Olivet Discourse: Introduction

The Olivet Discourse begins with the disciples admiring the temple, and Jesus responds that it would be destroyed, Mark 13:2. After making their way to Mount of Olives, across from the temple, some of the disciples asked two questions concerning the coming kingdom of the Lord, Mark 13:3-4.

  • When shall these things be?
  • What shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

Matthew records two more questions for a total of four questions asked by the Apostles who met with the Lord Privately, Matthew 24:3.

  • What will be the sign of the return of Jesus?
  • (What will be the sign of ...) and the end of the age?

There are expected parallels between the references to the Olivet Discourse in all three gospels in the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. However, each contains some unique information. It is vital to carefully examine all three of these books to attain a greater grasp of what Jesus told his disciples in answering their questions. Of all that the Lord instructed His disciples during the Olivet Discourse, He emphasized that His followers were to watch and pray, Luke 21:34-36.

Jesus also assured His disciples of the surety of what He told them during the discourse, that He had foretold all these things to them, as described in Mark and Matthew. The same was stated by Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar after telling him the dream and interpretation of the image the king had dreamt, Daniel 2:45.

Luke also provides insight as to the destruction of the Temple, and the horrors that would befall the children of Israel when Titus would surround and destroy Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Luke 21:20-24. As shown in Daniel 2:1-49, and discussed on the web page on this site Daniel chapter 1 timelines, the time of the Gentiles will be fulfilled at the conclusion of the tribulation after the war of Armageddon, and when Christ establishes His kingdom, centered in Jerusalem. It is important to note that after the destruction of the temple by Titus in 70 A.D., the Jews have had no temple in which to offer their burnt sacrifices to God, and they lost their national identity until 14 May 1948. Though Israel is now a nation, they still do not have a rebuilt temple on the temple mount in Jerusalem. As pointed out in later discussions in Revelation, Revelation chapter 11, Israel will have the temple rebuilt to again offer sacrifices, Revelation 11:1-2. There will be a temple rebuilt on the temple mount sometime during the first half of the seven years of tribulation. At the midtribulation point, the tribulation temple will have been desecrated by the Antichrist, Revelation 13:14-18. At the end of the tribulation, after all seven bowl judgments have been poured out upon the earth, there will be 100 pound hailstones that will fall upon the earth and a great worldwide earthquake, as discussed in this site on Revelation chapter 16, Revelation 16:17-21. Since there is no further mention of the tribulation temple, it is expected that it will be destroyed by these two terrible events.

The extra days following the end of the tribulation, as described in Daniel 12:1-13, and described in the discussion on this site on the Daniel chapter 12 timelines, maybe the time when the millennial temple is built, prepared for the Lord's entrance through the eastern gate, and consecrated for the final building of the temple as shown in Ezekiel 40-44. Zechariah also prophesied that people around the world would come to rebuild the temple, Zechariah 6:12-15. This will be the temple where the worship of God will occur throughout the millennial reign of Christ.

There are many illustrations given to describe discrete events that would befall the children of Israel until the return of Christ to establish His millennial reign. An important part of the Lord’s discourse on the Mount of Olives are the warnings he gives to His people in the form of parables at the end of Mathew 24:1-51 and Mathew 25:1-46. Of particular note is the sign of when these things shall be fulfilled, which is given in all three gospels, Mark 13:28-33. Now that Israel is a nation again, and has possession of Jerusalem, the summer season is near. Israel is represented by the fig tree. So those who trust in Christ, and the nation of Israel need to watch, for the time is at hand, Mark 13:34-37.