MATTHEW 24 - THE CLOSING SCENES
Updated: Jul 5, 2020
Matthew 24 is an outline of the major events to happen in our future, including religious laws, a death decree upon the saints, the saints fleeing to the wilderness, Satan personating Christ and the final deliverance of God's people.
presented by M Simpson, R Paterson & www.returnofelias.org
"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 24:3
verses 1-4 When would the temple be destroyed?
"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him 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?"
In His answer the two events - the destruction of Jerusalem, and the end of the world - were merged into one. It was in mercy to His disciples that Christ blended these events, leaving them to study out the meaning for themselves.
“This entire discourse [Matt 24] was given not for the disciples only, but for those who should live in the last scenes of this earthʼs history.” DA 628.
“The prophecy which He uttered was TWO-FOLD in its meaning; while foreshadowing the destruction of Jerusalem, it prefigured also the terrors of the last great day.” GC 25.
“The ruin of Jerusalem was a symbol of the final ruin that shall overwhelm the world. The prophecies that received a partial fulfillment in the overthrow of Jerusalem have A MORE DIRECT APPLICATION to the last days.” MB 120.
This study looks at the last, more direct, application of Christʼs prophecy.
verses 4-5 Deceivers will be common
"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."
Deception will be common in the end. Many false Christs shall arise and deceive many. Many professed Christians will be deceived. The 20th century saw an abundance of people claiming to be Christ. The 21st Century has the following false Christs.
FALSE CHRISTS IN THE 21st CENTURY - WIKIPEDIA
See Wikipedia for the list of people claiming to be Christ in the 18th to 20th century - quite a list for the 20th.
verses 6-8 Wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes
"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. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
Wars and rumors of war will rage in the last days. The 20th century was a very bloody if not the bloodiest century of all. “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: ...Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” [Matt. 24:6-8].
“Much of the progress achieved in recent decades toward improving human health is now at risk. We stand on the brink of a global crisis in infectious disease. No country is safe.” World Health Organization, The World Health Report, 1996
There was AIDS, then SARS.......and then there is COVID 19.
While these prophecies received a partial fulfillment at the destruction of Jerusalem, they have a MORE DIRECT APPLICATION in the last days.” 5T 753 (1899).
What we are seeing is described by Jesus as the beginning of sorrows. More man made sorrow awaits the human family and “These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast.” GC 590
verse 9 - Afflicted and persecuted worldwide
"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."
Jesus warned that his people would be persecuted and even killed for the faith, for standing in defence of truth. True Christians will be hated the world over, especially those who uplift the Law of God.
“...prior to the last closing conflict, many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be MARTYRS for Christʼs sake in standing in defence of the truth...You will not be tempted above what you are able to bear. Jesus bore all this and far more.” 3SM 397.
The two powers of Revelation 13, the beast and his image will be instrumental in the final movements of earth's history and in the final persecution of God's people whose only crime is to uplift the Bible and the Law of God.
"And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." Revelation 13:15
verse 10 - Betrayed
"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another."
“Those who are true to God will be menaced, denounced, proscribed. They WILL BE “BETRAYED both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends,” even unto death. (Luke 21:16).” PK 588. In the coming crisis, God's people will be betrayed by so called friends, church brethren and even unbelieving parents.
"And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Matthew 10:36
verse 11 - False prophets
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many."
As noted above, many have arisen and claimed to be Jesus incarnated and it is astounding how well educated people fall for the lies of these false Christs. As Jesus said to the Jews: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." Matthew 23:15. The false teachers and false Christs of today reaping millions of dollars from gullible followers who think they are being offered eternal life but are actually being made twofold more a child of hell in accepting false teachings from these apostate pastors, ministers, priests and churches.
The apostate Protestant churches will be rife with false prophets and teachers deceiving multitudes into observing Sunday in place of Saturday, the Lordʼs seventh day Sabbath.
