Mat 24 outline:
Mat 24:1-2, Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple
Mat 24:3-31, When will be the destruction of the Temple/ signs of Jesus’ coming + the end of the age
Mat 24:32-33, The parable of the fig tree
Mat 24:34-35, This generation + My words will be no means pass away before these things take place
Mat 24:36-44, No one knows the day or hour
Mat 24:45-51, The parable of the faithful and wicked servant
Mat 24 chiastic structure:
1a) Mat 24:1-3a, Disciples’ question: When will these things be (destruction of the Temple);
1a) Mat 24:1, His disciples showed Jesus the buildings of the temple;
shim1b) Mat 24:2a, And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things?”
2a) Mat 24:2b, “Not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down;”
shim2b) Mat 24:3a, Disciples’ question, “Tell us, when will these things be?”
1b) Mat 24:3b, Disciples’ question: “And what will be the sign of Your coming;”
1c) Mat 24:3c, Disciples’ question: “And [what will be the sign] of the end of the age?”
1d) Mat 24:4, Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you;”
central axis) Mat 24:5a, “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ;’”
2d) Mat 24:5b, “And will deceive many;”
2c) Mat 24:6-14, Jesus’ answer: The signs of the end of the age;
2b) Mat 24:15-33, Jesus’ answer: The signs of the coming of the Son of Man;
1a) Mat 24:15, When you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel standing in the holy place;
1b) Mat 24:16-20, Then take this action: flee to the mountains, not turning back for your things;
1c) Mat 24:21-22, The great tribulation unlike any in history/ the days shortened for the elects’ sake;
1d) Mat 24:23, If anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it;
central axis) Mat 24:24-25, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand;”
2d) Mat 24:26-28, If they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert + inner rooms!’ do not believe it/ coming as lightning;
2c) Mat 24:29a, Immediately after the tribulation of those days;
2b) Mat 24:29b-31, The signs of His coming displayed in the heavens/ the action His angels will take;
2a) Mat 24:32-33, The parable of the fig tree: When you see these signs, know that it is near;
out of place verse) Mat 24:34-35, Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
2a) Mat 24:36-52, Jesus’ answer: When these things will be (no one knows, therefore be ready);
1a) Mat 24:36, Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only;
1b) Mat 24:37-41, The coming of the Son of Man as Noah/ they did not know the hour of their destruction;
1c) Mat 24:42, Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming;
central axis) Mat 24:43, If the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into;
2c) Mat 24:44, Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect;
2b) Mat 24:45-49, The parable of the faithful/ wicked servant, who lives as if his master isn’t coming;
2a) Mat 24:50-51, The master will come when the servant does not expect him + he will be cast out.
The first lesson to take away from the structure, is that the disciples asked three separate questions, and Jesus gave them three separate answers. Perhaps they had a bias that the three events: the destruction of the Temple, the coming of the Son of Man, and the end of the age — were to occur together in historic time. However, Jesus did not say that was the case.
Taking the questions one by one:
When will these things be (the destruction of the Temple): the previous study linked above has the answer for the destruction of the Temple from Mat 24:15-22 based solely on context. The chiastic structure reveals that the answer to the question When? is from Mat 24:36-52. So to be clear: Jesus framed His answer in such a way that it could be understood both by context and by structure. It is clear from His answer of the question When? in the structure, from Mat 24:36-52, that He is talking about the coming of the Son of Man. It is just as clear from the question His disciples ask Him on the front side of the structure, that it is in the context of the destruction of the Temple, which in their minds was linked to His coming.
But you can see from this passage evidence that supports all the conflicting theories of the end times, be it preterist or futurist or historicist LOL. It is in rightly dividing what we are reading that sheds the light. We know from history when the destruction of the Temple occurred: 70 AD. From that time to this, there has been no Temple building. This is why some say the Temple must be rebuilt before the end, because this passage makes it sound as if its destruction and the coming of the Son of Man are linked. So that leads us to the next question:
What will be the sign of Your coming: the previous study linked above assigns the answer to this question to Mat 24:23-51 based solely on context (and that context is compelling, and I think, not wrong). The structure however assigns the answer to Mat 24:15-33. The disciples were thinking of the single event in history of the day of the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ answer, though, spans the time from the destruction of the Temple, to the day in history when He returns. We know from history that this span of time has covered nearly 2000 years. The central axis is about the many false christs (antichrists) who will arise from that time to this, while the Church is waiting. And if the seat the antichrist sits upon is that of the Roman beast from Dan 4, as I believe it is, then we see that the answer to the dilemma is indeed in realizing that He is explaining the entire era between His departure and His return, and is not just speaking of a single day.
What will be the sign of the end of the age: the previous study linked above, which is based solely on context, agrees with the structure in that the answer to this question is discussed in Mat 24:6-14.
About the out of place verse: I believe this is a matching element in the chiastic structure for the whole book of Matthew, and it is in its right place for that larger structure. That He said that this generation – the generation of the apostles – would by no means pass away until these things take place, referring back to Mat 24:15-33, is a strong argument for believing He was discussing the destruction of the Temple, which occurred in 70 AD. But the great tribulation occurred from 64 AD to 313 AD, and of course, the era of the many antichrists is not over yet. So we can also see that His use of the term “this generation” was possibly not limited to the apostles’ lifetimes, but He was speaking of their lifetimes as well as something else as an additional layer. What is that additional layer for “this generation?” That will be the study for next time …