It was mid-morning, on or about the eighth of Nisan, the year 32 AD. Jesus and His disciples were leaving the great temple in Jerusalem and heading towards the Mount of Olives. As they passed the temple, the disciples marveled at its beauty and magnificence. The temple was one of the greatest structures of that day, rising between eight and ten stories high, and sculptured in marble and gold. It was King Herod’s mark on society and one of the wonders of the world.
As the disciples turned to Jesus in awe, Christ simply stated
, “Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matt. 24:2). The disciples looked at each other in confusion and proceeded on their way up to the Mount of Olives. Now, as they reached the Mount of Olives, four disciples, confused and wondering about what Christ had stated, came to Jesus privately and asked Christ three questions.

1. When will these things happen?
2. What will be the sign of Your coming?
3. When will be the end of the age?

Before we get started in this overview of Matthew 24, which is known as the Olivet Discourse, I would like you to be aware that this is Christ’s overview of end-time prophecy. Yes, Jesus Christ the Savior, the Healer, the Comforter and the Prophet will now in His own words give us a briefing on the end times.
“He who has an ear, let him hear” (Revelation 3:22 NKJV).
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple (Matt. 24:1).

In this passage, Jesus had just left the temple for the last time. A few days earlier, Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 as well as the prophecy given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel, which actually foretold Christ’s first coming to the exact day. As a recap, we are told in Daniel 9:25 that from the time the walls were rebuilt until the coming of the Messiah would be sixty-nine years times seven years or 173,880 days (to do the addition you need to use a 360-day calendar and add the leap years). We read in Nehemiah 2:5-8 that King Artaxerxes signed the decree for Nehemiah to rebuild the city walls on March 14, 445 BC. This ancient document can be found in the London Museum today. If we take March 14, 445 BC and add 173,880 days, then Christ rode into Jerusalem on April 6th, 32 AD. Keep in mind that this was also the first time that Christ let the people receive Him as the Messiah. Prior to this, He always said
“my time has not yet come” (John 7:6 NKJV) and hid away from the crowds. The exact day of His coming was arranged, and therefore Christ wept for His people, because they did not know their Scriptures. The prophets gave them the exact day, along with how He would enter into the city, yet the Jews rejected Him. That is why Christ wept in Luke 19:41, stating “you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:44 NKJV). From that point on, blindness was put on the Jews until the fullness of the Gentiles came (see Romans 11:25). Think about that, Christ wept because His people did not know what His Word had promised. The Creator of the universe arranged the exact day when He would appear, yet no one accepted His Word. Are we like that? The Lord has fulfilled history. The Bible has foretold past, present and future events, yet are we too caught up in the things of this world to understand that He will come again?
The next time He comes, we are not given the exact day, for the Son of man will come at an hour when you least expect. Woe unto them that do not heed His Word.

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 (Matt. 24:2).

Christ started out by saying,
“See ye not all these things?” In the Greek language, Christ was saying, “Does it really matter? Is this what you think life is about?” Jesus then went on to say that the temple would be destroyed brick by brick. At this point, I would imagine that the disciples whispered among themselves “How could this be?” Yet, thirty-eight years later, Titus Vespasian, along with his troops of four Roman legions, lay siege to Jerusalem and burned the temple to the ground. In the writings of the historian Josephus (who was an eye witness to the event), he states that Titus had the soldiers disassemble each brick in order to retrieve all the gold that was melted between the cracks. Again, our Lord had predicted the future.

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? (Matt. 24:3).
Now we read that Christ sat down on the Mount of Olives, anticipating the disciples’ questions. In the Gospel of Mark, we are told that four of the disciples came to Christ privately: Peter, James, John and Andrew. Keep in mind that it was always Peter, James and John that the Lord had kept close to His heart and had revealed many things to (for example, the transfiguration). Also, we notice that the Lord predominantly spoke to the multitudes in parables and then, later on, our Lord would give the disciples a clear and straightforward answer to the parable. So here we have three questions that the disciples asked:

1. When shall these things be? Or, when will the temple be destroyed?
2. What shall be the sign of Thy coming?
3. What shall be the sign of the end of the world? (This refers to the end of the age or the time of the Gentile rule on Earth.)

The answer to the first question is accounted for in Luke 21:20:
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” In ancient days, when an army would capture a city, it would camp outside the gates, cut off the food and water supplies to the city and then knock down the city gates and invade. Christ referred to Titus and his army, as they were to lay siege to Jerusalem. Then Jesus spoke of what the Romans would do to the Jews and their city and how the Jews would be trodden down by the Gentiles:

And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Luke 21:24).

