Matthew 24, Part 3
David Brandt Berg
We’re continuing the study of Matthew 24, the signs of the times. The signs of the last days in the endtime, and the signs to look for and expect: to know the end is near and how near the end is and what is going to happen at the end.
The Tribulation begins with the image of the beast in the holy place in Jerusalem. It ends exactly three and a half years, 42 months, or 1260 days later when Jesus comes for His own, to rescue His children out of this hell on earth which has been engineered by the Devil himself. Jesus comes and takes those who remain out of it all. Many will have already been martyred and have been slain and will have died for Jesus and for their testimony. “For they loved not their lives unto the death” and they shed their blood for Jesus and for others (Revelation 12:11). He will come and take His own out of this earth.
What other signs will show that this endtime is near? That the time of the Antichrist is near, the false messiah who appears to set up a false millennium just a few years before Jesus returns—the false god with his false religion and his False Prophet, all imitating God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the Millennium. He is the imitation Christ, the imitation Messiah. He is the imitation Son of God, son of the imitation god, Satan, and he attempts to set up an imitation Millennium with the help of his imitation Holy Spirit, the False Prophet.
It’s all an imitation of God and His Trinity and His own plans, and according to Scripture, it will deceive many.
What will be other signs of the times, signs that these things are going to happen very soon? Jesus said in the 32nd verse: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh.” How do you know summer is coming soon? The trees begin to blossom, the flowers begin to bloom. The grass turns green, the balmy breezes blow, and the sunshine glows.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (v. 33). He said that just as you see the blossoms of the trees and the flowers and you know summer is nigh, so you’ll know that His coming is very near.
You may say, “That doesn’t sound like blossoms and flowers to me! It sounds more like thorns and thistles and briars and horrors.” Not for us who love Jesus.
Every sign that appears, no matter how bad it may look to the world and how horrible it may seem, is another blossom. Every sign of the soon coming of Jesus is another flower. Every bit of news we read in the newspaper to show that the end is near is good news to us. No matter how bad it is, it’s good news because we know it’s got to get very bad before it can get good. And the worse it gets, the sooner it’s going to get better! So every bit of bad news to us is good news, because we know that the worse it gets, the sooner it’s going to get better and the sooner He’s going to come.
To us, all these signs are flowers and blossoms, beautiful fulfillments of His prophecies and signs of His coming. The springtime is near the coming of Jesus and the springing up of His flowers from the earth, the dead in Christ that shall rise first—the resurrection. What is spring like? It’s like a resurrection! Throughout the winter it seems like everything is dead; the grass is brown, the trees are leafless, and it looks as though the ground is lifeless. But as it grows warmer day by day, then things begin to spring from the earth.
That which seemed to be dead arises and there’s a resurrection of the earth in the springtime. The flowers seem to just jump out of the soil; the trees begin to blossom, and that which seems to be dead comes to life again. Because the Sun is coming, Jesus is coming! Jesus is likened unto the sun, that great ball of fire which God causes to shine upon us and gives us life and health and food and warmth, and the earth’s place in space (Malachi 4:2).
Jesus is like the sun to us. The sun is a type of what He is like: a bridegroom, like the sun, coming out of His chamber, God’s Word says (Psalm 19:4–5). God’s Word likens Jesus to the sun. As He draws nearer, it gets warmer—in fact, it gets hotter—but we begin to blossom. The almond tree begins to really blossom. When Jesus comes, it’s going to be like spring, and you’re going to see the signs of that coming even ahead of His coming.
He says, “When ye see all these things happening, know ye that the end thereof is nigh. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (v. 34). He says, “Verily I say unto you,” and He’s talking to the twelve or whoever was there 2,000 years ago in Israel, “this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.” How could that be this generation? They died nearly 2,000 years ago and it wasn’t all fulfilled. What generation was He talking about then?
It’s clear by what He said in the 33rd verse, the preceding verse: “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things”—He’s not talking to His disciples, because they didn’t see all these things fulfilled. But He says “ye, when ye shall see all these things fulfilled”—you who are living in the endtime in these last days. He says, “When you see these things fulfilled! Your generation will not pass away till all these things are fulfilled.”
