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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 24

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-14

  1. Intro: Thy Kingdom Coming
    1. Imagine the story of Cinderella ending after the Act where she enjoyed the night at the Ball?
      1. ​​​​​​​It would have been a wonderful dance…but no marriage; A great night on the town…but no hope for a groom; A thrill for the present… but no future.
    2. Now Imagine the story of God ending after the Act where we have the birth, life, death, resurrection & ascension of Jesus, but then no talk about a future, no Return of Jesus?
      1. But we are told about the next chapter...the next Act.
      2. It’s the one page left to be turned. The one story left to be told.
        1. If we leave off His 2nd comingwe’ve had a wonderful dancebut no marriage; A great night on the townbut no hope for our groom; A thrill for the presentbut no future.
    3. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​God has placed w/in us an interest in the future, an awareness that life as we know it is not going to continue indefinitely. Jerry Vines, Mark, pg.249.
      1. I don’t claim to know how to unravel everything in the end times. As G.K.Chesterton said, It is only the fool who tries to get the heavens inside his head, & not unnaturally his head bursts. The wise man is content to get his head inside the heavens.
  2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​OLIVET OVERVIEW (1-3)
    1. ​​​​​​​How do we study End Times? How do we balance our theology.
    2. Some rules:
      1. We will take it literally (not allegorically).
        1. When the literal makes sense, seek no other sense. When it doesn’t (i.e. a symbol) we will use proper rules of grammar & interpretation.
        2. We will interpret it with “normal, grammatical, historical, ordinary literal sense” w/in the normal context that it is written.
      2. We will not make it a test of orthodoxy or spirituality.
      3. We will take it in the light of the rest of scripture.
      4. We will look for the practical application. It wasn’t written to satisfy curiosity.
        1. ​​​​​​​Note: Take heed, now learn, watch therefore, be ready. Don’t be deceived(4,11)... discouraged (6)...defeated (13)...doubtful (34,35)...distracted (42).
      5. ​​​​​​​We will better understand present & future events.
      6. We will not hold a narcissistic & self-centered eschatology. i.e. anything that happens to ‘Merica...it must be the end.
      7. We will not set dates.
      8. We will not be obsessed by it nor ignore it.
      9. We will note the Jewish atmosphere of Jesus’ teaching. [Israel/church]
        1. We have 4 Jewish men, asked a Jewish Rabbi, about a Jewish Temple.
        2. He warned them of: false Messiah’s, referred to Jewish courts & trials, & talked about fleeing to Judea. And remember this tribulation to come was called the time of Jacob’s trouble Jer.30:7.
    3. The chapter overview: The Beginning of the Tribulation (4-14); The Middle of the Tribulation (15-28); The End of the Tribulation (29-31) [note: vs.8,15, 29]
      1. Note: Rapture is not discussed until vs.36-44. [1st section this morning]
    5. The Stones – some were 60’ long, 8’ high, & 9’ wide. Reckoned to be 500+ tons.
    6. The Buildings – covered approximately 1/6th of the city.
      1. John 2:20, Herod’s temple had been under construction 46 years. Completed 64ad
      2. It was considered one of the great wonders of the Roman World.
      3. Josephus quote, The exterior of the building wanted nothing that could astound either mind or eye. For, being covered on all sides with massive plates of gold, the sun was no sooner up than it radiated so fiery a flash that persons straining to look at it were compelled to avert their eyes, as from the solar rays. To approaching strangers it appeared from a distance like a snow-clad mountain; for all that was not overlaid with gold was of purest white. (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, V.5.6. (Book 5, Ch.5, Sec.6))
    8. (2) The destruction prophesied.
      1. Jesus already gave his assessment of the temple. Jewish leaders had defiled it.Jesus departed from it & left it desolate (the ultimate failure of the Jews...to know God in a personal way).