"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? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you." Matthew 24:3,4
verse 12 - Iniquity will abound
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
Iniquity or Sin will, and even now, abounds everywhere even in the Christian church. Society has become so iniquitous that disrespect and disregard of the Law of God is demonstrated on every front even with the highly intellectual and from the least educated to the highly educated. Sexual immorality is rife in Christian countries. Pornography is easily accessible to minors with smart phones. Women are sexually abused and murdered and not uncommonly have a number of men as biological fathers to their children. Divorce is the norm, even 57% in the USA at last count and maybe even higher now. Murders abound. Mind altering drugs and alcohol is the happy juice of many. The scriptures teach "...for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived." Rev 18:23 The Greek word translated sorceries is 'pharmakeia' from which we get the word Pharmacy, a place which dispenses drugs. The nations would be deceived by the use of drugs, legal or illegal.
Sexual abuse of children and women by devilish elements in society is being exposed on a massive scale and the professed christian church is deeply involved. Thieving and lying is a way of life. Reckless, lawless behaviour by youth leaves adults and Police unable to control the situation. The professed Christian world is reaping its own harvest of putting aside the Bible as a guiding principle in the life and neglecting the Law of God, of allowing the freedom to iniquitous practises to gradually erode the family unit, and hence the local church, community, city and country.
Laws enforcing Sunday observance in place of the the Lord's Seventh Day Sabbath will be passed. (See on Revelation 13). “In the prophecy of Jerusalemʼs destruction Christ said, “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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.” This prophecy will AGAIN be fulfilled.” DA 633.
verse 13 - Endure
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
To endure is to overcome temptation and sin. Those that endure will have all earthly support cut off (they will not be able to buy and sell. Rev 13:17) Those who endure ridicule, persecution and even death unto the end shall be saved.
verse 14 - Gospel preached then shall the END come
"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."
Probation will close for the planet
The gospel has been preached to all the world. It is accepted or rejected.
“The third angelʼs message is to be sounded by true Christians. It is to swell to the loud cry. The Lord has a time appointed when He will bind off the work; but when is that time? When the truth proclaimed for these last days shall go forth as a witness to all nations, THEN SHALL THE END COME.” PM 389-390. When the gospel has gone to all the world and everyone has chosen for or against Christ, “then shall the end come.” Jesus will then cease His ministration in the sanctuary in heaven. As in Noahʼs day all will have chosen and the door to salvation will be closed (Rev 22:10-11). Then as the Flood came upon the wicked world, so the seven last plagues will fall on those who received the mark of the beast (Rev 16:2). The following verse (v15) says when ye THEREFORE see the abomination of desolation flee...” That is, in view of probation having closed in verse14 the saints can cease evangelism and flee to the wilderness. When the abomination of desolation is seen all cases will have been decided, probation will have closed.
Outline of end-time events
“I saw that the four angels would hold the four winds until Jesusʼ work was DONE in the sanctuary, and then will come the SEVEN LAST PLAGUES. These plagues enraged the wicked against the righteous; they thought that we had brought the judg- ments of God upon them, and that if they could rid the earth of us, the plagues would then be stayed. A DECREE WENT FORTH TO SLAY the saints, which caused them to cry day and night for deliverance. This was the time of JACOBʼs TOUBLE. Then all the saints cried out with anguish of spirit, and were delivered by the VOICE OF GOD.” E. G. White, Early Writings, p36-37. “When Jesus leaves the most holy, His re- straining Spirit is withdrawn from rulers and people. They are left to the control of evil angels. THEN such laws will be made by the counsel and direction of Satan, that unless time should be very short, no flesh could be saved [cf. Matt 24:22].” 1T 204
The Death Decree
The apostate Jews pressured the State to condemn Christ to death thinking “that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” (John 11:50). Apostate Christianity, believing that those who keep Godʼs Seventh day Sabbath, and refuse to receive the mark of the beast, are responsible for global calamities, will use the same arguments to pressure the State for a decree to slay them (Rev 13:15; 16:4- 7). This will cause the saints to cry day and night for deliverance.
