Matthew 24:29-31 Part 1

Today we will read and hear, from the pens of Matthew and Luke and John and Paul and Peter, and from the prophets of old, the greatness of what God has wrought on our behalf.  Nowhere, except in the language of God found in the Scriptures, is there an adequate description of the magnificent salvation of Jesus Christ.

Those who superimpose the preconceived concepts of men upon the Bible (even more than those who have no idea what it says) have missed the glory of it all!  Therefore the exaltation and pre-eminence and majesty of Christ the Lord has been overshadowed by ill-conceived human expectations and by concentration on mystical, personal relationships and experiences.  In other words the focus has been shifted from Him to us!  It is no longer, in the minds and hearts and writings of many, the Gospel of God concerning His Son!  It is not about the glory of Christ, it’s about the needs of people!

Not so Matthew!  In the most lofty and exalted language, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is here stated in Biblical terms that, in no way, can be seen as uncertain!  The trumpet sound is clear!  It is the language of God – found all through the holy Scriptures – concerning His Son!

The very question that Jesus is addressing for His disciples has to do with His glorious presence!  The information they requested was, “What is the sign of Your Parousia and consummation of the age?”  And remember, the word “Parousia” means the active Presence of the King of Kings – and all that happens because of His Presence.

The One Who understood that it wasn’t theft to be equal with God had emptied Himself of His glory; the One Who, up on the mount, before the eyes of these very disciples, was transformed into the brightness of His glory; and One Who is called ‘O Erxomenas, “The One Coming” in the Name of the Lord, Who, as Daniel prophesied, received all power and glory and a kingdom….  “What is the sign of your glorious, kingly presence and consummation of the age?”

And what is His answer?


 “The King of Glory shall come in!”  “And the Son of Man was brought before the Ancient of Days and was given all power and glory and an eternal Kingdom.”  “There shall come a ‘Star’ out of Jacob and a Sceptor out of Israel….” (Numbers twenty-four).  “The bright ‘Springing Forth’ shall bear the Glory and sit and rule upon His throne….” (Zechariah six).  “I Am the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star.” (Revelation twenty-two).  “Take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the ‘day star’ shines in your hearts.”  (2 Peter one).  The “Light” of His Presence!


And the “darkness” of a cursed and fallen world would convulse and spasm at the sore anticipation of the “brightness” of His active Presence – His Parousia!

And the convulsion and “roaring” of the cursed and “dark” cosmos (just at the anticipation of His glorious Light) would manifest itself in earthquakes and famines and plagues and pseudochrists and pseudoprophets and lawlessness!  And then, “you shall see the abomination of desolation stand in a holy place!”  As Peter later said (in essence) as he wrote to the Churches concerning these very things….  “The elements of this cursed world order would be burned in the searing heat of His brightness!”


“And they shall look unto the earth; and see trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness….”  And “the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the deep darkness, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah eight and nine).


“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; for behold, the darkness shall (did) cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.  But the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.  And the Gentile nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of the rising.” (Isaiah sixty).


And then, because the Light did spring forth, Isaiah describes the New Zion in terms of the Exodus! 


“For they will bring their gold and silver from afar to glorify the King of Kings!  And they shall call the walls of the New Israel ‘salvation’; and the gates ‘praise.’”  (Isaiah sixty).

“And the sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.  The sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” (Isaiah sixty).


The apostle John begins his Gospel with the glory of Christ – the Light of the world!

 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same Was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the Light of men.  And the Light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not….”


And later on he records Jesus speaking in those same terms: 


“I am the Light of the world; he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of life.” (John eight).


Paul, in his testimony before Agrippa (Acts twenty-six) concerning what happened to him on the road to Damascus, said this to him: 


“Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, o king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.  And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, ‘Saul, why are you persecuting Me?  It is hard on you to kick against the goads!’  And I said, ‘Who are you Lord?’  And he said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting!  But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared unto you for this purpose – to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen and of those things in the which I will appear unto you – delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send you, to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light….”


Paul and the other apostles constantly preached and taught and wrote concerning the “Light” of the world and the resulting necessity for personal holiness.

In Romans thirteen he says:


“…the night is nearly over, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the lusts of the flesh.”


In 2 Corinthians chapter four, verse six (and I’m skipping many, many references), Paul says:

 “…for it is God Who said, ‘out of darkness light shall shine,’ Who shined on our hearts for enlightenment of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”


And in the same context he wrote this well-known verse: 


“Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  And what communion hath light with darkness?”  Christ is light and life!  And by Him how can we possibly have fellowship and intimate relationships with darkness?


And in that first letter to the Church at Thessalonica, a passage which is so often misinterpreted and misquoted, Paul says,


 “…But you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord – as a thief in darkness so it comes.  Whenever they say ‘peace and safety,’ then suddenly destruction comes upon them as the birth pang to the pregnant woman; and by no means will they escape.  But, brothers, you are not in darkness that the day should overtake you as a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of the day.  We are not of night nor of darkness.  For those who sleep, sleep by night; and those drunken are drunk by night; but we being of the day… let us be sober, putting on a breastplate of faith and love, and a helmet – a hope of salvation.”


And the apostle Peter, in one of the greatest of all statements concerning the elect of God, says this in his first letter: 


“…but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people in possession, so as you might forthtell the virtues of the One having called you out of darkness into His marvelous light….” 


People of light profess the virtues (the glory) of the one who called them out of darkness!

Now.  I want to take you back to the beginnings of Luke’s Gospel for just a minute – as he writes about those things that are prior to the birth of Christ.  John the Baptist’s father, Zecharias, prophesied the Parousia of Christ in the very words that Jesus uses here in verse twenty-seven!  Listen:


“And you also, child (speaking of John – yet unborn), and you also, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways… to give knowledge of salvation to His people by forgiveness of their sins; because of our God’s bowels of mercy, in which a ‘dayspring’ (or ‘dawning’) from eminence will visit us to shine upon those in darkness and sitting in a shadow of death, to guide our feet into a way of peace.”


