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Olivet Overview – Part 1 – By Ed Wood

Many years ago I had the privilege of conducting a monthly Bible Prophecy study with a group of about half a dozen people. I had even then been long interested in this subject, but in order to do a credible job I really had to do some further studying. As I did I came to the conclusion that even though what has become the Olivet Discourse, detailed in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 came much later than the prophetic texts of the Old Testament, it forms a unifying foundation for all of them plus the Book of Revelation which was written some sixty years later.

In this increasingly turbulent time when it seems that the entire world is rapidly heading toward a very grim future, it seems that the opportunity to examine what Jesus himself revealed about the days immediately prior to his return would be prudent. I would first suggest to the reader that he or she read the gospel passages listed above in order to get the most out of this series of articles. Let’s begin!

An Already Completed Prophecy

1) THE TEMPLE IS DESTROYED [Matt. 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5-6]

In 70 A.D. the temple was totally destroyed by the Roman soldiers led by Titus, the emperor Vespasian’s son. Jesus had said that the destruction would be total; “There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

This occurred in 70 A.D. in exactly the way Jesus described almost 40 years earlier by the Roman soldiers under command of Titus, the son of Emperor Vespasian. The devastation was indeed total, and it is quite likely that the stones themselves were pulled apart from each other to get the gold from the temple treasury that had melted in the heat of the fire which was set to destroy the entire complex.

The noted historian Josephus’ account from War of the Jews, Book 6, chapter 5, verse 2 lends credence to this supposition:

And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was round about the holy house, burnt all those places, as also the remains of the cloisters and the gates, two excepted; the one on the east side, and the other on the south; both which, however, they burnt afterward. They also burnt down the treasury chambers, in which was an immense quantity of money, and an immense number of garments, and other precious goods there reposited; and, to speak all in a few words, there it was that the entire riches of the Jews were heaped up together, while the rich people had there built themselves chambers [to contain such furniture].

Prophecies in Progress

2) FALSE PROPHETS, FALSE DOCTRINE [Matt. 24:4-5,11,23-28; Mark 13:6,21-23; Luke

21:8]: This is not confined to the false religions or cults today, though there are multitudes of these, but most disturbing has been the corruption of doctrine now under way in many of the large denominations of the nominally Christian church in Europe and North America. Heresy was always a problem in even Paul’s time, as many of his epistles demonstrate, but today it is pandemic. The sad fact is that perhaps most of the Western Church has abandoned the authority of the Bible and its fundamental precepts such as Jesus being the only means of salvation, heterosexual relations between married people as the only ones acceptable to God, and even the masculine gender of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

3) WARS [Matt. 24:6-7; Mark 13:7-8a; Luke 21:9-10]: The Twentieth Century produced more casualties due to war than any time previously and the Twenty-First Century now sees a rapid and increasing instability in the Middle East. The increase in Islamic terrorism with such new and militant entities such as ISIS is now reaching across the planet even to the United States and Europe.

4) FAMINE [Matt. 24:7b; Mark 13:8b; Luke 21:11] According to the latest figures, the world’s reserve food supplies are dwindling and the prices are increasing, due in no small past to weather factors. The effect is that more people are going hungry and this in itself has led to civil unrest.

5) NATURAL DISASTERS [Matt. 24:7b; Mark 13:8b; Luke 21:11,25b]: The horrendous series of earthquakes in Japan half a decade ago and overall increase in seismic activity from 2002 onward clearly demonstrate that geologically speaking, something unprecedented has begun and though the counts have decreased in the past few years, the trend shows no signs of returning to the relatively quiescent levels of the past. Additionally, we are seeing extremes in weather all across the planet almost on a daily basis more profound than any humanity has experienced in historical times.

6) PEOPLE BECOMING MORE HOSTILE [Matt. 24:12]: For everyone who watches TV or reads the newspapers, the increase in violence and horrific crime is unmistakable. Most recently we’ve seen more violence in our schools and universities, tragic shootings of civilians and police officers, and the increase of Islamic terrorism with ISIS becoming a major factor in this.

7) CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED [Matt. 24:9-10; Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-17]: In officially atheistic countries and those in which Islam predominates, more and more Christians are being targeted with violence and even death. For example in countries such as Iran, the population of Christians is in serious decline. We may not realize it here in America, but there really are places in the world where standing up for Jesus can still be a cause for martyrdom.

Yet even in regions which are still considered predominantly Christian, those who hold to the authority of the Bible and its moral standards are finding themselves increasingly marginalized. In the United States it became “official on June, 17 1963 when the Supreme Court in the case of Murray v Vitale decided in an 8 to 1 vote to effectively kick prayer out of our public schools. Now just about any time there is some public event in which the name of Jesus Christ is raised in prayer, there tends to be a big noise from those who’ve obviously decided that the First Amendment applies only to themselves and not to Christians. This nationally increasing departure from Judeo-Christian principles was tragically demonstrated again by the Supreme Court in the Roe v Wade case in which gave its approval to what I believe can only be called legalized  infanticide of  the unborn.