“The decree which is to go forth against the people of God will be very SIMILAR to that issued by Ahasuerus against the Jews in the time of Esther.” 5T 450. That decree set a date upon which the Jews were to be slain. As Jacobʼs brother was coming to slay him (Gen 32:11) so ʻChristian brethren,ʼ led by the beast power, will unite to destroy the saints. This will be the time of Jacobʼs Trouble and the saints will be delivered out of it by the voice of God.
verse 15 The Abomination of Desolation = Roman armies of the wicked
"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:)"
By comparing Matthew 24:15 with Luke 21:20- 21 we learn that the “abomination of desolation” is “ARMIES.” See chart below.
In the first application the abomination of desolation was the PAGAN Roman ARMIES standing in the holy grounds surrounding Jerusalem. In the second worldwide application it will be the PAPAL Roman ʻARMIES,ʼ the “kings of the earth and of the whole world,” (Rev 16:14-16) gathered together in purpose to destroy the saints all over the world. These desolating ʻarmiesʼ are not trained soldiers but all those who are under Satanʼs dominion. “We are nearing the close of this earthʼs history, when two parties alone can exist, and every man, woman, and child will be in one of these ARMIES. Jesus will be the General of one army; of the opposing army, Satan will be the leader.” 3SM 422.
Standing in the holy place = Surrounding Jerusalem (cf. Matt 24:15; Luke 21:20).
Jerusalem symbolizes the world
“Christ saw in JERUSALEM a symbol of THE WORLD hardened in unbelief and rebellion, and hastening on to meet the retributive judgments of God.” E.G. White, Great Controversy, p22. “In JERUSALEM, Jesus beheld A SYMBOL OF THE WORLD that had rejected and despised His grace.” E.G. White, Mount of Blessing, p151.
“The ruin of JERUSALEM was a symbol of the final ruin that shall overwhelm the WORLD. The prophecies that received a partial fulfillment in the overthrow of Jeru- salem have a more direct application to the last days.” E.G. White, Mount of Blessing, p120-121.
As Israel condemned Christ before its destruction, so the end-time world will condemn the faithful before their destruction. As the saints in Jerusalem were surrounded by the Roman armies in AD66 so the saints worldwide will be surrounded by their enemies during the death decree.
Note: Jerusalem cannot here represent the church as Christ told His people to flee from Jerusalem and the whole of Judea. The faithful cannot flee from the church as they are the church.
Compassed [surrounded] with armies.
Godʼs people who live in the world will be surrounded by their enemies. “In the time of trouble, Satan stirs up the wicked, and they ENCIRCLE the people of God to destroy them.” RH Nov, 19, 1908.
“...a DECREE will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to DEATH. Romanism in the Old World and apostate Protestantism in the New will pursue a similar course toward those who honor all the divine precepts. The people of God will then be plunged into those scenes of affliction and distress described by the prophet as the time of JACOBʼs Trouble. Thus saith the Lord: We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. . . . All faces are turned into paleness. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacobʼs trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:5-7...As Satan influenced Esau to march against Jacob, so he will stir up the wicked to destroy Godʼs people in the time of trouble... Godʼs people will be SURROUNDED by enemies who are bent upon their destruction...” E.G. White, Great Controversy, p615-619.
“I saw the saints leaving the cities and villages, and associating together in companies, and living in the most solitary places.... In some places, before the time for the DECREE to be executed, the wicked rushed upon the saints to slay them; but angels in the form of men of war fought for them...They seemed to be SURROUNDED by the wicked inhabitants of the earth. Every appearance was against them.... Next came the multitude of the angry wicked, and next a mass of evil angels, hurrying on the wicked to slay the saints.” EW 282-283.
“The DECREE will go forth that they must disregard the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and honor the first day, or LOSE THEIR LIVES; but they will not yield, and trample under their feet the Sabbath of the Lord, and honor an institution of papacy. Satanʼs host and wicked men will SURROUND them, and exult over them, because there will seem to be no way of escape for them.” Mar 269.
“As Jacob was threatened with DEATH by his angry brother, so the people of God will be in peril from the wicked who are seeking to DESTROY them. And as the patriarch wrestled all night for deliverance from the hand of Esau, so the righteous will cry to God day and night for deliverance from the enemies that SURROUND them.” PP 201.