      2. The Romans destroyed it in 70 ad led by General Titus.
        1. According to the Historian Josephus, over a million people were killed, mostly through starvation; nearly 100,000 were taken captive.
    9. (3) Here we get the title of the Olivet discourse. [Note inner circle + 1]
    10. 3 questions: Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, (1) Tell us, when will these things be? (2) And what will be the sign of Your coming, (3) and of the end of the age?
      1. The questions weren’t really being asked the right way, because they still had many political overtones in their questions.
        1. e.g. in Acts 1:6 (post res) they were still asking, Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?
        2. It is like the boy asking his father, Daddy, why does the sun shine in the daytime when we don’t need it, & not at night when we do?(1) That kind of question is difficult to answer, not because the answer is hard, but because the question is so wrong. :)
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus’ aim wasn’t to satisfy their curiosity about the future (or ours) but to encourage their faith & help them face the challenges that lie ahead.
      1. ​​​​​​​A photographer has the ability to make 2 objects, 1 in the foreground, one in the background both come into focus.
        1. That’s what Jesus does here: w/an event in ad 70 & an event to come...The Trib.
    2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Take heed – Watch, keep your eyes open, evaluate, test, try the spirits, bring everything to the test.
      1. The predominate note of the age will be one of deceit & confusion.
    3. Signs of the beginning of the Tribulation (8)
      1. Don’t get these mixed up w/signs of His Coming. These are only the beg of sorrows.
    4. The signs are: Spiritual Deception. International Disruption. Physical Destruction. And, Religious Discrimination.
      1. Though these have always been with us, obviously they will accelerate.
      2. So under our banner of Spiritual Deception we’re warned against False Christ’s.
    6. Pages of history are filled w/tragic stories of False Messiah’s, False Prophets, & their enthusiastic disciples.
      1. How easy it is for people to follow popular leaders w/their simple but erroneous solutions for the problems of life.
      2. 1 Jn.2:18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
      3. These anti-Christ’s are not someone who is against Christ, but who appears instead of Christ.
        1. These include the false Jesus of the cults; the false Jesus of the gurus of eastern religion; the false Jesus of ultra-liberal theologians.
        2. Their basic message is anti-Christian in that they reject the true Christ.
        3. Don’t be deceived because they use the same terms or names. Their Christ is an impostor
  4. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​INTERNATIONAL DISRUPTION (6,7a)
    1. ​​​​​​​The Roman Empire had enjoyed a measure of peace for many years…but it wouldn’t last.
    2. Nation against nation...kingdom against kingdom - speaks of not a specific war or wars, but instead a general course of the age. Continual turmoil among nations. Sounds like our day.
    3. As the American writer, historian, philosopher Will Durant wrote, In the last 3,421 years of recorded history only 268 have seen no war.
    1. ​​​​​​​FAMINE
    2. Famine is an extreme scarcity of food. 1 in 8 in our world live in chronic undernourishment
      1. ​​​​​​​Famine is often left behind in a wars wake. [As Oddny Gumaer shared 2 weeks ago, of people starving in Aleppo, Syria in the wake of their war] (someone gav her a check for sleeping bags & said to keep the muslims there???)
      2. Famine is also caused by man’s abuse of the environment.
      3. Famine is also can be sent by God as a judgment.
    3. Famine Redefined (from Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, book) quote pg.8.1. People with money can always buy food. Famine affects only the poor. People that devote 60-80% of their income to food simply eat less and die sooner. Death usually results from diseases that underfed bodies cannot resist. Children are the 1st victims.
    4. Does the world produce enough food to feed everyone?
      1. Yes. World agriculture produces 17% more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70% population increase. [mud cookies from Hinch market]
    6. Not in some translations. It means plagues which usually follow famines.
    8. You want to get away from earthquakes? Best continent to live on would be Antarctica.
      1. Although they do have small ice quakes (ice sheets shift, not land mass).
    9. To stay in America? Then try Florida & North Dakota.
    10. There have always been earthquakes but in various places means, from place to place, everywhere, here & there. LKGNT
      1. According to the US Geological Survey there are approximately 1,000,000 earthquakes around the world every year. Of these approximately 1/10 are large enough to be felt by humans. So on any day there will be on average 275 earthquakes around the world that can be felt.
