Finally, he got to the answer they wanted to hear. “and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.”
I am assuming that what they really wanted to know was, when He was coming back as reigning Messiah, and here it is in all its power. All the other stuff He talked about was just depressing; deceit, beheadings, the nation they loved invaded, and barely anyone surviving.
Not only does he come in power, but He also gathers what is left of His people, the chose ones, from across the globe.
Matthew 24:31NIrV He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call. They will gather his chosen people from all four directions. They will bring them from one end of the heavens to the other.
Some things to ponder:
- “He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call.” Jesus is standing right there, responding to their questions. We, as avid followers of Jesus Christ, should understand that it is Jesus that returns. (See Revelation 19:11-15) Yet, he explains it as though he is watching this himself, and referring to someone else. Ask yourself this question, how many times have you heard the statement, Jesus never said he was God. There is no doubt, He was and is God.
- He will send his angels with a loud trumpet call. They will gather his chosen people from all four directions. Who is God’s chosen at this point? This becomes important considering God’s anger toward them for rejecting Him, and our foolish replacement theories about how the church takes the place of Israel. God told them how to act and they (in majority) chose not to; there are repercussions for that and God laid all that out. We, the church, are told we are grafted in. This is a common term in the nursery business. The stock is often a mature plant, with disease resistant qualities, on to which fresh stock is grafted. From that rootstock, we gain strength, while the graft may give us beauty or fruit. (See Romans 11: 17-30) Sadly, this is not some exclusive code for the elite of some cult.
- “They will bring them from one end of the heavens to the other.” They = angels; them = the chosen, what is left of Israel, and there will be many. But with all the destruction, things like possible EMP blasts, stars falling from the sky, and a massive earthquake, there may not even be functioning airports anymore. How will they get to Jerusalem? (I said Jerusalem on purpose.) That massive earthquake I mentioned, it may be so large that the landmasses may reassemble and people will be able to walk. Imagine that, even if God manages to put Israel smack in the center, it is still a tremendously long walk, God has a time plan, but he never seems to be in a hurry.
Matthew 24:32MSG “Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner.”
If Israel was that fig tree, when did it throw out its buds?
Matthew 24:33NASB “so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.”
The question was, when would these things happen. Again, Jesus talks as a spectator describing the end and yet he is an integral participant of those events, as he comes in the power of God. Keep your focus; this is beyond the rapture of the church, and during the seven years of wrath upon the earth. In terms of conversation, only moments ago, he spoke of himself coming in the clouds, and every eye will see him. Therefore, he described what his coming would look like and then explained how, at this point they (Israel) should be able to ascertain the timing.
Matthew 24:34AMP “ Truly I tell you, this generation (the whole multitude of people living at the same time, in a definite, given period) will not pass away till all these things taken together take place.”
I looked up the definition of a generation in the dictionary. It is the average length of time between the birth of parents and the birth of their children. My assumption, here in America, is that youth do not get married until about age 18. If I round-up, for ease of doing the math, then we are talking twenty years. That puts the generational parallel for Israel at 1968. What happened in 1967 in Israel?
The Six-Day War, also known as the June War, 1967 Arab–Israeli War, or Third Arab–Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt (known at the time as the United Arab Republic), Jordan, and Syria. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Six_Day_War)
This war expanded the territories Israel to something comparable to what God had prescribed for them; if we use an average of twenty years that puts us at 1987. How do I apply this to anything? If, this is something we are to pay attention to, then we need to understand that we are running on overtime. There is nothing left chronologically to hold back the Father’s unleashing of His wrath upon the earth.
What if the generation He speaks of is the generation that is alive during this time of wrath? That does not work because the time of wrath only lasts seven years, and the specific period he focuses on is the last three and one half years.
Matthew 24:35KJV “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
This is in context with His return to earth, and it is going to be dramatic. I will show you some reinforcing details from scripture.
Joel 2:2 KJV A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
Joel 2:30-31 KJV And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. (31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Joel 2:10 KJV The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:
This last verse is one with which we attempt to scare the world into believing because it speaks about Jesus coming back as a thief in the night. That concept conveys someone sneaking up on them, and that is not the case. He is very open and upfront about his coming. I believe he is trying to convey the fact life, for some, will just keep going on. Consider the period, and the context of his arrival, is there anything about this that does not tell you something huge is happening.
2 Peter 3:10 KJV But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
What if Satan’s rebellion, and fall to earth, caused a far-reaching corruption that affected everything. Scripture tells us that even rocks are crying out for their redemption. Would it not make sense to purge everything and make it new, eliminating all the corruption? Sadly, much of the beauty we see because of the Hubble space telescope was caused by stars exploding or collapsing in on themselves, creating black holes, which suck everything close into its center. God has a solution for that.
Revelation 21:4-5KJV And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, write: for these words are true and faithful.
Matthew 24:36GNB “No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come—neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows.”
If this were a ball game, in the last inning, down by one run, and God’s people have the last at bat, how much closer in terms of timing do you need. Again, I tell you that this applies to those that are here during the time of wrath; a time that the church bypasses.
Matthew 24:37-39GNB The coming of the Son of Man will be like what happened in the time of Noah. (38) In the days before the flood people ate and drank, men and women married, up to the very day Noah went into the boat; (39) yet they did not realize what was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes.
If you did not realize it, the coming of the Son of Man, covers the entire seven-year period, but His physical touching down upon the earth is specifically at the end of the seven years (of wrath.)
