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The Return of Jesus Christ

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
April 23, 2021 8:00 am

The Return of Jesus Christ

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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April 23, 2021 8:00 am

What do the story of Noah’s ark, a report of a residential robbery and the occurrence of a lightning storm have in common? In this broadcast of The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice, we’ll discover the answer. Together, we’ll learn a little about eschatology and a lot about our role and responsibility of living in a temporary world with the great hope of eternity.

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What do the story of Noah's Ark, a report of a residential robbery in the occurrence of a lightning storm have in common in this broadcast of the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will discover the answer together will learn a little about eschatology and a lot about our role and responsibility of living in a temporary world with a great hope of eternity and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act thickly while were called to persevere through trials until the return of Christ. God's promises to persevere with us. Let's listen in as Dr. Boyce teaches from Matthew chapter 24 I don't think there's any great difficulty in understanding what Jesus is saying in the all of the discourse up to verse 28 of Matthew 24 warned the disciples about disruptive world events, things that are often taken by religious people as signs of something momentous to, but he's explained that not signs of his return to the kind of things that are coming there bad they won't signal his immediate return and then he's gone on to talk about. One particularly disruptive event the fall of Jerusalem would have a tremendous impact not only for them but for many other people, but still that's not a sign I think it's not so hard as I say understand the chapter up to that point. But now the easy part is over, verse 29 to that part of the discourse that has given most trouble. The most commentators and produce more divisions in this matter of eschatology probably than anything else. Doubtlessly, it has to do with timing. Jesus had spoken of the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in A.D. 70. By Roman armies under Roman Gen. Titus, but having said that, he continues immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give. It's like the stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Verse 29.

I could refer to something in the future. Most of us take it that way. But if that's the case, why did Jesus use the word immediately as in the phrase immediately after those days immediately shut me that context close to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem. But if these portents sky or future if they are tied by the word immediately to all of Jerusalem. They didn't seem to happen is that all lunch versus begin at that time and then they go on to describe how the Son of Man will come in the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory, accompanied by a sign in heaven. The blast of the trumpet the appearance of angels to gather the elect from the far corners of the earth.

Again I could be future. Most people assume that it is. But if that's the case why does Jesus say at that time, and if he meant what he said is that he would return that time or soon after the fall of the city of Jerusalem didn't seem to happen. The prediction was wrong.

We have a nearly identical situation. Verse 33 where Jesus says when you see all these things, you know that it's near right at the door. The second coming can't be a sign of itself. So all these things doesn't refer to that.

It must be referring to the things that proceed as return but it may be, they are the tragedies leading up to the fall of Jerusalem second coming of the Lord didn't follow those events in Jesus would seem to of been mistaken. Most apparent, and for some people. The worst problem of all is Jesus solemn affirmation in verse 34 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away and all these things happen. What can this generation. Be other than the direct generation that was then living, if that's what the words mean Jesus must've been wrong since many generations of come and gone since that time, Jesus still hasn't returned these verses, as well as some others that lay behind Bertrand Russell's statement that he couldn't be a Christian roadblock by that title.

Why am not a Christian when he says when he talked about Jesus teaching here is he certainly thought that his second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time didn't happen when he said modestly, with great overtones in that respect. He certainly was not as wise as some other people have been and he was certainly not super relatively wise. That's the problem. How do we resolve one or two easy ways of doing it. One way is to take all these events.

One thing together and place them at the endpoint history view has the advantage of taking the ball literally all of Jerusalem signs in the sky. The return of Jesus. All current tight chronological sequence and yet they are all future misinterpretation.

