeseen judgment on the evil people in Noah’s day to His appearing at the end of the Tribulation.
24:39e The Appearing of the Son of Man. Jesus often described Himself as the Son of Man. At the end of the Tribulation, the Son of Man will appear (“ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦτοῦ ἀνθρώπου”). At that time, Jesus will set His feet on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4; Revelation 19). Please compare Luke 17:22-37 where Jesus described the removal of the believers (the wheat in The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares–Matthew 13) by the angels from the earth, leaving only the dead bodies of the unbelievers behind (the vultures gather to the dead bodies of unbelievers). Christ kills the unbelievers at His coming to earth, leaving their bodies behind. Luke 17 concerns the gathering of the souls and spirits from the dead bodies to appear at the Millennial Throne of Christ. Matthew 24:39-41 describes the removal by the angels of the unbelievers (the Tares of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares–Matthew 13). After being gathered by the angels, the saved and the unsaved appear before Jesus as He sits upon His glorious, Millennial Throne. The Tares are not raised bodily at this time, but they are sent off to Hades to await the Great White Throne Judgment and their final destination of the Lake of Fire. The believers gathered into the barn of Jesus also appear at the Millennial Throne and inherit the Kingdom of the Father on earth prepared for them. The believers apparently retain their physical bodies and reign with Jesus in the Millennial Kingdom.
24:40a Then. Jesus used the term “then” (“τότε”), describing consecutive time. In this case, Jesus had just finished His Mathete section and will continue with His timeline of events.
24:40b There Will Be Two Men in the Field. Jesus described two men in a field (“δύο ἔσονται ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ“).
24:40c And. Please notice that the conjunction is a simple “and” (“καὶ”), denoting contemporaneous time here.
24:40c One Will Be Taken. One of those two men will be taken (“μία παραλαμβάνεται“). In this context, when Jesus appears, judgment begins swiftly and the evil people will be taken away. Consider the explanation of the parable of the tares Jesus provided in Matthew 13:36-43. There Jesus revealed that the Son of Man sowed good seed in the world. The good seed was the sons of the kingdom. Then came the devil who sowed tares, who are the sons of the evil. Until the end of the age, the good seed and the tares grow together in the world. Then, at the end of the age, when Jesus appears, He sends forth His angels who will gather the tares (the evil people) out of the world, and they will be burned with fire. Jesus further explained that, at the end of the age (the end of the Tribulation), He will send forth His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into furnace of fire (see Afterlife). Jesus will discuss the events attending His appearing in Matthew 25:31-46. Therefore, in Matthew 24:40, the person taken out of the field (notice the similarity to the field of the parable of the wheat and the tares) will be taken away to judgment.
24:40c One Will Be Left. Of the two men in the field, one will be left (“εἷς ἀφίεται”). The one left will be a son of the kingdom, ready to inherit the kingdom with the appearing of Jesus.
24:41a Two Women Will Be Grinding at the Mill. Like the two men in the field, two women will be grinding at the mill (“δύο ἀλήθουσαι ἐν τῷ μύλῳ”).
24:41b One Will Be Taken. Next Jesus described two women in the field. One will be taken (“μία παραλαμβάνεται”). Again, the one left will be taken away in judgment.
24:41c And. Please notice that the conjunction is a simple “and” (“καὶ”), denoting contemporaneous time here.
24:41d One Will Be Left. One will be left (“μία ἀφίετα”). The woman left in the field will inherit the kingdom when Jesus appears and she joins Him in His Millennial Kingdom.
♦ No one knows the day and hour of the appearing of Jesus.
♦ They will be eating and drinking.
♦ They will marrying and giving in marriage.
♦ They do not know that judgment is coming swiftly and suddenly when the Son of Man appears.
♦ One man in the field will be taken away to judgment.
♦ One man in the field will be left to inherit the kingdom when the Son of Man appears to reign in His Millennial Kingdom.
♦ One woman will be grinding at the mill and she will be taken away to judgment.
♦ One woman will be grinding at the mill and will be left to inherit the kingdom when the Son of Man appears to reign in His Millennial Kingdom.
