Of all the eschatological passages in the Bible, perhaps the Jesus’ Olivet Discourse is the most enigmatic (though I may have said that about Daniel 9:24-27!). This is due to a number of factors:
- It draws heavily from Old Testament eschatology.
- It is foundational for New Testament eschatology.
- Some statements sound like the near future, others sound like the distant future.
- There are at least three versions of the teaching in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13 and Luke 21.
- The three versions have some differences to be reconciled.
- This all results in many interpretations, with most being mutually exclusive.
- Each potential view is quite strong.
- Each potential view is quite flawed.
For these reasons and more, the Olivet Discourse is very challenging indeed. What’s more, as stated by the first point, it is absolutely foundational for some end-times systems. This should give us pause as we consider the options.
It’s been a while since I posted a series on eschatology (previous series being on Premillennialism, the Rapture, and Daniel 9:24-27), but I knew the next topic would need to be the Olivet Discourse. However, I had some trouble deciding who to interview (and most that I contacted were unavailable) so I put it on the back burner. Since I am teaching Mark this semester at CCBCY, I decided to research a variety of views on the chapter for myself and then put together a series from my own notes. So here you have it!
Here is the layout of the next few posts, with each presenting a different view of Mark 13. Each post is based on a representative spokesperson or two of that position. I’ve tried to answer a series of questions by summarizing or quoting their own words.
- Jerusalem’s destruction in AD70 and the Second Coming (Robert Stein).
- Jerusalem’s destruction in AD70 and Gospel spreading (N.T. Wright, R. T. France).
- The final years leading to the Second Coming (John Macarthur and Larry Pettegrew).
- The death and resurrection of Christ (Peter Bolt).
The first post will be on Monday. As always, I’d love these posts to spawn discussion, so comments are welcome!