Jesus’ ministry in Matthew-John was to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mat 15:24). His ministry to the circumcision confirmed the covenant promises to the nation Israel (Rom 15:8).
Nowhere in these books do we find the mystery information later revealed by the Lord Jesus to Paul. This includes Matthew 24 where Jesus tells his chosen judges of the twelve tribes about the “sign of his coming”.
We know from the context that Jesus is still speaking to his covenant people according to prophecy. None of the events in Matthew 24 are written for our participation. Here are some clues that we do not fit in this audience.
Salvation by Enduring
In Matthew 24 salvation is received through endurance (Mat 24:13). Yet, salvation today in the dispensation of God’s grace does not depend on our endurance through tribulation. It rests solely upon the finished work of Christ and provides salvation now.
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” – Rom 5:11
Gospel of the Kingdom
God’s message to covenant Israel in Matt-John was that the Messiah had arrived and the promised kingdom was coming (Mark 1:14-15). This is different from God’s message of grace concerning the free justification and reconciliation that he provides by the blood of Christ.
In Matthew 24:14 they are preaching the prophetic gospel of the kingdom. This would not be the mystery gospel of the cross that Paul preaches. The twelve tribes did not know the mystery gospel which had not been revealed.
Holy Place Activities
Matthew 24:15 speaks of prophesied events about the Jewish temple and their holy place (Matt 24:15). There is no “holy place”, temple, or chosen nation in this dispensation. There is neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ (Col 3:11). We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16
Trouble in Judaea
Jesus tells those in Judaea to flee to the mountains because of the tribulation (Mat 24:16). Yet, most of the church today does not live in Judaea. We would not fit in this context.
Anyway, what would they be fleeing from? The context talks about trouble and wrath coming to that place (Matt 24:21).
Matthew 24 is about the Lord fulfilling his prophecy purpose on the earth. When he returns in Matt 24:30 it will be in judgment to establish his earthly kingdom in Judea (Rev 19:11). None of these things can happen while God is offering free salvation to the world in this dispensation on terms of peace.
If we are looking for the sign’s of God’s judgment then we should be telling people to flee and fear as the Lord does in Matthew 24.
Instead, God has given us a new message. We are God’s ambassadors offering grace, peace, and reconciliation to the world through Calvary’s cross.