24:42-51 Mathete Section: The Thief in the Night and the Faithful and Sensible Slave. In this section, Jesus commanded His disciples to learn about the two kinds of people who await the return of the Lord. The first group are the disciples and they obey the Lord and watch. They know the Lord will return at an unexpected hour and they do His will until He appears. When the Lord appears, He blesses His disciples and puts them in charge of all His possessions. The second group are evil slaves who say in their hearts that the Lord will not be appearing soon, and so beat their fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards. When the Lord appears at an hour they do not expect, He cuts their bodies in pieces and assigns their souls a place in Hades, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. We can now turn to the individual illustrations Jesus used to make powerful revelations of the future and the different outcomes for good and evil people. Jesus revealed the future with present commands about living until He appears in the future. Jesus began His introduction to the two groups by linking His command to “watch” to the fact that the disciples did not know the day and hour of His appearing in the future.
24:42-44 The Thief in the Night Illustration
24:42a Therefore. Jesus used the term “therefore” (“οὖν”) to signal a point of application for His day and our day.
24:42b Be on the Alert. Jesus issued a command: “Watch” (“Γρηγορεῖτε”). Jesus used this term several times with His disciples: Matthew 24:42, 25:13, 26:41. He commanded them to stay alert and watch carefully.
24:42c Because. Matthew used the term “because” (“ὅτι”). This term introduces the focus of the command to be on the alert. Because no one knows the day and hour when Jesus will appear, everyone should watch carefully and be on the alert for His appearing.
24:43a But This You Know. In contrast to not knowing when the Son of Man would appear in the future, “This you know” (“Ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε”).
24:43b That. Matthew used the same term “that” (“ὅτι”) again, but with different meaning. Now the term introduces a hypothetical that illustrates why the disciples should be alert and watching carefully.
24:43c If the Head of the House Had Known at What Time of the Night the Thief Was Coming, He Would Have Been on the Alert and Would Not Have Allowed His House To Be Broken Into. Jesus illustrated the need to watch carefully by likening it to a thief coming: “if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (“εἰ ᾔδει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης ποίᾳ φυλακῇ ὁ κλέπτης ἔρχεται, ἐγρηγόρησεν ἂν καὶ οὐκ ἂν εἴασεν διορυχθῆναι τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ). Jesus assumes as true that no one would allow the thief to break into the house, but you must know when he is coming if you are not going to watch all night. In this case, the disciples must watch because they do not know when Jesus will appear.
24:44a Through This. Jesus frequently used “through this” (“διὰ τοῦτο”) to provide an explanation. This phrase ties two things together, like a hose connecting two water tanks.
24:44b Also You Must Be Prepared. Jesus commanded the disciples: “you also be ready” (“καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι”) for the appearing of the Son of Man. First, they must watch. Second, they must be ready.
24:44c For. Jesus used the “for” (“ὅτι”). This provides the reason for the command to be ready.
24:44d The Son of man Is Coming at an Hour When You Do Not Think. The reason they must be ready: “the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not think” (“ἧ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται”). When the Son of Man appears, He will come at an hour they do not anticipate.
24:45-51 The Faithful and Sensible Slave Illustration
24:45 Who Then Is the Faithful and Sensible Slave Whom His Lord Put in Charge of His Household To Give Them Their Food at the Proper Time? Jesus asked the best questions and made the best points using those questions. After issuing the commands to watch and to be ready, Jesus then turned to the duties of the faithful and sensible disciples as they await the Lord’s return: “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his lord put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?” (“Τίς ἄρα ἐστὶν ὁ πιστὸς δοῦλος καὶ φρόνιμος ὃν κατέστησεν ὁ κύριος ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκετείας αὐτοῦ τοῦ δοῦναι αὐτοῖς τὴν τροφὴν ἐν καιρῷ;”). I prefer to translate “ὁ κύριος” as lord (not master) because it aligns so well with the same term used frequently of Jesus as Lord. Jesus stressed the qualities of “the faithful slave” (“ὁ πιστὸς δοῦλος”) and “thoughtful” (φρόνιμος”). I prefer the term “thoughtful” because it shows the link to “thoughts.” The New American Standard Translators confused things by translating another Greek word, “σώφρονα,” as sensible in Titus 1:8 and other passages. To avoid confusion, I will use “thoughtful” to translate φρόνιμος. Jesus also emphasized the duty to continue doing his Lord’s work in the Lord’s absence, which included providing food for the other people in the household.