“The time of trouble was upon us. I saw our people in great distress, weeping and praying, pleading the sure promises of God, while the wicked were ALL AROUND US mocking us and threatening to DESTROY us.” 3SM 427.
verse 15 - Spoken of by Daniel the prophet
Jesus said these things were spoken of in the book of Daniel. These end-time events are clearly described in exact order in the latter parts of Daniel 11-12: See chart.
verse 15 - The holy place
Luke 21:20-21 shows that the “holy place” refers to the area surrounding “Jerusalem.” As mentioned Jerusalem symbolizes the end time world. As Satanʼs host SURROUNDED Christ (Read Ps 18), so in the end-time the wicked worldwide will SURROUND the saints worldwide and exult over them, because there will seem to be no way of escape. Daniel said the wicked would stand “in the glorious holy mountain.” The glorious holy mountain, Mount Zion, refers to the purified church. - see "The King of the North" study.
“That he might present it [the church] to himself a GLORIOUS church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be HOLY and without blemish.” Eph 5:27. “In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and GLORIOUS, and the fruit of the earth [shall be] excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, [that he that is] left in Zion, and [he that] remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called HOLY, [even] every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:” Isa 4:2-3.
verses 16-18 - Saints flee when death decree passed
"Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes."
The Sunday law will be a warning for the saints to leave the large cities PREPARATORY to leaving the smaller ones for the wilderness. When death is made the penalty for keeping the Sabbath in place of Sunday the saints will then flee all cities and towns for the wilderness:
“As the DECREE issued by the various rulers of Christendom against commandment keepers shall withdraw the protection of government and abandon them to those who desire their destruction, the people of God will FLEE from the CITIES AND VILLAGES and associate together in companies, dwelling in the most desolate and solitary places. Many will find refuge in the strongholds of the MOUNTAINS.” E.G. White, Great Controversy p626. Note: This passage draws heavily on Matt 24 language.
“Though a general DECREE has fixed the time when commandment keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified, will endeavour to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty guardians stationed about every faithful soul. Some are assailed in their FLIGHT FROM CITIES AND VILLAGES; but the swords raised against them break and fall powerless as a straw. Others are defended by angels in the form of men of war.” E.G. White, Great Controversy, p631.
verse 19 - Apostate Christians will suffer
"And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!"
As the apostate Jews suffered in AD 70 so apostate Christians will suffer under the plagues. (Luke 21:23; cf. Deut 28:53).
verse 20 - Winter or Sabbath
"But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:"
The flight will occur when it is Autumn in one hemisphere and Spring in the other thus avoiding the difficulties of winter for all. As the Spring feasts were fulfilled on the very day (Christ died as the Passover on the day of the Passover. He presented Himself as the FIrstfruits on the day of the Wavesheaf. He gave the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost etc.) so the Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled on the very day. Tabernacles occurs, i.e. in Autumn when it is not winter in either hemisphere. As in the feast of tabernacles the people lived away from home in booths so during the antitypical feast of tabernacles the saints will tabernacle in heaven following Christʼs return! We cannot however figure out the exact day before-hand as the days were counted from the observance of the New Moon and we cannot calculate when the New Moon will be “seen” in the year Christ returns. The Sabbath will be the last great issue. Jesus does not want us to flee on His holy Sabbath day either (Mark 2:28; Exo 20:8- 11; Isa 58:13).
verse 21 - Great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
Dan 12:1 “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a TIME OF TROUBLE, SUCH AS NEVER WAS since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be DELIVERED, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
“About four months since, I had a vision of events, all in the future. And I saw THE TIME OF TROUBLE, such as never was, Jesus told me it was the time of JACOBʼS TROUBLE, and that we should be delivered out of it by the voice of God.” E.G. White, The Day Star, 14 March 1846. “Jacob and Esau represent two classes. Jacob, the righteous; and Esau, the wicked. Jacobʼs night of wrestling and anguish repre- sents the TIME OF TROUBLE through which the people of God must pass just prior to the second coming of Christ. Jeremiah refers to this time: “Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great so that none is like it: it is even the time of JACOBʼS TROUBLE; but he shall be saved out of it. Daniel, in prophetic vision looking down to this point, says: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a TIME OF TROUBLE SUCH AS NEVER WAS since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book ...” Signs of the Times, 27 Nov. 1879.