Again, history proves this has taken place, and Jerusalem to this day is still not 100 percent under Jewish control; hence, there is no temple, and in fact, an Islamic Mosque sits on the edge of the temple mount on the Dome of the Rock.
Next, Jesus answered the questions chronologically, starting with the third question, “When will the end of the age happen?” Our loving Lord started by giving the signs or the seasons of things that must take place before He returns to Earth. Keep in mind that Christ is going to take His Church from the earth (the rapture) prior to His returning to Earth to reign and rule.

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 (Matt. 24:4,5).

Christ said to watch out for false prophets. Satan will always send a counterfeit to deceive many. We have seen these counterfeits rise up and preach a different gospel. In Revelation 13:13-14, we see the coming of the final false prophet, who is also alluded to in 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

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 (Matt. 24:6,7a).

The Lord predicted wars and rumors of wars, yet He said that we should not be troubled. Since the garden of Eden, man has been selfish; it is part of our sinful nature to want. So the Lord said that man will want and covet things. Yes, there will be fighting and nations rising up against nations (this is referring to world wars), yet this will always be the case, until the Lord brings in His righteous Kingdom.

And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matt. 24:7b,8).

This verse really touches home. Within the last twenty years, we have seen major earthquakes worldwide, epidemics of disease such as the AIDS virus in Africa and tsunamis such as those that wiped out parts of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India in December of 2004. As a quick side note, in Indonesia, the night before the tidal wave hit, in a small Christian village the Muslim government sent the Christians up into the mountain for their Christmas celebration, and when the flood hit, it wiped out the village, but the Christians were spared because they were told to worship their God on the mountain away from the village. It is awesome how the Lord delivers His people from trials and tribulations. Getting back to Matthew, the Lord said that when you see these things, it is just the beginning, like a woman in labor. It starts out with a little pain and then really gets intense.

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 (Matt. 24:9).

This statement has a double fulfillment: it happened in the disciples’ time, once the Church was established, as well as throughout the ages and in current times. Christians all over the world have been persecuted for their faith, and even today in Muslim countries, a Christian can be killed for renouncing the Muslim faith and becoming a believer in Jesus Christ. Recently, I was in Beijing, China. When I applied for my visa, I had to sign a waiver of profession stating that I would not perform any ministry work. Just think, what if I were to walk into Tiananmen Square
openly and publicly and hand out tracts and preach the gospel of Christ? Would I be arrested? What crime is it to tell the world about our Lord and Savior who died on the cross and shed His blood so that we, all who believe in Him, can have everlasting life? China is a country with over 1.3 billion people, and three of China’s major cities have a population of over 12 million people. Oh, yes, the harvest is plentiful, yet the laborers are few. I ask that you pray for the gospel to become open in that vast country.

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another (Matt. 24:10).

This verse also has a double fulfillment. Josephus wrote about how the Jews betrayed each other while the city was under attack, stealing and killing for food, and it seems that during the great tribulation, this again will take place.

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many (Matt. 24:11).

This we have already addressed. And Christ mentioned it three times in this discourse, with the emphasis on false prophets and deception.

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Matt. 24:12).

Christ spoke about a world full of people who will be caught up in themselves with disregard for moral values. A world that is corrupt with pornography, homosexuals, the lust of the flesh, worldly positions and without acknowledging the presence of God.

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved (Matt. 24:13).

This verse also has a double fulfillment. In Revelation 3:10, the Lord spoke to the born-again Church, who will be kept from the hour of tribulation that will be poured out on the earth. Yet I believe that since this chapter of Matthew deals with the Jews in the latter days, this is referring to the 144,000 Jews that are protected by God during the tribulation period.

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 (Matt. 24:14).

After the period mentioned in the second chapter of Acts, the Church was established and many of the disciples went throughout the world preaching the gospel (Paul to Europe and Asia minor, Thomas to India). Today, with missionaries and the use of the internet, cable TV and radio, the gospel has been preached throughout the world. However, the key to this passage is when the Lord said
“and then shall the end come.” I believe Christ is referring to the angels in Revelation 14:6: “having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”
In the next few verses, we will notice that the phrasing pertains to people residing in Israel, in Jerusalem in particular.

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:) (Matt. 24:15).

