The End of the Age
Text: Matthew 24 : 1 - 32
The disciples of Jesus asked Him to explain three things they were concerned about – the destruction of the temple, His return and the end of the age (Cf. Matthew 24:3). Jesus had already dealt with the first two aspects (Matthew 24:4-28), and now He focused on giving an answer to the third question – “the end of the age”.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun
will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens
will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear
in heaven, 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. 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.”
“The powers of the heavens will be shaken”
How do we understand the language that Jesus used in this text?
1. Figurative language?
Some have argued that these words are to be taken figuratively.
2. Language to be taken literally?
Others have argued that these words are to be taken literally.
3. Tracing the language Jesus used
It is important that we trace the language that Jesus used. The phrases used remind us of the language that Isaiah employed in his book.
“Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand!
It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
Therefore all hands will be limp,
Every man’s heart will melt,
And they will be afraid.
Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them;
They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth;
They will be amazed at one another;
Their faces will be like flames.
Behold, the day of the Lord comes,
Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger,
To lay the land desolate;
And He will destroy its sinners from it.
For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not give their light;
The sun will be darkened in its going forth,
And the moon will not cause its light to shine.
I will punish the world for its evil,
And the wicked for their iniquity;
I will halt the arrogance of the proud,
And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.”
SIGNIFICANCE OF ISAIAH’S PROPHECY
The following things may be highlighted as we study Isaiah’s prophetic word.
1. The Day of the Lord
The context of these events is with reference to “The Day of the Lord”. Consistently, this phrase is used to describe the day when the Lord would come and judge the earth.
2. Frightening cosmic signs
Cosmic signs like the sun and moon not giving their light are frightening thoughts indeed. These signs portend great disaster! If they frighten people, they should. These signs were given to display both the power and the wrath of God.
3. Judgment of the wicked in full view
There were many who doubt that there would be a judgment day. Yet there is no mistaking this clear and awesome teaching in the prophetic sections of the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus also clearly endorsed this teaching.
4. Jesus is that Lord returning to judge the world
The average Jewish reader of the Hebrews Scriptures would think that the Person who would come and judge the world would be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. However, Jesus made it very clear that the prophecies in the Old Testament that made reference to “the Lord” in the apocalyptic references (“The day of the Lord”) were a reference to Him! He was the Lord!
5. He will return with great glory and power
Those who rejected Him as the Messiah now must carefully consider what they were doing! On what basis had they rejected Him as the Messiah? What if they were wrong in their judgment? What would happen to them if it was proven that Jesus is indeed the Lord who will return to judge the wicked?
Would they not be too late to admit that they were wrong after all? Their mourning and grieving would avail them nothing when Jesus comes with His angels to judge the world! When would be the appropriate time to recognize Jesus as Saviour?