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Jesus Speaks About the End Times

The disciples asked Jesus about three things:

  1. When shall these things be?
  2. What shall be the sign of thy coming?
  3. What shall be the sign of the end of the world?

Jesus then gave them an overview of all the key turning points in Christian history from the last 2,000 years.

  • The destruction of Jerusalem (including the temple)
  • Dark Ages
  • Heavenly signs
  • Sorrows (or birthing pains)
  • Mark of the beast
  • Counterfeit second coming
  • Second coming

Understanding the sequence of events is very important. For example: you can read Matthew 24 as if the great tribulation is in the past, but also as if it is still in the future. Which view is right? If the great tribulation is in the past then that must mean we're far closer to the end then we've previously realized, etc.

Some parts in Matthew 24 also have a dual fulfillment which we need to consider.

These lessons are for our benefit. We need to stay our faith upon God, for there is just before us a time that will try men's souls. Christ, upon the Mount of Olives, rehearsed the fearful judgments that were to precede His second coming: "Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars." "Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." While these prophecies received a partial fulfillment at the destruction of Jerusalem, they have a more direct application to the last days.
- Ellen White, Testimonies, vol. 5, 753.1

Matthew 24 overlaps with Mark 13, Luke 21, and also the sixth seal from the book of Revelation.

Some of the events in Matthew 24 will be local (Jerusalem), whereas others will have a more global effect (earthquakes).

As always, careful study of scripture is required, but I personally believe that Jesus tried to make it as simple as possible, because He knew we would be studying this one day. As the last days approach rapidly more and more of these prophecies will start to make sense, just as God had intended to do all along.

The sorrows are definitely happening today. Most Christians actually agree on that.

So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
- Matthew 24:33 (KJV)

Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple

1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
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.

Please note that "these things" in verse 2 refer to "the buildings of the temple" in verse 1.

The temple was completely (systematically) destroyed in 70 AD.


- David Roberts

The sacrifices of the temple were no longer needed, because of the sacrifice that Jesus had made, so therefore the temple was completely destroyed.

The apostle John witnessed this.

John lived to be very aged. He witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem, and the ruin of the stately temple,-a symbol of the final ruin of the world.
- Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 816

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?

So here are the three questions:

  1. When shall these things be?
  2. What shall be the sign of thy coming?
  3. What shall be the sign of the end of the world?

The Signs of the End Times

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Satan will impersonate Christ as part of a counterfeit second coming, so it's absolutely vital to understand this.

Jesus will never set foot on this earth.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (KJV)



For further study on this, please click here.

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.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

These are sometimes also referred to as "birthing pains" which tend to get more frequent, and more severe towards the end.



For example, in 1974 there were 4,500 earthquakes, but in 2014 there were 118,000 earthquakes. These numbers will increase as we get closer to the end. Probably increasing in deadliness as well.

The gospel of Luke adds a bit more to this:

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
- Luke 21:25-26 (KJV)

Ellen White adds this:

There will soon be a sudden change in God's dealings. The world in its perversity is being visited by casualties,--by floods, storms, fires, earthquakes, famines, wars, and bloodshed. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power; yet He will not at all acquit the wicked. "The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet." O that men might understand the patience and longsuffering of God! He is putting under restraint His own attributes. His omnipotent power is under the control of Omnipotence. O that men would understand that God refuses to be wearied out with the world's perversity, and still holds out the hope of forgiveness even to the most undeserving! But His forbearance will not always continue. Who is prepared for the sudden change that will take place in God's dealing with sinful men? Who will be prepared to escape the punishment that will certainly fall upon transgressors?
- Ellen White, Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 356

For an overview of all the signs, please click here.

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.

This has been happening quite a lot, and seems to be on-going for centuries.

10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Once this prophecy has been fulfilled, the end will come.

Because of things like the internet this prophecy has almost been fulfilled already.

We're not far off in other words.

The Abomination of Desolation

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:)

Abomination of desolation means "a deliberate attempt to mock and deny the reality of God's presence". For example, in 168 BC Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig (unclean animal) to Zeus on the sacred temple altar. Daniel had predicted this would happen.

The Luke equivalent of Matthew 24, makes it quite clear what this abomination of desolation is:

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
- Luke 21:20 (KJV)

The abomination of desolation for the temple was when the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem (the Holy place).

The Romans then went on to kill 1.1 million jews.