        1. Each year in So Calif we get about 10,000 earthquakes.
    11. BEGINNING OF SORROWS (8) (sorrows = Lit. birth pangs)
    12. Birth pangs of course come suddenly, build gradually, & then lead to terrible sorrow.
      1. Is.13:6-11(esp.8) (6) Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand...(8) Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth.
      2. 1 Thes.5:3,4 Peace and safety! then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
    13. So, political & geological disruption will give false prophets & false Christ’s great opportunity to deceive people.
    1. ​​​​​​​Not only were the believers to take heed & avoid deceivers…but were also to take heed to themselves. Why? Because they would face increasing opposition & persecution from 2 main sources: Official & Personal.
    2. Persecution would begin in the local Jewish courts & synagogues [says Mrk13:9] Then they would move to the higher courts. [governors, Kings]
    3. Note: this happened in ACTS...Persecution started in the local courts: Sanhedrin & High Priest (Acts ch’s.4,5,7). Herod (12). Magistrates in Philippi (16). Felix (23). Festus (24). King Agrippa (25). All the way up to Caesar.
    4. They were to use these at opportunities to witness...for a testimony to them (Mrk.9b).
      1. Persecution would only result in Proclamation.
        1. Our friend Dan Jones in Alamos Mexico thrown into prison for 9 months? Led men to Christ & now is the only pastor allowed to go in & evangelize.
        2. Whether Paul before Agrippa; Peter & John before the Sanhedrin, or Martin Niemoller before Hitler...Persecution results in Proclamation.
        3. More Christians were martyred in the 20th cent than in all other centuries combined [christianity.com]
        4. 105,000 Christians are martyred for their faith each year [Deseret News, 2011]
        5. Currently over 100 million Christians are being persecuted worldwide [Reuters, 2013]
        6. 70% of the world's pop lives in a religiously intolerant environment [Pew Forum, 2011]
        7. North Korea continues to be the worst country in the world for persecution.
          1. Tertullian to his persecutors, We multiply whenever we are mown down by you. The blood of Christians is seed.
    5. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​(12) Job security for those of you in Law Enforcement...lawlessness will abound.
    6. (13) He who endures to the end shall be saved
      1. Not as a condition for salvation, for it applies to witnesses during the Trib.
      2. During the tribulation true believers will prove their faith by their faithfulness.
    7. (14) Gospel preached to all nations –
      1. Does this destroy the teaching of the imminent return of Christ? (i.e. He can’t return until…)
      2. If this is spoken in the midst of the beginning of the tribulation, then by the end of the tribulation I believe there will be salvations from every Tribe, Tongue & Nation.
        1. Isn’t necessary before the Rapture.
        2. Though I don’t think that taking the gospel to all nations is a condition for our Lords return; but it is certainly Christ’s commission to His people. The question is...will you participate?
    8. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Someone once said, If the shoe fitswear it. If the gospel fitswear it; own it, live it, give it, share it.
    9. The coming events cast their shadow before His return.
      1. Illustration: If you place your hand high above your lap, & then slowly move your hand downward, watching your hand’s shadow. It 1st starts out fuzzy, but as your hand draws near your lap, the shadow becomes more & more clear...till the hand is there. [so w/end times]
    10. This chapter began with the disciples admiring the temple stones & the surrounding buildings...but they didn’t know it was a sinking ship. When the Titanic began to sink do you think they were still admiring the awesome vessel it was? No, they were concerned with their very lives.
