Matthew 24 and 25 – The Olivet Discourse and a look at how Jesus described the endtimes, describing The difference between the antichrist and those that have received the righteousness of Jesus.
I would like to review these two chapters the way I believe Jesus wrote it and what He meant to convey with it as opposed to the view held by the people that follow the rapture theory, which is the view that the antichrist is promoting. I want to start off by quoting from the letters of the apostle John who was the only person in the Bible that gave us the definition of the antichrist. “1Jn_2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. “1Jn_2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 1Jn_4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 2Jn_1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
These passages are especially important for us today, as it was also the subject that Jesus addressed in the second part of this discourse from where earth as we know it is destroyed, up and to the final judgement of Matthew 25.
Let us start with the first two verses of Matthew 24. This is where Jesus started, and as we progress we will see that Jesus actually covers eight different sections.
The first incidents as an introduction
The chapter starts with the following: “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Mat 24:1-2) Jesus points out to His disciples what is the first thing that will happen after His death. The temple as it was in their days will be completely destroyed. Not one stone will be left in its place, as the people will move every stone to see if anything was hidden underneath it. That is exactly what happened between 65AD and 70AD. Josephus, the historian, says that 1,1 million people were killed during this time in and around Jerusalem and that a huge number were taken hostage. This was the wrath of God towards those people who He once elected to be His nation, for not accepting Jesus as the Messiah. So their judgement was completed. This is exactly as was prophesied by Isaiah in chapter 5: “And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” (Isa 5:5-7)
Jesus now continues with what will happen to those that believed He is the Christ. “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Mat 24:3-14)
Just like us today, many of these people did not understand the impact of the words that Jesus spoke, and they asked Him to explain it to them. This scripture still confuses people today and everybody wants to apply their own understanding to this scripture. For this reason we have to examine what Jesus meant with this passage.
The first sign
Jesus now starts with the first part about the temple. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Mat 24:15-22) This part of what Jesus teaches explains what will happen to the temple after His death and resurrection. He also tells us who will destroy the temple, as He refers to the prophet Daniel, and described in Daniel 9:26. “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined”. Jesus declares here that He as the Messiah will be killed after his ministry of three and a half years, but that it will be of no benefit to Him. He then continues and says that the prince or head of a nation that was not a great worldly kingdom during the time of Daniel, will destroy the temple, the sanctuary and Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem will be a place of desolations and war for the Jewish people until the end of time. The soldiers will run over Jerusalem like a flood of water, and no soldier will be left standing trying to defend Jerusalem. If we look at other passage in the book of Daniel we find that he mostly refer to soldiers as a flood, as he also uses this example in chapter 11 verse 40: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”
So the first part of this teaching of Jesus tells us what will happen to Jerusalem. He now continues and tells what His followers should do when they see that the Romans are coming to destroy Jerusalem. He emphasizes that they should not depend on people that will tell them that the LORD will protect them during this siege, but that they should flee to the mountains. They have to believe what He is telling them and they themselves have to take action. This is also what Paul was saying to the people in Rome when he wrote his letter to them, that they will form the core of those spared during this destruction of Jerusalem. Paul writes as follows in Romans 11 verse 5: “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” So this is the end of that period with the destruction of Jerusalem.
The time we are living in currently
Jesus now explains to His followers what will happen after the destruction of Jerusalem up to the time of His return. “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” (Mat 24:23-28) Here we see that the one outstanding feature of this time will be how the antichrist will seduce people is by appointing so-called kings, and getting people to follow their lies and deceptions. How many times have we heard of a new “revival” and all you have to do is go there and you are as good as being in heaven already, as it is definitely a new move of God. A part that I remember nearly all my life is that when the LORD called Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt, He called Moses at the back of the mountain, a place where very few people ever come. We always want to be in the limelight, the front of the mountain, and definitaly not the back of the mountain.
Jesus tells us and His disciples that that we will have to endure many attempts by the enemy of Christ, the antichrist, as he will try and convince as many people as is possible to follow him and his teachings into hell, a place where I know most people do not want to end up in. Who does John says is the antichrist again? “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1Jn 4:3) “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2Jn 1:7) The Apostle Paul also gives us another description of who the antichrist will comprise of. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Rom 1:28-32) So not only will the antichrist comprise of those who do not confess that Jesus is the Messiah, but also those that claim that Jesus has to return in the flesh again to earth to convince those who did not believe that Jesus was the Christ while He was on earth during His ministry time, to convince them during His second return when the Jews will convert en mass to accept Him as the Christ, the Messiah. They not only say that He has to return again, but actually declare that He is a liar as when Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross, he was actually not finished yet. He still has to return to earth again and reign in Jerusalem for three and a half years, but they fail to see that He is already reigning in the heavenly Jerusalem. So this includes all those who teach the dispensasionalist doctrine as they not only support the Jews, but they also claim that God has changed His ways with each of their dispensations. So the fact that the writer of Hebrews says the following: “Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” is according to them not correct as the LORD can change His mind depending on who He is working with. So we can never be sure that a passage is correct and that we can trust it, as the LORD can change His mind.
