Matthew 24 begins with Jesus’ disciples asking him about the destruction of the temple, about his return, and about the signs of the end of the age (v. 1-3). Jesus responds by telling them to be careful that no one leads them astray (v. 4). He says this because nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. Many will fall away, hand each other over to be killed, and there will be an increase of lawlessness in the time of the end (v. 7-12). In addition, it says this gospel (i.e. the prophecies of Mt 24) will be proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony and then the end will come (v. 14).
The events of Mt 24 take place in the tabernacle of God’s chosen people. The earthquakes and famines are spiritual—people’s hearts are shaking in distress and they are starving because they lack God’s word. Verse 36 says no one knows the day or the hour all these things will take place. It says the end will come when the gospel of heaven is proclaimed to the ends of the earth, but what are the two kinds of nations that fight at the end of the age?
At the first coming, Jesus fought a spiritual war against the leaders of Judaism, the scribes and Pharisees. Physically speaking, Jesus and the Pharisees belonged to the same world of Judaism, but spiritually speaking, they were fighting in a war between God’s kingdom and Satan’s kingdom. That is why Jesus called them vipers (Mt 23:33). He fought against them with the word of his testimony and overcame them (Mt 4:1-11; Jn 16:33). The war described in Mt 24 is also a war between two groups of the same world. This is a spiritual war between groups of Christians, one of which is led by the holy spirit and the other by evil spirits. They fight against each other with the word of their testimonies in an effort to seize ecclesiastical authority.
Revelation 13 and Rv 12 also describe a spiritual war that occurs at the time of the second coming. It was a war between the beast and the congregation members of the tabernacle referred to as heaven using Jesus’ blood and the word of their testimony as weapons (Rv 12:11). Matthew 24 talks about how the enemy of God gains more power. This is explained in more detail in Rv 13 where it says the people of the tabernacle are deceived and hand each other over to be killed. This is how Satan’s pastors are victorious, how the pastors of the first tabernacle are defeated, and how the destroyers stand in the holy place (v. 15) as described in Mt 24. If this war were physical and worldwide, wouldn’t the invading army want to take over a more strategic location rather than a temple? We must understand that the invading army—the destroyers at the time of the second coming—are Christian leaders like the Jewish scribes and Pharisees who invaded heaven in the time of the first coming (Mt 11:12; Mt 23:2).
At that time, those on their housetop must not go down to take what is in the house, and those who are in the field should not turn back to get their coats (v. 17-18). Verse 19 says woe to those who are pregnant and to nursing mothers. This time of distress is so great that the sun and moon turn dark and the stars fall from the sky (v. 29). The housetop refers to heaven, and the stars, before they fall, represent the congregation members who belong to heaven. To these stars, the things in their houses are the destroyers’ teachings and their coats represent hypocritical actions. This passage of Scripture is telling believers not to receive the destroyers’ teachings and to flee to the mountain (v. 16).
Matthew 24:37 says that the Lord’s return will be just like the time of Noah and Lot. If that is the case, who will receive salvation? Will it be the people who remain in the tabernacle the destroyer has invaded or the people who have fled to the mountain? Who is the one who obeys the Lord and acts according to the Lord’s will? When Adam’s world was being destroyed, Noah got on the ark, went to the mountain (Mt. Ararat), and was saved (Gn 7-8). When Sodom was being destroyed, Lot fled to the mountain as he was commanded and was saved (Gn 19). The mountain mentioned in Mt 24 is Mt. Zion (Rv 14:1-5) where Jesus is (Is 60:14). People can only be saved by fleeing to this place.
For the sake of the elect, God shortens the Old Testament’s 70 year period of destruction (Dn 9:2; Jer 25:11; Zec 1:12) to three and a half years in Revelation (Mt 24:22; Rv 11:2; Rv 13:5). The pregnant women and nursing mothers are the pastors (Gal 4:19; 1 Tm 1:2; 1 Cor 3:2) of the temple described in Mt 24. They are not literal women. They are people who have received spiritual seed (word, Lk 8:11) and who give spiritual milk (word, 1 Cor 3:2).
The sun, moon, and stars, which turn dark and fall as a result of the distress represent Spiritual Israel. They become dark and fall because, although they once belonged to heaven, they have returned to the earth (flesh). This is what happened when the organization of a pastor, who was a Christian but united with Satan, entered God’s temple as an educator and proceeded to destroy it. The sun, moon, and stars become dark because of this distress. Their fall plunges the tabernacle into the darkness of spiritual night. This is the end of the Christian world.
The four gospels, the epistles, and the book of Revelation say that Jesus will come like a thief in the night for the harvest. The sign of his return at that time is that Jesus appears in the sky (heaven), which has become as dark as night. He comes with his angels to harvest from the four directions. When Jesus and his angels come, however, they come as spirits. This means people will not be able to see them. Those who remain in the field are weeds, but those who are harvested will receive salvation. People who believe these words believe in Jesus and Jesus’ words of promise. People who do not believe in these words do not believe in Jesus.
Jesus promised to give all his possessions when he returns to his servant who gives the saints their food at the proper time (v. 45-47). What is the food at the proper time? When the events of Mt 24 are fulfilled, a testimony will be given about the prophecies and their fulfillment. This is the food at the proper time. Matthew 24 is a partial record of the events that surround the Lord’s return. The book of Revelation, however, is a much more detailed account. Therefore, when the prophecies of Revelation are fulfilled, the words of Revelation’s prophecies and their physical fulfillment become the true food at that time. The servant who gives that true food at the proper time is the promised pastor who comes in Jesus’ name.
When he comes, meeting the promised pastor and receiving his testimony regarding the prophecies and their fulfillment is the same as receiving the revelation of Jesus. This is the only way to become qualified for heaven and eternal life.