The Olivet discourse is found in all three Synoptic Gospels and is Christ’s response to three important questions His disciples asked. In particular, it reveals end-time events leading up to and including the great tribulation. Some eschatologists like to lump the rapture into this parable but the disciples’ questions do not pertain to the rapture, which was a unique revelation later given to the Apostle Paul. Join Carl now, as he explores this important discourse and the many signs which indicate we’re fast approaching the time of Great tribulation…
Here is a complete transcript of the podcast (below)…
Friend, as you know I just recently finished a four-part series of broadcasts on the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church. As a follow up to that series of messages I wanted to address what Jesus said about the end times specifically. Now Jesus spoke about the end times or last days in all three Synoptic Gospels entitled the Olivet Discourse in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 24, Luke’s Gospel, chapter 21 and finally Mark’s Gospel chapter 13. This was the last prophetic utterance Jesus made as a prophet because right after this he went into a transitional period from Prophet to priest as He offered Himself up as the ultimate sacrifice by pouring out His precious blood in His redemptive act for all humanity. So while he was on earth, right up to this Olivet Discourse as it’s called, he was a Prophet, but currently in heaven he’s our high Priest, who ever makes intercession for us and finally, he will soon return as our King, to set up his 1000 year reign.
You know some people don’t particularly care for prophecy and some pastors don’t even bother to preach about Christ’s soon return either but, in the NT, 23 out of the 27 books refer to the Lord’s return to the earth, so clearly, it’s a topic we cannot ignore and to do so would be disobedient to the Lord and His Holy Word. Friend Christ is returning soon and He’s coming in two phases. He will return once for the church in the rapture and later He’ll return with His church to the earth, at the end of the tribulation period better known as His second coming. Now, there are 109 prophecies recorded in the OT concerning Jesus first coming and they were all fulfilled to the letter. But get this friend; there are 329 prophecies about his Second Coming throughout the entire Bible. Jesus Second Coming is spoken about almost exactly three times as much as His first coming, so it is very important for us to study it. Friend, because I’m unable in our short time together to read from all three Gospels I will read solely from the book of Matthew as these three chapters of the Olivet Discourse pretty much run in parallel with each other. By far and away Matthews account contains the most detail, having more 400 words than either Luke 21 or Mark 13.
Now what’s surprising is that many people look for the rapture of the church in the Olivet Discourse but you won’t find it. Remember the church wasn’t founded until the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two in the upper room in Jerusalem. Neither the church nor the rapture is found in these chapters about the end times, because the Church was not founded until after this message was delivered to Israel following their rejection of Christ as Messiah. However, I do believe we’ll see the first nine verses of this passage in the run up to the rapture and in these nine verses, Jesus describes events that have been witnessed already within the church age. Remember, the only reference Jesus made to the rapture is in John 14:1-4 as I said before, when Jesus said He would go and prepare a place for us and come again and receive us unto himself. That coming again is the rapture of the church. So, when Jesus sat upon the Mount of Olives and viewed Herod’s Temple with the disciples his discourse was in response to three questions the disciples asked him. We must remember the contexts of Christ’s answers to these questions are Daniel 9 and Jeremiah 30, because in these chapters we learn of what must occur before Christ returns in His second Coming. They are:-
1. When shall these things be?
2. What is the sign of your coming?
3. What is the sign of the end of the age?
So let me read Matthew chapter 24, to you now and I will interject my thoughts between various verses: “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, see ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Friend, this came as a massive shock to the disciples. Remember the disciples wanted Jesus to set up his earthly kingdom and conquer the Romans. But sure enough, because the nation of Israel rejected Christ as Messiah, their beloved temple would later be destroyed by the Romans in 70A D and Jerusalem itself would be ransacked by Titus the Roman Emperor killing 1.1 million Jews in this terrible siege and slaughter. The victorious Roman legions then carried many of the Temples treasures back to Rome and some speculate they remain there to this day, concealed behind the walls of the Vatican. Now, because some gold from the instruments and ornaments melted in the fire of the temple, the Roman soldiers pried this gold from between the cracks of stone paving, leaving not stone left upon another. Therefore, Jesus words came to pass quite literally, in this terrible siege, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, take heed that no man deceives you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”
Friend, no Christian in their right mind, having the Holy Spirit indwelling within them, is going to accept a false Christ or be deceived into worshiping them. That’s why this warning of deception is for Israel, not the church. The Jews are looking earnestly for the Messiah today and some Rabbi’s have even announced Donald Trump as the Messiah, so you can see how easily they could be deceived in this regard. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers’ places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
The word for nation here is ethnos in the Greek. It’s a hostility of people groups or ethnicites. No doubt friend, we in the church age have already witnessed all of these events described by Jesus in verses 6-8. World War’s 1 and 2 killed approximately 80 Million people. Friend in Oklahoma alone, they’ve experienced an increase in earthquakes by 4000% in the last eight years and increasing worldwide. Jesus describes these as only the beginning of sorrows, before the world would enter the tribulation period. From this point forward, after verse nine, Jesus is talking specifically to Israel and the unsaved, about the tribulation period, or the Day of the Lord: 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Friend only those who endure to the end of the tribulation can be saved and clearly the persecution of Israel will be unprecedented during this time:“15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.”
Friend, the antichrist will desecrate the 3rd temple, which is to be built within the tribulation period. This was spoken of in Daniel 11:31. This is something the Jews are well aware of and so would the disciples be at the time. It’s believed that Petra, in Jordan will be the place they run to for solitude in their darkest hour:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. “
Many scholars believe the great tribulation spoken of here is the latter half of the seven year period or 3.5 years in duration. The vial or bowl judgments within this time period are the most severe of all. “24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”
Friend, there is a supernatural outpouring of evil in the tribulation period that enables the Antichrist and false prophet to perform seemingly miraculous deceptions on the masses under their spell. This time period is rife with deception. In verse 27, it describes His 2nd coming as ‘lightning’ for the entire world to see, in sharp contrast to us church members being caught up to meet him in the air at his first coming, better known as the rapture: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
The generation that sees the beginning of these tribulation sorrows will be the same generation that sees the end of it as it’s going to last 7 years based on Dan 9:27. The Antichrist will make a peace treaty with Israel, motivated by peace and safety, for this duration: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so, shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
Now some people wrongly surmise this concept of one being taken from the field and the other left, concerns the rapture of the Church but this is not so, since we are talking about the nation of Israel still, within the tribulation period. Jesus uses Noah’s flood as an illustration for the end of the age, when he returns as His second Coming. So those that were ‘taken away’ by Noah’s flood were not taken to glory but taken in judgment and destroyed. So, in this instance the one who’s taken, did not receive Christ as Messiah during the tribulation and will be judged accordingly but the one’s left, will enter the millennial reign on earth with Christ.
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