MATTHEW 24:27-51  


 

MATTHEW 24:27-51

VI. THE NATURE OF THE SECOND COMING

Jesus warns very clearly that these proclamations are false and should not be believed. The arrival of Jesus will be SUDDEN and SPECTACULAR like lightning flashing across the sky. There will be no doubt about WHEN and WHO it is that is coming.

The warning to NOT listen to these false prophets who claim that the Messiah is here is followed by a very clear and simple reason. There can be no mistake.
Matthew 24:27
“For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the son of Man be.”

The second coming of Jesus will be UNIVERSALLY visible like lightning flashing across the sky. Luke records this at chapter 17:22-24.
And He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 
"They will say to you, 'Look there! Look here!' Do not go away, and do not run after them.  "For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.”

The arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory will be universally observed and therefore INSTANTANEOUS.
“Behold He is coming with clouds and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him.” Revelation 1:7

The flashing “from east to west” is not stressed in Luke’s record – “from one end of the sky to the other” – Lightning is not stationary, so SOME KIND of direction would naturally be expressed, whether it be from east to west, or from west to east. I suppose it can be argued whether this ARRIVAL will be viewed universally AT THE SAME TIME, or whether Jesus will appear at one point and then “parade” across the sky until all have seen Him. The problem with this second idea is that it is not JUST an east to west idea, but also, a north to south idea. Of course, one can claim that He will zig-zag all over the place until all have seen him, but this seems a bit inconsistent with the language in my opinion.

I see it as an instantaneous appearance of Jesus in power and great glory so that EVERYONE will see Him at the same time, and immediately everyone will be challenged AT THE SAME TIME with the impact of His arrival.

This seems impossible according to the laws of physics, but of course, the activities of God are not limited by these laws that He himself designed. The Bible is replete with miracles that transcend the laws of physics.

This can be explained by –
(1) A stoppage of time so that the arrival can be seen by everyone AT THE SAME TIME.
(2) An appearance that is simply RADIATED everywhere at the same time.

In whatever manner God does it, I think the language clearly IMPLIES that when every eye will see Him, it will be at the same instant.

Not only that, but it will be preceded by TWO unmistakable signs.
(1) The signs in the sun, the moon and the stars: Darkened sun, moon and stars, with meteorites falling to the earth. Mat. 24:29
(2) The sign of the Son of Man. There is no teaching on what this sign might be, but apparently it will be unmistakable. Mat. 24:30a

THE ALLEGORICAL “WHERE”
Matthew 24:27-28; Luke 17:37

At this time in Matthew’s account, Jesus makes a strange allegorical statement. “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

This obviously has something to do with WHERE Jesus will first appear, or where He will appear IN GENERAL.
Luke records this in a different location (17:22-37) than his “Olivet” chapter (21), in response to a specific question from the disciples.

If we correlate this “vulture” image with Matthew, then after the statement Jesus made concerning His arrival as lightning flashing across the sky, and “SO shall the coming of the Son of Man be” (Mat. 24:27), the disciples ask, WHERE?
This of course, is asking the question, “At what place will you arrive?”

Luke’s placement of this “vulture” image is different. The order of the various segments recorded by Luke is not precise and how to understand that order is still a subject of controversy. This has been discussed in detail in the introduction.

Luke’s gospel record is not chronologically precise when it comes to the general teaching and travels of Jesus. His chronology is accurate as to the historical setting in relation to the political contemporaries of the day.

Luke has taken some of what was taught by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, and placed it at different locations throughout his gospel account, out of chronological order, but related TOPICALLY. Luke was not an eyewitness, but gathered his information from others. This does not deny the principle of inspiration. The CONTENT is all accurate and its integrity is preserved by the Holy Spirit. But chronological precision was not a concern to either The Spirit or to Luke in the recording of what Jesus taught.
One such example is the teaching about “the days of Noah” and the “one taken/one left” section. Luke does not record this teaching in his chapter 21 on the Olivet Discourse, which is where this information was originally taught according to Matthew 24, but at Luke 17:26-30 and 34-36.

At verse 37, after recording that Jesus taught “one will be taken” (the believer), and “one will be left” (the unbeliever), the disciples SUPPOSEDLY ask, “where?”
However, they are NOT asking about where the ones taken will go, but they are responding to the question that is RECORDED back at verse 17:24. They are asking about where the Son of man will be revealed. It is that ARRIVAL of the Son of man that is the primary focus in Luke’s record at this point. Luke 17:22-37.

To restate, the question the disciples asked occurred between Matthew 24:27 and 28. The question is asked in reference to verse 27, “For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.”
That statement was also recorded by Luke in this section – at verse 24, “For just as the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.”

The question then occurs as recorded at Luke 17:37a, “Where Lord?”
And the answer is given there, at Luke 17:37b, and at Matthew 24:28, “Where the corpse (body) is, there also will the vultures gather (be gathered).”

Remember that Luke is just listing a variety of things that Jesus taught that are related to His second coming. This question and answer do not belong here RIGHT AFTER Jesus teaches that some will be taken and some left, as if to suggest that the disciples are asking where they will be taken. Matthew records this statement in connection with the coming of the Son of Man like lightning flashing across the sky, but not in connection with the gathering of the elect (Mat. 24:27-28).
Matthew did not record the question, just the answer.

So when the disciples ask this question, "Where," they are asking where will be the ARRIVAL of Jesus when He first appears? The answer Jesus gives is allegorical and does not give a precise location. This allegorical answer reflects a common image not only from Jewish culture as can be seen from the Old Testament (Job 39:30; Prov. 30:17), but from the laws of nature as well. What we need to determine is the significance of this image as Jesus relates it to His arrival at the Day of the Lord. It should be clear that those who are taken in the rapture, are not taken to a place where the vultures are eating a corpse. It is also clear that when Jesus arrives, as lightning that flashes across the sky (Matthew 24:27-28; Luke 17:24), at that time the gathering of His elect will occur, when "one will be taken and one will be left," (Luke 17:37). We also know that this event will take place immediately after the tribulation, which will be cut short from its expected 3 1/2-year duration by the sovereign decree of God the Father.

There are some who teach that the "one taken" is taken in judgment, and it is the believers who are left behind. However, EVEN IF this should be accepted as the right interpretation, it does not help us understand the allegory. Even if the wicked are taken in judgment, they are not taken to a place that can be described as a corpse being visited by the vultures. And in fact, as will be discussed later, they are not taken out of situations such as work sites and beds as is the case in Christ's description of this removal event.

The disciples want a specific location, but Jesus gives His allegorical answer because there is no ONE specific location for His arrival. He will arrive in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, and every eye will see Him.

The LOCATION then, seems to be the EARTH in general. Evil has progressed through the advance of the mystery of lawlessness, and the earth is now filled with a DEAD BODY that needs to be removed by the vultures. When Jesus returns, it is to begin the removal of the DEAD BODY through the Day of the Lord judgments in preparation for His earthly Messianic kingdom.

This SECOND COMING according to the prewrath perspective refers to Christ’s arrival in the clouds of the sky, at which time the Day of the Lord will begin and the rapture of the saints will occur. This is the second coming PROPER. His later descent to Megiddo at Armageddon is not the second coming, but an event that is part of the Day of the Lord judgments. This descent to the earth at Armageddon is NOT taught by Jesus or by the apostles in their letters. In the New Testament, it is only specifically mentioned in the Book of The Revelation. Every other place where the second coming is mentioned, it refers to either the initial moment of that arrival, or to one or more events that occur DURING His presence here.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

1. Matthew and Luke are in apparent conflict.
That is resolved by the preceding paragraphs, and more completely by the discussion on the correlation of the three Synoptic Gospels.
It seems quite unreasonable to me for this image to be spoken on two different occasions for TWO DIFFERENT reasons.
Accordingly, one has to decide WHICH writer they are going to follow concerning the placement of the statement.
Luke inserts parts of Christ’s discourses ALL OVER THE PLACE and does not follow the precise order of content as Matthew and Mark do.
It is more reasonable TO ME that Matthew is to be followed as to where this statement should be located in the chronology of Christ's discourse.
If we can’t agree on that placement, then there can be no resolution when trying to figure out what the “vulture” statement means.
WE FIRST have to agree about what the disciples are asking.
If Matthew is followed - THEN - the question is asking, “WHERE will the Lord arrive when He comes back.”
If Luke is followed (literally) - THEN - the question is “WHERE will the taken-ones go to.”

