“And all the people answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’” (Mt. 27:25)
Perhaps one of the most misinterpreted teachings of our Lord today can be found in Matthew 24, known as the Olivet Discourse. It is here where many Christians find what they believe to be still-future prophecies regarding the end of the world – wars, earthquakes, persecution, false prophets, the ‘abomination of desolation’, signs in the sky, and more terrifying things before the return of Christ.
In fact, when preparing for this position paper we experienced an earthquake in Idaho and then a few weeks later fear of COVID-19 swept our nation. Both of these events, along with locusts in Africa, have been referred to by John Piper as “pointers” reminding us of Christ’s return. But what if this is a misapplication of Jesus’ lesson to His disciples on the Mount of Olive? What if in this particular passage he was primarily referring to an event that has already taken place?
In this short look at Matthew 24, I will seek to show that Jesus’ prophecy in the Olivet Discourse has already been fulfilled—specifically at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. I too once believed that Jesus’ prophecy was yet to be fulfilled and turned to Matthew 24 in order to understand the “end times.” But I now believe that if we pay proper attention to the context, audience, and the way in which Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled after His ascension, we can see that the events described in the Olivet Discourse have indeed taken place.Continue reading