End Times Overview (Matthew 24)

The end times offer no end of fascination for the believer.  Since the return of Christ to the right hand of God, believers have longed to understand how things would play out when Christ returned to reign.

Of course, there are multiple schools of thought on the return of Christ and the order and timing of events surrounding that.  It can seem inane to say this (or rude to those who hold a different view), but instead of starting with a particular theological position, I base my understanding on the straightforward reading of Scripture.  It's inane to say so, because so claims everyone else, and yet as I said before, there are multiple schools of thought regarding the end times.  Everyone can't be right.

All things will work out in only one way (or already has, depending on your view), so only one view will be proved correct.  There are experts on every side who will give a vigorous defense of their position, and therein lies the problem.  Who is right?  So instead of turning to scholars and experts, I turn to the Scriptures to try to make sense of things myself.  Sorry if that sounds arrogant, but I do believe that God intended His Scriptures to be understandable to the layman, especially to those who endeavor to faithfully submit to and walk according to those Scriptures.  Regardless of who is right, God will fulfill His Word exactly as He intended and we will eventually all know the truth, and all who believe in Him will be united with Him.

If I have a wrong understanding, I still love those who saw things differently.  If I'm right, I still love those who disagree with me.  Our view of the unfolding of end times events, even if mistaken, will not keep us out of Eternity with Christ.

But that doesn't keep me from being curious and trying to do what I can to prepare for the end.  As such, I have gained some confidence in my understanding and have been so bold as to teach through the Book of Revelation.  A few years back, when preparing to do so in China, I put together the following basic outline of events based on Matthew 24.  Mark 13 and Luke 21 echo Matthew 24, but I find Matthew's record to be the most detailed.  Revelation, obviously, goes much further than any of these Gospel passages, but these lay a foundation to help me read and understand Revelation.

What follows is really just a distillation of Matthew 24, with little or no commentary.  But there is an order, and Jesus meant for those who read it to be able to understand what He was telling them.  I've also brought in related passages, to define the terms Jesus used.  And I have left the Chinese translation in for the benefit of any who might appreciate it.