    11. Hopefully, the prophecy of the rap up of this planet, should wean us off this world.
      1. Why are we so mesmerized & enthralled by such a place destined for doom?
        1. It’s like getting excited over a nights stay in a cheap motel, vs. owning a mansion indefinitely. - Let’s wean ourselves from this world!
    12. If you want to be distressed...look within.
      If you want to be defeated...look back.
      If you want to be distracted...look around.
      If you want to be dismayed...look ahead.
      If you want to be delivered...Look Up.​​​​​​​

Verses 15-31

  1. Intro: Forewarned is Forearmed
    1. Actor Kevin Bacon recounted when his 6-year-old son saw Footloose for the first time: He said, "Hey, Dad, you know that thing in the movie where you swing from the rafters of that building? That's really cool, how did you do that?" I said, "Well, I didn't do that part - it was a stunt man." "What's a stunt man?" he asked. "That's someone who dresses like me and does things I can't do." "Oh," he replied and walked out of the room looking a little confused. A little later he said, "Hey, Dad, you know that thing in the movie where you spin around on that gym bar and land on your feet? How did you do that?" I said, "Well, I didn't do that. It was a gymnastics double." "What's a gymnastics double?" he asked. "That's a guy who dresses in my clothes and does things I can't do." There was silence from my son, then he asked in a concerned voice, "Dad, what did you do?" "I got all the glory," I sheepishly replied.
      1. That's the grace of God in our lives. Jesus took our sin upon himself and did what we couldn't do, paid what we couldn’t pay. We stand forgiven and bask sheepishly triumphant in Jesus' glory. Jesus our Stunt Double, our Stand In, our Substitute.
    2. Last week we dealt w/the beginning of the Trib, 13:1-14. Today we’ll deal w/…
      1. Midpoint (15-20) The Middle of the Trib
      2. 2nd Half (21-26) The 2nd Half of Trib
      3. 2nd Coming (27-31) The End of the Trib
    3. Tribulation - a time of great worldwide troubles unlike anything in history.
      1. More space is devoted to the Tribulation in the NT than to the Coming of Christ. Every NT writer refers to it.
  2. MIDPOINT (15-20) The Middle of the Tribulation
    1. Jesus speaks here of a Triple decker prophecy [1] Historic/Antiochus Epiphanes [2] Near Future/Titus [3] Still Future/Anti-Christ.
    2. (15) The abomination of desolation – 167bc Antiochus IV (Seleucid/Syrian King) also called Epiphanes (Illustrious), desecrated/polluted the Jewish temple by erecting an altar, dedicated to the pagan god Zeus in the Holy place.
      1. After taking over Jerusalem he tried to Hellenize the people (adopt Gk ways & speech)
        1. He forbade them to: circumcise their children, offer Levitical sacrifices, & forced them to sacrifice swine.
    3. Let’s read from the Apocryphal literature 1 & 2 Maccabees [not part of canon but good history] To consolidate his empire and strengthen his hold over the region, Antiochus decided to side with the Hellenized Jews by outlawing Jewish religious rites & traditions kept by observant Jews & by ordering the worship of Zeus as the supreme god. 2Mac 6:1-12 This was anathema to the Jews and when they refused, Antiochus sent an army to enforce his decree. Because of the resistance, the city was destroyed, many were slaughtered, and a military Greek citadel called the Acra was established. 1 Maccabees 1:30-37
      1. In 168 bc Antiochus entered the Temple himself, butchered a pig on the altar, forced the Priests to drink its blood & eat the raw pork, then smeared the remainder of the blood on the temple walls. [It was abominable & left the people desolate]
    4. But Jesus says this abomination is still future.
      1. The world awaits a man, a world ruler, who will solve the worlds problems (esp. in the Middle East). He will make a 7 yr treaty…& then break it in the middle.