As Jacob wrestled all night for deliverance from the hand of his brother Esau, so the righteous will cry to God day and night for deliverance from their ʻChristianʼ brethren that surround them and intend to destroy them. The passing of the death decree will begin the Great Tribulation for Godʼs people as the whole world prepare to destroy them. As Haman persuaded the King (State) to appoint a day for the destruction of the Jews (See Esther 3:9-14), so the apostate Christian world will persuade the State powers worldwide to appoint a day for the destruction of those who keep the commandments of God rather than receiving the mark of the beast. During the days leading up to the execution date the saints will cry to God day and night for deliverance.
verse 22 - Elect delivered. Those days shall be shortened
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
“Yet to human sight it will appear that the people of God must soon seal their testimony with their blood as did the martyrs before them... YET FOR THE ELECTʼS SAKE THE TIME OF TROUBLE WILL BE SHORTENED.” Great Controversy, p630-631.
“Elect” Gr, eklektos, “the chosen,” - the church cf. 1Pet 2:9. God has chosen to save those who choose to respond to the salvation He offers. “It was at midnight that God chose to deliver His people. As the wicked were mocking AROUND THEM, suddenly the sun appeared, shining in his strength, and the moon stood still. The wicked looked upon the scene with amazement, while the saints beheld with solemn joy the tokens of their deliverance. Signs and wonders followed in quick succession. Everything seemed turned out of its natural course. The streams ceased to flow. Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. But there was one clear place of settled glory, whence came the VOICE OF GOD like many waters, shaking the heav- ens and the earth.” E.G. White, Early Writings, p285.
As the wicked are poised to slay the saints the Voice of God will shake the heavens and the earth and deliver His people. The wicked realize that they are on the wrong side. They turn upon their leaders, those that deceived them (Rev 17:16-17). Everywhere there will be strife and blood- shed. There will be a mighty earthquake (Rev 16:18). The graves will open, and those who had died in the faith under the third angelʼs message (Rev 14:9-13), keeping the Sabbath, will come forth from their dusty beds, glorified, to hear the covenant of peace that God is to make with those who had kept His law.
The Special Resurrection
“And many [not all] of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life [those which died in faith under the 3rd angelʼs message], and some [those which pierced Christ, cf. Rev 1:7; Matt 26:64] to shame and everlasting contempt.” Dan 12:2.
verses 23-26 - “THEN”
"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. Behold, I have told you before. 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."
"THEN" - During the great tribulation of Jacobʼs Trouble, THEN after the end has come (v 14), THEN while the saints are crying for deliverance under the Death Decree. THEN Satan will appear as Christ in various parts of the earth. Matthew 24:21-23 describes the time of trouble and says “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not.” “The wrath of Satan increases as his time grows short [cf. Rev 12:12], and his work of deceit and destruction will reach its culmination IN THE TIME OF TROUBLE... As the CROWNING ACT in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will PERSONATE CHRIST. The church has long professed to look to the Saviourʼs advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE EARTH Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. Revelation 1:13-15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: “Christ has come! Christ has come!” The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Saviour uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion.” GC 623-624. (Note: in the Great Controversy the term “time of trouble” ALWAYS refers to a period AFTER probationʼs close. See GC 1911 edition pages 481, 594, 611, 613, 616, 618, 620, 622, 623, 630, 633, 634 and 648). It should also be noted that the Great Controversy is an evangelistic book indicating that it defines its own terms to all who read it.
