By Jeannette Haley
Biblical prophecy tells us all we need to know, but man’s imagination, which is often fueled by fear and personal agendas, tends to either exaggerate, embellish or ignore different aspects of it. Therefore, let us become as little children, keep it simple, and believe what the Bible says. Jesus’ disciples were just as human as you and me, and they asked Him when certain things would happen, what would be the sign of His coming, and what signs would signal the end of the world. (See Matthew 24:3.) Jesus gave a direct, simple, understandable, chronological “list” that can serve as a pattern, or outline, into which other biblical prophecies can be easily identified as applicable, or compatible, with the pattern, thus filling it in by contributing additional details. So, let’s look at some of what He said, verse by verse in order and check off what has, is and will come to pass, keeping in mind that many prophecies throughout Scripture have a double or triple fulfillment.
When reading through Matthew 24, be sure to note, circle or underline the word “Then.” The first thing He said was, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” verses 4, 5. You may ask, who claims to be “Christ”? The answer is anyone who claims to be “The anointed one of God” because that is what “Christ” means. In reality, there are so many false prophets, false Christs, and false “Christian” leaders that even a modest world count is over 3,300. Such people are more than deluded—they are demonized. Demons want attention and desire to be worshipped. I knew a man years ago who was not only into drugs (which is an open door for demons) but he believed he was literally Jesus Christ and even flew to Israel to tell them he was! Consider the popes. “The term “vicar” comes from the Latin word vicarius, which means “instead of.” In the Catholic Church, the vicar is the representative of a higher-ranking official, with all of the same authority and power that that official has. Calling the pope the “Vicar of Christ” implies that he has the same power and authority that Christ had over the church.” (From gotquestions.org.)
Jesus’ prophetical warnings have been in the process of being fulfilled since Jesus ascended to heaven and they will continue to be fulfilled until His return, and beyond. Concerning deceivers and wolves in sheep’s clothing, however, we know there is a marked increase in their numbers, all proclaiming to have special insights and answers to “hidden knowledge” or “mysteries” that the church doesn’t have, never did have, but “needs to know” for these end times. 2 Timothy 3:13 foretells of such, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” We know from 2 Thessalonians 2 that there will be such a great falling away from the truth, and refusal to receive “the love of the truth, that they might be saved” that God Himself will send a “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 1 Timothy 4:1 warns, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”
Matthew 24:6: “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.” It’s no secret that this world has been filled with war and bloodshed since Cain killed Abel. The difference for our time is the fact that “hearing” of wars and rumors of wars is universal thanks to technology. And, for Israel in particular there is the non-stop, continual threat of attack. On a world-wide scale according to reference.com there are currently “10 official wars and 8 active military conflicts recognized by the United States. There are also other violent conflicts involving 64 countries and 576 militias and separatist groups.” In another place they report, “Twenty-eight countries are either involved in war or are experiencing armed conflicts within their borders.” Currently there is a growing threat of conflict with China in the China Sea. On the home front, in Democratic controlled cities from coast to coast, we are now under the continual threat of violence from well-funded, and well-organized Marxist and terrorist mobs committed to the total overthrow of the United States of America.
Moving on to verse 7 Jesus adds some weighty details concerning this particular time of wars and rumors of war which we need to take time to focus on. He said, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Again, this entails the entire world, and oh! How fitting it is for our time. We all can see how nation is rising against nation, and especially against Israel. As for kingdoms, think about the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. (See Colossians 1:13.) We can see a great divide occurring the world over between these two kingdoms.
Concerning famines, roughly 9.1 million people starve to death each year. One recent headline read, “Locust swarm: UN warns of food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Somalia.” Another reads, “Locust swarm reaches Nepal: East African swarms charging West: Swarms from Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are expected to migrate westwards through Sudan, Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and Mauritania.” Another reads, “A posh financial and technology hub Gurugram is the latest victim of a massive locust invasion: The city is close to the Indian capital New Delhi with a population of 26 million: Swarms growing around the world” and yet another update reads, “South America becomes the third continent after Africa and Asia to succumb to locust plagues.” There has been much said recently about possible food shortages in the United States as well, causing people everywhere to hoard food and plant gardens.