Unfortunately the attack against biblical standards has not confined itself to the secular world but has also invaded the major branches of Protestantism not only in the United States, but Canada and Europe as well. For example, the Episcopal Church has not only given approval to homosexual behavior but allows actively homosexual clergy. The Evangelical Lutheran Church, Presbyterian Church are but two more examples of major denominations which have embraced what the Bible clearly relates is an aberrant and sinful lifestyle. Yet this is but one symptom of the overall descent of these churches into heresy and apostasy as many reject even the core belief in Jesus and him alone as being the only means of salvation.

8) GOSPEL PREACHED WORLDWIDE [Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10]: When Gutenberg first invented a printing press with movable type, it was the beginning of a revolution when books could be reproduced at a cost which put them into the price range that common people could afford. A major step toward the realization of Jesus’ prophecy began in 1456 with the production of a Latin Bible from his device. Now the Bible in its various version and languages are available across the world. With the advent of computer and communications technology it is literally possible for anyone on the planet to read or hear God’s Word. (Which means that when the Lord does return there will be little excuse for someone’s protestation of ignorance!)

9) FAMILIES IN STRIFE [Mark 13:12; Luke 21:16]: Once the solid bedrock of any society, the conventional family is becoming increasingly dysfunctional on many levels with the children generally showing the greatest adverse effects. In many families even in the U.S., kids are being raised in single-parent households. One parent is then called upon to do the job that God intended for two, especially when the other biological parent is disinterested and indifferent. One can easily imagine how the children in such circumstances can have trust issues – after all if I can’t trust Dad or Mom, how can I trust a stranger? This situation can also be profound if one or both parents are abusive. How many times are we seeing “adult-level” crimes now being perpetrated by “children” now? Too many, I would say.

Another factor damaging the traditional family, in my opinion, is the increasing acceptance by the more affluent countries of homosexual behavior to the point where same-sex couples are routinely allowed to adopt children. One can only wonder what the long-term effects of being raised in an environment might lead? Lately we have seen “gender identity” issues rise to at a level that they are being noticed by the media. Personally, I find it alarming in that it seems like more and more people have become so confused that as far as gender goes, they don’t know what they are anymore! It is a sad commentary on any society whose moral decline only exacerbates such confusion and if one looks at the great powers of the past which likewise did so did not retain their status.

I believe Jesus was saying such conditions of moral decay would be widespread  in the times just before his return:

Luke {17:28-30} Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed [them] all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 

            During the Tribulation, one can only expect that this will worsen as family members turn against each other, reporting “subversive” actions not in accord with the One World Government ruled by the worst despot in history. (Daniel 8:9 – 12); Revelation chapter 13) We can look toward Nazi Germany and Communist Russia as infamous examples of this very thing. Perhaps we can look at those Mark and Luke passages which present family strife as a transitional phase, already partially fulfilled but well on the way to becoming a lot worse in the days ahead.

Next time we’ll look at what may be just up ahead for a world rapidly heading for the most grim time in history.

THE OLIVET DISCOURSE – WHAT JESUS TOLD US TO EXPECT

by Ed Wood
Status EVENT BIBLE REFERENCE
Matthew Mark Luke
D TEMPLE DESTROYED 24:1-2 13:1-2 21:5-6
I FALSE PROPHETS 24:4-5,11,23-28 13:5-6; 21-23 21:8
I WARS 24:6-7 13:7-8a 21:9-10
I FAMINE 24:7 13:8b 21:11
I EARTHQUAKES &

NATURAL DISASTERS

24:7 13:8b 21:11,25b
I PEOPLE GET WORSE 24:12
I CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED 24:9-10 13:9-13 21:12-15
I GOSPEL PREACHED WORLDWIDE 24:14 13:10
I FAMILIES IN STRIFE 13:12 21:16
DURING THE TRIBULATION
F ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION *              24:15-22                   13:14-16 (See ** below)
F JERUSALEM SURROUNDED **              24:15-20                   13:14-18 21:20-24
F GREAT TRIBULATION              24:21-25                   13:19-20 21:25-26
F SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS                 24:29                     13:24 -25 21:11,25-26
F SIGN OF JESUS 24:30

THE MILLENNIUM BEGINS

F JESUS RETURNS 13:26 21:27
F ELECT GATHERED                 24:31                        13:27

NOTES:

D = DONE

I = IN PROGRESS (But we can expect all of these to intensify as time goes by.) F = FUTURE EVENT

* Jesus told us here that the antichrist will desecrate the temple as did Antiochus IV Epiphanes as related in Daniel 8:9-14. In Daniel 9:27, the prophet describes a second similar desecration of the temple in the midst of the antichrist’s one “week” (seven years) reign.

** Luke’s version omits the mention of the Abomination. Perhaps it relates the siege of Titus in 70 A.D.

while Matthew and Mark’s versions refer to that second event that Jesus mentioned which will occur during the Tribulation.

 


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