“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?”
Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem weeping over His coming rejection by the Jewish people and the imminent destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. This occurred shortly before His crucifixion. He had told His disciples that every stone of the Temple would be torn down (which happened in 70 A.D. by the Romans). Of course they wanted to know when all this would happen! His response, I believe, gives those of us living today the absolute clearest picture of what we can expect AND what we should be looking for in these Last Days. Whereas the Holy Bible is filled with many, many prophecies (some scholars have calculated as much as 1/3 of the entire Bible is prophecy) from the Book of Genesis through Revelation, I firmly believe His words to His disciples on the Mount of Olives, in what has become famously known as the Olivet Discourse, gives us all a very clear and concise message of exactly what to expect will happen BEFORE He returns! Whether it was Moses, Daniel, Ezekiel, etc. in the Old Testament or what the Apostles wrote in the New Testament, the Olivet Discourse itself comes directly from Jesus Himself to His disciples and answers their questions! What should they expect and when would it happen?
“So, likewise ye, when ye shall see ALL (capitals mine) these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily, I say unto you, THIS (capitals mine) generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
Jesus told His disciples THE generation (Biblically, regarded by most scholars as a 70 year time period) which sees everything He told them about WOULD NOT PASS AWAY until He returned! Even heaven and earth will pass away, but not His Promise. While NO ONE will know the hour nor the day of Jesus’s Return, the generation will know the signs. As he said in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” You can bet your (eternal) life on that!!
So, what exactly did He say would happen and what should we be looking for? The Book of Matthew (chapters 24 & 25) gives the Olivet Discourse its best rendition although there are also parts of it spoken of in the Books of Mark (chapter 13) and Luke (chapter 21). In order, Jesus said:
- “…Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ and shall deceive many. “ – Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus warns us all to only believe what He has said, not someone who lies and tries to tell us things which the Bible DOES NOT say. This could definitely be a reference to the antichrist who will be followed by many unbelievers in the Last Days. Unless it is spoken of in the Bible, DO NOT BELIEVE IT!
- “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 (capitals mine).” – Matthew 24:6. Interestingly, Jesus told his disciples in approximately 30 A.D. that THEY (and those of us living today) would hear of wars and rumours of wars but He says “…the end is not yet”. The END is defined by when He returns at Armageddon and defeats Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet. Jesus has prophesied there would be many wars BEFORE His final return so we should NOT take it upon ourselves to assume any conflict is THE final war because He is clear when he said in Matthew 24:30 “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: then shall all the tribes (unbelievers) of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” As terrible as wars are, we are told to not be troubled by them because those alive at the time will KNOW with certainty, Christ has returned!
- “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines (hunger), and pestilences (disease), and earthquakes in divers places.” – Matthew 24:7. On a global basis (diverse places) we will see uprisings between nations and kingdoms; we will witness unprecedented famines affecting people; disease will be prevalent throughout the world; and, there will be earthquakes all around, not just where they would be naturally expected. Not only that but, I believe, their intensity and frequency will usurp all previous records to ensure we are fully aware we are not simply reliving the status quo of wars, famine, pestilence and earthquakes. These will be stronger and more different than anything we have ever seen and cause all of us to fully recognize the end times we are living in!
- “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” – Matthew 24:8. For thousands of years the world has been afflicted with all the things Jesus said would happen, but “…the end is not yet.” This is only the beginning of even worse times to come. But, how could it get any worse? After the believers Gracious removal from this world at the Rapture (for more info on that read my post The Rapture – God’s Promise ) and the 7 year Tribulation begins, it will be the worst time in history (check out my post The LAST Rodeo – the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse). As Jesus said, “And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.” – Mark 13:20.
