A few weeks ago I finished preaching through the book of Revelation. It took us almost exactly a year to work through the book, verse by verse, chapter by chapter. In all that time, we were looking at matters of “eschatology.” “Eschatology” is the study of last things. During those days of my study, I came to have a burden. It’s a burden for those who learn about the “end times.” I fear that many times when the “end times” are studied, those who study often miss the main point.

The main point of eschatology is application to our lives. That is, when the Bible speaks of what will come in the future it always has the purpose of changing how we live today. When thinking about the return of Jesus, we ought to be filled with the hope of our final redemption! When thinking about the final judgment, we ought to be stirred to holy living. When thinking about the glories of heaven, we ought to be look forward to our eternal rest and communion with the Lord! Such examples are ways that the Bible will often direct us when we think about the end times.

I’m burdened that there are many times when people look at what the Bible says will take place in the future, merely to satisfy their curiosity, or, perhaps, become a sort of prophetic person, who can take advantage of what they know of the future. May this never be said of us.

I’m preaching a four-week series entitled, “The Ethics of Eschatology.” “Eschatology” refers to the study of “end times.” “Ethics” refers to our conduct, principles that we have to live by. My argument in these messages is that whenever there is mention in the Bible of the “end times,” there is always some “application” nearby. Perhaps I’m overstating the case that there is “always application” present when the Bible addresses matters of “eschatology.” But I just haven’t seen a single example yet of where the Bible speaks about what will take place in the future without speaking about how we should live today.

Two weeks ago in my first message, we looked at the writings of Paul. I looked up every instance of what I could find in his writings where he mentions something of the future: the return of Christ, the coming judgment, or the glories of heaven. I found about 70 times in Paul’s writings when he mentioned anything about the end. Every text I examined, I saw an application nearby. To prove my point, I didn’t go to Paul’s low-hanging fruit, cherry picking the clearest of passages to show you. Rather, I began in canonical order, with the book of Romans, which contains some of the more difficult passages to see a clear connection between eschatology and ethic. We proceeded on to 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians and looked at 25 passages. I showed you how every time there was an applicational purpose for mentioning the topic.

I could easily have preached another sermon or two looking at Paul’s other writings when he mentions something of eschatology, but I went on to another Biblical writer: Peter. Last week, in part 2 of this series, we looked at the writings of Peter. We looked at 1 Peter and 2 Peter and found about a dozen references to eschatology. I showed you in every instance how the application to those mentions was clearly in the text.

This morning, we could easily look at other epistles to find the same thing: Hebrews or James or Jude or 1st, 2nd, or 3rd John, and we would see the same thing. However, to keep things moving, this morning I want to turn to Jesus and see what he says about eschatology. Next week, we will look to the Old Testament and we will see the same thing. Following that, we will begin an exposition of the gospel of John. I’m greatly looking forward to it.

But today, we are looking to see what Jesus says about eschatology. So this week, I scoured the gospel accounts: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for any sort of reference to the end times. I found about 100 passages. To go through all of them would take several sermons. In the interest of time, we simply are going to look at the verses in canonical order. That is, we will look at the gospel of Matthew to see what it written in that book about eschatology. I want to show you how application is present every time that it is mentioned. So, open in your Bibles to the book of Matthew.

The first place where I found any mention of the end times was in Matthew 3, verses 12. Technically, this is the words of John the Baptist (not Jesus). It’s the only time this morning that we will not be looking at a direct quote of Jesus. John the Baptist says this:

Matthew 3:12
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

We see the eschatology in that this is a reference to the final judgment of God when he comes to reap this final harvest. The wheat will be gathered into the barn and the chaff will be burned. The wheat represents the righteous. The chaff represents the wicked. Now we ask, “Where is the ethic?” It’s not in this verse. It’s in the context of this verse. This is John the Baptist speaking. His preaching was one of repentance. Look back at the beginning of this chapter.

Matthew 3:1-2
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

This was his message, repentance. That is, turning from your sin, and turning to God. When the Pharisees and Sadducees came to him, he called them, “a brood of vipers” (Matthew 3:7). He called them to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). And he warned, them, "Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (Matthew 3:10). That’s the similar language of verse 12.

