How to better understand the prophetic sermon
With some analysis of the 24th chapter of Matthew we will notice that it consists of six sections:
First section, verses
1-2, in which the destruction
Second section, verse 3, in which the disciples ask Jesus three questions which he goes on to answer in the same order.
Third section, verses 4-6 in which Jesus answers the first
question, the one referring to
the destruction of the
Fourth section, verses 7-14, in which he responds to the second and third questions, making a brief and concise outline of the events that will occur in the period near the end of the World, from the World wars until the Second Coming.
Fifth section, verses 15-34, in which he details the period between the emergence of the Abomination of Desolation and the Second Coming.
Sixth section, verses 35-51, in which he describes how certain events would transpire during the Second Coming, and gives similes and admonitions about how to carry oneself at that time, and how it would be like. Let's analyze the different sections.
The first section (Mt 24:1-2) evidently refers to the past, since it speaks of the destruction of the Temple, which occurred on 70 A.D. In other passages, as in Luke 19:43-44, Jesus also mentions the destruction of the Temple, at that time it was still in the future.
It should be
however, that in the episode narrated
in the previously mentioned portion
of Luke, Jesus is not speaking to the disciples in the
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. (Lk 19:43-44)
see, Jesus links in this portion
of Luke, the destruction of
For a third person which was not privy to a conversation, to fully understand the answer given by someone to another person asking the question, it is necessary that they first listen to what the question was to begin with. And if it is in any way possible, to figure out the physical and psychological environment, without arriving at ridiculous exaggerations that always lead to error. Let us proceed this way with this 24th chapter and this conversation.
After Jesus had finished
rebuking the Scribes and
Pharisees, to their own
wickedness, etc., (chapter
23), he was withdrawing from the
Temple, at the same time that
his disciples, apparently commenting
about the majesty of its architecture, were pointing out the
Responding to these words
from the disciples in Matthew,
referring obviously to the buildings
that were being praised, said that a stone would not remain upon a
stone, thus predicting in a general
and brief way, the total destruction
of that Temple (verse 2). It was this
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the Temple, and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the Temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them: See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you: There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (First Section, Mt 24:1-2)
Thus saith the LORD of
hosts, the God of Israel:
Amend your ways and your doings,
and I will cause you to dwell in this
4 Trust ye not in lying
After letting them know of the future destruction of the Temple, Jesus continued to walk, and when he got to the Mount of Olives he sat down; then four of his disciples, taking him aside, asked him three questions: a) When would these things happen? By saying these things they were referring without a doubt to what Jesus had just spoken about, namely the destruction of the Temple. Afterwards they make two questions about events that Jesus had not mentioned, but which were of interest to them, and are the following: b) What sign will there be of your Second Coming?; and c) What sign would there be of the end of the World? The answers to these three questions, and in the same order, is what we would expect from Jesus.
Now then, notice that the prophetic sermon was not given in public, but rather was told to Peter, James, John and Andrew as we see in Mark 13:3.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the Temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately.. (Mark 13:3)
In summary: the first section encompasses only what Jesus said about the destruction of the Temple, and what had triggered the three questions we spoke about.
The second section (Matthew 24:3) limits itself to mentioning the three questions that the disciples made to Jesus, it does not require any explanation, except to keep them in mind in order to understand the answers.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world.? (Second Section, Mt 24:3)
Let us analyze the third and fourth sections together in order to facilitate the study.
The third section (Matthew 24:4-6) and
The fourth section (Matthew 24:7-14)
The third section refers to the apostolic age; and the one following it, the fourth, refers to the current age and the future. We will now demonstrate that these two periods, those corresponding to the third and fourth sections, are different; and we will realize that there is a jump of several centuries between verse 6 and 7. I base myself on five arguments, to conclude that it is referring to two separate periods.
First argument about the 3rd and 4th sections. Having spoken in verse six about wars, it is not logical that in verse seven he speaks again of the same wars he had already mentioned.
Second argument about the 3rd and 4th sections. This third section that we are analyzing ends with verse six. In that verse Jesus speaks of wars and rumors of wars, telling the disciples not to be troubled by that, given that it would not yet be the end. If it still is not the end it is because this period of wars of which verse six speaks, will not last until the Second Coming. However, when we read the next one, verse seven, which is the beginning of the fourth section, we can see that the events narrated there follow each other continuously until the end. In other words, that the period that begins with the wars narrated in verse seven (fourth section) do reach the end; but the event begun in verse four and ending in verse six (third section) do not go on to the end. It is clear that the two periods are different. Let us see.
