Opening Prayer

Dear God, save me from thinking that I know you so well I only hear from you what is comfortable and familiar.

Read MATTHEW 24:15–35

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

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  1. Matthew 24:15 Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11
  2. Matthew 24:29 Isaiah 13:10; 34:4
  3. Matthew 24:30 Or the tribes of the land
  4. Matthew 24:30 See Daniel 7:13-14.
  5. Matthew 24:33 Or he

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


We can kneel before our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the sheep of his pasture.

Think Further

Jesus’ warnings become even more dramatic.

He looks back to the ‘abomination that causes desolation’ (v 15),1 which scholars believe refers to sacrilegious acts of the Seleucid king Antiochus in the second century BC, who erected an altar to Zeus in the temple court. Jesus foresees more desecration, as another enemy ruler devastates Jewish people. His prophecy fits well the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70, probably one of the worst in history. The historian Josephus describes how whole families starved to death and over one million people died. Many other tribulations have followed.

The last days will also be marked by the rise of false prophets and cult founders who will lead people astray. Over the last century we have seen so many sham cults, with some of their leaders propagating immorality or even mass suicide. Jesus warns believers not to be taken in by myths, cults, and fake prophets, especially those who claim sightings of the Messiah. They will always draw us away from truth.

The return of Christ will be marked, first, by ‘great tribulation’ (v 21, AV) and later by cataclysmic events, affecting our whole planet. Jesus told his generation that they would see these things – and they surely did in the great catastrophe that befell Jerusalem. Since then, many more of us have been living in times where Jesus’ words ring true. In our own age, the rise of nationalism, conflict, global disasters, climate issues, and even pandemics can point us back to his prophecy. As we note the events of our world, we believe that the end times may well be drawing close.


As you reflect on the global events challenging and changing our planet, pray for God’s help to face the future without fear.

Closing prayer

Lord, I am reminded today that one of the certainties of life is change. So, I renew my trust in the Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ, who never changes.

Last Updated on March 21, 2023 by kingstar

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