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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 24

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


Jesus left and was going away from the temple. Immediately after his “impeachment” of the Jewish leaders (chapter 23). Scholars do not agree on the meaning of Matthew 24:0. My understanding of this chapter is built on some years of study and comparing Scripture with Scripture; and reading what others have written. Any interpretation will be based on a “time factor,” and I believe Matthew 24:34; Matthew 24:36 divide the chapter into TWO TIME PERIODS. TO show him the temple’s buildings. This is the third temple, rebuilt by Herod in such splendor that it was not finally completed until some thirty years after Jesus’ death. He had just predicted its total destruction.

Verse 2


I tell you this. Other great temples stand in ruins, still showing their splendor. The Jewish temple would vanish completely from the face of the earth.

Verse 3


As Jesus sat. He and his disciples were sitting on the Mount of Olives, looking back at the temple, as the rays of the sunset shone on it. Tell us when all this will be. They expect it all to take place at one time. But notice there are really three questions asked: (1) When will the temple be destroyed? (2) What will be the signs of your coming? (3) When will the age end? [the end of the world.] Remember that Jesus has three separate questions to answer.

Verses 4-5


Do not let anyone fool you. By pretending to be the Messiah. Since they still expected Jesus to set up a political kingdom in Jerusalem during their lifetime, they needed this warning. Josephus, the Jewish historian, details many who did claim to be the Messiah during the years before 70 A.D.

Verses 6-7


You are going to hear the noise of battles. All the world seemed to be at war during this time. Tacitus, the Roman historian, says: “It was full of calamities, horrible with battles, rent with seditions, savage in peace itself.” At least five major earthquakes took place; along with epidemics of disease in which thousands died; and famines (see Acts 11:28).

Verses 8-9


Like the first pains of childbirth. The birth and growth of the Kingdom/church would be during the death-agony of the Jewish Age. Compare Revelation 6:0. All mankind will hate you because of me. The Devil used everyone and everything he could to attempt to destroy the work of Christ.

Verse 10

10. Many will give up their faith. Rather than to pay the price of suffering. Notice the opportunity that comes to those who are willing (Mark 13:9).

Verse 11


Then many false prophets. See Galatians 1:7-8, It happened just as Jesus said it would.

Verse 12


Many people’s love will grow cold. Sin eats the heart out of religion. Love grown cold is a serious matter (Revelation 2:1-7).

Verse 13


But whoever holds out. The Christian Jews who did not give up their faith, saw the signs and escaped to Pella in Perea across the Jordan, and saved their lives. This is symbolic of all who escape God’s wrath through Jesus.

Verse 14


Will be preached through all the world. PAUL SAID IT WAS! See Colossians 1:23. And then will come the end. Not the end of the world, but the end of the Jewish Age. It was to be in the lifetime of those people (Matthew 24:34).

Verses 15-20


You will see ‘The Awful Horror.’ Luke says: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies. (Luke 21:20). This identifies ‘The Awful Horror’ as the Roman army. Cestius Gallus, first in 66 A.D.; Vespasiam, 68 A.D.; lastly under Titus, 70 A.D. The first time is understood to be what the sign meant. Standing in the holy place. Jerusalem itself is the Holy City (Matthew 4:5). [Some think the Zealots (see Mark 15:7) were the “cause of desolation” by seizing the temple and making one of their own people (Phannius) the high priest in direct violation of the Law. Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells about it.] Then those who are in Judea. Not just Jerusalem only. Run away to safety! The man who is on the roof. It is so urgent to get away quickly, that they could not spare time to get their things! [Houses had flat roofs, and people slept out on them in good weather.] How terrible—for women who ore pregnant. Because of the hardships. Compare what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:26-31. During the winter or on a Sabbath. Floods came in winter, making travel impossible, On the Sabbath [Saturday] the city gates were closed and locked, and no one could get out. History tells us the army of Cestius Gallus surrounded Jerusalem in 66–67 A.D., then went back to Caesarea. This was the signal for the Christians who immediately escaped to Pella in the north of Perea.

