Introduction: These transcripts of Kay Arthur's lectures on Revelation (Parts 2-4) are provided as a service to the body of Christ with the written permission of Precept Ministries International. This material is the property of Precept Ministries International and all rights are reserved. The transcripts are for the most part verbatim with deletions identified by the characters (...). The utilization of italics, bolding, hyperlinks and pop up notes represent editorial additions. Any written additions are identified by the designation "Ed note". Note that all text in blue identifies a link or popup. All reference are the NASB unless otherwise indicated. Please note that these lectures by Kay Arthur supplement the excellent Precept Upon Precept inductive Bible study on the Revelation. Click the following links to view each division of this encouraging study and note that you can also download the first lesson of each of the 4 parts:
If you can find a local Precept class studying Revelation, I would strongly encourage you to join the class, as I know of no other study available anywhere in the world that will equip you so thoroughly to discern the signs of the times and cause you to live expectantly as you look for Christ's Return!
Index to Revelation Lectures
|Part 2||Part 3||Part 4|
Rev Pt 3: Lecture 6:
Surely the Lord God does nothing
So how important that you and I understand the answer to the question Jesus' disciples ask in Mt 24‑25. What we will do is take these 2 chapters and integrate them with Rev 6‑22, building truth upon truth.
Remember that Matthew's overriding purpose was to present the truth that Jesus is the King, fulfilling the prophecy given to Abraham in Genesis:
So as you look at Matthew remember that the purpose of this Gospel is to prove that Jesus is the King of the Jews, the One Who is coming, the long awaited Messiah Who would reign on the face of the earth. Luke's purpose is to lay out a chronological account of the life of the Messiah, so that we can take Matthew and fit it into Luke. Mark's purpose is to show us Jesus Christ is the Servant of God. "straightway, immediately" being frequent words ("immediately" is used 40x In Mark, 18x in Matthew, 15x in Luke). In John the purpose is show us that Jesus is God in the flesh (Jn 20:31).
So Jesus is addressing the religious leaders in the Temple area shortly before His trial and crucifixion and He says:
From the Temple Mount area one can see the tombs of the prophets that the Scribes and Pharisees built to "honor" the prophets. But they had stoned these very prophets because they did not like their MESSAGE of warning of the judgment to come because they (the religious leaders) were not living righteously. So Jesus is saying in essence that they would have stoned these prophets just as their fathers did because they were in fact even then plotting to kill the Prophet of prophets sent from God.
So here we see the Lamb of God, the One that came to take away the sins of the world and yet He is turning around and looking at His own people (John 1:11‑12 "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." ) Yet among all these Jewish religious leaders, there are only a few who have left the "crowd", bowed their knee and confessed that Jesus was indeed the expected Messiah, the One that they would follow. So Jesus is speaking primarily to non‑believing Jews.
And as we read in the rest of the NT, we see the Jews persecuting Paul in Thessalonica, even following him to Berea to persecute him. Who are those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ at this stage? They are Jews but no Gentiles at this stage of history (His story) before the Cross.
THE MURDER of RIGHTEOUS ABEL: Jesus tells the Scribes and Pharisees that they are even guilty of the first murder of Abel by Cain.
Why was Abel killed by Cain? (Ge 4:8) Because of JEALOUSY. God had accepted Abel's sacrifice but not Cain's sacrifice because Abel's sacrifice was a blood sacrifice (Ed: offered by faith) but Cain's was HIS WORKS, the fruit of his labors. So in anger Cain killed Abel despite the fact that God had clearly warned him. But Cain did not listen to God and was cursed (Ge 4:10-11)
Consider marking Matthew 24 with a blue star of David over every YOU that refers to the Jews. Note the specific reason Jesus refers to them.
The generation that was existing at that time. The very people who were standing around Him as He spoke. The blood of all these murders would come upon these religious rulers who had refused to believe in Jesus and submit to Him, although they adorned the prophets tombs and gave the false impression that they loved the prophets (proving they were hypocrites). But they did not truly love the prophets because they refused to listen to the prophets who spoke of the very One Who was standing in their midst. They put their fingers in their ears and they refused to hear. Thus Jesus proclaims 'WOE" to them‑‑they would experience the sentence of hell (the lake of fire Rev 20:14‑15).