Matthew 3:12
...the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

The ethic here is clearly “repentance.” “Repent, because there’s a day when the unrighteous will burn with the fire that is never quenched!” If today finds you like the Pharisees and Sadducees, engaged in religion but all is on the surface, repent and turn from your sins and trust in Christ.

Ok, the next verse we will look at comes from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus opened the Sermon on the Mount with the “Beatitudes,” the blessed way of life. We see the last of these “Beatitudes” in verses 11 and 12. Jesus says:

Matthew 5:11-12
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The eschatology comes in verse 12 when Jesus talks about heaven and the reward that will come to all who endure persecution. The ethics are also there in verse 12, “Rejoice and be glad.” Of course this command comes to those who are facing persecution falsely because of Jesus. Rejoice and be glad, that though you are being reviled here on the earth, there is a reward that awaits you in heaven. If today finds you being reviled and ridiculed by others because of your faith in Jesus, rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven.

Let’s move on to the last part of the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 7:13-14
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Again, these are the words of Jesus. In verse 13, he talks about destruction. In verse 14, he talks about life. This is eschatology. Jesus is talking about the end times. He puts forth two options: destruction and life. Some will be destroyed eternally. Others will live eternally. The ethic is clear: “enter by the narrow gate.” In the context this means not the path of mere external religion, but the path of humbly knowing Jesus. If you are here this morning and don’t know Jesus, I encourage you to cry out to him! Come to him, and live your life in his presence.

The next verse in Matthew that mentions eschatology continues on the same theme. It’s only a few verses forward. Let’s pick it up in verse 21.

Matthew 7:21-23
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

The eschatology is clearly seen here as the day of judgment, when people come to stand before Jesus. Some will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Others will be cast out. These are some of the scariest verses in all of the Bible. Because there will be many who will be expecting to enter the kingdom of heaven only to be turned away. It’s like coming to the show, only to realize that you don’t have the proper ticket and cannot enter. Now, the ethic isn’t clearly stated, but it is clear. You don’t want to hear the words of verse 23.

Matthew 7:23
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

You see in verses 21 and 22 that these words are addressed to those who are calling upon Jesus on that final day, expecting to enter the kingdom of heaven. They are saying, “Jesus, Jesus, let me in” (verse 21). They are putting forth their amazing religious works:

Matthew 7:22
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

Jesus says to them, “Depart” (verse 23). Jesus says, “I never knew you” (verse 23). The ethic here at the end of the Sermon on the Mount is to “know Jesus.” Don’t trust in your external religious needs. Know the Lord. Do his will (verse 21). If you are here today and don’t know the Lord, I encourage you to seek him.

These are the verses that God used to transform my life. I grew up in church. I was a good church kid. I professed faith in Jesus. But I never thought that I was in danger of being turned away by Jesus on that final day. I was trusting in my works. God used these verses in my life to seek his will and a knowledge of him. In other words, God used eschatology in my life to change my ethic in the grandest way! Realizing that on that final day, it’s not about our great religious works. It’s about knowing Jesus. This morning, may these words may transform your life as well as you see the end and think about how you are living today. Let’s move on.

Matthew 8:11-12
I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This picks up on the same theme of our last passage: entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and how some will be cast out. By the way, as we look to the words of Jesus, this is usually the way that Jesus speaks about eschatology in the gospel of Matthew. He describes the judgment, and how we ought to live today. You can see the eschatology here, in that Jesus is speaking of the end when many will come from far and wide to enter the kingdom of heaven and many will be thrown into the “outer darkness” where there is great suffering. The ethic is easy to see: don’t be thrown into the outer darkness. Now, the surrounding context sheds further light on how you can prevent such a tragedy.

Matthew 8:5-13
When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

In these words Jesus encounters a Roman centurion. This man had faith that Jesus had the power and authority to heal his servant. Jesus commends his faith, unlike the many Jews of his day. Jesus here speaks of the many Gentiles that will come from the east and west to feast with the patriarchs on that final day while many of the Jews will be turned away. So, how is it that we can prevent from being “thrown into the outer darkness”? By faith, by believing that Jesus is who he said he was: the holy and powerful Messiah! If you are here this morning, not believing in Jesus and trusting in his power for your life, I exhort you to believe in him! Knowing that it is by faith that you will someday dine with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the feast of heaven!

