BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 24, Day 5: Matthew 24:37-51

Summary of passage:  Jesus explains that the coming of the Son of Man will be just like it was before the flood:  no one knew it was about to happen and everyone was just leading a normal life.  Believers will be saved.  So keep watch for the Son of Man.  Stay faithful and wise and care for Jesus’ flock and do not fall away because you think Jesus won’t come.  Jesus will come and send those who have fallen away to hell.

Questions:

10a)  Eating, drinking, marrying, giving

b)  People today think that Jesus will not come in their lifetime so they perpetuate sin and aren’t as strict.  In Noah’s time, God says man is corrupt, wicked and evil.  They lived for themselves.  Same mentality.  Even though we know Jesus is coming and in Noah’s time God was closer to His people, man turned his back.

11a)  A man of integrity, faithful and wise, who was put in charge to care for the servants while the master was away.  He was doing this when the master returned and was rewarded by being put in charge of all of the master’s possessions.

b)  As soon as the master is gone, the wicked servant begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.  His actions are one of someone who believes he will never be found out.

c)  Those who obey God and His commandments faithfully will be rewarded.  Those who do not obey Him and His commandments will be thrown into Hell on the Day of Judgment.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus says if you love him, then feed his sheep.  I interpret this as spiritually mostly.  Feed those Jesus has given you to care for by feeding them His word and caring for their needs.  There is also the physical need of actual eating as well, which is important, and the intellectual need of knowledge of Christ and who he is.

For me, this would be my children.  It is my responsibility and calling to raise my children and teach them about God and Jesus.  “At the proper time” is important as well for kids learn in stages and feeding them what they need to know at the proper time is important or it will be fruitless.  Basically, keep raising my kids in the Word and God will take care of the rest.

12a)  Keep watch for Jesus’ return and be ready for it.  Stay faithful to the master, stand firm to the end and you will be saved.  Care for those you are put in charge of faithfully so that they are ready as well.

b)  Watch out you are not deceived by false prophets.  Keep watch for the signs of his coming such as the abomination, the sun, moon, and stars, and the signs from heaven and the angels.  Do not fall away or you shall perish.

c)  As the elect, you will be saved and rewarded for your work on earth.  Jesus will return to establish his kingdom here on Earth!

Conclusions:  Please read the rest of John 21.  Talk about mind-opening!  If you love, then take care of Jesus’ sheep.  It just hit me hard that we love and take care of others because we love Jesus and Jesus loves us.  It’s Jesus at his best when he’s trying to get something through to us dunderheads!  Love it!  I love how John ends his book how there is just not enough pages to record all Jesus did.  I love that!

Question 12 was great in bringing the whole chapter together because piece-meal is great for study but hard to get the overriding message:  Stay faithful and Jesus will return!

End Notes:  Here we have another dilemma:  Jesus had previously said in the End Times the heavenly bodies will be out of whack and there will be wars, famines, and earthquakes.  Here, Jesus says the world will be a”as it was in the days of Noah” so life going on as normal until it started to rain.  How can you have normal in a world with major catastrophes and earth-moving signs?

Scholars resolve these “two comings” by saying one is for the church (believers who recognize the signs) and the other is for non-believers who don’t.

Note Jesus’ emphasis on constant readiness.  As Christians, we need to be about His work NOW and not LATER.  Don’t put off God for tomorrow for tomorrow may never come and your plans won’t materialize–only God’s will.  Respond now, Jesus says, and you will be rewarded.

Matthew Chapters 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21 is known as the Olivet Discourse, which is where Jesus discusses eschatology (the doctrine of the “last things” in Greek).  It was given to the disciples on the Mount of Olives (see fascinating history and pictures HERE).  Who knew it was a necropolis?  I didn’t!

Breakdown of the Olivet Discourse with side-by-side passages from all 3 Gospels HERE

This is the last of Jesus’ Five Discourses Matthew records before the cross.  Breakdown and summary of Matthew’s Five Discourses HERE.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 24, Day 4: Matthew 24:24-36

Summary of passage:  False prophets will appear at the End Times to try and deceive the elect, Jesus warns.  The coming of the Son of Man will be visible.  Jesus quotes Isaiah, saying the sun will be darkened and the moon will have no light.  The stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

The Son of Man will appear in the sky and will come on clouds with power and great glory.  He will send his angels who will call the elect with a loud trumpet call.  This generation will not pass away until all these predictions have happened.  No one knows when Jesus shall return except the Father.

