The Olivet Prophecy – Part 1

The Olivet Prophecy is perhaps the best known prophecy Jesus spoke. It is widely used regarding the return of Jesus to the earth, especially as a guide for identifying certain events that indicate the nearness of his return. The Prophecy will be considered in a number of subsequent blog posts.

The Olivet Prophecy is so named because Jesus spoke these words from Mount Olivet and during the last week before his crucifixion. Interestingly, the prophecy was actually an answer Jesus gave to his disciples in response to them admiring the temple. Jesus wanted to re-direct their attention from the magnificence and beauty of structures and show them that God, the Father was not as interested in buildings of worship as He is in the people who worship Him in spirit and truth.

To get a good understanding of what Jesus is telling his disciples, a valuable way of approaching the Olivet Prophecy is to read and compare the three Gospel accounts that record his words, as well as view some different translations. Interestingly, it is often the Gospel of Matthew, specially chapter 24 that is referenced, when in fact, Mark (chapter 13) and Luke (chapter 21) record the words of Jesus. Each account provides some information that the others do not and it also helps the reader to understand the times periods Jesus is referring to. For example, the immediate question the disciples had of Jesus was, when would the temple be destroyed? Secondly, they asked, what would be the sign of his coming, signalling the end of the age?

It is helpful, if possible, to place the three Gospel accounts side-by-side. I will do this using a table format and summarizing the information. I urge you to look at these verses in your Bible and do your own comparison. You will find it very helpful and insightful!

The Questions of the Disciples

Matthew 24:3 Mark 13:4 Luke 21:6
• When will the Temple be destroyed?
• What is the sign of Jesus’ coming?
• What is the sign of the end of the age?
• When will the Temple be destroyed?
• What is the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?
• When will the Temple be destroyed?
• What is the sign when these things will take place?

Note that in the Matthew account, the word in the King James Version “world” as in “end of the world” is the word “age”. Jesus was stating that with the destruction of the Jewish Temple, an “age” or period of time would come to an end and another period of time would begin. Jesus is not saying that the world would be destroyed at a future time. This is inconsistent with other places in the Bible such as,

“A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4, ESV)

The Olivet Prophecy is actually Jesus answering 2 or 3 questions posed to him by his disciples. In fact, Mark 13:4 tells us that it was Peter, James, John and Andrew that asked him the questions. Both Matthew (24:3) and Mark 13:3) tell us that they asked Jesus “privately”.

Jesus Response: Don’t  Be Led Astray

Matthew 24:4-8 Mark 13:5-8 Luke 21:8-11
• Don’t be deceived
• Many Messiahs
• Hear of wars
• End not yet
• Nation vs. nation
• Natural disasters
• Birth pains coming
• Don’t be deceived
• Many Messiahs
• Hear of wars
• End not yet
• Nation vs. nation
• Natural disasters
• Birth pains coming
• Don’t be deceived
• Many Messiahs
• The time is at hand
• Don’t follow false Messiahs
• Wars & instability
• End not yet
• Natural disasters
• Great signs from heaven

The three Gospels accounts are quite similar. Luke is a bit more descriptive. The context of this section appears to be the immediate time period in which Jesus and the disciples lived. The Temple had not been destroyed and would not be destroyed until for another 38-40 years (AD 70). Jesus was would be crucified within the next few days. Despite him telling the disciple this on a number of occasions, they did not understand it. Jesus was warning them not to follow false Messiahs once he was not physically with them anymore. He told them about some of the difficulties that would occur prior to the destruction of the Temple.

In the next post, I will continue with this approach to understanding this remarkable and very relevant prophecy given by our Lord.

(Visited 118 times, 1 visits today)

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *