Comparing scripture with scripture allows us to see bits and pieces of the same picture, while at the same time allows the picture in grow in detail. The pieces of the picture puzzle we are studying are scattered throughout the Bible, but it takes work to put it together. In a puzzle the pieces are scattered across the table, they only fit in one position to make the picture complete. The trick is to find the piece that properly fits into its place within the picture and assemble it. Comparing scripture side by side allows you to see how the similarities and differences of the scriptures fit together and allows us to build a larger picture to look at.
One similarity is that three of the gospel writers ask the same question about the end times. Yet it is a question that all Christians ask. The basic question is how much longer must we endure this life before we will take part in what God has planned for our lives in the future. When we look at these questions beside each other we see the personality of each of the writers and how they perceived what Jesus was teaching.
Matthew 24:3 "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Mark 13:4 "Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled Luke 21:7 "Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?"
It must be human nature to know the signs surrounding the coming of Christ, especially for those God has chosen. Most Christians look forward to that day with great expectation of better times for the old order of things will pass away. Beyond the fact that there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, we know little about what God has planned. However, knowing the signs of the coming of Christ should never deter us from doing what God has given us to do.
Matthew 24:4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Mark 13:5 Jesus said to them: "Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. Luke 21:8 He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven
What exactly is Jesus warning us about when he said watch out that no one deceives you? Why did he say that many would come in my name claiming to be Christ? Today television moderators come in the name of Jesus using current news events to keep men and women aware of the times and the signs of Christ’s imminent return. Let’s remember that Jesus also said these things must happen, but the end would still come.
The problem is that Christians know the theology of godly men better than the written word of God. The nature of the average man is that he or she tends to be overly trusting and follow men rather than the head of the church. How do we work out our own salvation with God and develop a relationship with him without formal contact with God?
Test everything. Hold on to the good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
"Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." 2 Corinthians 13:1
Do we test the words of men to see if God said everything exactly the way that they told us? Nearly everyone I know who has taught God’s word has said something that God did not say. Can we actually expect God to honor promises he did not make to us when we don’t honor promises we did not make to our own children?
Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord, Deuteronomy 8:3
Our lives depend on what comes out of the mouth of God for his words are spirit and they are life. Are we taking God for granted by accepting the words of those who come in the name of he Lord? The word of the Lord stays the same but men interpret his word according to the way they believe. For example, those who believe in the pre-tribulation rapture say that the events described in Matthew 24:9 occur after the church has been raptured. The problem is that God never used the term “tribulation period” or “pre-tribulation rapture” to describe the end times. Whom do you believe? Someone whose words are true or someone who believes he is telling the truth?
Up to this point in Christ’s teaching, the signs Christ gave appears to have been general in nature and would be seen in every generation until the appointed time. Don’t be alarmed because you hear rumors of wars for these are the beginning of birth pains. The birth pains of the an old age, giving birth to the new age where Christ reigns and the kingdom of God is reality.
Matthew 24:9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. Mark 13:9 "You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. Luke 21:12 "But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name
Every Christian has been persecuted during his lifetime and many Christians sent by God have been put to death. The majority of apostles were put on trial in the Jewish synagogue to silence their testimony about Jesus Christ. They often withstood stiff opposition and faced jail time because they spoke of the saving grace of God.
Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. Hebrews 11:35-37
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Hebrews 12:4
Matthew 24:9, Mark 13:9, and Luke 21:12 all speak on being taken by force and given to the local authorities in the last days for the sole purpose of persecution and killing those who testify about Jesus Christ. They also speak of future events that incorporate the signs of the end times in them and they include common events that tie each into one picture.
"He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. Daniel 7:23-27
"'But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.' Matthew 10:17-20
"Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Revelation 2:8-10
"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty — yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:8-10
The fact that Christians will be persecuted for their faith in God tells us that this is spiritual warfare in the physical realm. It also tells us that Satan has been thrown to the earth and has begun to wage war against the saints who oppose him due to their beliefs. At that time Christians will be force to defect from the kingdom of God and serve Satan. Anyone who will not have him as his or her god will be killed.
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold Matthew 10:17-20
The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast — all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Revelation 13:5-8
The devil will put some of you in prison to test you, that is, to see if your belief in God is real. The devil believes that man will give everything he has to save his life and with the penalty of death hanging over our heads, we will be given the opportunity to worship him. Those who worship the beast will be marked with his number showing that they belong to him. What is deceiving is that by receiving his mark we will doom ourselves to eternal death. By refusing to defect we physically die for Jesus and receive eternal life.
but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.
Should we be handed over what shall we do? Your survival instincts along with the reality of death will do something to your mind to force you to fabricate evidence against your best friend and your closest relatives. Will we choose to save our own life or will we trust in Jesus who has said that he will give us wisdom that no one will be able to resist or contradict.
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 1 Timothy 4:1-2
Matthew 24:15-20 "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel — let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.
"When you see 'the abomination that causes desolation' standing where it does not belong — let the reader understand — then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, Mark 13:14-18
"When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.Luke 21:20
Luke tells us that when you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.
"His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. Daniel 11:31
The bible tells us that the whole world will be handed over to the fourth Beast in the last days? This war will be unlike all others in that it will not be fought over human or land disputes, but over who is God. Though the focus of this war is Jerusalem those who refuse to worship the image of the beast will be persecuted and put to death.
When you see the abomination that causes desolation standing in the Holy Place where it does not belong declaring himself to be God, the end is near. This demonic person that the abomination that causes desolation represents will perform great signs and miracles to deceive, subdue and coerce men to worship its image.
"Immediately after the distress of those days "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
The bible tells us that after all of this takes place then you shall see the Lord coming to gather his elect. Let’s remember that Jesus said at the beginning of his teaching on the end times -
"Watch out that you are not deceived. Luke 21:8
As prudent Christians we need to examine every piece of the puzzle to see if there is a piece that says we don’t have to go through this specific time. Many godly men advocate that we don’t have to go through this time of tribulation and the order of God’s coming takes us to be with the Lord before all this happens. How well you know God and do you seek him to know the truth?