Monday, October 15, 2012

The Teachings of Jesus (VI), Week 42: Jesus' authority challenged - The Olivet Discourse (Matt 24:1-51)

Last week we saw Jesus talk about the coming condemnation of Jerusalem within the very generation of the hearers (Matt 23:36). Then Jesus leaves the Temple Mount and gives His disciples a prophesy of how this will come about.

This prophesy, which He discussed on the Mount of Olives, is called the Olivet Discourse. It is often (wrongly, I believe) taken as an end-times prophesy and tried to "fit" into Revelation. I think that is wholly against the context of the passage.

I have exegeted the Mark Gospel's passage of the Olivet Discourse here, so please read it this week instead of me just repeating it all. As you shall see, Jesus is VERY specific that ALL of the things He states will be fulfilled within one generation. And I argue that they were: at the end of the Temple, the destruction of Judaism, in 70 AD.

The Romans here are used as God's judgment against Jerusalem, and the ultimate end of the Mosaic Law system of sacrifices.

As with all Jewish apocalyptic prophesy, there are elements in common between this passage and Revelation, which has wrongly resulted in this being read as a end-times scenario. It should not be. The Olivet Discourse is plainly stated by Jesus as being fulfilled completely during the lifetime of His listeners. Revelation, however, is forward-looking from the vantage point of His last living apostle, John. So they must describe different events, if you are being fair with the text.