Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation…”
At the end of the last seven years.
30 “…the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven…”
Not sure exactly what this will be or be manifested as. Commentaries suggest it is not saying a separate sign, but that the Son of Man appearing in the heavens is the sign. He appears and all will see Him. Could easily be just that. We should be returning with Him, so we’ll see it from behind Him. What a day that will be.
30 “…coming on the clouds…”
Just as He left.
31 “…they will gather together His elect from the four winds…”
Those who have trusted Him through the Tribulation and survived. One commentary suggested this occurs before the living in Christ are changed as in 1 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians. That makes no sense. Those refer to the rapture. Saying immediately after the tribulation puts this at the end of time, at least seven years after the living elect of God have been changed and meet Christ in the air.
32-34 “…learn this parable from the fig tree…when you see all these things, know that it is near…this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place”
The idea of a fig tree putting forth leaves as a sign that summer is near is a common thought. But here I think He means to say that Israel is a fig tree when He says so you also. When Israel once again becomes a nation and puts forth her leaves, you’ll see all these things happen, and you’ll know that Christ’s return is at hand. The mention of the generation would be that one which sees Israel the tree put forth leaves and sees all these things. That generation will still be around when all these things take place. This is one reason some thought Christ’s return should occur in 1988. They assigned forty years to a generation and added it to 1948 when Israel became a nation. He said the generation wouldn’t pass away until the things happen. If people live seventy to eighty years or longer, it could be anywhere in that time. The biggest take away from this is that once Israel became a nation, Christ’s return for His church became imminent. He could return at any moment. At some point after that, the Antichrist will make a seven year covenant with Israel, and the Tribulation will begin. Seven years later, Christ returns with His church to rule and reign 1000 years.
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows…”
Verses 36 to 44 pose a problem. Jesus has just been apparently speaking of His return at the end of the Tribulation, yet what He says next sounds like His return at the Rapture. A bit odd as it seems to go from one to the other without a break. Could be explained by the idea that Matthew may not have recorded everything that was said. Commentaries I have access to don’t mention the Rapture in any of this discourse nor do they appear to consider the Rapture at all, but only see one return of Christ. One expressed the idea that the verses of one being taken and another left refer to the judgment at the end with the ones taken being taken in death. To me this doesn’t match up with Corinthians, Thessalonians, or Revelation. There is also the aspect of the unknown time. As the Rapture is not specified in a timeframe, we don’t know when Christ will come for His elect. But in the second coming to earth, we know He returns at the end of the Tribulation period. We may not know the exact day and hour, but those who live through it would be able to know when the time is up. This reminds me of the similar prophecies of the Old Testament of Christ’s first and second comings. They would be blended together so it appeared there was only one coming in which the Messiah would be a suffering servant and a ruling king. May need to find a commentary which acknowledges the Rapture for a different viewpoint.
45-51 “…a faithful and wise servant…if that evil servant…”
Contrasting those who do what they are supposed to before the Lord’s return and those who don’t. Most of it sounds like it refers to good and bad workers, but the last phrasing regarding weeping and teeth gnashing make it sound like contrasting those who accept Christ and those who don’t. Either way, the point is to conduct ourselves in expectation of Christ’s return.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.