The fall of Jerusalem. Jesus is speaking of here not refer to the destruction of the city by the Romans, but rather, to something that is going to happen again at the end of time. This is the common understanding among dispensational wholeness. Fall of Jerusalem and its distresses link to the great tribulation precedes the battle of Armageddon and the subsequent reign of Christ on earth for a thousand years. In this view that phrase this generation is either referred to the generation living at the time of the final attack on Jerusalem or is understood to mean this race meeting Jews. Jews won't perish from the earth until these final things actually come about, main reason most people have heard of being persuaded by this handling of the material is that they can't really believe that these verses 15 through 22 are not a description of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans and they also have problems with that handling of the phrase this generation. Most commentators today at whatever persuasion say that you really can't use that phrase in any other way than to say it refers of the people who were living at the time Jesus spoke those words so those are the problems of the dispensational handling the other way of handling it easily is also the lump all the events together overcomes all the difficulties with the time related language, but place all at the beginning is in the first Christian century and link at all to the fall of Jerusalem missed you. The coming of Christ referred to in verses 30 and 31 is his return and judgment on Jerusalem signs of his coming are understood as old testament images for historical, but earth shattering events the end of the age. Verse three is understood to mean the a didn't of the Jewish age, which is followed by the age of the church. This means that nearly everything in Matthew 24 and 25 is about God's judgment on Jerusalem. Even his strong reiterated warnings to watch and be ready for his return. And so is nearly the whole of the book of Revelation is you is known as plagiarism which means what has already taken place. Now it's been revived recently by RC Sproul called the last days according to Jesus Christ, but he didn't initiate it sometime ago it was propounded by a man named Jay Stewart, Russell in a book called the Perugia on whose work scroll largely depends. Why hasn't this view commended itself everyone.

It's an easy solution, one obvious reason is that it's hard to see how Christ's coming on the clouds with power and great glory with the Angels gathering his elect from the far corners of the earth can be said to have been fulfilled at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, even granting that the language about the sun being darkened and the moon not giving light might be figurative and is this problem to my judgment. This is the most significant of all of everything or nearly everything in these chapters is about the fall of Jerusalem, then the disciples question about the end of the ages and really answered, at least not as almost everyone, including the disciples themselves would've understood it chapters, which most Christians will always look to is assuring them of the Lord's return and encouraging them to be ready and watching Florida's lot about the Lord's future return. In fact, Jesus has virtually nothing to say about his second coming, or do any of the other writers of the biblical books including the author of Revelation how to resolve these problems well. History suggests we won't. I mean by that is it's hard to put forward an interpretation that will satisfy everyone but me try anyway.

Starting with the flow of thought. In the chapter go back and see where we come from.

First of all, verse three. I pointed out in our last study that this chapter begins with the disciples. Two important questions. Number one, when will this happen barring the fall of Jerusalem and number two what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age of the first question in the second question were probably one question in their minds that is, they thought about the fall of Jerusalem that seem to be the end of every think it must be the time of the Lord's return, but Matthew records. It is two separate questions and Jesus answers it is two separate questions. Beginning with the second. What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age.

Verses 4 to 14. That's the next section. Here he tells them that there will be many earthshaking events that may be thought of as signs, but won't be the disciples are to be troubled by only includes false Messiah's wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes, persecutions, apostasy, and false prophets.

These are the beginning of birth pains. But they're not the signs of his return. Why, because the gospel of the kingdom has to be preached in the whole world only after that. Will the income next section is verses 15 through 22. Here Jesus is speaking about that one particularly destructive and disturbing about the fall of Jerusalem.

But even this isn't going to be a sign of his returns important disciples needed to be warned that it was coming they would be living in those days most cases they should flee the city when they see these things beginning to happen, but this is still not the end.

In verses 23 to 27 this point Jesus makes clear that the destruction of Jerusalem is only one example of the bad things will happen to people by returning the body said earlier about the false Messiah as it makes those references to Jerusalem something of a parenthesis mention the false lines he talks about the fall of Jerusalem.