- “Then they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations for MY (capitals mine) name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and, shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” – Matthew 24:9-10. Except for John, every one of Jesus’s disciples were killed for their belief and testimony of Christ. Jesus warned us all we will be hated for our faith and since Satan is aware we are the single greatest impediment to his ultimate desire to control of the world, we will be hated and many will be killed by his unbelieving followers in an unsuccessful attempt to eradicate our Christian influence on others. Many Christians throughout history have been executed and punished for their beliefs. Just look at America, once the bastion of evangelical Christianity. Today Christians are told by the government to stay silent, taking the Bible out of the classroom, the 10 Commandments and the manger scene out of public display, and prayer off the field of sports. Government appointees are rejected for their position if a member of Congress views their Christianity as an influence on how they would run their departments. We are constantly told that our faith in Christ should not infringe on the government telling us we MUST support abortion or gay rights, even though the Bible says those things are an abomination to God! So yes, today we are afflicted in the USA!! I would not be surprised if killings of Christians is not far behind.
- “And false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” – Matthew 24:11. Some may accuse me of being a “false prophet” for talking about all these horrible things. However, I am very serious about NEVER saying anything that is not first said in the Bible. As it says in 1 Corinthians 14:37, “…if anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.” In the Last Days, not everyone will be able to say that! The unknowing world in the Last Days will listen to these false prophets lies and will follow their lies, even when it goes against the Word of the Sovereign God.
- “And because iniquity (sin) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” – Matthew 24:12. What kind of a world would we be living in if there was no love? No love of husband/wife; children; neighbors; the poor and oppressed; and, most importantly, of Jesus Christ Himself? It would be even worse than what we see in countries today around the world where sin is rampant.
- “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; then shall the end come.” – Matthew 24:14. All of the above, it could be argued, has either already happened or is happening today. A Last Days denier would probably say all of this is hogwash since we have always had wars. We have always had famines. We have always had earthquakes. We have always had ALL the bad things Jesus said would happen AND they have been a part of EVERY GENERATION for the past 2,000 years. So, when is the End and where is Jesus?
These examples, Jesus explained, have existed since the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That is undeniable. How should we then be able to separate past from present and/or future. How can we know we are in the Last Generation of which Jesus spoke, the generation that will see all these things that have always been here? In Mark 13:28-30 Jesus tells us EXACTLY what defines the Last generation, the one that will see the culmination of all these things:
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree (symbol of Israel); When her branch is yet tender (young) and putteth forth leaves (becomes an independent nation), ye know that summer is near (harvest of crops and probably the fulfillment of preaching of the gospel to the world): So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.”
Do you see the difference? Almost 2,000 years before Israel again became an independent nation against all odds on May 14, 1948, Jesus said the generation that saw THAT occur WOULD NOT PASS away until all the things He predicted would happen did happen. Yes, all generations throughout mankind have seen wars, famines, earthquakes, etc. BUT only the generation that witnessed the rebirth of the nation of Israel would see all those things He said would happen before He returned. There is no question we have all recently seen much travail throughout world as the 70th anniversary of the refounding of the nation of Israel arrives on May 14, 2018. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria (and maybe more to come?); earthquakes in Mexico; volcano eruption in Bali (maybe in Wyoming?); devastating flooding in Bangladesh; wars in Syria, Iraq, and terrorist attacks throughout the world; rumours of war with North Korea, Iran and (maybe Russia); record setting wildfires; famines in various places like Venezuela and Africa; and disease rampant throughout the world with a shortage of drugs to help cure them. All these things were predicted and unfortunately should not really be surprising, but to have these things happen after Jesus said the generation that witnessed the rebirth of Israel would not pass away until all the things He predicted prior to His Second Coming should put us all on notice we are living in the Last Days!
Read the newspaper or watch the evening news and not one of these stories should surprise you. But they probably do give you uncertainty and panic about what is going on in the world today. The beauty of God’s Word, the Holy Bible, is that if you read the entire Olivet Discourse and the rest of the Bible, you will actually be comforted to know the world is still in God’s control and we are told to “…see that ye be not troubled.” That is comforting to know that no matter how bad it looks and feels out there, as long as we believe in Jesus’s sacrifice for our sins and ask for forgiveness of our sins, we will be saved! As we also have been told, we ALL need to “…comfort one another with these words.” We can do this by sharing His Word and by liking/sharing this post on either Facebook and/or LinkedIn, or by forwarding your subscriber emails to friends and family. Jesus is Returning soon! May God Bless you!