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them: Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying: I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. (Third Section, Mt 24:4-6)
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my names sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Fourth Section, Mt 24:7-14)
Third argument about the 3rd and 4th sections. In verse 6 a type of local war is being narrated, more like seditions and uprisings; but when we move to verse 7, a different type of war is mentioned; one in which nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. This is registered in history only in modern times with the two World Wars. Hence, it is obvious that verse 7 refers to the current time, whereas verse 6 refers to the apostolic age.
At that time
the Roman Empire dominated all the nations of the known
world, and there couldnt be a war that
would have nation rise against nation and kingdom against
kingdom, because there was only one
Remember the phrase Pax romana, which was famous in those days and even today. This famous phrase indicates to us the tranquility imposed by the empire on all the nations of those days. There could not be during the era of the Pax romana something similar to that described as nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom.
Hence the wars described in verse 6 are different than those described in verse 7. Those of verse 6 can be applied to the Roman era; those of verse 7 cannot. Besides, from history we know that at that time there were no wars of that type where nations would arise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. It is logical then to think that what is described in verse 7 does not pertain to those times, but rather to the present.
Everything said previously is also confirmed by the
description given by Luke about the same period of the
can see that in Luke
21:7-11 where the narration gives a better description of the events in
Judea in the period immediately after the resurrection to the destruction
7 And they asked him, saying: Master, but when shall these things be? And what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? 8 And he said: Take heed that ye be not deceived, for many shall come in my name, saying: I am Christ; and the time draweth near; go ye not therefore after them. 9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified, for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. 10 Then said he unto them: Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Lk 21:7-11)
Fourth argument about the 3rd and 4th sections. To be more certain yet that verses 6 and 7 of Matthew 24, deal with two different times and quite distant in time from each other, it would be enough to realize that the wars mentioned in verse 7 begin the period called beginning of sorrows. Likewise notice that the phenomena that accompany the wars of Matthew 24:7, earthquakes in diverse places, great fears and great signs of heaven, have never happened in Roman era nor later. Hence, it is evident that what is said in verse 7 refers to a time after the ones we know from history. History allows us to assert that in that apostolic age none of the great fearsome events and signs of heaven occurred; they are still in the future.
If we read Mark 13:8 and Luke 21:10-11 & 24-26, we would see that they also announce for the period immediately following the period characterized by nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, the seismic activity and cosmic phenomena which did not occur during that apostolic age. That is to say, great signs in heaven, fearful sights, earthquakes and in many places, anguish from fear of something that will occur in the sea, and mens hearts failing because of fear. Hence, if these things did not occur then, it is without doubt that those things will happen at a future occasion. Therefore, verses 6 and 7 speak about different times.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles; these are the beginnings of sorrows. (Mk 13:8)
10 Then said he unto them: Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Lk 21:10-11)
And they shall fall by the edge of the
sword, and shall be led away captive
into all nations.
Fifth argument about the 3rd and 4th sections. If we read Matthew 24:13, which is the next to the last verse of the fourth section, we will see that it says that those which remain alive at that moment should endure unto the end.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Mt 24:13)
It does not make sense that a Christian of the apostolic era would be admonished to endure until the end of the world; the reasonable thing would be that it is speaking to the Christians of the times close to the end. Neither would a Christian close to the time of the Second Coming be admonished, to endure until the end, if there remained say, fifty years, still.
For greater comprehension of what I am saying with respect to the transition from verse six to seven, we could paraphrase this portion the following way:
6 and you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, see that you do not become unsettled over this, because it is necessary that all this should happen, but it is not yet the end of the world. 7 Because the end of the world shall be near when nation rises against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be plagues, famines and earthquakes in many places, but these things are not the exact end either, 8 but rather the signs that announce the beginning of the period called beginning of birth pains. 9 It shall be then that you shall be delivered to be afflicted and you shall be killed... (Paraphrase of Mt 24:6-9)
Once we get to this point in time, the only thing that separates us from the end is to wait for the Gospel to be preached in the whole world, according to verse 14 of Matthew 24; which seems to happen in the miraculous way referred to in Revelation 14:6.
