Teachings of Jesus on Discipleship
Lesson #3: What Can We Learn from Jesus' Olivet Prophecy

 

  by: Bill Bratt         Email: info@icofsfg.org

  A disciple is a person who subscribes to the teachings of a master and assists in spreading his teachings. A Christian then is a person who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, who is our master, and the disciple has a strong desire in spreading Jesusí teachings and His message of the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Jesus gave His disciples some very important teachings in the prophecy that He gave them on Mount Olivet. Letís look at twelve points that Jesus gave to His disciples in Matthew 24.

Donít Be Deceived

"Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple" (Mat. 24:1).

The buildings of the temple were made of marble and gold and were magnificently beautiful.

"And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Mat. 24:2).

Jesus was predicting the destruction of the Temple. Halleyís Bible Handbook (page 655) records: "Jewish wars, in revolt against Rome began A.D. 66. Titus with his Roman Army arrived before the walls of Jerusalem on the day of Passover A.D. 70. Banks of earthwork were built, battering rams were placed, and the siege began. The Roman Army numbered 30,000, the Jewish Army, 24,000. The city was crowded with 600,000 visitors, according to Tacitus. After 5 months the walls were battered down, the Temple burned, ant the city left ruined and desolate."

Letís continue in Matthew 24:3: "Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, 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 end of the age?"

Mark records the names of the four disciples who asked Jesus privately as Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3).

Notice in Matthew 24:3 they asked: "what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" The King James Version says: "end of the world". The Greek word for "world" is "aion" and should be translated as "age". Satan is currently the god of this world or age (2 Cor. 4:4), but when Jesus returns He will be setting up a new age and He will establish the Kingdom of God here on earth and He will rule as King of kings (Rev. 19:16).

In Matthew 24:3 the disciples asked for a sign. The Jews were always looking for signs and the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign in Matthew 12:38. Jesus answered them and said: "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. {40} "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Mat 12:39-40).

Letís notice how Jesus answers His disciples question in Matthew 24:4 "And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you." {5} "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many."

The first point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is: Donít be Deceived! How can we prevent from being deceived? We must maintain our contact with God through prayer and Bible Study (James 4:7-8).

Donít be Discouraged

"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. {7} "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places" (Mat 24:6-7).

One of the tips of understanding prophecy is to let the Bible interpret the Bible. The prophecies that Jesus gave to His disciples on Mount Olivet ties in with the prophecies given in the Book of Revelation.

In Matthew 24:5 of the previous passage Jesus said: "For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." This ties in with the first seal given in Revelation 6:2 which involves a white horse which represents false christs and false Christianity.

In Matthew 24:6 Jesus spoke of "wars and rumors of wars". This ties in with the second seal of Revelation 6:3-4 which involves the fiery red horse - "And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword."

In Matthew 24:7 Jesus spoke of famines and pestilences - this is the third and fourth seals recorded in Revelation 6:5 and verse 8.

Letís go back to Matthew 24:6 where Jesus said "See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet."

The second point that we can learn from Jesus and His prophecy is: Donít be Discouraged. We must not let world events, economic and political problems, and natural disturbances to discourage and trouble us. We must remember that God is on His throne and He knows what He is doing. Jesus is telling us that these things must happen and that these things are preliminary events in the time of the end.

Donít be Offended

Letís continue in Matthew 24:8 "All these are the beginning of sorrows." The word "sorrows" is translated as different words in different translations. It is translated as birth pangs, travail and sufferings. This is the birth pains of the new age that is emerging that will usher in the return of Jesus Christ.

Letís continue in verse 9: "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. {10} "And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another" (Mat. 24:9-10).

In verse 9 Jesus spoke of tribulation -this is the fifth seal recorded in Revelation 6:9-11.

Luke records more about this tribulation in his account of Jesusí Olivet prophecy: "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. {13} "But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. {14} "Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; {15} "for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. {16} "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. {17} "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. {18} "But not a hair of your head shall be lost. {19} "By your patience possess your souls" (Luke 21:12-19).

This tribulation will undoubtedly be upon the modern day Jews and also upon Christians. Notice Jesusí comment in verse 17: "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake." Christians carry the name of Jesus.