Now, these are the very same words that our Lord uses to inform His disciples of those things which are about to happen.

So the Parousia (the active Presence of the King of Kings) the Parousia of God’s glorious Son, was an imminent dawning or ‘dayspring’ of a new age in which there would be a terrible judgment and decreation of the old.  And the Gospel of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ the Son would sweep over the darkness of the earth… “just as the brightness comes out from daysprings and shines until settings….” (verse twenty-seven).  “So will be the Parousia of the Son of Man.”

Just as in the creation of the universe, there was only void and darkness until the Logos (Word) created light and made the stars and the sun and the moon.  So it is at Jesus’ Parousia and consummation of the age!  The world was darkness from the fall and curse in Adam.  But, as John tells us in chapter twenty-two of his Revelation, Jesus Christ has appeared and is “coming quickly.”  And in comparison to the old darkness and shadow of death, the entire future of the world is progressively Light!

It’s the glorious Presence of the Son of God, as the Brightness springs forth from His eminence.  His glory will be seen as the old passes away and the Light shines in the world – smashing the high thoughts and imaginations of men, and bathing the nations in a flood of light and truth!

And what is to happen to that “old” heaven and earth?  That’s the question that Jesus takes up next, in verse twenty-nine, doesn’t He?  Let’s read it again.  Listen for the “decreation” of the old.


“And immediately with 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 heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”


This is exactly what the prophets of old foretold.  Isaiah, in chapter thirteen says:


“Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.  For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light.  The sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.…  I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.”


And Ezekiel, in chapter thirty-two says:


“…and I will leave you upon the land; I will cast you forth upon the open field and will cause all the fowls of the heaven to remain upon you, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with you.  And I will lay your flesh upon the mountains and fill the valleys with your height.  I will also water with your blood the land wherein you swim, even to the mountains; and the rivers shall be full of you.  And when I shall put you out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.  All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and set darkness upon your land, saith the Lord God.”


This is the decreation of the old into darkness and void.

And St. John the apostle, when he saw the Lamb open the sixth seal – Revelation chapter six – this is what he saw:


“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind.  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places… for the great day of His wrath is come!”


And that’s exactly the same vision Isaiah prophesied in chapter thirty-four, verse four:


“And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.”


John saw exactly what Isaiah prophesied!

Decreation.  Just as the salvation of God’s people is spoken of in terms of creation, so God’s judgments are spoken of in terms of “decreation” – the total collapse of the universe – God smashing the vessel He had molded; ripping the very fabric of His creation.

The very nation which God called “heaven and earth” had killed the prophets; she had become defiled in harlotry with pagan nations; and she had killed the Son of God in her obstinacy, and persecuted the apostles to the very end!

The picture there, in the prophets and in John’s Revelation, is that Israel just ceases to exist!  In His fierce anger, God makes her “nothingness.”  The molecules and elements of “heaven and earth” are completely burned up in His wrath.

John saw in his vision the heaven “vanish like a scroll when it is rolled up.”  The idea isn’t as a papyrus scroll, or maybe a leather one, but a copper one like those found in Qumran.  The solid sky makes a dramatic, cosmic noise when, like a metal scroll, it snaps shut!  God’s created “heaven and earth” – Israel – disappears.  She is decreated and made as if she never existed!  And all of it prophesied, and all reiterated here by Christ in the same language!


We’re at a breaking point here, so let me just finish up by saying that at His glorious Presence the King of Kings and Lord of Lords dissolved that which was old and created the new.  National Israel is gone.  Worship is no longer in the temple… on Mount Zion… in Jerusalem… in Israel.

The resurrected body of Christ has replaced the temple and the holy of holies and the mercy seat and all the other implements of worship.  The old is gone, and we have a better covenant.  The “Light” has dawned; the “Dayspring” has arisen; and the world is no longer in darkness.  The “brightness” – the glory – of His Presence enlightens all the earth!  The bright and Morning Star has arisen in our hearts!  The old universe is gone, and there is now a new creation!

Human experiments are ongoing concerning light and its effects.  I heard a story about some Walmart tests recently – that stores in which bright skylights are installed do better – especially those products directly under the skylights!  And the registers take in more money every time a skylight is installed over them, and there is considerably less theft!

But light has a profound effect on humanity.  It also occurs to me, that great horror stories of sin and death occur at night or in basements where it’s dark!  And those who want to sin feel better when they go out at night.  When darkness disappears, so do the deeds of darkness!  But the heavenly lights of Israel were shut down in sin and in judgment.  And so the light came into the world!  And the nations were given the Light of Christ!  He is Life and Light!  Without Him there is wantonness and drunkenness and riotous living and despair and envy and strife (as Paul said to the Church at Rome).  And the end of man is misery – both now and eternally.  “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ;” he said, “cast off the works of darkness; put on the armor of Light and make no provision for the lusts of the flesh.”

Get out of the dark!  Put on the Light of Christ, and live in the brightness of His glory.  His Parousia has taken place, and the day Star has arisen in a New Creation!

So, open up the dark corners of your life, where the ugly things are creeping, and light will make then manifest!  Turn your attention from yourself to the glory (Light) of Christ and profess His virtues and deeds; and “cast out the works of darkness.”

Live in the Light.  The old heaven and earth has been snapped shut and terminated!  And we Gentiles are the recipients!  We are now to live in joy and celebration and thankfulness and faithful living!  Jesus Christ is the Light of the world – the New Heavens and the New Earth.  And we have received it as a free gift!