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Olivet Discourse (Part 1) - Mat 24:4-13

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I. What is the Olivet Discourse?
1. The Olivet Discourse is a name given to the teaching that Jesus gave to His disciples on the mount of Olives concerning the coming destruction of the temple, Christ's second coming, and the end of the world (Mat 24:3).
2. The discourse is recorded in Mat 24:1-51, Mar 13:1-37, and Luk 21:5-36.
3. When shown the buildings of the temple by the disciples, Jesus told them that it would be completely destroyed (Mat 24:1-2).
4. The discourse was then prompted by the disciples asking three questions:
A. When shall these things be? (Mat 24:3)
i. "These things" is the destruction of the temple and the events surrounding it.
ii. The phase "these things" and "those days" are very significant and crucial to correctly interpreting and understanding this prophecy.
B. What shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled/come to pass? (Mar 13:4; Luk 21:7).
C. What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world? (Mat 24:3)
5. The disciples thought that the temple would stand until the end of time and that its destruction would happen at the second coming of Christ at the end of the world.
6. A careful examination of the discourse, comparing all three gospel accounts, will show that Jesus answered all three questions and made a clear distinction between the first two questions and the last question, showing that they did not happen at the same time.
A. The time of the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem could be known and escaped from if the warning signs were heeded.
B. The time of Jesus' coming and the end of the word could not be known nor escaped from, so constant vigilance is required.
7. The base text for this study will be Matthew's account, as it is the most detailed; Mark's and Luke's account will also be frequently made reference to.
8. A spreadsheet which compares the accounts of the discourse accompanies this outline and should be consulted.
9. The discourse will be examined in the following sections:
A. Section 1 - Mat 24:4-13 c/w (Mar 13:5-9; Luk 21:8-13)
B. Section 2 - Mat 24:14-29 c/w (Mar 13:10-25; Luk 21:14-26)
C. Section 3 - Mat 24:30-31 c/w (Mar 13:26-27; Luk 21:27)
D. Section 4 - Mat 24:32-35 c/w (Mar 13:28-31; Luk 21:28-33)
E. Section 5 - Mat 24:36-51 c/w (Mar 13:32-37; Luk 21:34-36)

II. Section 1 - Mat 24:4-13 c/w (Mar 13:5-9; Luk 21:8-13)
1. Jesus began the discourse warning the disciples to be careful that no man deceived them concerning these events (Mat 24:4).
A. This warning was as important then as it is today, as divers and false interpretations of Christ's prophecy abound.
B. Take heed that you be not deceived.
2. The events in Mat 24:5-13 directly apply to the lead up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, but they are also typical of the time prior to Christ's coming and the end of the world.
3. Many would come in Christ's name saying "I am Christ" (Mat 24:5 c/w Mar 13:6 c/w Luk 21:8).
A. This would happen in the near future, as Jesus said concerning it: "and the time draweth near" (Luk 21:8).
B. This can happen in two ways:
i. A false teacher can come and say that Jesus is Christ.
a. There were false teachers who crept into the churches unawares prior to 70AD (Acts 15:1,5 c/w Gal 2:4).
b. There are plenty to false teachers today who proclaim that Jesus is Christ and deceive many.
ii. A person can come and claim to be Christ, saying, "I am Christ".
a. This happened in the days prior to 70AD.
b. "According to Josephus, the noted Jewish historian, twelve years after our Saviour’s death, a certain impostor named Theudas persuaded a great multitude to follow him to the river Jordan which he claimed would divide for their passage. At the time of Felix (who is mentioned in the book of Acts), the country of the Jews was filled with impostors who Felix had put to death EVERY DAY — a statement which indicates that there were “many” of such in those days!

"An Egyptian who “pretended to be a prophet” gathered 30,000 men, claiming that he would show “how, at his command, the walls of Jerusalem would fall down.”

"Another deceiver was Simon, a sorcerer, who led people to believe he was the great power of God (See Acts 8). According to Irenaeus, Simon claimed to be the Son of God and creator of angels. Jerome says that he claimed to be the Word of God, the Almighty. Justin relates that he went to Rome and was acclaimed as a god by his magical powers.

"Origen mentions a certain wonder-worker, Dositheus, who claimed he was the Christ foretold by Moses. Another deceiver in those days was Barchochebas who, according to Jerome, claimed to vomit flames. Bar-jesus is mentioned in Acts 13:6 as a sorcerer and false prophet. These are examples of the deceivers of whom history says there were “a great number”, and of whom Jesus had prophesied that there would be “many.”" (Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, page 54)

c. This will also happen near the end of time when the man of sin will say that he is God (2Th 2:3-4).
4. There would be wars, rumors of wars, and commotions, nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there would be famines and earthquakes in divers places (Mat 24:6-8 c/w Mar 13:7-8 c/w Luk 21:9-11).
A. There would be wars, rumors of wars, and commotions.
i. This happened prior to 70AD.
a. "Before the fall of Jerusalem, four Emperors came to violent deaths within the space of 18 months. According to the historian Suetonius (who lived during the latter part of the first century and the beginning of the second), Nero “drove a dagger into his throat.” Galba was run down by horsemen. A soldier cut off his head and “thrusting his thumb into the mouth”, carried the horrid trophy about. Otho “stabbed himself” in the breast. Vitellius was killed by slow torture and then “dragged by a hook into the Tiber.” We can understand that such fate falling on the Emperors would naturally spread distress and insecurity through the Empire.