The verse from Daniel is probably this one:

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
- Daniel 9:27 (KJV)

The Hebrew word translated to "overspreading" can also be translated as "wing" (meaning army).

Here's a bit of a summary:

  • Jesus established the new covenant over a period of "one week" (7 years)
  • In the midst of that He was "cut off" (crucified)
  • No more animal sacrifices necessary (Jesus died "once for all")
  • Temple destroyed by the Roman armies

Note that this does not refer to the anti-christ with some kind of peace treaty, nor does it mean that the Great Tribulation in the end times is exactly 7 years. For more information on the rapture lie, please click here.

What follows is mainly a warning for Jerusalem in 70 AD, but can also be applied to us today (see below).

16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.

The warning to flee Jerusalem once the Roman armies arrived was specifically for the Christians there, and not a single one perished. It's absolutely amazing.

Here is how Ellen White puts it.

Not one Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem. Christ had given His disciples warning, and all who believed His words watched for the promised sign. "When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies," said Jesus, "then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out." Luke 21:20, 21. After the Romans under Cestius had surrounded the city, they unexpectedly abandoned the siege when everything seemed favorable for an immediate attack. The besieged, despairing of successful resistance, were on the point of surrender, when the Roman general withdrew his forces without the least apparent reason. But God's merciful providence was directing events for the good of His own people. The promised sign had been given to the waiting Christians, and now an opportunity was offered for all who would, to obey the Saviour's warning. Events were so overruled that neither Jews nor Romans should hinder the flight of the Christians. Upon the retreat of Cestius, the Jews, sallying from Jerusalem, pursued after his retiring army; and while both forces were thus fully engaged, the Christians had an opportunity to leave the city. At this time the country also had been cleared of enemies who might have endeavored to intercept them. At the time of the siege, the Jews were assembled at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, and thus the Christians throughout the land were able to make their escape unmolested. Without delay they fled to a place of safety--the city of Pella, in the land of Perea, beyond Jordan.
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 30/31

Ellen White also speaks about a dual fulfillment.

The time is not far distant, when, like the early disciples, we shall be forced to seek a refuge in desolate and solitary places. As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation [the United States] in the decree enforcing the papal sabbath will be a warning to us. It will then be time to leave the large cities, preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains.
- Ellen White, Maranatha, p. 181

So when the Sunday law hits it is time to leave the large cities.

For further study, please watch this video.

The Great Tribulation

Tribulation for Christians means persecution.

Here are some examples of that.

  • Jerusalem 70 AD (1.1 million jews killed)
  • Dark Ages (more than 50 million Christians killed)
  • Holocaust (6 million Jews killed plus 5 million others)
  • Mark of the beast (yet to come)

Jesus explains the Dark Ages and the Mark of the beast together, so we need to look closely at both of them.

What follows is a short explanation of each tribulation, and then we'll look at the actual Bible verses, and what inspiration has to say about that.

Dark Ages (538-1798)

This is where the papacy persecuted and killed more than 50 million Christians.

The Dark Ages are mentioned seven times in the Bible.

1.

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
- Daniel 7:25 (KJV)

time = 360 days
times = 720 days
dividing of time = 180 days
total = 360 + 720 + 180 = 1260 days

One day = One year

1260 years

2.

And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
- Daniel 12:7 (KJV)

time = 360 days
times = 720 days
half = 180 days
total = 360 + 720 + 180 = 1260 days

One day = One year

1260 years

3.

But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
- Revelation 11:2 (KJV)

month = 30 days
total = 42 * 30 = 1260 days

One day = One year

1260 years

4.

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
- Revelation 11:3 (KJV)

score = 20
threescore = 60
total = 1000 + 200 + 60 = 1260 days

One day = One year

1260 years

5.

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
- Revelation 12:6 (KJV)

score = 20
threescore = 60
total = 1000 + 200 + 60 = 1260 days

One day = One year

1260 years

6.

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
- Revelation 12:14 (KJV)

time = 360 days
times = 720 days
half = 180 days
total = 360 + 720 + 180 = 1260 days

One day = One year

1260 years

7.

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
- Revelation 13:5 (KJV)

month = 30 days
total = 42 * 30 = 1260 days

One day = One year

1260 years


Mark of the Beast

Here are some Bible verses about the Mark of the beast tribulation (starting at the Sunday law).