I use this passage a lot, as I attempt to explain to people what it will look like for the church. (I realize, even more so now, that there is a context, but suddenly that context takes on a completely new meaning for me when I relate it to the last half of the seven years period.) If It is fair for me to use this as the direct analogy to the “rapture” of the church, then I refer to the immediate context of timing that Jesus referred to in Matthew 24: 36.
So many of the church anticipated that we would be gone, and legitimately, most scholars see no reason for our still being either. The only thing that makes any sense is that God is waiting for just a few more to come. If you were part of that few wouldn’t you want him to wait for you?
In trying to relate what it will be like for us, moments before the rapture, I point out that there was an unsurpassed level of violence. I believe we rapidly going to surpass that. There will be an attitude that says do not bother me with facts, and life will just go on. Really, what else can most of us do? How many of us have the ability, financially, to change the world around us? Yet, that is the majority of the problem, it is all about the individual. God told us that being wrapped up in the world would consume us.
1 John 2:16-17 GNB Everything that belongs to the world—what the sinful self desires, what people see and want, and everything in this world that people are so proud of—none of this comes from the Father; it all comes from the world. (17) The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever.
The last aspect in this comparison is that, should you look at Noah’s story in scripture, you will see that the day it rained, God put them in the Ark, and closed the door. The reality of this is that God will put us in the “ark” so to speak, as well, but you can plan to get your head a little wet. That means that tribulation, in excess of your having to get a new propeller for your bass boat, or typical everyday bullying of your children at school, is going to spill over on you. Just look around you, and or pick about any country that rims the Mediterranean ocean, and you will find people in horrid conditions of tribulation. In light of Noah, it is raining on their heads.
Matthew 24:40-41KJV “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (41) Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
In Matthew 24:40-41 we are back, deeply into the seven years. Who is doing the taking is not clear. Several commentaries imply that, much like the flood with Noah, the people are taken in judgment by God. Lets analyze this for a moment: God brought the flood, but God also gave the inhabitants of earth 100 years in which to repent.
1 Peter 3:20 NASB who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
You see, we make a huge assumption that God just wanted them dead, and that is not the case. If you consider these people in light of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities that God would have spared if 10 righteous people could have been found. In a world full of people, all that God was able to pull out of here was eight. Does that say anything to anyone? God relented (momentarily) from his destruction of Nineveh when they repented, and he would have relented from his destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah for 10; why would he be any different over the earth?
Because the context is a time of unsurpassed violence, with enemy nations overrunning Israel and the surrounding hills it is possible that this is a ghastly level of violence of which we are being informed.
Matthew 24:42NASB “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”
He started the discourse with a similar warning, see to it that you be not deceived. This emphasis on being alert, on guard, and watchful of the time and timing of things, is repeated several times throughout this chapter. Perhaps we should pay attention to His warnings. Noah also warned the people of an impending destruction. Isn’t that amazing, the God we so lovingly think of as a nasty, destructive force, seems to have warned repeatedly, with methods of salvation included, of they all have to do with turning your life back over to Him. Considering that our lives were held captive by the enemy, why wouldn’t a God of benevolence be the better choice?
Matthew 24:43-44NASB “But 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 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.”
“But … if the head of the house had known.” Well, actually, we do, and the time is now. Yeah sure, I hear it all the time, but we cannot know the time, and sadly, we have far too many kooks that are more than willing to tell us the exact time of His return. (Here is a clue as to whether they are kooks or not. Who or what are they telling you to follow, and where is the money going.)
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NASB (9) but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” (10) For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
Ephesians 3:4-5 NASB By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, (5) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
How about living like this, live as though He is coming at any moment, just as He said he would.
I am going to end by finishing off Matthew 24.
Matthew 24:45-51NASB “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? (46) “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. (47) “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. (48) ”But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ (49) and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; (50) the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, (51) and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?” I suppose that could be us, or, it could be Israel. As poor of a job as they did, following after God, and getting wrath poured out on them (this is generalized), they are still engraved upon his heart, but then, so are we. The only way I can see us being faithful and sensible is to convey his heart and desire to others. If that includes commentaries in an effort to get people out of their tradition and lack of interest, then so be it. What do I consider his food? Jesus told his disciples, I have food that you know not of, he was referring to what he obtained from His continual, intimate communication with the Father.
- “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.” What are we as slaves doing? After being put in charge of His household, we given those of the household food (the word of God, and encouragement to get through to the end.) This is what we do all the way to the end, an end that is not precisely determined, and therefore demands that we stay on task whether we will see this end or not.
- ”But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ (49) and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; (50) the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, (51) and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This is typical conversation; I hear it all the time. I pick up enough news to know that the world is getting darker by the day, but if I act like those around me, then I am responsible. I am not backing down. Jesus is coming for his church, and shortly after, he will return as the triumphant and reigning Messiah.
You can know this Jesus Christ if you just ask him to make himself real to you. He will come into your life and remake your heart. From that moment forward your heart will be good, new, and His. Yes, life will still look tore up from the outside, it is the nature of the world we live in, and we have to deal with it. However, God gives us a power, especially if we ask Him to fill us with the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is described as rivers of living water flowing out of our inner most being. Do you realize that a live river is one that moves, swirls and has dangerous rapids as an integral part of it? Does that mean you will be dangerous? Some will think so. God is inviting you on an adventure, one that is alive, real, and filled with Him. This is a life worth living, and He is real. We have a hope and a promise of acceptance, and love in His arms, forever. Jump in!