The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Matthew Chapter 24: Read Here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/24?lang=eng
After being in the temple with his disciples, Jesus and His disciples were looking at the buildings of the temple.
‘And Jesus said unto them,
“See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
‘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” (Matthew 24:2-3)?
Disciples of Jesus Christ have always wondered about these two things: When will Jesus come again? When will the end of the world come?
I Wonder When He Comes Again
I wonder, when he comes again, will herald angels sing?
Will earth be white with drifted snow, or will the world know spring?
I wonder if one star will shine far brighter than the rest;
Will daylight stay the whole night through? Will songbirds leave their nests?
I’m sure he’ll call his little ones together ’round his knee,
Because he said in days gone by, “Suffer them to come to me.”
I wonder, when he comes again, will I be ready there
To look upon his loving face and join with him in prayer?
Each day I’ll try to do his will and let my light so shine
That others seeing me may seek for greater light divine.
Then, when that blessed day is here, He’ll love me and he’ll say,
“You’ve served me well, my little child; come unto my arms to stay.”
I wonder when He comes again, will all the nations bring
Their children to His waiting arms to hear the angels sing?
And as they heed His loving voice, and seek His outstretched hands,
Will children of the world rejoice to finally understand:
That only, as we do His will can happiness increase.
That love, alone, can make this world a haven of His peace?
Words and music: Mirla Greenwood Thayne
It didn’t happen in their day, and it hasn’t happened in the 2,000 years since; but, it will happen. So in a large degree Jesus’s words are essentially for us here and now.
We are told “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30); and, “perfect love casteth out all fear” (1 John 4:18; Moroni 8:16). Also, I think that we should feel much the same way as Alma felt concerning the Lord’s First Coming: “Would to God that it might be in my day; but let it be sooner or later, in it I will rejoice” (Alma 13:25).
So, whether I see Christ’s Second Coming while yet in my mortal body and here behold His face, or whether He is there to greet me at my death, this chapter can serve to help us prepare to meet Him. The Savior gives us a good list of signs: of things to watch for, beware of, and to be prepared for.
Signs, Warnings, and Admonitions
‘And Jesus answered and said unto them,
- “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (vs. 4-5).
- “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (vs. 6-7).
- “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places”’ (vs. 7).
Further thought: Are some of these calamities brought about because the wars the world engages in? Do these calamities serve to shift our focus away from fighting to working together and caring for one another? Are they then, in a way, wake up calls, a call to repentance, another plea for us to turn back to Him?
- “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (vs. 8).
We have seen the beginning of the end. The early disciple suffered many things because of their belief in the Lord. All true disciples must be willing to do so, and according to the next verses; we, in these latter days, who are witnessing the signs, will not be exempt.
- “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (vs. 9).
- “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another” (vs. 10).
Further thoughts: Will we be offended and give up when discipleship becomes difficult? When the breach between societies and followers of the Lord, of His truths and His righteousness, widens ever so greatly? When we are persecuted? Many Christians in the world are being persecuted severely right now. Are we willing to endure all things we are called upon to endure for the Lord? (See Philippians 4:8; Articles of Faith 1:13)
- “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (vs. 11).
Further thoughts: So many teachers who profess to teach the gospel have twisted it (and will continue to do so), by speaking things that are easy and pleasant to their followers, who do not want to repent and “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny [them]selves of all ungodliness” (Moroni 10:32) and be saved; but, they would rather feel good in doing evil. We find salvation in Him and in His words, not in the philosophies of men, nor the words of those deceivers which speak pleasantries and divert us from the Lord, Who is our Way back to our Heavenly Father.
- “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (vs. 12-13).
Iniquity does abound because of false teaching right now. And many are angry and hate one another because they believe differently; and they insist on being right, or they say there is not one right way. While we as Christians, as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, will be the subjects of hatred; we must not hate those who choose to be our enemies in return. But we honor our Savior’s teaching, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt 5:44). We need to also “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10). Their souls are precious to Him, and they should be to us. Are we living our lives in such a way that we are an example to others?
- “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (vs. 14).
More doors have been opened in our lifetimes. Walls have come down. Many missionaries have served and are serving now; but, there are still areas where the gospel has not yet been preached. It is happening, and it will happen.
At this point of the chapter, the Lord also gives us a “to do” list, along with the signs and warnings.
- “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, Stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand” (vs. 15).
I love this scripture as well:
“Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen” (Doctrine and Covenants 87:8).
Essentially if our stand is with Christ, we are standing in holy places; if our stand is in opposition to Christ or to his teachings or to his prophets, then we are standing on evil and shaky ground.
Further thoughts: We must be prepared ahead of time. We must be prepared to do whatever the prophets have taught us, and are teaching us, and whatever the Spirit tells us. We won’t have time to make further preparations when the day of preparation is past.
- We must be prepared to flee.
a. “Then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains” (vs.16):
b. “Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house” (vs. 17):
c. “Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes” (vs. 18).
d. “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days” (vs. 19)!
e. “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” (vs. 20):
Why must we be prepared to flee?
- “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this
time, no, nor ever shall be.a. “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved:b. “but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (vs. 21-22).
Further thoughts: We will need to have full faith in Jesus Christ and full trust in the Spirit to remain faithful. But God will shorten the days to ensure the elect’s safety.
If we have studied the gospel and followed the teachings of our Savior and of His prophets past and present, we will know that our safety lies in continuing to do so. We have the scriptures. We have a living prophet. We also have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost, which is constant and true and will not lead us astray.
What things then are necessary for us to do to remain faithful, to be prepared, and to not be deceived?
The Savior admonishes us further concerning false teachers and false saviors. Do we recognize Him now? Do we know who He is and who He is not? We’ll need to develop the ability to recognize truth, if we have not already done so. And it is certain that we will not recognize the truth, without studying His words and living by His teachings.
- “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (vs. 23-24).
“Behold, I have told you before” (vs. 25).
We cannot say that we have not been warned.
“Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (vs.26-28).
When Jesus comes again, it will be obvious to all of us.
- “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:
- “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
- “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (vs. 29-31).
Then Jesus reemphasizes the truth of the things that He has taught, by teaching them again with parables:
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (32-33).
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (vs. 34-36).
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 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, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (vs. 37-39).
“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (vs. 40-41).
- “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
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.” (vs. 42-43).
- “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (vs. 44)
- Be faithful and wise.
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 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, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (vs. 45-51).
- Endure to the end.