Let’s move on. Our next verses is Matthew 10:14-15. In these verses, we find Jesus instructing his disciples as the go out to preach the news of the presence of the kingdom of (Matthew 10:7). Jesus tells his disciples:

Matthew 10:14-15
And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

You can see the eschatology there in verse 15, in which Jesus is talking about “the day of judgment.” He brings up the judgment that came upon Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness, when sulfur and fire came from heaven to consume these cities saying that it will be worse for the cities who will reject the disciples. The ethic is seen in verse 14, when Jesus instructs the disciples to shake the dust off from their feet when they leave the town that doesn’t receive them or listen to their words.

Now, applying these words to us today is a bit tricky, because we aren’t being sent out by Jesus quite like these disciples. They were sent out to proclaim the presence of Jesus to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (verse 7), with power to heal the sick and raise the dead (verse 8). We aren’t quite in their same situation. Yet, we can pull out a principle that if people reject the message (and messengers) of Jesus, they can expect a terrible end. So if you are here today, and are rejecting the message of Jesus, I encourage you to change, and trust in Jesus.

The next verses come in the same context, but can easily be applied by us.

Matthew 10:28
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

The eschatology is the future judgment, that will see some being cast into hell. The ethic is simple: fear God, not men. Because men can only kill your body. They can do nothing to your soul. But God has the power to cast both your body and soul into hell.

So if you are here this morning and you don’t fear the Lord, may the future judgment, give you a fear today to love and serve him! Next verse.

Matthew 10:32-33
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Again, this takes us to the day of judgment, when we stand before Jesus. Jesus will either be our advocate and usher us into heaven, or our antagonist, and be the reason why we will be denied entrance into heaven. That’s the eschatology. The ethic is simple: acknowledge Jesus before others! Don’t ashamed of your faith.

I had the opportunity last night to tell others of Jesus. We had a family wedding yesterday. One of my nieces was married. At the reception, there were some distant relatives of my niece. They asked about my mother. So, I was able to tell them how her health was declining. how she was on hospice and had many workers coming into the home to help my dad with the care. I told them how my father was like the apostle Paul, when he was under house arrest in Rome. There were Roman soldiers who were charged with guarding them. While they were with Paul, he was preaching the gospel to them. So much so, that there were many who came to faith through his words. My father has all of these workers coming to his home, in the morning and evening. As they come, they observe my father loving his dying wife. and they hear about Jesus and he shares the gospel with them. Conversation then turned to me and what I do for a living. I told them that I was a pastor. I said that I get to do the same thing that my father is doing, sharing the gospel of Christ with others. Later, in talking with my brother-in-law, he told me how they needed to hear my message that I spoke with them.

I’m not ashamed of Jesus. I will openly acknowledge him before others. If you are here today and are ashamed of your faith, please know that Jesus will be ashamed of you on that final day. So, share your faith in Jesus, that he might acknowledge you before his Father in heaven.

Turn overto Matthew 11. In verses 21-24, we see Jesus condemning the cities who didn’t repent.

Matthew 11:20-24
Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

You can see the eschatology in verses 22 and 24. They both talk about “the day of judgment.” This judgment will come upon three cities, Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. These were the cities in which Jesus performed most of his miracles. The judgment is severe, as it will be worse for them than Sodom, who was destroyed with sulfur. It will be worse for them than it will be for Tyre and Sidon, wicked coastal cities of the day, like San Francisco. The ethic here is seen in verse 20. These cities did not repent when Jesus came to them. The application, of course, is for us not suffer the same fate, but repent. Turn from our sins. Turn to God. If you are here today, but aren’t continually repenting of your sin, repent today that you may not be condemned on that day!

Turn over to Matthew, chapter 12. Jesus said this:

Matthew 12:36-38
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

The eschatology comes in verse 36 in the mentioning of “the day of judgment.” The ethic is to watch what you will say: because on the day of judgment, you will give an account for “every careless word” that you speak. Please realize that on the day of judgment, you can’t say, “I didn’t mean to say that.” No, Jesus specifically says that the judgment will come upon “every careless word.” So give attention to your words. Think before you speak. Repent today of the careless words that you speak! That’s clear application in light of the end times.