SATAN'S LAST DESPARATE EFFORT
The threat of even death has not caused the saints to break Godʼs law and in a last desperate effort Satan appears as Christ... “Satan sees that he is about to lose his case [that men cannot keep the law of God. 8T 207]. He cannot sweep in the whole world. He makes one last DESPERATE EFFORT to overcome the faithful by deception. He does this in PERSONATING CHRIST... One effort more, and then Satanʼs LAST DEVICE is employed. He hears the unceasing cry for Christ to come, for Christ to deliver them. This last strategy is to personate Christ, and make them think their prayers are answered.” LDE 164-165.
The elect are disproving Satanʼs claim that man cannot keep the law of God. They are proving that there is no excuse for sinning. Though the decree has been passed condemning to death all who keep the Sabbath rather than the Beastʼs Sunday, the elect continue to keep the commandments of God. (Rev 14:12). Satan will make one last desperate effort to overcome the faithful by deception. He will do this by personating Christ. The plagues are in the earth, the saints know that anytime Christ is to return and deliver them. Satan hears the saintsʼ unceasing cry for Christ to come and deliver them so Satan appears as Christ in a counterfeit Second Coming to make them think their prayers are answered! But this answers to the last closing work, the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.
As the Lord discerned the deceiver in the wilderness, so Christʼs people will discern the deceiver when he comes, but the deceived world will accept him as Christ.
verses 27-28 - The Real Second Coming
"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."
The real return of Christ will be in the heavens with great glory. Every eye will see Him (Matt 24:30; Rev 1:7). It will be accompanied by: (a) The destruction of the wicked and the gathering together of the vultures to feed on their carcasses. (cf. Rev 19:17-18; Luke 17:26-37). (b) The resurrection of the saints and being caught up into the clouds to be with Christ. (1Thess 4:16-17).
verse 29 - Signs Immediately after the tribulation
"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:"
As the tribulation of the Dark Ages was cut short by the voice of God in the Reformation, so the voice of God from heaven will cut short the time of Jacobʼs trouble. The Lord will not permit his faithful people to perish at the hands of the wicked, for nothing would be gained by their sacrifice.
“December 16, 1848, the Lord gave me a view of the shaking of the powers of the heavens. I saw that when the Lord said “heaven,” in giving the signs recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, He meant heaven, and when He said “earth” He meant earth. The powers of heaven are the sun, moon, and stars. They rule in the heavens. The powers of earth are those that rule on the earth. The powers of heaven WILL BE SHAKEN AT THE VOICE OF GOD. Then the sun, moon, and stars WILL BE moved out of their places. They WILL not pass away, but be shaken by the voice of God.” E.G. White, Early Writings, p41.
verse 30 - Sign of the Son of Man
"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."
In the east a small black cloud will appear. It will be the sign of the Son of Man. "Behold HE cometh with clouds..." Revelation 1:7
verse 31 - The last trump
"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."
At the last trump (cf. 1Cor 15:52; 1Thess 4:16) the angels will gather together Christʼs people from the N.S.E.W. “...at that time thy people shall be deliered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Dan 12:1 All those FOUND worthy in the pre-advent investigative judgment will be raised to be with Christ from the four winds [N.S.E.W], from one end of heaven to the other. The living righteous are changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Angels “gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothersʼ arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to Christ and their mansions which await in the City of God. John 14:1-3
The experiences of Christ and His people, especially the end-time faithful, is very close. They are to go through much of what He did.
Q. Wonʼt Satan personate Christ BEFORE the close of probation? This is based on the idea that after the close of probation the saints can no longer sin and thus Satan must come before that time. However, just as Jesus could sin but did not, so after the close of probation the saints could sin but will not. The close of probation makes no difference to Satanʼs ability to tempt the saints or their ability to resist. Probation does not take away the saints power of choice or lessen Satanʼs chances of success. Q. Does the following quote show that the Abomination of desolation is the Sunday Law? “As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation [THE U.S.A] in the decree enforcing the papal sabbath will be a warning to us. It will then be time to LEAVE LARGE CITIES, PREPARATORY to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains.” 5T 464-465.