In this verse, Christ quoted from the book of Daniel, which was written hundreds of years before Christ was born. This passage is very important, because it speaks of the abomination of desolation, which meant that the temple must be defiled. The exciting part of this is that it is alluding to the fact that Israel will have another temple. As we study the Scriptures, we are told that a world leader will come to power and bring peace to Israel and Palestine. He will make a covenant with the nation and rebuild their temple. Ezekiel 40 states that there will be a wall built between the temple and the outer court (this is where the Dome of the Rock sits). Christ then went on to say
“whoso readeth, let him understand.”

Wow, pretty heavy! Christ quoted from Daniel, spoke of the temple that will be built and then told us to understand and acknowledge this. Yes, here we are at the present time in the year 2005, and we are told to understand that this will take place. I would like us to consider ourselves reading this passage in the year 1940. Israel was not in the land nor had been for 2,000 years (since about 100 AD or so), there had been one world war and another was on the rise and here we read that there will be a temple built in Jerusalem. And then Christ stated
“whoso readeth, let him understand.” Yet, today we see Israel back in the land, the European Union emerge and a cashless society that is about to unfold. Now we can surely understand what our Lord spoke of. How much more evidence do we need? Remember that the Bible was given to us so that we would not be ignorant of the things to come. Our Lord is coming back, and we need to repent of our sins and trust in His Word. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Yes, He paid the price of sins that He did not commit so that we could be forgiven. He rose from the dead and was seen by a great many. His disciples died the deaths of martyrs (other than John, the beloved, who was banished to the island of Patmos and was then given the book of Revelation to write) because of their conviction after seeing the risen Lord. So may I say, “whoso readeth, let him understand.”
In Matthew 24:16-20, the people in Israel were given instructions on what to do as well as to pray that these things may not happen on the Sabbath or in the winter:

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
(Matt. 24:21).

Scripture tells us that after the abomination of desolation happens, God will pour out His judgment on a Christ-rejecting sinful world. The wrath of the Lamb will come down on the whole earth for a three-and-a-half-year period. The judgment of God as described in Revelation 6-19 will then come. Christ also said that this will be the worst time ever in world history. Just try to imagine earthquakes worldwide, tsunamis in the oceans, volcanoes erupting, one-third of the world’s population destroyed, famine resulting from food and crops being destroyed, nations trying to overpower each other
and hailstones the size of bricks coming from the sky. Yes, a time of such magnitude that it has never been seen, nor will ever be seen again. Is this fact or fiction? Well I would not want to speculate. The Lord has been 100 percent accurate thus far, and He has predicted many things that I have seen come to pass in my lifetime, not to mention the fact that I have experienced a greater joy than fulfilled prophecy! I have experienced a changed life, old ways were left behind and the Holy Spirit did away with the old, wretched, blind man that I was and empowered me with a new, born-again nature. I am a new creation in Christ, and that is a testimony spoken from a man who was dead to the things of the Spirit. When Christ takes residence in your heart, then He reveals all things through the power of His Holy Spirit.

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened (Matt. 24:22).

Our God is a loving God, and He will always give us a way out to escape the tribulation. During this period, He will show mercy for the Jew (who is the elect) and make His return come to pass.

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 (Matt. 24:23-26).

Again, for the third time, Christ warned about false prophets and false Christs. This must be very important for Christ to mention it three times in one chapter!

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 (Matt. 24:27).

Christ said here that when He comes, we will know it. The whole earth will see His appearance, so we should not waste our time by looking in other places for the Messiah.

For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together (Matt. 24:28).

In this verse, Christ spoke of the battle of Armageddon, found in Revelation 19:17.

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 (Matt. 24:29).
This is a description of a supernova or perhaps the aftermath of nuclear fallout, which could include meteorite showers. This passage can also can be found in the book of Revelation.

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 (Matt. 24:30).
Now we have the glorious appearance of our Lord as He comes in the clouds with His saints (see Revelation 19). We are told in several different places in Scripture that the Lord will come in clouds, as He left in Acts 1:11.

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 (Matt. 24:31).

This is a reference to the angels gathering up the remnant of the remaining Jews who come to faith during the tribulation.

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
(Matt. 24:32-33).

In these verses, Christ told a parable, relating Israel to a fig tree. He said that when Israel is back in the land, then we will know that the time is getting closer. And we know that on May 14, 1948, Israel did come back to the land and became a nation again after over 2,000 years.

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled
(Matt. 24:34).

