Harmony of the Olivet Discourse RCW version arranged in order of fulfillment

Diatessaron of the Olivet Discourse in Paragraph Form,

Arranged in the order of its fulfillment.

THIS PAGE IS STILL SUBJECT TO SIGNIFICANT REARRANGING. 

RCW. 2024.05.05 Latest Edit.  From my own translations. With Headings.

The numbers are from the original order of the harmonized text.

 

The occasion and setting

 

1. Jesus was leaving the Temple and some of His disciples were admiring the beauty and perfection of the Temple stones and buildings, and the adornments given as gifts. They pointed this out to Jesus. One said, “Rabbi, Look! What country did these stones and buildings come from?” Jesus responded by saying, “I tell you the truth, everything that you see now will be thrown down, not a single stone will be left one on top of another.”

 

2. Later, as Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, facing the Temple, four disciples, Peter, James, John, and Andrew, came to Him privately and asked, “Master, tell us when all this will happen? What warning signs will precede these events, to indicate that it is about to happen? And what is the sign of Your arrival and the conclusion of the age?”

 

Persecution of Believers is First

30-70 AD

 

4. Jesus answered, “Before all these things, you will be persecuted, betrayed, and arrested and delivered into intense distress. You will be taken before councils, condemned, and whipped in synagogues. You will be accused and led before kings and legal authorities on account of Me. You will be a testimony to them. Many will be entrapped. They will betray each other and hate each other. They will kill some of you. You will be betrayed by parents and brothers and relatives and friends. Brother will betray brother to death. Father will betray son; children will rise up and cause their parents to be put to death. You will be hated by all races because of My name. When they arrest you, do not think about what you will say in your own defense. Determine in your hearts that you will not prepare for your defense. Speak only what is given to you to say for it will be the Holy Spirit speaking, not you. For I will place in your mouth words of wisdom which those opposing you cannot contradict or deny. Many fake prophets will arise, and they will deceive many. And because lawlessness will be multiplied, many will lose the ability to love. And you will be hated by everyone because of My name, yet not one hair of your head will perish. By patience you will be acquiring possession of your souls. The one who endures to the end will be rescued.

 

 

 

 

 

The First Jewish Revolt, Jerusalem, and the Destruction of the Temple

66-70 AD

 

5. When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by war camps, know that her desolation has come. You will know this because you will see the ‘Abomination of the Desolation’, as described by Daniel, standing where it must not be. Those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those in Jerusalem must flee to the wilderness. Those outside of the city must not enter the city. The one on the roof should leave immediately, without taking any time to retrieve anything from his house. The one in the field should leave immediately without going back to get his clothes. Woe to those who are pregnant, and to those still nursing infants in those days. Pray that you will not have to flee in winter or on a Sabbath.

 

These are days of vengeance, and all the things written about this will be fulfilled. There will be great need in the land and great wrath against the Jewish people. Wherever the carcass is, the eagles will be gathered. There will be very intense affliction, unprecedented in all history, worse than any that has ever occurred since the Creation, and it will not be surpassed in the future. And if the Lord does not limit those days, no flesh would be spared; but for the sake of His chosen ones, He will limit those days.

 

From the Fall of Jerusalem until now.

70 AD to Present

 

The Jews will be killed by sword, taken captive into all the peoples, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the races until the season of the races is fulfilled.

3a. “Be alert! Let no one deceive you. Many will come in My name, saying ‘I am the Messiah!’, ‘I am here’, or ‘the season is almost here.’ They will deceive many. Do not follow them. You will soon hear of wars and revolts, do not allow yourselves to be alarmed or even worried. These things must happen first, but the conclusion comes later.

6. “If anyone says, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ Do not believe it. For fake messiahs and fake prophets will rise up, and they will perform great signs and miracles so that they might possibly deceive even the chosen ones. Be Alert! Look! I have told you all this before it will happen. If they say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness’, do not go out to them. Or, ‘Look! He is in the storage rooms,’ do not believe it.

4b. It is necessary that the Gospel be proclaimed in all inhabited lands, as a witness to all races, first; then the conclusion will come. 

The Generation that witnesses the Sky Signs.

7. Immediately after the intense affliction of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will give no moonbeams and the stars will fall from the sky.

3b. Race will be aroused against race, and nation will rise up against nation. There will be large earthquakes in different places, and famines and pestilences.

There will be frightening sights and great signs in the sky. All these things are like the beginnings of the contractions of childbirth.”

On the land there will be distress among the nations and anxious confusion, for the waves of the sea will roar. Men will die of fear and be full of apprehension about the things soon to happen to the inhabited lands, because the powers of the heavens had been shaken.  

 

Jesus’ Final Return and the Harvest

 

8. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the families of the earth will grieve intensely. Like lightning coming from the east and crossing over to the west, the Son of Man will arrive. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with much power and glory. He will send His angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will assemble His chosen ones from the four directions to the very extreme ends of land and sky. When these things begin to come to pass, straighten up! Lift up your heads because your freedom is approaching!

 

Parables and Admonitions.

 

9. Then Jesus told them a parable. “Consider this parable of the fig tree. Notice the fig tree, and all the trees. When their branches are tender and leaves are all budding, you know that summer is approaching. So, you also, when you notice these things beginning to occur, you will know that Jesus is almost here, right at the door, and the Kingdom of God is about to commence. I am telling you the truth. The generation that sees these things begin will not pass away until all these things have happened.

