The Olivet Discourse

by biblexaminer 24 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • biblexaminer

    I'm interested in hearing someone explain the Olivet Discourse.

    Note, there's much discussion on other sites, but so far, I've not heard an explanation of the entire discourse in a way that is logical, in full harmony and complete.

    Some feel that they have figured out one piece or another. However, when inconsistencies are highlighted, the discussion ends.

    Some make outlandish claims.

    I know that the Watchtower version is so much refuse. It's so self-contradictory and slanders God and our Lord. And it doesn't make any sense either.

    If you have an opinion on one aspect or another, then that might be interesting to hear.

    But what I am interested in is individuals who can make it all work.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    I offer you my suggestion of the chiastic structure of the context as well as of the parallel discourses in Mark and Luke.

    Remember that Matthew 24 is part of the larger context running from Matthew 23 to 25. The material was compiled following the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, where many were saying this marked the End of the Ages. The writers, however were saying that they were not to be taken in by deceivers who were pointing to these wars, etc. as portents. Matthew 23 starts with the temple and that focus continues in Chapter 24.

    You will find my suggested Chiasms at:

    The central or turning point of a chiams points to the focus of purpose of the passage. In this case, the main message relates to escaping (Matth 24:13-14 and 15-16)


  • Vanderhoven7

    THE OLIVET DISCOURSE - A Collation of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21

    TWO JUDGMENTS: The Destruction of the Temple and the Second Coming

    The Temple’s Fate
    1 And as He went forth out of the temple, one of His disciples says to Him, “Master, behold, what manner of goodly stones and what manner of buildings and offerings!”
    2 And Jesus said to him, Do you see these great buildings? the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another, which shall not be thrown down.

    Beginning of Troubles Leading to Jerusalem's Destruction:
    3 And as He sat on the mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
    4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are all about to be accomplished, and of your coming (parousia) and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Take heed that no man lead you astray.”
    5 “For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ/I am He’, and ‘the time is at hand’, and will lead many astray.”
    6 “And when you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be not troubled/terrified, it is necessary for these things to come about first; but the end is not yet/immediately.”

    7 Then said He to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,”
    8 “And there will be great earthquakes, and in divers places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But all these things are the beginning of birth pains.”

    9 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you, and will persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake, for a testimony to them. Then will they deliver you up to tribulation, and will kill you.”
    “But you will be delivered up even by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends, and some of you will they cause to be put to death. And then will many stumble, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another. And you will be hated of all men for My Name’s sake”
    “And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated of all men for My Name’s sake.”
    “And when they lead you to judgment, and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you will say, but whatever will be given you in that hour, that speak, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
    “Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries will not be able to withstand or to gainsay.”
    “And many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray, and because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of the many will wax cold.”
    “But not a hair of your head will perish. 16 In your patient endurance you will win your souls for he who endures to the end, the same will be saved.”
    17 “And this gospel of the kingly rule will be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all the nations, and then will the end come.”

    The Sign to Flee Jerusalem’s Destruction:
    18 “When therefore you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not in the holy place (let him who reads understand), that is to say, when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand.”
    “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let him who is on the housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house, and let him who is in the field (countryside) not return back to take his cloak.”
    20 “For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”
    21 “But woe to those who are with child and to those who are breast feeding in those days!”
    22 And pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a Sabbath,”
    23 “For then will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created, until now, no, nor ever shall be, for there will be great distress on the land, and wrath to this people.”

    Don't be confused - No Second Personal Coming (Parousia) During Jerusalem’s Woes:
    24 Then if any man shall say to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ’, or, ‘Here’; believe it not. For there will arise false Christs, and false prophets, and will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if it were possible, even the elect. But take heed. Behold, I have told you beforehand.”
    25 “If therefore they shall say to you, ‘Behold, he is in the wilderness’, go not forth, ‘Behold, he is in the inner chambers’, believe it not.”
    26 “For as the lightning comes forth from the east, and is seen even to the west, so will be the coming (parousia) of the Son of man.”

    The Onslaught on Jerusalem and its Aftermath (described in figurative language):
    27 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and on the earth there will be distress of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the billows, men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken,”
    28“And then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then will all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
    29 “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved, but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”
    30 “Wherever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”
    31 “And He will send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
    32 “But when these things begin to come about, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

    33 “Now from the fig tree learn her parable. When her branch is now become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that the summer is near, even so you also, when you see all these things, know you that He is near ( the Kingly Rule of God is near), even at the doors.”
    34 “Truly I say to you, This generation (Christ's own generation) will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished.”
    35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”

    The Future Second Coming (Parousia) of Christ and its Distinctiveness:

    (Worldwide Event, Normal Times, No Signs Given, Timing impossible to Anticipate, No Running Necessary, Saints Taken)

    36 “But of that day and hour knows no one, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” 37 “And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming (parousia) of the Son of man.”
    38 “For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away. So shall be the coming (parousia) of the Son of man.”
    39 “Take heed, watch and pray, for you do not know when the time is, lest haply your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you suddenly as a snare, for so will it come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.
    40 “But watch you at every season, making supplication, that you may prevail to escape all these things that will come about, and to stand before the Son of man.”

    41 “It is as when a man, sojourning in another country, having left his house, and given authority to his servants, to each one his work, commanded also the porter to watch.”
    42 “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether at eventide, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning, lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say to you I say to all, Watch.”

    43 “Then will two men be in the field, one is taken, and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill, one is taken, and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken through.
    44 “Therefore you also be ready, for in an hour that you do not think the Son of man is coming.”

  • Vanderhoven7

    MATTHEW 24

    Re: OLIVET DISCOURSE; Parallels: Luke 21:7, Mark 13:4


    Is it possible that Matthew 24 (verses 1-35)
    was entirely fulfilled in the first century?

    Which "generation" was Christ referring to in Matthew 24:34? (the time text)

    - To which generation was Christ referring in Matthew 23:36?

    - If the judicial sentence & prophetic woe of Mat.23:36
    applies to Christ's generation, would not the exact same
    terminology in Mat.24:34 have the same application?



    a. "all these things" were to happen to the 20th century
    generation exclusively.

    - Impossible Lu.21:23-24 states that subsequent to great
    distress, Jews were to be led captive to all nations which
    occurred immediately after the 70 AD destruction.

    b. "all these things" were to happen to both Christ's
    generation and our generation. (dual fulfillment theory)

    - Impossible: -these buildings and are already destroyed.

    - Impossible -Jews are not to be led captive into all
    nations again at Christ's second coming.

    - Impossible -Matt.24:21 precludes dual fulfillment.

    c. "all these things" were to happen to Christ's generation

    • Hmmm...possible only if it can be shown that
      "all these things" declared before verse 34 actually
      did happen to the generation Jesus addressed ?

    QUESTION: Was Matthew 24: 1 - 35 entirely fulfilled in the first century?

  • Vanderhoven7

    This may be overkill....but here goes anyway.

    THIS GENERATION: Matthew 24

    The Greek word genea appears 10 times in Matthew's gospel. Only once is it used to mean “one set of parents to the next”. In 6 of the instances Matthew places the definite article “this” (houtos) before generationhoutos genea “(ghen-eh-ah') It seems to me that in every instance, “this generation” covers the same group of people - “Christ's contemporaries”

    Mt 11:16 But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, (the persons then living contemporary with Christ)

    Mt 12:41 The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
    (the persons then living contemporary with Christ)

    Mt 12:42 "The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. (the persons then living contemporary with Christ).

    Mt 12:45 "Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself.... That is the way it will also be with this evil generation ." (the persons then living contemporary with Christ)

    Mt 17:17 And Jesus answered and said, "You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? ..." (the persons then living contemporary with Christ)

    Mt 23:36 "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
    (the persons then living contemporary with Christ)
    In Context Mat 23:29-36
    29. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and garnish the tombs of the righteous, 30 and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we should not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye witness to yourselves, that ye are sons of them that slew the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. :33 Ye serpents, ye offspring of vipers, how shall ye escape the judgment of Gehenna? 34 Therefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: some of them shall ye kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: 35 that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of Abel the righteous unto the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom ye slew between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
    Mt 24:34
    "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
  • Vanderhoven7


    I believe that this verse and "THAT DAY" signal a change in topic
    to the second coming (parousia) of Christ. Mt.7: 20-22
    Mt.11:22 Jn.5:25,29

    Jesus has already explained what would happen to His own
    generation. Now He contrasts that which would relate to His
    second coming (parousia) or presence on earth. Notice the

    Matt 24:1-35.......................vs................................... Matt 24: 36 - end


    Local, Jerusalem,Judea,Temple ...........vs...................Worldwide: Lu.21:35

    Abnormal Times: calamities .................vs....................Normal Times: Marrying, working etc.

