33: The King’s Return (1) (Mt 24:1-51)
The Lord left
the temple and withdrew from the multitudes. His final ministry now turned to
the disciples. Prompted by the disciples’ question about the
signs of the Lord’s coming and of the end time, He delivered the last discourse,
also known as the Olivet Discourse (24:1-25:46). In this lesson, we will look
at the first part of the discourse, which predicts the progression of events
leading up to Christ’s return, warns against deceiving claims, and instructs us
to be watchful.
“But he who endures to the end
shall be saved” (24:13).
“Watch therefore, for you do
not know what hour your Lord is coming” (24:42).
Did You Know…?
“Not one stone shall be left
here upon another” (24:2): Fulfilled literally in A.D. 70, when the Romans
under Titus completely destroyed Jerusalem
and the temple buildings. Stones were even pried apart to collect the gold leaf
that melted from the roof when the temple was set on fire. Excavations in 1968
uncovered large numbers of these stones, toppled from the walls by the
Abomination of desolation
(24:15): The detestable thing causing the desolation of the holy place. The
primary reference in Daniel…was to 168 b.c.,
when Antiochus Epiphanes erected a pagan altar to
Zeus on the sacred altar in the temple
of Jerusalem. According
to some, there were still two more stages in the progressive fulfillment of the
predictions in Daniel and Matthew: (1) The Roman destruction of the temple in A.D.
70 and (2) the setting up of an image of the antichrist in Jerusalem. 8/1475
Housetop (24:17): Most roofs
were flat (cf. Deut 22:8; Mark 2:4; Acts 10:9)—pleasant places in the cool of
the day. Verse 17 implies such haste that fugitives will not take time to run
downstairs for anything to take with them but will run from roof to roof to
evacuate the city as quickly as possible (cf. Jos. Antiq.
XIII, 140 [v.3]). 6/501
1. Which verses
describe the following events or stages?
1a. The fall of Jerusalem.
1b. The period of distress before the end.
1c. The end and the coming of the Son of Man.
2a. What things might affect the faith of Christians and even
cause them to forsake the truth?
2b. Which of these do you see occurring today?
3. What will the
coming of Christ be like?
4. What was the
purpose of this discourse? To answer this question, list all the imperatives
(instructions) that may apply to us.
1. What three questions did the disciples ask?
2. Why did the disciples show Jesus the buildings
of the temple?
3a. What events will signify that the end is near?
3b. What marks the beginning of the “end”?
4. Why is it important that the gospel must first
be preached in all the world?
5. Why must the residents of Judea
6a. How would the false christs and
false prophets deceive?
their means of deception, how can we discern and guard against false christs and false prophets?
7. What does it mean that “the coming of the Son
of Man will be like the flashing of lightning from east to west”?
8. “Eagle” in 28 should be translated as vultures.
What does the image of carcass and vultures represent?
9a. What are “all these things” in 33?
9b. What is “near and at the doors”?
10. Why did
Jesus include the saying in 34-35?
11. Why did
Jesus repeatedly emphasize that He will come at an hour we do not know?
12. What lesson
can we learn from the generation of Noah?
13. How does the
picture of “one taken, one left” add to the impact of Jesus’ warning?
14a. How was the good servant faithful and wise?
14b. What does 45 tell us about our Christian responsibilities
and the meaning of being ready?
15. How has the
evil servant ignored Jesus’ warnings?
how are you preparing for the master’s return?