Next in line are pestilences. According to Bible Study Tools Dictionary the meaning of this word is, “Any sudden fatal epidemic is designated by this word, and in its Biblical use it generally indicates that these are divine visitations. The word is most frequently used in the prophetic books, and it occurs 25 times in Jeremiah and Ezekiel, always associated with the sword and famine.” Another definition which I find interesting is, “Pestilence – Or PLAGUE, in the Hebrew tongue, as in most others, expresses all sorts of distempers and calamities. The Hebrew word which properly signifies ‘the plague’ is extended to all epidemical and contagious diseases. The prophets generally connect together the sword, the pestilence, and the famine, as three evils, which usually accompany each other. The glandular plague, which in modern times has proved so fatal in the East, is the most virulent and contagious of diseases. In the fourteenth century it overran Europe, Asia, and Africa, and 25,000,000 are estimated to have died of it within three years. Like the Asiatic cholera, it is one of the most appalling scourges sin has brought on this world; and may in this point of view correspond with the “plagues” referred to in the Bible, Exodus 9:14 11:1 1Ki 8:37.” (From ATS Bible Dictionary.) One report said the Spanish flu killed 17-100 million people. HIV/AIDS pandemic killed 32 million +, and Corona is around 533,000 and counting as of this date. Of course, death from pestilence has been on earth almost as long as mankind, but as time winds down, these things are occurring in more rapid succession and with greater intensity.
Jesus’ warnings of earthquakes occurring in different places is interesting because of the dramatic increase in earthquakes. In 2014 NBC news reported that “Between 2004 and 2014, 18 earthquakes with magnitudes of 8.0 or more rattled subduction zones around the globe. That’s an increase of 265 percent over the average rate of the previous century, which saw 71 great quakes, according to a report to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. For those of you who like to keep track of earthquakes as well as all the other global happenings, check out www.thebigwobble.org. There you can find information on all the active volcanoes, as prophesied in Joel 2:30, “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.”
At this point Jesus interjected a statement that helps us get our bearings. He said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” Matthew 24:8. Again, all of these things have been occurring all over this world in increasing numbers since our Lord ascended to heaven, including two world wars, the holocaust, the Korean and Viet Nam wars, and other numerous wars resulting in mounting sorrow. In our time we have experienced an increase and intensity of such events, and in 2020 alone the world has suffered through a “planned” pandemic, along with organized chaos and extreme lawlessness and injustice, all culminating in great sorrow. One can only imagine how much sorrow is mounting up to heaven from broken hearts and broken lives as we look around us and realize that what Paul prophesied in such scriptures as 2 Thessalonians 2, 1 Timothy 4, 2 Timothy 3, and Acts 20:29-31 have been, and are now being fulfilled.
Because of our mind-blowing technology, which is in the hands of powerful globalists who view Judaism and Christianity as “non-essential,” Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:9 concerning persecution for the faithful is stunning. “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.” Concerning Christian martyrs since the time of Christ one report estimates at least 70 million, and another states that the year 2019 was the year of Christian martyrs. In the top 50 World Watch List countries alone, 245 million Christians in the world experience high levels of persecution for their choice to follow Christ. As for persecution of Christians in America, The Washington Examiner reported that Pastor Andrew Brunson (who was falsely accused and spent two years in a Turkish prison) said he was “astounded at the speed with which the U.S. is imploding” and predicts persecution of Christians will follow. “Persecution is nothing new….The thing is, that we in the West have not experienced [persecution] very much. It’s very unusual for a Westerner to be arrested for his faith. So we haven’t experienced it, but I think we are going to. I think it’s coming to this country.” Rev. Mark H. Creech Christian Post Columnist added, “One might argue that persecution is now alive and well in America with the purging of Christianity from the government, the muzzling of state officials, employees, and appointees who are Christian, the public attacks on churches and Christian businesses, the media and Hollywood’s disparaging of anything Christian in almost every film they make.” I might add that nowhere in academia is Christianity warmly embraced: both God and George Washington, along with history, have been kicked out with the Holy Bible, creationism, Christian holidays, morals, and common sense!
