- Sermon Notes
Things to Come, Part 3
1.Armageddon. The return of Jesus Christ will be the most spectacular event the world has ever known.
ILLUS – Interesting ways the world uses “End of the World” terms to describe significant events.
2.The end of the world is a topic that has raised many questions down through the ages.
3. Last week, we studied the second part of a series called Things to Come, based on Jesus Christ teachings from Matthew 24:15-28. During our study, we addressed two questions:
a.What does the Bible say about the Antichrist?
b.Will the Church go through the Great Tribulation?
4.Tonight, during the third part of our series, we will focus on the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation based on Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 24:29-44.
5.From this passage we will also look at the three exhortations that Jesus gave regarding His return so that we may know how to live our lives in these last days.
6.As I shared each week, it is my prayer that our study will strengthen our faith, increase our love, and deepen our hope for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
1.Matthew 24-25 is called the Olivet Discourse because Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem, when He taught His disciples.
2.Actually, Jesus’ teaching began in Matthew 23, when He prophesied about the destruction of Jerusalem and Herod’s Temple because the Jewish leaders had failed to recognize and receive Him as Israel’s Messiah.
3.Shocked by what they heard, Peter, James, John, and Andrew privately asked Jesus two questions:
a.When will the Temple be destroyed?
b.What will be the sign of Your coming at the of the end of the age?
4. First, Jesus gave the “signs of the times” so that when we see them, we will know that the end is near. Some of the signs that Jesus mentioned include:
a.The coming of false Messiahs and false prophets who will mislead many people with their false teachings and deceiving signs.
b.There will be wars and rumors of wars along with famines and earthquakes which will grow greater in intensity and frequency as the events of the last days draw near.
c.There will be a great falling away from the Christian faith, an apostasy, as unrighteousness and worldliness increase. As a result, Jesus said most people’s love will grow cold.
d.Tensions will also grow between Israel and her enemies. During that time, antisemitism will increase as will the power and voice of Israel’s enemies on the world stage.
5.In the midst of this political, economic, and social turmoil the Antichrist will arise on the world scene.
a. He will be seen as a great diplomatic genius because he will succeed where others have tried but failed.
b.The Antichrist will make a peace treaty in the Middle East between Israel and her enemies.
c.Part of that covenant will permit Israel to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
d.Even Israel will respect and revere the Antichrist because of this great accomplishment.
6.But the Antichrist will reveal his true colors when he breaks his covenant with Israel 3 ½ years later.
a.He will establish a new world religion by setting himself up in the newly rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem as a god to be worshipped.
b.In fact, according to Revelation 13, he will cause a living statue of himself to be put into the Temple.
c.His associate, the false prophet, will cause the whole world to worship it.
7.Israel will realize that their “protector” is actually their ultimate “persecutor” and will respond with great anger against his desecration of their Temple.
8.Then the Antichrist will cause all the nations to turn against Israel.
a.The world will prepare for war against Israel.
b.At that time, cataclysmic events will also occur around the globe and in the heavens, such as earthquakes, plagues, famines, scorching heat waves, terrible storms with hailstones weighing 100 lbs. falling from the sky. (Revelation 16:21)
9.The Antichrist’s arrival will mark the beginning of seven-year period called the Great Tribulation, also known as Daniel’s Seventieth Week, or the Day of the Lord.
a.As we noted last week, the Church will be raptured into heaven before the Great Tribulation begins because the Church is not an object of God’s wrath but an object of His loving grace and mercy.
b.The Great Tribulation will focus on Israel, to refine and prepare Israel for the coming of their King; that they may enter into and enjoy His Millennial Kingdom.
c.The Great Tribulation will also be universal in scope, a divine judgment upon creation, the outpouring of God’s wrath upon unbelieving humanity and every rebellious nation.
d.It will be a time unprecedented in human history. It will be so devastating that Jesus said unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved, but for the sake of the elect (Israel and the Tribulation Saints), those days will be cut short.
10. Yet, God will not leave Himself without a witness for there will be opportunities for people to hear the Gospel and place their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
a.The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world in those days.
b.God will also raise up 144,000 Jewish witnesses to share the Good News about Jesus at that time. (Revelation 7:4-8; 14:1-5)
c.God will also send an angel to declare the eternal gospel.
Revelation 14:6, And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people
11.The end of the seven-year tribulation will be marked by two great events.
a.First, the nations will gather against Israel for one final battle called the Battle of Armageddon.
- The name Armageddon is Hebrew, and it means the Valley of Megiddo.
