I have a question here-
Just who is Jesus Christ, the ever living Son of God Almighty, God in the flesh, talking to in Matthew 24?
His disciples? The Jews? The Lost Tribes? Elvis? Us?
Concerning the original post --
In the direct circumstance of the immediate context and conversation as recorded in this passage, our Lord Jesus Christ was speaking privately to His disciples. This is in accord with the statement of Matthew 24:3-4a -- "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? And Jesus answered and said unto them . . . ." With a further consideration of the parallel passage in Mark 13, we find that our Lord Jesus Christ was actually only speaking privately to four specifically named disciples. This is in accord with the statement of Mark 13:3-5a -- "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? And Jesus answering them began to say . . . ."
Concerning our Lord's answer as it proceeded from Matthew 24:1-31 --
In Matthew 24:2 our Lord Jesus Christ spoke a prophetic utterance concerning the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem -- "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." In response to this prophetic utterance, some of the disciples approached the Lord privately and presented two questions unto Him concerning the events of the future. Thus we read in Matthew 24:3, "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?" Now, the grammatical structure of these two questions does indicate that these are two grammatically separate questions. With the first question, the disciples were asking for an indication of the specific timing when the "these things" that the Lord had just pronounced concerning the destruction of the Temple might occur. With the second question, the disciples added a question concerning the signs by which they might discern the Lord's coming and "the end of the world." Grammatically, by the fact that the employed the singular word "sign" to encompass both the Lord's coming and "the end of the world," it would appear that they considered these two elements of the future to be directed connected unto one another. On the other hand, although their questions were presented as two distinct questions in grammatical structure, it is uncertain how closely they may have connected the events of these two questions in their thinking. It is possible that the disciples directly connected the event of the Temple's destruction in the future with the event of the Lord's return and "the end of the world." It is also possible that they simply took up the occasion of the Lord's prophetic utterance to ask concerning a matter of the future that was much more pressing upon their minds (since the Lord was already engaging in prophetic utterances).
What then do we find in our Lord's answer as presented in Matthew 24:4-31. To me, it is worthy of note that throughout this passage our Lord's does not provide even a single element of information in answer to the disciples' first question concerning the timing for the destruction of the Temple. Rather, our Lord focuses His entire answer on their second question concerning the sign of His coming and "of the end of the world." In verses 4-5 our Lord immediately focuses upon the matter of His coming by warning His disciples not to be deceived by the declarations of false Christ's. In verse 6 our Lord then speaks concerning the matter of the end, saying, "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." Following this, in verses 7-14 our Lord presents an entire list of events and activities that would occur before the end would come and that would lead to the end. Indeed, our Lord concluded this portion of His answer concludes with verses 13-14, saying, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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."
In the flow of this context, the relative adverb "when," with which Matthew 24:15 begins, signals the turning point in our Lord's answer concerning the sign of His coming and "of the end of the world." From this point the Lord will be providing a specific answer to that question. Indeed, again in verses 23-26 our Lord warns concerning the claims of false Christs. Then in verses 27-31 (as a direct contrast to the false claims of the false Christs) our Lord prophetically presents the actual signs of His coming, saying, "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. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 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: 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. 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."
Some thoughts for consideration.