By Henry Jaegers
What did Jesus Mean?
“But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels
of heaven, but my father only. But as the days of Noah were,
so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be: for as in the
days that were before the flood they were eating and
drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day
that Noah entered the ark, and knew not until the flood
came, and took them all away; so, shall also the coming of
the son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one
shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be
grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken and the other
left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord
will come." (Matthew 24:36 – 42)
As we begin to examine these verses, it is necessary to
go back to the beginning and view it from its immediate context.
It all began as Jesus was leaving the temple and his disciples
met him on the way. As they examined the stones and the
beauty of the building Jesus told them that sometime in the
future these stones would no longer be. While they were
focused on the immediate, Jesus told them that what they were
observing would fade away. Of course, this raised questions in
their mind. When Jesus said that the Temple was going to be
destroyed, they interpreted that statement to mean that He was
going to destroy it.
A few days later they came to Jesus and they asked
three questions in relation to the statement that he made
regarding the Temple. These questions revealed a lack of
understanding. The first question was" when shall these
things be?" The next two questions brought forth a different
answer from what they had expected. The two questions
were" what shall be the sign of thy coming?" The second
question being, “what shall be the sign of the end of the age?”
Although the third question was not worded the same way, the
the intent was there.
Before we examine Jesus's answer to the question we
need to point out several things. First, although Jesus was
referring to the time when He should appear, they did not
know about his second coming as such. Their frame of
reference was Jesus is our Savior and our conqueror and
King. He shall destroy the Temple and set up His earthly
kingdom, but Jesus’ answer did not refer to what they were
thinking. Jesus’ answer is clear, but their understanding was
limited. Here is what Jesus said. The whole chapter deals with
Christ’s return and signs on earth that will precede His
coming. That is clearly stated in verse 29. Let us look at the
The first question is regarding the Temple and its destruction
The second questions related to the time of His coming and to
the end of the age.
Finally, Jesus gives his answer in verses 4-51.
To summarize, the questions in the mind of the disciples were
questions that related to a close at hand future. However,
Jesus’ answer referred to a more distant period than what
Now, we will consider what Jesus said in these verses.
In verses, 4– 28, a period of great turmoil is described. These
are all in the plan of God for the ages. Paul the apostle in II
Thessalonians 2:1 – 13, tells us the same thing.
In verses 29 – 31, Jesus speaks of the manner of his
coming. When he comes, what shall take place?
Finally, in verses 32 – 51, he speaks about the importance of
being ready for when that time occurs. That is a summary of
Now let's look at this in a more detailed way.
What will take place before Jesus comes?
a. Disastrous events.
b. False teachers
c. Universal deceptions
d. Mistrust of one another.
These events will take place before Christ returns. He put to
rest any false expectations that his disciples may have had.
They thought being associated with His kingdom would end
their hard times. Jesus cleared up that expectation. That is not
what they expected to hear. Jesus spoke clearly of the horror
of those times preceding his return and gives instructions as
to how to prepare for them. These instructions still apply to us
II When he comes verses 29 – 31
These verses explain when he comes and what will
happen when he does. The verse says: "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. 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 (note Revelation 1:7)
and he shall send his angels with a great sound of the
trumpet and they shall gather together the elect from the
four winds, from the end of heaven to the other." At this
time the first resurrection mentioned in Revelation 20:4, will
The preparation verses 36 – 44.
In verses 36 - 44 we have the left behind teaching (as
Jesus taught it). When Jesus first mentions the time of His
coming, it is like that during the time of Noah. The people in
those times were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in
marriage until the flood came and took them all away. We
dealt with that at the outset so there's no need for repetition.
Once the flood came, Noah didn't need to worry because he
was prepared. The flood could not destroy him: he was
protected by God. But the flood came and took away the
unrighteous. Noah was saved by entering the ark. Popular
theories have the message turned upside down and have the
righteous taken and the wicked left behind to go through the
tribulation. Since the tribulation precedes the coming of the
Lord, that cannot be. Judgment will come to those who have
rejected the mercy of God, just like everyone rejected the
message of Noah. They, like the people at that time, will be
taken. (That is clearly taught in Revelation chapter 19:11-17).
They will be those who are unprepared and uninformed.
Those left behind will be those who will be part of the first
resurrection in Revelation 20:4.
When Jesus comes the tribulation will be ended. The
popular teaching today, states that those left behind are those
who go through the tribulation. This teaching has not been
true to the simple teachings of Jesus and Paul the apostle.
Another thought that should be considered. At the end of the
book of Revelation, God pronounces a curse upon those who
add to or take away from the Scripture, particularly the
prophetical Scripture. I wonder if these theories have crossed
over that line.