Matthew 24: 29- 51, Part II
This is part two of a two part study as a prelude into The Book of Revelation. It is essential we understand the events that are to come and not bow to false teachings or sensationalism, and the best way to do that is see what our Lord Jesus Christ taught on the matter.General Idea: The Coming of the Son of Man! A spectacular glimpse to things that will come! Jesus is explaining here, symbolically, the events of the coming Tribulation (Matt. 24:29-35), and then, in the following chapters, gives us some illustrations, using parables, to help us understand these events and the importance of our being ready (Matt. 24: 36 though chap. 25). Jesus is coming back and this time it will not be a subtle event, as a baby born in a feed trough in a cave; rather, the entire creation will glow and bend to show the whole world His glory. This passage gives hope to a persecuted church, hope to people in despair, and hope that He is indeed in charge, even when we cannot see it!
This is also one of the main passages that people refer to as the Rapture. That is, Jesus' return, and our being "caught up" with Him as air being lifted up in the sky. This is, of course, in great debate. Did you know that this Rapture is a "theory" that is only a hundred years old, and comes from people who expounded lots of false doctrine as well? Did you know that none of the most brilliant theological minds who ever lived-Augustine, Kempis, Calvin, Luther, and Spurgeon, to name a few-ever taught this?! Perhaps the information is true but we were not ready for it; perhaps it is all fantasy, allegory turned it into theology, which is a very dangerous and false practice! Wherever the truth may lie, or to whatever view you subscribe, the particulars are not important; that is why they are not given to us! What is important is to believe in Christ, hold on to Him, and be confident in Him. It is all about our faith development and our diligence in obedience-diligence in knowing He is coming; how, where, and when are irrelevant. But, when it does happen, there will be no doubt. All the theology debates will be tossed aside as His Kingdom comes to its realization and completion (2 Pet. 1:16-21)!
The main point of this passage is to tell us not to be discouraged, but remain faithful and vigilant. We are to live our lives as if Christ would be coming tomorrow, or preparing and planning as if He were coming a thousand years from now. We are no to be preoccupied with the details and trivialities. That is why Jesus did not give them to us. Rather, our faith development and steadfastness are far more impacting and real on ourselves and others around us! Isn't it strange that people on TV can predict the day and hour of Christ's return when Jesus Himself did not? I remember a popular book, 88 Reasons why Jesus Is Coming Back In 1988! Most of the TV preachers were expounding this; I knew people who gave away their homes and cars, and when He did not come back, they were so disillusioned that many of them are not part of any church today! There may be a rapture, there may not be one; Jesus may come in the beginning, or the middle of, or at the end of the tribulation. He is God and He is not confined to our wishful thinking or ideas! I will still buy cars with sunroofs (get out easier) and keep watchful, but this will not consume me as it has others. Do not be distracted from that to which Christ has called you! Do not waste your time in the particulars of eschatology; it really is not important. Christ commands us to know Him and make Him known, to grow in Him and help others grow, to worship Him and help others worship Him, too. If we spend our time in the debate of eschatology, we will ignore His more vital calls, such as evangelism, discipleship, and our own growth in Him!
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
1.What if Jesus had returned yesterday afternoon? What were you doing? Does your life and attitude shown that you were prepared?
2.If someone asked you to describe the "second coming," what would you say?
3.How does this passage give hope to a persecuted church, people in despair, and to you?
4.Knowing that all of the most brilliant theological minds who ever lived never taught, in nineteen hundred years, that the Rapture was to take people up into the sky, that this is a theory-possible as it may be-that is new, how do you now feel about it? Do you feel the rapture is as important as some people make it out to be?
5.Why do you suppose people are so preoccupied by the various theories of the "last days?"
6.What do you think Jesus' point was in this passage? What is important what is not?
7.God brings about the opportunity for people to repent for having caused Him grief. What do you think causes God grief? So, what are you doing that may be causing God grief?
8. Can you picture what Jesus' second coming may be like? Perhaps no mere human's imagination can!
9.Why do you suppose Jesus uses the image of the fig tree so often?
10. Why is it important to know Scripture over popular reasoning? What happens when we place our trust in theories and not in Christ?
11. How does this passage strengthen your faith in Christ as LORD?
12. Why do you suppose Jesus does not give us an exact timeline of when and how these events will take place? What would you do in your Christian life if you knew, in detail, what was to happen to you in life and the end times to come?
13. God keeps most of His plans secret for good reason. What are some reasons that you can come up with?
14. Why do many Christians become preoccupied with artifacts such as the Holy Grail? How does this deter them and others away from God's call and precepts?
15. What if someone says to you, the Holy Spirit told me the day and time of Jesus' second coming. What would you say to them?
16. Jesus calls us to "be ready;" what does this mean for you?
17. What does this passage teach you about time management? How can you be active in your faith and practice while not wasting time, as in sitting, doing nothing?
18. What can you do to make sure you are not distracted by theological trivialities that may seem fun to learn and investigate (and they are), but deter you from what Christ has called you to do?
19. The study of eschatology is important, but, compared to issues such as prayer, Bible study, who Christ is, basic doctrine, faith development, living in the Spirit, and growing in character and service to our neighbors and people in need, it really is not that important for us to know or to teach! Do you agree or disagree, and why? (It is OK to disagree with non essential doctrine, as long as we do not divide over it!)
20. What does being prepared mean to you? What are you going to do to be prepared? What can you do so you will not be discouraged but remain faithful and vigilant?
© 1992, 2004, 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org