Bible Study on the “End Times” and Second Coming of Jesus – Part 1
By Robin Corner
Mat 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
6 And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’[c] spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
V3 The disciples bring in the concept of the end of the age, which they expected to happen in their lifetimes, and how would they be able to recognise it. Now many generations have passed. In our day, the signs to watch for described by Jesus seem remarkably apposite.
V4-5. One sign is deception – which abounds everywhere today. European countries which once had Christian culture at the root, are now “multi-religious”. Hindu gurus and Buddhist monks flood into the once-Christian West and attract adherents. The Dalhai Lama presented Switzerland with twelve Buddhist stupas, one for the summit of each of the twelve highest mountain peaks. Celebrities publicise new-age worldviews and few are even aware that the truths of the Bible, which once undergirded our society, are being turned upside-down.
V6-7 The frequency of wars is also steadily increasing:
“We may think the world enjoyed periods of relative freedom from war between the Cold War and 9/11 but the new research by Professor Mark Harrison from at the University of Warwick’s the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, and Professor Nikolaus Wolf from Humboldt University, shows that the number of conflicts between pairs of states rose steadily from 6 per year on average between 1870 and 1913 to 17 per year in the period of the two World Wars, 31 per year in the Cold War, and 36 per year in the 1990s.” http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/wars_steadily_increase/
V7 Famines, pestilences and earthquakes are all either potentially or actually happening and increasing, in spite of the sometimes illusory protection by modern technology and from time-to-time thin veneer of caring civilisation.
(1) Many of us in the developed world may think there is no need to worry about hunger in today’s modern, technological world, but we would be mistaken. Population growth, competition with biofuels and the rising middle class, and climate change are massive threats to food security.
“In the next year, world grain stocks are expected to fall to their lowest levels in two decades, confirming the contention that we are now living in a post-food surplus era. As supply runs low, prices are being driven upwards by a combination of factors beyond our control:
World population is exploding: We are currently a global citizenry of 6.7 billion. The United Nations projects world population to climb to 8 billion by 2025 and to 9.1 billion by 2050. The vast majority of that growth will take place in the developing world.
Biofuels: We are facing the relatively new phenomenon of food for fuel, as farmers sell their corn production to ethanol producers.
Economic growth: As populations in India and China move out of abject poverty (living on $1 per day) they, like the rest of the developed world, consume eggs, dairy products, or even chicken. Almost all milk and egg-producing animals consume grains. So in essence, cows and chickens are competing with humans for corn and wheat.
Meanwhile, just as WFP has had to contend with unpredictable events on the international grain markets, so too have farmers, their families and their customers, had to contend with the most unpredictable phenomenon in the world today: the weather. Farmers throughout the developing world depend heavily on WFP for food and assistance when disaster strikes. And climate change has meant that disaster is striking more frequently.” http://ideas4development.org/en/hunger-in-the-21st-century-the-need-to-feed-smarter/
(2) With modern travel, and the growth of cities with huge populations, the potential for massive world pandemics grows ever greater.
“Humanity is locked in a millennia-old battle to the death with diseases. The current outbreak of Ebola reminds us that as our cities get bigger and international travel easier, the risks in an outbreak grow even higher” – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/03/-sp-ebola-outbreak-risk-global-pandemic-next
(3) There seems to have been a much greater frequency of earthquakes in recent years – “…between 1997 and 2007 (incl), a period of only 11 years, there were 99 earthquakes with magnitude 7.0 or greater : This is more than a six-fold increase on the previous similar period – and is a stark increase on any earlier decades in 20th century too.” http://www.earth.webecs.co.uk/
V9 Persecution, hatred, and killings are all very foreign to comfortable Western Christians, but very familiar to Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Arab, Palestinian or many other Christians.
V14 – “This Gospel of the Kingdom” – what is the Gospel of the Kingdom? We are told to pray “Your kingdom come.Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.” Kingdom means rulership and requires a King. There are a number of aspects to this.
V14(2) This is the sign we can influence. We are all responsible to complete the Great Commission to make disciples of all the nations. And the word translated as “nations” is “ethne” in Greek – meaning tribes or people groups. We are not merely talking about modern political nations. For example India has 2,245 people groups, of which 95% are still unreached.
For progress, details and definitions see:
The point is today, for the first time in history, we at least know who all the groups are and can plan to reach them. Jesus’ coming is getting closer. There is still a huge task to do though. Another great positive is that modern church planting movements (CPM”S) are logistically capable of reaching all the people groups. At least one CPM is reaching 1 million new believers per year.
V21 Jesus makes it clear the time of His coming will be a time of the greatest tribulation the world has known. This links this passage clearly with Daniel 12:1. It seems obvious that the two scriptures are describing the same event.
V29 – The events of the sun failing and the gathering together of the elect clearly come AFTER the tribulation, contrary to the teaching of many today who would have us believe that Jesus will come and take the church out of the world BEFORE the tribulation in the “secret rapture” (see below).
V31(1) – What are the signs of His coming?
This is so utterly different from the “secret rapture” scenario that the only possible way to believe in both is to believe that somehow the Christians are not “the elect”. But there is such a great weight of scripture and Christian teaching that Christian believers ARE the elect. Frankly, one wonders if this passage from Mat 24 is enough to refute the secret rapture doctrine by itself!
V31 (2) – The elect. Some teachers hold that “the elect” of this verse refers only to Jewish evangelists and their converts who are saved during “the seven year tribulation”, after the main body of Christians have been “raptured”. This theory is very flimsy.
Daniel 12: 1-4 At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.
4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
COMMENTS TO COME!