End of the Age / Latter Days
It seems wise at this point in history to look at the world stage and recognize we are in the latter days. Old testament scholars especially have watched the developments fall into line with Biblical prophecy being fulfilled continually. New Testament readers note also the wars and rumours of wars and are reminded of Matthew 24. In this article, we read the account of Jesus’ response when asked about the end of the age by his disciples:
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
6 And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name‘s sake.
10And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
As always, we read in context and consider the audience.
Jesus is speaking to his disciples, who as Jews are children of Israel, and this is confirmed by their understanding of the end times prophecy made by Daniel (Matthew 24:15).
15"Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),
These verses go on to describe the tribulation ‐ i.e.: verse 21.
Every word is significant, with descriptions of the Lord‘s return and gathering of Israel (verses 30, 31). We take note of verse 32 to mark the time.
32"Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.
The audience knew the fig tree was Israel; they were familiar with scripture. For example, Joel 1:7:
7He has laid waste My vine,
And ruined My fig tree;
He has stripped it bare and thrown it away;
Its branches are made white.
A passage of a special note to us all begins at verses Matthew 24:37-39.
37But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
38For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
39and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Many preachers of the Word these days remind us to look at what the people were like in Noah‘s time, when God repented of having made man, and took only one man and his family out of the imminent judgment.
Noah was the only righteous man to be found on the earth at that time. As so many turn their back on the Word of God in this age, and the fig tree has blossomed, the next judgment seems near at hand.