The Olivet Discourse

The teaching of our Lord found in Matthew 24 and 25 is known as the Olivet Discourse because Jesus delivered it to His disciples while they were on the Mount of Olives. It is the lengthiest of Jesus’ talks on the subject of eschatology or the last days. We should understand the last days to be the period of time between Christ’s first and second advents, not just a short period just prior to His return. (Heb 1:2; Jam 5:3; 1Jo 2:18). The two major events Jesus predicted in this discourse are the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem which occurred in A.D. 70 (24:2) and His second coming of which no one knows the day or the hour it will occur (24:29-31, 36). So, it follows that the two major divisions of the discourse are Matthew 24:1-22 which is primarily concerned with the destruction of the temple and the events leading up to and following it, and Matthew 24:23-25:46, the subject of which is the second coming of Christ and the events leading up to and following it.
The study of the last days is fascinating, and has attracted a lot of attention especially in more recent times. Though we should study what the Bible says about eschatology, our study should motivate us to be ready for the return of Jesus. In fact, Jesus said in this discourse, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (24:44). Peter also exhorted us to live godly in light of Christ’s coming and the end of the world as we know it (2 Peter 3:10-14). “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness” (2Pet 3:11).