OK, Matthew 13. In this chapter, Jesus puts forth seven parables. In two of them, he describes the judgment scene. Let’s look first at the “parable of the weeds.” I’ll read the parable. Then, I’ll read the explanation.

Matthew 13:24-30
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

The explanation comes in verses 36-43.

Matthew 13:36-43
Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

The eschatology is identified in verse 39 as “the end of the age.” Jesus explains what will happen that day. The angels will come and reap the earth. The unrighteous, “the sons of the evil one” (verse 38) will be thrown into the place where there will “be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (verse 42). But the righteous, “the sons of the kingdom” (verse 38) “will shine like the sun in the kingdom” (verse 43).

Now, what is unique about these verses is that there is no explicit application given. But the application is clear: Be a son of the kingdom. But also, these verses are given for us to understand the world in which we live (see verse 51). There are those among us who are “sons of the kingdom.” There are those among us who are “sons of the evil one.” We need to know that! We need to trust that “at the end of the age,” all will be made clear and the judgment will come.

The next parable that we will look at contains the same idea. It is in Matthew 13:47-50, and is the story of the fish and the net.

Matthew 13:47-50
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The eschatology comes in verse 49, “So it will be at the end of the age.” The story is essential the same as the parable of the weeds. At the end of the age, the angels will come and “separate the evil from the righteous.” Like the parable above, there is no explicit application given. But the implication is obvious: don’t be one of the evil ones who will be thrown into the fiery furnace, where there will be “weeping an gnashing of teeth.” I also believe that there is a world-view application here. We need to understand the world in which we live. There are righteous people among us and there are wicked people upon the earth as well. God will give to all of us our due reward. So if today finds you as a weed or as an evil fish. repent, and turn to Christ. Seek his righteousness!

The next reference to Eschatology is found in Matthew chapter 16.

Matthew 16:24-27
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

The eschatology is given in verse 27, which describes the return of Christ, and the judgment that will follow. The ethic comes in verse 24.

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

The reasoning goes like this: You can gain the world in this life, but you will lose it in the end. But if you give up your life in this life, you will gain it in the end! So if today finds you living for the world, repent and follow after Christ. Deny yourself. Take up your cross and follow Jesus.

Our next text comes in Matthew 18.

Matthew 18:8-9
And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

The eschatology comes at the end of both of these verses. In verse 8, Jesus mentions, “the eternal fire.” In verse 9, Jesus mentions, “the hell of fire.” Like our previous passage, Jesus contrasts this life and the life to come. This life is so short. The life to come is so long. That it would be better for you to maim yourself in this life, that you might enter into eternal life, rather than suffering in the eternal fire of hell. I do believe that Jesus is speaking hyperbole here. That is, he isn’t really advocating that you cut off your hand, or chop off your leg, or gouge out your eye. But he is advocating that you take drastic measures against your sin! So if today you are willfully sinning, I encourage you, in light of the future judgment, to take some drastic measures to fight your sin! Think of that day, so live today in light of that day!

Our next passage is Matthew 19:23-30 These verses come in the context of the Rich Young Ruler, who loved his riches more than he loved Jesus. Jesus told him to sell all that he has and give it to the poor and come and follow me and he wasn't willing to do that. So he left sorrowful.

Matthew 19:23-30
And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

The eschatology comes several times in this passage. First, it comes in verse 23, when Jesus speaks about entering the kingdom of God. Second, it comes in verse 28, when Jesus speaks about sitting on his glorious throne. It speaks about the new world, the new heaven and earth. It's also in verse 29, when Jesus speaks of the reward of forsaking all to follow Christ, along with eternal life.

The ethic is not stated, but clearly applied: leave everything like Peter and the apostles have done. Follow the way that Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler: give it all up. Now, it's not that we have to sell everything, but it is leaving everything to follow Christ. This is the self-denial that Jesus is calling us to so to enter the kingdom of heaven and be with him.

The next passage is Matthew 22. It's another parable.

