A Bible Study:
The Revelation to John
May 30, 2006
The Prophecies of Jesus In Matthew
A Study of The Revelation to John
By Bernie Parsons - May 30, 2006
A Study of Matthew Chapter 24:34-51
Matthew 24:34: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
Jesus plainly stated that those things would take place before that generation had passed. I have heard and read many commentators on this statement work hard to explain that “generation does not mean generation”. Instead, they say, it means dispensation of time. They ignore, not only the context, which is about the destruction of Jerusalem, but also other statements that Jesus and the apostles made.
Matthew 16:27: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
28: Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
Mark 9:1: “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”
Luke 9:26: “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
27: But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”
These three writers all attribute a statement to Jesus regarding those who were alive at the time of Jesus, some of whom would still be living to:
(1) See the Son of man coming in His kingdom.
(2) Have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
(3) See the kingdom of God.
These are the same statement, as told by the three different men. The coming of Jesus is the same as the coming of the kingdom of God with power, and the same as the kingdom of God. Some argue that the kingdom of God was established at the time of Jesus’ death. Some say the kingdom came with the preaching of Peter and the other apostles at Pentecost.
The kingdom was actually being established at the time of the ministry of John the Baptist.
Matthew 3:1: “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2: And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3: For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Jesus also said that the kingdom of heaven existed from the days of John the Baptist.
Matthew 11:12: “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Luke 16:16: “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”
Jesus also preached that the kingdom was at hand.
Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
He also declared that His ability to cast out evil spirits signified that the kingdom had come.
Matthew 12:28: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”
Because it was the end of the age, God was going to remove offenders from the kingdom.
Matthew 13:40: “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41: The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42: And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43: Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
The Jews who refused the Messiah would be removed from the kingdom. The coming destruction of Jerusalem would destroy them. With the removal of the temple, and the Jewish hierarchy, the ekklesia would shine in its stead.
Matthew 21:42: “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43: Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
44: And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
45: And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.”
Matthew 23:13: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”
The kingdom was begun with the life of Jesus. He was the chief cornerstone of the foundation. The apostles and the prophets—who had prophesied of the coming Messiah, and the great judgment—were the foundation of the kingdom.
1 Corinthians 3:11: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 2:20: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”
Luke 13:28: “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
29: And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
30: And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
31: The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
32: And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
33: Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
34: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
35: Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
The kingdom would not be established in a worldy, natural sense of a kingdom.
Luke 17:20: “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
The kingdom that began with the preaching of John the Baptist would not be fully realized until the end of the Jewish age. The sacrifice of animals in Jerusalem would continue to be a stumbling block until that practice was forever removed. Then, the kingdom would shine in all of its glory.
John 18:36: “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
The kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom—it is heavenly, and therefore, spiritual.
Luke 19:11: “And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.”
What follows in Luke 19 is a parable about Jesus going away, to return some future day to bring judgment. This is speaking of that great day of God’s judgment upon Jerusalem, and all Judaea.
To return to the passage that sparked my discussion of the kingdom, let us recall:
Matthew 24:34: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
Generation means generation. The kingdom was begun with the preaching of John, Jesus was laid as the chief cornerstone, and the apostles became the foundation under it. However, the kingdom was not brought to its height of glory until the end of the Jewish age, which officially ceased when the temple, the city, and the country were destroyed by the armies under the Roman commanders, Vespasian and Titus in AD 70. Then was when that generation saw the kingdom of God come with power and glory.
The apostle John was told that he might be allowed to live to see the Lord come again. Unless John is about 2,000 years old, the Lord’s return was to that generation!
John 21:20: “Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
21: Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22: Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
23: Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”
Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
There was rebellion of God’s people on earth, fueled by rebellion on high.
Revelation 12:7: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8: And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9: And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
2 Peter 2:4: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;”
Jude 1:6: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
God cleaned house. He removed the disobedient angels from heaven, and the disobedient Jews from the kingdom on earth.
Isaiah 13:9: “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
10: For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
11: And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
12: I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
13: Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.”
Psalms 18:7: “Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.”
Psalms 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2: Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3: Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4: There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5: God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6: The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.”
Isaiah 2:17: “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
18: And the idols he shall utterly abolish.
19: And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
20: In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;
21: To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
22: Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?”
Luke 21:26: “Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
Matthew 24:29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”
Hebrews 12:22: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23: To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24: And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
25: See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
26: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27: And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28: Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29: For our God is a consuming fire.”
