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The Olivet Discourse

Study Passage: Matthew 24:1-44

This remarkable passage of Scripture sheds much light on things to come, but faulty interpretation has caused it to be the source of confusion and doctrinal error. The core mistake is a failure to observe the clear Biblical distinction between Israel and the Church. 

In very broad terms, God worked through Israel as His Channel of Redemption in the Old Testament, but the nation rejected and crucified their Messiah-King.  Then, on the day of Pentecost, God founded the Church and will continue to use her until the He comes for His saints in the air at the rapture.  At that point He will once again work through Israel for seven years of Tribulation until the Second Coming, when He comes with His saints to the earth to establish His Millennial Kingdom for 1,000 years. The “coming” in this discourse is not the one before the Tribulation (the Rapture of the Church) but rather His return at the end (the Battle of Armageddon).  It is important to remember that there are no signs preceding the rapture of the church.

Verses 4-14 describe the natural events of the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.  Verses 15-22 relate the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the second 3 ½ years, signaled by Antichrist’s breaking the peace treaty brokered at the beginning of the period.  Verses 23-44 reveal God’s wrath during the final half.  Verses 32-44 give three ways Tribulation saints will know His Second Coming is nigh.

Getting the facts #1:  Matthew 24:1-14

  • What do the disciples ask Jesus to tell them in verse 3?
  • Make a list of the things Jesus said the beginning of the tribulation will look like? (v. 4-14)

Getting the facts #2:  Matthew 24:15-22

  • What key event in verse 15 does Jesus say will happen that indicates that Israel should flee? 

Getting the facts #3:  Matthew 24:23-28

  • To what event in nature does Jesus equate with the speed of His return?  Based upon verse 28, what will happen to many humans when Jesus returns? 

Getting the facts #4:  Matthew 24:29-44

  • What do verses 37-39 tell those alive during the tribulation about our Lord’s coming?

Warren Wiersbe “Be Loyal” lesson 21  (chapter 21 in the Matthew portion of the Wiersbe Bible Commentary set) – “The King’s Return part 1” Matthew 24:1-44

* Introduction by Dr. I.C. Beach

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