Understanding the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 is very important, because of the truth about its fulfillment, and the deceptions which are based on it.
To see the truth, we have to put aside preconceived notions, as we’ve been conditioned to believe that it applies only to the end times.
Throughout history the followers of Messiah believed in its first century fulfillment,
but the enemy has been very effective in this end times disinformation age.
I’m not asked you to be empty-minded, but open-minded; for it is when we think that we know the truth, that we are closed to other views.
And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he
ought to know. 1 Corinthians 8:2
The truth is that what Messiah proclaimed in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, which is referred to as the Olivet Discourse; was fulfilled in the first century.
If you reject that statement, let me remind you that Messiah declared “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
Too many people put aside Messiah’s clear proclamation, but I take Him at His Word, and have proven how indeed it was all fulfilled in that generation.
Note: This is only a summary, to give you the big picture. Detailed explanations are provided in the separate studies.
Matthew 23 documents that Messiah had just berated the Jewish leaders and cast woes upon them, proclaiming that all of the righteous blood of the prophets that had been killed, would be poured out on them.
Then Messiah left the city and looking back, His disciples pointed to the beautiful temple; to which He replied with “..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.”
When they sat down on the Mount of Olives, which overlooks the city and temple, the disciples asked Messiah about when the desolation would take place and what would be the sign.
The proper context of the Olivet Discourse is the desolation of the temple, not the end times.
The Disciples understood the prophecy in the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 that foretold that the temple and city would be desolated, because the Jewish leaders would deliver Messiah up to be killed; so they wanted to know more about when it would happen.
Messiah referred to Daniel 9 when He foretold the sign, called the Abomination of Desolation.
“and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Luke’s recording of the Olivet Discourse clearly defines what the Abomination of Desolation was:
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea 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.” Luke 21:20-21
Connecting the two prophecies, we see how the Roman army, the ‘people of the prince’, surrounding the Holy city of Jerusalem in 66 A.D., was the clear sign that the desolation of the city and temple was near.
There are three recordings of the Olivet Discourse and only Matthew added the phrase, “and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
Mark 13:4 says, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?“
Luke 21:7 says, “And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?“
As for Matthew’s question about the ‘end of the world‘, it should be rendered as ‘end of the age‘.
Other literal translations like the ISR 98 and the New King James read, “and of the end of the age?”
Matthew was asking about the end of the ‘Jewish age’, as Messiah had just declared that the Jewish leaders and temple would be desolated, which would end the existence of the Jewish nation.
The ‘former days‘ of the Jewish nation ended when the Jews were taken captive by the Babylonians. The ‘latter days‘ started when they were released from Babylonian captivity in the 5th century B.C., and ended in the 1st century A.D.
I believe that Matthew understood that Messiah was going to come in the clouds to oversee the desolation of the temple, city and Jews. This is explained in the study Messiah Coming In The Clouds
The time of Great Tribulation that Messiah foretold was so horrific that at the end, there were 1.1. million dead Jews lying out in the open, in and around Jerusalem; with wild animals and birds feeding on their bodies.
They died from famine, pestilence, infighting, suicide, crucifixion, and by the Roman sword.
The trees around Jerusalem were filled with the dead bodies of crucified Jews who had tried to sneak out of the city at night to find food.
Though more people have died in other times of tribulation, this grisly scene in the small city of Jerusalem, was so concentrated that Messiah proclaimed:
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Of this period of great tribulation Josephus says, in the introduction of his ‘Wars of the Jews‘ historical documentary.
“It had come to pass that our city Jerusalem had arrived at a higher degree of felicity than any other city under the Roman government, and yet at last fell into the sorest of calamities again. Accordingly it appears to me that the misfortunes of all men from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to those of the Jews, are not so considerable as they were.”
This is explained in the study The Great Tribulation of Matthew 24.
Note: The time of ‘great tribulation‘ in Revelation is referring to a different time of tribulation of the saints.
Messiah’s reference to the ‘sun being darkened, the moon not giving her light, and the stars falling from heaven’; is not pointing to the literal heavens in the end times; but to the Jewish political hierarchy being cast down from power.
Isaiah used this same terminology when he referred to the judgment of Elohim against the leadership of Babylon in Isaiah 13:10 “For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine.“ And indeed, the power of Babylon was destroyed by the Medo-Persian empire.
In the Olivet Discourse, Messiah is referring to the High Priest, who was the Sun; the Sanhedrin Council, who were the moon; and the many Rabbis, who were the stars; who were killed and cast down during the Roman siege.
This is explained in the study The Sun, Moon And Stars.
‘Coming on a cloud in great power and glory’ is not referring to Messiah’s second coming, but to His presence as He caused the Roman army to desolate the city, temple and the Jews.
The term ‘clouds‘ can represent judgement, and in this instance it represented the judgment of the Jews who rejected Messiah and delivered Him up to be killed.
Jewish historian Josephus recorded the witness of people who saw this in the clouds:
On the twenty-first day of the month of Artemisius [Jyar], a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities (Josephus The Wars of the Jews 6.5.3.)
Daniel 12 described the Great Tribulation scene in Jerusalem from 66-70 A.D., as the prophecies about the 1,290 and 1,335 days were fulfilled.
From the time that the first division of the Roman army, the Abomination of Desolation, appeared in 66 A.D.; until the next division flooded the city in 70 A.D., was 1,290 days.
The siege lasted 45 days and stopped abruptly when the last stronghold of Jewish rebels suddenly surrendered; fulfilling the 1,335 days.
This is explained in the study Messiah Coming In The Clouds
‘Gathering together his elect‘ is referring to the leaders of the Church gathering together the early Church, which had retreated to the mountains for safety; to then send them out to preach the Gospel.
The Greek word for ‘angels‘ can refer to leaders in the Church. Given the context, we can see that the leaders would have gathered together the Early Church, who had been spread out in the mountains for safety during the time of great tribulation in Judea.
The Roman siege of Jerusalem was over. Jerusalem lay in ruins, so there was no returning. The leaders sent out the Early Church to proclaim the Gospel, to continue their mission to all parts of the Roman world, to gather in the elect of Elohim.
This is explained in the study Gathering Together His Elect
The Jewish leaders wanted Messiah to setup His kingdom, to overthrow the Romans, and to exalt them up as the leaders of the kingdom.
Instead, the very opposite happened. Messiah caused the Roman army, the people of the prince of Daniel 9, to desolate the Jewish leaders and their temple.
This removed them from their power and effectively ended the Jewish nation.
In order to setup the kingdom of His Father, Messiah had to remove the old types, which had pointed to the true type.
He removed the temple made with hands, to create the temple made without hands; of which Messiah is the cornerstone, the Apostles the foundation, and the saints the small stones that make up the walls; which Elohim indwells.
He removed the High Priest, as Messiah is our High Priest, who intercedes for us.
He removed the Jewish priest system, because the saints (made up of believing Jews and Gentiles) are the priests who offer spiritual sacrifices to the Father.
He desolated the city of Jerusalem, as the bride of Messiah is Holy Jerusalem.
The kingdom of Elohim was setup in the first century. This is explained in the study Messiah Setup His Kingdom
To understand any prophecy, we need to understand it in its proper context.
Next Olivet Discourse Study: The Context Of The Olivet Discourse
The Olivet Discourse Studies in Order Below
Reference For Further Study: The Witness of 70 A.D. – Let God Be True