    Specific signs precede ..........................vs...................No Signs Given

    Timing Anticipated Lu.24:33..................vs.................. Anticipation Impossible 24:44

    These Days Mt.24:22 ...........................vs...................That Day Mt.24:36

  • slimboyfat
    A thread which apparently takes Bible problems and interpretation seriously. How quaint. We used to have those on the forum from time to time. Now, not so much.
  • Vanderhoven7

    Thanks for the encouragement SBF. Most people have difficulty relating the symbolic language associated with Jerusalem's destruction in the first century. Marcelus Kik in his book entitled "Matthew 24" clarifies the usage of apocalyptic symbolism found in Matthew's gospel.


    Most people assume the vivid language must describe the end of
    the world. But notice that this apocalyptic language is preceded
    by the word "IMMEDIATELY". It was immediately after the
    tribulation of those days that the sun would be darkened etc. The
    Jewish nation was about to be darkened; virtually obliterated.
    God, in His righteous wrath was removing the Jewish nation from
    His heavens. As the moon, Judaism would no longer reflect the
    Light of God; its stars, the prophets and Fathers would no longer
    shine for Israel of the flesh.

    QUESTION: Can we be justified in stating that the sun, moon and
    stars are figurative of Judaism and its glories?

    find the same language in the OT depicting the destruction of
    Babylon , Egypt, Tyre and Idumea.

    Is.13:9, 10 is a prediction of God's judgment on Babylon
    "Behold the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and
    and fierce anger to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the
    sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the
    constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be
    darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light
    to shine.

    If the Holy Spirit speaking through the prophet Isaiah uses such
    figurative language to describe the downfall of a heathen nation
    like Babylon, how much more would not such language be used to
    describe the downfall of the chosen nation of Israel?

    Is.34:4,5 Regarding the destruction of the insignificant nation of
    Idumea, Isaiah writes:
    And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens
    shall be rolled together as a scroll...
    For my sword shall be bathed in heaven; behold it shall come
    down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to

    If the Holy Spirit speaking through the prophet Isaiah uses such
    figurative language to describe the downfall of such an
    insignificant nation as Idumea, how much more would not such
    language be used to describe the downfall of the chosen nation of

    Ez.32:2, 7,8 Ezekiel's prediction of God's judgment on Egypt
    incorporates similar vivid language.
    "Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of
    And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and I
    will make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a
    cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright
    lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness
    upon thy land, saith the Lord God.

    If the Holy Spirit speaking through the prophet Ezekiel uses such
    figurative language to describe the downfall of a heathen nation
    like Egypt, how much more would not such language be used to
    describe the downfall of the chosen nation of Israel?
    Acts 2:16-21 Is.19:1 Ps.97:2,3 Mat.26:64


    Dan.8:10-11, speaking of the conquest of Rome over Israel, says:
    And it (one horn) waxed great, even to the host of heaven;
    and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground,
    and stamped on them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince
    of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the
    place of the sanctuary cast down. (See also Jer.4:26 Mt.26:64

    I think it was Lieolla (?) who added:

    The Jesus we see in the Gospels, and especially in Matthew’s own account, regularly envisaged events of judgment and vindication which were to come about in the generation to which he was sent. The cross, the resurrection and ascension, and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 were all such events. Jesus invested these events with a cosmic and theological significance beyond what would have been readily obvious to a casual bystander

  • biblexaminer

    I took a look at the Chiams angle. Not for me. Maybe a different Jesus. Vander has a few interesting points. Completely contradicts everything in the Chiams work. So you know somebody here is not on the mark.

    I will comment on Vander's work as I see a few things in there of value.

    How about this quote. "- Impossible -Matt.24:21 precludes dual fulfillment."

    Vander, I didn't see anywhere in there where you explained this. Can I help?

    This verse says the 'Tribulation' in question had never happened up until the time that it would, It then would happen and never happen again ....therefore is a one-time-event. ? Is this what you mean?

    In this case, the Generation Jesus spoke of could only be His own and therefore the Generation teaching of the WTS is bologna.

    Was I on your wavelength?

  • Vanderhoven7

    Biblexaminer: You are right on.

    The "great tribulation" was fulfilled in the first century, culminating with the destruction of Jerusalem.

    It's absolutely clear from:

    Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand)
    Mat 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
    Mat 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
    Mat 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
    Mat 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
    Mat 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:
    Mat 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (highlighted to show there will be no second fulfillment)


    Luk 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
    Luk 21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
    Luk 21:22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (note: This refers back to Matthew 23 prediction of woe and divine vengeance on Christ's own generation)
    Luk 21:23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
    Luk 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

    Obviously this is first century unrepeatable stuff. Jews are still in all nations today; It's not going to happen again at Christ's parousia.

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