Question: What does the Savior mean when he says, “Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another” (Matthew 24:10)? What will offend them?
Answer: Jesus is speaking of the time shortly before his second coming, of which Isaiah prophesies, when those “who are vigilant for his word” would be shamed and “abhorred” by their “brethren” and “excluded” from their congregations (Isaiah 66:5; cf. 61:7). In other words, it is on account of God’s “word”—the word of truth—that people are offended as they betray those who love the truth to the authorities or in the public arena such as on online platforms.
The Lord, however, says of those who assign themselves the role of judges: “All who watch for iniquity shall be cut off— those who at a word judge a man to be guilty” (Isaiah 29:20–21). He even goes so far as to say, “They shall put you out of the synagogues [read “excommunicate”]: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (John 16:1–3)
From this, we learn that those who denigrate others don’t know the Father or Jesus or they would not act in a manner that is expressly forbidden: “Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm.” (Doctrine & Covenants 42:27–28); “He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” (1 Peter 3:10); “He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.” (James 4:11).
Hence Isaiah’s complaint of those who—at their peril—disregard his end-time vision: “You have heard the whole vision; how is it you do not proclaim it? Yet as of now, I announce to you new things, things withheld and unknown to you, things now coming into being, not hitherto, things you have not heard of before, lest you should say, Indeed I knew them! You have not heard them, nor have you known them; before this your ears have not been open to them. For I knew you would turn treacherous; you were called a transgressor from the womb.” (Isaiah 48:6–8).
It is these unheard of new things that many can’t deal with. So conditioned are they to believe their own “truth” that is based on precepts of men—and so darkened from speaking evil—they find it impossible to conceive what the scriptures are actually saying. Having procrastinated Jesus’ commandment to search the words of Isaiah (3 Nephi 23:1–3), they contend against what they perceive as false—not by proving the truth from the scriptures as a result of their diligent search, but by their “everybody knows” argument even as they disparage the messengers of truth.
And yet, the Lord permits the rumor mongers to test his people in order that he may bless his saints more abundantly: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:11–12); “Because their shame was twofold, and shouted insults were their lot, therefore in their land shall their inheritance be twofold and everlasting joy be theirs.” (Isaiah 61:7)