Matthew 22:1-13
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The eschatology here is not explicit but you see it in verse 13 where there's the, “weeping and gnashing of teeth” that Jesus spoke about so many times. It is clearly describes this a hell. The ethic here isn’t explicit either, but the implication is clear. In light of the end, in light of this feast, don't be like those who refuse the invitation. When you're invited to the wedding feast come to the feast! When you do make sure you're clothed with your wedding clothes. Come suited in the clothes of Christ.

For the sake of time we are going to skip Matthew 22 and 23, but there's Eschatology there. In Matthew 22 you see the Sadducees talking about the Resurrection. In Matthew 23 you see it in the condemning of the Pharisees when Jesus tells them "you brood of vipers, how are you going to escape the sentence to hell"?

We are going to jump to Matthew 24-25. These chapters sounds the most like the book of Revelation of anything that Jesus spoke. This is the Olivet Discourse. If you're familiar with this, they ask the question in chapter 24 verse 3 "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Jesus is talking about prophetic signs and what's coming. I want to go through this passage and look for all the application. When Jesus speaks about the end he pulls out application after application. Some of these applications are pertinent to them, but some we can extrapolate to us.

Look here at the first thing that Jesus says!

Matthew 24:4
See that no one leads you astray

Don't be carried away by false Christs.

Matthew 24:6
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

When you hear the war in Gaza, don't be alarmed. There will always be wars. Don't be alarmed, disturbed, or anxious.

Matthew 24:13
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

That was the call of Revelation! (See Revelation 13:10; 14:12.) A call to the saints to endure until the end, professing Christ. This is particularly true once this abomination of desolation took place, likely in AD 70 when the Roman's conquered Jerusalem. When this took place, Jesus said,

Matthew 24:16-26
Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. ... Don’t return to your house. ... Don’t return to the field. ... Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. ... Do not believe the false Christs. ... Do not believe a false report of his coming.

When Jesus comes there is going to be no doubt that everyone will know about when the Son of Man comes. In verse 31 he talks about the last trumpet coming.

Matthew 24:31
... and they will gather his elect ... from one end of heaven to the other.

We have seen the angels coming and gathering together many times already. In chapters 24 and 25 we see all these parables talking about being ready. In Matthew 24:32, Jesus says,

Matthew 24:32-33
From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves ... know that he is near.

If you jump to verse 42 he says,

Matthew 24:42
... Stay awake

Life will be going on as usual and can lull people to sleep. But remember the days of Noah, everyone was marrying and giving in marriage and just having a good time, and that's when the flood came. We need to stay awake and we need to

Matthew 24:44
... Be ready

Then he tells this parable about the faithful and wise servant. He's the one who goes about doing his work, serving the Lord, so that when he has come he will be found as verse 46 shows:

Matthew 24:46
Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes

That's the message Jesus is giving. As he speaks of future things, he's always sprinkling it with application. If you hear someone teaching on eschatology that is not being sprinkled with application, the flavor of Scripture has been missed.

Next comes the parable of the Ten Virgins in chapter 25. That parable teaches us that we need to watch.

Matthew 25:13
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour

The idea is to use the talents that God gives you, because if you don't you'll be

Matthew 25:30
... cast ... into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In the biggest section we have in the Scriptures of Jesus teaching on eschatology, he has sprinkled application all the way through the passage. Further, after his teaching, he gives three parables which all have much of the same application: be ready, be alert, do the work, and don't be deceived.

The final reference we will look at comes in Matthew 26:26-29. This is the Lord's Supper!

Matthew 26:26-29
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”

You can see the eschatology in verse 29, where Jesus speaks about drinking of the cup, “new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” This isn't Jesus off in heaven enjoying heaven by himself, it's Jesus in heaven and us with him in heaven. Jesus is picturing the day when he is seated at the table with his disciples. Perhaps this eschatology isn’t Jesus returning in his kingdom, but it is future looking. Jesus was looking to the future, when his kingdom would be established. On that day, the disciples would be with him.

The same promise comes to us as well. There will be a future day when all the followers of Jesus will be with him. Drinking the fruit of the vine with him. Until that day, the ethic here is that we too should eat and drink as Jesus did with his disciples. According to the other accounts of this event, Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24). We are commanded by Jesus, in thinking about the future event, to celebrate the Lord's Supper.

This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on May 5, 2024 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rockvalleybiblechurch.org.