Signs of the End

Description

People from every tribe, nation and tongue will worship the Lamb of God as revealed in the book of Revelation, yet many tribes and tongues have never heard the Gospel. How can your time, talent, and possessions contribute to this task?

“This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (v. 14).  - Matthew 24:9–14

Jesus’ promise that God’s wrath is coming upon all of Jerusalem (23:29–39), His declaration concerning the imminent fall of the temple (24:1–2), and a question as to the timing of these events (v. 3) precede the signs described in 24:4–35. This requires us to look for these signs within the lifetimes of those who first heard Christ, otherwise this teaching would have been irrelevant to them. Sound biblical interpretation always begins with a passage’s original context.

The signs in 24:4–35 refer to the coming of Jesus in AD 70 to judge Jerusalem and those who rejected Him as the Messiah. This coming was not our Lord’s second advent as judge over the whole earth, which this view argues is yet to come. Full preterism (which denies that Christ’s second advent lies ahead) is to be rejected for its failure to recognize an essential truth of Scripture (Acts 1:6–11). Full preterists erroneously believe the events of AD 70 and the second advent are identical, allowing for no subsequent return of the King.

But what evidence is there that our exposition has rightly understood that Matthew 24:1–35 was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem only a few decades after Jesus’ ascension? In the first place, history shows that many messianic pretenders were active during this time (v. 5). Josephus, the famous first-century Jewish historian, refers to several false prophets and “messiahs,” two of whom are also named in Acts 5:35–37. The wars and upheaval Jesus predicts in Matthew 24:6–7 also occurred. Rome fought several wars, especially along the Empire’s eastern edge, and revolts were also common; in fact, four Roman emperors were deposed in just two years (68–69) because of all the turmoil.

Many do not accept a partial preterist analysis of Matthew 24:1–35 because the “whole world” has not yet heard the Gospel (v. 14). The Greek word used for “whole world,” however, is oikoumene, or the “world of the Roman empire.” Paul in Romans 15:14–32 and 16:25–27 tells us that in his day the Gospel had been preached to the whole oikoumene except Spain, where he would preach before his death. Thus, even Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled prior to AD 70.

Coram Deo

The fact that the Gospel had been proclaimed to the Roman world by the late middle of the first century does not mean that the task of world evangelization has been completed. People from every tribe, nation, and tongue will worship the Lamb of God (Rev. 7:9–17), and there are as yet many tribes and tongues who have never heard the Gospel. Are you a dedicated supporter of world missions? How can your time, talent, and possessions contribute to this task?

Passages for Further Study
  • Deut. 28:15–68
  • Luke 21:10–19
  • Acts 11:27–30
  • Colossians 1:3–8

Please register for a free account to view this content

We hope you have enjoyed the 10 discipleship resources you have read in the last 30 days.
You have exceeded your 10 piece content limit.
Create a free account today to keep fueling your spiritual journey!

Already a member? Login to iDisciple

Related
The Sinlessness of Christ
Revive Our Hearts
Unable to Pay
Dr. R.C. Sproul
John: Spiritual Blindness and Self-Righteousness
Dennis Mock
No Other Savior
Dr. Bill Bright
When He Comes, Part 1
Pete Briscoe
Follow Us

Want to access more exclusive iDisciple content?

Upgrade to a Giving Membership today!

Already a member? Login to iDisciple