Jesus enclosed a snapshot of what life on earth was like--just before He touched down on the Mt. of Olives, the Ground Zero of His Second Coming.
Those snapshots are in Matthew. So please open with me to the greatest sermon on the end of the world ever preached—Matthew 24. Jesus is mapping out the future. He is walking His disciples through a long and complex answer to their simple question in v. 3:
Matthew 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?"
As Jesus proceeds through this answer He gets to an amazing sight, He sees a future Temple rebuilt in Jerusalem. And He sees a future antichrist defiling that temple. Look at that section with me in Matthew 24:15-16.
Matthew 24:15-16 "Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,' 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.
Now, stop for a moment and think with me. What use would this section of the Bible be for us? We are not Jews, we aren't in the Tribulation, nor do we expect to be. Is it even profitable to study, or we could go further and ask:
Is Prophecy Profitable?
That is a great way to start this time in God's Word—answering that vital question. Here is the reason—Paul actually taught this very passage to a group of new believers on his missionary journeys. Did you know that?
Turn there with me to II Thessalonians 2:1-5.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5" Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?"
Wow, what a line. Paul included the teaching of Biblical prophecy in the core of doctrine he presented to new believers! Wow, that is so encouraging to us today. Paul told them about those things way back then? What was the context? What good would teaching about the antichrist and the end of Jerusalem and a temple rebuilt and defiled do for anyone?
The answer lies in the letter Paul wrote to the Thessalonians believers after he taught them all these things in Matthew 24. He was teaching them the value of thinking about Christ's return.
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