    5. Standing in the Holy place or where it ought not Mrk13 (in the rebuilt temple)
      1. What is standing in the rebuilt Temple? well, this man/the beast/antichrist has a right-hand-man...the false prophet. He will make an image of the beast, breathe life into it, & make it even speak. [this image stands in the Temple]
    6. (16-20) If your house burst into flames & you had 3 things to grab what would you grab? (Photo’s, Pets?...maybe not Sully, Satan’s Lil Brother)
      1. Get out (16) Flee to the mountains, head for the hills, get out as fast as you can. Urgency.
        1. This same warning applied when Rome attacked Jer. in ad 70.
        2. What happened in ad 70 foreshadowed what will happen in the middle of the Trib.
        3. Coming events cast their shadows before. Straight ahead lies yesterday. Harry Rimmer
      2. Life is more than Property (17)
      3. How thoughtful & tender was our Savior in sympathizing w/suffering mothers in their hour of need (19)
      4. Exhortation to Pray (20) specifically for 2 things...Not in winter, not on the Sabbath - maybe because in Israel the buses, taxis, trains, & airlines all shut down on the Sabbath (even elevators programed to stop every floor).
    7. Forewarned is Forearmed.
  3. 2ND HALF (21-26) The Great Tribulation
    1. ​​​​​​​(21) In the book of Matthew the last ½ of the trib. is called the Great Tribulation. In the book of Revelation, the last ½ of the trib is called the wrath of God.
    2. Says this is unquestionably the worse this planet will have ever seen, or will ever see.
      1. World-wide unprecedented trouble, horror, misery, & chaos on the earth.
    3. So, why this 7 year Time of Jacob’s/Israel Trouble on planet earth?
      1. To prepare the nation Israel for her Messiah.
        1. God’s purpose is to bring about the conversion of a multitude of Jews.
        2. God’s purpose is to bring a multitude of Jews into the blessings of the kingdom.
        3. God’s purpose is to fulfill all of Israel’s covenants.
      2. To prepare the other nations for the Messiah.
        1. God’s purpose is to bring about the conversion of a multitude of Gentiles [sheep/goat]
        2. God’s purpose is to populate the millennium with a multitude of saved Gentiles.
      3. To pour out judgment on unbelieving man & nations.
        1. God’s purpose is to judge the nations of the earth because of their godlessness.
          1. Since the kingdom to follow is a reign of righteousness, this judgement must be viewed as another step in the progress of God’s program in dealing w/ sin.
    4. Why so radical Jesus? Ever thought of a little softer approach? Oh, you tried that already at Your 1st coming…& you were rejected.
    5. (22) Even in the midst of His wrath He remembers mercy. Hab.3:2 In wrath remember mercy
      1. The elect refer to Israel & Gentiles who come to faith during the Tribulation.
      2. Shorten – i.e. He limits them to the 3 ½ years (or 42 months, or 1260 days) already determined. (Rev.11:2, 12:6)
    6. (25) See I have told you – Trust His Word.
      1. He told us beforehand what to expect & what to avoid.
      2. His word is dependable & durable, so trust it.
    7. Augustine said, He who loves the coming of the Lord is not he who affirms it is far off, nor is it he who says it is near; but rather he who, whether it be far off or near, awaits it with sincere faith, steadfast hope & fervent love.
    8. Forewarned is Forearmed.
  4. 2ND COMING (27-31) The End of Trib
    1. ​​​​​​​Picture yourself with your back to the ocean making a sand castle, watching & competing to those on your left & right side to make sure yours is the better than theirs. And then getting so engulfed in it that you never saw the little wave coming that just demolished it. This chapter is that wave.
      1. ​​​​​​​When the tide of history sweeps in, many will be swept away by the fury of God’s wrath.
    2. (27) Lightening - His Coming would be sudden, startling, universal, visible, & terrifying to the ungodly. Sudden and unmistakable.
      1. Yes, this could speak of His swiftness in coming back, but the context is to contrast the notion of an obscure & doubtful appearance, or 1 that is local & limited, or one in which is so gradual that it can scarcely be discerned. 3 things…
      2. Its Visibility - Not a lil firefly that might be missed, but Lightening that can’t be ignored. No obscurity here. Every eye shall see Him.