2. However, it is quite unreasonable for this image to be used to answer a question as to “where the TAKEN OUT ones will go,” as it APPEARS to do in Luke’s account. Even if, as with the pre-trib camp, the “taken ones” refers to unbelievers being taken to judgment, it still does not make sense, for at Armageddon there really is no “taken in judgment.” There is simply a physical destruction (death) of those who are assembled on the earth, and the vultures will eat up the dead bodies afterwards. And at the separation of the sheep and the goats at Matthew 25:31ff, there is no one being taken from a work site or a bed.

3. Matthew’s account answers the question as to “where the Lord will come upon His initial arrival.”
And since His arrival/appearance is probably instantaneously visible, the answer would be WHERE THE “evil” CARCASS is located.
It is located ON THE EARTH. In other words, Jesus is not telling them to think of any ONE particular geographical location, but it is the earth in general that is in view with specific reference to the CHARACTER of the earth as a dead corpse that needs to be dealt with.

4. Another option for this initial ARRIVAL LOCATION is Palestine, where the Beast has set up the abomination of desolation in the Holy Place.  But this is a moot point IF the arrival constitutes a universal appearing, for if “every eye will see Him,” then it matters not WHERE He first appears.

5. Some have suggested that the use of this image identifies the location of Christ’s return as “on the mountains of Israel” (Ezek. 39:4, 17), and “on the open field” (Ezek. 39:5). In this case, it would certainly refer to the battle of Armageddon, although there is still controversy over that. This will be dealt with in more detail when I get to Matthew 24:29-30.

IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION

Matthew 24:29a
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days”

As already seen in connection with verse 22, the tribulation will be OFFICIALLY cut short from its expected duration by the sovereign decree of God the Father at some unknown day and hour (Matthew 24:36, 42-44) at least 5 months (Revelation 9:5) before the end of the 70th week.

The end of the tribulation is not something that will be announced. It will simply be EVIDENCED by the signs in the sun, moon and stars. These signs are not a sign of the end of the tribulation, but a sign that the second coming of Christ is about to occur.

The end of the tribulation will be realized by the FACT that the beast will suddenly be totally distracted from furthering his persecution agenda against those who don’t worship him.
(1) The SIGNS will have everyone in fear and panic.
(2) The Christians will suddenly all be removed in the VISIBLE event of the rapture (although there will be new believers soon enough).
(3) And then the serious judgments of the trumpets will interrupt the beast’s supply and control of the economic resources.

So when God the Father DECREES to cut short the tribulation, at that moment the signs in the sun, moon and stars will occur, which announce the arrival of Jesus at His second coming and the inception of the time PERIOD known as The Day of the Lord.

It is at this arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky that the rapture will occur and the DAY OF THE LORD will begin. The events of the tribulation do NOT include either the trumpet or the bowl judgments, but both of these are expressions of God’s justice upon the kingdom of the beast after the tribulation has ended.

THE SIGNS IN THE SUN, MOON AND STARS

Matthew 24:29
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken”

This is not describing any eclipse type event, but a supernatural act of God that literally and physically darkens the sun, moon and stars. The image of the stars falling from the sky describes the fact that light from these orbs will also be diminished. It could also include meteorites falling to the earth, which would “humanly speaking” explain the disappearance of the stars – although we know that the actual stars do not fall to the earth.

This is the very same event that was prophesied in the Old Testament as occurring BEFORE the arrival of the Day of the Lord.  Joel 2:30-31. “And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.”

The “blood moon” indicates a very dark red effect caused by the darkening of the sun. The moon of course does not have its OWN light, so this indicates just a slight reflection of light that will be barely discernable.

This establishes the fact that the DAY OF THE LORD and the second coming of the Messiah are basically the same event. And both will be preceded by these awesome things; things of such a nature that they have not been seen before in the same manner, and will therefore cause great panic, fear and sorrow in those who are not prepared for the coming of Jesus.
The signs on the earth were also mentioned by Jesus but were only recorded by Luke. However, they are indicated by Matthew’s account that indicates the stars (meteors) will fall to the EARTH. Luke at 21:25-26. “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the seas and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

The phrase, “the powers of the heavens will be shaken” is a summary statement concerning the celestial disturbances that make it appear as though the heavenly orbs are DISAPPEARING.

THE DAY OF THE LORD

The arrival of the Day of the Lord is also described by Isaiah at chapter 13:6-13.
Verses 1-8 describe the invasion of the king of the North, which will occur DURING the Day of the Lord judgments.
Verse 6 describes the NATURE of the Day of the Lord events; “destruction from the Almighty.”
Verses 7-8 describe the fear and panic that will be expressed by the unbelievers who witness the SIGNS of the impending judgments from God.
Verse 9 again states the destructive nature that will characterize the Day of the Lord.
Verse 10 describes the SIGNS that immediately precede the arrival of the Day.
“For the stars and their constellations will not flash forth their light;
The sun will be dark in its going, and the moon will not shed its light.”
(This corresponds with Matthew 24:29, Luke 21:25, and Rev. 6:12-13.)
Verses 11-12 describe the judgment on the world through the Day of the Lord judgments.
Verse 13 repeats the SIGNS that portend the arrival of the Day of the Lord.
“Therefore I shall make the heavens tremble,
And the earth will be shaken from its place (earthquake as at Rev. 6.)
At the fury of the Lord of hosts
In the day of His burning anger.”
(This corresponds with Matthew 24:29 and Luke 21:26; “the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” And with Rev. 6:14, “the sky was moved away like a scroll.”)

All these prophecies point to the event that will occur at the SIXTH seal of Revelation 6:12-14. “And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. And the sky was moved away like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved out of their places.”

The sixth seal mentions the great earthquake described at Isaiah 13:13, while the other passages mention only that there will be great things happening on the earth.

The fire and the columns of smoke mentioned by Joel will be caused by the meteorites hitting the earth and by the massive earthquakes and volcanic activity that will be felt around the world. The roaring of the sea will also be caused by the earthquakes producing tsunamis all around the world.

The statement, “and the sky was moved away like a scroll when it is rolled up,” describes what Jesus said about the powers of the heavens being shaken.
The verb for “moved away” (separated – in the NASB) is apochoridzo as an aorist passive indicative. It means to SEPARATE from in the sense of move away from as at Acts 15:39. “they separated (moved away) from one another.”
Here then, it indicates that the sky was moved away or REMOVED just like a scroll when it is rolled up. That is, it disappears so that it is no longer visible to the human eye. This communicates the darkening of the sun and the moon and stars, as well as the meteorites falling to the earth.

This correlation with the sixth seal also indicates that the first 5 seals correlate with the events described in Matthew 24:9-28, and therefore occur during the tribulation.

Once we recognize that Matthew 24:29 refers to the DAY OF THE LORD that is mentioned at Joel 2 and the other places in the Old Testament, it is a simple and logical step to recognize that when the apostles use this term, they are referring to the very same event.

1Thessalonians 5:2, "the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night."
This refers to the occurrence of the cosmic signs and the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky.
2Thessalonians 2:1-2, " the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him . . . that the Day of the Lord has come."
The context indicates that these three terms are synonymous, or rather, refer to the very same event that occurs when Jesus arrives "in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory."
2Peter 3:10, "for the Day of the Lord will come like a thief."
Peter uses the language established by Jesus to refer to the second coming and the promise to the church.
1Corinthians 1:8, "who shall also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."
There is no basis for making this term refer to anything other than the Day of the Lord, that has been taught throughout the Old Testament and referenced by Jesus at Matthew 24:29.
Philippians 1:6, "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
Once again, this refers to the one and only DAY OF THE LORD.
Philippians 1:10; 2:16; 2Cor. 1:14; 1Cor. 5:5. These all refer to the same event - the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, at which time He will gather the saints for a meeting with Him in the sky.

See Topic:  THE DAY OF THE LORD

THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN

Matthew 24:30a “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn.”

Included in the signs that the arrival of the Messiah and the Day of the Lord is about to occur, is a more specific sign that is not mentioned anywhere else. That more specific sign will be “the sign of the Son of Man.”
Exactly WHAT this is, we are not told. However, it is certain that this will be an OBVIOUS indication that the “thing” that has been talked about for a couple thousand years is now about to occur – the return of Jesus Christ.

All of these things will happen over a relatively small period of time, perhaps encompassing one entire day. This is determined by several things.