As I write this, the whole world is reeling from the rise of hateful, touchy, militant revolutionaries whose flimsy excuse for murdering, plundering and destroying is “offense.” In Matthew 24:10 Jesus warned us, “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” Christians know that the wicked weeds of offense, betrayal and hate all originate in the putrid soil of pride, and we also know that pride is Satanic through and through. Proverbs 16:5 says, “Every one [that is] proud in heart [is] an abomination to the LORD: [though] hand [join] in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” We know that on Judgment Day the proud in heart, and all evildoers will be punished by God. The reason I’m focusing on this right now is because of all the sudden losses, heartbreaks, great sorrows, and unfathomable sufferings people everywhere are experiencing because of the death, devastation and loss of freedom due to the planned pandemic, totalitarian unconstitutional edicts and abusive punishments of many of our own despotic political leaders, and the shocking rise of an invasion of militant America-hating rioters. Such people are seething with hatred for God and anything that is Christian, Jewish, American or righteous.
Here are some additional Scriptural reminders of what God thinks of pride: Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” 1 John 2:16 –“For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Philippians 2:3 – “[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Galatians 6:3 – “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” Pride is delusional, which makes it very unpredictable and dangerous. That is why Christians who are eager to “save” brainwashed Marxist and Communist members of Antifa need to be very wise and seek God’s will and leading in the matter.
At this point, Jesus issued another warning about being deceived. He said, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” Matthew 24:11. Who are these false prophets, and why are they able to deceive many? It would appear, given the order in which Jesus gave this warning, that these false prophets, like wolves, are opportunists who prey on weak, fearful, confused, ignorant and immature (undiscipled) sheep with itching ears. Quoting from Ellicott’s Commentary: “In Josephus (Wars, vi. 5, § 2) we have the record of this working of false prophecy in more immediate connection with Judæa and Jerusalem. Up to the last moment of the capture of the city by Titus, men were buoyed up with false hopes of deliverance, based on the predictions of fanatics and impostors.” This struck a chord with me because in these times of uncertainty, danger and distress upon, not only our nation, but upon the organized churches in particular, Christians are looking for prophecies and promises that will “buoy up” their hopes of deliverance, and a return to the “old normal” way of “doing church.” This intense desire for peace and prosperity, hope and happiness, solutions and safety provide a wide-open door for ever-so-charming false prophets, deceivers and imposters.
In the next verse, Matthew 24:12 Jesus said, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Iniquity is moral deviation, and who can say that there is a limit to the moral deviation taking place in this evil hour in which we live? Iniquity is selfishness and perversion that manifests itself in the extremes prophesied for the perilous times in which we live in 2 Timothy 3:1-7. Some “in high places” even appear to have a “form of godliness,” but they “deny the power thereof.” As you study these verses, you will easily identify them as not only having been fulfilled throughout history, but are specifically being fulfilled now. Please notice that God does not tell us to “Go preach the Gospel to them,” but instead warns us to “turn away.” Jesus likewise warned, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” Matthew 7:6.
Now we come to this promise: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” Matthew 24:13. In the Greek, “endure” means “to stay under, remain, to undergo, have fortitude, persevere, abide, (take) patiently, suffer, tarry behind.” Virtuous is a word came to mind that describes such a person. The question is, where does virtue come from? The answer can be found in 2 Peter 1:3-8. It is clear from these verses that if we are to “endure to the end” we must not only possess such virtues, but be fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; that is, have intimacy with Him.
