Before reading this brief study, please read,
- The Meaning of Eschatology
- Flashback to the Prophecy of Jesus Christ
- The Parable of the Vineyard – Part 1
- The Parable of the Vineyard – Part 2
- The Parable of the Vineyard – Part 3
- The Wedding Feast
- The Temple – Old and New
- The Questions
A WARNING AGAINST DECEPTION
After the disciples asked Jesus the questions, they were expectant of an answer from Him. This was a significant moment for Jesus and His disciples. The introduction of the Kingdom of God was about to be revealed. They had to understand—and clearly understand—what Jesus was saying.
Matthew 24:4 — “See to it that no one misleads (deceives) you…”
Mark 13:5 — And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray.
Luke 21:8 — And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.
This was a remarkable way to reply to their question. Jesus begins His explanation with a directed warning to His disciples. It was a warning regarding events that would portray the last days of the old covenant era, the period lasting from AD. 30 to AD. 70.
This period just before the end of the age of Moses would be characterized by events that could be misleading, even deceiving to these first disciples. The great Baptist scholar John A. Broadus, quotes Alexander in his commentary on what he calls “misleading signs,”
“The divine wisdom of the Saviour and his knowledge of the perils which beset his followers are strikingly exemplified in this preliminary warning against error and delusion, this exposure of false signs before giving a description of the true.” [J. Addison Alexander, cited in John A. Broadus, Commentary on the gospel of Matthew, ed. Alva Hovey, Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1886), pp. 482-483.]
Many people object to how Matthew 24:14 could have probably been fulfilled before AD 70.
Matthew 24:14 — 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.
However, Paul the apostle spoke in similar manner to his Roman audience.
Romans 1:8 — First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.
To the Colossians, he said,
Colossians 1:6 — that has come to you. Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, so it has also been bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.
Colossians 1:23 — if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
He declares that the word of the truth of the gospel which had come to them, was bearing fruit and growing in the entire world and had been proclaimed in all creation under heaven. The Jews from every nation under heaven even heard the gospel in their languages on the day of Pentecost.
Acts 2:5 — Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.
TIME IS AT HAND
Jesus loved His disciples. He knew they were the future leaders of His church and the carriers of grace and gifts. It was of vital importance that they are not misled. This would ensure their success. Thus, the Lord Jesus informed them with this warning about certain misleading signs. His warning was directed to them for their lifetime.
Luke says that many will even claim the time is “at hand” and some other translations say, “…time is near”
Many writers spoke about the time being “near” and “at hand” :-
Romans 13:11-12 — Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Philippians 4:5 — Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand…”
Hebrews 10:37 — For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay…”
James 5:8 — You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
1 Peter 4:7 — The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and soberminded for the sake of your prayers.
1 John 2:18 — Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
Jesus predicted many deceivers would try and take undue advantage by exploit and deceit. Therefore, He warned His disciples. He spoke directly to Peter, James, John, Andrew and the others; thus, whatever He said would have to apply to His disciples, and be fulfilled in their lifetime.
They were about to lead the church—His church through some of her most difficult periods which would also be the “seed” period as the church was in “seed” form. Jesus wanted them to know what they were about to face and so He gave them a complete list of misleading or false signs:
THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS – THE MISLEADING SIGNS
Matthew 24:5 – 8 — For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and Rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and Kingdom against Kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
There are seven misleading signs that Jesus outlined as the beginning of sorrows. They are recorded below:
- Wars and rumors of wars
- Nation against Nation and Kingdom against Kingdom
- Signs and Disturbances in the heavens
Jesus prophesied that all these events would precede the end of the Temple and the Mosaic age. It must be duly noted that all these events took place before the destruction of the Temple in AD. 70 as Christ prophesied. These beginning of the signs were the chronology to end of the Old Covenant administration and they were the full commencement of the New Covenant.
In the upcoming study articles, we will go in detail through all the signs.