      3. Its Breadth - The Light of the world appears from E. to W.
      4. Its Suddenness - Nothing is so sudden or so startling as lightening. [You can anticipate its coming & watch closely, yet not know the exact moment]
    3. (29) Note after the tribulation (i.e. the end of it)
      1. There are 1,845 references to Christ’s 2nd coming in the OT, where 17 books give it prominence. In the 260 chapters of the NT, there are 318 references to the 2nd advent of Christ (1 out of every 30 vss). 23 of the 27 NT books refer to this great event. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ’s 1st advent, there are 8 which look forward to His 2nd.
    4. (29) Right when it looks as if the devil has control of this universe, God is going to shake His creation. This is a Heaven-quake.
      1. Yes, world-wide chaos on the earth, but also terrifying signs in the heavens.
      2. The universe seems to move towards disorganization.
        1. Earths own star dims, & the moon’s reflective light is too little to see by.
      3. Then in all this cosmological confusion...Jesus will come in shining clouds of Glory.
    5. (30) Jesus’ Return. In contrast to His 1st coming, in obscurity & weakness; Jesus will return in majesty & glory. This time, not to suffer & die, but to rule/reign as King of kings & Lord of Lords.
      1. ​​​​​​​Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him. Rev.1:7
      2. There will be NO uncertainty of the fact that He has returned.
      3. Jesus will: defeat the devil (lock him up); subdue the rebellious generation; bring everything into submission; this world will become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ forever.
        1. This is...His kingdom come. His will be done, on earth just like it is in heaven.
    6. (31) This is the completion of the world-wide gathering of His chosen ones.
      1. Note gather in both (28, 31). Note the contrast between the gatherings:
        1. The birds of prey gathering around & eating the dead carcasses. Speaks of Armageddon...birds of prey gather wherever dead bodies are found.
        2. The gathering of Christ’s elect at the great trumpet-summons of His Holy angels.
      2. Here, His angels are released not as grim reapers, but as joyous reapers.
        1. Rev.14:15 Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe. [14-16 Packaged Grapes/harvested. 17-20 Pressed Grapes/winepress]
    7. Forewarned is Forearmed.
    8. Communion: How does 2nd Coming tie into Communion?
      1. ​​​​​​​1 Cor.11:23-26 On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God & his people - an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
    9. ​​​​​​​2 Tim. 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Verses 32-51

  1. Intro: Don’t Lose the Best by Living for the Good
    1. I said 2 weeks ago said the Rapture is not discussed till the end of chapter...I would like to change that to the rapture is not discussed here. [the prob of hearing something taught growing up 1 way, too many times, is that when you see it your brain reverts back to that]
    2. Wrap up this chapter w/5 Practical Lessons taught thru 5 Illustrations.
      1. A lesson from... a Tree. Noah. a Thief. a Wise Servant. an Evil Servant.
        1. God’s great book of nature is full of illustrations for those who have eyes to perceive them.
  2. A LESSON FROM A TREE (32-35)
    1. ​​​​​​​The Fig Tree has special association with Israel.
      1. The people living during the Tribulation will be able to watch these things occur & will know that His coming is near.
      2. This assurance will help them endure till the end. vs.13
    2. Summer is near - and the harsh winter of the Tribulation is past.
      1. When you see signs of Spring, you know Summer is near. Here in our Valley…
      2. When you see our parking lot trees in bloom...you know summer is near.. When you see the Strawberry stands start opening…you know summer is near. When you see Calif wild Poppy’s pop up along our 15fwy…u know summer is near.
    3. (31) My words – Wow. We’ve heard Is.40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. Hear Jesus puts His words on equal footing w/the OT Scriptures.
      1. ​​​​​​​We as believers do not depend on signs, we depend on His unchanging Word, we have the prophetic word confirmed.
      2. Everything wrong, everything evil, everything unjust, every prejudice, bias, & discrimination will pass away. And we have the Hope of a new Heaven & Earth. Where peace, justice, hope, joy, love, & everything right & good will have no end.
  3. A LESSON FROM NOAH (36-42) be ready His 2nd Coming is near
    1. ​​​​​​​(37-39) Days of Noah - Plenty of warning, but utter unpreparedness.
      1. Here Jesus says, History will repeat itself.
      2. When He comes He will find many unprepared & unconcerned, even as the antediluvians were when the flood came, & took them away.
    2. (38) What kept them from listening & obeying Noah’s message? The common interests of life. They weren’t bad things...just the normal pursuits of life.
    3. Note: both men (Noah/Lot, Lk.17:28-30) lived just before great judgments.
      1. The world was living in sin, oblivious to God. It’s what will the world be like just before the final judgment and the Coming of the Lord? It will be business as usual.
    4. So Jesus warning was, Don’t lose the best by living for the good.
      1. ​​​​​​​It’s a dangerous thing to get so absorbed in the pursuits of life that we forget Jesus is Coming.
      2. Jesus consistently taught the certainty of the fact of His Coming, but the uncertainty of the time.
    5. Let’s take a side lesson from anableps: There’s a minnow-like fish called Four eyes (anableps), which makes his home in Central and South America. What’s unusual about him is his large, bulging eyes. They are so situated on his head that he can spend his time cruising along the water with only the upper half of each eye above the surface. The top half has an air lens and the bottom half has a water lens, which amounts to a set of bifocals, giving him the ability to see in both the upper and under world. And...they spend most of their time at the surface of the water. :)
      1. Our lesson from the anableps? 1/2 of your eyes focused on earth & the other 1/2 focused on heaven.
    6. While those observing Noah building the ark could anticipate that a flood was impending, it was obvious that the flood could not come until the ark was completed. (Walvoord)
      1. When the ark was completed & Noah, his family, & the animals were in it, those observing could anticipate the flood any day. But even then, they could not predict the day nor the hour. [context, predicting time from vs.36]
        1. So Christ’s Coming, just like the flood, will be sudden, unexpected, & universal in its effects.
    7. (40,41) Taken - up in the Rapture or off to Judgment? [only place Lk.17:20-37 same context]
      1. At the end of tribulation - some people are taken away to judgment, while others will remain to enter the kingdom.
      2. 2 working in a field - 1 taken, the other left (40)
      3. 2 grinding grain - 1 taken, the other left (41)
      4. [Lk adds] 2 in a bed - 1 taken, the other left (Lk.17:34)
        1. Some will be taken into judgment.
          1. In some parts of the world it will be nighttime (they’ll be in bed).
          2. In other parts of the world it will be daytime (they’ll be doing daily tasks)
          3. The taken away means taken away to Judgment, not taken up in the Rapture.
        2. The ones left are those who will enter into the kingdom.
          1. We’ll read in ch.25, the sheep were told...Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world
          2. The goats were told depart from Me you cursed…
    8. (42) Watch - main practical thought is that of watchfulness (Mrk, Lk, 1 Thes.)
    9. Lk.21:34-36 msg But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.
    10. The Pony Express. This historically famous mail service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and California depended on constant movement and readiness. Relay stations were established every 10-15 miles. A rider would shout aloud as he approached a station, giving the station master very short notice that he needed to be outside waiting with a fresh mount. Even when a rider came to the station where he was to spend the night, another rider was already mounted and waiting, ready to grab the first rider’s bundle of packages and continue the trip. The completion of the transcontinental telegraph system rendered the Pony Express obsolete after just 19 months. But we have this service’s intriguing example of what it means to be ever watchful. (Today in the Word, December, 1997, p. 17)
    11. Watch – This word ćńēćļńŻł grēgoreō is where the English name Gregory comes from meaning, be awake; be alert; be alive.