The Greek word used for generation in this verse can refer to a race of people, so this could likely be what Christ spoke of. Keep in mind that many have tried to wipe out the Jews, from Haman to Hitler, yet the Lord has preserved them.
This generation could also refer to the people who see these things come to pass, for example, Israel being back in the land, the rise of the European nations, a cashless society being established and so on. So either way, we are currently living in a time when these things are taking place. Let us not lose sight of the fact that Christ told us in advance to keep an eye out for the seasons and the time in which we live. The tree is blossoming, and the fruit will soon appear.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Matt. 24:35).

In Revelation 21, we read of a new Heaven and a new earth. Christ referred to old things passing away, while His Word promises a new beginning.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only (Matt. 24:36).

In this verse, Christ spoke of His return, stating that only the Father knows when He will return. This is what we call the
blessed hope: Christ returning to rapture His saints. We are told in Daniel the exact time when Christ will return to the earth to rule and reign (which is 1,290 years after the abomination of desolation), yet we are not told when He will return to meet us in the clouds. We know from Romans 11:25 that we are waiting for the fullness of the Gentiles to come in before Christ will remove His Church and deal with the nation of Israel again. The Lord has a certain number in mind of the people that He has chosen to save. Once that number is up, then the Lord will take His people out of the earth..
This is another reason that I feel so eager about getting the gospel into China. Look at all the lost souls there who are ready to hear the truth!

But as the days of Noah 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 (Matt. 24:37-39).

The days of Noah were so corrupt that God had to intercede with a worldwide flood and cleanse the earth of its wickedness. Yet our Lord is a loving God, and He always give the righteous a way out of judgment. Noah preached repentance for 120 years while he was building the ark. People made fun of Noah, and no one believed him—and the flood came. The Bible tells us that in the days of Noah, there were homosexuals and people worshipping images, with no sense of any morals. People did as they liked, and God judged them. The Lord said that as the days of Noah were, so will it be when the Son of man returns. I believe that the times we are living in now are far worse than the days of Noah. Maybe the people have not changed; they still have the same sinful hearts; yet with today’s modern technology, we bring more immoral values into our homes. Between what is broadcast on the TV (sex, violence and so on) and what is seen in our homes on the internet, I am sure that this generation has more sin than in Noah’s time. Also note that Christ said that they “
knew not” until the flood came. Christ meant that they did not believe until it was too late. Their hearts grew cold. Noah preached repentance, yet the people wanted to live their lives their way, with the pleasures of this world. So will it be when the Son of man returns. Will we hearken to His Word? Hasn’t Christ given us enough warning? He has laid out world history and given us all the evidence we need. Yes, He is coming, and what are we to do? We are either for Him or against Him. There is no middle ground. He has given us His Holy Spirit to convict us of these things, and we will be held accountable for what we know. On judgment day, the only question that will be asked of us is, “What did you do with My Son?” Accept Him or reject Him? And this is what we will be held accountable for.
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 (Matt. 24:40-41).

These verses speak of the rapture of the Church and how some will be taken and others will be left behind. See 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15 for more information on the rapture of the Church.

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 (Matt. 24:42-44).

Be ready at all times. In everything you do, anticipate that Christ could come any minute.

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? (Matt. 24:45).
The Lord again told us that the ones who are wise and follow His words will receive the rewards.

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 (Matt. 24:46-47).

Blessed is he who obeys the great Master, for he will inherit the Kingdom. For the Lord will say “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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 (Matt. 24:48-51).

This is an interesting statement, because it speaks of someone who knows the Master, His ways, Word and whereabouts yet in his heart denies the truth. In Revelation 3:14-20, Christ spoke to the lukewarm church. That is the church that thought it knew the Lord yet did not abide in Him. The Lord stated that
“because you are…neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16 NKJV). In other words, Jesus said that He would rather you did not know Him than have you pretend that you are part of His family. These are the people that know His Word yet do what is right in their own eyes. They set up their own doctrine within the church and preach and live a different gospel. Christ says to the Church: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20 NKJV). Christ meant that He wants to be close and personal, yet the Church does not know that He is alive. These are the Christians who will miss the rapture because they did not believe that their Master would come. To them, it will be like the days of Noah! Eating, drinking and going about their lives, until the Son of man returns for His Church and gives these hypocrites over to the pleasures of their flesh. And then there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth for all who do not repent of their sins. “He who has an ear, let him hear”! (Revelation 3:22).