"In the Annals of Tacitus, a Roman who wrote a history which covers the period prior to 70 A. D., we find such expressions as these “Disturbances in Germany”, “commotions in Africa”, “commotions in Thrace”, “insurrections in Gaul”, “intrigues among the Parthians”, “the war in Britain”, “war in Armenia.”

"Among the Jews, the times became turbulent. In Seleucia, 50,000 Jews were killed. There was an uprising against them in Alexandria. In a battle between the Jews and Syrians in Caesarea, 20,000 were killed. During these times, Caligula ordered his statue placed in the temple at Jerusalem. The Jews refused to do this and lived in constant fear that the Emperor’s armies would be sent into Palestine. This fear became so real that some of them did not even bother to till their fields." (Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, page 55)

ii. Wars and rumors of wars are not signs that the indicate the end of the world is imminent, as the condition of the world will be just the opposite when Christ returns (1Th 5:3; Luk 17:26-30).
B. There would be famines.
i. This happened prior to 70AD.
a. There was a great famine in the land in the days of Claudius Caesar which hit Judea hard (Act 11:27-29).
b. "Historians such as Suetonius and others mention famine during those years. Tacitus speaks of a “Failure in the crops, and a famine consequent thereupon.” Eusebius also mentions famines during this time in Home, Judea, and Greece." (Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, page 56)
C. There would be earthquakes in divers places.
i. This happened prior to 70AD.
ii. "Tacitus mentions earthquakes at Rome. He wrote that “frequent earthquakes occured, by which many houses were thrown down” and that “twelve populous cities of Asia fell in ruins from an earthquake.”

"Seneca, writing in the year 58 A. D., said: “How often have cities of Asia and Achaea fallen with one fatal shock! how many cities have been swallowed up in Syria! how many in Macedonia! how often has Cyprus been wasted by this calamity! how often has Paphos become a ruin! News has often been brought us of the demolition of whole cities at once.” He mentions the earthquake at Campania during the reign of Nero. In 60 A. D., Hierapous, Colosse, and Laodicea were overthrown — Laodocia being so self-sufficient that it recovered without the Imperial aid furnished other cities. In 63 A. D., the city of Pompeii was greatly damaged by earthquake. There were earthquakes in Crete, Apamea, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos, and Judea." (Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, page 56)

iii. Earthquakes abound today.
iv. Near the end of time there will be a great earthquake (Rev 16:18).
5. The disciples would be brought before counsels, rulers, and kings, beaten in synagogues, imprisoned, persecuted, and killed (Mat 24:9-13 c/w Mar 13:9 c/w Luk 21:12-13).
A. This happened prior to 70AD.
i. Peter and the other apostles were beaten by a Jewish council (Act 5:40-41).
ii. Stephen was killed (Act 7:54-60).
iii. There was a great persecution against the church at Jerusalem (Act 8:1).
iv. The disciples were haled to prison (Act 8:3).
v. James was brought before king Herod and was killed (Act 12:1-2).
vi. Peter was put in prison (Act 12:3-4).
vii. Paul and Silas were beaten and put in prison (Act 16:22-24).
viii. Paul was brought before a council (Act 23:1).
ix. Paul was brought before king Agrippa (Act 26:1-2).
x. Paul eventually was brought before Caesar (Act 28:19 c/w Phi 4:22).
xi. Paul was eventually martyred in Rome (2Ti 4:6).
B. The disciples who endured to the end and heeded Jesus' warning and headed for the hills when they saw Jerusalem compassed with armies (Luk 21:20-21) would be saved the horrors of the destruction of Jerusalem (Mat 24:13). (More on this later.)
C. There will be great tribulation for Christians in the end times as well.
i. In the last days perilous times shall come (2Ti 3:1).
ii. Perilous adj. - 1. Fraught with peril; causing or occasioning great danger; full of risk; dangerous; hazardous.
iii. The devil will (and does) make war with the saints (Rev 12:17).
iv. This war will end in death for many of them (Rev 13:15).
D. In a more general sense, those who endure persecution until the end of their lives show the evidence that they are saved eternally (Mat 24:13).
i. Those who endure temptation will receive a crown of life (Jam 1:12; Rev 2:10).
ii. Those who endure persecution until the end of their lives or until the end of time when Christ returns show the evidence that they are the elect of God who will be saved from wrath on judgment day.

For a master copy of the outline, click here: The Olivet Discourse