Questions:

8a)  False prophets.  The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give any light, stars will fall from the sky, heavenly bodies will be shaken, and a sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky.  He will come on clouds and angels will appear with a trumpet call.

b)  Zechariah 12:10:  A spirit of grace and supplication will be poured out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  They will mourn Jesus and grieve bitterly.

Matthew 24:30:  “The Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”

Revelation 1:7:  Jesus will come with the clouds for all to see and all will mourn because of him.

c)  Nothing.  We learn that no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return except God.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus uses the fig tree as a metaphor for his coming.  Fig trees bloom regularly and always.  Jesus says as surely as the fig tree blooms, surely I will return.

Conclusions:  This is a good warm up to Revelation for those of you doing that next year.  Still needed a commentary for the fig tree.  Chapter 24 is difficult in that it speaks to the future and prophecy, always difficult to interpret when no dates are given and generalities abound.

I liked the study of the abomination.  I missed that when I read the book of Daniel on my own.  Why I need a bible study to learn this stuff!

End Notes:  In addition to Isaiah, Joel 2:10, and Revelation 6:12-14 also mention what will happen in the heavens at the End Times.

Scholars debate what the sign of the Son of Man will be.  Basically, it’s all guesses since we are not told here.

The fig tree has been around since the beginning of time (remember what leaves Adam and Eve used to cover up after they ate of the Tree of Knowledge?).  The fig tree appears many times in the Old Testament, sometimes to represent abundance or even to represent Israel (Jeremiah 24:1-10 and Hosea 9:10).

If you read Luke’s version of this story, specifically Luke 21:29-31, you get a better picture of what the fig tree represents here.  Like I said, it’s an analogy assuring his disciples that Jesus will return.

Some say this “generation” could be translated as this “race”, meaning the Jews.  This is especially propounded by those who believe these events already happened in 70 AD.

So Jesus gives an outline for End Time events:  1) Catastrophes 2)  abomination of desolation 3)  Warnings to flee 4)  Hardships and heavenly signs  5)  Jesus’ return

Note the dilemma verse 36 poses:  Daniel says the day of Jesus’ return is exactly 1,290 days after the abomination that causes desolation (Daniel 12:11).  Here, Jesus says only God knows his return.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 24, Day 3: Matthew 24:15-23

Summary of passage:  Jesus continues telling the disciples what the Second Coming will be like.  When an abomination that causes desolation stands in the temple, flee.  There will be false prophets out to deceive the elect so don’t believe them.

Questions:

6a)  Jesus is speaking of his Second Coming and the end of the age.  The holy place is the Jewish temple.  An abomination is an idol that causes desolation.

b)  Flee to the mountains.  Take nothing with them.

c)  Daniel (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11)

7a)  Jesus says “there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again.”  “How dreadful it will be.”

b)  To warn “the elect” or believers so they are not deceived and fall away by false prophets coming as himself.

Conclusions:  I had to use a commentary to know what Jesus was talking about in verse 15.  I knew it was the End Times, but specifically an idol in the temple was beyond me.  I don’t remember ever hearing about the abomination that causes desolation before even though I’ve read Daniel so that was cool for me.  Not a lot of meat here in my opinion without the rest of the passage that we study tomorrow.

End Notes:  This passage is much debated by scholars in terms of timing.  Did this happen prior to 70 AD?  Did this happen in 70 AD before the Romans burned the temple down (many say there was no time for an idol to be set up).  Does this mean a literal temple?  Many argue this has not happened yet and believe it would be a blatant sign such as an Antichrist in a temple.