1. The nature of some of these things is a matter of “cause and effect” rather than things that ALL occur instantaneously.
2. There is TIME for the unbelievers to panic and actually RUN AWAY in an attempt to hide before they actually SEE Jesus coming on the clouds of the sky. Luke 21:26; Rev. 6:15.

3. The instruction given to believers at Luke 21:28: “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

 

THE ISSUE OF TIMING

According to the parable of the TREES (Luke 21:29-33; Mat. 24:24-36), Jesus taught that we can know the SEASON when He will return, but we cannot know the day or the hour.
The season is the time period of the tribulation IN GENERAL, which will begin at the midpoint of the 70th week, but will be cut short (interrupted, amputated) at an unknown day and hour before the end of the 70th week.
On the very day that God decrees to cut short the tribulation, it will be evidenced first by the awesome signs in the heavens and on the earth. It seems that these signs will last for a short time since they appear to be “cause and effect” type phenomena.

At Matthew 24:33, Jesus said, “when you see all these things know that He is near – at the door.”
At Luke 21:28, He said, “But when you see these things BEGIN to happen, then straighten up and lift up your head because your redemption is drawing near.”
At Luke 21:31, “when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.”

Although Luke does not mention the tribulation events in chapter 21, I believe that the words Luke is quoting from Jesus refer to the season of the tribulation, in general, and to the SIGNS, specifically.

I believe there is a delay between the SIGNS and the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky. The term, “all these things” then, refers to those signs specifically, and the last half of the 70th week, generally. However, the term does not include the visible arrival of Jesus, which will occur some time AFTER those signs occur.

Most of the rapture and second coming passages in the New Testament indicate that the gathering of the saints will occur immediately upon the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky. Accordingly, when Jesus arrives, there is no TIME for the response described at Luke 21:28; “straighten up and look up.” The gathering will occur at the very instant that we see Him.

THE RESPONSE OF THE UNBELIEVERS

It is AFTER the signs and the sign of the Son of Man that we are told of the actions of the unbelievers in attempting to escape “the things that are coming upon the world,” (Luke 21:26). It is AFTER this response that they then see Jesus coming on the clouds of the sky.
Likewise, it is after those signs that the believers are told to “look up.”
Thus, when Jesus appears in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, EVERY EYE WILL SEE HIM both believers and unbelievers.
The “mourning” of the unbelievers will continue (Rev. 1:7) and the believers will be immediately gathered into the clouds of the sky to meet Jesus and will then be taken to heaven.

At the sixth seal, there is no mention of the arrival of Jesus, just the occurrence of the signs in the sky and on the earth. And as with Matthew and Luke, the response of the people occurs after the occurrence of the signs. So at Revelation 6:16-17, when the people panic and try to hide, it is in response to the SIGNS of Christ’s arrival. The actual arrival will occur AFTER that response, thus, after Revelation 6:17. The RESULT of Christ’s arrival is then described in Revelation chapter 7.
(1) Rev. 7:1-8 describes the conversion of the 144,000 Jewish bond servants who will believe in Jesus after the church has been removed.
(2) Rev. 7:9-17 describes the presence of the raptured saints in heaven. These will be raptured as soon as Jesus arrives after Rev. 6:17. They will be gathered together by the angels “for a meeting with the Lord in the air” (1Thes. 4:17) and will then be taken to heaven. Revelation 7:9 does not describe the PROCESS of the rapture, but the FACT that the rapture had already (or “just”) occurred, and the saints are thus seen as completely gathered before the throne of God in heaven.

To summarize:

According to Luke, there will be a small period of time between the SIGNS and Christ’s arrival.
Thus -
(1) The signs occur over the period of at least one day.
(2) The sign of the Son of Man will occur after those signs begin to manifest.
(3) It is then that everyone will panic and try to hide from what is about to happen.
(4) The believers will respond also in anticipation of the any-second arrival.
(5) Then – sometime after the signs have been manifested, everyone will see Jesus coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

This is the same order given to us by Matthew.

Matthew 24:29-30
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.”

And the same order is given by Mark, without mentioning the reaction of the people.

Mark 13:24-26
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”

Isaiah also recorded the response of the unbelievers in view of the judgments that will come upon them after the beginning of the day of the Lord. Isaiah 13:6-8.
“Wail, for the day of the LORD is near!
It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
Therefore all hands will fall limp,
And every man’s heart will melt.
And they will be terrified,
Pains and anguish will take hold of them;
They will writhe like a woman in labor,
They will look at one another in astonishment,
Their faces aflame.”

However, until Jesus actually comes back, there is opportunity for any of these unbelievers to trust in Him as their Lord and Savior. Joel 2:31-32
“The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Will be saved.”

Those who trust in Jesus BEFORE He arrives, will be saved and be included in the group of saints who will be raptured out from the earth. This can be designated as SALVATION PREPARATION, and all who have thus trusted in Christ will realize the promise of 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “Who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

Those who trust in Jesus AFTER He arrives, will be saved, but remain on the earth during the time of judgment, and have the privilege of representing Him while His wrath is being poured out on the unbelievers.

There is no direct mention of anyone being saved between the signs and the arrival of Jesus, but the invitation of Joel 2:31 is certainly valid and applicable to all. And of course there will be many converts after the rapture. The first to be saved after the rapture will be the 144,000 Jewish bond servants of God as indicated at Revelation 7:1-8.
During the Day of the Lord judgments the gospel will be proclaimed as is indicated at Revelation 14:1-7. “Fear God and give Him glory.”

And some are saved just before the 7th trumpet judgment sounds.
Revelation 11:13, “And the rest became respectful (fearful) and gave glory to the God of heaven.”

Thus, after the Day of the Lord judgments are completed, there will be a multitude of believers on the earth who will go alive into the Messiah’s kingdom in their mortal bodies. But first, the living unbelievers will be removed from the earth.
(1) Jewish unbelievers (fat sheep) removed from the earth leaving only the Jewish believers (lean sheep) to go into the kingdom. Ezekiel 34:14-17.
(2) Gentile unbelievers (goats) removed from the earth leaving only the Gentile believers (sheep) to go into the kingdom. Matthew 25:31-46.

THE RESPONSE OF BELIEVERS

After the signs that announce the arrival of Jesus, but before He actually arrives in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory, there will be a period of time during which both unbelievers and believers will express their emotional responses.
Luke records what Jesus said for the believers at Luke 21:28.
“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
   A. These things: refers to the signs in the heavens and on the earth – specifically.
       But it occurs during the time period of the tribulation, which is also a sign post.
   B. The verb “begin” is archo as a present middle participle and refers to the
       inception of the events just described.

   C. Once the “season” of the tribulation begins, the believers will know that the
       Lord could return at any moment. But during this time they are to continue
       living as faithful ambassadors, especially in Palestine (Mat. 10:21-23), and don’t
       need to be continually looking up in the sky.
       But when the SIGNS and the sign of the Son of Man occur, they are told
       to “look up” in expectation for the Lord is about to arrive to gather them
       together with Him in the clouds of the sky. Mat. 24:31; 1Thes. 4:14-17.

   D. Redemption here refers to the resurrection of the body which will occur when
       the angels are sent forth to gather the elect to meet the Lord in the sky.
       It is at that time that all the saints will receive a resurrection body.
       This is called “the redemption of the body” at Romans 8:23.
       It is not referring to redemption from sin because that is already an
       accomplished fact.
   See Topic: REDEMPTION

   E. However, some believers will be unprepared for Christ’s return, even though
       they have been living through the tribulation. Thus, when the signs occur, these
       believers who are “out of fellowship with God,” will be ashamed and
       embarrassed when He actually arrives. John describes this possibility at 1 John
       3:28, using the term “abide in Him” to indicate the believer who is walking right
       with God.
       “And now little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have
       confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
       This can be designated as EXPERIENTIAL PREPARATION.

    F. Paul also discusses the possibility that believers will be unprepared for the return
       of Christ. 1 Thes. 5:4-11

Verse 4
SALVATION PREPARATION
“But you, brethren, are not in darkness that the day should overtake you like a thief.”
This is the way it SHOULD be since the believer has been delivered out of the darkness into the light.
Verse 5
“For you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness.”
This states the positional status of the believer.