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
- Revelation 13:15 (KJV)

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
- Revelation 7:14 (KJV)

Again, the papacy is the one who is doing the persecuting.

History simply repeats itself.

Time of Trouble

I have also learned that great tribulation (persecution of saints) is not the same as the time of trouble (war among the nations).

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
- Daniel 12:1 (KJV)

The time of trouble is a reference to the seven last plagues (which are yet to come).


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.
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.

This refers to the Dark Ages.

From the destruction of Jerusalem, Christ passed on rapidly to the greater event, the last link in the chain of this earth's history,-the coming of the Son of God in majesty and glory. Between these two events, there lay open to Christ's view long centuries of darkness, centuries for His church marked with blood and tears and agony. Upon these scenes His disciples could not then endure to look, and Jesus passed them by with a brief mention. "Then shall be great tribulation," He said, "such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." For more than a thousand years such persecution as the world had never before known was to come upon Christ's followers. Millions upon millions of His faithful witnesses were to be slain. Had not God's hand been stretched out to preserve His people, all would have perished. "But for the elect's sake," He said, "those days shall be shortened."
- Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 630/631

The persecution of the church did not continue throughout the entire period of the 1260 years. God in mercy to His people cut short the time of their fiery trial. In foretelling the "great tribulation" to befall the church, the Saviour said: "Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." Matthew 24:22. Through the influence of the Reformation the persecution was brought to an end prior to 1798.
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 266/267

Some say there is a dual fulfillment here, but I'm not convinced of that.

The verse below is sometimes given for this. It seems to suggest that we need to tell people that the great tribulation from Matthew 24 is still in the future.

We are to realize that the judgments of God are about to fall upon the earth, and we should most earnestly present before the people the warning that the Lord has commissioned us to give: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
- Ellen White, Review & Herald, November 22, 1892

But maybe that needs to be read in context.

There is great need that our weakening faith should be quickened, and that we should ever keep before the mind the evidences that our Lord is soon coming, that we may ever be found not only waiting, but watching and working. We are not to be found in idle expectancy; for this leads to carelessness of life, and deficiency of character. We are to realize that the judgments of God are about to fall upon the earth, and we should most earnestly present before the people the warning that the Lord has commissioned us to give: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."
- Ellen White, Review & Herald, November 22, 1892

This to me suggests that we should tell people that the great tribulation (Dark Ages) were indeed followed by the heavenly signs (verse 29) as prophesied, and that we are now much closer to the end than most people realize. Also, as of 1844 we are now in a period called investigative judgment. Those are important things to share with people. We're at the end. It's undeniable.

Don't get me wrong. Another great tribulation is coming, but I'm convinced that the great tribulation mentioned in this verse, is that of the Dark Ages.

Note also the use of the phrase "those days" in verse 22. We find that phrase in v. 29 also.

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.
- Matthew 24:29 (KJV)

They are both talking about the same event, e.g. the tribulation of those days.

For more information on how the great tribulation ties in with the heavenly signs, please go to verse 29.

False Christ and False Prophets

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Now, in unmistakable language, our Lord speaks of His second coming, and He gives warning of dangers to precede His advent to the world. "If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 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. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." As one of the signs of Jerusalem's destruction, Christ had said, "Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." False prophets did rise, deceiving the people, and leading great numbers into the desert. Magicians and sorcerers, claiming miraculous power, drew the people after them into the mountain solitudes. But this prophecy was spoken also for the last days. This sign is given as a sign of the second advent. Even now false christs and false prophets are showing signs and wonders to seduce His disciples. Do we not hear the cry, "Behold, He is in the desert"? Have not thousands gone forth into the desert, hoping to find Christ? And from thousands of gatherings where men profess to hold communion with departed spirits is not the call now heard, "Behold, He is in the secret chambers"? This is the very claim that spiritism puts forth. But what says Christ? "Believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
- Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 631

It is satan who will impersonate Christ.

The "crowning act" of the great controversy end-time drama will be Satan's attempt to impersonate Christ in a counterfeit second coming.
- Ellen White, The great visions of Ellen G. White, p. 60.7

Again, Jesus comes with the clouds, and like lightning.


Heavenly Signs

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.

Now we're at the end of the Dark Ages.

We must read this verse together with the sixth seal.

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
- Revelation 6:12-14 (KJV)

Here are the signs from Matthew 24, and the sixth seal.