Jesus is quoting Daniel here and Paul echoes this in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 24, Day 2: Matthew 24:1-14

Summary of passage:  Jesus leaves the temple and predicts that the temple will be leveled (70 AD).  As Jesus sits on the Mount of Olives, the disciples ask him when this will happen and what will be the signs of his Second Coming and the end of the age.  Jesus replies to be wary for many will come in his name.  There will be wars, famines, and earthquakes.  You will be persecuted because of him.  Many will turn away and turn to false prophets.  Love will lessen but those who stand firm in the end will be saved.  This gospel will be spread all over the world.

Questions:

3a)  “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” Verse 2

b)  “When will these things happen?  And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7)

“When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  (Matthew 24:3)

“When will these things happen?  And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” Mark (13:4)

c)  That Christ’s kingdom will reign until the end of the age.

d)  The temple fell in 70 AD when the Romans sacked the city to put down the Jewish rebellion.  Soldiers knocked down every massive stone in search of the melted gold that had run down as the temple burned.

4a)  Jesus is speaking of different time periods in the future.  He mentions things such as people coming in his name, wars, revolutions, earthquakes, famines, pestilences (verses 8-10).  Some of these have already happened and continue to happen.

Then Jesus switches to the immediate future, once he is gone, how the disciples will be persecuted, brought before kings and governors, betrayed, and put to death (verses 12-16).  This begins right after his death.

Jesus speaks of the End Times as well when he will come down in a cloud of power and glory to set up his kingdom on earth (verse 27).  He says this will take place when Jerusalem is surrounded (verse 20).

b)  “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.  Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  Jerusalem has to wait on ALL nations and UNTIL the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, which is an indefinite amount of time.

5a)  Many will come in his name.  False prophets.  One William Miller in 1846 predicted Jesus would return and many believed.  When he didn’t, many fell away.  This is the warning to us all.

Wars and revolutions.  Too many to list: WWI, WWII, American revolution, French Revolution, Thirty Years War, Civil War, etc

Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.  Too many to list:  all the conflicts between England and France, American revolution where it was the US against England, conflict now in the Middle East, Turks versus the Ottomans, etc.

Great earthquakes, famines, and pestilences.  Too many to list:  Tsumani in 2004, Great San Francisco Earthquake, Dust Bowl, famines in Africa, Bubonic Plague, AIDS, etc.

Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies.  Too many times to list:  According to Wikipedia, Jerusalem has been fought over sixteen times in its history.  Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.

Increase in wickedness and loss of love.  Society will deteriorate, which I think most of us will agree is happening.  There will be less love for others and caring.

b)  The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Through Christian missionaries in all parts of the world and even to the new generations at church and to current believers.  I don’t “preach the gospel.”  I teach it to my kids.  That’s about my extent.  I give to my church and they support missionaries.

Conclusions:  We spent most of this lesson in Luke.  Mark was ignored, a shame since I loved this nugget in Mark:  “And the gospel must first be preached to all nations (Mark 13:10)”, which makes question 5b clearer.  Jesus also mentions the Holy Spirit guiding the disciples during persecution, which must have been a great comfort upon hearing such dread events to come in their lives.  This was recorded in Mark only.

End Notes:  This is the last time Jesus will enter the temple.  He is departing for good.  The disciples are attempting to cheer Jesus after having been questioned by the Pharisees in the temple.  The temple was beautiful and magnificent to behold.  It was covered in gold and huge!

Titus’ soldiers burned the temple against his orders.  He wanted to preserve it.  However, once burned, Titus ordered the temple dismantled in order to retrieve the gold that had melted.

Titus was the emperor of Rome from 79-81 AD.  Before this, he was in charge of Judea and ending the Jewish rebellion there, which he did in 70 AD.  For this victory, he was awarded a triumph (a public ceremony honoring his achievement) and the Arch of Titus was built as a commemoration for him and for his military victories. It is one of two remaining arches still standing in the Roman forum and it was a model for the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The disciples probably correlated the destruction of the temple with the End Times.  Hence, Jesus’ long answer to correct their thinking.  There is much listed here, purposely vague, that scholars say are for different reasons including to confound the devil or have every generation ready for Jesus’ return.

These signs will intensify as Jesus’ return come near.  More and more earthquakes and famines. Luke says specifically there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars.  The seas will toss; the heavenly bodies be shaken.

All we need to know is:  Jesus is coming!  So be ready!