The end times are intriguing to consider. What will those days be like? Wars? Chaos? Prosperity? Blessings? Fear? Excitement? Something else? The Bible is full of prophecies concerning the last days, and Jesus discusses them with his disciples in Matthew chapter 24. His words guide our thoughts concerning the end times.
1 As Jesus left and was going out of the temple complex, His disciples came up and called His attention to the temple buildings. 2 Then He replied to them, “Don’t you see all these things? I assure you: Not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down!” 3 While He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
Notice the context of the discussion. First, notice where the discussion took place. Jesus and His disciples were in Jerusalem at the temple complex when their chat began and then across the Kidron Valley on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem, when their talk continued.
Also, notice when the discussion took place. Jesus and His disciples were in Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. The triumphal entry had already occurred, and the Last Supper, death and resurrection of Jesus were only a few days away. This was the last week of Jesus’ life before His death. It was an important time for an important conversation.
3 While He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
Hear the questions asked by the disciples. They asked two questions:
When will these things happen? Specifically, they were referring to the destruction of the temple (see verses 1-2 above).
What is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age? In addition to the destruction of the temple, the disciples asked Jesus about His return and about the end of the age.
The temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. Historically, we know that this was the answer to their first question. The second question is explained by Jesus in the remaining verses of Matthew chapter 24.
See the four main views of the end times. I will list the four main views of the millenium below, with a brief explanation of each one. For a more in-depth study on these four views, read an article by Blue Letter Bible HERE.
Dispensational premillennialism — the belief that Jesus will return to rapture His church before a seven-year period of tribulation, which will then be followed by the return of Christ to establish an earthly kingdom that will last for one thousand years.
Historical premillennialism — the belief that Jesus will return at the end of the seven-year period of tribulation to establish His one-thousand-year earthly kingdom.
Postmillennialism — the belief that Revelation 20:1-10 is not describing a literal one thousand year period of time, but is describing how over time the world will become more and more Christian as the gospel of Jesus Christ expands around the world, which will ultimately end in the reign of Jesus on earth
Amillennialism — the belief that the events of Revelation and other apocalyptic literature in the Bible are figurative, not literal, and therefore the events concerning the last days are simply describing how Jesus has won the ultimate victory over Satan through His death and resurrection, and that believers in Jesus must endure trials on earth before ultimately living with Him forever and ever in heaven
One important note: there are Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, born-again followers of Jesus who hold each of these four views. Do not let your convictions about the specific timing of end time events cause you to lose fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ who might hold slightly different eschatological beliefs than you.
4 Then Jesus replied to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many. 6 You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these events are the beginning of birth pains.
Be aware of the signs of the end times. Jesus begins His answer to the disciples’ question, “What is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” with three signs and one statement.
Sign: Many false messiahs — many people claiming to be the savior of the world politically, financially, spiritually and in other ways
Sign: Wars and rumors of wars — in the last days, there will be wars and rumors of wars, so do not expect worldwide peace in those days
Sign: Earthquakes and famine — due to catastrophic natural disasters during the last days, there will be starvation and famine in various places
Statement: These are the beginning of birth pains — a person who understands Bible prophecy will understand that the above list does not signify the end of all things but simply the beginning of the end. Truly no one knows how long the “last days” will last. Good news: our Heavenly Father knows, and He is in charge.
Be Ready. Be Faithful. If the Bible teaches us anything concerning the end times, it teaches us this: 1) be ready to step into eternity at any time by surrendering your life to Jesus as Lord and Savior, receiving His forgiveness and allowing Him to be the King of your life; and 2) be faithful to serve Him all of your days, so that whenever He returns He will find you faithful to His cause.