Welcome to Part 3 of a 5 Part Series
In Part 1 of this series (Intro) we looked at the various views of the Rapture, and introduced The Day of the Lord as our focal point to determine the pertinence of the church in the last days. In Part 2 of this series (The Day of the Lord) we took a somewhat in-depth look at what the Bible has to say about the Day of the Lord. Today, we will turn our attention to Matthew 24; commonly referred to as The Olivet Discourse.
In Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, the disciples questioned Jesus about the timing of the end of the age and His return to earth. I’m so happy they thought to ask, because His answer provides much of what we know today about the time of the end. Let’s look at His response in Matthew 24:1-14:
Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.
You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end [of the Age] will come.
In these verses, Jesus gives a condensed, chronological narrative of what is believed by most to be the first half (and more, though not all) of what is commonly referred to as the final 7 Year Tribulation period–but more accurately, the 70th Week of Daniel. Those who place these events at the first half of the 70th Week of Daniel do so, because the events seem to mirror much of what takes place during the Seals of Revelation, chapter 6. I won’t post that passage here, but I encourage you to read through this on your own in comparison to what is shared in this post.
A more detailed, parenthetical narrative
Picking up in Matthew 24:15-41, Jesus begins to expound upon His overview by providing additional details; some of which are being revealed for the first time. Today, I want to focus on just a couple verses included in this passage that reveal another pivotal event within the eschatological timeline. Matthew 24:15-16, tells us:
Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
What is the Abomination of Desolation and why is it significant?
The Abomination of Desolation is twofold. First, it was an actual historical event involving a ruler named Antiochus Epiphanes IV, who reigned over Israel between 175-64 B.C. Sometime around 167 B.C. he and his troops entered Jerusalem in order to squelch a rebellion. This evil king forcibly put an end to their sacrifices and reportedly set up an altar to his god Zeus over the temple altar, then sacrificed a pig on it; thus defiling the temple.
Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11, foretell the coming of another ruler, the antichrist, who will make–or more likely confirm–a covenant with Israel for seven years. It is believed by most scholars that the initiation of this transaction between Israel and the Antichrist, is the event that starts the clock on Daniel’s 70th Week. Yet, as vitally important as this is, we the public may not be privy to all the details of this arrangement; consequently, we may not know that we have entered into the final 7 years of earth’s history.
Daniel 9:27 goes on to tell us that three and a half years later–at the midpoint of this seven years–the antichrist will violate this covenant and (in like manner to Antiochus Epiphanes IV), will forcibly stop the daily sacrifice. He will then defile the temple by taking his seat inside of it, and declaring himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Jesus referred to this event as, the abomination of desolation.
In Matthew 24:15-16 above, Jesus intentionally draws our attention to the “abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet.” In doing so, He provides not only a warning to the severity of the event, but also a very significant marker in the timeline to the End of the Age. While we likely will not know when we enter into Daniel’s 70th Week, we can know for certain that this event will occur at the mid-point, or 3-1/2 years into the 70th and final week.
Relying solely on the totality of the above scripture passages in Matthew and Daniel, we can now form a loose order of events for the time period discussed. I say loose, because there are some things that aren’t completely clear as to when exactly they happen in the overall view of things, based on these scriptures alone.
- Covenant Confirmed
- Commencement of the 70th Week: Daniel 9:27
- Beginning of Birth Pains
- Deception: Matthew 24:4-5
- Wars, Rumors of Wars, Civil Unrest: Matthew 24:6-7a
- Earthquakes, Famines: Matthew 24:7b (Plagues, Luke 21:11)
- The Abomination of Desolation
- Death, Martyrdom, Falling Away: Matthew 24:9-12
I find it fascinating how strikingly similar the events in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 are to Revelation 6. In our next segment, we’ll take a look at that and see what else we can glean and whether or not our above sequence of events holds any water.
Skip to Part 4 of this series: The Seven Sealed Scroll
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org
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