Verse 6
EXPERIENTIAL PREPARATON
“So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and in control (sober).”
This states the possibility that the believer can be unprepared for the arrival of the Day of the Lord, and gives us warning to avoid that failure.
Verse 8a
“But since we are of the day, let us be in control.”
Since we are IN CHRIST, let us live and walk like it. Since we are sons of God, let us behave like sons of God.
Verse 8b
“By having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the confidence of salvation.”
This states HOW the believer will be able to maintain CONTROL and fellowship with God. It is by USING the spiritual resources that God has provided. (1) living by faith, (2) radiating love and (3) claiming the confidence of our salvation status.
Verse 11
“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another just as you also are doing.”
It is through mutual encouragement and spiritual growth that the believer will be strengthened to live according to the standards of God’s character and to be walking in the light when the Lord returns.

Peter gives us the same exhortation at 2 Peter 3:10-18.

Verse 10
“The Day of the Lord will come like a thief.”
It is the same exact context as at 1 Thessalonians 5 and at Matthew 24.
Verse 11
EXPERIENTIAL PREPARATION
“. . .  what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and good worship.”
States the desired life style and indicates the possibility of failure.
Verse 12
“looking for and diligently promoting the coming of the day of God.”
This indicates that the believer should live in confident expectation of Christ’s return and should be living a life style that promotes it – teaches it.
Verse 14
“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.”
Peter exhorts us to live a spiritually and morally consistent Christian life.
Verse 17
“You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own stability.”
Peter relates the possibility of being deceived and losing one’s spiritual stability.
Verse 18
“But grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Exhortation to spiritual growth as at 1 Thessalonians 5.

Throughout the Olivet Discourse, Jesus warned the believers several times to be prepared and watchful.
Matthew 24:42, “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”
Verse 44, “For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think.”
And at Luke 21:34-36
"Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with carousing and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

Strength to escape, refers to endurance during the specific time of tribulation which will begin at the mid-point of the 70th week. There will be intense pressure facing every Christian during this time, when the beast will be attempting to enforce his economic policies all over the world. Revelation 13:7, 17 describes the extent and nature of the beast's oppression of Christians.

And "to stand before the Son of Man" refers to "not shrinking away from Him in shame at His appearing," as we saw at 1 John 2:28. The emphasis, in view of the amplification in the New Testament, is that the believer can stand before the Son either – PREPARED, that is, in fellowship with God (abiding in Him) and have initial great joy (Jude v. 24).

OR The believer can stand before the Son – UNPREPARED, that is out of fellowship with God and experience great shame and remorse.

This does not mean that the "out-of-fellowship" believer will be left behind at the rapture but simply that his initial reaction will be great shame and remorse. Later, at the justice seat of Christ where all his works as a Christian will be evaluated, he will suffer loss of reward for his times of unfaithfulness on earth. But he himself will be saved. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.

See Topic: Partial Rapture Theory

The same warning to be prepared is given to the readers of the Book of Revelation.
Revelation 16:15

("Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.")

This is addressed to the readers of the book of Revelation, both believers and unbelievers, to warn them of the event of the 6th seal that will begin the "end-times" judgments of the Day of the Lord.

The phrase, "come like a thief," occurs only 5 times and always refers to the return of Jesus at the arrival of the Day of the Lord (1Thessalonians 5:2, 4; 2Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15). The use of this term originated based on the parable Jesus taught at Matthew 24:43-44

"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.
"For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect it."

Believers will thus, be reminded of the urgency for testimonial consistency throughout their lives that they might not "be ashamed, and shrink away from him in fear at His presence," 1 John 2:28.

Unbelievers will once again be reminded that if they are not spiritually prepared through salvation relationship with God, they will be left behind at the rapture and many of the men and women, if not killed by one plague or another, will end up as part of this troop movement into the Valley of Megiddo where they will face the sword of Jesus.

At all times throughout history, God has been faithful to provide the information people need to enter into relationship with Him. This time of great judgment from God is no exception. The 144,000 "servants" of God are still present on the earth representing the truth of God to all who will hear. The message of these "servants" is found at Revelation 14:6-7 and is called, "an everlasting gospel."

The quote from God at this point in the scenario, indicates not only, God's concern for His own people, that they be "prepared" through fellowship abiding with Him, but that He is still concerned for all who are willing to come so that all who "call upon the name of the Lord will be saved."

When Jesus descends to the earth to face the nations at Armageddon, He will already have been present in the clouds for over five months, having come "in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Mat. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:12-14). AT this physical descent TO the earth, He will not come like a thief. It is true, that no one will know EXACTLY what hour or even day He will descend, but the judgments will have been on-going for over FIVE MONTHS already (Rev. 9:5), and an "any time" arrival is really not an issue at this point. The world will have ALREADY experienced the "signs in the sun, moon and stars," and SEEN the arrival of Jesus in the clouds. At that event of the 6th seal, the world will know that judgment is impending.

Revelation 6:15-17

"And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?"

However, prior to the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky at the 6th seal, when many unbelievers will NOT be experiencing judgment, but instead will be facing the "peace and security" issues of association with the beast (1Thes. 5:3: Mat. 24:38-39), there will be no thought of the second coming of Jesus or of judgment.

That is why this warning is placed here. It is given just before the vision tells about the FINAL judgment that comes in the Valley of Megiddo, and warns all who will listen that it is the second coming that will initiate the events leading up to it. Of course, for the beast-worshippers, who will already have taken the mark of the beast, their destiny in the lake of fire is irreversible. But for the many who will be experiencing only a TASTE of the benefits of beast worship, there is still a chance to trust in Christ and be saved.

Jesus gives the same warning at the close of the book of Revelation, exhorting the readers to SALVATION PREPARATION.
Revelation 22:12, 17

"Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done . . . And the Spirit and the Bride say, COME. And let the one who hears say COME. And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wants to, take the water of life freely."

VII. THE ARRIVAL OF JESUS

Matthew 24:30c
and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

The hope of the apostolic church concerning Christ's second coming was founded in the very teachings of Jesus, Who made it perfectly clear that He was indeed going to come again and deliver His believing ones out from this world and take them to a heavenly home. There are some who believe that Jesus taught two second comings; one for His believers, and one for the nation of Israel. Such a distinction is found only in the academic maneuverings of these people rather than in the plain and simple language of Christ's words. By comparing passages from the Old Testament and the gospels, it can be shown that there is only ONE second coming, but that there are TWO phases to it. The first phase is the ARRIVAL phase, which is the appearing of Jesus in the clouds of the sky in power and great glory with the angels of God in attendance. From this initial event, several things occur which take place over a period of several months and culminate with the DESCENT phase, which is His physical descent to the earth onto the Mount of Olives to defeat the rebel armies of the world at the battle of Armageddon. A huge confusion exists because many view this physical descent to the mount of Olives to be the second advent in contrast to the coming of Jesus in the clouds, which is the ACTUAL second advent.

This passage describes the one and only second coming of Jesus. Every time the Scripture mentions the second coming, it refers to the one and same event that is prophesied here. The second coming is the arrival of Jesus IN THE CLOUDS of the sky.
It is a physical and visible and glorious event.
The descent of Jesus to the three battle grounds of the Armageddon campaign is not the second coming. It is an event that will occur several months AFTER the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky.
See Topic: Armageddon – When Armies Move

There is absolutely no reason to interpret the second coming that Jesus mentioned at Matthew 10:23; 16:27; and 24:3, 30, 37, etc. as any different from the second coming He mentioned at John 14:1-3.

For details see article: The Second Coming According to Jesus

It is the very same second coming that the angel mentioned at Acts 1:11, and that Paul describes at Titus 2:13 as the HAPPY HOPE of the church. “looking for the happy hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior, Christ Jesus.”

There are SIX factors associated with the second coming of Jesus.

The FIRST factor is that His return will be universally VISIBLE. Revelation 1:7 says that “every eye will see Him.” Matthew 24:30 implies EVERY, and with Revelation 1:7, it is confirmed that this will be a VISIBLE arrival.
The word group, “revelation” indicates that it will be a visible arrival.
(apokalupto and apokalupsis) 1 Pet. 4:13; 2 Thes. 1:7; Lk. 17:30; 1 Cor. 1:7; Col. 3:4;
1 Pet. 1:7, 13.
The factors “power” and “glory” also indicate that the arrival will be visible.
The “lightening” factor indicates that the arrival will be visisble.
Matthew 24:27
“For just as the lightning comes from the east, and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the son of Man be.”

The SECOND factor is that this arrival will be “on the clouds,” or as at Luke 21:27, “in a cloud,” and at Acts 1:9-11, “a cloud.”
“This Jesus who has been taken up from you into the heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into the heaven.”
Thus, He will arrive in the clouds but be seen as though “riding” on ONE cloud.

