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Matthew 24:1-34

This Sunday, we will be considering one of the most polemical biblical signs in all the Bible. It’s the sign Jesus’ disciples asked for in Matthew 24:3. “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the close of the age?”

Jesus, standing on the Mount of Olives, answered this question with a long description of events that will take place. There will be wars and rumors of wars (vs. 6). There will be earthquakes (vs. 7). There will be many false prophets and lawlessness will increase (vs. 11-12). The abomination of desolation will stand on the holy place (vs. 15).

There will be false messiahs (vs. 24). The sun, moon, and stars will be darkened (vs. 29). All the tribes of the earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds (vs. 30). Angels will go forth and gather the elect (vs. 31).

Jesus concludes this discourse from the Mount of Olives by saying, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (vs 34).

The reason I say this “sign” is one of the most polemical biblical signs is because many Christians believe that Matthew 24 is describing the second coming of Jesus. Yet there are challenges to this interpretation. It’s plausible to believe that Jesus is referring to His coming in judgment upon the nation of Israel, an event that happened when Jerusalem was destroyed, along with the Jewish temple, in 70 AD.

Our text this Sunday will be Matthew 24:1-34. Parallel texts can be read in Luke 21 and Mark 13.

Please read through the three gospel accounts of Jesus preaching the sermon which has become known as “The Olivet Discourse.” As you do, pay particular attention to time markers; those passages that tell when something will take place. These time markers are very important when discerning whether Jesus is speaking about the events of 70 AD or the events that will accompany His second coming.