two simple keys

Part one

What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? Matthew 24:3

  With this question by the disciples of Jesus comes one of the richest and well known prophecies in the New Testament. The Olivet Discourse—a simply amazing prophecy of the future and end-times, spoken over 1900 years ago; yet still prevalent, true and timely to this very day, in the 21st century.
  In the first half of this prophecy we are given a sort of snapshot of man’s lost and troublesome world with its great deceivableness: false prophets, false christs; wars and rumors of wars; the division of the nations; famines, pestilence, earthquakes, persecutions. Though this is not the end of the world, yet things intensify as that day draws near.

4 Take heed that no one deceive you. 5 For many will come in my name saying ‘I am the Christ’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many well be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. vers.4-14

  Sin will be rampant everywhere as the Living Bible puts it. Things will worsen on the world scene, spiraling downward, until the cup of iniquity is full, and the end-time clock is set in motion by Him who knows the day and the hour, the beginning from the end.
  The time of the end is not just a general period at the close of history just before Jesus Christ’s second coming; but it’s the climax of time. It’s the clashing of the ending of one age with the beginning of another. It’s the time of the dragon’s wrath. Driven by uttermost contempt he will desire the destruction of everything, and all that is called god. With specific signs, defined time frames, events, troubles, all marked out clearly in the Bible. And the “little apocalypse” as the Olivet Discourse is sometimes called gives us a brisk, precise overview of these days.
  However, the Olivet Discourse is not without controversy. There are some who feel the prophecy doesn't even apply to the last days. That it has its fulfillment in the first Jewish-Roman war, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD. Since Jesus in verse 34 said
, “This generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place”and since generation is often used genealogically; that is the time period from one parents offspring to their offspring; or in other words, within about 40 or 50 years—therefore the Olivet Discourse cannot be about end-times.
  Verse 34 of Matthew 24 is puzzling, and theological minds have long time been divided over it. Was Jesus saying that there would be some of his day who would not die before they witnessed his prophecy coming to pass? But then, in the prophecy were it talks about the coming of the Son of Man and the gathering of the elect, it would have to be allegorized or spiritualized—it could not be literal. It would not be Christ’s actual second coming at the end of the age. 

  The Greek word genea has a wide range of translations and usages, as does the transposed word generation in the English language. In Matthew 1:17 it says, So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations…hear genea is translated into the plural—generations, while in Matthew 24 it’s singular.  At times it is translated to refer to a group of people, a nation.—If there were only a more sure way, a simple solution; a simple key that could unlock the prophecy. That could not only clarify the where, when and why of its interpretation; but break it open so we could see the full picture. Oh but there is! And I’m surprised I don’t see it being utilized! And the simple key is in verse 15

15”therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand)

  The writer, Matthew adds the phrase, whoever reads let him understand. Jesus might have said to his disciples, ‘whoever hears what I am saying let him understand’, or ‘comprehend what I am telling you’. ‘Catch the vision’! But can you comprehend what Jesus is telling us? Because it’s big! It can break the whole prophecy wide open!
Jesus in verse 15 is referring to a vision given to Daniel. This was a prophecy in the Old Testament Scriptures that was already over 500 years old before Jesus was even a babe in the manger! So what does this mean? This prophecy, this revelation give by God to the Jewish nation was about the very end-times and second coming the disciples were inquiring about (that’s why Jesus was quoting from it! But it was given over 500 years BC!) The disciples could have gone to the passage in Daniel to try and understand the end of the age…of course they would not have comprehended it, because it was sealed up. None of the Jews of that day could discern its meaning. But Jesus is quoting from it because it is dealing precisely with what he was now telling his followers! In other words, the two prophecies are one! And each complements the other. There are details in Daniel’s prophecy that Jesus doesn't mention, and conversely, there are things that Jesus says that Daniel doesn't. And any good expositor would put both the passages together as one to get a full, complete picture of the whole subject matter. And to try and clear up any controversies, of whether the prophecy was really about end-times and the second coming, or whether Jesus was merely foretelling of the destruction of the Jewish temple and their religious system in AD 70 . 
  Let’s take a look at what Jesus said would take place after the abominable thing is placed in the holy place. 


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