A Final Word
A Word of Caution
In this discourse we have learned a number of things relative to the future. Our Lord's prediction concerning the destruction of the Temple called forth two interrogations, both of which He answered. Matthew, however, gave His reply to the second question only, which is: "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [consummation of the age]?"
In Matt. 24:6 Jesus covered the entire Christian dispensation and warned the disciples not to jump at hasty conclusions with reference to the end of the age. According to His prediction the disciples were to expect wars and political upheavals during His absence, since the conditions which produce them exist. Hence a war, Jesus affirmed, would not be indicative of the closing of the age, since this dispensation is to be characterized by local wars in different parts of the world. But the infallible sign of the end of the age is a world war attended by famines, pestilences and great earthquakes in diverse places. Our Lord warned His disciples that the generation witnessing such a world catastrophe would see the fulfillment of all the predictions made in the discourse.
The coming mentioned in vss. 32-42 is the Rapture of the Saints prior to the Great Tribulation. After the removal of the saints from their earthly environment the judgments of the Tribulation fall upon the world. During the Tribulation there will be the mightiest revival which the world has ever seen. It will be conducted by the Jewish evangelists to whom the Church should now be giving the Gospel, losing no time.
At the conclusion of the Tribulation our Lord will come in glory and will set up His kingdom of righteousness upon the earth, and will reign from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
As a final word in this study I wish to throw out a caution. Many sincere and godly men have been very positive in the past concerning the nearness of the end of the age and the second coming of our Lord. They have studied what they considered all the evidence and have drawn their conclusions that the coming of the Lord was at hand. With fervency they have proclaimed their convictions. Yet all man-made schedules for the Lord's coming have been discredited by actual history. In view of the fact that we are all fallible, it behooves us to be very careful in our study and teaching of prophetic truth, as well as of other subjects presented in the Scriptures.
I wish to state that I have written these studies believing in the depths of my heart that I have placed the correct interpretation on the words of our Lord in this apocalyptic sermon. If a proper, grammatical, historical and logical exegesis is to be relied upon, then I feel that the conclusions which I have advanced are sound and Scriptural--namely, that Jesus pointed to a world war attended by famines, pestilences and earthquakes as the infallible sign of the end of the age.
There may be a question in the minds of some, however, as to whether the world war of 1914-1918 was the one referred to by our Lord. In conclusion let me say that, to my mind, that catastrophe literally met every requirement of the prediction and filled out the complete picture. Since I, like all other men, am not infallible it is possible that I have made the wrong identification. Of course, I do not think so. However, I realize we should always be open to conviction and desire further light on this and on all other subjects found in the Word of God.
Let us who know the Lord hold firmly to the faith once for all delivered to the saints and study the prophetic Word as well as all other portions of the oracles of God. May each of us refrain from dogmatism concerning subjects which are not completely and plainly stated in the Word of God. May we seek and pray for further light on all subjects and then have the courage of our convictions to proclaim what we see in the Word, giving forth the message of life in love. Let us present a solid phalanx to Satan and the forces of evil in these closing days.
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law (Ps. 119:18).