Matthew 24: Signs of His Coming (4)
Pray Psalm 91.1-3.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
Sing Psalm 91.1-3.
(Lauda Anima: Praise My Soul the King of Heaven)
All who dwell within God’s shelter in His shadow will reside.
He our Tow’r, our Fortress ever, in Him we our trust confide.
From the trapper’s snares He saves us; safe from sickness we abide.
Read Matthew 24.1-35; meditate on verses 29-35.
1. What was Jesus describing in these verses?
2. What happens after the sound of the trumpet?
In these verses, Jesus described the final events of earth as we know it. Peter wrote, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Pet. 3.10). This seems to be what Jesus foretold in verse 29, the “dissolving” of the creation as we know it. This comes at the end of the last days, the days of tribulation and Kingdom progress on earth as in heaven.
In verse 30, Jesus foretold what John reveals in greater detail in Revelation 19, the appearing of the Son of Man from heaven, visible to all the world (v. 27), and the mournful reaction of the unsaved peoples of the earth (cf. Rev. 6.12-17). Then, Jesus will gather all His elect to Himself, the dead in Christ rising first, then all who are alive and remain until His coming joining them to be with the Lord, as He comes in judgment (cf. Matt. 13.31; 1 Thess. 4.16, 17; Rev. 19.11-16).
Those who remain on the shaken and dissolving earth will mourn, seeking someplace to hide from the Lord and His armies, while others of His enemies will muster for one last, futile attempt to resist Him (Rev. 19.19). But they will be defeated and destroyed in an instant.
Then, somewhat surprisingly, Jesus seems to have connected these events with the lifetimes of those hearing Him (vv. 32-35). But “this generation” does not necessarily mean only those alive during Jesus’ day. It can also refer to “an indefinite period of time, but in close relationship to human existence and in some contexts, a period of time about the length of a generation - age, epoch” (Louw and Nida). Jesus may have been deliberately vague here, thus heightening the attention of His contemporaries, but leaving open the possibility of a longer period of time.
The end of time as we know it holds thrilling promise for all who believe in Jesus and hold fast to Him. But for those who resist to the end, they will realize the full and terrible consequences of their choice: eternal separation in misery from the bliss and glory of Christ and the new creation.
1. Why should we look forward to Jesus’ coming again?
2. Is it important to explain these verses to those who do not believe in Jesus? Why?
3. What should we be doing to prepare for the return of our Lord Jesus?
When the stars were made, all angels praised the Lord with a loud voice. Much more upon seeing all things in course of final change, and their fellow servants giving account, and the whole world standing by that awful judgment seat, and all those who had lived from Adam until his coming having an account demanded of them of all that they did, wouldn’t you expect the powers of the heavens to tremble and be shaken? John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 76.3
I long for Your coming, Lord Jesus, and as I wait, help me to…
Pray Psalm 91.4-16.
Prepare for this day in prayer, and live like Jesus is coming at any moment.
Sing Psalm 91.4-16.
Psalm 91.4-16 (Lauda Anima: Praise My Soul the King of Heaven)
He will shade us with His pinions, ‘neath His wings we safety find,
from night’s terror, from day’s arrow, from the fears that stalk our mind.
When destruction falls at noon time, safe in Him shall we abide.
Thousands at our sides may falter – it will not to us come near!
We instead shall see the end of all who at God’s mercy sneer.
Evil shall no more befall us for we hold the Lord most dear.
He shall give His angels charge to bear us up, lest we should fall;
they will guard and carry all who on the Savior’s mercy call.
Cobra, mighty lion, serpent: We shall tread upon them all!
Save us, Lord! We love You only; set us up secure on high!
You we know, on You we call in trouble: Hear us when we cry!
Show us Your salvation, let long life forever satisfy!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).