24:46 Blessed Is that Slave Whom His Lord Finds So Doing When He Appears. Jesus drew attention to what the lord finds in his household when he returns. Jesus said: “Blessed is that slave, whom his lord finds so doing having come” (“μακάριος ὁ δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ὃν ἐλθὼν ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ εὑρήσει οὕτως ποιοῦντα”). Jesus introduced the concept of His reward (“blessed”–“μακάριος”) for faithful service before His appearing.
24:47 Truly I Say to You That He Will Put Him in Charge of All His Possessions. Jesus reminded me of Joseph and Daniel in their faithful service. Not only will Jesus reward the faithful and sensible slave, but He will also increase the scope of the slaves duties to include all His possessions: “Truly I say to you he will put him in charge of all his possessions” (“ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐπὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ὑπάρχουσιν αὐτοῦ καταστήσει αὐτόν”).
24:48 But If That Evil Slave Says in His Heart, “My Lord Is Delayed”. Jesus then provided a warning to all slaves who did not put their master’s interests first: “But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My lord is delayed,'” (“ἐὰν δὲ εἴπῃ ὁ κακὸς δοῦλος ἐκεῖνος ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ· χρονίζει μου ὁ κύριος,”). Jesus used the term “evil” (“κακὸς”) to describe that slave. When some slaves begin to think that the master will not come soon, they no longer are faithful and thoughtful, but evil. Please notice the term “delayed” (“χρονίζει”) to describe the timing here.
24:49 And Begins To Beat His Fellow Slaves and Eat and Drink with Drunkards. Jesus then described the very specific behavior of the evil slave: “and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards” (“καὶ ἄρξηται τύπτειν τοὺς συνδούλους αὐτοῦ, ἐσθίῃ δὲ καὶ πίνῃ μετὰ τῶν μεθυόντων”). First, the evil slave beats his fellow slaves. He becomes physically abusive. Second, the evil slave begins to eat and drink with drunkards (“μεθυόντων”). The evil slave keeps bad company with drunkards. Physical abuse and eating and drinking with drunkards often go hand in hand, and they are always evil. Notice how the evil slave fails to fulfill his duty to feed the household; instead he indulges himself at the expense of others, ignoring the Lord’s commands for his slaves.
24:50 The Lord of That Slave Will Come on a Day When He Does Not Expect and at an Hour Which He Does Not Know. Jesus continued by contrasting the actions of the evil slave with the commands of Jesus to His disciples: “watch” and “know.” Jesus revealed that “the lord of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect and at an hour which he does not know” (“ἥξει ὁ κύριος τοῦ δούλου ἐκείνου ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ᾗ οὐ προσδοκᾷ καὶ ἐν ὥρᾳ ᾗ οὐ γινώσκει”). Just as the disciples do not know when Jesus will appear, so also the evil slave does not know when the lord will appear. The disciples must watch and know, but the evil slave beats fellows slaves and eats and drinks with drunkards.
24:51 And Will Cut Him in Pieces and Assign Him a Place with the Hypocrites; in that Place There Will Be Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth. Jesus also revealed the punishment of the evil slave: the lord will return “and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites” (“καὶ διχοτομήσει αὐτὸν καὶ τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ μετὰ τῶν ὑποκριτῶν θήσει· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων”). Ignoring the commands of the lord will always produce eternally fatal results. After his body has been cut to pieces on earth, then his soul will be condemned to Hades where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (see Afterlife for a discussion of Hades, weeping and gnashing of teeth).
♦ Until Jesus appears, Jesus commanded His disciples must watch and know that He will appear at a day and hour they do not expect.
♦ Until Jesus appears, evil slaves will beat their fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards.
♦ When Jesus appears, He will bless His disciples and put them in charge of all His possessions.
♦ When Jesus appears, He will cut the evil slaves in pieces and assign them a place with the hypocrites, in Hades, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.