Troublesome Topic: KEY #5 Don’t Try to Figure it Out

Matthew 24 and 25 contains Jesus’ longest discourse on prophecy. Most of it pertains to the destruction of the temple which would serve as confirmation that Jesus fulfilled His mission. However, His second coming, which is still in the future, is included in the mix as well (see Matthew 24 and 25 in Perplexing passages, or in the topical studies under Prophecy).

Starting with the illustration of the fig tree, the rest of this discourse is dedicated to the following points:

– When these things happen, you will know it, for they will be obvious. However, these “signs” will not give you much warning; they will not be predictable, rather they will serve as confirmation that what is coming has begun.

– Don’t try to figure out any more than what I have told you.

These points could apply to either His comments about the destruction of Jerusalem or about His second coming; they are principles we should follow, not predictive tools. The things Jesus talked about were certain, but the timing of them would be uncertain. He gave the signs He did so people could confirm that Jesus had fulfilled His word, not so we could predict how and when something would happen. Most of the examples and parables that follow are intended to drive home the principles “When it happens you will know it,” and “Don’t try to figure it all out.”

The examples and parables that Jesus used in Mt 24 to make these points are the following:

A Wedding day (v. 36) (their weddings were not on a set date)

The days of Noah (vv. 37-39)

Two men in a field (v.40)

Two women grinding with a hand mill (v. 41)

The arrival of a burglar (vv. 42-44)

The return of the master (vv. 45-51).

In Matthew 25 Jesus gave three parables that illustrate the same points:

The ten virgins (vv. 1-13)

The talents (vv. 14-30)

The Sheep and the Goats (vv. 31-46).

The next lesson is: KEY #6 Be Willing to Consider a New Method