Standing before my students as a young Adjunct Professor, I paused momentarily to view the faces of more than 50 first year students of the Word of God. As I turned from their faces, awaiting my opening lecture, I was taken aback by all of the books on the shelves authored by nearly 300 different authors. I began, “All of these books and not one author is present! All desiring for you to know about one Book, the Holy Bible. But I promise you, I continued, if you read this one Book, the Author promises to be present with you and in you.”
I want you who read this blog to know, it is the scriptures and nothing but the scriptures so help me God upon which we rise or fall.
Today the passage in which we have to do is Matthew 24:12 begins in verse 1.
Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Matthew 24:1-2
Chapters 24 and 25 comprise Jesus’ fifth and final discourse; we call this discourse the Olivet Discourse. This presentation is entirely prophetic. Most of the description is about the time of the Tribulation.
In Matthew 24:1 we read [following the judgments of chapter 23] Jesus went out and departed from the temple, Jesus and His disciples left the temple area and began to climb the Mount of Olives. He had just pronounced judgment on the temple (23:38). The glory had departed from the temple. Ezekiel 9:3; 10:4; 11:23.
And His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.
The buildings of Herod’s temple were a wonderful site. The disciples wanted to talk about its physical beauty. Herod began building this temple is 20 B.C. and it was still under construction in A.D. 70 when the Romans destroyed it. It was made of gleaming white limestone. The eastern wall was covered with gold plates.
And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Matthew 24:2
As they walked up the Mount of Olives Jesus asked His disciples to look down at the beauty of the architecture of the temple below them. Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” The Roman army fulfilled these words in A.D. 70 when Titus ordered the destruction of the temple. They threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley.
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what will be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3
Jesus sat on the very place where the prophecy He was about to give will occur. The Mount of Olives is just across the Kidron Valley from the temple. This gave a panoramic view of both Jerusalem and the temple from the east. Jesus had just given a prophecy about the destruction of the temple in verses 1-2.
The disciples, shaken by this prophecy, asked Jesus two questions. They assumed that the destruction of the temple would take place at the Second Coming.
“Tell us, when will these things be?
“These things” refers to Jesus’ statement about the destruction of the temple and the fall of Jerusalem verses 1-2. Jesus did not answer this question directly in chapters 24 and 25. He did indicate that “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” Matthew 24:34. However, in terms of the exact time Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” Matthew 24:36
And what will be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?”
In the Greek the word “the” governs both “the sign of thy coming” and “of the end of the age.” The disciples did not separate the two events. In their view, the destruction of Jerusalem entailed the end of the age with the coming of the Messiah. Jesus referred to His coming in three places in verses 27, 37 and 39. The Second Coming will occur just after the Tribulation period of seven years.
The phrase “the end of the age” means the end of the age of Israel. The Second Coming will consummate that age. The “present age” to Jesus and the disciples was the one before the Messianic age began. The Old Testament taught a sequence of prophetical events:
1. Destruction of Jerusalem Zechariah 14:1
2. Messiah would come and end the present age of Israel Zechariah 14:3-8
3. Messiah would set up a new kingdom for Israel Zechariah 14:3-11
The Rapture will occur just before the Tribulation. The disciples had no knowledge of the Rapture but only of the Second Coming.
Matthew 24:4 This verse begins the Olivet Discourse proper. Jesus answers questions about “the sign of thy coming” and “the end of the age” from verses 4 through 44. This section deals with the Tribulation. The Tribulation is the 70th week of Daniel, Daniel 9:27.
The first three-and-a-half years of the Tribulation run from verses 4 to 14. The last three-and-a-half years are the Great Tribulation, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble Jeremiah 30:7. The latter is a time of unprecedented tribulation on earth.
And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives [leads astray] you. Matthew 24:4
Jesus warned His disciples about premature claims of His coming. There will be a difference between the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and His Second Coming. We need to distinguish between a partial fulfillment and full fulfillment prophetically. There will be many fakers claiming to be the Messiah. There are many false teachers today as well:
2 Peter 2:1But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. Mathew 24:5
It will not be a few but “many” who will pretend to be the Messiah in the Tribulation. There will be an explosion of false Messiahs. Many will fall for their claims. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. During the Tribulation people will claim to speak for God but they will be fakers. They will adhere to the structures of Christianity without true belief in Christ, and many will fall for the phony prophets.
Moving down to verse 12 we read:
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:12
Due to “lawlessness” abounding, normal human affection will deteriorate. “Lawlessness” means iniquity. Iniquity is a disregard for the standards of the Bible. There will be those who blow cold air on the fervent love for Christ.
In The Old Testament, the concept of lawlessness comes to expression frequently through more than twenty Hebrew terms (all of which the Septuagint translates with anomia. Although the Greek term anomia, which translates all of these terms in the Septuagint, might lead one to suspect that this is dealing with the breaking of the Mosaic Law (ho nomos) that is primarily in view, the more general idea of iniquity or of Acts that reflect rebellion against God is the basic one.
Basically the word means NO MORAL CODE. One friend of mine translates this as “NO MORAL COMPASS.” Is this not the time in which we live?
Next we come to the word wax. The English word "wax" originated from an Anglo-Saxon (of which both English and German are related - Saxony is in Germany; the Anglos, from which comes the word "English," were a tribe of the Saxons) word weaxen which meant to grow, or increase.
A number of different Hebrew and Greek words of the Holy Scriptures have been translated by the single word "wax" (or "waxed"). In the Hebrew, the most-frequent is (pronounced) haw-lawk; it has a broad meaning, all involving an increase, but not necessarily as one thinks of it with the English word. Although the Hebrew word means increase, "wax" (as it is translated) is used to mean either an increase in increase, or, seemingly paradoxically, but nevertheless logically, an increase in decrease. Consider this example where "David waxed stronger and stronger" while "Saul waxed weaker and weaker."
Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David, but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker." 2 Samuel 3:1
Having labored to arrive at the etymology of waxing cold, the question we have before us is, who are the many?
True believers of Christ have always lived with the animosity that the carnal world has with the Truth - and with the great many self-worshipping frauds that call themselves "Christian" (calling them frauds of course just makes them even more angry, but it's as true as the Scriptural Truth that they still choose to defy - But while "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived," God's true believers look only to "the holy scriptures, which are able to make them wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:12-17
I love the reading of the orthodox Jewish Bible here: 21 Not all the ones saying to me, Adoneinu, Adoneinu, will enter the Malchut HaShomayim, but the one doing the ratzon Avi shba-Shomayim (the will of my Father in Heaven (Matthew 26:39). 22 Many [messianic darshanim] will say to me [Moshiach] on that Day [the Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment], Adoneinu, Adoneinu, did we not speak as neviim in your Name? Did we not cast out shedim (evil spirits, demons) in your Name? Did we not accomplish many niflaot (miracles) in your Name? 23 And then I will tell them to their face, I never had da’as of you. Depart from me, you workers of mufkarut (lawlessness) [TEHILLIM 6:9 (8).
Saints, be warned! Spiritual complacency has and will affect the majority believers.
“The love of many shall wax cold”
1. Being Indifferent to the main priority Revelation 2:4
2. Being Indifferent to their own need Revelation 3:15-20
Our prayer for you:
That your minds will not hardened and made dull, and that the gospel that has alighted into your hearts give you true Shalom.