Showing posts with the label Olivet

Normalcy or Chaos?

Jesus compared the final years before his return to the period leading up to the Great Flood of Noah. “ Just as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be ” when the “ Son of Man ” returns. Some commentators take this saying as a prediction of the return of the same conditions that existed in Noah’s day; that is, a repetition of the moral anarchy and violence that prompted God to send the floodwaters in the first place.

His Repeated Warning

Christ’s ‘Olivet Discourse’ is comprised of instructions given to the disciples before his arrest and execution, and repeatedly in it, he warns that “ many deceivers ” and “ false prophets ” will come and propagate false information about his return and the end of the age, therefore, constant vigilance is necessary to avoid deception.

Budding Fig Tree

The parable of the “ budding fig tree ” is a graphic illustration of Christ’s answer to the question – “ When will these things come to pass? ” The fig tree sprouting foliage is the clue for the “when” of the predicted events. Its leaves signal the arrival of “ summer ,” the time when “ all these things ” will be fulfilled.

Fruitless Temple

The gospel of  Mark  divides the story of the barren fig tree into two sections and places the “cleansing” of the Temple between them. The two incidents are closely linked. The fruitlessness of the fig tree and its cursing highlight the corruption and fate of the Temple, and his actions foreshadow its destruction.

Coming on the Clouds

Next, Jesus takes us beyond the destruction of the Temple to the return of the “ Son of Man .” How much time will pass between the Temple’s demise and his arrival is not provided. But during the interim, the church must beware of deceivers who disseminate false information about his coming.

Sign of the End

When the subject of the Second Coming is raised, inevitably, the question of what “sign” or “signs” will precede it is asked. And invariably, wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, famines, and similar catastrophes are pointed to as harbingers of the end. But Jesus himself gave us the definitive answer -  THE COMPLETION OF THE CHURCH'S MISSION.

Knowing Signs and Seasons

Did Jesus command his followers to know end-times chronologies, the “ times and seasons ”? Must they decipher key “signs” and use them to calculate the time of his return so they may be ready for that day's arrival? Did Jesus and his apostles leave us with a comprehensive list of signs whereby we can know the timing of the end?

This Generation

Jesus provided his disciples with a chronological key – they would know the time of the Temple’s demise when they saw all “ these things ” coming to pass before “ this generation ” reached its inevitable end. That was his definitive answer to the question, “ When will these things come to pass? ” – within one generation.

Abomination of Desolation

According to Jesus, the “ Abomination of Desolation ” will appear in Jerusalem - It will be a local, not a global event. And his admonition for disciples to flee is applicable to Jerusalem and the immediate vicinity. Disciples must flee to the hills to escape the imminent calamity signaled by this abominable thing or person.

Deceivers and False Prophets

Jesus begins his final discourse with a sharp warning - beware of “ many deceivers ” who will use his authority to spread “ rumors ” about wars, earthquakes, and other calamities. They will “ deceive many .” But contrary to their claims, the “ end is not yet .” Likewise, “ false prophets ” will propagate lies about the whereabouts and coming of the “ Son of Man. ”

Pronouncement on the Temple

Before his final departure from the Temple, Jesus fielded challenges from the “ scribes and Pharisees .” These were confrontations that set the stage for his arrest and trial, as well as his execution by the Romans. As he left the building, he pronounced its impending judgment and destruction.

Geographic Scope

In his ‘Olivet Discourse,’ Jesus describes key events that will occur in the future, especially the destruction of the Temple and the “ coming of the Son of Man .” In doing so, he provides geographic details related to each event that alternate between the local and the universal, depending on which event he is under discussion.

In the Temple

The ‘Olivet Discourse’ is the last recorded block of Christ’s teachings. It was given on the Mount of Olives following a series of confrontations with the Temple authorities. His controversies with the religious leaders of Israel set the stage for his trial and execution. What transpires began in the Temple, but ends on Calvary.