Mommy goes back to those false lines, false Messiah's are going to appear at this time as at other times, but none of those false messiahs will be the true disciple Messiah and the disciples are to be taken in by the wind well because when they appear they will appear in secret say here they are out in the desert meet this guy some as I know the real messiahs in the inner rooms come in here and find out what's going on Jesus as my return messiahs second coming is not going to be like that because it's going to be sudden it's going to be like the lightning flashing out of the east of the West will be visible. Everyone that brings us to verses 29 to 32 having mentioned is coming as lightning flashing from the east of the West. He goes on to give some specifics will be signs in the sky, including sign of the Son of Man, whatever that may be a loud trumpet call the work of angels and gathering the elect from the far reaches of the earth at the point of these so-called signs is that they are not signs in the sense that they will be giving warnings to people to get ready. On the contrary, they'll be coincident with Christ coming and that's going to be sudden person is ready before hand, will be nothing that he or she will be able to do them. When Jesus actually returns in such a person will be lost then the end of the chapter versus 36 to 51/section, Jesus stresses the suddenness of his return by an historical reference of my several images. The historical references to the flood of Noah came suddenly and overtook the people of that day so they perished in the images he talks about a thief that enters a house at an unexpected time or master who suddenly returns home wraps it up by saying the servants must be ready, because the master will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour is not aware of. That's the general flow of the chapter so far so good. What about the time references are the ones that cause the problem. See what we can do with those.

I would argue that the time references have to be fitted to the other statements, namely that stressful times are not signs of Christ's return and that is coming will be so unexpected that no one, not even the angels in heaven, or Jesus himself can say when it will be mistake the one of the time.

First of all what we do.

The words immediately after the stress of those days, the answer is that the distress of those days must refer to all the many distressful times throughout history. Perhaps particularly distressful at the time of the fall of Jerusalem were referring to a time of unusual distress. In addition, just prior to the Lord's return. Certainly the earlier statements about false Christ, false prophets in apostasy report what the other biblical writers say about the end of history. In fact, we read passages like second Peter three, Peter is warning those to whom he writes about the coming of Christ, of how scoffers are going to deny it. All of that kind of thing we find language there.

That's a deliberate echo of the 24th chapter of Matthew. And why not. That's where Peter got it or delete Lord Jesus Christ.

Speak these things, and so he says almost the same thing in much the same language in the third chapter. As far as the sun being dark in the moon, failing to give like stars falling from heaven preferential right when they point out that is imagery used in the Old Testament for any cataclysmic historic event, but we also need to CDI. Carson says this well that it is also imagery used in New Testament text is very clearly referring to that coming of Christ at the end of history gives us examples. Matthew 1414 are several passages of Matthew the Jews that their final judgment involving the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous since described in the Son of Man is said to be coming with the Angels to accomplish the work. The 16th chapter of Matthew, verse 27 the Son of Man comes in glory with the Angels and the 25th chapter verse 31 have the same ultimate division. Again, it's done by Christ and the angels in glory. First Corinthians 1552 that a chapter about the resurrection.

You have a reference to the trumpet call of the last day appears again in first Thessalonians 414 through 17 second Thessalonians 1 someone in the second chapter. All talk about the Angels and then I have referred to the second Peter three where you have a flood reference to the Son of Man coming as a thief in the mind. Iron destruction. Revelation 17.

The Son of Man is coming in glory on the clouds of heaven. Moreover, there's this point in the parallel passage in Luke chapter 21, the reference to signs in the sun, moon and stars is prefaced and look on a map with prefaced by the prediction that Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled on that must refer to the Gentile domination of Jerusalem from the time of its fall until at least the present age that verse says it's only after that the Son of Man will return the second time Paul seems to be expressing similar ideas in the 11th chapter of Romans. Now here's another time reference that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. I haven't the faintest idea what the sign of the Son of Man is, nor should I something that's going to be recognized by people who see it, see it is going to be too late.

But I what I have said about immediately is right this particular time reference isn't difficult. It simply links the actual appearance of Jesus to those irregularities in the sky.

This describe in verse 28 the end of the times of distress which is all of human history, the sun, moon and stars will be darkened, and at that time Jesus will appear in heaven with his holy angels. And that's when the Angels will call out the elect about these phrases when you see all these things and this generation will certainly not pass away and all these things will happen. Those two references go together because are part of the same paragraph that occurred one after the other is however a slight change in tone in verse 32 probably notice that Jesus has spoken of a sudden return in glory and always giving a lesson for those who will actually be living in the period between his first coming in the second coming there to learn from the fig tree signals summer by developing tender twigs by putting out leaves so all these things are compared to these tender twigs and leaves, which means that the distressful things of verses two through 28 show that the Lord's return is imminent, as indeed it is about the phrase this generation. This view, it really is the generation living at the time Christ spoke these words because that generation actually did see all these things, they knew a false Christ site heard of wars and rumors of wars they experienced famines and earthquakes. They witnessed apostasy of the false prophets and so has every generation since we've seen everything we need to say or can say.

