Sermon: The Reason for True Hope
We Praise God today in Christ and The Holy Spirit of God. We humble ourselves of all sin and forgive all in the blood of Jesus Christ. We thank God for all and each spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus.
Our faith is in the birth, life and cross of Christ Jesus who died at Calvary and raised by the power of God. Jesus will return and our faith is in the ideal of being ready for His return. This is our faith and prayer. We praise God in The Joy of Jesus to salivation for all who believe. God Bless you always in Christ Jesus. A-men This is the reason for true hope....
"And what shall be the sign of Thy coming?" (v. 3). What did the disciples have in mind when they asked this question? Surely there cannot be the slightest difficulty for us now to discover the true answer. So far as the inspired records go, up to this point the Lord had said nothing whatever to His disciples about His going to the Father’s house to prepare a place for His people, and of His coming again to receive them "unto Himself." No hint whatever had been given of His future descent into the air for the purpose of removing His saints from this earth. Therefore this aspect of the Lord’s "coming" could not have been in the mind of the disciples at that time. It should be obvious to every honest heart and impartial mind that when they asked, "What shall be the sign of Thy coming ?" they had before them what He had just said to the nation of Israel, namely, "You shall not see Me henceforth, till you shall say, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord" (Matthew 21:9); which was His coming back to the earth,. One other thing enables us to fix the meaning of this question of the disciples, "What shall be the sign of Thy coming?" No "signs" are now given to or for those whose calling is a heavenly one. How could there be, when of them it is written, "we walk by faith, not by sight"? (2 Cor. 5:7). God’s people today are not to be looking for "signs," but listening for a sound, namely, the "shout" of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:16)!
"And of the end of the age?" To what "age" did the disciples refer? Surely there can be only one answer: that associated with Christ’s "coming" to the earth itself. It should be carefully borne in mind that this question was asked by the disciples, as Jews, before the Cross, before the Christian dispensation began. It is of the greatest importance that this fact should be kept before us, for a mistake on that point necessarily involves an erroneous interpretation of what follows. If we remember that at this time the apostles had no thought of (or, at any rate, no real belief in) Christ’s death and resurrection, it should help us to see that the Christian "age" could not have been in their minds. They were Jews, in spirit, hopes, expectations—the very first verse of Matthew 24 (following right after Matthew 23:38) more than hints at that. It is failure at this very point which has led so many to imagine that Matthew 24 teaches that "the Church" will pass through the great Tribulation.
It is to be carefully observed that in His answer the Lord referred the disciples to Daniel: "When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place" (v. 15). It is interesting to note that the expressions "the end" or "time of the end" occur in Daniel just thirteen times, and that they are found nowhere else in the Old Testament. These expressions refer to the unfulfilled 70th "week" of Daniel 9:24-27, which brings to a close Israel’s national servitude under Gentile domination. The new "Age" will be introduced by the second advent of the Messiah to this earth and the consequent placing of Israel at the head of the nations. References to that "Age" are found in Hebrews 2:5, 6:5. Thus the disciples rightly connected the "end of the age" with the "Coming" of Christ; for His return to this earth and the ending of the "Age," i.e., the "Times of the Gentiles" synchronize. What is so important to note is that in Matthew 23:39 Christ did not connect His "coming" with the destruction of Jerusalem and the overthrow of the Temple, but with the glorious epoch of Israel’s national conversion.
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (vv. 4, 5). The Lord was here addressing His disciples as the representatives of the godly Jewish remnant of the future. Matthew does not record Christ’s answer to their first question, that being given in Luke. There is nothing at all in Matthew 24 parallel with Luke 21:20. Nor is there anything in it which falls, directly, within the scope of the Christian dispensation. The whole of this parenthetical dispensation is ignored, coming in as it does between the 69th and 70th "weeks" of Daniel 9. Verses 4-14 of Matthew 24 treat of the first half of the 70th "week"; verses 15-30 of its second half. Though verses 4-7 describe conditions which have obtained, more or less, all through the centuries of this Christian era, yet will they appear in a much more intensified form during the Tribulation period.
Fuller and further details concerning the time covered by Christ’s prophetic discourse in Matthew 24 are furnished in the Revelation, the major portion of that book treating of the same period. At the close of this present dispensation Christendom is spewed out (Rev. 3), the saints are raptured (Rev. 4:1), and then the united company of the redeemed are seen in Heaven worshipping God (Rev. 4:4-11). Following this, the Lamb as the "Lion" of the "tribe of Judah" takes "the book" (Rev. 5), and Israel at once appears on the scene. As soon as the "seals" of that book are broken we find that which corresponds exactly with what we have in Matthew 24. Marvelous, minute, and many are the parallels between the two chapters. At a few of them only shall we now glance.
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:4, 5). This was the first part of the Lord’s reply to the questions asked by His disciples. "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four living creatures saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer" (Rev. 6:1, 2). These words picture the Anti-christ deceiving men, posing as the true Christ—of. Revelation 19:11.
"And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not troubled: for all must come to pass, but the end (i.e. of the 70th "week") is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Matthew 24:6, 7). "And when He had opened the second seal I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword" (Rev. 6:3,4). Thus the contents of the second seal correspond exactly with the second part of Christ’s prophecy.
"And there shall be famines" (Matthew 24:7). "And when he had opened the third seat, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse (the color of famine, see Lamentations 4:8; 5:10); and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst, of the four living creatures say, A measure of wheat for a penny (a day’s wage, see Matthew 20:2) and three measures of barley for a penny" (Rev. 6:5, 6).
"And pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places" (Matthew 24:7). "And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with Him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth" (Rev. 6:7,8).
"All these are the beginnings of sorrows" or "birth-pangs" (Matthew 24:8). These "birth-pangs" are the travail which shall yet precede the birth of a regenerated Israel. If the reader desires to trace out the remaining correspondences between the two chapters let him compare Matthew 24:8-28 with Revelation 6:9-11; and then Matthew 24:29,30 with Revelation 6:12-17.
Passing on now to verse 15: "When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth let him understand." This is the point which marks the division between the two halves of the 70th "week"; compare Daniel 9:27. These words were addressed by Christ to His apostles, but the "ye" need occasion no difficulty. The Lord was speaking to them as Jews, as the representatives of those who shall be on earth.
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