The heaven and earth that then was would be shaken, changed—ended. The old heaven and earth would be ended, and a new heaven and a new earth would emerge from the shaking. In this new heaven and earth, disobedience and unrighteousness would be removed from God’s people, whether in heaven or on earth.
Isaiah 65:15: “And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name:
16: That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.
17: For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
18: But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.”
Isiah 66:22: “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
23: And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
24: And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
2 Peter 3:7: “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11: Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12: Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13: Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
In the fiery indignation of God’s wrath and vengeance, the old heavens and earth, where unrighteousness persisted in the kingdom of God, would now be cleansed, and only the righteous would reside in heaven, and in the kingdom on earth.
Recall that Jesus was speaking of the passing of that generation, and of the heaven and earth of that generation. The end of the Jewish age was coming, and the kingdom of God would shine in its purity, and its glory. Here are those verses again:
Matthew 24:34: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35: Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Revelation 21:5: “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
Matthew 24:36: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
Much has been made of this scripture. Many say that it is impossible to know when the Lord was coming. That is not what Jesus said. He was clearly giving them signs of His coming, in answer to their question.
Matthew 24:3: “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
He had just given them the signs, and He followed up by stating that He could not pinpoint the day and the hour. He did not even say that they could not know the year. The signs would point to the general time frame, but He could not give them a specific day and hour. This is why He told them to watch. Otherwise, they might squander their lives until the day and hour, and then hope to put things right with God. God wanted them to be righteous, ever watchful, and ready for the judgment, when it should come.
Matthew 24:37: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38: For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39: And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Many would be caught unaware, just as when the great flood overtook Noah’s generation.
Hebrews 11:7: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”
1 Peter 3:20: “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”
2 Peter 2:5: “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;”
In other words, sufficient warnings had been given, but the unrighteous would not heed in the generation of the apostles, just as the unrighteous had not heeded in the days of Noah.
Matthew 24:40: “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41: Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
This blows a hole in the theory that at “The Second Coming” all activity would cease, all will be judged instantaneously, and the separation of righteous from unrighteous will happen in the blink of an eye, while the earth explodes into smithereens.
One is taken, while one is left. What does it mean to be taken? Maybe, like the unrighteous were taken by the flood, while the righteous entered the safety of the ark, in the generation of the apostles, the righteous will flee the country to safety, while the the unrighteous will be taken by the flood of soldiers that comes to devastate the land, as is God’s will.
Or, it might mean that the righteous who were alive at the coming of the Lord would be suddenly taken, while the unrighteous were left behind to endure the afflictions that the Lord was about to pour out on Judaea and Jerusalem.
1 Corinthians 15:50: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
In the above instance, the apostle Paul indicates that the righteous who were still alive at the coming of the Lord would be “changed”. Since flesh and blood cannot inherit the eternal kingdom, a change would have to take place. What change? If the physical bodies of the Christians were to perish through disease, famine, or the sword, would not the Christians be changed? The spirit would be liberated from the body. The body was not going into the eternal heavens, but would remain as the dust of the earth from whence it was taken.
Ecclesiastes 12:7: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
Matthew 24:42: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43: But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44: Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
The watchword here is watchfulness. The son of man comes when the armies come, as we have already seen. This is the judgment of God on an unfaithful house of Judah.
1 Thessalonians 5:1: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2: For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3: For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4: But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5: Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6: Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7: For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8: But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9: For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10: Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”
The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 is about watchfulness. Watchfulness is mentioned often by Jesus and the apostles. Mark’s account reads thusly:
Mark 13:32: “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
33: Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
34: For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
35: Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
36: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37: And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
To illustrate that Jesus was talking about the actual day and hour, Jesus mentions that the master could return at evening, at midnight, when the cock crows, or later in the morning. Watchfulness and readiness are therefore commanded.
Here is Luke’s account:
Luke 12:37: “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
38: And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
39: And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
40: Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.”
Luke 21:32: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
33: Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
34: And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35: For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36: Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
1 Peter 4:7: “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
Matthew 24:43: “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44: Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
45: Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46: Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47: Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48: But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49: And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50: The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51: And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The point was being made that those of that generation to whom Jesus and the apostles preached must be ready and watchful, because, although they could recognize the signs of the events leading to the coming of Christ, they could not know the exact hour and day of His visitation!