Olivet Discourse

The Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew (Part 7)

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The Image and the Great Tribulation

It is usual for Dispensationalists to divide the seventieth week of Daniel 9; a week that lasts for seven years, into two halves of three and a half years each. There are good reasons for this which we shall discuss, but this clean division is not as apparent when one concentrates solely on the Olivet Discourse. The passage continues like this:

Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:15-22)

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The Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew (Part 6)

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The Olivet Discourse (Pt. 1)

Coming at last to the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25, although the main descriptive section comes in Matthew 24 with an addendum at the end of Matthew 25, before which are two parables.

Matthew 24:1-2 belong on their own. They provide the setting for the discourse that follows in that they refer to the glories of Herod’s temple.1 Jesus does not even acknowledge the great work, which by His time was famous throughout the Empire. Instead, He predicts its devastation, which came upon it in A.D. 70.

In the verses that come next some are tempted to keep within the first century setting of the opening two verses, but I think this is plainly mistaken. Verse 3 is critical to what will follow:

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)

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