However, this is not the same event that is shown to us at Daniel 7:13-14.
“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language
Might serve Him.”

This event refers to the ASCENSION and SESSION of Jesus to the right hand of the Father after His 40-day resurrection ministry. The dominion that is given to Him is ASSIGNED to Him, but He will not begin to administrate that dominion until He actually comes back and defeats His enemies through the Day-of-the-Lord judgments.
Psalm 110:1, “Yahweh said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

The THIRD factor associated with the second coming of Jesus is that it will be with POWER. This indicates that He will intend to use great power to judge those who have rejected Him. This JUDGMENT aspect of His arrival is stated at 2Thes. 1:8; Jude 14; Matthew 16:27; and implied at Rev. 6:15-17.

The FOURTH factor associated with the second coming of Jesus is that it will be WITH GLORY. Not only will it be visible, but it will be SPECTACULAR so that there can be absolutely no mistake that this is indeed the return of Jesus.
A. The glory of the Father: Mat. 16:27, “come in the glory of His Father.”
B. His own glory:   Mat. 25:31, “comes in His glory.”

Both “glory” factors are mentioned in the second-coming promise given at Titus 2:13. “the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”

The FIFTH factor associated with the second coming is the presence of angels.
Matthew 16:27 states, “The Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels.”
Matthew 25:31 says, “and all the angels with Him.”
2Thes. tells us that He will be revealed “with His mighty angels in flaming fire.”
Jude 14 states, “The Lord came with His holy ten-thousands.”

The SIXTH factor associated wit the second coming is that it is at this time that Jesus will gather together His saints as He promised at John 14:1-3.

VIII. THE RAPTURE: THE GATHERING OF THE SAINTS

Matthew 24:31
"And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

The gathering of the saints is initiated by Jesus, but the actual physical mechanics will be accomplished by the angels.
The language at Mark 13:27 recognizes this detail. “And then He will send forth the angels and HE will gather together His elect from the four winds, form the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”

After the rapture, Jesus will remain on the earth to administer the Day-of-the-Lord judgments.
I believe that His location ON THE CLOUD to pour out this judgment is portrayed in John’s vision at Revelation 14:14-16. “And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand . . . and He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth; and the earth was reaped.”

This does not violate the promise of 1Thes. 4:17, “and thus we shall always be with the Lord.” The idea of “always with the Lord” refers to our STATUS and RELATIONSHIP. It does not mean that we will be in His physical presence every minute of eternity. It means that our eternal HOME will be with Him. Notice that according to John 14:1-3, the believers will have various dwelling places located “in My Father’s house.”
In the “bride” analogy, it can be said that the wife is ALWAYS with her husband, but not AT HIS SIDE every minute of the day.

The great trumpet is directly associated with the gathering and resurrection of the saints. 1 Thes. 4:16
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ will rise first.”
Paul describes this as the “last trumpet” at 1 Corinthians 15:52.
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”
At verse 23, Paul wrote that this will occur “at His coming.” He uses the word, parousia, which is the same word used by Jesus all throughout Matthew 24.
As noted earlier, Matthew uses it four times and it is used 13 additional times in the epistles - consistently for the ONE and only second coming of Jesus, which will be visible, physical and in GLORY. The word means a "being" beside (para). Both ideas of arrival and presence are in view, with greater emphasis on the idea of ARRIVAL, thus the translation, COMING.
Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39.
1Corinthians 15:23; 1Thes. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2Thes. 2:1, 8; James 5:7, 8; 2Peter 1:16; 3:4, 12; 1 John 2:28.

This trumpet is not the 7th trumpet of Revelation 11:7 and 15.
They should not be equated but are separate and distinct.
Paul's use of "last trumpet" refers to the call to assembly in the context of the Roman games; or even in a military context. Either of these would be Paul's frame of reference. In both of these cases there was a preliminary trumpet (sometimes 2) and then the last one which was a call to assembly. This is the call to assembly for the gathering of the saints.

He would have no knowledge of John's vision and the 7 trumpets.
Even though the Holy Spirit "melds" all of scripture, it is not advisable to interpret Paul's use in any other way than the cultural context of the day which speaks of the "call to assembly."

That is what will occur at the rapture. It is called THE trumpet of God at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, because it is at this time that he will "call" for the gathering of his people to meet Him in the clouds of the sky. Nor does it require the "actual" occurrence of one or two trumpet blasts before it, for the image in Paul's mind is simply focusing on the final blast which is the "call to assembly."

Even though God’s judgment will begin at the coming (parousia) of Christ the 7th trumpet will occur AFTER there has already been SIX previous expressions of divine judgment (Rev. 11:14-15). It is the announcement of the 7 bowl judgments, which are God’s final judgment on the earth before Christ begins His kingdom reign on the earth. It is not a call to assembly.
See Topic: The Seventh Trumpet

The saints will be gathered together from the earth and taken to heaven.
The verb is episunago as a future active indicative. The noun, episunagōgās, is used by Paul at 2 Thes. 2:1, “our gathering together to Him.”
At 1 Thessalonians 4:17 describes it as a meeting with the Lord. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds for a meeting with the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
Later, in Matthew 24, at verses 40-41, the word “taken” is used to describe this gathering. The Greek is paralambano and means to be taken to the side of someone.
It was used by Jesus a few days after the Olivet discourse to describe the intimacy of the rapture. John 14:1-3. “I will take you to myself so that where I am there you may be also.”

The gathering will be first, in the sky as 1 Thes. 4:17 indicates. The language at Matthew 24:31, “from the four winds,” indicates that believers from all over the entire earth will be removed.
The phrase, “from one end of the sky to the other,” indicates that the angels will gather all the saints from the earth into the sky and they will be assembled at one location in the cloud where Jesus is located.
Mark 13:27 describes this as, “from the farthest end of the earth, to the farthest end of heaven.” This might be worded this way to indicate the final location after the rapture, as being in the third heaven as is indicated at Rev. 7:9ff. In either case, the comparison with all the pertinent passages indicates that there are three steps to the rapture. (1) The removal of dead and living saints FROM the earth (Mat. 24:31, 40-41; 1Thes. 4:16-17. (2) A meeting in the air with the Lord (1Thes. 4:17; 2Thes. 2:1; Col. 3:4). (3) The arrival in heaven (John 14:1; Rev. 7:9ff).

It is then, at this time, after the gathering of the saints out from the earth, that the wrath of God and of the Lamb will begin to judge the beast and his kingdom. Those who are spiritually dead will be subject to horrendous physical judgments which will culminate in the battle of Armageddon where the corpses of the fallen soldiers will be food for the scavengers of the sky (Revelation 19:17-18). At Matthew 24, when the elect are gathered out INTO THE SKY, the non-elect remain on the earth to go through "the things which are coming upon the world," as Luke 21:26 indicates (parallel to Mat. 24). These Day of the Lord judgments begin and culminate in the land of Palestine, and as studied at verse 28, it is probably this that Jesus has in mind when he answers the disciples' question of "where," with "Wherever the corpse (body) is, there will the vultures be gathered." The corpse is the dying body of the beast and his kingdom which is centered in Jerusalem, and his destruction will become final 30 days after the end of the 70th week at the battle of Armageddon.

However, before the judgments actually begin, the Lord will wait for the conversion of the 144,000 Jewish bond-servants, which is described at Rev. 7:1-8.

IX. THE PARABLE OF THE TREES

Also during the Olivet Discourse, Jesus used several parables to teach about His second coming.

The first one is commonly designated as the parable of the fig tree, but that is an erroneous and misleading designation. The focus of this teaching is that the child of God can know the general season or time frame for Christ's return, but will not know the specific hour or even day.

Matthew 24:32
“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.”

First of all it is important to realize that, according to Luke 21:29, the image in the parable is a group of trees, and not one particular tree type. Thus, the common idea that the fig tree serves as a symbol for the nation of Israel, and teaches that the generation that sees the fig tree (Israel) in bloom (I.e., back in the land), will be the generation that sees the return of Christ, is a misrepresentation of the parable and is not accurate.

At Luke 21:29-30, we find:

And He told them a parable: "Behold the fig tree and all the trees;
as soon as they put forth {leaves,} you see it and know for
yourselves that summer is now near.”

Notice that it is the fig tree AND ALL THE TREES!

