Observations on the Olivet Discourse

Matthew 24

Referring again to the record of this discourse in Luke 21, we read in verse 24 that Jerusalem will remain “trodden down of the Gentiles” until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.This period of time has not yet run out, and will not do so until Christ calls His Bride, the Church, out of the world.

The predictions in Matthew 24:4-44 are not about the 40 or so years which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem, nor with that horrific event in a.d.70.  That passage refers instead to Judea and Jerusalem, and concerns Jewish disciples  in extreme distress and tribulation in the land of Israel.

It is also incorrect to try to apply these first prophecies in the Discourse to the Christian era, or the Church. Those who hold this position believe that the Church will remain on the earth during the Great Tribulation, and that the teachings are meant, therefore, for believers in this Church Age.  The best way to dispel this incorrect interpretation is to understand what the Church truly is, and what is her calling and her destiny. Also, one must understand the teaching of the prophetic word, that the Lord will call a believing Jewish remnant, which will suffer and witness in Israel at the end of the age.

There is so much study that can and should be done.  Please keep in mind, if you search out these things on the internet, that each writer has his own position and perspective on these issues.  It is easy to get bogged down in the arguments.

Perhaps it would help if you keep in mind that, at this point, the disciples had no understanding of the Christian era that was about to explode into Jerusalem.  Jesus had taught them about His Church, telling them that the gates of hell itself would not prevail against it.  But they hadn’t seen it yet, did not fully understand, and why should they?  After all, we have the whole New Testament, and we still don’t get it right!  For instance, there was a town some years ago in which a new “church” was started.  They called themselves The Remnant.  I’m not sure what they meant by that, but it certainly was not biblically named. In the first place, it wasn’t made up of believing Jews.  In the second place, they were not witnessing in Israel and it was definitely not the time of the Great Tribulation. I don’t know if they’re still in existence there.

Does that seem like a petty issue?  Maybe it is, but it goes to show that we just don’t always understand what these terms mean, and how they should be used.

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