The Gospel has been making inroads world-wide for many centuries. It is at its all-time greatest expansion today. The Gospel is on every continent and in every country. But there are cultural groups, some say several hundred, living in those countries that have not a word of Scripture in their native language. Do those groups all qualify as "nations" in the Bible sense? Will Jesus wait until every man, woman, and child has had a chance to hear a word of Scripture in his own language? Is that the requirement? Then what of the millions who have already died without hearing that Word?
Or was Jesus' statement about the Gospel being preached in all the world (Matthew 24) before the end would come, general on purpose, adding only one more backdrop for the condition of the world when He is about to come? It is true that the world will not end until the Gospel has gone around the world, but that process has taken many hundreds of years, and may take many more. It cannot be a "sign", for no one knows exactly when it is fulfilled. In fact, is it fulfilled now?
In the verse following this "gospel" sign, 15, is a statement that is so specific that it far overshadows all that has been said so far. I believe it is the answer the disciples were seeking. It is backed up by Scripture and followed up by an action scenario that leads quickly to the end of the world!
Let me make that last point again. It will change forever your idea about the end times. If you are able to grasp what I am sharing here, you will be able to lay aside human opinions that have for so long governed Matthew 24. The point is this: There is absolutely no textual need for any break between verse 15 and verse 31. That is, the "sign" mentioned in verse 15 kicks off a series of events that leads in a relatively short time to the very revelation of Jesus Christ in the clouds. This is one understanding you will not receive in most other discussions of this passage available today. It sweeps away theories. It frees itself from historical speculation. It ties itself directly to passages in Daniel and Revelation and leads God's people to see that One Spirit spoke to all. The message is awesome, even frightening at times, but not confused.
Do you see it? A signal is given, panic ensues, worldwide trouble follows this, so bad that the time period is shortened by God Himself, more false prophets appear, Jesus comes! Those who see the beginning of this series of events will most likely see its end (Matthew 24:34). Otherwise it could not be considered a sign. If the "abomination" took place in the first century but I live in the twenty-first, why should I think it was signaling anything?
Granted, in A.D. 70, armies did encircle Jerusalem, and the Roman conquerors destroyed almost (but only almost) everything standing. And the Temple was defiled by Caesar's general Titus ( atype of abomination). And those in the vicinity panicked and ran (hence, "desolation"), not necessarily because Jesus had told them to (for the unsaved Jewish community had long since written Jesus off) but because that's what you do when you are met with such a forceful attack. Yes, Jews were protected in neighboring Edom, at Petra, etc. But the rest of chapter 24 did not happen. Jesus did not return to Earth! And the instructions given to us remain intact: "Let him that reads understand." I think no one was reading about this catastrophe in A.D. 70. But we read. And more and more, we understand. This event has not yet occurred, though the Jews of the first century had a very real dress rehearsal.
I realize that what I am proposing will set interpretation of predictive prophecy study back many years, but that's a great idea. Let's set it back, in fact, to the days when it was first spoken, and read for ourselves what Jesus said! For He said that after the abomination of desolation takes place, He will come. Good enough for me. Once one knows what that phrase means, he has a grasp of when Jesus will come.
http://chosunhouse.com is a website I put together a few months back to get the word out to believers that they need to pray for North Korea. Just about every day I'm writing a blog featuring some news, a book, or a story of North Korea. There's a live news feed on the site, lists of resources, picture essays, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together!
And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Who are you? Would love to fellowship with believers who respond on my site.