When will  Matthew 24 be fulfilled?

Frank M. Keele

By Frank M. Keele

The question posed in the above title is an interesting one indeed and even though it is common knowledge that the Lord’s second coming is divided into at least three major events, it appears that almost no one is attempting to match these three events up with the various passages of scripture that describe them.  

We begin our post with a reminder of what Ezra Taft Benson taught concerning the sequence of the Lord’s second coming, we read:

“His first appearance will be to the righteous Saints who have gathered to the New Jerusalem. In this place of refuge they will be safe from the wrath of the Lord, which will be poured out without measure on all nations. . . .

The second appearance of the Lord will be to the Jews. To these beleaguered sons of Judah, surrounded by hostile Gentile armies, who again threaten to overrun Jerusalem, the Savior-their Messiah-will appear and set His feet on the Mount of Olives, “and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens shall also shake. (D&C 45:48)
The Lord Himself will then rout the Gentile armies, decimating their forces (see Ezek.38,39). Judah will be spared, no longer to be persecuted and scattered. . . .

The third appearance of Christ will be to the rest of the world. . . . All nations will see Him “in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels. . (Ezra Taft Benson, New Era, Dec. 1980, pp. 49-50)

So, let’s begin by stating the obvious… 1- Passages which address the Lord’s gathering of and appearance to His “Saints”, describe His first appearance… 2- Passages that speak of Jerusalem, the Jews, the two prophets, Armageddon, Gog, etc., are describing His second appearance. 3- Passages that describe what will happen when “the end” comes or after the “Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world” (see “And then shall the heathen nations be redeemed”) describe the Lord’s third appearance.

Let’s go to Matthew 24 and see how it matches up with the above-stated criteria, we read:

27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

29 ¶ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

We note in verse 31 that “he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect (His Saints) from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” at this time. And because the saints will be gathered (by angels) which facilitates the Lord appearing to them, it’s quite obvious that this is the Lord’s first appearance. We are also told that this is when “the sign of the Son of man in heaven” appears, and then “shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven”.

And another very, very noteworthy detail is that “the sun (shall) be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light” as well.  So, the earth will apparently be in darkness at this time which we can use as a marker to identify other passages speaking of the same event. We go to Mark 13 for further conformation and read:

24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Again, with this appearance, we have “the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light” and the Lord “shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect (His Saints) from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.”

So what we have here is very congruent with the Lord’s first appearance when His saints are gathered to the New Jerusalem as Ezra Taft Benson states. However, in Matthew 24 above we read that the Lord comes “with power and great glory” at this time and Mark says that He comes “with great power and glory” which might suggest that this is His third appearance based on the above quote from Ezra Taft Benson…

But consider this, the scriptural quote that Elder Benson uses… “in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels” comes from D&C 45:44 which is speaking of the Lord’s appearance to the Jews, or His second appearance. (see verses 42-53) And so to be reasonable and congruent, if we are going to apply the above phrase to the Lord’s third appearance, which is fine by me, we surely must apply it to His second appearance, because that is the original context of the phrase, to begin with.

And additionally, in verse 56 of this same section (45) we read, “And at that day, WHEN I SHALL COME IN MY GLORY, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.” Wow… the parable of the ten virgins is fulfilled when He comes in His glory??? Isn’t that us? Isn’t this the Lord telling us that His first appearance to us, from His viewpoint, is also His coming in His glory? I think it is…

And so what appears to be apparent to this author, is that all three of the above-mentioned appearances constitute the Lord coming in His glory because I think we have His word for it!

So, to address the question posed in the title of this post… “When will  Matthew 24 be fulfilled?” I’m going to say that the portion of Matt 24 that applies to the last days will see its fulfillment when “the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light” and He shall “send his angels, and shall gather together his elect (His Saints) from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven” and establish the New Jerusalem here in America… which would be His first appearance… Thanks for reading.

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