To harmonize the Olivet Discourse from the gospel accounts.
Read a detailed exegesis of the Olivet Discourse.
End Time Prophecy Leads to Rome | The Kingdom of Israel
Mathew, Mark and Luke have parallel accounts of the Olivet Discourse.
Update September 8, 2013: Please view my recent commentshaving new research.
Sequence of Events
This is the sequence of events Jesus is describing.
- False political Messiahs will appear in Jerusalem and will attempt to overthrow the Romans. Many will be fooled into believing they will succeed. (Mt. 24:4-5; Mk. 13:5-6; Lk. 21:8-9)
- The times leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. will be troubled times of revolution and war. (Mt. 24:6-7; Mk. 13:7-8; Lk. 21:9-10)
- The second coming of Christ will not occur in the context of this Jewish revolution but will be future. (Mt. 24:6; Mk. 13:7; Lk. 21:9)
- Signs that will preceded the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. — famines, earthquakes and pestilence. The Jews were always looking for signs so Jesus gives a few. Josephus confirms some of these signs. (Mt. 24:7; Mk. 13:8; Lk. 21:11)
- Persecution of Christians from two groups of people — (1) Nero persecuted the Christians in Rome from 64 A.D. until his death in 68 A.D.; and (2) the Jews persecuted the Christians and stirred up the Romans against them — the book of Acts describes this kind of thing. (Mt. 24:9; Mk. 13:9; Lk. 21:12-15)
- The gospel will be preached to all nations before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Acts 1:8 verifies this occurred. (Mt. 24:14; Mk. 13:10-11; Lk. 21:13-15)
- There will be strife within the Christian community as non-believing family members persecute believing family members. But Christians must persevere and not turn from the faith or they will "lose" their salvation (or perhaps they never had it to begin with). (Mt. 24:10-13; Mk. 13:12-13; Lk. 21:16-19)
- The abomination that causes desolation in the Holy Place. This is:
This is a sign things are about to get very bad in Jerusalem so people should flee. Josephus describes the terrible things that happened to the inhabitants of Jerusalem as a result of the activities of the revolutionaries even before its fall. Many did escape as described and survived. (Mt. 24:15-22; Mk. 13:14-20)
- The revolutionaries stopped the sacrifices on behalf of the Romans (this event started the Jewish War)
- Violation of the proper use of the temple by the Jewish revolutionaries in three ways — (1) The rebels used the temple as a military base, (2) Eleazar allows armed terrorists into the temple to live, and (3) there were murders and massacres in the temple
- The Roman army surrounds Jerusalem. Another sign things are about to get very bad in Jerusalem so people should flee. Many did escape as described and survived. (Lk. 21:20-23)
- The fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. Some of the calamities — great distress, if the time were not cut short no one would have survived, and people would fall by the sword and be taken prisoner. Josephus confirms all of this. (Mt. 24:21-22; Mk. 13:19-20; Lk. 21:22-24)
- This judgment on the nation of Israel, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D. was prophesied. (Mt. 24:15,25; Mk. 13:14; Lk. 21:22)
- Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the second coming of Christ, the destruction of the world, and the final judgment of everyone. (Lk. 21:24)
- Since one of the purposes of the Olivet Discourse was to properly define and describe the second coming of Christ, there is a warning not to have a false understanding about the topic. The Jewish revolutionaries who were attempting to overthrow the Romans and set up a Jewish kingdom were false political Messiahs. People who followed them were destroyed. They declared themselves to be the political Messiah from the inner rooms of the temple they were using as a military base of operations. (Mt. 24:23-28; Mk. 13:21-23)
- The second coming of Christ will be an event visible to everyone. It includes (1) the destruction of the world, (2) the resurrection of everyone, dead and living (the rapture), (3) final judgment, and (4) new heavens and new earth.This occurs "immediately" after the destruction of Israel (Mt. 24:29) in the sense there are no additional prophetic events which will occur between them. (Mt. 24:27-31; Mk. 13:24-27; Lk. 21:25-28)
- The destruction of the world. This occurs in the context of the second coming of Christ. The world begins to disintegrate as Christ comes back to judge it and there are terrible signs in the heavens and on the earth visible to all. (Mt. 24:29; Mk. 13:24; Lk. 21:25-26)
- Christ's second coming in the clouds and visible to all. They mourn over their sin because He is coming to judge. Believers mourn because sin resulted in the necessity of Christ's sacrificial death and the destruction of the world. (Mt. 24:30; Mk. 13:26; Lk. 21:27-28)
- The general resurrection of everyone, dead and living. The angels gather everyone. (Mt. 24:31; Mk. 13:27; Lk. 21:28)
- The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. will occur within the lifetime of many who were present at the Olivet Discourse. (Mt. 24:34; Mk. 13:30; Lk. 21:32)