The parable is not intended to refer to Israel as represented by a fig tree. The purpose of the parable is to teach about the signs of summer pointing to the return of Jesus.

What then are the "signs" of summer? They are the events which begin at Matthew 24:9; the events of the tribulation which begin when the beast sets up his image and takes his stand in the temple. It is the generation that sees this "great tribulation" that will see the return of Christ.

Matthew 24:33
“even so you too, when you see all these things, know that He is near, right at the door.”

Any "symbol" must FIRST be understood literally and THEN determine how it relates to the spiritual truth being illustrated. The "image" that Jesus gives us at Matthew 24 and Luke 21 is a "natural" and "common" and yes, "literal" image that requires no associations beyond that "natural" image. Jesus said that JUST LIKE when you see leaves on the fig tree, indeed all the trees, you know that the season is about to change. THAT IS ALL THERE IS. Don't look at Israel. Don't look for anything other than the very "simple" and "natural" image that Jesus is placing before our eyes. There is no contextual reason to go beyond that. If we do, then we bring up something that He does not have in mind.

What DOES He have in mind?

Here, we have to be very careful to recognize that Jesus mentions “these things” two times and each time it has a slightly different application. This is seen at Luke 21:25-31.
At verse 28, “when these things BEGIN to occur” refers to the signs that immediately precede the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky. It is at that time that the believers are to “lift up your heads,” for His arrival will occur probably within a day.
But at verse 31 (and Matthew 24:33), the signs of summer are “when you see these things happening.” This refers to the events that precede the arrival of Christ by several months – possibly as many as 36.
So at this point, Jesus has in mind the "events" of the tribulation that He just described in Matthew 24:9-28. He does NOT have in mind when Israel is back in the land. If for no other reason, the very fact that Israel IS right then IN THE LAND, renders that interpretation meaningless.

Nor does He have in mind the signs of verses 29-30 or the return of Christ and the gathering of the elect. Many months before those SIGNS occur, that generation will KNOW that the END-TIMES period has arrived. At that time the believers will certainly be more expectant than ever before, but they will not be looking up in the sky. The phrase “when you see all these things,” refers to the things that PRECEDE the return of Christ by several months. Since that return is mentioned in Matthew 24:30, and occurs in direct association with the cosmic signs in verse 29, the “things” must also precede those verses. Thus, it is the events that precede the cosmic signs that are the “signs of summer.” He is referring to the events of the tribulation which He described beginning at verse 9.

Matthew 24:34, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”

For the believer who is oriented to prophetic teachings, the beginning of the 70th week will also be a sign post that the period of the “end times” has begun. However, there will still be several years from the point of time before Christ will return. So, not only does “right at the door” not apply at that point, but it is also not something that Jesus had taught about. But when the tribulation begins, it is then at that time, that His return could occur at any moment. Granted, there needs to be a span of time for Satan to initiate and further his Messianic agenda through the beast, but exactly how long that will be is a total unknown factor. It is thus that once the tribulation begins the return of Christ can be said to be imminent and not before.

Christ’s intent is NOT to make the fig tree "represent" some nation.
It is just to give us something to indicate "progress" as one event leads to the next.

1. leaves = summer is near
2. all these things = His coming is near.

The word generation here refers to the people who are alive at that time.
It is used in this way – to refer to a group of people living at a particular time - at Matthew 11:16; 12:39-45; 17:17; 23:36.

It is the group of people who are alive at the time of the tribulation who will witness the second coming of Christ. This does not give us a specific amount of time other than the normal duration of a generation. However, as we compare scripture with scripture, we learn that the tribulation cannot last longer than about 36 months. We know this because the judgment of the 6th trumpet alone will last 5 months (Rev. 9:5), and the time remaining for the duration of the 70th week is only 42 months. And the tribulation will end at the 6th seal, which will occur before any of the trumpet judgments even begin.

THE VERACITY OF CHRIST’S TEACHINGS

No matter what transpires on this earth or in heaven, these prophetic words of Jesus will not pass away.

Matthew 24:35
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.”

The fact remains that in the distant future the present heavens and earth will be destroyed and changed (Rev. 21:1; 20:11; 2Peter 3:7, 10-13). And as FINAL and PERMANENT as that will be, such an event will have no effect on the veracity of the prophetic teachings of Jesus, nor on anything that He taught.

THE DAY AND HOUR FACTOR

However, even though we will know, the general time frame for Christ's return, there is still the unknown factor of the day and the hour.

Matthew 24:36
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”

It has already been established that the second coming mentioned in this passage is the one and only second coming and is the same second coming that is taught everywhere else in the New Testament. It does NOT refer to the physical descent of Jesus at the battle of Armageddon. That descent is NOT His second coming, but is an event that will occur at least 7 months after His second coming.

Since God will CUT SHORT the tribulation from its expected duration of 42 months, and since there is no specific time given when He will do this, there is no way for us to know what day and hour it will occur. In fact at the time of Christ’s teaching, He Himself, in His humanity, was not even aware of when that would happen. And of course, the angels likewise were unaware. Only the Father had it all mapped out when He would initiate the second coming, just as Paul wrote at 1Timothy 6:15, “which He will reveal at His own time.”

Thus, as already indicated, we have the often repeated exhortation to be ready. Such exhortation is addressed to both the church and the unbelievers. For unbelievers the issue of preparation will be trust in Jesus as the Messiah/Savior. For the believers, the exhortation is concerned about shame and sorrow in His presence (1 John 2:28).

LIKE THE DAYS OF NOAH

During the general time frame of the tribulation period, most unbelievers will be occupied with the peace and safety provided for them through worshiping the beast.
For the beast-worshippers, they will be actively enjoying the false system of security provided through beast worship. For many unbelievers, they will be facing the challenge to embrace the beast and his promise of “peace and security,” or to resist and face death or isolation and deprivation.
Keep in mind that the tribulation is tribulation ONLY to those who have not associated with the beast and his messianic agenda, and at that, only to the extent that the beast reaches throughout the world.

So secure will be their thinking, that Jesus describes the basic daily activity of these "beast worshipers" to be as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39).

"For the coming of the Son of Man
will be just like the days of Noah."

The point of comparison is the unexpectedness that resulted from an indifferent occupation with the normal activities of life.

"For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be."

Everyone will be going about their lives happy and at peace, proclaiming "peace and safety" (1Thes. 5:3), then sudden destruction will come upon them. Neither Jesus nor Paul addresses the REASON for this false security. Jesus indicates that it is during the time of the tribulation that this will be an issue. Paul just indicates it is before the day of the Lord arrives, except in his second letter, he clearly relates it to the tribulation (2Thes. 1:6-7; 2:1-10) and the man of lawlessness. But we learn later that they will feel secure because they are enjoying the temporal economic benefits of beast worship.

It should be further noted that the point of comparison here is not the idea that people (unbelievers) are taken "all away," but that judgment comes when people are occupied with material things. The verb, “took away” simply describes the MECHANICS of the judgment.
At Luke 17:27, the word that is used is “destroyed” (apollumi), and indicates death rather than any kind of removal.

It is indeed, an over concentration on the idea of "took them all away" that has led many to think that Jesus does not have in view His return to gather the church (the rapture) but instead the gathering out of the wicked just before Jesus sets up His kingdom. In the Noah generation the “took them all away” factor simply describes HOW the judgment was carried out. In the second coming generation, the judgment will be carried out on those who are left behind via the trumpet and bowls of Revelation.

The subject of the entire context is the gathering OUT of His "elect" in a supernatural manner, and not the removal of unbelievers. And there is only one time when that happens - at the beginning of the Day of the Lord via the rapture of the church.

Paul refers to this judgment on the unbelievers as "sudden destruction" at 1 Thessalonians 5, and he has in mind the Day of the Lord judgments which will be poured out on the world very shortly after Jesus removes His people from the earth through the rapture.

This is not a warning to believers, but is teaching that gives believers orientation to what it will be like just before Christ returns. As we have seen before, believers are secure in their salvation, but can be out of fellowship with God.

But the issue here is SALVATION PREPARATION. And the only way to be prepared for the return of Christ and NOT be left behind is to fulfill Joel 2:31, “whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” And Revelation 22:17, “and let the one who wants take the water of life freely.”

 

X. THE RAPTURE DESCRIBED

In Matthew 24:40-41, the uniqueness of the rapture is described as,

Then there shall be two men in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women {will be} grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
(Luke 17:34, “two people in one bed, one will be taken and the other will be left.”)