End Times Overview - Mt 24  末日概述 - 马太福音24章

Temple Destroyed/圣殿毁灭了 (1-2)
  • Related to Christ's Return and End of Age/与基督的降临和世界的末了有关系 (3)
False Christs seek to deceive Believers/假基督要迷惑信徒 (4-5)
Wars and rumors of wars--don't be alarmed/打仗和打仗的风声--不要惊慌 (6)
Peoples and kingdoms rise up against each other; famines, earthquakes--beginning of birth pains/民打民、国打国,多饥荒,多地震--灾难的起头 (6-8)
Persecution and murder of Christians, hated by all peoples/逼迫杀害基督徒,被万民恨恶 (9-13)
  • Many turn away from faith, betray and hate each other/许多信徒放弃信心、彼此陷害、彼此恨恶 (10)
  • False prophets deceive many people/假先知迷惑多人 (11)
  • Love of most grow cold in face of increased wickedness/因不法的是增多,许多人的爱冷淡了 (12)
  • He who stands firm to end will be saved/忍耐到底的才得救 (13)
Gospel must be preached in whole world as testimony--then the end comes/福音传到世纪各地,作见证--末期才来 (14)
"Abomination of Desolation" (Daniel) stands in holy place, then unequaled distress/行毁坏可憎的(但以理)站在圣地,就有无可比的灾难 (15-22)
  • Those in Judea should flee to mountains/在犹太的应当逃到山上 (16)
  • Don't go back for things, just run/不回去拿东西,就逃跑 (17-18)
  • Hard on pregnant and nursing women/怀孕的和奶孩子的有祸了 (19)
  • Pray it doesn't happen in winter or on a Sabbath/求逃走的时不是冬天或安息日 (20)
  • Great distress unlike ever before or ever again begins/从来没有和后来也没有这么大的灾难 (21)
    • If not cut short, no one would survive, but cut short for sake of elect/那日子若不减少,没有一人能得救 (22)
  • "Abomination of Desolation"/“行毁坏可憎的”
    • Daniel/但以理 9:25-27
      • 70 Sevens/七十个七
      • From decree to rebuild Jerusalem to coming of Anointed One: 7 Sevens and 62 Sevens/从出令重建耶路撒冷直到受膏君的时候:七个七和六十二个七
      • After 62 Sevens, Anointed One cut off, Jerusalem and temple destroyed; war and desolations continue until end/六十二个七之后,受膏君被剪除,耶路撒冷和圣所毁灭了;争战和荒凉的事继续到底
      • "He" makes covenant with "many" for 1 Seven/“他”与许多人坚定一个七的盟约(最后的一个七,第七十个七)
      • Middle of Seven, "he" ends offerings and sacrifices and sets up abomination of desolation in *temple*, until his decreed end/一七之半,“他”使祭祀和供献止息,并设立行毁坏可憎的(在圣殿里)
      • Compare Daniel 11:30-39/与但以理11:30-39对比
    • Daniel/但以理 12:10-12
      • Many purified, made spotless and refined; wicked continue to be wicked/许多人使自己洁净、被熬炼;恶人仍行恶
      • Wicked won't understand, wise will/恶人不能明白,惟独智慧人能明白
      • From abolition of daily sacrifice and setting up of abomination of desolation will be 1290 days/从除掉日献的燔祭并设立行毁坏可憎之物的时侯,必有1290日
      • Blessed are those who wait for and reach end of 1335 days/等到1335日的,那人便为有福
    • 2 Thessalonians/帖撒罗尼迦后书 2:1-12
      • Regarding coming of Christ and our gathering to Him/至于耶稣降临和我们到祂那里聚集
      • Don't believe false reports that day of Lord has already come/不要信假信息,说主的日子现在到了
      • Day will not come until rebellion occurs and man of lawlessness is revealed/那日子来之前,必先有离道反教的事,并那大罪人必显露出来
      • Man of lawlessness exalts self over all worshiped, sets himself in *temple* claiming to be God/那大罪人要高抬自己,超过一切受人敬拜的(包括主),甚至坐在*神的殿里*,自称是神
      • Previously warned by Paul/保罗曾警告过
      • Man of lawlessness being held back for now/大罪人暂时被拦阻了
      • Once revealed, man of lawlessness will be destroyed by Jesus/大罪人(不法的人)显露出来之后,耶稣要灭绝他
      • Lawless man's coming will be with Satanic miracles, signs and wonders, deceiving those who are perishing because they refused to love the truth/不法的人来,就照着撒旦的异能、神迹、和虚假的奇事,来欺骗那些因不肯爱真理就要沉沦的人
      • God sends powerful delusion on perishing so they will be condemned for not believing the truth but delighting in wickedness/神就给那些沉沦的人一个生发错误的心,叫他们因不信真里倒喜爱不义都被定罪
Don't believe claims of Christ's return/不要信人说基督回来了 (23-26)
  • False Christs and false prophets perform great signs to deceive even elect/假基督、假先知显达神迹、大奇事,连选民试着迷惑 (24)
  • Jesus warns ahead of time/耶稣预先警告 (25)
  • Don't believe anyone who says Jesus returned in the desert or in an inner room/不要信任何人说耶稣在旷野里或在内屋中 (26)
Jesus' Return Obvious to Whole World/耶稣的降临对全世界都显然 (27-31)
  • Like lightning visible from east to west or vultures signaling a carcass/想闪电从东边发出直照到西边,或鹰的聚集显露尸首的位置 (27-28)
  • Sun darkened, moon gives no light, stars of heaven fall/日头变黑了,月亮不发光,众星坠落 (29)
  • Sign of Jesus in sky, all nations mourn as they see Him come on clouds/耶稣的兆头显在天上,万族看祂来就要哀哭 (30)
  • He sends angels to gather elect from whole world/耶稣当时差遣天使将选民都招聚来 (31)
Understand Timing/看清时代 (32-44)
  • Fig tree signals coming of summer, so these signs signal nearness of Christ/如无花果表明夏天来了,这些事也表明耶稣的降临近了 (32-33)
  • Jesus' generation would experience all these signs/耶稣那个时代会尽力所有这些事 (34)
  • Jesus' words will never pass away/耶稣的话不能废去 (35)
  • Day and hour unknown even to angels and Jesus/那日、那时辰,连天使和耶稣都不知道 (36)
  • Life will go on an normal as possible, just like in days of Noah/生活照长运行,正如诺亚的日子一样 (37-39)
  • People taken in the midst of everyday life/在日常生活中,取去一个,撇下一个 (40-41)
  • Keep watch, because you do not know the day/要儆醒,因不知道主哪一天来到 (42-44)
Keep Watch!/保持监视! (45-51)
  • Servants must faithfully carry out assigned duties/仆人要衷心地进行主所派的任务 (45)
  • Faithful servants rewarded with greater responsibility/衷心的仆人得到更大的责任 (46-47)
  • Servants who take advantage of other servants in master's absence will be surprised by His return/恶仆人在主不在的时就苦待同伴们,又浪费生命(吃喝玩乐),主人的到来就震惊那恶仆人 (48-50)
  • Faithless servants cast into hell/不衷心的仆人扔进地狱 (51)