There are at least 150 separate chapters of the Bible that deal with the end times — that is more than Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John combined. Jesus talked more about the end of the age than any other topic, including salvation. If 2,000 years ago Jesus considered the end times that important, then surely it is important to study today. The idea that it is impossible or even hard to understand the end of the age is absolutely false. Of all the places that the Bible directly discusses end times, Matthew 24 gives the simplest literal explanation.
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Jesus’ disciples approached Him in private to ask Him about His second return and the end of the age. The disciples were everyday workers with no education, not scholars, so Jesus answered them on a very simple, literal level. There really is no room for confusion in the rest of this chapter if you simply assume Jesus meant what He said. Jesus broke down the end of the age and His return into simple sections and steps.
1. False Christs
And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
We must be wary of false Christs who will deceive many people. How do we avoid being deceived? By knowing Jesus through prayer and Scripture knowledge. A stranger can not deceive you into thinking that they are someone who you talk to every day. You would never fall for it.
2. Wars and rumors of wars
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
After this, Jesus says that there will be wars and rumors of wars. This is also very straightforward. People will be fighting, and there will be talk of even more fighting. As an interesting side note, this is happening more than ever today, especially with the current situation developing between Israel, Palestine, and the rest of the world. Jesus also tells His disciples not to worry, because these things will assuredly happen, but not at that time. However, today we are 2,000 years into the future.
3. Widespread war, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
After the wars and rumors of war, there will be war on a widespread, global level. Then, there will be famine, pestilences, and earthquakes. People are going to starve, be afflicted by pestilences of some sort, and there will be a lot more earthquakes than normal. Turn on the news for the moment. These are headline news stories all the time. People are starving more than ever in third world and corrupt countries, and there have been so many earthquakes this year that scientists are struggling for explanations.
All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Here, Jesus ends this “section” of his timeline. The false Christs, wars, rumors of wars, global warfare, famines, pestilences, and earthquake are the beginning of sorrows. The term “beginning of sorrows” mean labor pains, or the beginning of the end. All these events mark transformation from now into the next age. When Jesus returns and the end times are all over, the world does not cease to exist. We will still be living here on earth, but it will be drastically different from it is now. My point in that is simply this: the end times are the end of the age, not the end of the world.
5. All nations will hate Christians
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
Now in the next time period of the end times, after the events in the first part take place, real Christians will be hated by all nations and killed. The nations will absolutely hate people who live a radical life for Jesus. This is already happening in certain parts of the world, such as China, but it is not yet happening on a global scale. However, it is slowly starting to, even here in America. Christians who really live out what Jesus says are not yet killed here, but persecuted and disliked? Definitely.
6. The attitude of the world will change
And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Not only will people hate Christians, but their attitude towards everyone will change. Love will cease to exist. Not only this, but there will be false prophets who deceive many. What is the difference between false prophets and false Christs? False prophets are false messengers, demonic versions of John the Baptist, while false Christs are demonic versions of Jesus Christ the Messiah. Now there will be false prophets and false Christs running around. You better have an intimate relationship with Jesus and know who He is.
7. Those who persevere shall be saved
But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Jesus says that he who endures to the end of everything will be saved. With a statement like this, it is safe to assume that those who do not endure will not be saved. This means that simply being a Christian now and saying you believe in Jesus is not enough to have eternal life. Instead, we must believe in Jesus to end, being fully ready to face persecution and still confess our faith through it all. That’s a hard thing to do. It takes preparation. This is why understanding the end times and having a deep relationship with Jesus are so important.
8. The Gospel will be preached to all nations
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
This is the last circumstance that Jesus lists before the coming of the end, which the rest of Matthew 24 addresses. The Gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached in all nations. After this, the end will comes. This is very close to happening. Get ready.
So there we go, the first half of Matthew 24, addressing the beginning of the end. All of these things are either happening or about to happen. That excites me. I’m ready for Jesus to come back while I’m still alive. What do you think?