A Description of the Signs and Coming of Jesus from the Parallel Accounts of the Olivet Discourse

2016.01.13 - clouds-background-14242815772x2The parallel passages described together below are Matthew 24–25, Mark 13:1–37, and Luke 21:5–36. Matthew adds a number of parables to the section that are not recorded in Mark or Luke, and Luke gives a number of details that are not recorded in Matthew or Mark.

Matthew 24:1–3; Mark 13:1–4; Luke 21:5–7

The disciples pointed out the magnificent temple structure and its details, only to be followed by a prophecy by Jesus that it would destroyed (Matt 24:1–2; Mark 13:1–2; Luke 21:5–6). From this prophecy, Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) assumed Jesus spoke of the end times and asked Him (1) when the destruction of the temple would take place and (2) what signs would indicate that He would come to bring these things about (Matt 24:3; Mark 13:3–4; Luke 21:7).

Matthew 24:4–8; Mark 13:5–8; Luke 21:8–11

The first sign before Jesus’ coming (when the end will take place) is that many will falsely claim to be the Christ and that the end of time is at hand (Matt 24:5; Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8). Jesus warned His disciples not to believe these people or follow them (Matt 24:4; Mark 13:5; Luke 21:8). The second sign will be wars and rumors of wars in a time when nations rise against nations (Matt 24:6–7; Mark 13:7–8; Luke 21:9–10). The third, fourth, and fifth signs at this time will be earthquakes, famines, and disease (Matt 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11). Jesus’ command is to not be alarmed when these things take place because the end is not yet (Matt 24:6; Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9).

Matthew 24:9–14; Mark 13:9–13; Luke 21:10–19

A sixth sign would be the persecution of Christ’s followers. This persecution would be the means whereby the gospel would be proclaimed to the whole world at this time, and the Spirit would give those persecuted the words to say at this time (Matt 24:9–14; Mark 13:9–13; Luke 21:10–19). Jesus gives a sobering reminder that those who persevere in this time will be saved (Matt 24:13; Mark 13:13; Luke 21:19).

Matthew 24:15–28; Mark 13:14–23; Luke 21:20–24

A seventh sign would be the sight of Daniel’s prophesied “abomination of desolation” (likely an image of the antichrist placed in the temple of Jerusalem; cf. Dan 9:27; 12:11; Rev 13:14–15), which would signal a time of unprecedented persecution against the people of God and national Israel (Matt 24:15–28; Mark 13:14–23; Luke 21:20–24). Jerusalem will be trampled, and the end of this time will also mark the end of “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). Jesus’ commands for this time are to urgently flee and be watchful of those who claim to be Christ and even perform miracles to deceive the unbelieving (Matt 24:16; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:21).

Matthew 24:29–35; Mark 13:24–31; Luke 21:11, 25–33

After this intense period of tribulation, a number of other signs take place as well. The sun and moon will be darkened (Matt 24:29; Mark 13:24–25; cf. Luke 21:11), and the seas will convulse and bring fear to the nations (Luke 21:25–26). Jesus will be seen on the clouds in the heavens, angels will be sent with a trumpet call, and the elect will be gathered together (Matt 24:30–31; Mark 13:26–27; Luke 21:27–28). Just as when a fig tree’s branches are tender and have yielded leaves, indicating the summer is near, so also these signs indicate the coming of Christ and His kingdom is near (Matt 24:32–35; Mark 13:28–31; Luke 21:29–33). It is these events in particular that would the disciples would know their “redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28; cf. Matt 24:33; Mark 13:29; Luke 21:31).

Matthew 24:36–25:30; Mark 13:32–37; Luke 21:34–36

Believers must watch carefully for this time because no one knows when it will come (Matt 24:36–25:30; Mark 13:32–37). One must watch for this time and pray for strength to escape the chaos of this time (Luke 21:34–36). Matthew gives many parables in this section not given by Mark or Luke.

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