9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Having described the “birth pangs” of the first half of the Tribulation, Jesus now explained what will happen in the last half of the Tribulation (24:9f).
“Then they will deliver you up [literally give over] to tribulation (cf. 21,29) and kill you, and you [extending beyond Jesus’ immediate disciples] will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
Faithful followers of the Messiah will be persecuted and killed because of Jesus’ name in the Tribulation period (Re 11:3f). “Jesus’ name” means identification with Jesus. A parade of persecutors will kill believers because of their identification with Christ. This persecution will spread to “all nations.” This has not happened yet, but it will in the Tribulation.
And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
Many false followers will defect from Jesus because of persecution. Professing Jews will turn on believing Jews. In doing so, they will commit treachery against fellow followers of Jesus, being merely formal followers of Christ.
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
During the Tribulation people will claim to speak for God but they will be fakers. They will adhere to the structures of Christianity without true belief in Christ, and many will fall for the phony prophets.
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Due to “lawlessness” abounding, normal human affection will deteriorate. “Lawlessness” means iniquity. Iniquity is a disregard for the standards of the Bible. There will be those who blow cold air on the fervent love for Christ.
But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Many people interpret this verse to mean that a Christian can lose his salvation. Perseverance does not save our souls. Salvation here is not salvation of the soul but salvation from the Tribulation period (cf. 10:22). God will deliver the believer physically if he persists through persecution. The “end” here is the end of the Tribulation age at the Second Coming.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations,
Believers will proclaim the kingdom message throughout the world. This is not the message of the church.
and then the end will come.
The “end” is the end of the Great Tribulation (last three-and-a-half years) and the arrival of Christ in His Second Coming.
This passage does not mean that the gospel must be spread to the entire world before the Lord comes. The context deals with the Tribulation.
God never leaves Himself without a witness.
Apostasy, persecution, and God’s sovereign intervention into world affairs mark the last seven years before the Second Coming (not Rapture). God always has a witness in any situation.