Matthew 24:1-5

Introduction to Chapter 24
Matthew Chapter 24 is part one of the Olivet Discourse containing both chapter 24 & 25. Matthew 24 has long been a very abused chapter of Scripture. What I mean by that is that everyone interprets it according to their belief system. The Preterist interprets it as having been totally completed in 70 A.D. and the Futurist interprets it as the time immediately preceding the Lord’s return. Matthew 24 must be interpreted in fellowship with Luke 21 and Mark 13 because each chapter contains information which helps fill in the blanks and that means less of a chance of interpreting falsely. Matthew 24 is not just an end time scenario nor is it just a scenario of the contemporary times of Christ leading to 70 A.D. and the prophesied destruction of Jerusalem.

(Mat 23:37-38 KJV) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! {38} Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. Jesus had prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem in response to the questions of His disciples. From the time Israel left Egypt in 1447 B.C., she had been a country of rebellious attitudes and deeds. They had killed the prophets, made alliances with false religions, murmured against God, and finally their sins were complete when they hatefully murdered the Son of God. There were some times of repentance and they did have some godly kings but mainly they were a very recalcitrant nation which finally resulted in the ten northern tribes being taken to Assyria in 721 B.C. as a judgment and finally Judah was taken into Babylon in 586 B.C. (Jer 3:7-8 KJV) And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. {8} And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

Judah had gone on for another 135 years because she had some good kings and times of repentance but as Jeremiah 3:7-8 states, she was still treacherous and did not learn the lesson from the Assyrian capture of the ten northern tribes. Judah also played the spiritual adulteress and she had no fear in doing so. This brings us back to Matthew 24. The reason that Judah was not destroyed for doing the same thing that the other tribes did was because it was through Judah that the Lord Jesus Christ would come. By the time the Lord Jesus came on the scene, Israel had gone deeper into apostasy, in other words, there was no change. The religious leaders were all thieves and killers and the people were no better off because they were not getting the truth spoken to them. (Mat 23:13 KJV) But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

The Lord Jesus was crucified by these people but He was resurrected and went back to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell the believers. Israel was still in rank apostasy and still held hatred for the Lord Jesus Christ. They now persecuted the believers and even put some to death such as James and Stephen. Their hatred of the true Gospel was about to be dealt with. Jesus had prophesied that their house was left to them desolate, which means it was to become a wasteland and this is exactly what happened in 70 A.D. by General Titus. Since God was now dealing with the entire world and not with one nation, it was destroyed along with all of its rebellion and antagonism to the Gospel. Matthew 24 is a chapter which contains both scenarios, the end of the world and the Lord’s return, and the fulfillment of the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem.

Mat 24:1 (KJB)
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.

Jesus now departs out of the temple after His latest confrontation with the religious leaders. As they were leaving the temple area, the disciples had come to Jesus to show Him the buildings of the temple. Jesus had seen them but this conversation began as the disciples seemed to be reveling in the temple edifice. (Luke 21:6) And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said  The word “goodly” comes from the Old English word “godlic” which carries with it the meaning of “handsome, well-favored, or admirable.” They were basically adoring the beautiful stones which adorned the temple making it look like it was an impregnable fortress. (Mark 13:1 KJV) And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! According to Mark 13:1, the disciples were looking at the buildings in a manner of exclamation. It was like they were seeing these stones for the first time and were extolling the beauty of them. I understand what their excitement was about. I personally have stood in the entrance to the Empire State Building in New York City and you walk through a big lobby and that lobby is all made of fine marble and it is a beautiful area. The disciples were lauding the temple edifice as a very beautiful area.

Mat 24:2 (KJB)
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.

Then Jesus tells them in response to their exclamation that the temple will be thrown down and not one of those beautiful stones will be left upon another. (Luke 21:6 KJV) As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Matthew 24:2 and Luke 21:6 both confirm that what is in view is the actual, physical temple. If you notice the words that Jesus used. He said, “there shall not be left here…” and in Luke 21:6, “As for these things which ye behold…” The key words being “here” and “which ye behold.” The disciples were looking at the physical temple and that is what Jesus has in view in responding to them. Jesus is prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D and that includes the temple itself. Now many will contradict this and say that the all of the temple was not thrown down and then tend to spiritualize these stones as believers being commanded to leave the local church. They will say this based upon the fact that the temple mount is still visible today in Israel. It is called the “Wailing Wall” and is not part of the temple itself but was just a support for it. The actual temple was on top of the mount and if you go to Israel today, you will see there is nothing on top of the mount. So therefore, this prophecy came to pass in its totality in 70 A.D.

Mat 24:3 (KJB)
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?

Then as Jesus resided on the Mount of Olives, the disciples had come unto Him in a private session and had asked Him two questions. It is very important to understand that the two questions are the dividing line in the chapter between the 70 A.D. events and the last days events. The first question they ask is concerning when will the temple be thrown down? Then the second question they ask is in two parts yet they are one question because the Lord’s return is going to be on the last day of recorded history. (John 11:24 KJV) Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. They wanted to know what is the sign of His coming and the end of the world? (Mark 13:4 KJV) Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? The word “fulfilled” in the Greek carries with it the meaning of “to complete entirely.” So the disciples are wanting to know when all of this prophecy will be completed. They were probably under the impression that when the physical temple would be destroyed, then that would usher in the New Heavens and New Earth. They did not understand the implications of Matthew 23:37-39 concerning Israel being left desolate.

Mat 24:4 (KJB)
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

Matthew 24 like the Book of Revelation is not a chronological chapter and instead of Jesus answering the questions in a chronological order, He answers them in a topical method. (Luke 21:8 KJV) And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. The word “take heed” in the Greek in both verses carries with it the meaning of “watch out.” The disciples are to be on the lookout and must be very discerning. They had wanted a time when Jesus was going to restore the Kingdom of Israel. (Acts 1:6-7 KJV) When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? {7} And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. For Jesus the important thing is for the disciples to remain faithful because of upcoming events. The dates when things will be restored are in God’s hands and we leave them there. Our responsibility is to remain faithful till the Lord returns.

Mat 24:5 (KJB)
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

(Luke 21:8 KJV) And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.  Jesus knows that as the day approaches and Luke records that as “…and the time draweth near…” Any time there is an impending event with possible cataclysmic results, there are always going to be people with a messianic complex who believe they are Christ and that they have the power to lead the people out of harm’s way. As the time approaches 70 A.D for the destruction of Jerusalem, there will be those who will claim to be Christ returned and will deceive the very naïve as they do today. Some may even come proclaiming that Jesus is Christ and that they are His prophets sent to lead the people. This happened many times in the first century in Israel. The Bible lists Theudas and Judas of Galilee. According to Origen, Dositheus the Samaritan had pretended to be the Christ attaching Deuteronomy 18:15 to himself. (Deu 18:15 KJV) The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; These kind of people always crop up when there seems to be trouble on the horizon.