The following is section two from a series on emphatic elements in the Greek New Testament, written by biblical language expert Justin Alfred. For section one, click here. For section two, click here.
Section III – Matthew 24:9-14
Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. 10 “And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. 11 “And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. 12 “And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 “But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved. 14 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come. (Matthew 24:9-14)
In this section, Jesus talks about the persecution that His followers will endure until He returns, as well as the fact that “many” of His professed followers “will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.” He also states that “many false prophets will arise and will mislead many,” and in the above quote, we verify that even up to our time in the 21st century. We certainly see “lawlessness” in our nation today, as well as the hardness of heart of many people throughout the world, but this is not some new thing, but rather this has been with us for 2000 years! On the other hand, much of what we see in our country today is new to us because it has not been a part of our country’s history, but with the secularism permeating so much of our society, what we are witnessing is the unequivocal fruit of narcissistic self-centeredness. However, Jesus states that “the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved,” and this too is not new with us, but this has been a truth for 2000 years, and it will remain so until Jesus returns. What is of great importance to us with regard to the time of Jesus’ return is this next statement, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.” Dear, precious readers, what Jesus is saying here is that NO ONE BUT GOD knows when this will be, and our goal and aim, therefore, should not be in trying to calculate His return (because WE CANNOT DO IT), but rather to be about preaching and ministering His Word to a lost and dying world, who, without Him, will perish for all eternity in “the lake of fire”:
And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)
Therefore, based on the above, as well as Acts 1:6-8, it would appear, without any equivocation, that our focus needs to be on sharing and ministering the Gospel until we depart this life, either through death or the rapture, versus spending useless time and effort in trying to calculate when His return is going to be: “And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth’” (Acts 1:6-8).