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Instructions To The End-Time Church
Most of the ministry of The Messiah involved teaching His people the right way to follow Him (see Christian Living and Calendar of Christ's Holy Days). Near the end of His Work, His teachings turned more to what is going to happen to His true followers, in the yet-Satanic world.
The lesson began with a Prophecy about the Temple, which had again become the religious headquarters of those who rejected Him (see Firing The Founder). Just as the Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC for that reason (see Ancient Empires - Babylon and The Southern Kingdom), the Temple would again be destroyed by the successor "Babylon" - Rome. That prophecy of destruction happened in 70 AD, exactly as Christ said that it would about 40 years before (see Titus Vespasianus and Pella).
"24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Matthew 24:1-2 KJV)
They then crossed over to the Mount of Olives, where The Christ would later ascend to heaven after His resurrection (Acts 1:9-12), and where He will return (Acts 1:11, Zechariah 14:4). The disciples asked the question (for themselves, but moreover for those who will be living in the future when it happens), "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
"24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of The End Of The World?" (Matthew 24:3 KJV)
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders"
The Messiah began His answer with the great deceptions and troubles that will engulf the world in the end time. The religious deception, wars, famines and pestilences were repeated by Christ, about 60 years later, to the apostle John in the book of Revelation (much of which was actually a letter - see The Old Man's Letter) - where they were described as the four horsemen of the apocalypse (see Chariots And Horsemen Of The Apocalypse).
"24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes [see Earthquake!], in divers places. 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Matthew 24:4-8 KJV)
The Great Tribulation upon Christ's true people will be the result of the world coming under the spell of "many false prophets" who will cause hate for the Truth to abound (even more than it already does by those who are "offended" by Christ's truth, and all too often, any truth, while claiming to be Christian - see Is Your Religion Your Religion? and Toy Bibles).
"24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom [see The Gospel of The Kingdom of God] shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:9-14 KJV)
The "the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet," will be fulfilled at that time. Christ's "two witnesses" (see The Prophets: The Two Witnesses) will be martyred at that time as well i.e. both of those events are described as happening just prior to Christ's return (see How Long Will 'The End Time' Last?).
"24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand [see Abomination of Desolation - Where?]: 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:15-22 KJV)
Even the return of Christ itself will be counterfeited by Satan-empowered "false Christs and false prophets" - who will fool, and make a fool of, those who ignore what is written in the Holy Bible (see What's Your Angle?). The written Word of God is the key to not being deceived ("whoso readeth, let him understand") because the deceivers will deny and contradict what is actually written in the Bible, while claiming to be teaching it (see Holy Bible Reading Plan With Study Notes).
"24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.
The "signs in the heavens" will then occur to get people to look up, away from the false Christs on this earth, to the genuine Christ arriving from heaven.
"24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in The Clouds of Heaven [see also Are We In Heaven Now?] with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:29-30 KJV)
The day of Christ's return will be salvation day for the people of Christ who have lived through all of the ages right up to that day (see When Will You Be Judged?).
"24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:31 KJV)
The Messiah finished the teaching with a warning not to set dates because "of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
"24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Fact Finder: Given all of the detailed information of events that will occur prior to Christ's return, why then did the Messiah complete the instructions with "ye know not what hour your Lord doth come"?