Verse 21


For the trouble at that time. Since the punishment of all the Ages was to fall on these people (Matthew 23:35-36), it would be something the world had never seen before. It was far more terrible than the Flood, because these people killed each other! While the Roman armies surrounded the city, the Jews inside were fighting and killing each other and destroying the food supplies. Women killed and ate their own children because of starvation (see Deuteronomy 28:49-57). Josephus, the Jewish historian, was an eyewitness, and what he writes is exactly what Jesus predicted. 1,100,000 [one million, one hundred thousand] Jews died, and 100,000 survivors were sold as slaves. [But no Christian Jews were left in the city—they all escaped in time.]

Verse 22


Reduced the number of days. That is, ‘The Days of Punishment’ (Luke 21:20). God in his mercy did not destroy all the people of Israel.

Verses 23-26


Then If anyone says to you. This refers to the time of the siege of Jerusalem. Even while it was happening, false Messiahs and false prophets told lies to the people in the city. [This is also symbolic of the time from Pentecost until the Second Coming of Christ.]

Verse 27


Will come like the lightning. No one will have any doubts when Christ returns! “Everyone will see him, including those who pierced him” (Revelation 1:7).

Verse 28


Wherever there is a dead body. The vultures will gather at Jerusalem where the dead body is lying. Symbolic of the Roman armies gathering to destroy the body that is already dead (the Jewish Nation of that time). [Some also think it to be symbolic of the end of the world.]

Verses 29-31


Soon after the trouble of those days This difficult passage must be understood according to Matthew 24:34—which puts it at the time of the siege. Then it must speak of a “spiritual coming” of Jesus, rather than the Second Coming. This can be tied in with what Peter says about judgment beginning with God’s own people (1 Peter 4:17-18). A. B, Bruce, in the Expositor’s Greek Testament (Eerdemans) says this: “It seems to me that in true prophetic Oriental style the colossal imagery of the physical universe is used to describe the political and social consequences of the great Jewish catastrophe: national ruin, breaking up of religious institutions and social order. The physical stands for the social, the shaking of heaven for the shaking of earth (Haggai 2:6); or in the prophetic imagination the two are indissolubly blended: stars, thrones, city walls, temples, effete religions tumbling down into one vast mass of ruin.” [This may also be symbolic of the Second Coming.]

Verses 32-33


Let the fig tree teach you a lesson. When the fig tree sprouts leaves, it is a sign of summer coming. When you see all these things. The things Jesus had predicted. But Jesus seems to say that no signs will show the end of the world near—see Matthew 24:44.

Verse 34


Before the people now living have all died. In the actual lifetime of people who were then living when Jesus spoke these words. Compare Matthew 16:28. [Some think this means the Jewish people will still be living as an ethnic group when Jesus returns and the world ends.]

Verse 35


Heaven and earth will pass away. Even though Creation will vanish, everything Christ says will still remain true.

Verse 36


No one knows, however. Anyone who sets a date for Christ to come, cannot be telling the truth! Even the Son does not know when this will be. [The time factor here is the End of the World.]

Verse 37


The coming of the Son of Man. The Second Coming and the end of the world.

Verses 38-39


Just as in the days. The Flood came as a surprise! [It had probably never rained before (Genesis 2:6).] Just so, no one will be expecting Jesus when he comes (Matthew 24:43). Life will be going on as usual.

Verses 40-41


Two men will be working. It will be a time when good and bad are separated. See the Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:24-30).

Verse 42


Watch out, then. Be prepared! If the Lord should come tonight [or if you should die] be ready to meet him!

Verses 43-44


If the man of the house knew. The thief does not call you up and tell you when he is coming. [Some think this means there will be no signs at all to show the Second coming is near.] The idea of coming “like a thief in the night” is also mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15. The thought is not to “watch for Christ,” but to “be sure you will be ready” when he comes!

Verses 45-51


Who, then, is the faithful and wise servant? This parable is also found in Luke [it may have been told many times by Jesus]. See also 2 Peter 3:1-9, The central idea of this parable is that God’s people should not try to “boss” each other, thinking that Jesus has delayed so long that he will not come at all! Some think religion is a way to become rich, and they “begin to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards.” Will cut him to pieces. Severely punish! Teachers will be judged with greater strictness (James 3:1). It is very important to teach the Truth of God. Those who teach lies will lose their reward, but the faithful will live forever!

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 24". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/matthew-24.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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