The Olivet Discourse is the name given to the passage containing Jesus' teaching on the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24:1—25:46 (also Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-36). It includes significant focus on prophecy regarding Israel's future.
Jesus predicted the destruction of the Jewish temple (Matthew 24:1-2). This took place at the hands of the Romans in AD 70.
Jesus spoke of signs of the end of the age. This period is described elsewhere in Scripture as the seven-year tribulation that will take place before the second coming of Jesus (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 6, 13). Matthew 24:4-8 describes events in the first half of the seven-year tribulation. This will include 1) false Messiahs (v. 5), 2) wars and rumors of wars (v. 6-7), 3) famines (v. 7), and 4) earthquakes (v. 7).
Matthew 24:15-26 speak of the second half of the tribulation. During this time 1) the temple will be desecrated, 2) Jews will flee to the mountains, 3) great judgments will occur, and 4) false christs and prophets will arise.
The coming of the Son of Man is mentioned in Matthew 24:29-31. 1) The "sun will be darkened" (v. 29), 2) the "stars will fall from heaven" (v. 29), 3) the "powers of the heavens will be shaken" (v. 29), 4) the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky (v. 30), 5) the people of earth will mourn (v. 30), 6) the Son of Man will come "on the clouds of heaven will power and great glory" (v. 30), and 7) His angels will gather the elect from the earth (v. 31).
Jesus taught the time was near but that no one would know exactly when it would be (vv. 32-51). The faithful and wise servant was to be prepared (vv. 45-46). Those who are not will experience judgment (vv. 50-51).
Matthew 25 offers three parables to illustrate the teachings given by Jesus. They include the parable of the ten virgins, used to illustrate the need to be ready at any moment (vv. 1-13). The parable of the talents (vv. 14-30) was given to show the rewards and judgments that will be experienced at the end of time. The parable of the sheep and the goats speaks of those who showed their faith through righteous deeds to the "least of these" (vv. 31-46). Those who do so will be rewarded; those who do not will "go away into eternal punishment" (v. 46).
These words have much application to the lives of believers today. God calls us to believe, to live out our faith, and to share it with others. When we do, we will be ready whenever He returns and can expect great rewards and eternal life with our Lord in heaven.
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