What 'THINGS' is Jesus predicting will come upon this GENERATION of Scribes and Pharisees?
Jesus is referring to the persecution that will come upon the wise men and prophets who are sent to the Scribes and Pharisees by the Lord. But since they refuse the truth these prophets proclaim, God will judge them and the blood of all the innocent people from Abel to Zechariah will fall on them.
What does Jesus description picture?
When the chicks are in danger, they run to safety under the mother's wings for protection. Story of the prairie fire which destroyed all the farmer's possessions: as he came to the charred remains of a mother hen, he reached over to tap it with his foot and as he did all of the little chicks came running out, having survived the fire because they had run the mother hen's outstretched wings. When the fire came they were protected!
That's what Jesus wants to do ‑‑ He wants the Jews (as well as you and I) to come to Him, abiding under the wings of the Almighty (Ps 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.) He wants to protect them, having invited them to come. But they say 'No' and that they Will come to God in their way. Yet Jesus is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE and no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6).
John 1:11 teaches that Jesus came to His own, to the Jews but the Jews for the most part as a nation did not welcome Him. So when the Jews didn't receive Him, the Gospel went to the Gentiles. But when? Has this happened to any extent prior to His Crucifixion? Not really. Certainly He did speak to a 'woman, a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race' (Mk 7:26) who said 'even the dogs under the table feed on the children's crumbs.' (Mk 7:27) 'Then Jesus answered and said to her, '0 woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.' And her daughter was healed at once." (Mk 7:28) Yet Jesus says 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Mk 7:24)
But when He died He died for the sins of the whole world (cp John 3:16). So when Jesus hangs on the cross, He is made sin (2 Cor 5:21) for the whole world. He is buried, resurrected and ascends to heaven and yet has the GOSPEL truly been delivered to the Gentiles at this time? No. It's still to the Jew.
Just before He ascends He instructs His disciples saying "but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both IN JERUSALEM, and IN ALL JUDEA and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
So the gospel is to he JEW FIRST ('For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, TO THE JEW FIRST and also to the Greek. Ro 1:16) So the disciples take the gospel to the Jews in Jerusalem until the STONING OF STEPHEN and when he falls down (and a man named Saul sees him die) persecution comes and the Jews begin to leave Jerusalem and scatter to the 'remotest part of the earth.
Meanwhile, Cornelius, a Gentle living in Caesarea receives the Gospel from Peter who responds to a vision from God to take the Gospel to the Gentiles. And the Holy Spirit comes to live within those who believed (the "baptism of the Holy Spirit") so that 'While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.' (Acts 10:44). So God shows Peter that this Gospel is not just for the Jews but for all men everywhere who will Repent and Believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ (Mk 1:15). Then Saul who becomes born again Paul and he takes the Gospel to the Gentiles. Remember then in Matthew 23 we are BEFORE THE CROSS when Jesus says He wants to gather 'you' (this generation) but 'You are unwilling.'
THE GLORY DEPARTS FROM GOD'S HOUSE
In the OT, the Shekinah glory rested over the Tabernacle indicating the presence of God (Ex 40:34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glary of the LORD filled the tabernacle.) When the cloud (the Shekinah glory) moved, the Jews would follow the cloud because that was God's presence. Then David desired to build a permanent dwelling but God said "You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood. " (1Chr 28:3) but God did say " Your son Solomon is the one who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be a son to Me, and I will be a father to him." (1Chr 28:6). When Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, "the (Shekinah) glory of the LORD filled the house of God." (2Chr 5:14)
In the days of Ezekiel (a contemporary of Jeremiah & Daniel, just before the Babylonian captivity) THE SHEKINAH GLORY LEFT THE HOUSE OF GOD (see schematic representation) and moved away and never returned. (Study the progressive departure of the glory in Ezek 10:4, 18, 19; 11:23; and then the prophecy of the future return of the in Shekinah glory Ezek 43:2,4,5; 44.4)
The Jews returned to Jerusalem after their 70 years (Jer 25:11‑12) in Babylonian captivity and began to rebuild the Temple (called the "Second Temple" began 535 BC ‑ completed 515 BC) which was eventually the Temple that Herod greatly adorned taking 46 years to complete the reconstruction (still referred to as the "Second Temple"). But the SHEKINAH GLORY was NOT in the Second Temple! The Ark of the covenant was NOT in the Second Temple. In fact there is no mention of the Ark after the Babylonian destruction of the First Temple (Solomon's Temple).
THE GLORY RETURNS TO GOD'S HOUSE
Almost 5 centuries after the GLORY had departed the Temple, a man and woman came into the temple (Luke 2:27) to have the sign of the covenant (circumcision) performed on their baby boy, according to the custom of the Jewish Law. And all of a sudden Simeon, a righteous and devout man who was looking for the consolation of Israel, took the infant in his hands, blessed God and said "For my eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and THE GLORY of Thy people Israel. (Luke 2:30‑32).
The "Glory" had returned to the Temple in the form of that baby boy and for the next 33 years. The Shekinah glory was in the presence of the Temple. Jesus was the glory of God. John 1:14 (note) records 'We beheld His GLORY, GLORY as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Here in Matthew 23-24, it is almost time for the Crucifixion and Jesus the Messiah, the glory of the Lord, is in the Temple area speaking to the religious leaders. He then speaks the lament "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling." (Mt 23:37) And then He walks out of the Temple and never walks back in. The House (Temple) was still standing but it was desolate because the Shekinah Glory had departed. Jesus is the Shekinah Glory of God. As Jesus walks out it is as if He turns one last time and says:
Who is not going to see Him again?
The unbelieving Jews but believing Jews will see Him again when He rises from the dead! This is why He says their house is left desolate.
We will also study Luke 21 where we will see the chronology of events.
The door of the Temple always faced to the EAST, toward the eastern gate, across the Kidron Valley and directly facing the Mount of Olives. So when you sit on the Mount of Olives you are able to clearly see the Temple.
Who are the disciples? They are Jews. (Mk 13:3 gives us the 4 disciples who asked Him the question in Mt 24:3)
They wanted to know:
(1) When will "these things" be?
What are "these things'? The destruction of the Temple when not one stone will be left upon another
(2) What is the sign of His coming and of the end of the age?
Did Jesus just mention His coming? Yes, when He said that they would not see Him again until they said "Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord." The END OF THE AGE refers to this current age that is going to usher in the corning of Jesus Christ. So basically they asked Him two questions, with one question having 2 components.
In His answer in Matthew 24, Jesus makes no reference to when the Temple will be destroyed, but He does answer that question in Luke 21:20-24 (notes).
The destruction of the Temple does not achieve Matthew's purpose because he is emphasizing the King and His coming. Therefore Matthew skips over Jesus' answer to the question about the Temple (recorded by Luke 21:20-24) and answers the disciples' question about when Jesus would become King over the earth. And so Matthew 24 begins with Jesus' warning that there will be False "Messiahs" who will mislead many. Other signs of THE END include wars and rumors of wars but these wars are themselves NOT THE END.
One of the key words you should mark all the way throughout your Bible is "Nation" (or its synonym "Gentile"). Are any of these signs unusual for our time? No. We have had false Messiahs, wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, etc.
Be sure and mark all the "Time Phrases" especially "then", "when" and "the end". These time phrases help show how Jesus is giving a progression or sequence. Wars and famines, etc are THE BEGINNING, not the end. THEN the JEWS will be delivered to tribulation.
Was there any threat against the disciples? We've just seen what Jesus predicted the religious leaders would do to the "prophets and wise men and scribes" in Mt 23:34 ‑ they would be put to death. And further Jesus said that "all these things shall come upon this generation." So "all these things" includes the religious leaders persecuting the disciples. These things happened in the early church with all 11 of the apostles (except John who was exiled to Patmos) being martyred.
The question is who does "YOU" refer to? Is this just Jews generically or does this refer to Jews who have believed? "On account of My name" could signify that (1) they have actually believed in Messiah or (2) they are simply looking forward to the Messiah's coming. We'll leave that open now.
So here is a PERSECUTION of Jews in Mt 24:9 which may be because they are identified with Jesus Christ or may be because they are identified with God. When this persecution comes many will FALL AWAY. They won't hold up under the persecution but will defect. So at this time there is going to be A FALLING AWAY and FALSE PROPHETS will arise and lead many people astray.
When they deliver them to tribulation, some will fall away, false prophets will mislead many, but there is a group that holds on until THE END and this group will be saved (Ed: Their endurance does not save them but is evidence that they have been genuinely saved.)
