“And Jesus said unto them (four of His disciples – Peter, James, John and Andrew), 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.”
At the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He spent daytime in Jerusalem preaching the Word of God and then went to the Mount of Olives (where the Garden of Gethsemane is) just outside the Temple Mount and spent His evenings there. I was very fortunate in July of 2018 to spend 12 days in Israel and had the opportunity to go to many Biblical sites, including the Mount of Olives. The olive tree pictured above is believed to be over 2,000 years old and Jesus may very well have slept under it.
My point in this article is several fold. First, the Mount of Olives is not only where Jesus spent his last nights sleeping, but where he was also betrayed by Judas and taken captive. Secondly, the Mount of Olives is where the Bible says Jesus will return at His Second Coming. When He “touches” down ON the mount, it will be split in two.
“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle, And his feet shall stand IN THAT DAY UPON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES (capitals mine), which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave (split) in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
Finally, and the purpose of this article, is if you have never heard of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24 & 25), it was on the Mount of Olives where Jesus was asked directly by a few of His disciples about what are the signs which would signal His soon return and in this “discourse” with them, He told them what should they be looking for. Bluntly, the Olivet Discourse is probably the most complete and concise list of End Time prophetic events for us to be watchful of and which were spoken of directly by Jesus Himself! They asked Him these questions after He prophesied about the future destruction of the Jewish Holy Temple. This occurred exactly as He said it would approximately 37 years after His Crucifixion in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the Second Holy Temple by tearing it down so “…there shall not be left here one stone upon another”.
So, on with Jesus’s prophecies in the Olivet Discourse…
“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 (capitals mine)?”
By going through the Olivet Discourse verse by verse we are told exactly what the End Times will look like and what we should be watching for. In order to simplify it, I will give each verse and, if need by, a brief description of its meaning. Of course, most if not all of these prophecies are found in other prophetic books in the Bible like the Books of Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, etc. In my mind, what sets the Olivet Discourse importance is Jesus telling the disciples directly in answer to their questions regarding when and what they should be looking for. Remember, these are the same men Jesus hand picked to take His message to the world!
“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
No question Jesus is alluding not only to many false teachers but directly refers to the anti-christ who will attempt to rule the world in the Last Days by proclaiming he is Jesus and should be worshipped.
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye not be troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
While we have always had wars (Jesus DID say we would have “…wars and rumors of wars”? ), it has only been in the last 100 years have we had WORLD WARS and yet the earth continues. While their frequency and intensity is something we see and hear about, “…these things must come to pass, but the end is NOT (capitals mine) yet.” Basically, Jesus is saying just because there will be tumultuous times, many other things MUST occur before the Last Days.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”
And, “All these things are the beginning of sorrows.” – Matthew 24:8. In the same way we have seen wars and rumors of wars intensify, so shall famines, diseases (Jesus DID say we would have “…famines and pestilences.”), and earthquakes (Jesus DID say we would have “…earthquakes.”) get larger and more frequent. Anyone doubt we are seeing this happening today? One example is there have been more devastating earthquakes in the 20th century than all of history combined and just so far in the first 18 years of the 21st century, we are on track to exceed those numbers! It gets even worse and many more of those things Jesus foretold are systematic of today’s environmental, human and social events.
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, AND SHALL KILL YOU (capitals mine): and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” “And because iniquity (sin) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
Matthew 24:9-10, 12
While most are aware of the anti-Semitism which exists throughout the world, many do not know Christians are being targeted and killed in Muslim countries and countries like China, North Korea and India which feel Christianity is a direct threat to their governmental beliefs. It will get far worse when the anti-christ rules the world and he attempts to prove his lies.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached IN ALL THE WORLD (capitals mine) for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Here Jesus is telling His disciples of a number of things which will happen in the Last Days. Perhaps most notable is His Word must be preached to the entire world (Go West! You will then come to Israel from the East in the LAST DAYS!). Once that happens “…then shall the end come.” But His prophecies don’t stop here. Remember, the Olivet Discourse began with Jesus telling His disciples about the coming destruction of their Holy Temple. Yet, in His next statement He tells them about a time in the future when there must be a NEW/REBUILT Temple because the anti-christ will be standing in it, defiling it by claiming to be God and demanding to be worshipped by all as God. This is referred to as the Abomination of Desolation.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (the rebuilt Jewish Holy Temple), (whoso readeth, let him understand:)”
For more info on this, you may want to review my previous post, What is the Abomination of Desolation in Biblical Prophecy? Not only does Jesus tell us of the day when the anti-christ will stand in the then rebuilt 3rd Holy Temple telling all he is God and must be worshipped as God, the Jews are told to leave Judea (the West Bank) IMMEDIATELY.
“Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains (many believe this refers to Petra, in today’s Jordan where God will protect them).”
Amazingly, after the anti-christ desecrates the Holy Temple and Jesus warns the Jews living in Judea (the West Bank), He gives us the clear beginning to the worst time period in human history, the Great Tribulation. This is a period of exactly 1,260 days, 42 months or 3 1/2 years.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of this world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should be no flesh saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
To ensure we are not deluded by evil men spreading a false narrative regarding Jesus, He even tells us NOT to go and hear men because someone says the “real” Jesus will be there speaking to all. When Jesus actually Returns, the whole world will know it! We won’t have to be told!
“Then, if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; BELIEVE IT NOT (capitals mine).” “Wherefore if they say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert, go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.”
Matthew 24:23, 26
Importantly, these deceivers are skilled! They know how to deceive. Even Jesus said in Matthew 24:24, “…insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Believers).” If you are not aware of His warning to us and you are on earth during this time period, you could be deceived “…if it were possible.” So, how will we know with certainty it is Jesus when He Returns?
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall the coming of the Son of man (Jesus) be.”
We will know! The world will know! Satan and his minions will know! How will we know? “Behold, I have told you before.” – Matthew 24:25. He also said in Matthew 24:30 “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall ALL (capitals mine) 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.” Again, ALL will know the real Christ when He returns!
Jesus then proceeds to tell His disciples to be watchful for when He brings the Jews back to their God Promised land of Israel. Remember, He told them this when they were STILL in Israel! They had not yet been dispersed throughout the four corners of the earth, an event which happened around 70 AD. More info? Check out my previous article on this miracle. The ONE Prophecy that HAD to happen (and now HAS!) before the Last Days arrive!
While we are warned repeatedly throughout the Bible NOT to set dates for any event prophesied to happen, we are given many, many examples in the Olivet Discourse of what this world will be like in the Last Days. In Matthew 24:38-39, Jesus relates the Last Days to the “other” worldly Judgement, that being the Great Flood of Noah.
“For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; SO SHALL ALSO THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN BE (capitals mine).”
Finally, just in case there is any doubt, Jesus also describes His sitting on the Throne and judging the righteous and the unrighteous and this judgement clearly states what happens to the good and the bad.
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.”
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
The beauty of the Olivet Discourse is Jesus was asked two very simple questions regarding when will the Last Days occur and what should they be looking for. Jesus responded with so many of the things they/we should be looking for. The destruction of their Holy Temple and obviously the future needed rebuilding of the 3rd Temple which the anti-christ will then defile. The rebirth of the Nation of Israel and the return of the Jews to their God Promised land in the Last Days. A noticeable increase in famines, pestilences and earthquakes. Wars and rumors of war. The lies and deceits rampant in our society (social media?). The hatred and murder of His followers. Etc., etc. etc.
On face value. These prophecies could be pretty scary. But, we are told to not be afraid. We are told to be aware of what HE has said will happen in the Last Days so we KNOW we are in the Last Days. This we know because He is so very clear in making sure nothing will happen which has not already been told to us WILL happen!
“…Surely the sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants and the prophets.”
If I was an unbeliever and witnessed all the things going on in the world, I would be very pessimistic regarding the outcome of the state we live in. Instead, by witnessing ALL the things He said would happen coming to fruition before my very eyes, I am comforted in knowing I worship a Supreme Being, one that forewarned me what the end would look like and given me a path to eternal salvation, believing Jesus Christ died for my sins and accepting that gift. If you are as comforted as I am, PLEASE help me to do what He instructed us all to do and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.”
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Thank you. May God Bless you!