(a) Upon seeing the Abomination of desolation stand in the holy place we are to “FLEE” immediately. Jesus emphasized the urgency by saying... “Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” Matt 24:17-18. We are NOT to flee immediately to the mountains when we see the Sunday law passed in the US. The Sunday law in the U.S. will indicate that it is time to leave “large cities” “PREPARATORY to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the MOUNTAINS.” The Sunday law is not therefore the abomination of desolation.
(b) The Abomination of desolation is "Roman" armies not a Sunday law. (cf. Matt 24:15-16 and Luke 21:20-21).
(c) The holy place surrounding ʻJerusalemʼ is not the U.S.A but is worldwide because ʻJerusalemʼ represents world: “The city of Jerusalem represented the world, and the utterances regarding its destruction are to be connected with the worldʼs more terrible destruction.” ST, 20 Feb., 1901. Jerusalem of old symbolized the whole world.
(d) The Abomination of desolation will be the Roman ʻarmiesʼ of the wicked empowered by the Death decree coming to slay the saints. The saints are to flee immediatelly to the mountains and wilderness areas at the passing of the death decree. We are NOT to flee immediatelly to the mountains at the passing of the Sunday law in the U.S.A.
Q. When are the saints to FLEE to the mountains? “As the DECREE issued by the various rulers of Christendom against commandment keepers shall withdraw the protection of government and abandon them to those who desire their DESTRUCTION, the people of God will FLEE from the cities and villages and associate together in companies, dwelling in the most desolate and solitary places. Many will find refuge in the strongholds of the MOUNTAINS.” GC 626. This fulfills Matt 24. It speaks of fleeing to the mountains from cities and villages.
Q. Why did the the Spirit of Prophecy associate the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem with the US Sunday law? The GC 464-5 quote is “PREPARATORY” to the end-time fulfillment of Matt 24:15-16.
GC 464-5 refers to the US Sunday law as a sign to leave LARGE cities.
Matthew 24 refers to the sign to flee ALL cities.
GC 464-5 refers to a sign PREPARATORY to fleeing to the mountains.
Matthew 24:15-16 refers to a sign to flee IMMEDIATELY to the mountains. GC 464-5 refers to the Sunday law.
Matt 24:15-16 refers to the Sunday law when, by decree, DEATH is made the penalty for itʼs violation. The penalty for Sunday violation will escalate into the death decree. The Sunday law is thus associated with the abomination of desolation.
Q. Wonʼt the Death Decree go forth BEFORE the close of probation. See 4SP 331 A. The passage referred to states, “Says the great deceiver...When death shall be made the penalty of violating our sab- bath, then many who are now ranked with commandment-keepers will come over to our side.” 4SP 331. The objection is based on the thought that if people can change sides when the death decree is passed then this must occur before probation has closed because no one will change sides after probation has closed. It must be noted however that the term, “When death is made the penalty” does not neccessarily refer to the Death Decree. Many will be martyred BEFORE probation closes. Many will be threatened by death before the death decree is passed.
Q. Wonʼt Satan personate Christ BEFORE the worldwide Sunday Laws? “In this age antichrist will appear as the true Christ, and then the law of God will be fully made void in the nations of our world. Rebellion against Godʼs holy law will be fully ripe. But the true leader of all this rebellion is Satan clothed as an angel of light. Men will be deceived and will exalt him to the place of God, and deify him. But Omnipotence will interpose, and to the apostate churches that unite in the exaltation of Satan, the sentence will go forth, ʻTherefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.ʼ”
A. “Antichrist” will appear as true Christ before worldwide Sunday laws but the true leader of all this rebellion is not this anti-christ but Satan. Clearly antichrist in this statement is not Satan. Antichrist in this passage is a rebel BUT the true leader of this rebellion is Satan. Note antichrist has appeared as true Christ in an earlier age.
Q. Wonʼt Satan Personate Christ BEFORE the close of probation? “As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ... in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion.” GC 624. A. When Satan comes as Christ he will claim to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday. Notice that when Satan appears as Christ the saints are ALREADY persisting in keeping holy the seventh day in violation of ALREADY existing Sunday laws.