Prior to the return of Jesus Christ that we have nothing to look forward to except the second coming.

Bottom line is where discourse continues only through the remainder of this chapter, but in chapter 25.

As well as this, we need to be ready because no one knows about the day or the hour when the Lord will come.

Verse 36. Let's go back and review the lessons we ought to draw from the first 35 verses of the chapter coming of Christ and the end of the world's eminence, meaning it can occur at any moment. Therefore, here are our responsibilities number one. Watch out that no one deceives us verses four and 26 is that a great deal to say about this in the discourse of other places as well. Having warned against false Christ at the very beginning of the chapter returns of the same point when he speaks of the fall of Jerusalem say what if anyone says to you, look, here is the price for their areas. Don't believe it because false Christ and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect if it were possible that he refers to it all again in verse 26 where he warns about going out to find them in the desert of the inner rooms. I think it might be possible to write a history of the church terms of the errors of the been foisted upon it sometime from without, as the churches adopted the philosophies and understandings of the world.

Sometimes from within as those who appear to be Christians developed false doctrines and heresies the trouble and disturb Christ body we have deceivers today what we are warned about here is not to be deceived by them.

We have to refuse being deceived until our Lord comes again now. Secondly, we are to be settled even in times of war or threats of war warning includes all political and historical events in its reminder, if we can put it this way that the city of God is distinct from man's city will survive regardless of what happens in the secular world is always tend to get caught up in secular politics as if it requires the salvation of the secular state does save the spiritual state that isn't true secular state goes its own way and will perish in the end, no matter what nation or state.

It may be. Remember how Chuck Colson once wisely reminded delegates to one of the Christian booksellers convention after the president of the United States and spoken and got off the platform and everyone was cheering wildly.

Colson said, you must remember that the kingdom of God does not arrive on Air Force One. Third, we are to stand firm to the end. Verse 13. This verse talks about the perseverance of the saints means is a God perseveres with his people, so none of those he selected the salvation will be lost. Jesus taught it clearly in John 10 my sheep listen to my voice. I know them, they follow me. I give them eternal life will never perish. No one can snatch them out of my hand while it's true that God perseveres with us. It's also true that Weaver are part must persevere and that's what Jesus is speaking of here encouraging us to keep on keeping on. Since there is no promise of salvation for those who fall away from the faith or deny Christ. Apostle Paul taught the security of every believer respond in the eighth chapter of Romans as well as another tax. But the apostle Paul also wrote, if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will disown us. Second Timothy 212 is words seem to be part of what must've been an early Christian him based on Jesus teaching in Matthew 10 verses 32 and 33 and then there's this lasts point of application, number four, to preach the gospel throughout the whole world.

Verse 14. That's the chief task of the church in the present age, while we wait for Christ's return. Followers of Christ will be persecuted, prophesies that here the love of many will grow cold throughout the ages of church history, however long they may be students must be strong faithful, determined in carrying out this great commandment of Jesus Christ.

This is the motive which the gospel ends is his last words of the disciples of Matthew's gospel were these therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you shortly. I am with you always, to the very end of the age. So the question is will we do that we obey Christ's command. Next section of Matthew 24 tells us to keep watch and keep on being faithful and that is another things because we don't know Jesus Christ is coming back prior father, we thank you for your presence with us to guide our thoughts as we study together this difficult passage is produced so many different interpretations by those who have read and studied it by whatever the details of the prophecy may be by your grace, you would not allow us to miss what is essential plainly that we must be ready faithful and working certain testifying until Jesus returns. Father bless us. To that end, and give us grace to do it so much easier to talk about and to do is you are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce, a listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place.

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