Matthew 24–25

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 50–52


timeline

Introduction

Just days before the Crucifixion, the disciples asked Jesus about His Second Coming (see Matthew 24:3). Within Matthew 24and 25 we find many explanations and prophecies about that time. The events of these chapters are of particular interest to us now because we are preparing the world for the Second Coming and because we live in a day when many of these prophecies are being fulfilled.

The Prophet Joseph Smith made a number of changes and additions to Matthew 24in the Joseph Smith Translation. This chapter was reprinted in its entirety in the Pearl of Great Price as Joseph Smith—Matthew. The teaching suggestions for Matthew 24will come from Joseph Smith—Matthew in the Pearl of Great Price.

Prayerfully study Matthew 24–25and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 141, 151–57.

  • “The Last Week of the Savior’s Life,” 288 in this manual.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Matthew 24–25.

Joseph Smith—Matthew (see also Matthew 23:39–24:51, Mark 13; Luke 12:37–48; 17:20–37; 21:5–36). It is better to study Matthew 24 from Joseph Smith—Matthew in the Pearl of Great Price.

(5 minutes)

Ask students to imagine that they are lost. After wandering aimlessly for a long time, they see another person. This person has two maps of the area. Both maps were accurate when they were made and would be of help to them now. One map is 200 years old. The other is a current map. Ask: Which map would you rather have? Why?

Invite students to read the heading for Joseph Smith—Matthew. (If students don’t know what the Joseph Smith Translation is, invite them to read “Joseph Smith Translation” in the Bible Dictionary, p. 717.) Ask:

  • How are Matthew 24 and Joseph Smith—Matthew like the two maps described above?

  • Which block of scripture is like which map?

  • How old is the book of Matthew? (Nearly two thousand years.)

  • How old is Joseph Smith—Matthew? (It was translated in 1831.)

  • Which of these is most accurate?

  • Which block of scripture would you rather study from?

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:5–20 (see also Matthew 24:4–22; Mark 13:5–20; Luke 17:31; 21:8–24). When the wicked refuse to repent, they bring upon themselves the condemnation of the Lord.

(10–15 minutes)

Ask students what would result from doing the following:

  • Putting your hand in a fire?

  • Falling off a high mountain or building?

  • Eating food when you are hungry?

  • Watering and caring for a plant?

Point out that these things all have natural consequences.

Invite students to study Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:5–12.

  • What are the natural consequences of people living wickedly?

  • How do these verses apply to the way many people live today?

  • Read verses 18–20. What consequences of living wickedly do these verses describe?

  • Who was Jesus talking about in these verses?

Share Elder Marion G. Romney’s statement in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles (pp. 151–52) to help students understand that this part of the scripture deals with the Jews in the forty-year period after Christ’s death.

  • Read Alma 41:10. How does this verse relate to the question of the natural consequences of wickedness?

  • Read Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:13–17. What did Jesus tell the righteous who lived in Jerusalem to do to avoid the natural consequences of the wickedness of their day?

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:21–37 (see also Matthew 24:6–35; Mark 13:7–31; Luke 17:21–37; 21:9–32). A series of events will precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Studying about these events can help prepare us for the Second Coming.

(20–25 minutes)

Take from a magazine a picture of a famous person most of your students will know. Cut the picture into about seven or eight pieces. Stick one piece on the board and ask if anyone can tell who it is. Put up another piece, and then another until all the pieces are up or someone can guess who it is.

Read Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1, 4and have students look for what the disciples asked Jesus. Tell students that today they will look at another puzzle. The pieces of the puzzle will be events prophesied to precede the Second Coming as found in Joseph Smith—Matthew. Reproduce the accompanying chart as a handout with the “Signs of the Second Coming” column left blank, and invite the students to use the scriptures to fill in the information about the signs.

When they finish, ask:

  • Which of these have you already seen happen, at least in part?

  • Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:21–22, 25. According to these verses, what can we do now to prepare for the calamities that precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:38–54(see also Matthew 24:32–51; Mark 13:28–37; Luke 12:37–48; 17:26–37; 21:29–36). While no one knows the exact time of the Second Coming, the righteous can know in a general way when the time is near.

(10–15 minutes)

Bring a clear, carbonated soft drink, some raisins, and a transparent glass to class. Pour the soft drink in the glass. Hold up a raisin and explain that when you drop the raisin in the soft drink, bubbles will eventually accumulate on the raisin until there are so many that it will rise to the top. Tell students that it will work but that it is hard to know how long it will take. Invite them to guess how long it will take for the raisin to rise. Drop the raisin in the soft drink and record how long it takes. (Note: Be sure the soft drink is fresh—if there is not enough carbonation, the raisin will not rise.)

Invite students to read Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:38–54, and ask:

  • How is learning about the events that precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ like dropping a raisin into a glass of soft drink? (see vv. 38–39).

  • What do these verses say about the exact time of the Second Coming? (see v. 40).

  • Why do you think the Lord doesn’t want us to know the exact time of His Coming? (see vv. 47–54).

  • Why would it be important to know about the events that lead to the Second Coming?

  • What commandment are we given in verse 46?

  • Since we don’t know exactly when the Second Coming will be, how can we best prepare for it?

Matthew 25. Jesus taught much about His Second Coming through parables.

(15–20 minutes)

Divide the class into three groups. Invite each group to study one of the following parables: the ten virgins (vv. 1–13), the talents (vv. 14–30), or the sheep and the goats (vv. 31–46). Give the groups about five minutes to study their parables looking for the following:

  • What happens in the parable?

  • How does the parable relate to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

  • How does the parable apply to us today?

  • How can we better prepare for the Second Coming as a result of knowing this parable?

As they study, share with the first and second groups the explanations for their parables found in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles (see the commentaries for Matthew 25:1–13and Matthew 25:14–30, p. 154). When the groups are ready, have them report their findings to the class.

Matthew 25:40 (Scripture Mastery). We show our love for God by the way we treat His children.

(5–10 minutes)

Ask students:

  • What are the first and second great commandments? (Love God and love your neighbor; see Matthew 22:36–39.)

  • What are some ways we can show our neighbors that we love them?

  • What are some ways we can show God that we love Him?

Invite students to read Matthew 25:40and look for what we could do to keep both the first and the second great commandments at the same time. Have students read and cross-reference Mosiah 2:17, and discuss how it relates to Matthew 25:40. Invite them to write on a piece of paper some ways they could better show love to their families, friends, leaders, and even strangers.