Bible Study
The Gospel of Matthew - Program 27

Roderick C. Meredith (1930-2017)

This Bible Study is part of the "The Gospel of Matthew" series. See other Bible Studies which are part of this series

"And Jesus answered and said to them: 'Take heed that no one deceives you.' [That is the first thing to watch out for. He warned about a whole wave of false prophets.] 'For many [Not a few, but apparently the majority] will come in My name, saying, "I am the Christ," and will deceive many.'"

Greetings, friends around the world!

We have been going through the book of Matthew almost verse by verse. This should help you really understand this book—this introductory book to the entire New Testament. In one sense, this book helps to lay the foundation for the whole New Testament—the New Covenant of God—in the way it is written.

Let's start in Matthew 24. I began Matthew 24 last time, but I want to review the first few verses and then go on and finish this chapter. So open your Bibles. Follow along with me and you will get a lot more out of it.

Matt. 24:3

"Now 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?'"

Christ was not talking about the end of that little society, but the end of the age—the end of six thousand years of human experience. He was not just talking about what would happen to Jerusalem in 70 ad; that was a small typeonly a small type—of the time of the end.

Matt. 24:4-5

"And Jesus answered and said to them: 'Take heed that no one deceives you.' [That is the first thing to watch out for. He warned about a whole wave of false prophets.] 'For many [Not a few, but apparently the majority] will come in My name, saying, "I am the Christ," and will deceive many.'"

Jesus said that they "will deceive many." Then He said that there would be wars and then world wars, then there would be famines, disease epidemics, and earthquakes. Even as I speak, we have recently had a couple of terrible earthquakes. One happened in El Salvador, like another a year or so ago in Mexico-and recently this horrifying earthquake in India. India's defense minister said the death toll could go as high as 100,000. It may only be 20,000 or 25,000, but he said it could go as high as 100,000 dead plus tens of thousands injured or homeless—a horrifying catastrophe. These earthquakes are getting more frequent. They are becoming more powerful, and this is going to continue. I can say that on the authority of this Book, not just because I know anything about earthquakes in a technical sense, but because God says so. God is beginning to intervene now in human affairs.

Matt. 24:8-9

"All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you [the true saint of God] up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake."

Somewhere on this earth is a Church of God. It is called the "little flock" in the Bible. God always describes His true Church as the "little flock"—a scattered people. It has been a people who were not the big powerful, broad-based group that dominated society, but rather were the "called-out ones." At the time of the end, they are going to be known and hated by all nations—and you can't hate someone if you don't know him. People will hate the growing realization that they, themselves, are wrong. People may not even admit it to themselves, but when they feel they are wrong, they feel guilty and they don't like it. People are going to hate the true servants of God at the time of the end.

Matt. 24:11-13

"Then many false prophets will rise up [a whole extra wave, at the very end, of false prophets.] and deceive many [not few]. And because lawlessness [He is talking about God's Laws] will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved."

We have to endure to the end and walk with God throughout our lives if we want to be saved.

Matt. 24:14

"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."

You are hearing that message right now—the Gospel of the coming Government of God to be set up on this earth through Jesus Christ. He goes on here to say:

Matt. 24:15

"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand)."

Scripture talks about that abomination of desolation back in Daniel, and in a number of places. I am going to read from just one place because we don't have time to go into a whole sermonette here on that topic. Scripture is talking about the time of the end:

Dan. 11:31

"And forces shall be mustered by him [by this coming dictator who will rise up in Europe], and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices [from some kind of altar or temple where sacrifices will again be offered in Jerusalem], and place there the abomination of desolation."

The type of this was Antiochus Euphonies a couple of hundred years before Christ did the same thing. He came in and offered swine's flesh right on the altar of God. It was a horrible thing. God shows that this will be done again.

Dan. 11:32-33

"Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. [God grant that we will be such faithful people of God.] And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering."

God's people will be persecuted but will warn the world. They will do a mighty work at the time of the end, just at the time when this great false leader will come in and place the abomination of desolation, apparently right in Jerusalem, in some kind of temple or altar. That is something to watch for; a specific event right there in Jerusalem, in the Holy Place.

Matt. 24:16, 20-22

"Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.… And pray that your flight [to a place of safety] may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. [They knew which day He was talking about. He did not talk about Sunday. He talked about the Sabbath day to these Jewish people. Here He says that the Sabbath day should be observed even at the end, as He is talking here about the final flight at the very end of this age.] For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. [this will be the greatest national trial or tribulation in human history.] And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; [every human being would be annihilated from this planet.] but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened."

