After The Tribulation: Matthew 24:29-31
““29) But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30) And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31) And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” Matthew‬ ‭24‬:‭29‬-‭31‬
In these three verses, Jesus talks about the end of the tribulation period. In this message, Jesus mentions nothing of the reign of anti-Christ, the beast or the one world government. The writings of Daniel, Paul and the book of Revelation fills in those details. That’s part of what makes the study of the end times so difficult. Many portions of Scripture add pieces to the puzzle.
Because we are primarily looking at the book of Matthew in this study, we are not going to dig deep into the various views of the Return of Christ. You have most likely discovered that there are many views and much confusion about the end times. I have found it best to keep it simple and focus on the Great Commission until He returns without getting distracted.
Notice, that Matthew 6:29 simply states that “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” At the very least we can conclude the principalities and powers in the heavenly places mentioned in Ephesians 6:12 are being pulled down. The rule of the god of this world will come to an end.
From verse 30, the sign of the Son of man will appear in the sky and will be visible to all the nations and tribes on earth. The Son of Man is coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. This fulfills Acts 1:9-11 that says Jesus will come again just as He ascended into heaven.
According to Matthew 24:31, it is at this point that He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and gather His elect from around the world. This could be called “the great gathering together.” Jesus will gather His people to Himself.
Sufficient to say that Jesus promised in this text to return to earth, end the rule of the god of this world and set up His own earthly kingdom. Revelation 20 talks about the thousand year reign of Christ. It is often called the Millennial Kingdom. It will follow the Great Tribulation period.
The doctrine of the end times would be very simple if we just had this account from Jesus. But we need to factor in many other biblical texts such as Mark 13; Luke 21; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 4-5; 1 Thessalonians 4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 3; 2 Peter 2-3; Jude and the whole book of Revelation. There are also numerous Old Testament passages that speak to the end times.
Trying to synthesize all of these texts becomes very challenging and confusing. It has given rise to numerous views of the end times. You have most likely heard of terms like Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, Pre-Wrath and Post-Tribulation. These refer to different views as to when the Rapture of the church might occur. Others do not believe in the concept of a rapture.
I know and love people who hold to each position mentioned above. Because the end times are such a mystery, I am not emotionally or theologically tied to any position mentioned above. I see biblical pros and cons to each of them. The more I study the Bible the more neutral I have become. I trust my Loving Heavenly Father is in perfect control and things will unfold exactly according to His plan.
Another term sometimes used is A-Millennialism. This group does not believe that Jesus is returning to set up an earthy kingdom but is reigning mystically through His church. I fail to find support in the Bible for this view beyond being generally “Kingdom minded.”
I choose a very simple view of the end times. It can be summarized by saying Jesus is coming back to set up His Kingdom. The birth pangs or signs of the times are all fulfilled. His return is imminent meaning “at any time.” He has a future plan for both Israel and His church.
Furthermore, the Bible points to much tribulation for Gods people leading up to the seven years of the Great Tribulation when the reign of Anti-Christ will be consummated on earth. Satan is waging relentless war against the church. Very hard times are upon us and greater storm clouds are gathering fast.
However, we are instructed to walk in the Spirit and focus on the spread of the Gospel until He returns. Though we are to prepare for hard times, we are to be salt and light in the world. I believe we are the final leg of the relay race to reach the world with the gospel before the return of Christ. I view this cause as worthy of any sacrifice. May it be said of each of us; “Well done good and faithful servant!”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global