Today we begin studying what is often called the Olivet Discourse, which Jesus spoke on Tuesday of Holy Week, the pharisees had just passed their final judgement on Jesus, and now he offers a prophetic teaching of the final days and future glory. This section of Scripture will help us explore and understand the relationship of the destruction of the temple to the second coming, the nature of the future Kingdom, the signs of His second coming, and of the end of the age. Our study over the next couple of weeks should compel each of us to be prepared, alert, and actively serving the Lord with anticipation of His coming.
Section 139a | Setting of the Discourse
From the temple to the Mount of Olives
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Matthew 24:1-3
1 Jesus went out from the temple,1 and was going on his way. His disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them,“You see all of these things, don’t you? Most certainly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down.”2 3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives,3 the disciples4 came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” [/one_third]
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Mark 13:1-4
1 As he went out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, see what kind of stones5 and what kind of buildings!” 2 Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone on another, which will not be thrown down.” 3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple,6 Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately,7 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are all about to be fulfilled?” [/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes” class=”” id=””]Luke 21:5-7
5 As some were talking about the temple and how it was decorated with beautiful stones and gifts, he said, 6 “As for these things which you see, the days will come, in which there will not be left here one stone on another that will not be thrown down.”8
7 They asked him, “Teacher, so when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are about to happen?”9 [/one_third]
Section 139b | Beginning of Birth Pains
Mount of Olives
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Matthew 24:4-14
4 Jesus answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will lead many astray.10 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars.11 See that you aren’t troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet.12 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. 8 But all these things are the beginning of birth pains.13
9 Then they will deliver you up to oppression, and will kill you. You will be hated by all of the nations for my name’s sake. 10 Then many will stumble, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another.
11 Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray. 12 Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end will be saved. 14 This Good News of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. [/one_third]
[one_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Mark 13:5-13
5 Jesus, answering, began to tell them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray. 6 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and will lead many astray. 7 “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be troubled. For those must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places. There will be famines and troubles. These things are the beginning of birth pains.
9 But watch yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will stand before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them.
10 The Good News must first be preached to all the nations. 11 When they lead you away and deliver you up, don’t be anxious beforehand, or premeditate what you will say, but say whatever will be given you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 “Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 13 You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake,
but he who endures to the end will be saved.[/one_third]
[one_third last=”yes” class=”” id=””]Luke 21:8-19
8 He said, “Watch out that you don’t get led astray, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is at hand.’ Therefore don’t follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and disturbances, don’t be terrified, for these things must happen first, but the end won’t come immediately.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines, and plagues in various places. There will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you up to synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 It will turn out as a testimony for you.
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to withstand or to contradict. 16 You will be handed over even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will cause some of you to be put to death. 17 You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake. 18 And not a hair of your head will perish. 19 “By your endurance you will win your lives.[/one_third]
- What answers did Jesus offer to the three questions the disciples were asking?
- Jesus says that his disciples then and now will face various forms of deception. How would you define deception? How can each of us as individuals, a small group, a church prepare ourselves so that we don’t fall prey to these deceptions?
- Why and how do we grow apart from the Lord when we first express such love and claim such devotion? Why is it that we begin to place our trust elsewhere? What are the effects of the change?
- How can (should) our trust in God’s plan, and faith in Jesus affect our daily actions, emotions and decisions?
- Do you think you place more trust in Christ and the Scriptures or in things or circumstances that surely won’t last? What are some of those temporal things?; good things (family, home, job); religious things (clergy, buildings, programs, traditions, doctrine) that you think you need to realign?
- Are you ready for whatever may come in your life, in our nation, and in the world?
- What work does Jesus say we His disciples must be about? Does this commandment remind you of other Scripture passages?
- See the Map of Holy Tuesday and note that the path to where he might have sat on the Mt of Olives would have been a 40-minute walk (between 1 and 2-miles) from the temple. This was his last visit to the temple. He’s visited it and honored the law all his life going for no fewer than the three main pilgrim festivals (Passover, Hannukah and Succoth); and over the previous days he had gone in and out, but this would be the last time.
- This prophetic statement was fulfilled forty years later, when the Roman legions, led by Titus the emperor’s son, destroyed the temple and the entire city of Jerusalem.
- See this site with modern day view of the temple from the Mount of Olives and denotation of historic sites.
- As referenced in Mark’s account it might have only been Peter, James, John, and Andrew who asked Jesus to explain the signs, however to mention them specifically might only mean that among the disciples they were the ones who asked the questions.
- This disciple, perhaps Peter though we don’t know, was amazed at the grandeur of the temple, even the stones that made up the walls which reportedly were build of green and white marble, some plated with gold, and some weighed as much as 100 tons. Josephus wrote that some of the stones were “forty-five cubits long, five high, and six broad”, others “twenty-five cubits long, eight high, and twelve broad” (1 cubit = 1.5 feet); and “in the porches, four rows of pillars: the thickness of each pillar was as much as three men, with their arms stretched out, and joined together, could grasp; the length twenty seven feet, and the number of them an hundred and sixty two, and beautiful to a miracle.”
- It was on the east of the city of Jerusalem
- Either privately from the other disciples or from the multitudes.
- No doubt some of the disciples remembered stories of Solomon’s Temple, the prophesy of its destruction (Jer 22:5) and eventual destruction by the Babylonians.
- When studying the Olivet Discourse you should consider also: the Tribulation, a seven-year period (Dan 9:24-27 and Rev 6:1-19:21); and also the Rapture (Jn 14:1-4; 1 Cor 15:51-52; and 1 Thes. 4:13-18).
- The New Testament points out three men who claimed to be the Messiah: Theudas (Acts 5:36), Judah the Galilean (Acts 5:37), and one unnamed Egyptian Jew (Acts 21). There are many other Messianic claimants, but we are still waiting for Jesus’ return.
- See Wikipedia’s list of wars.
- Not the end of the world, but the end of Jerusalem, the temple, and the end of the Jewish state.
- Jesus had demonstrated and taught many times before about his identity, sacrifice and responsibility as the Messiah, but the disciples and multitudes still hoped that the Messianic era would soon begin and they failed to understand the divinely orchestrated plan of his death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming. In the Olivet Discourse they learn in no uncertain terms that the Messianic era will not come immediately but after much more suffering around the world and the spread of the Gospel by generations of disciples.