Matthew 24:3 gives us a depiction of a private conversation that Jesus had with his disciples. Very likely their questions were a result of comments he had made in public a few verses prior. This Scripture gives us information about the future.
The disciples asked when these things shall be, speaking of the future that Jesus just mentioned. The answer to that question was to prepare yourself for what can happen. Believers should always be in a state of readiness. Colossians 4:6 says that we should be ready to give an answer to any man. Since we are representatives of Christ on earth, we must be knowledgeable of Scripture and pray consistently so that our witness is effective to others.
Then verse five gives us some ideas about those who became deceived. Those previously mentioned are the ones vulnerable for deception, but we are now talking about those who become deceived. These are the people who act on their deception. They hold wrong as truth. They insist other people become deceived.
Go further to verse six of this chapter and there we have those who would trouble other people. These are individuals who act, and may even be aggressive, to insist others think as they do. Consider the trouble in the world that already has been levied on mankind. A good example of that is Hitler, but there is another world leader in the same period. Most people take little notice of him. In Russia Stalin also killed 6 million people, many of which were Christians.
After a person becomes vulnerable to deception, allows himself to be sucked in to the mode of thinking and acting as suggested in verse seven, then they are apt to rise against others. These are people who take advantage of their position and abilities. These are people who take matters in their hands so far and so much that they can forcefully act against others.
Verse eight is the description of what will take place as troubles are set in motion. It is the beginning of sorrows or birth pangs like that which a woman would suffer when delivering a child. Only this is not a joyous occasion. It will be a time in which evil begins to roll headlong over the world.
Turn your attention to John chapter 15. Herein is an additional answer to the second question they asked Jesus – What shall be a sign of your coming? John 15:18, 19 speaks of a time in which world events will be flowing with increased hostility toward anything that is godly.
Matthew versus nine and ten talk about the character of an unconverted world. This is about government and social realms and all that makes up daily life on earth. As a result, the moving of the Holy Spirit is no longer a factor for hope. The witness from believing Christians means nothing. Without these taming effects, there is nothing to hold back hostility. Both versus use the word, “then.” In other words, then shall things be worse than anyone could imagine.
Verses eleven and twelve speak of the character of unrepentant persons. We know now that the people who would not have God in their life subscribe to self-interest and do whatever is convenient and desirable.
Ironically there is a discussion of the character of the converted believer in verse thirteen. How would you like your character displayed on paper for all to see? How would you like a revelation of what is your inside, not just your outside? Of course, this speaks of truth and any effort to comply with Christ’s expectations.
We go on to verse fourteen and see the character of the gospel. It must be proclaimed to all the world that Jesus Christ is the Savior offers love, forgiveness, and peace. At certain times in history the Bible has been openly rejected by governments and leaders. In our own time the Gideons are no longer allowed to provide Bibles in locations where they once could. The Bible has been burdened by those who are hateful toward the it. The Bible offers good news to people around the world. That is what was spoken to the shepherds the night Jesus was born.
The disciples asked when the end of the world would be. The word world is better translated age or period of time. So, the disciples were asking when shall be the conclusion of the age in which they were living
Take comfort in God’s promise that he will only allow Satan to go so far. The example of this is in the book of Job when God instructed Satan that I he had his limits in troubling Job. We may have our own troubles, but they will end in God’s calendar. You may have physical, emotional, or spiritual pain in your life, but Satan is not allowed to bring the ultimate in troubling you because God has his hand on you and protects you from what more Satan would do.
Verses sixteen to twenty-one told them to flee from evil for their own safety. It is wise to discern which person is healthy enough to be in your inner circle. Which person will you embrace as a friend? Flee from the unstable person. Flee from an environment that is not healthy. Flee from the sin openly done by another.
Verse twenty-two helps us to further understand that we are under God’s protection. We are not turning away from an environment of evil as spineless religious fanatics. We turn from sin and the sin of others bravely because we are strong in the Lord.
The disciples asked three questions. When shall these things be? What shall be the sign of your coming? And what shall be the sign of the end of the age?
Now we can read these verses and be encouraged by them. And we can know that there will be a time in which this current age will end. Christ will be on earth ruling in an ultimate heavenly environment. What a joy that will be!