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the Earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. (Rev 14:6)
Having demonstrated that verses 4 to 6 (third section) and the other one that goes from 7 to 14 (fourth section) deal with different periods of time, we will continue to analyze the chapter.
In summary: Matthew 24:4-6 and Matthew 24:7-14, narrate two periods with some similarities, but completely different in time. The first pertains to the apostolic era and the second one to the current time and its future. In one it says that it is not the end, in the other the narration reaches to the end. In the first there could be no world wars, but only seditions, in the second there are world wars. In the first one there were no signs in heaven as he says that there will be during the second. In the second section he admonishes to hold on until the end, but not in the first portion.
Fifth section, (Matthew 24:15-34) This section is as if we would examine a small section of a map with a magnifying glass, in order to see more details; or as if a section of a map had been enlarged onto a separate inset, to see the details better. What is being detailed in this section, or what is being examined with the magnifying glass, is the span of time between the rise of the Abomination of Desolation, and the Second Coming, which was treated already in the fourth section (verses 7-14), but not in detail.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand), 16 then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains; 17 let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house; 18 neither let him which is in the field, return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day. 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elects sake those days shall be shortened. 23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you: Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 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. 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree: when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh. 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors 34 Verily I say unto you: This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Mt 24:15-34)
As we saw in the beginning of the study of the Prophetic Sermon, its fourth section, which encompasses verses 7-14, was a concise outline of the events that will occur in the time near the end. At that moment that Jesus spoke, those things were all in the future. Nevertheless, for us today, some of them, like the World Wars, are already in the past, but others, like the Abomination, are still in the future.
The Fifth Section of the Prophetic Sermon, (verses 15-34), details for us what will happen from the appearance of the Abomination, until the Second Coming. We shall analyze this section.
I am going to make now five comments about this portion, and later on I will provide seven arguments to demonstrate that this passage must be referring to the end.
a) This Abomination of Desolation, mentioned in verse 15 is still in the future, and hence so is everything narrated in verses 15 to 34. Lets see.
b) Verse 15 says that the abomination
would be in the holy
place; it does not say that it would destroy the holy place, which is what
the Romans did.
Hence it is logical to think that it is referring to the current time
not the apostolic
age. Not only does it refer to the current
see that the warning is being made to Christian Jews of that current
future, since the non-believing Jews would not read the
the Christian Gentiles do not need to leave
By the emphasis that Jesus places on the urgency with which the Christians
that find themselves in
The assumption that the
What is mentioned about not seeking the overcoat, and the fact that in verse 20 he admonishes to pray that it would not happen in either the winter or Saturday, makes me think that it is in a Saturday of the winter season, when the rebellious spiritual powers will attempt to bring about their plan. It would not be foolish then, on the part of the Christians of that future time which find themselves in Judea, that they should leave from the beginning of any strange event that they observe, and to maintain themselves alert to any news or rumors during those days, especially all the winter Saturdays or close to the winter. Better yet, move from there as soon as it is possible, specially before the winter begins.
Also the admonishment to not look for an overcoat may have another motive, like not raising suspicion that one is leaving for good, but rather to look as if one is leaving the city to return later. Whoever leaves without bags, with their usual clothing, will not awake suspicion that they are leaving for good, which would alert authorities, or the mob which supports tyrannies, in the sense that those that leave are dissidents of the regime of the antiChrist.
Perhaps, thanks to the prayers of Christians, the plans designed by the wicked to be carried out on a winter Saturday, would have to be postponed or precipitated due to the presence of unpredictable circumstances for them, with which perhaps the events may not occur in winter, but on Saturday, or perhaps not on a Saturday, but in winter; or perhaps in neither Saturday nor winter, though not very far from them. We must then pray for this important issue, that God may upset the plans of the wicked that day, and the brethren may be spared.
This warning cannot
be referring to Christians throughout the
world, because the winter Saturdays in
Judea, are summer Saturdays in
Africa, Australia and the whole
refers to those in
After this flight of the Christians that find themselves in
e) When the Great Tribulation is nearing its end or has already ended, that is, After the affliction of those days, as it says in verse 29, the sun and the moon shall darken, and the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. It will be then that according to verse 30, the sign of Christ shall appear in the heavens (perhaps the cross) and Jesus will be seen in his Second Coming, this time on the clouds, from where he will order the gathering of his chosen (31) from throughout the world. That is how this passage of the fifth section ends, and which lets us see in more detail, the sequence of events from the time of the abomination to the gathering of the Christians.
