The Olivet Discourse

Matthew 24-25, commonly called “The Olivet Discourse,” relates to Israel at the end of the age; it has nothing to do with the church, which will have already been raptured out of the world when these events happen.  What follows is a brief outline of the events of Matthew 24:

The first half of the Tribulation (24:4-8) will be characterized by false Christs (v. 5) and will culminate in the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:4), wars (vv. 6-7a), famines and earthquakes (v. 7b), and death (v. 7, paralleling Rev. 6:7-8).

The second half of the Tribulation (24:9-14) will be dominated by the activities of the Antichrist, including his persecution of Israel (v. 9), his deceptions (vv. 10-11), his lawlessness (v. 12), and the death that comes through him (v. 13).  While there is great persecution during these days, the gospel will still be preached (v. 14).  Because of the evil of the Antichrist, the Jews will flee to Gentile countries (from Israel) and the Antichrist will continue pursue them like a flood of water (Rev. 12:13f; cf. also Mt. 24:16-20).

Specific signs of the Tribulation are given in 24:15-26; these events provide additional detail to the events of vv. 9-14.  Matthew provides more detail about the emergence of the Antichrist (v. 15), the persecution of the Antichrist (vv. 16-20) and the greatness of the Tribulation (referring particularly to the final 3-1/2 years of the Tribulation, vv. 21-26; cf. also Rev. 13:5).  During these days, more than 2/3 of the Jewish people will die (Zech. 13:8).  The Tribulation is a time of great suffering and death.

The Second Coming (Mt. 24:27-51) is announced (vv. 27-31) and then illustrated with the fig tree (vv. 32-36), Noah (vv. 37-39) and the working men in the field (vv. 40-41).  There is then a final warning to heed what has been revealed about Christ’s coming (vv. 42-51) and repent (see especially, vv. 42-44).

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