God will intervene. We are in that time. Until the last few decades, people could not annihilate all flesh from this earth. But in this last generation, mankind was able to do that for the first time— cosmocide. So we are living at the time of the end before the Great Tribulation preceding Christ's coming.

Matt. 24:23-24

"Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. [He is not going to come off in some secret place.] For false christs and false prophets will rise."

Think about that. At the very end, false christs, as well as false prophets, will arise and show great signs and wonders. False miracles will be performed through the power of demons so as "to deceive, if possible, even the elect."

Matt. 24:25-26, 28, 30

"See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' [or out "here or there"]… do not believe it…For wherever the [people will be gathered together] carcass [the eagles or vultures are gathered, so God's people are going to be where Christ returns—you don't have to go off and look for Him. He will not be hiding, "off somewhere"]… Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn…"

They will see a great, blinding light—Christ's face, like the sun shining—coming down out of heaven. People will be scared to death and the tribes of the earth are not going to be happy. They are going to mourn! They are going to be sorry they have not been taught the Truth. They have been taught a lie, and they may have been taught that this is the Antichrist coming. They are not going to rejoice when Christ comes.

Matt. 24:30-31

"…and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

Those winds are the winds of this earth's atmosphere. He is coming down here. The saints will rise to meet Him in the air, and they will come right on down to this earth.

I want to pause for a moment and tell you about our booklet The Beast of Revelation. This is a wonderful little booklet; you need this understanding. It will open up your eyes to understand who this coming Beast is, and who this coming false prophet is who will place this abomination of desolation right in God's temple. This booklet will help you understand this entire book of Matthew pretty well, too. So contact us to get this booklet. Read it and study it. To order, click the "Order FREE" button on our Web site. This booklet is powerful. It spells things right out. It has a chart telling you exactly what this Beast is in the order of events. Click on the "order free" button and you can request this booklet.

Now, let's go on.

Matt. 24:32, 34-37

"Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.… this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. [Christ is coming back, and these things cannot be changed.] But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."

He said just as people were eating and drinking in Noah's time, people will be going right on, right up to the Great Tribulation. Many people in many parts of the world are going to go right on living as though nothing has happened. Then there will be a three-and-a-half year tribulation, with the American, Canadian, British, New Zealand, Australian, South African peoples—and others—taken into a place of slavery. These descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel are going to be punished by God and will bear the brunt of the Great Tribulation. At the end of that time, those few who are still alive will be freed by Christ. But during those three-and-a-half years, after our nations have been conquered, there will be a two- or two-and-a-half-year period when, up and down the boulevards of this Beast power, people will be very happy—clicking their beer steins together, and their wine glasses. They will think everything is okay. They won't understand that they are right before the Second Coming of Christ and that He will smash that Beast power like a huge rock crushing the kingdoms of this earth. They won't understand. "So also will the coming of the Son of Man be." People will be going right on, eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage.

Matt. 24:40, 42-44

"Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. [Two slaves, maybe, and this Beast power will be working together and one will be a servant of God and taken at the last trump and one won't.]…Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour[exactly when] the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

We all want to understand that. Unless we are watching and praying, Christ's coming is going to sneak up on us. All of us need to be "tuned in" to this Book—to the Word of God—watching world events, praying for understanding and praying for Christ's righteousness. Pray that He will live His life in you—and yield yourself so that He will live His life in you.

Matt. 24:45-51

"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. [We must be busy doing God's Work right up to the end.] Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. [That is our reward, to be kings and priests—rulers under Christ in the coming Kingdom of God on this earth.] But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' [as many "mainline" preachers say, "Well, this stuff of Christ's coming has been talked about all these years, nothing has ever happened, nothing ever is going to change."] and begins to beat his fellow servants [to punish the true servants of God.], and to eat and drink with the drunkards [That can be spiritual drunkenness as well.], the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, [He will be blinded; he won't know what is ahead. He will not be watching and praying, and he will not understand.] and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

There is going to be great sorrow from those who have not been willing to listen to the truth and to do what this Book says. Please understand that. Ask God to open your mind and your heart so that you will be willing to live by every Word of God. Don't play games. We are near the time of the end. Try to understand. Yield to God; surrender to Him and let Christ live His life in you.

Get this booklet on the Beast of Revelation. Study it, pray about it, understand it and act on the Truth.

We will see you next time. This is Roderick Meredith, for the Living Church of God.