    12. Maybe we should keep watch like Argus in Greek mythology.
      1. Argus Panop-tes was a giant with 100 eyes. He was thus a very effective watchman, as only a few of the eyes would sleep at a time; there were always eyes still awake. Argus was Hera’s servant. To free Io [ee-oh], Zeus had Argus slain by Hermes. Hermes, disguised as a shepherd, first put all of Argus's eyes asleep with boring stories. To commemorate her faithful watchman, Hera had Slide15b the hundred eyes of Argus preserved forever, in a peacock's tail.
      2. Note: He said, keep watch...not keep predicting.
  4. A LESSON FROM A THIEF (43,44) watch & be ready
    1. ​​​​​​​Jesus is so practical. It’s an obvious assumption...you’d protect your home.
      1. Many have spent a lot of $ on locks, alarms, weapons, dogs to be ready for a thief...but not The Thief in the Night (aka Jesus).
  5. A LESSON FROM A WISE SERVANT (45-47) be a faithful/wise Servant
    1. ​​​​​​​(46) The servants task is not to be popular, but to be obedient.
    2. Like the householder, before our Lord went from us back to heaven, He gave each of us work to do.
      1. As a parent how do you feel when you left things for your kids to do before you got home…you arrive home & they aren’t done?
      2. He expects us to be faithful while He is gone & to be working when He returns.
      3. The teachings on the return of Christ is not to excite our imagination, but to challenge the way we live here & now.
        1. It should spur us to live holy lives & to be actively involved in service & sharing our faith.
        2. Who can mind the journey when the road leads home? James Gray (hymn)
    3. (47) The reward for obedient service is the capacity for greater service.
  6. A LESSON FROM AN EVIL SERVANT (48-51) don’t act as though He’s delaying
    1. ​​​​​​​Professing servants in the house of God.
    2. (51) The chopped in two is bad (physical/temporary), but not in comparison to the weeping & gnashing of teeth (sp/eternal).
    3. When you see signs of end times you know His Coming is near.
      1. Watch everything & watching it, see God, & know that the Kingdom is ever near. (G.Campbell Morgan)
        1. ​​​​​​​His kingdom is already. His kingdom is not yet. His kingdom is always advancing.
        2. We ARE a day closer to His soon return...watch.
    4. If you visit the Library of Congress, in the Main Reading Room, are these words from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem: “One God, One Law, One Element, and One Far-Off Divine Event, to which the Whole Creation Moves.
    5. Remember, we are on the welcoming committee not on the planning committee.
    6. We must learn to live in the tension between...readiness for Jesus return & planning for generations to come.
    7. If we genuinely embrace His sacrifice, you will joyfully embrace a sacrificial life.(McManus)
      1. God’s will for us is less about our comfort than it is about our contribution.
      2. God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance.
      3. God created you so that your life would count, not so that you could count the days of your life.
    8. We distinguish: Christ coming for His church (arpazo/rapturo/caught up 1 Thes.4:17), & Christ coming with His saints (parousia/coming Jude14, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints).
      1. At Rapture Jesus comes for His saints. At 2nd Coming Jesus comes w/His saints.
      2. At Rapture we meet Christ in the air. At 2nd Coming we return with Christ.
      3. At Rapture saints are changed. At 2nd Coming no change to saints.
      4. The Rapture is imminent. 2nd Coming proceeded by definite signs & is calculated to the day.
      5. At Rapture deals with the saved. At 2nd Coming deals with the saved & unsaved.
      6. At Rapture Satan is not bound. At 2nd Coming Satan is bound.
      7. At Rapture the world is not changed. At 2nd Coming the world is radically changed.
      8. The Rapture no one sees Jesus. The 2nd Coming all will see Him.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Matthew 24". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/matthew-24.html. 2017.
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