UNDERSTANDING MATTHEW 24
Matthew 24 is a chapter filled with prophetic things. Much of the prophesy of this chapter is yet unfulfilled. Much of it has been fulfilled already. But all of it is of great interest and is very instructive. Whenever we approach this or any other portion of Scripture, we should do so with deep humility, realizing that we are reading, studying, and seeking to understand the Word of God. Therefore, we must earnestly pray for the illumination, direction, and teaching of the Holy Spirit, who alone can give us understanding in the Word of Truth.
I suppose that there has been more disagreement among true gospel preachers about the proper interpretation of Matthew 24 than most any other passage of Holy Scripture. That is very regrettable. Yet, men who truly love Christ, his Word, and the gospel of his grace sometimes find it impossible to labor together in the cause of Christ because one holds to one interpretation of this passage and one another. I do not pretend to have the answers to all the questions that are raised about the prophesies contained in these verses. In fact, I do not think that our Lord intended for us to fully comprehend them until they come to pass. Otherwise, he would not have answered the disciples’ question, “When Shall These Things Be?”, so ambiguously. The question itself reveals a weakness and an improper curiosity in these disciples, even as it reveals a weakness and an improper curiosity in those who are overly concerned about prophetic issues today. (See Acts 1:6-8.)
The simple fact is, prophecy cannot be fully and clearly understood until the thing foretold has come to pass. (Compare Acts 2:16 with Joel 2:28-32.) We can no more precisely understand the prophetic things of this chapter that are yet to be fulfilled than the disciples understood by them that Titus would destroy Jerusalem and its temple in 70 AD, or the saints in Joel’s day understood what would happen on the day of Pentecost and on which day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit would be given, signaling the exaltation of Christ as King. Only after Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled could Peter say, “This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel.”
Without question, this entire chapter is the answer that our Lord gave to the question the disciples asked in verse three: “When shall these things be?” It is a question which related to three things specifically:
1. The Destruction of Jerusalem.
2. The Second Coming of Christ.
3. And the End of the World.
Some parts of this chapter deal with one of these things, some another, and some the third. But much of what our Lord said in response to the disciples question may be applied to two of those events; and some of his answers must be applied to all three.
Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us plainly that believers should not concern themselves at all about when he is coming again. Our business is to worship him, walk with him in this world, serve him in this generation, preach the gospel to sinners everywhere, and live upon the tiptoe of faith, looking for him every hour of every day.
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #623
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 606-236-8235 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org