Having wrapped up the five comments, we will speak of the seven arguments. I shall analyze some details of this portion (15-34) in order to reaffirm the idea that this fifth section refers to the end. For that I base myself on seven arguments: First: The Great Tribulation spoken of in this portion has not happened yet. Second: The antiChrist has not appeared yet. Third: No flesh would be saved if the tribulation should last longer. Fourth: The miracles of the false Christs and prophets have not happened yet. Fifth: Neither the sun or moon darkened nor the stars fell during the apostolic era. Sixth: This was not at the door during the apostolic era, since twenty centuries have passed. Seventh: That generation of the apostolic era passed and all these things did not happen.
First argument of the 5th section: The Great Tribulation has not come yet. Verse 21 says that during these events described in verses from 15 to 20, there would be an affliction so great like there has not been since the beginning of the world nor would happen again; and the one that says this is the one with the most authority to know this: Jesus.
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Mt 24:21)
If anyone should think that the events and tribulation
Jesus, belong to those that already happened during the apostolic
the destruction of Jerusalem and the
Temple, we would have to suppose that the future
affliction to come upon the
world, the one called Great
going to be less than the one during Roman
times. To hold this second hypothesis would be
equivalent to supposing that the affliction caused by the
most perverse and cruel of the persecutors of
be lighter and less cruel than those caused by the
Second argument of the 5th section: The antiChrist has not come yet. Neither can it be asserted that the Roman Empire, or one of the emperors, had been the antiChrist, because none of them sat in the Temple of God, like God, making himself to look like God, which is what Saint Paul predicted in Second Thessalonians that the antiChrist would do.
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (II Tes 2:4)
Third argument of the 5th section: Afflictions of the apostolic era were sporadic and regional, Verse 22 says that if this affliction should continue any longer, no flesh would be saved; perhaps because they would desert the faith because they could not withstand the pressures, sufferings and cruelties.
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elects sake those days shall be shortened. (Mt 24:22)
It seems to me that these words cannot refer to the afflictions of the apostolic age. I do not believe that this could apply to those times, because in spite of the fact that their afflictions were great and cruel, reaching martyrdom, they were not continuous, speaking chronologically, nor total speaking geographically. Those afflictions were sporadic in the first case, and regional in the second, as is shown in Acts 9:31. There were regions, as much Barbarian as Roman, which did not suffer the anti-Christian persecution and, hence, the Christians of those places, or that sought refuge there, would not have deserted from the faith.
had the churches rest throughout all
Judaea and Galilee and
It is more logical to conclude that these predictions refer to modern times which are yet in the future, in which an inflexible worldwide and totalitarian organization, with adequate scientific and technical resources to do it, extends its merciless persecution to the most remote corners of its empire, causing with it such an affliction to every Christian which exists within those regions dominated by the antiChrist, which if they were to be prolonged, the brethren living there would desert from the faith because they were not able to either bear it or escape.
Fourth argument of the 5th section: The false Christs of the apostolic era never did signs and wonders. If we analyze verse 24 we would see that after the period of tribulation described in this passage, the false Christs and false prophets would arise, who would do great signs and wonders.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Mt 24:24)
In the apostolic era even though there were false prophets and false Christs, there were none that could do signs and wonders, neither great nor small; and much less signs of such a level that they could deceive even the chosen. Hence, if the false Christs and false prophets of such great power did not arise during the apostolic age, it is logical to think that Christ is referring in this verse, and in the whole passage, to the end of the world, and not to the apostolic age.
Fifth argument of the 5th section: After the tribulation of the apostolic era the sun didnt darken, nor the moon, nor the stars fell. The same can be said of Matthew 24:29, where it says that after the affliction described as unique, without parallel or repetition, that is, after the Great Tribulation, the sun would darken as well as the moon, and the stars would fall.
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. (Mt 24:29)
It is more than evident that after the afflictions of the apostolic age, the sun did not darken, neither did the moon, and much less did the stars fall. Hence, I say again, Jesus was not referring here to the apostolic age, but rather to the future immediately before the Second Coming, that is the current future. That is to say, this whole passage is speaking of a period still in the future.