W.H. of Gospel Hall wrote, “Before that ‘end’ there must intervene terrible persecutions against the disciples of the Lord (of whom those addressed were the living representatives), and all will not pass through these unscathed: ‘many shall be offended,’ and shall even apostatize from the faith. ‘And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure to the end’ (i.e. of this great tribulation)—that is, shall not apostatize—’shall be saved,’ in the sense, I believe, of being preserved alive.” With that in mind, consider 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” In the Greek, the word “remain” means survive, so no wonder our LORD said in verse 22 “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
Jesus said in verse 14 “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.” But, He did not stop at this point because He has much more to say about the events that take place in Israel concerning “the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet,” and to give further instructions concerning false Christs, and false prophets which shall show great signs and wonders prior to His coming. He tells us exactly what to expect concerning tribulation, and then what will take place immediately after the tribulation of those days, and finally in verses 30 and 31 we read, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of 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.”
A wonderful, easy to understand, yet very informative teaching on the comparison between Matthew 24 and Revelation 6-8 can be found at: https://www.prophecytoday.uk/study/teaching-articles/item/479-end-times-v-comparing-the-book-of-revelation-with-matthew-24.html.
The following comparison is from a chart on that Web Site:
Revelation 6:1-2 is a time of conflict and deception, and is compatible with times of deception (Matt 24:4); False Messiahs (Matt 24:5), wars and rumours of wars (Matt 24:6), false prophets (Matt 24:11).
Warfare on the earth, removing peace among people (Rev 6:3-4); Division, hate and betrayal (Matt 24:10), lawlessness and lack of love among people (Matt 24:12).
Famine and death by the sword and wild beasts (Rev 6:9-11); Famines, plagues, earthquakes (Matt 24:7).
Endurance of believers with much martyrdom (Rev 6:9-11); Great tribulation signs in the universe (Matt 24:29-30).
Great signs in the heavens and fear across the nations (Rev 6:12-17); Post-tribulation signs in the universe (Matt 24:29-30).
The preservation of the Tribes of Israel and fulfilment of the long-promised salvation (Rev 7:1-8); Parable of the fig tree, symbolizing the restoration of Israel (Matt 24:32).
The Gospel going to the entire world and multitudes being saved (Rev 6:9-17); The Gospel being preached to all nations prior to the end and prior to Jesus’ return (Matt 24:14).
A time of intercessory prayer (Rev 8:4); The importance of watching (Matt 24:42), the importance of maintaining faith and persevering through trials (Matt 24:42-49).
The final woes (Rev. 8:7-9:21); A warning sign of the abomination of desolation (Matt 24:35), continued warnings of troubled times and how to respond to them (Matt 24:15-28), the sign of the Son of Man (Matt 24:30), Some taken and some left (Matt 24:36-42), Post-tribulation gathering of the elect (Matt 24:31), the admonition to watch for Jesus’ return (Matt 24:42:44).
Dr. Clifford Denton explains, “In the end there will be the dramatic return of Jesus with authority to judge all people, when his victory over death will be made real to all that have faith in him and when his Lordship will be revealed to all (Rom 14:11; Isa 45:23).
“Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 are clear down-to-earth descriptions of those times. The Book of Revelation introduces us to the fact that there is an awesome heavenly perspective behind the scenes of what will be experienced on this earth. Our response to this awesome picture is to hold in faith for the final outcome, rather than to work out a detailed formula ahead of time predicting all that will take place.
“Jesus, in Matthew 24 (and parallel passages in Mark and Luke), described the way we would experience this on earth. Now, through Revelation, we see it from the heavenly perspective. That is what the Book of Revelation adds to what we already learn from the rest of the Bible.”
Why study prophecy? Because God revealed it to us so that we would 1) not remain ignorant, but understand His plan for His people, Israel, the Church, the nations of the world, and all creation, and 2) prophecy shows us where we are in God’s timeline, enlarging us through God’s perspective giving us purpose and expectancy, and 3) prophecy brings sobriety to our lives and causes us to seek to be prepared to stand in tribulation, and be prepared for His coming, and 4) prophecy ultimately reveals the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. God does not want His people to remain ignorant of Him, His Word and His will for all people. He even promised a blessing for those who read the Book of Revelation because it is the revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
Indeed, it is!