The Olivet Discourse (Book of Revelation: Part 6) - Peter Leithart


Video from Theopolis institute


How does the Olivet Discourse influence our reading of the Book of Revelation?


“The disciples came to him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?’” (v. 3). - Matthew 24:3–8

On several occasions thus far in our study of Matthew, we have noted that the evangelist structures his gospel around five major teaching discourses of Jesus. There is widespread agreement as to the location of the first four discourses: chapters 5–7 (the first); 10 (the second); 13 (the third); and 18 (the fourth). Scholars debate the contours of the fifth and final discourse; some want to include the woes of Matthew 23 while others believe that the fifth discourse is found only in chapters 24–25. Either way, this fifth collection of teaching is commonly known as the Olivet Discourse because, even if Matthew 23 is included, the bulk of the discourse is delivered on the Mount of Olives.

No teaching of Christ has generated as much controversy as the portion of the Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24:1–35. Many people believe that this section, at least in part, is about the final return of Jesus to usher in the new heavens and the new earth (see Rev. 20–21). Critics seize upon this belief to discredit our Savior’s words. If the Olivet Discourse is about His final return, they say, Jesus is a false prophet since the generation in which He lived died off and the world continues on (Matt. 24:34). Several people, in order to answer this objection, have said that “generation” refers not to Christ’s hearers but to a later group who will witness many of the signs in Matthew 24:1–35. According to this interpretation, Jesus is referring to events that will come in the far distant future. This view is unsatisfying, as we will see in the days ahead." from the article: The Olivet Discourse