“Found faithful to the end” Thoughts on Matthew 24
In Matthew 24, Jesus foretells both the near future destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70) and the distance future, “at the end of the age”, destruction of the same city — like an artist that paints a picture of the inside of a house and then looks beyond to the horizon out a window.
“At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Mtt 24:10-14)
In the foreground of this “picture” is the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem — 40 years down the road. This was followed by a lengthy discourse (for Mtt. 24-25 are one discourse!) that treats of His Second Coming, at the end of the age, to the same city in midst of a terrible onslaught from antichrist.
Knowing the difference is the key to understanding Jesus’ words here.
“Many of the most serious difficulties of this great discourse disappear when it is realised that our Lord referred in it not to one event but to two, and that the first was typical [representative] of the second.” (Dummelow’s Commentary on the Bible)
“At that time many will fall away…”
Let’s look now at the beginning of this text because I want to get us to the fact that Jesus predicts that many believers will fall away from the faith.
“At that time” will include the time of the destruction of Jerusalem under Rome (in AD 70) and the time of the end, under antichrist in the future. This is a double-fulfillment prophecy and is an important verse because it transitions us to the end of this age.
To keep our metaphor going of a painting, we are now “looking out the window”!
The next part says that “many will fall away” or as the KJV puts it “be offended”. Here is the critical word; the actual word is to be “scandalized”. The Greek root word is skandalizó: “to put a snare (in the way), hence to cause to stumble, to give offense”.
According to Jesus, believers will fall away, be snared, offended and stumble by the way things develop in the Last Days. I think this is a serious warning for the church to “amp up our A Game” as we see the leaves on the tree turning green telling us that “summer is near” (Mtt 24:32).
“Many shall stumble, fall, and apostatize from a profession of religion. Many who “professed” to love me will then show that they had no “real” attachment to me; and in those trying times it will be seen that they knew nothing of genuine Christian love.” (Barne’s Notes)
Here is the heart of the matter as I see it — the day is soon approaching when believers will fall away from the faith and be offended in their hearts as the common, ordinary pace of life gets impacted by the return of Jesus Christ to THIS earth!
“There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Lk 21:25-26)
I am not really a gardener but I know that many people are. Imagine this scenario then: those who have put their heart and soul into gardening may question their faith and lose heart when they see that the weather patterns will just not allow for an abundant crop.
Or imagine another scenario of a hunter or fisherman: the earth will be subjected to many different upheavals (earthquakes, pestilence, floods, etc.) in the transition of this present age to the age to come and as the earth prepares to receive the King of kings and the fish just stop biting or the trophy buck doesn’t show up anymore. This may drive those same people away from their faith and harden their hearts toward God.
I think we will be tried and tried in EVERY AREA until we either surrender completely and fully to Jesus or we fall away, offended by the subjection of the earth to His Coming and to the “success” of antichrist in his satanic, horrific attempt to rid the planet of Christianity!
Whether your hobby (passion) is golfing, boating, football, Frisbee, woodworking, BINGO, coin collecting, etc. as the end of the age draws nearer and nearer, all these things will come against the rampant general “lawlessness and cold love” until there is nothing left but Jesus! Rather surrender to Him now than to have it all ripped away in the end…
Jesus directs His listeners to “the days of Noah” to compare the turbulent times at the end of this present age, 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.(Mtt. 24:37-39)
“The special point of the analogy is not that the generation that was swept away by the Flood was exceptionally wicked; none of the occupations mentioned are sinful; but that it was so absorbed in its worldly pursuits that it paid no attention solemn warnings.” (Plummer, Exegetical Commentary)
Our Father in Heaven longs for a “pure and spotless Bride” for His Son! He wants us “awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor 1:7) when He returns and we must go through many refining fires that will try us and test us. Let us determine NOW to be found faithful and watching as the servant in the parable Jesus told us:
“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.” (Mtt 24: 45-46)
Faithful to the end,