In the 35th verse He gave a wonderful promise: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.”
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (v. 36). Of the day and the hour, He said, “knoweth no man.” But having told us exactly how long the Tribulation’s going to be from the setting up of the image of the Antichrist, exactly 1260 days till the end when Jesus comes, I don’t see how we can help but know the day. We’ll be counting the days through that horrible Tribulation, looking for the day of Jesus’ coming. Of course, then when He made this statement He said, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man.” Nobody knew then. They didn’t have to know; they weren’t living in the last days. The angels didn’t have to know either, only the Father in heaven.
But I think those who live through those final days are going to know when the end comes, and He’s made it very clear exactly how long it’s going to be and when it’s going to be.—Exactly 1260 days from the day the Antichrist’s image is set up until the end of the Tribulation, and that’s when Jesus comes.
So what’s it going to be like in these last days before Jesus comes? Just like it is right now. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage”—in another place it says they planted and they built and so on—“until the day that Noah entered into the Ark.” They didn’t pay a bit of attention to Noah’s message. They just went right on, business as usual, living as usual until the day that he entered into the Ark, a type of our resurrection and rapture by Jesus.
“And knew not until the flood came and swept them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (v. 37–39). People will be eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage, planting and building and going on with business as usual.
“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (v. 40). If one is a believer, the Lord will take her up and leave the other one. “Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (v. 41). Two women working together, and one is going to be taken by the Lord because she loves Jesus while the other will be left behind because she rejected the witness and the message.
“Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your lord doth come” (v. 42). You may know the day, but you’re not necessarily going to know the hour. You’ll want to be ready and be doing that which you know is pleasing to Him and be thankful that you’re serving Him.
“But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready” (v. 43–44). Jesus is going to come like a “thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). God’s Word is comparing Jesus to a thief? Yes, not only God’s Word, but Jesus Himself. He’s saying, “I’m going to come like a thief in the night.” Not that you’re not going to know when it happens, but it’ll be so sudden that some are going to be caught by surprise. Some are not expecting it; some are not prepared and ready.
He says, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods” (v. 44–47). Who is the Lord going to bless when the time comes? Who is the Lord going to make ruler over all His goods and one of the rulers of the world? That servant which the Lord finds feeding His sheep, caring for His household when He comes.
Verse 48: “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart my lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Here Jesus Himself is talking about an evil servant who says “my lord”—even calls God his Lord, Jesus his Lord—but is disobedient and mean to his fellow servants, and is eating and drinking with the drunken. He says, “The Lord of that servant shall come when he looks not for him”—when he’s not expecting Him—“and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Is this guy saved or not? Was he a servant? Was Christ his Lord? Jesus calls him a servant, but an evil servant. Jesus says the man says “Lord” to Him. It doesn’t say He sent him to hell. It doesn’t say He sent him to damnation. It says He’s going to punish him for his unfaithfulness and his meanness and his disobedience. He’s going to be cut asunder, probably going to have to suffer like some of the wicked are suffering at that time. “And appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.”
Some people are going to be raised from the dead ashamed, to suffer everlasting shame and contempt, according to the first few verses of Daniel 12: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” They’re going to be raised, yes. Saved, yes, but in everlasting shame and contempt because they failed God and disobeyed Him and did things which were evil in His sight.
For those of us who love Him and who He knows, He’s going to say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21). You’re going to knock at the door and say, “Here I am, Lord.” And He’ll say, “Thank God you’ve come! Here you are, just in time for the wedding.” In fact, the door won’t even be shut. It’ll be wide open for you because we’ll all be streaming in for that great wedding feast, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in heaven, while God is pouring out His judgments upon the Antichrist and his followers and his False Prophet and his idol and all the wicked upon the earth who rejected Him and persecuted and killed His followers!
Do you have Jesus? Do you love Him? Are you ready for these things that are coming?
Just ask Jesus to come in and forgive you for your sins. Tell Him you believe on Him and receive Him and you want to serve Him and tell others about Him and be part of His work. May the Lord bless you and keep you and continue to make you a blessing, in Jesus’ name.
Copyright © March 1981 by The Family International