Sixth argument of the 5th section: In the apostolic era the Second Coming was not at the doors. In verse 33 he says that when these things begin to happen, everything is at the doors. So neither can Jesus be referring here to the period of the apostles or to the immediately subsequent periods either. This is because here it says that at the very moment of which he was relating occurs, everything else, including his Second Coming was at the door. Almost twenty centuries have passed and a ton of generations and the end has not come; which indicates to us that the events of the first and following centuries, were not the ones that Jesus was announcing as being at the door.
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (Mt 24:33)
Seventh argument of the 5th section. The apostolic generation passed and the rest of the signs never manifested. Also verse 34 indicates that nothing in this section refers to the apostolic period, because it says here that when one of those signs should occur, the living generation would see the rest of the signs, and that did not happen in the apostolic age.
Verily I say unto you: This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (Mt 24:34)
From reading the whole passage under study (verses 15-34) it is easy to understand that the generation that will see the abomination, will also see the fall of the stars, the darkening of the sun and moon and the Second Coming of the Lord. Hence, no one can claim that part of the events happened back then and part will happen in the future.
In summary: the fifth section, which encompasses Matthew 24:15-34, is a detailed magnification, of the span encompassed between the emergence of the Abomination of Desolation, and the Second Coming. That is why the events narrated in it have not happened yet, like the Great Tribulation, the antiChrist, the wonders of the false Christs and prophets, the darkening of the sun and moon, nor have the stars fallen during the apostolic age. This proves to us that this section is in the future.
The sixth section (Matthew 24:35-51) I do not believe it is necessary to analyze this section, they are sufficiently clear admonitions that do not need explanation. This section only speaks of the certain fulfillment of this prophecy and of the secret which surrounds the day and hour of its occurrence.
Summarizing: chapter 24 of Matthew begins prophesying the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 (1 and 2); later he gives a brief outline of what is going to happen during the apostolic age (verses 4-6); later he makes another brief outline of what would happen from the World Wars until the Second Coming (verses 7-14); then he expands a part of the previous passage, detailing the period that spans from the Abomination until the Second Coming (verses 15-34); and in the rest of the chapter he exhorts Christians about this important issue (verses 35-51).
Let us now comment about some passages that can create confusion.
Matthew speaks of two times in which false Christs arise. In Matthew 24:5 Christians are warned about false Christs that would come during that apostolic age. This prophecy of the false Christs is repeated in Matthew 24:24, but this time it refers to the times close to the Second Coming. This would be understood more clearly if we realize that verse 5 belongs to the third section which deals with the apostolic age, whereas verse 24 belongs to the fifth section, which deals with the end time. Both of these claims were previously demonstrated, it should be enough to read again both sections.
We also see in Luke 21:8, where it discusses the apostolic age, the false Christs are mentioned as coming also in that age. And it is known that it is speaking of the apostolic age not only because it is in the passage which speaks of that era, but also because when Jesus speaks of the false Christs there, he adds ...and the time is near. If he told the apostles that the time was near, it is because those false Christs and false prophets were going to arise during that era also.
It does not escape my notice the fact that in Luke 21:8 the sentence the time is near, begins with capital letters by the modern Bibles, like indicating that it deals with one of the two phrases spoken by the false Christs. According to this way of presenting these issues by those that edit these modern Bibles, the false Christs would say two phrases: 1) I Am and, 2) The time is near. But this is a doctrinally prejudiced interpretation on the part of the one that edits this Bible.
In order to realize that it is incorrect to begin that sentence with a capital letter, it would be enough to read Luke 21:8 in the King James edition. In that edition, the sentence the time is near is found with lower case, because they did not consider it a new phrase, but rather a comment by Jesus with respect to the closeness of such false Christs.
But in addition, it is logical to think that the false Christs would not be saying that the time of Jesus return was near, because they wanted to make others think that they were Jesus who had already returned. If they would say that the time is near, then they could not say that they were Christ, because they would be admitting that his Second Coming had not arrived with them. Hence we see that the same period of the prophecy, mentioned in Luke, agrees with the fact that Matthew 24:5 refers to false Christs of the apostolic age, whereas Matthew 24:24 refers to the false Christs which will come in the period close to the end.