Matthew 24

* Christ foretells the destruction of the temple. (1-3) The

troubles before the destruction of Jerusalem. (4-28) Christ

foretells other signs and miseries, to the end of the world.

(29-41) Exhortations to watchfulness. (42-51)

1-3 Christ foretells the utter ruin and destruction coming upon

the temple. A believing foresight of the defacing of all worldly

glory, will help to keep us from admiring it, and overvaluing

it. The most beautiful body soon will be food for worms, and the

most magnificent building a ruinous heap. See ye not all these

things? It will do us good so to see them as to see through

them, and see to the end of them. Our Lord having gone with his

disciples to the Mount of Olives, he set before them the order

of the times concerning the Jews, till the destruction of

Jerusalem; and as to men in general till the end of the world.
4-28 The disciples had asked concerning the times, When these

things should be? Christ gave them no answer to that; but they

had also asked, What shall be the sign? This question he answers

fully. The prophecy first respects events near at hand, the

destruction of Jerusalem, the end of the Jewish church and

state, the calling of the Gentiles, and the setting up of

Christ's kingdom in the world; but it also looks to the general

judgment; and toward the close, points more particularly to the

latter. What Christ here said to his disciples, tended more to

promote caution than to satisfy their curiosity; more to prepare

them for the events that should happen, than to give a distinct

idea of the events. This is that good understanding of the times

which all should covet, thence to infer what Israel ought to do.

Our Saviour cautions his disciples to stand on their guard

against false teachers. And he foretells wars and great

commotions among nations. From the time that the Jews rejected

Christ, and he left their house desolate, the sword never

departed from them. See what comes of refusing the gospel. Those

who will not hear the messengers of peace, shall be made to hear

the messengers of war. But where the heart is fixed, trusting in

God, it is kept in peace, and is not afraid. It is against the

mind of Christ, that his people should have troubled hearts,

even in troublous times. When we looked forward to the eternity

of misery that is before the obstinate refusers of Christ and

his gospel, we may truly say, The greatest earthly judgments are

but the beginning of sorrows. It is comforting that some shall

endure even to the end. Our Lord foretells the preaching of the

gospel in all the world. The end of the world shall not be till

the gospel has done its work. Christ foretells the ruin coming

upon the people of the Jews; and what he said here, would be of

use to his disciples, for their conduct and for their comfort.

If God opens a door of escape, we ought to make our escape,

otherwise we do not trust God, but tempt him. It becomes

Christ's disciples, in times of public trouble, to be much in

prayer: that is never out of season, but in a special manner

seasonable when we are distressed on every side. Though we must

take what God sends, yet we may pray against sufferings; and it

is very trying to a good man, to be taken by any work of

necessity from the solemn service and worship of God on the

sabbath day. But here is one word of comfort, that for the

elect's sake these days shall be made shorter than their enemies

designed, who would have cut all off, if God, who used these

foes to serve his own purpose, had not set bounds to their

wrath. Christ foretells the rapid spreading of the gospel in the

world. It is plainly seen as the lightning. Christ preached his

gospel openly. The Romans were like an eagle, and the ensign of

their armies was an eagle. When a people, by their sin, make

themselves as loathsome carcasses, nothing can be expected but

that God should send enemies to destroy them. It is very

applicable to the day of judgment, the coming of our Lord Jesus

Christ in that day, #2Th 2:1|. Let us give diligence to make our

calling and election sure; then may we know that no enemy or

deceiver shall ever prevail against us.
29-41 Christ foretells his second coming. It is usual for

prophets to speak of things as near and just at hand, to express

the greatness and certainty of them. Concerning Christ's second

coming, it is foretold that there shall be a great change, in

order to the making all things new. Then they shall see the Son

of man coming in the clouds. At his first coming, he was set for

a sign that should be spoken against, but at his second coming,

a sign that should be admired. Sooner or later, all sinners will

be mourners; but repenting sinners look to Christ, and mourn

after a godly sort; and those who sow in those tears shall

shortly reap in joy. Impenitent sinners shall see Him whom they

have pierced, and, though they laugh now, shall mourn and weep

in endless horror and despair. The elect of God are scattered

abroad; there are some in all places, and all nations; but when

that great gathering day comes, there shall not one of them be

missing. Distance of place shall keep none out of heaven. Our

Lord declares that the Jews should never cease to be a distinct

people, until all things he had been predicting were fulfilled.

His prophecy reaches to the day of final judgment; therefore he

here, ver. 34, foretells that Judah shall never cease to exist

as a distinct people, so long as this world shall endure. Men of

the world scheme and plan for generation upon generation here,

but they plan not with reference to the overwhelming,

approaching, and most certain event of Christ's second coming,

which shall do away every human scheme, and set aside for ever

all that God forbids. That will be as surprising a day, as the

deluge to the old world. Apply this, first, to temporal

judgments, particularly that which was then hastening upon the

nation and people of the Jews. Secondly, to the eternal

judgment. Christ here shows the state of the old world when the

deluge came. They were secure and careless; they knew not, until

the flood came; and they believed not. Did we know aright that

all earthly things must shortly pass away, we should not set our

eyes and hearts so much upon them as we do. The evil day is not

the further off for men's putting it far from them. What words

can more strongly describe the suddenness of our Saviour's

coming! Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenly

the Lord of glory will appear. Women will be in their house

employments, but in that moment every other work will be laid

aside, and every heart will turn inward and say, It is the Lord!

Am I prepared to meet him? Can I stand before him? And what, in

fact, is the day of judgment to the whole world, but the day of

death to every one?
42-51 To watch for Christ's coming, is to maintain that temper

of mind which we would be willing that our Lord should find us

in. We know we have but a little time to live, we cannot know

that we have a long time to live; much less do we know the time

fixed for the judgment. Our Lord's coming will be happy to those

that shall be found ready, but very dreadful to those that are

not. If a man, professing to be the servant of Christ, be an

unbeliever, covetous, ambitious, or a lover of pleasure, he will

be cut off. Those who choose the world for their portion in this

life, will have hell for their portion in the other life. May

our Lord, when he cometh, pronounce us blessed, and present us

to the Father, washed in his blood, purified by his Spirit, and

fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
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