Some have stated that this refers to the unbeliever being taken away in judgment. It is suggested that this will occur at Matthew 25:31. However, the gathering of the nations after Armageddon is NOT what happens at the “one taken-one left” event. At Matthew 25:31, ALL are gathered and then separated after evaluation. Here, one is supernaturally REMOVED from the presence of the other, and the other remains behind – at the mill, in the field or in the bed.

Another point of confusion about WHO is taken, results from a failure to understand that the word TAKEN at verse 39 is different from the word TAKEN at verse 40, and refers to two different ideas.

At verse 39, the Greek word for taken, is airo and means to carry away, remove or to lift up. The idea is clearly one of judgment as is indicated at Luke 17:27, where the word DESTROYED is used instead of taken.

However, at verse 40, the word taken, is paralambano, and means to receive or take to the side of someone. This is the word used at John 14:1-3, where the promise of being gathered to Jesus is given to the disciples. When they hear Him teach in the upper room about His coming to take them to Himself, they should be reminded of what He taught just a few days before about "one taken and one left." At Matthew 24:40, the ones who are taken are the believers, the elect, who are said to be gathered at verse 31. The ones who are left behind are the unbelievers who must face the sudden destruction of the Day of the Lord judgments that come from the wrath of God and of the Lamb (1 Thes. 5:3; 2 Thes. 1:6-8; Rev. 6:16-17).
The word, paralambano is used 49 times in the New Testament and never in a bad sense.
Even at Matthew 4:3 when the devil "takes" Jesus to the desert, or at Matthew 12:45 when the demon "takes" 7 others to repossess the unbeliever, it is not really a "bad" taking.

This description is intended to explain the “gathering together of the elect” at verse 31. The elect are gathered OUT from the earth and INTO the sky. They are not taken to some other location on the earth. Furthermore, it is a supernatural gathering or TAKING, and not something that can be explained or understood as a natural occurrence. That is why Jesus gives the three examples that He does (Luke 17:34 adds the third example of two people being in one bed). They illustrate the supernatural nature of this separation.

There will be two people working side by side. One will be taken out from the earth and the other will be left behind. There will be two people (not two MEN) in one bed. One will be taken out from the earth and the other one will be left behind.

The issue here is not WHERE these people are, but simply the fact that there will be a sudden, visible and supernatural disappearance of believers away from the unbelievers.
In actuality, when the rapture occurs, there probably won't be any believers "next to" to any beast worshippers.
But Jesus is not concerned here with the technical issue of whether believers will be next to beast worshippers or not. Just the fact that believers will be received to the side and the unbelievers will be left on the earth.

The signs in the sun, moon and stars will have occurred, and the world IN GENERAL will be in a panic at the expectation of God’s wrath coming. But still in a few locations, some people will return to work. In a world that is in a extreme deprivation situation because of the beast’s economic controls, work will be something that cannot be neglected. And people will still need to sleep. In these situations, there will be believers and unbelievers, side by side, who will suddenly be separated by the gathering out of the believers through the rapture.

This also indicates that there will be some parts of the world that are not directly governed by the beast’s authority, although he has been given that authority (Rev. 13:5-7) for 42 months. It simply means that full implementation of beast worship will not occur by the time that the Lord returns. That is in fact, what the cutting short of the tribulation indicates; so that there will still be non-beast worshippers alive at that time.
See Topic: The Reign of the Beast

There are only two other places where the rapture event is actually described.
1 Corinthians 15:51-52
“Behold I tell you a mystery; we shall not all DIE, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds for a meeting with the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Matthew 24:42
“Therefore be on the alert for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”

Here we have the first stated warning that urges preparation. 
This has been fully discussed before but the urgency of the matter is stressed by Jesus, and stressed again at verse 44.
The warning is addressed to both believers and unbelievers as is indicated by the destiny that is given in the first parable (taken/destroyed), and the third parable (weeping and gnashing of teeth).
The use of the term “your Lord” is not restricted to believers, for whether someone trusts in Christ or not, He is still the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. At Matthew 25:44, the unbelievers who are assigned to the lake of fire (verse 41) address Jesus as “Lord.”

XI. TWO PARABLES

Jesus then gives two illustrations of preparedness to encourage the hearers to be ready. The first one is a simple point of moral logic.

At Matthew 24:43,

"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."

The moral principle supports personal defense in protecting your property and family from criminal intrusion. It is not consistent for Jesus to use such an illustration if He did not approve of the moral principle that the illustration revolves around.
See Topic: SELF DEFENSE for more details

How can a member of the human race be ready for the arrival of Jesus?
It is by trusting in Him as the Savior so that when He returns, that believer will be taken out (Matthew 24:40), gathered together (Matthew 24:31), and meet with Jesus in the air (1 Thes. 4:17).

Verse 44
“For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”

This does not mean that Jesus will come AT NIGHT. The nighttime is simply the context for this particular illustration. In actuality, His arrival in the clouds of the sky will be universally visible, and therefore be seen simultaneously in all time zones. In fact, as seen above, there will be some people who will be at their work locations when He arrives.

 

PARABLE OF THE FAITHFUL STEWARD
Matthew 24:45-51

It appears that Jesus taught this parable earlier to the disciples and to a gathering of the people. Luke records it at Luke 12:40-46 and adds a few additional details. The question the disciples ask at verse 41 indicates that there are more people present than just the disciples.

Another choice is to suggest that while Jesus is teaching the Olivet Discourse to the disciples, a group of other people gather and sit down to listen as well. This would be consistent with my belief that Luke took portions of what Jesus taught and intermingled them throughout his gospel record, arranged by topic and not by chronological order. Matthew does not mention that there are other people gathered, but that in itself does not militate against my suggestion. The people were always following and flocking around Jesus, even sometimes when He tried to get away to be alone. In addition to that, the nature of His instruction goes beyond the disciples and is addressed to unbelievers as well. I really don’t care for the idea that Jesus taught the same things in the same order on two or more different occasions.

After teaching the people the parable of self defense at Luke 12:39 and Matthew 24:43, Jesus repeats the exhortation for preparedness.

Verse 40 (Matthew 24:44)
”You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming
at an hour that you do not expect.”

Once again, this is addressed to all members of the human race and exhorts preparation for Christ's return. Being ready refers to having a salvation relationship with God through personal trust in Jesus as one's Savior.

Luke 12:41

And Peter said, "Lord, are You addressing this parable to us,
or to everyone {else} as well?”

Peter recognizes the general application of Jesus' teaching here, so asks for clarification since there were many other people gathered around listening to the teaching. Does this exhortation apply to all people or just to the disciples? Jesus answers this by giving another parable (Verses 42-46), in which it is clearly stated that the consequence for not being prepared is total rejection and dismissal to the place of the un-believing (apistos).

Luke 12:46

"The master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect {him,} and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers."

The ONE spiritual lesson of this parable is that at the return of Jesus, there will be some who are accepted and some who are rejected. Beyond this, it is not wise to find too many other spiritual correlations to the many embellishments in the story.

I have already referenced and discussed the doctrine of salvation security and need only to remind the reader here, that it is impossible for a person who has been saved by God and is being held in God's grasp to ever lose his salvation. The unprepared servant here is clearly one who has not trusted in Jesus as the Messiah/Savior, has no relationship with God, and will be totally rejected at the return of Jesus for His elect.

There are some who think that this parable should be applied to believers only, and that the faithful slave is the believer in fellowship, and the unfaithful slave, the believer out of fellowship. The obvious focus in this parable is rejection of the unfaithful slave when Jesus returns. The believer, no matter whether he is in or out of fellowship with God will be gathered unto the Lord at His return, and the language of total rejection that occurs in this parable, cannot refer to any believer at that time. Part of the total rejection language in this parable is an assignment to the place of the hypocrite (Matthew 24:51) and the unbeliever (Luke 12:46). The placement of the believer anywhere but "My Father's house (John 14:1-3)," at Christ's return is contrary to Scripture.
See Topic: The partial rapture theory

Luke 12:42

And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and sensible steward,
whom his master will put in charge of his servants,
to give them their rations at the proper time?

The illustration pictures the human race in general, all of whom have creature responsibility to the Creator and are accountable to Him for having a right relationship with Him through faith in the Messiah. The servant who is faithful is one who has trusted in Jesus Christ as the Messiah/Savior.

