The Olivet Discourse

Dr. George Sweeting once estimated that “more than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy...Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1800 references appear in the O.T. Of the 260 chapters in the N.T., there are more th … More

Prophecy

This section forms Jesus’ most prophetic message of the coming of the end of the world (or the present age) which is often referred to as His Olivet Discourse. After Jesus left his discussion with the religious leaders he returned to Bethany by way of the Mount of Olives where He could look down on the temple courtyard. He sat down at the brow of the hill and the disciples had an opportunity to ask him some questions privately (vv. 1-4). (1) When will this happen, (2) what will be the sign of your coming and (3) when will the end of the world be? From this point on Jesus spends his time answering these questions (vv. 5-14).

Interpretation of this Discourse ranges widely from liberal (Allen, Moffat, etc.) to conservative (among whom there is variation from amillennial, Hendricksen; to post-tribulational, Morgan; to pretribulational, Kent and Walvoord). Personally I agree with Walvoord who views this as events of the Church Age leading up to the Tribulation Period. Actually I believe the key to interpreting this section rests in one’s view of the “gospel of the kingdom” (vv. 13-14).

Since Matthew has already shown in his selection of parables that the present form of the kingdom of heaven is the church, it seems more proper to view the events in these verses as relating to the entire Church Age and culminating especially at the end of it. That time will be characterized by false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, rising of false prophets, wickedness shall increase, the love of many will grow cold and the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations (vv. 11-14).

Application

I need to be ready to meet Jesus today? Though the time of His coming may be uncertain, the fact of it is not.  He “will come.” I must continue to be ready, but in the meantime I need to keep busy sharing the gospel so others can start toward heaven also.

Matthew 24:1-14 (English Standard Version)


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