August 18

Text: Matthew 24:8-14

"But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.  Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name.  And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many.  And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.  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. (NASB)

The focus continued to be on the “sign.”  The 12 were concerned about the destruction that was to come.  It was like having someone who knew what he talked about tell us that the USA would cease to exist.  Astounded, our first question would be, “When?  How will we correctly identify the moment?”

Of the events Jesus mentioned in the last devotional, he said these were the first indications of birth.  To those he added (1) a falling away that would result in Christians turning on Christians, (2) successful false prophets who deceived many, and (3) a lawlessness that was destructive to Christian love.

The key Jesus stressed was not a “sign,” but endurance.   The blessing of salvation would not rest on “those who read the signs correctly,” but on those who endured the difficult times.

Jesus said the “sign” would not be a specific event, but the fulfillment of God’s universal objective.  The “good news” (gospel) of God’s rule (kingdom) would be preached in the world.  The message presented in all nations would declare what God has done.  This would be the “sign,” and it had nothing to do with a specific, unusual event.


1.  The conditions experienced in Acts 2:46, 47 would not be typical.

2.  Note that (1) claims to be the Christ, (2) manmade or natural disasters, (3) Christian tribulation, (4) Christian  falling away and betrayal, (5) successful false prophets, (6) lawlessness, and (7)  a cold love were not (collectively or individually) the “sign.”

3.  Success in producing God’s universal objective would produce the end of time.

Suggestion for reflection: How will your faith cope with difficult times?  (Read 2 Timothy 2:3-10.)

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