So what we can know is that the Gospel is going to be proclaimed to ALL NATIONS and then the END will come. This is the last time He mentions "End" in Mt 24. Next to this verse you might write Revelation 14:6‑7. The Gospel currently has not yet been preached to ALL nations.
And what comes after Rev 14? The BOWL judgments which are "THE LAST, because in them the wrath of God is FINISHED." (Rev 15:1).
In Rev 16 all 7 BOWLS are poured out.
In Rev 17‑18 we see Babylon described as an expansion of the 7th BOWL.
In Rev 19 we see Jesus Christ coming on His white horse.
In the first section of Mt 24:4-8 Jesus answers the question about what is going to lead up to THE END OF THE AGE.
Summary: False Messiahs, wars, rumors of wars, kingdoms vs. kingdoms, famine, earthquakes in various places, the beginning of birth pangs ...
THEN (Mt 24:9 and this "THEN" seems like it is a pivotal point) they deliver Jews to tribulation (we don't know for certain whether they are saved or not now). During that time there will be a falling away, a departure, an apostasy from the faith (Mt 24:10).
There will be false prophets, the Gospel will be preached and THE END comes. (Mt 24:11-14)
The disciples wanted to know about THE END and Jesus has just told them what precedes THE END. And what definitely precedes THE END, is Jewish persecution, many failing away, many false prophets arising, the Gospel being preached world‑wide and then THE END.
THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION
When was Matthew's Gospel written? After Jesus had died, was buried, resurrected and ascended. So Matthew's writing is to help readers understand that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the King.
Who then is the primary audience of Matthews writing? The Jew.
Who would know or care about the Abomination of desolation? Jews would (and so would Christians who know the word of God).
It seems that so far in Matthew 24, Jesus is speaking strictly to the Jews, specifically to Jewish believers. But we know that most of His disciples were martyred. So when you get to 95‑96 A.D. , John is the only one who is alive on the isle of Patmos and THE END has not come yet. So it looks therefore that He is speaking about a time BEYOND these immediate disciples to tell them what is coming in the future.
Has the Abomination of Desolation stood In the Holy Place since Jesus made this prophecy? No.
In Daniel 11:31 we do see an account of an 'Abomination of Desolation' which took place before Jesus Christ was ever born. Antiochus Epiphanes lived during the INTER-TESTAMENT PERIOD (400 years between the book of Malachi, the last prophet, and the beginning of the gospels, birth of John the Baptist, the witness to Zachariah). Daniel 11 prophesied about Antiochus; Epiphanes who came into the Temple in Jerusalem, into the Holy of holies and put up a statue of Zeus and offered a pig (unclean to the Jews) on the altar and this was called the abomination of desolation.
So this event was B.C. But now Jesus is speaking to Jews and saying to them that the day that you see an Abomination of Desolation standing in the Holy Place, then you are to FLEE. Judea makes you think of Jews. Are these warnings given directly to Gentiles? No, because why would a Gentile care about who is standing in the Holy of holies? This one who has just stood in the Holy Place has put himself IN THE PLACE OF GOD. The world says "So what?" - It does not matter to the Gentiles. But it does matter to the Jews. And all of a sudden there is a confrontation with the Jews so they need to FLEE.
When does the GREAT TRIBULATION begin?
When the Abomination of Desolation stands in the Holy Place.
Who are the ELECT (the chosen)? Are there some Jews that are CHOSEN?
Of course there are.
When He describes THE END Jesus says THEN they are going to deliver you up to persecution (Mt 24:9). The Abomination of Desolation standing in the Holy Place parallels the END TIME event when Jews will be delivered up to tribulation. So when the Abomination of Desolation stands in the Holy Place, the Jews are to FLEE to the mountains because they are going to be DELIVERED UP. THEN we have FALSE PROPHETS and FALSE MESSIAHS again and they will try to mislead people. So Jesus is saying to the Jews to run away. The following two verses seem to describe parallel events:
So Jesus is showing the Jews what is leading up to HIS COMING and what is leading up to THE END.
THE KING IS COMING AND
The Jews are going to be delivered up.
Many will fall away.
False prophets will come.
But the Gospel will be preached.
Those who endure to the end will be saved.
The Abomination of Desolation will stand in the Holy Place
The false Messiahs will come and then