Another important verse that ties in with tribulation is from Revelation: "And the dragon (Satan) was enraged with the woman (Church), and he went to make war with the rest (remnant) of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev 12:17). Notice that it is Satan who is imposing this tribulation upon the Church. Some Christians will be killed (Luke 21;16). Why, because they keep Godís commandments and have the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:17).

Matthew 24:10 says: "And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another." Jesus is talking to His disciples and is referring to people in the Church who will be offended and betray and hate each other. When Church brethren are offended many will quit coming to church. They give up the faith. Jesus gave them instructions to go to their brother and discuss the problem with them (Matthew 18:15-20). Two of the primary doctrines of the Christian faith are love and forgiveness. We, the disciples of Jesus, must love our Church brethren and forgive each other. We must avoid this trap of being offended.

The third point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is: Donít be Offended and turn from Godís Truth.

Love

Letís continue in Matthew 24:11 "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. {12} "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold" (Mat. 24:11-12).

Our society today is lawless - they have very little respect for law and authority. Today many so-called Christians display this attitude of lawlessness by saying that Godís law has been abolished. This is in total disagreement with Jesus. Jesus said: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Mat 5:17). Jesus said He did not come to destroy the law. He came to amplify it and He lived His life showing us how to live our lives by keeping Godís law.

One of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity is love (1 Cor. 13).

The fourth point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is: Love. We are to love God (1 John 5:2), family, neighbors (Mat. 19:19), strangers (Lev. 19:34) Church brethren (Gal. 5:13) and even our enemies (Mat. 5:44).

Endure to the End

Letís continue in Matthew 24:13: "But he who endures to the end shall be saved."

The word "endure" means to remain, bear, have fortitude, persevere and patiently suffer. We must persevere and bear up courageously to the end to be saved.

The fifth point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is to: endure to the end. We must not be defeated. We must remain faithful under testing until Jesus returns.

Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom

Letís continue in Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."

Jesusí final instructions that Matthew recorded is the commission that Jesus left His disciples: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen" (Mat 28:19-20).

Jesus admonished His disciples to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world, to make disciples, baptize them and to teach them.

From other scriptures that Jesus gave we must realize that we may not be able preach the gospel to the whole world. Jesus revealed to John in the book of Revelation that there will be two witnesses (Rev. 11) and an angel (Rev. 14:6) who will also preach the everlasting gospel to the world.

The sixth point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is to: preach the gospel.

Be Ready to Flee Immediately

Letís continue in Matthew 24:15: "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), {16} "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. {17} "Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. {18} "And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes" (Mat 24:15-18).

Luke records in his gospel account what the Ďabomination of desolationí is: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near" (Luke 21:20). The abomination is an army that makes desolate. Jesus is telling His disciples that when we see armies surrounding Jerusalem that time is getting short and that we should be ready to flee immediately to the mountains. This prophecy is being given to Jesusí disciples and referring back to Matthew 24:9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake." Christians carry the name of Jesus.

From this passage we must realize that when these events begin to happen they will happen rapidly, suddenly with very little warning. Our admonition is to grab what you have and leave immediately.

Letís continue in Matthew 24:19: "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! {20}"And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath."

Notice that the disciples at this time are to pray that their flight would not be in the winter or on the Sabbath. This may be a short flight. The Sabbath is only one day long. Could this flight take six days and then they could rest on the Sabbath? Why pray that their flight be not in the winter? In Matthew 24:16 it says: "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." It could be very dangerous to travel in the mountains in the winter. Could this place of safety for Godís people be Petra? Petra is in the mountains and is approximately a hundred miles from Jerusalem.

There are several references in the Bible where it says that God will protect His people from these horrible end time events (Luke 21:36, Rev. 3:10).

The seventh point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is to: be ready to flee immediately.

The Elect Knows How Jesus Will Return

Letís continue in Matthew 24:21: "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. {22} "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened" (Mat 24:21-22).

Jesus continues to talk about the great tribulation and that world conditions would get so bad that if those days werenít shortened then no life would then exist. God will shorten those days for the electís sake. The Church, the saints, the firstfruits are the elect. The apostle Paul said: "the elect of God are holy and beloved" (Col 3:12).

Letís continue in Matthew 24:23: "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. {24} "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. {25} "See, I have told you beforehand. {26} "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it" (Mat 24:23-26).

The apostle Paul tells about the "man of sin" who will set himself up in the temple of God claiming to be God: "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, {4} who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thes. 2:3-4).

The apostle John tells about the false prophet who will be able to call fire down from heaven: "And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. {13} He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. {14} And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived" (Revelation 13:12-14).

Both the false prophet and the Ďman of siní will be able to do miracles, signs and wonders and great deception will be upon all mankind.

Referring back to Jesusí words in Matthew 24:24: "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." God will send strong delusion (2 Thes. 2:11) that the world will believe a lie. But the saints, the elect, will know that the íman of siní will come and say that he is the Christ. Many people will believe that he is the Christ. Then when the real Christ comes they will say that Jesus is the anti-christ but the elect will know the truth because they will know the correct sequence of end time events.

The eight point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is: the elect knows how Jesus will return.

Donít Be Surprised

Letís continue in Matthew 24:27: "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. {28} "For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together" (Mat 24:27-28).

When Jesus returns it will be obvious as lightning in the sky. His return will happen quickly like lightning or like a thief in the night (1 Thes. 5:2). Wherever there is a dead body the vultures or buzzards will circle in the sky. This indicates that it will be obvious at that time what the true Christian will need to do.

The ninth point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is: Donít be surprised at how fast Jesus could return.

Listen for the Sound of the Trumpet Letís continue in Matthew 24:29: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken." The heavenly signs ties in with the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-17.

Notice the last part of verse 29: "and the powers of the heavens will be shaken." The prophet Isaiah in chapter 24 discussed the impending judgments on the earth and in verse 20 he says: "The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, And shall totter like a hut" (Isa 24:20). This indicates that the earth will be wobbling and it will appear that stars in heaven are shaking.

Letís continue in Matthew 24:30: "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

At this point Jesus skips over the seventh seal and the seven trumps that are given in Revelation 8-11. Jesus was talking to His disciples at that time and since they would not be facing or experiencing the seventh seal or the seven last plagues He didnít reveal it to them.

Letís continue in Matthew 24:31: "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

The apostle Paul refers to the sound of the trumpet in connection with Jesusí returning: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. {17} Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

In 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul refers to the seventh trump as the "last trumpet": "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. {51} Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; {52} in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor 15:50-52).

The tenth point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is to: listen for the sound of the trumpet for the return of Jesus Christ and the first resurrection of the saints.

Donít Be Doubtful

Letís continue in Matthew 24:32: "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. {33} "So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near; at the doors! {34} "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. {35} "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Mat 24:32-35).

Jesus is telling us that there are things that are obvious. Fruit trees and vegetables yield their produce in the spring and summer. When we see certain end time events that Jesus has related to us here in this prophecy, then we can know that it is close to the time of His return.

Notice in verse 34 Jesus mentions: "this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place." Jesus does not tell us where we can start counting. He does not define how long a generation is. Is it 20, 40, 70 or 100 years long? Jesus doesnít say. He does not tie it down.

Letís continue in Matthew 24:36: "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only."

Christians from all times want to know when Jesus will return. The disciples of Jesusí day thought He would return then and set up the kingdom (Acts 1:6). Christians today develop prophetic charts trying to tell when He will return. This is a futile exercise. Only God the Father knows when Jesus will return.

The eleventh point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is: Donít be doubtful. Be patient, God is in charge.

Watch and Pray

Letís continue in Matthew 24:37: "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. {38} "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, {39} "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. {40} "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. {41} "Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. {42} "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. {43} "But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. {44} "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Mat 24:37-44).

In Noahís day life was going on as usual. Nothing was obvious until the flood came. Today, life will go on as usual. Nothing will be obvious until these end time events are triggered and then they will happen very quickly.

The twelfth point that a disciple of Jesus can learn from His prophecy is to: watch and pray (Luke 21:36). We must be prepared because according to this prophecy it will take Jesusí disciples by surprise.

Letís continue in Matthew 24:45: "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? {46} "Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. {47} "Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. {48} "But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' {49} "and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, {50} "the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, {51} "and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

In Conclusion: We have learned 12 points from this prophecy that Jesus gave. Letís remember what He said in verse 46: "Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing."


 
 


Return to Jesus Page

Go to ICOG Home Page