Matthew 24:21-25

Mat 24:21 (KJB)
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Once the armies of Rome begins to surround the city, then the razing of Jerusalem will begin. Jesus is now telling them that this is going to be a time of great tribulation. In fact, what will transpire in this part of the world was never seen before nor will it be seen after. (Mark 13:19 KJV) For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. One of the reasons that this tribulation is going to be bad is because it is divinely ordered. (Mat 22:7 KJV) But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. God Himself is going to send the army of Rome to completely destroy this city. In fact the destruction of Israel was over a seven year period from 66-73 A.D.

Israel was the place where God chose to place His name and where the temple and tabernacle were. Israel was delivered from bondage in Egypt and many times after that God had protected Israel from her enemies. The punishment now was going to fit the crime of their rebellion against God. God gave them the Scriptures, He sent prophets to them, and even His own Son came as the prophesied Messiah but their ways were so evil and corrupt that they killed the prophets and even killed their own Messiah. (1 Th 2:15 KJV) Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Even before the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, there was famine, cannibalism, and internal fighting in Jerusalem according to Josephus. The Romans had cut down every tree within a mile of the perimeter of Jerusalem so there would not be any cover for people to escape or to bring in supplies. (Luke 19:43-44 KJV) For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, {44} And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. This is why Jesus told the people that they would have to leave Jerusalem very quickly because the siege was like nothing which ever happened before. There were over a million Jews killed and there were so many of them being crucified that the Romans ran out of wood.

Mat 24:22 (KJB)
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

Right within the worst siege in history the mercy of God intervenes. God did not allow the siege to continue on until every single Jew was killed but had a left a remnant, probably because many of them surrendered and did not face capital punishment. If there was total resistance, then Rome would have ordered the complete annihilation of all the Jews in Jerusalem and in the surrounding areas. Now the elect are those who are born again in Christ. This is not referring to the unsaved Jews because no unsaved person is ever called the elect of God. Two scenarios may be in view here. First, the elect was no doubt making intercessory prayers on behalf of their fellow countrymen according to the flesh and God heard those prayers and answered. Secondly, among those who survived this siege were probably some who would become saved at a future date and they could not be killed until after God saved them. (2 Pet 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Mat 24:23 (KJB)
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

Now Jesus begins to answer the second question as to what will be the sign of His coming and of the end of the world. Jesus had more to say about the destruction of Jerusalem than the end of the world here and that is because there are very few signs which will have to be fulfilled. The first one is that there is going to be a rise in those who claim they are Christ. The Lord Jesus is going to descend from Heaven on the last day and that is why when someone states that Jesus is somewhere on planet earth, they are not to be followed because they are false. I remember when I was a new Christian, in 1982, some people had spent over half a million dollars in placing huge full page ads in newspapers such as the Atlanta Constitution. The title of the article read “The Christ is Now Here.” They stated that He was in Tibet waiting to be revealed. Well it is now 2013 and He still has not come on the scene. Some leaders of cults were proclaimed as being the incarnate Christ such as Sun Yung Moon from South Korea, Jim Jones in Guyana, David Koresh in Texas, Father Divine who claimed to be God who lived in Georgia, Brooklyn, and Harlem in New York City, etc. There will be a rise in the people who think they are the incarnate Christ but they are all to be rejected.

Mat 24:24 (KJB)
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Jesus repeats His stern warning that as we approach the end of time, there will be many who will claim to be Christ and there will be many false prophets. Keep in mind that the name “Christ” means Messiah. Now a Messiah does not necessarily mean that one is speaking of Jesus but can be a person who leads some hope, cause, or group. So when Jesus is warning that we are to be on the lookout for false Christs, He is warning that we must be on the lookout for those who claim divinity or who claim they have a special call from God which, of course, is a false calling. So a false Christ can be someone who heads up some type of movement. For example, in India there was a man named Sai Baba who actually had such satanic powers that he could make things materialize in his hand. His organization reached out in 166 countries out of a world of 196 countries. In India alone, he had over 20 million followers.

Then there are going to be false prophets. A prophet is one who declares God’s word. However, there are going to be many false prophets in these final days. Many false prophets are found right in churches of the charismatic movement. Benny Hinn stated on Trinity Broadcasting that God was going to destroy all homosexuals in 1995. In 2013, I can see they are still around with their gay marriage and almost every TV program has one. Oral Roberts stated he saw a 900 foot Jesus. Jesse Duplantis claimed he was in Heaven for five hours. Pat Robertson claimed to have raised someone from the dead but could not remember his name. Then not only charismatics but there are those who set dates for the Lord’s return. Tongue speaking is not exclusive in the charismatic movement but many mainline churches now accept them. Chuck Colson was a staunch ecumenist who tried to bring the Roman Catholic Church and evangelicals together. Now his Chuck Colson Center continues the same policy after his demise. Robert Schuller taught New Age and Positive thinking. Rick Warren believes that the God of the Bible and Allah are the same person. Then there are those like James White, Dan Wallace, Bruce Metzger, et al who advocate usage of the modern counterfeit versions with all their omissions and changes and reject the King James Bible.

Unfortunately, there are many Christians who have been duped by these people. This generation of Christians is one of the most biblically illiterate generations in history. We have so much material available and we have the lowest spiritual IQ’s out there. Many Christians who were once staunch creationists are now accepting the days of creation as long periods of time, they are now questioning whether Adam truly existed or was he just a story. It does seem that many of the Elect of God are being deceived just look at how many are in charismatic churches and how many follow certain preachers which are teaching some doctrines falsely. It only requires one or two false doctrines to open the door to full deception. In our day, we are seeing many of the Elect become deceived and the reason is that they refuse to do any studying on their own and accept whatever they are told to accept. This is why the majority of Christians can no longer absorb truth because truth has become their enemy to the point that they now fight against it. Go tell a charismatic that tongues are not for today and they are being deceived by it, you will see what I mean.

Mat 24:25 (KJB)
Behold, I have told you before.

Jesus is being faithful to the followers of His that He is giving them ample warning of these things and no one could ever blame Him or God that they were not warned. Christians fall into apostasy because they refuse to check things out in Scripture and examine all teachings brought before them. The “Teaching of the Day” mindset is now what prevails. What is taught on Monday may be changed on Tuesday.