The return of Christ
Jesus now describes what it will be like when He returns to earth. This is also described in Revelation 6 when the sixth seal is opened: “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev 6:12-17) We now find exactly what people are saying today will happen to the people who are supposedly “left behind” at the time of the rapture”. People will try to run to the mountains, but we read here that heaven will depart like a scroll that is rolled together, and the earth will be completely destroyed. No single person will survive. Only those that know Jesus as their Saviour and that is clothed with His righteousness will find themselves in Paradise exactly like Jesus described it when he was cruxified.
Now the words from Jesus Himself: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 24:27-51)
This section describes how this earth and this timeframe will pass. We have to be ready at all times to meet our Saviour, and not postphone till tomorrow to do what is required to be saved. We just cannot sit around and think that we have lots of time, as no one knows when the end will be.The one part I emphasized in this scripture above that has a huge impact on how we interpret this passage is as follows: “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. This proves to us that there are different parts in heaven for people who believe differently from others. I explain these areas in three of my previous books, “The Revelation of John Revealed”, “Is Egypt in Heaven?”, and the final one “A Wakeup Call”. All three these books explain how the prophets of the Old Testament prophesied over different nations, and what will happen to them. And this will all happen in heaven. You can download all these books for free from my website at http://shamaministries.org.za/wp/download-links/ These books may just assist you in your search and may cause that you end up in Jerusalem in heaven when Jesus returns on the clouds, or when you die. The choice is yours.
Chapter 25 – The separation between the sheep and the goats
We can now start with chapter 25. This is where Jesus will start His seperation process between those who really believed Him as their Saviour, and those that went through the motions of being a Christian, but never really believed in Him. The first measurement will be if the people allowed the Holy Spirit in their lives, and displayed the working and anoiting of the Holy Spirit in their lives. That is what the parrable of the ten bridesmaids is all about. This shows us that half of all people who call themselves Christians will fail this test even though they saw Jesus as their saviour. They will not be allowed at the wedding as detailed in Revelation 19: “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev 19:6-10) And this is only the first separation.
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” (Mat 25:1-13)
This passage shows us that we must at all times be ready to expect the Bridegroom. Should we decide to wait we will miss this wedding. That is one of the reasons John tells us to do the works expected of us, as that will be our clothing for this wedding feast. “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Rev 19:6-8) Without righteousness and deeds of righteousness which accompany our conversion from sinner to child of the Most High, it is impossible to attend the wedding feast. That is what Paul preached to the people also: “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” (Act 26:19-23)
The second reason how the goats will be seperated from the sheep
We now come to the second separation. “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 25:14-30) What do you do with the talents that the LORD has given you? Do you sit back and enjoy life, or do you actively work with it in order to ensure that your talents are used to enhance your own life and those around you? We have to remember that not every person received the same talents, but according to 1 Corinthians 12 we all have received talents. So what will the LORD find on His return? Did you cultivate it or didn’t you?
The final separation – The brotherly love
After we have passed the first part of the law of love, which covered our love towards the LORD, we now get to the second part, the love your neighbour part. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Mat 25:31-46)
How do you treat your neighbour? Just remember that your closest neighbour happens to be the person you are married to. Did you live in harmony, or did you treat your partner as a slave? Then we can expand that to include or children. What do they think of you? Did you raise them as required by the Bible, or did you leave them to find their own discoveries? Did you show the love of Jesus to every person in your household? John gave us a very useful description of what it means to love your neighbour. “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” (1Jn 3:11-24) I do not believe that it is necessary to expand on this portion of scripture, as John did an excellent job of describing brotherly love in a language that every person will understand.
James also weighed in on this subject: “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”(Jas 2:14-26)
So this is how Jesus will do the final sifting to separate the goats from the sheep. So this will be His final action, with the sheep going with Him, and the other sent to everlasting darkness.
I trust that this short study will unlock the endtimes for us so that we do not have to look or listen to every other person’s explanation of the endtimes. Jesus in these two chapters gave us all the information required to show us what to do in order to spend eternity with Him. But He also showed us how easy it is to miss the destination He has planned for every person as well as what will happen if we are not prepared for His return. It is really not rocket science or smoke and mirrors type of things that so many people dish up everyday, but a straight forward choice that we have to make everyday and every moment of our lives that will ensure that we spend eternity with Him. I trust that I will meet you at the feet of Jesus one day in eternity.