YearEventDescription
1755Great earthquake (Lisbon)The great earthquake killed roughly 90,000 people, and was felt in Europe, Africa, and America.
1780Sun and moon darkened (Dark Day)The sun and moon were darkened when the papal persecution came to an end.
1833Stars fell from heaven (Leonids)The (shooting) stars fell as never seen before.

Please note that the papal reign ended in 1798, but that the papal persecution ended prior to that in 1780.

What I'm trying to say is that these heavenly signs have already happened.

Except for "the powers of the heavens shall be shaken". That's still in the future.

Here is how Ellen White explains that.

December 16, 1848, the Lord gave me a view of the shaking of the powers of the heavens. I saw that when the Lord said "heaven," in giving the signs recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, He meant heaven, and when He said "earth" He meant earth. The powers of heaven are the sun, moon, and stars. They rule in the heavens. The powers of earth are those that rule on the earth. The powers of heaven will be shaken at the voice of God. Then the sun, moon, and stars will be moved out of their places. They will not pass away, but be shaken by the voice of God.
Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. The atmosphere parted and rolled back; then we could look up through the open space in Orion, whence came the voice of God. The Holy City will come down through that open space. I saw that the powers of earth are now being shaken and that events come in order. War, and rumors of war, sword, famine, and pestilence are first to shake the powers of earth, then the voice of God will shake the sun, moon, and stars, and this earth also. I saw that the shaking of the powers in Europe is not, as some teach, the shaking of the powers of heaven, but it is the shaking of the angry nations.

- Ellen White, Early Writings, chapter 6

Sounds very similar to the sixth seal.

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
- Revelation 6:12-17 (KJV)

The phrase "the great day of his wrath" refers to the seven last plagues, so that's another important clue as to where we are on the prophetic timeline.

For further study on the sixth seal (and the heavenly signs), please click here.

The Coming of the Son of Man

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 with power and great glory.

I'm guessing that the sign mentioned here is the cross. I don't know what else it would be.

If you want to know more details, here is how Ellen White describes the second coming.

Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man's hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour, and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth, becoming lighter and more glorious, until it is a great white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror....
With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms-"ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." No human pen can portray the scene, no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor....
The King of kings descends upon the cloud, wrapped in flaming fire. The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island is moved out of its place.

- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, 640-642 (1911).

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.

This is right at the very end.

I'm guessing that this trumpet is the trump of God from the book of Thessalonians.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (KJV)

Again, Jesus will never set foot on this Earth. We will meet up with Him in the clouds.


The Parable of the Fig Tree

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:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

"This generation" refers to the end-time generation.

Ellen White words it like this.

At the close of the great papal persecution, Christ declared, the sun should be darkened, and the moon should not give her light. Next, the stars should fall from heaven. And He says, "Learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that He is near, even at the doors" (Matthew 24:32, 33, margin). Christ has given signs of His coming. He declares that we may know when He is near, even at the doors. He says of those who see these signs, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." These signs have appeared. [See The Great Controversy, 306-308, 333, 334.] Now we know of a surety that the Lord's coming is at hand.
- Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 632

Final events will happen fast.

The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude. The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.
- Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 11

The time to prepare is now.

35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

No One Knows the Day or Hour

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

This is worth repeating, e.g. no man knoweth that day and hour.

So if someone says "seven years from when event X happens" is the second coming, you are setting dates. If someone says "6000 years after the Fall" is the second coming, you are setting dates.

There are actually several events we will never have a date for.

  • Second coming
  • Outpouring of the Holy Spirit
  • Close of probation
  • The third angels message

For a further study on time setting boundaries, please click here.

The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant

45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This is not the time to be friends with the world.

Conclusion

Many different views have been given for Matthew 24, and I hope that this study will help you understand it a bit better.

And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
- John 14:29 (KJV)

I believe Matthew 24 is very relevant for the last days, so please study this first, and then move on to the book of Revelation.

If all you got from this study is that great tribulation is coming soon, then you're doing well.

A lot of people will not be prepared for the last days. Most Christians believe that they will "raptured" before things get bad, but this is not correct. We will all go through some kind of tribulation, and a large portion of us will die.

To learn more about why the "rapture" is not Biblical, please click here.

If you're a bit lost, then remember that the Sabbath/Sunday issue is what matters most.