End Times

Signs of the end-times

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
And Jesus answered them,

  • See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.
  • And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and
  • there will be famines and
  • earthquakes in various places.

All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

-- Matthew 24:3-8 (ESV)

The Tribulation

And Jesus answered them...

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.

-- Matthew 24:9-10 (ESV)

Moral decline

And Jesus answered them...

And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

-- Matthew 24:11-13 (ESV)

The Gospel

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

-- Matthew 24:14 (ESV)

The Abomination of Desolation

And Jesus answered them...

So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then

  • let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
  • Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and
  • let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.
  • And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

-- Matthew 24:15-20 (ESV)

Some argue Jesus specifically refers to the fall of Jerusalem (which at that time did not take place yet), because Jesus specifically mentions "Judea" and "fleet to the mountains". The events that Jesus describe matches what was recorded about the siege of Jerusalem. Jesus also said:

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. -- Matthew 24:32-34 (ESV)

Which means these events would take place during the lifetime of those who heard these words in 70 CE.

However, immediately after that Jesus says:

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

-- Matthew 24:21-22 (ESV)

Some interpret this as that the siege had to be cut short and that Jesus specifically referred to the elect in Judea.

Even Daniel's prophecy which Jesus referred, was about the lifetime of city Jerusalem from when it would be rebuilt until it would be destroyed again:

While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice.

He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision.

  • Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.
  • Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince [leader], there shall be seven weeks.
  • Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.
  • And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince [leader] who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.
  • And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

-- Daniel 9:20-27 (ESV)

In 66CE a Jewish revolt defeated a Roman army which in turn lead to a full-scale Jewish-Roman War. In 70CE the Romans overwhelmed Jerusalem by flooding the territory with a large army significantly outnumbering the Jewish defenders within the city walls. The Roman siege lasted five months before they breached the city walls and destroyed the sanctuary as Daniel prophesied.

Those who survived were enslaved by the Romans. One could argue if the Romans did not breach the walls (cut short), the Jews would have starved from food and water shortages.

Return of Christ

After mentioning these events, Jesus mentions a false Christ which could not have taken place during the siege. This is most likely another event taking place at another time in the future.

Then he compares it with the real Christ, or as he would refer "The Son of Man".

Then he mentions the tribulation again. Some argue this is the same tribulation as mentioned before in the case of Jerusalem who was persecuted by the Romans, however after the siege of Jerusalem there were no supernatural signs like "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven" which were supposed to happen "immediately" after the Tribulation.

And Jesus answered them...

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days:

  • the sun will be darkened, and
  • the moon will not give its light, and
  • the stars will fall from heaven, and
  • the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
  • Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

-- Matthew 24:23-30 (ESV)

Therefore, Jesus most likely refers to a second tribulation which will be ended by the...

The Day of the Lord

The heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

-- 2 Peter 3:7-12 (ESV)

"The Rapture"

And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

-- Matthew 24:31 (ESV)

Note that the angels gather the "Son of Man"'s elect after the Tribulation and the return of the "Son of Man". This disproves the typical Rapture theory that Hal Lindsey, published in 1970, which states that "Christians will be saved from the Tribulation".

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

-- Matthew 24:35-44 (ESV)

Unlike Hal Lindsey, Rapture theory, Noah and his family did not escape any sort of tribulation. Instead, they could freely undertake the huge task of building an ark. The focus had never been on escaping anything.

The reason why some people belief there could come a Rapture where people would unexpectedly be teleported from Earth, is because of the words "one will be taken and one left".

The original Greek word that was translated to the English "taken" is παραλαμβάνεται (paralambanetai), which is a combination of "pará" which means from close or alongside and "ambánō" which means to receive, admit or acknowledge. In other words it could possibly be explained as to be "accepted into position".

For example the same word was used in these scriptures:

The Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife. -- Matthew 1:20 (ESV)"


When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife. -- Matthew 1:24 (ESV)

The original Greek word that was translated to the English "left" is ἀφίεται (aphietai) which means to send away or leave alone, i.e. "reject" or "unforgiven".

For example the same word was also used in the scripture:

But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. -- Matthew 6:15 (NASB 1995)

Jesus more likely meant, that from human perspective two persons would be considered "equal", but one will be accepted like a bride while the other would be rejected.

Instead, Jesus repeatedly mentions the theme "you do not know when to expect the coming of your Lord". This theme even continue through the 3 parables that Jesus mentions immediately this passage:

  1. The servant (Matthew 24:45-51) who had to maintain their master's household until his unexpected return. The wise servant got promoted, while the foolish servant got cut into pieces.
  2. The 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) who had to keep their lamps on while waiting for the bridegroom's unexpected return. The wise virgins enter into the feast, while the foolish virgins were shut out.
  3. The talents (Matthew 25:14-30) who was given to servants who did not know when their man would return. The wise servants got promoted, while the foolish servant got cast into outer darkness.

The Final Judgement

After giving the parables, Jesus immediately explain the Final Judgement:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

-- Matthew 25:31-46 (ESV)

Many prophecies also warns about the "Day of the LORD of Hosts" (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6,9; 58:13; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:11; 3:14; Amos 5:18-20; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7-14; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:5; Acts 2:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2; 2 Peter 3:10)

The Great Reward

And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed me, in the New Beginning, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit life in the age to come. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first." -- Matthew 19:28-30 (ESV)

Peter also preached:

But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

-- 2 Peter 3:13-18 (ESV)

Please note that this article is still a work in progress and may contain errors.