Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom

Q. Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Words Of God's Work With Israel To The Kingdom, Matthew 24-25

1. Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Prediction Of The Great Tribulation

(Matthew 24:1-28)


I.              Introduction

A.    Much misinterpretation and confusion has surrounded the handling of Jesus' prophecies in Matthew 24-25.

B.    We view the first part of that prophecy to discern the correct framework of Christ's predictions, noting how Christ is seen as Israel's Messiah in predicting the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24:1-28 (as follows):

II.            Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Prediction Of The Great Tribulation, Matthew 24:1-28.

A.    In starting to understand Jesus' prophecy about future events in Matthew 24-25, we note its preceding context:

1.     Before making His Matthew 24-25 prophecy, Jesus had said that Jerusalem would have her "house," i. e., her temple, city or Davidic dynasty, left desolate until she accepted Him at some time in the future, Matt. 23:37-39; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Matt. 23:38; Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 75.

2.     There are no chapter breaks in the autograph manuscripts, so Jesus next immediately left the temple (Matt. 24:1), and as He went, His disciples tried to impress Him with the temple building begun by Herod the Great, trying to show Him how unlikely it would be for it to be felled as He had just taught, Matt. 24:1b.

3.     Jesus countered His disciples' effort to change His grim Matthew 23:38 prediction, claiming that not a stone of the Herodian temple would be left on top of another that would not be thrown down, Matt. 24:2.

B.    Shocked by Jesus' repeat predictions about the devastation of their city and temple, His disciples came to Him in private as He sat on the Mount of Olives overlooking the temple site and Jerusalem, asking, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3)

C.    Accordingly, the entire Matthew 24-25 "Olivet Discourse" [that follows] has nothing to do with Church History that was then still hidden from the disciples (Ephesians 3:1-6); rather, it has to do with Israel, Ibid.

D.    Armed with this insight, the "Olivet Discourse" reads about Israel, NOT the CHURCH, with no theological complications or error, and Matthew 24:1-28 predicts the Great Tribulation Period (as follows):

1.     We know that between the 69th prophetic week of Daniel 9:26a,b and the 70th prophetic week of Daniel 9:27 is the Church era when Jerusalem will face "war desolations," as she does right now, Daniel 9:26c.

2.     Well, in the middle of the 70th prophetic week, or 3 1/2 years into the Great Tribulation, Daniel 9:27 predicts antichrist will desecrate the Jerusalem temple, the same event Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24:15.

3.     Thus, Jesus' prediction of trials in Matthew 24:4-14 regards God's work with Israel in the first half of the 70th prophetic week of Daniel, or during the first 3 1/2 years of the 7-year Great Tribulation.  Incidentally, Ryrie notes that Matthew 24:6-7 records the same judgments predicted in Revelation 6:1-8 in the Great Tribulation that occurs after the Church is raptured in Revelation 4:1! (Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Matt. 24:6-7)

4.     Thus, the Matthew 24:13 reference to being saved by enduring to the end does NOT teach [as some say] salvation security based on godly living in the Church era, but predicts God's physical deliverance at the Second Coming of those who live by faith in Him in the Great Tribulation; Ibid., B. K. C., N. T., p. 77.

5.     Matthew 24:15 then predicts antichrist's desecration of the temple, and Matthew 24:16-22 details the great trials Israel in particular will face as Satan via the antichrist pursues Israel to try to destroy her in the last half of Daniel's 70th prophetic week, the last 3 1/2 years of the Great Tribulation Period, Rev. 12:13-17.

6.     Jesus then warned Israel [through His disciples] at Matthew 24:23-27 to avoid being deceived into following false Messiahs at that time, for the coming of the true Messiah at His Second Coming will be as the lightning that shines out of the east even unto the west -- there will be no doubt about it, cf. Rev. 1:7.

7.     Jesus in Matthew 24:28 also alluded to the vultures gathering to eat flesh, a reference to the Battle of Armageddon that will occur just as He comes to the earth in His Second Coming in Revelation 19:11-21.


Lesson: The preceding context and Paul's Ephesians 3:1-6 declaration that Church History was yet prophetically unrevealed indicate Jesus' prophecies of end-time events in Matthew chapters 24-25 deal with God's work with ISRAEL, NOT the CHURCH, leading us to see Jesus in Matthew 24:1-28 as predicting the Great Tribulation.


Application: (1) May we trust in Christ as Messiah and Son of God Who will bless the world when Israel repents about Himself as a result of the Great Tribulation, cf. Matthew 23:39.  (2) May we view Matthew 24-25 as God's predicted work with Israel in the Great Tribulation and Second Coming that occur after the Church is raptured.