I firmly contend that the verses in Matthew 24 have their final FULL-FILLMENT at the end of this Age. They’ve been partially fulfilled many times over history. But never fully. Let me tell you why (by the way, I am not omitting any verses to strengthen my viewpoint, only for expediency sake – they are unquestionably cohesive):
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. (THE TROUBLE OF THOSE DAYS WILL NOT BE TRUMPED BY ANY OTHER OCCURRENCE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. THAT DISQUALIFIES 70AD TEMPLE DESTRUCTION FROM FULFILLMENT OF THIS WORD)
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. (IF POSSIBLE – ONLY IF WE ARE NOT ROOTED IN OUR BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING OF WHO GOD IS AND HOW HE OPERATES, IN RIGHTEOUSNESS)
25 See, I have told you beforehand. (DON’T MISS THIS, SAYS OUR LORD TO US)
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.
(IN THE SAME BREATH HE NOW PROCEEDS TO EXPLAIN HIS SECOND APPEARANCE)
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.
(IMMEDIATELY, IN GREEK [eutheos], MEANS JUST THAT – IMMEDIATELY, STRAIGHTWAY, FORTHWITH. JESUS IS TALKING ABOUT END TIMES AND HIS APPEARANCE, IMMEDIATELY).
All that said, the saints obviously will be on earth when He returns – because the above is written to His saints – they are the ones who will be looking for His return (v 26). And the times will indeed be troubling, with an intensity never before seen on earth. That speaks to me of an intensity and troubling exceeding past world wars, past persecutions, past holocausts, past civil war, past natural disasters, past financial crises, past evil empires and wicked plans.
We were not told all this in advance to instill panic. Instead, we were told all this so that when these things begin coming to pass, when our Lord in His wisdom and intent begins shaking heaven and earth to draw men, in desperation, to Him, that we His saints would not panic or faint or fall away.
Reference: Here’s the “I WILL SHAKE” promise, repeated in Hebrews to the NT believer, quoting from the book of Haggai, chapter 2:
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “ Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”
27 Now this, “ Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
29 For our God is a consuming fire.
Back to Jesus’ discussion of end-times: And how do we see the unprepared saints potentially responding? Did Jesus allude to anything?
25 “ And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; (AND WE ARE INVITED TO EXAMINE THOSE SIGNS – Col 2:16)
26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (MORE SHAKING REFERENCE. Haggai 2)
27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
So the prepared saints are told this will be their finest hour, and to lift their heads up in hope. Meanwhile, ones who recognize these things happening (“expectation of the things which are coming on the earth”) are at least in better shape than the ones who want to think “life goes on unchanged”. A bunny trail, for a moment, into Beatles lyrics – Peter contradicts the Beatles. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da is NOT a biblical principle. It is a deception. Life does not simply go on:
(2 Peter 3:3-4,9)
3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,
4 and saying, “ Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Paul, meanwhile is fully convinced that what God has begun in each and every saint, throughout all time, He indeed is fully capable of completing, and fully intent to complete:
6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
The ball is therefore in our court. How we choose to live our lives has much to say re the outcome of our faith.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
How does that compare to:
10 If you faint in the day of adversity,
Your strength is small.
“Having done, all, to stand” means just that. How ridiculously and inarguably clear and straightforward is Paul’s writing to the Church throughout all times.
1. As things get tougher (and we see that happening), we are reminded of the spiritual component of the battle trumping the physical situation in which we might find ourselves.
2. The armor of God is required, and available to us.
3. It is our choice and our proper response to this admonition – to put and keep on the armor.
4. In the most evil of days, simply not losing ground will be a good thing.
5. And we’re told it will take full effort. Having done ALL.
Interestingly, during the inter-testamental time of the primary anti-christ figure before the New Testament era (Antiochus Epiphanes), Israel was hopelessly being tormented by the oppression of Greco-Syria. Fortunately, a Jewish clan called the Maccabees got hold of the earlier writings of Daniel, and read and believed and acted upon these verses of promise. Although all odds were against them, their faith and their actions shifted the course of military history, bringing it into alignment with prophetic destiny:
32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.
It is notable that our Lord, responding to end-times questions, specifically pointed His followers (us included) back to that very same prophetic book.
15 “ Therefore when you see the ‘ abomination of desolation, ’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand)
I believe our Lord, in pointing us back to Daniel, was also pointing us back to the promise of great exploits in Him.
David declared this victory pronouncement in 2 Samuel and it is repeated in Psalm 18:
(2 Samuel 22:33-35)
33 God is my strength and power,
And He makes my way perfect.
34 He makes my feet like the feet of deer,
And sets me on my high places.
35 He teaches my hands to make war,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
Our assurance is success. Our anchor is the word of God. Our response to the invitation of “having done all, to stand” tells us we can, when we lay hold of the grace to walk in the fullness of what the Lord calls us into.
So our righteous response would then be: “Lord, I want Your fullness in my life. I want it all. Whatever it takes. Whatever needs to be shaken, removed, adjusted, revealed, repented of, embraced, strengthened, put on. Expose my worldliness. Kill my religiosity. Your will be done in me, as it is in heaven”.
Be careful. If you pray that our God will hear you.
all scripture NKJV