Skip to content

What Does the Future Hold

In Matthew 24 the Disciples of Jesus ask Him three questions: When will the temple be destroyed? What will be the sign of your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the age?

What does the future hold for Christians as we approach the end of human history? In Matthew 24 the Disciples of Jesus ask Him three questions:

  1. When will the temple be destroyed?
  2. What will be the sign of your coming?
  3. What will be the sign of the end of the age?

The answers Jesus gives provide the framework for understanding all eschatological passages in the Bible, including the book of Revelation. Jesus did not answer the first question, but He made clear that the destruction would be total, that “not one stone will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Mat. 24:2), We know from the historical record that the destruction of the temple took place in 70 A.D.

Jesus then explains that in the coming years, there will be many false messiahs, wars, rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes. All of these, Jesus clarifies, “are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:4-8). He then states that there will come great persecution: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me” (Matthew 24:9). It’s important to observe that Jesus is giving a timeline. When He warns of extreme persecution, He is speaking to His disciples, Christians like us, so this passage applies to us?

An outcome of the extreme persecution will be that “many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other” (Matthew 24:10). The love of most will grow cold, yet the Gospel will be preached to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:12-14).

A key event in the timeline will be the revelation of the Abomination of Desolation. Jesus states,

When you see standing in the holy place ”the abomination that causes desolation,” spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Christ’s followers are encouraged to pray that this event doesn’t take place during winter, or that one is not pregnant, as the urgency to escape will be extreme (Matthew 24:15-21).

The passage that Jesus references in Daniel gives even greater detail:

He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven.” In the middle of the “seven,” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation until the end that is decreed is poured out on him (Daniel 9:27).

These events fit in logically and sequentially with the Pre-Wrath perspective of eschatology.

The Antichrist will sign a covenant, but at the midway point, 3 ½ years, he will break the covenant and set up the Abomination of Desolation in the temple. So, it seems quite clear that there are two events that must take place, prior to the return of Christ:

  1. The rebuilding of the temple.
  2. The revelation of the Abomination of Desolation.

The distress resulting from persecution during the days to follow will be unequaled from the beginning of the world until then and had those days not been cut short (the rapture of the church) not a single Christian would survive (Matthew 24:21-22).

In contrast to the many false messiahs that will attempt to deceive many, Christ’s return will be for all to see, as he stated, “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:27). Anyone who does not appear for all to see is clearly a false messiah.

What’s amazing is that, while Christians are experiencing great persecution, much of the rest of the world will be going about business as usual. Jesus remarks:

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:37-39).

Although this may seem highly unlikely, all one needs to do is go back to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, and the persecution and killing of the Jews, where 95% of the population identified as Christians, yet few even acknowledged what was taking place or attempting to do anything about it.

It is only following the great persecution that the rapture will take place. Jesus describes it this way,

Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left (Matthew 24:40-41).

Identifying the precise time or day the rapture is not possible. Jesus said, “But about that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Matthew 24:36). However, He also said,

Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door (Matthew 24:32-33).

We should recognize the season of Christ’s return, but not the day or hour. Some of the events mentioned in this article, the rebuilding of the temple, the appearance of the Abomination of Desolation, and extreme persecution constitute the season of Christ’s return.

A question remains: Will Jesus arrive on the Day of the Lord, to administer justice, or will He arrive following it, to establish His millennial kingdom? Jesus described the sign of His return:

Immediately after the distress of those days “the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken”
(Matthew 24:29).

It’s difficult to imagine anyone surviving such events, yet they come in the Book of Revelation during the 6th seal. The millennial kingdom appears only after the 7th seal, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls.

I will summarize what we do know: If you are alive during the rebuilding of the temple and the appearance of the Abomination of Desolation, you will witness and likely experience extreme persecution and even death. If you are able to avoid persecution, you may live until the rapture. If you are martyred during the tribulation, you will take part in the first resurrection, and reign with Christ for 1,000 years. Revelation 20:4-6 reads,

And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Yeshua and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image, nor had they received his mark on their forehead or on their hand. And they came to life and reigned with the Messiah for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 How fortunate and holy is the one who has a share in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no authority, but they shall be kohanim of God and the Messiah, and they shall reign with Him for a thousand years.

If you survive the great persecution, and you are in a saving relationship with Christ, you will be raptured up to heaven, prior to the Day of the Lord Judgments.

In service to Christ,

Mark Eastway

Pastor, Burket Bible Church

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *