The Olivet Discourse
Accounts In Parallel

With Notes By Andy Doerksen & Rusty Entrekin

Note from Rusty Entrekin: This originated as a parallel of Matthew and Luke's accounts with very insightful accompanying notes by Andy Doerksen. Last year, I taught a series of lessons on the Olivet Discourse (with not a few full preterists attending). To prepare for that, I took Andy's article, and added in Mark, plus additional notes (and gave full credit to Andy). I have found it very useful, and hope that you will, too!

Matthew 24 Mark 13 Luke 21 Notes
 1.  Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.  1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! 5.  Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said,   
2.  "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."  2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.  6.  "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down."  This prophecy was literally fulfilled in 70 A.D. Josephus records that Titus ordered his soldiers not to destroy the Temple. However, when  the Romans finally broke through the walls after a long and difficult siege, the rage of the soldiers towards the Jews and their lust for the treasures within the temple drove them to set it afire. All the while Titus shouted for them to stop. The heat of the fire caused the gold to melt and flow between the cracks of the stones. Later, in order to reach the gold, the stones were removed and the gold was scraped away. The wishes and desires of the most powerful rulers on earth cannot prevent the words of Jesus from finding fulfillment. 

The wailing wall was not a part of any of the temple complex buildings, but rather was a retaining wall intended to hold back earth.- RE

3.  As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,   Full Preterists argue that the words "you" and "your" in the Olivet Discourse refer only the attending audience. If that were the case, then we would be forced to conclude that Jesus was speaking only to these four men. But since Jesus' words have much wider application, His words must have been meant for a larger group of which these four were but a part. - R.E.
"Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age ?" 4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? 7.  "Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?"  When we compare all three accounts, we see that the disciples asked Jesus three questions. All three accounts record the first question, "When shall these things be?" Mark and Luke both record the second question, "What will be the sign that they are about to take place?" Note that these first two questions concern the destruction of the Temple. The third question, recorded only in Matthew, concerns the return of Christ: "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

It seems reasonable that Jesus would have answered all three questions in His reply.- R.E.

Jesus answers the first question concerning the destruction of the Temple, 
"When shall these things be?"

Matthew 24 Mark 13 Luke 21 Notes
4.  Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you.  5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: 8.  He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived.   
5.  For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ, ' and will deceive many.  6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,' and, `The time is near.' Do not follow them.   
6.  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. 9.  When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away."   
7.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: 
10.  Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.   
There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles:  11.  There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.   
8.  All these are the beginning of birth pains. these are the beginnings of sorrows.     
  9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. 12.  "But before all this,  they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.  Matthew describes the persecution of the disciples as occurring after the events both he and Luke list, but the persecution Luke describes here occurs, as he puts it, “before all this.”  It is my opinion that Matthew is emphasizing the universal experience of the saints, while Luke is emphasizing the experience of the apostles themselves. -A.D.
    13.  This will result in your being witnesses to them.   
  10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.   Mark does not limit the proclamation of the gospel to the Roman world, as some claim Matthew does in verse 14. Luke does not mention this prerequisite of the gospel being preached among all nations at all. This indicates that Mark is emphasizing end-time persecution prior to the second coming, but Luke the experience of the apostles prior to 70 A.D. -R.E.

In my opinion, Mark 13 blends the near perspective of Luke with the far perspective of Matthew... Presumably this was done purposely to parallel the tribulation of the first century with the Great Tribulation in the end-time. -A.D.

  11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate:   14.  But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.   
  but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.  15.  For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.   
  12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 16.  You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.   
  13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 17.  All men will hate you because of me.   
    18.  But not a hair of your head will perish.   
    19.  By standing firm  you will gain life.  Notice that Luke does not include Mark’s phrase “unto the end.”  I believe this is because Mark is pointing toward the end of the age, while Luke is concentrating here on events of the 1st century. - A.D.

Jesus answers the second question concerning 
the destruction of the Temple, 
"What will be the sign that they are about to take place?"

Matthew 24 Mark 13 Luke 21 Notes
    20.  "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.  This account by Luke undoubtedly refers to 70 AD.
    21.  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.   
     22.  For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.   
    23.  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.  Luke does not here include the phrase “unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again,” as does Matt. 24:21.  Luke, then, is not referring here to the ultimate Tribulation, but to the razing of Jerusalem in 70 AD. - A.D.
    24.  They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles . . .   
     . . . until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. I believe this to be Luke’s transition to the end of the age, for he goes on to introduce the return of Christ.  The trampling of Jerusalem by the Gentiles is ongoing, even though Israel is back in Palestine.  They [the Jews] can not [yet] do anything with Jerusalem that they wish (such as raze the Muslim structures in the temple area and rebuild their own temple).  And other Scriptures [Zech 13:7-14:5] teach that toward the end of the age Israel will again be invaded and its people taken into captivity, however brief. -A.D.

Jesus answers the third question, 
"What will be the sign of your coming
 and of the end of the age?"

~ Preludes to the Sign ~

Matthew 24 Mark 13 Luke 21 Notes
9.  "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.      Although Jesus’ words as recorded here have an application to the apostles’ experience in the first century, Matthew’s overall emphasis appears to be on the end of the age (cp. Lk. 21:12). -A.D.
10.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,       
11.  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.       
 12.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,       
13.  but he who stands firm to the end  will be saved.      A phrase Luke does not include in Lk. 21:19, because the two writers are emphasizing different time frames. -A.D.
14.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.      This is not mentioned as a prelude to the destruction of Jerusalem recorded in Luke. -R.E.
 15.  "So when you see standing in the holy place `the abomination that causes desolation,'  spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—  14 ¶ But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,)    Luke does not mention the abomination of desolation in his description of the destruction of Jerusalem, further evidence that Jesus spoke of two different desolations in this discourse. - R.E.
16.  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:   This counsel is common to all three accounts of the Olivet Discourse. But here those in Judea are told to flee upon seeing the abomination of desolation; in Luke 21:20, they are told to flee when they see Jerusalem surrounded by armies. -R.E.
 17.  Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house.  15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:    
18.  Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak.  16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.    
 19.  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!    
20.  Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.      
21.  For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.   A severity not depicted in Lk. 21:23, again due to the different time frames emphasized by the writers. -A.D.
 22.  If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.  20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.   The phrase "no flesh should be saved" indicates worldwide tribulation. This phrase does not accompany the local tribulation described in Luke. - R.E.
 23.  At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!' or, `There he is!' do not believe it.  21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:    
24.  For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.  22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.   Note the absence of any reference to "great signs and wonders" in Luke. Compare with  2The 2:8- 10: "And then "the Lawless One" will be revealed, "whom" "the Lord" "will consume" "by the spirit of His mouth," and He will bring to nought by the brightness of His presence. His coming is according to the working of Satan in all power and miracles and lying wonders, and in all deceit of unrighteousness in those being lost, because they did not receive the love of the truth in order for them to be saved." - R.E.
 25.  See, I have told you ahead of time.  23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.    
26.  "So if anyone tells you, `There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, `Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.      
 27.  For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.      The words of Jesus here indicate a coming visible from East to West. - R.E.
 28. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.     Luke includes this in Jesus’ discussion of his return in Lk. 17:37, in response to the question, "Where, Lord?" This indicates that Matthew is concentrating on the time of Christ's return. A.D. & R.E.
29.  "Immediately after the distress of those days "`the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky,  24  But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25.  "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.  Note that Luke does not mention these celestial signs occurring until after "times of the Gentiles" has begun. This should indicate to us that the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was not the final advent of Christ. The word translated nations here is the Greek word ethnos. Most often, it is used to refer to the Gentile nations in the NT. Not once in the NT does it refer to the tribes of Israel, although it is used to refer to the entire nation of Israel. The fact that this word is plural here indicates that the nations of the earth are here meant, not the tribes of Israel. - R.E.
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'  25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26.  Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.  The Greek word oikoumene, translated "world" here, is never used to refer to the land of only one nation in the NT. In it's most restrictive sense, it refers to all of the civilized "greek" lands (Thayer). It is translated "world" 14 times in the NT, and "earth" once. It is therefore clear that these heavenly signs will portend worldwide tribulation, not a tribulation limited to the land of Israel only.

~ The Sign Of His Coming ~

Matthew 24 Mark 13 Luke 21 Notes
30.  "At that time the SIGN of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27.  At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 

Some make the doubtful claim that this should be translated "tribes of the land" rather than "nations of the earth." But when we compare Luke 21:27 with Luke 21:25-26, we see that the context does not fit this idea.

These words were echoed again by John in Revelation 1:7, and indicate that John understood Jesus literally, not figuratively:

"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."

Can there be any doubt that scripture teaches Jesus will be seen with the EYE when He returns? All of the nations of the Earth did not see Jesus return in 70 A.D. Nor did the tribes of Israel see him return with the literal eye. These verses have not yet been fulfilled. -R.E.

31.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.  27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.   The words "to the uttermost part of heaven" should remove any doubt that this is a worldwide gathering of the elect, leading us to believe that "the nations of the earth" in the verse just above, Matthew 24:30, is probably correctly translated. It should not be rendered, as some have contended, "tribes of the land."

The trumpet call reminds us of the following two verses:

1 Corinthians 15:52 "In a moment, in a glance of an eye, at the last trumpet; for a trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed."

1 Thessalonians 4:16 "Because the Lord Himself shall come down from Heaven with a commanding shout of an archangel’s voice, and with God’s trumpet. And the dead in Christ will rise again first." -R.E.

~ How to Know When the Time Is Drawing Near  ~

Matthew 24 Mark 13 Luke 21 Notes
    28.  When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."  This sentence makes the reason for the fig tree illustration and the "this generation" promise clear. After the times of the Gentiles has begun, when the signs in the sun, moon etc. that Luke just mentioned take place, we will know that our redemption is to take place before the generation Jesus is referring to passes away. - R.E.
32.  "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree:  28  Now learn a parable of the fig tree;  29.  He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. "...and all the trees." This phrase contradicts the dispensationalist notion [popularized by Hal Lindsey] that a reconstituted Israel is being talked about in the guise of a fig tree—not only does Jesus not restrict his words to fig trees, but he also has not mentioned a reconstituted Israel at all. -A.D.
 As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.  When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: 30.  When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.   
33.  Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.  31.  Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.   
34.  I tell you the truth, this generation [genea autay] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation [genea autay] shall not pass, till all these things be done. 32.  "I tell you the truth, this generation  [genea autay] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. This important verse is in all three accounts. ALL of these things will CERTAINLY happen before the last member of the generation Jesus is talking about dies. Jesus probably means "this generation I am talking about", not "this generation I am talking to." 

In English as well as in NT Greek, the word "this" is normally used to refer to something near, but the word "that" to something far away. However, something can be near in consideration, but far away in time or distance. When closely discussing something, it was natural for the writers of the NT to use the word  “this” to refer to it, even when it was far away in time. For instance, when discussing Melchizidek, who lived thousands of years in the past, the writer of the book Hebrews used the word "this" to refer to him:

"For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him" Hebrews 7:1

Here are other instances in the NT in which "this" (Strongs number 3778) is used to refer to things in the distant future or past:

Acts 7:37 This <3778> is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.

Acts 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this <3778> Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

Romans 9:9 For this <3778> is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

Hebrews 8:10 For this <3778> is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This <3778> is the second death.

Especially important is Titus 1:13, in which the phrase marturia hautay has the same grammatical construction and word order sequence as the phrase genea hautay in the three verses to the left.

Titus 1:13 This witness (marturia hautay) is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

Here, the “witness” that Paul is referring to is also very distant in time. It was given by the poet Epimenides around 659 BC. Yet, Paul uses the word "this" to refer to it.

This explains why Jesus referred to the generation he was discussing as "this generation" rather than "that generation."

Therefore, it is erroneous to claim, as many critics of the Christian faith have, that Jesus' choice of words here means that he must have been referring to the generation of the apostles. - R.E.

  31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 33.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.  We should therefore expect not a single word that Jesus has uttered in this discourse to fail finding actual fulfillment. To explain away or discount any of the predictions that Jesus made in this passage is to ignore the strength of  Jesus' statement in these two verses.- R.E.

~ Be Ready For His Coming ~

Matthew 24 Mark 13 Luke 21 Notes
 36.  "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,  but only the Father.  32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
  This statement stands in tension with the idea that Jesus knew He would return during the lifetime of the apostles. -RE
37.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.       
38.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;      
39.  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.       
 40.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.       
 41.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.      
42.  "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.    
43.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.       
44.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.       
  34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.   This indicates no short lapse  between the time of Christ's departure and His return. -R.E.
  35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:    
  36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.    
  37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.   This counsel is given not only to the disciples, but to all. - R.E.
45.  "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?       
46.  It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.       
47.  I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.       
48.  But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, `My master is staying away a long time,'      This phrase does not indicate that Christ will return soon from a fleshly human perspective. -R.E.
49.  and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.       
50.  The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.       
 51.  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.