Q. Wonʼt Satan personate Christ during the Loud Cry? See Mar 189 “But while Satan works with his lying wonders, the time will be fulfilled foretold in the Revelation, and the mighty angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory, will proclaim the fall of Babylon, and call upon Godʼs people to forsake her.” Mar 189. A. This statement nowhere clearly speaks of Satan personating Christ. Satan performs his lying wonders without being visibly present. Satan has worked lying wonders in the past as he does today without being visible as Christ. This he will continue to do. “Satan HAS worked and will work with his lying wonders, and strong delusions will be accepted where the banner of truth should have been uplifted.” Ev 228.
Q. It appears that Satan will come as Christ working wonders before probation has closed. Explain: “We are warned that in the last days he will work with signs and lying wonders. And he will continue these wonders UNTIL the close of probation, that he may point to them as evidence that he is an angel of light and not of darkness.” 2SM 50-51; Mar 208. A. “As an angel of light” does not always mean Satan personating Christ in a counterfeit Second Coming. See the following: “ I say to all: Be on your guard; for as an angel of light Satan is walking in every assembly of Christian workers, and in every church, trying to win the members to his side. Mar 59. “Satan frequently appears as an angel of light, arrayed in the livery of heaven; he assumes friendly airs, manifesting great sanctity of character and high regard for his victims, the souls whom he means to deceive and destroy.” 3T 456. “Popular amusements for students were brought into the Battle Creek school under a deceptive garb. Satan approached as an angel of light, and worked most assiduously.” 8MR 151. “I have been shown that we must be guarded on every side and perseveringly resist the insinuations and devices of Satan. He has transformed himself into an angel of light and is deceiving thousands and leading them captive.” 1T 290. “And no marvel; for Satan himself IS [note the present tense] transformed into an angel of light.” 2Cor 11:14 To say he will continue these wonders UNTIL the close of probation does not mean that there will be no more wonders after probation. e.g. “...Daniel continued [even] unto [i.e. until] the first year of king Cyrus,” but he actually continued beyond the first year of Cyrus.
Q. It appears that Satan will come as Christ before Godʼs unmingled wrath (the plagues) are poured out. Explain: “But the people of God will not be misled. The teachings of this false Christ are not in accordance with the Scriptures. His blessing is pronounced upon the worshippers of the beast and his image, the very class upon whom the Bible DECLARES that Godʼs unmingled wrath shall be poured out.” GC 625. A. Does the Bible presently declare that those who worship the beast and the image will receive the plagues? Yes. The word “Declares” in the passage is present tense. The Bible declares TODAY that those whom Satan will bless are those who shall receive Godʼs unmingled wrath. The declaration is presently happening, Satanʼs personation is future of today. Note: The worship of the beast & image and the observance of the counterfeit sabbath, will ALREADY be happening when Satan appears.
Q. It appears that Satan will personate Christ causing fire to come down from heaven BEFORE the world has been deceived. Explain: “It is the lying wonders of the devil that will take the world captive, and he will cause fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men. He is to work miracles; and this wonderful, miracle-working power is to sweep in the whole world. It is now just beginning.” 2SM 51. A. Nothing is said here about the timing of Satanʼs personation of Christ. He will cause fire to come down from heaven before probationʼs close and may do so when he appears as Christ. Note, “It is now just beginning.”
Q. It appears that Satan will work miracles during his personation of Christ while the saints are also working miracles, i.e. BEFORE probation has closed: “It is impossible to give any idea of the experience of the people of God who shall be alive upon the earth when celestial glory and a repetition of the persecutions of the past are blended. They will walk in the light proceeding from the throne of God. By means of the angels there will be constant communication between heaven and earth. And Satan, surrounded by evil angels, and claiming to be God, will work miracles of all kinds, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Godʼs people will not find their safety in working miracles, for Satan will counterfeit the miracles that will be wrought.” 2SM 51. A. Satan will work miracles while claiming to be God but this passage does not show when. In general there is no safety in working miracles either before or after probationʼs close because Satan will counterfeit the miracles both before and after probationʼs close.
SUMMARY OF END TIME EVENTS
Grace and Peace be with you.