Luke 12:43-44

Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.
Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

The language in the parable is symbolic of what happens when Jesus returns. It refers to the blessing of being with Christ, and should not be taken as some kind of literal assignment of responsibility. When Jesus returns, all who have trusted in Him will be gathered out of the earth, taken to heaven, and enter into eternal peace.

Luke 12:45

But if that slave says in his heart,
"My master will be a long time in coming,"
and begins to beat the slaves, {both} men and women,
and to eat and drink and get drunk;

This refers to a person, who in creature arrogance, ignores the Creator's call upon his life and chooses not to trust in Christ as the Savior. But instead, lives in the self-centeredness of his sin nature, indulging his pleasure lusts and oppressing others. The "long time in coming" phrase reminds us of what Peter wrote at 2 Peter 3:3-4.

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come
with {their} mocking, following after their own lusts,
and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming?
For {ever} since the fathers fell asleep,
all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation."

Luke 12:46

The master of that slave will come on a day
when he does not expect {him,} and at an hour he does not know,
and will cut him in pieces,
and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

When Jesus comes back to this earth at the Day of the Lord, He will come as a thief in the night (1 Thes. 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Rev. 3:3; 16:15), unexpectedly (suddenly) and without warning to the unbelieving world (1 Thes. 5:3; Luke 21:34). For that matter, it is even possible for believers to be unprepared through carnality and be caught of guard (1 Thes. 5:4-11; Luke 21:34-36). However, all believers will be taken out, and only the unbelievers will remain to undergo the Day of the Lord judgments, and ultimately end up in the lake of fire unless they change their mind and believe in Christ during the period between the rapture and Armageddon. Paul mentions both aspects of judgment at 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9. At verse 6, "repay with affliction" refers to the Day of the Lord judgments (the wrath of God) administered to the unbelievers on the earth. At verse 9, "the penalty of eternal ruin," refers to the last judgment which assigns the unbelievers to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). When Jesus returns the unbeliever will be rejected by Him and remain on the earth. This rejection is communicated in the parable by the phrase, cut him in pieces.

This is a difficult statement. The Greek MEANS to cut something into two parts, however, based on context here, it seems to be idiomatic for scourging. Cut into two pieces would imply physical death, and if that were the case, then for this slave (in this normal human context), the fact that he would then be assigned to the place of the unbeliever (hypocrite at Matthew 24:51), would be quite meaningless. In addition, in the Luke passage, the fact that we have this category of disobedient slave divided into two types, who each receive different lashes from the whip, would indicate that the idea of "cut him in pieces" refers to a scourging (flogging) rather than physical death.

We do not have 3 different categories of faithless humanity here. We have only two and both will be "cut in pieces" when the master returns. However, if upon or after being cut in pieces, they are then assigned LASHES based on their respective awareness of God's demands upon them, then the idea of death associated with "cut in pieces," is not valid. Thus, it seems more reasonable that the term refers to the idea of scourging or flogging that really CUTS into the skin and peels it away from the body.

The immediate problem with this is that we have no other place where the term is used in our literature (except at Exodus 29:17 in the LXX), and it is used quite consistently in secular literature for the practice of using sword or saw to cut someone in half. But I think that the context is stronger and I will interpret the phrase, "cut him in pieces," as the idea of a serious scourging.

After being rejected by Jesus at His return, the unbeliever is assigned to the place of the unfaithful hypocrite, (Matthew). He does not go immediately to that place, but is simply assigned to it. The final placement in the lake of fire will not occur until the last judgment, and although he will be rejected at the Day of the Lord return of Jesus, he will still have occasion to trust in Christ up until the battle of Armageddon. After that, all unbelievers will be removed from the earth and placed in Hades, in the place of torments as per the story at Luke 16:19-31.

So sometime after the experience of flogging (judgment on the earth), the unbeliever will be assigned to the place of the unfaithful hypocrite (torments in Hades), and at that place there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth."

This image simply communicates the extreme sorrow, anger and frustration at what the person is experiencing in this place of judgment.

The phrase, "weeping and gnashing of teeth," only occurs 7 times in the Bible and always in connection with the final disposition of the wicked when he has been cast into the gehenna of fire (Matthew 8:12; 13:42; 13:50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28).

In verses 47-48, we have an amplification of the punishment of being "cut in pieces" (scourging) based on personal knowledge of one's responsibility to God. This passage has been used to teach that there are degrees of punishment in hell, and on the surface, this seems to suggest that. However, the key is to recognize that the PRIMARY theme or lesson of this parable is that of acceptance or rejection by the Messiah at the Day of the Lord, and that eternal destiny is not even in view.

At the same time, it is difficult to determine the significance of these two very clear distinctions in punishment, which cannot be dismissed from the parable as an insignificant embellishment.

There will be two types of unbeliever left behind at the day of the Lord return of Jesus. (1) The one who was fully aware of what God expected of him, and (2) the one who did not know what God expected of him.

Luke 12:47

"And that slave who knew his master's will
and did not get ready or act in accord with his will,
shall receive many lashes,

This clearly indicates the administration of a more severe punishment upon the one who is blatantly rebellious against God. It seems that these different degrees of punishment take place at the return of the Lord rather than at some time subsequent to that return.

The puzzle is, that one cannot advance much upon being left behind at the rapture. What then would be the significance of more lashes vs. fewer lashes?

The reason for this difference is stated at verse 48b as the principle of greater accountability. That is, the person who knows more of God's will for their life, is more accountable to God for failure, than is the one who knows less. I suggest that in this parable, the principle revolves around the gospel message. The doctrine of evangelism teaches that God reveals himself through the physical creation so that people can become aware of His existence; His eternal power and divinity (Romans 1:19-20).
See Topic: God Consciousness

The one who accepts this NATURAL revelation about God and begins to seek for Him will be given the specific gospel information about the Messiah's salvation provision. This person will be held accountable for accepting or rejecting the specific gospel message of "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved" (Acts 16:31). However, if at the point of God consciousness, a person rejects the NATURAL revelation about God as seen in the physical universe, then God will have no obligation to give to that person the specifics of the gospel message. This person will be held accountable for his rejection (without excuse, Romans 1:20), and still be judged as an unbeliever, but the divine indictment will be less severe in that he did not PERSONALLY reject Jesus as the Christ. This is taught by Jesus at Matthew 11:20-24.

Then He began to reproach the cities in which most of His miracles
were done, because they did not repent.
Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon
which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
Nevertheless I say to you,
it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in {the} day of judgment, than for you.
And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you?
You shall descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred
in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.
Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for
the land of Sodom in {the} day of judgment, than for you.

The performance of MIRACLES mentioned in this discourse refers to the visible manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah and indicates that greater revelation was given to Christ's generation than to the former generations mentioned. The unbelievers of both generations will be held accountable for their unbelief and both will be assigned to the lake of fire, but the former will receive a less severe indictment at the last judgment. The question is, does this "more tolerable" idea refer simply to the initial rebuke at the great white throne, or to the actual degree of eternal ruin (2 Thes. 1:9) in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15)?

Where is the PUNCH? What is the significance of this warning by Jesus to the people of His generation, IF they simply receive a more severe verbal rebuke at the last judgment, BUT, share equally the torment in the lake of fire (Rev. 14:10-11; 20:10, 15)? It is very possible that the "punch" is the fact that the soul of the unbeliever is going to be more sad and miserable in view of HAVING KNOWN what was expected of him. Whereas, the unbeliever who did not know will be less disturbed at the Day of the Lord. HOWEVER, It might be more reasonable to think that the ignorant unbeliever would be MORE frustrated, angry and miserable, since the suffering he is in for was UNEXPECTED. The unbeliever who did know will also realize that the suffering he is going through was well proclaimed to him during is life on earth.

Luke 12:48a

but the one who did not know {it,}
and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few.

Again, we can clearly see that a less severe punishment is administered upon the one who is rebellious against God, but who does so ignorantly, that is, without a full understanding of his obligation to the Creator.

This is the one who has become aware of God via God Consciousness type revelation, but has not expressed interest in the Creator enough to elicit from God the proclamation of the gospel to that person.

Luke 12:48b

And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required;
and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

This refers to the one who has been taught the gospel and has rejected it. He is held more accountable and will receive a more severe indictment such as Jesus mentioned in Matthew 11:20-24.

Another occasion is found at Luke 17:20-37, where the Pharisees inquire about the coming of the kingdom of God.

This of course, completes the chapter, but not the discourse. Jesus taught three additional parables which are recorded in Matthew chapter 25.
 
 
 

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