- Megiddo is a strategic valley where many wars have been fought in the past because this valley leads directly into Jerusalem.
- It will be the stage for the greatest battle in human history with the largest armies ever assembled.
Revelation 9:16, The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.
b.The second great event that will mark the end of the Great Tribulation will be the coming of the Son of Man, the physical return of Jesus Christ to Earth.
I.Jesus Will Return as Our Victorious King
- Jesus will return with great glory. The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky.
- Daniel 7:13, I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming
- The appearing of Jesus will cause Israel to mourn as one mourns for an only son.
Zechariah 12:8-11, In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem… And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem
- Israel will mourn because they will realize the One they rejected and crucified was their Messiah.
- Yet, God will pour out grace upon Israel and be their Great Protector to fight their battle against the Antichrist and the armies gathered against them in the Valley of Megiddo.
- When Jesus returns, He will arrive on the Mount of Olives, which will be split in two by a severe earthquake.
Zechariah 14:4, In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
- He will enter Jerusalem and the Temple through the Eastern Gate, also called the Golden Gate.
ILLUS – In 1541 A.D., the Eastern Gate was sealed up by the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, to keep Messiah from coming. He also placed a Muslim graveyard in front of the Eastern Gate, thinking Israel’s Messiah will not want to defile Himself.
- The prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of God’s glory departing the Temple during Israel’s exile in Babylon.
- As God’s glory left the Temple, it departed through the Eastern Gate and then towards the Mount of Olives.
Ezekiel 10:18-19, Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them.
Ezekiel 11:23, The glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city.
- With the return of Jesus, the glory of God returns to Jerusalem and the Temple, just as it had departed during the days of Israel’s exile!
A. Jesus’ reign begins with victory at Armageddon
1.In Matthew 21, Jesus entered Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, signifying He offered peace.
2.He came to conquer sin and death by dying on the cross for our sin. He rose on the third day to conquer death and give all who trust Him everlasting life.
3.But when Jesus Christ returns, He will not be riding the foal of a donkey; He will be riding a great white horse.
Revelation 19:11-16, And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
4. When Jesus Christ returns, He will set right all that is wrong in our fallen world.
a. He will defeat the Antichrist and the False Prophet.
Revelation 19:19-20, And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.
b. He will conquer the nations that rose up against Israel and judge them for their wicked ways.
Revelation 19:21,And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
5. This will be in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3
Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
B. Jesus will reign from Jerusalem for 1,000 years
1. After the defeat of Israel’s enemies, Jesus will establish His kingdom and reign from Jerusalem for 1,000 years.
Revelation 20:4, Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
2. Jesus’ kingdom will be characterized by righteousness, peace, and blessing.
Isaiah 9:6-7, For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders;
and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
Isaiah 11:6-9, And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
3. It will be peaceful because Satan will be bound for 1,000 years and will be eventually thrown into the lake of fire where he will be eternally punished.
Revelation 20:1-3,10, Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time… And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
4. Again, all of this will be a fulfillment of God’s promises to His people.
a. God promised Adam and Eve that Satan will be defeated through Messiah, the seed of the woman.
Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
b. And to King David, God promised that his son would reign on David’s throne forever.
2 Samuel 7:12-14, 16, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me… Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”
II. Live Each Day with a Love for Christ’s Appearing
- In Matthew 24:36, Jesus declared that no one will know the day or the hour of His return.
- So, Jesus gave three exhortations for us to understand and embrace while waiting. (32-44)
A. Know the time is near (32-35)
1. The fig tree is often used in the Bible with reference to Israel.
2. The budding fig tree always means that summer is near.
3. Likewise, the beginning of these signs means the Lord’s return is near.
APPL – It’s like Jesus is shouting out, “When you see Israel coming back to life and these events taking place, know that My return is near!” Jesus can come for His Church at any time!
Philippians 3:20, For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ
B. Keep watch (36-40)
1. During the days of Noah, the people did not pay attention to the warning signs; that judgment was coming.
2. They were distracted by their fleshly pursuits and lived as if they would never face any consequences for their actions.
Matthew 24:29-44 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Glorious Return
29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from [a]the sky, and the powers of [b]the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His [c]elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
Parable of the Fig Tree
32 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, [d]recognize that [e]He is near, right at the [f]door. 34 Truly I say to you, this [g]generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37 For [h]the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not [i]understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then there will be two men in the field; one [j]will be taken and one [k]will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the [l]mill; one [m]will be taken and one [n]will be left.
Be Ready for His Coming
42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 But [o]be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be [p]broken into. 44 For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.