 

10. The sky and the land will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

11. But concerning that day and hour, no one is aware. Not the angels in heaven nor even the Son, only the Father. Be alert! Be vigilant! Be praying! You cannot perceive when that season will arrive. Stay alert! Otherwise, when your hearts are burdened with drunkenness and hangovers and concerns of this life’s needs, you will be unaware when that day comes. Everyone on the planet will suddenly be trapped with no possibility of escape. So, watch diligently, always praying that you will be considered worthy to escape the things about to occur, and to stand safely in the presence of the Son of Man.

 

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Major Interpretative Issue. 

Does Jesus use ‘this generation’ in the Olivet Discourse in a new way? Prior to this teaching, every reference Jesus made about ‘this generation’ is clearly the generation of Jewish religious leaders who rejected Jesus. But in the Parable of the Fig tree, Jesus seems to be talking about a different generation, a last generation, the one that sees this assortment of Sky Signs and natural disasters, starting with the ‘powers of the heavens being shaken.’

Matthew 24:9-14. This is the only reference to apostasy, like the apostasy Paul mentions that precedes the antichrist.  This section which sounds similar to Section 2, and has some parallel language, but looks like the ‘last generation’ not the first. It has enough differences to be used this way. So I need to reharmonize this section from that perspective and compare the results. 

 “Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. 12 And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.   

All of the highlighted phrases sound more like today than first century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of Parallel accounts. Parables continue in Matthew 25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a separate article, I have collated all the texts in the 4 Gospels which show that the Disciples were already informed about most of the content of the Olivet Discourse.

 

My views:    I lean toward the view that the Jewish experience of ‘tribulation’ and ‘great wrath against this people’ includes the events of 70 AD, the Holocaust, the actions of the Antichrist, and all the other historical instances of Anti-Jewish violence and persecution from AD 66 until Jesus’ return. There is no 7 year “Great Tribulation”. The 70th Week of Daniel is history and will not be repeated. We should read Revelation in its presented order, without overlapping and compressing it, and without expecting it to match the passages in Daniel fulfilled by Antiochus IV. The Anti-Christ will not be following Antiochus IV actions very closely, and there will be no 3rd Jewish Temple before Jesus’ return. The Antichrist is not from Rome. The Moslem Shiite ‘Mahdi” and ‘Issi’ (Jesus) are most likely to fulfill the prophecies in Revelation concerning the Beast and the False Prophet. There will not be a 7-year peace treaty. Most of the events presented in popular prophetic media such as the ‘Left Behind’ books and movies will never happen, because they are based in part on errors made in the interpretation of the Olivet Discourse.

 

Terms and abbreviations used in the RCW Olivet Discourse Reverse Engineering Project.

 

OD = Olivet Discourse

OT = Old Testament

NT= New Testament

JSM = Jerusalem

Rev. = book of Revelation

Harvest = Rapture.  Harvest is the more Biblical term.

Intense affliction = great tribulation. Same meaning intended but without the baggage.

Season = time, but when the Greek word is ‘karios’ it is a period of time, not a point in time.

‘Season of the Races’.  AKA ‘age of the Gentiles’. ‘races’ is more literal, and does not require extra explanation to modern readers.

Sky and Land = Heaven and earth.  Heaven cannot not pass away. But Earth’s atmosphere can be

     destroyed and replaced. Planet Earth will not be destroyed, but the land will be remade.  This

     is to remind the reader that our global perspective did not exist in the first century.

AD and BC are used for dating systems. Not the modern secular BCE and CE.

Precursor = any statement found in the Bible that predates the OD, but contains the same or

    similar information. Can be OT or Gospels.

Additional data = any information found in the Bible that the Disciples should have known

    before the OD, but not mentioned in the OD.

‘Generation’ is used by Jesus to refer to a time period of approximately 40 years. 

‘First Generation’ is what I will call 30-70 AD, the 40 years from Pentecost to the destruction of

   the Temple.

‘Last Generation’ is what I will call 40 year period from the ‘Powers of the Heavens shaken’ to

    the Harvest/Rapture.

‘rescued’ is the literal meaning of ‘saved’, but is different enough to make us think about it.

 

 

 

Comments by Section

 

Section 2. 

 

Jesus is warning against ‘false prophets’ but makes no mention of ‘false messiahs’. This accurately described the first 30 years of Christianity. This is not true of any later dates.

 

The last sentence about ‘the one who endures to the end will be rescued’ is ambiguous and difficult to locate. Context seems to connect it to the pre-70 AD period, but it might be more appropriate in the context of the ‘last days’ before Jesus Final Return. It’s placement here is ‘tentative’.

 

Section  3.

 

The ‘abomination of desolation’ was the image of Zeus, the Greek God of the Syrians. The armies that came to Jerusalem were mostly Syrians conscripted by Rome. Luke’s ‘armies’ and Matthews’ ‘abomination’ are parallel texts in context and must be seen as the same event.

 

Jesus had previously given a similar warning in Luke 17:31. But the context is the Harvest when He comes, not the war at Jerusalem. Jesus makes a careful distinction. In the OD, the context is 66-70 AD, those on the roof top are told to flee to the wilderness. In Luke 17, the context is the Harvest (Rapture). Jesus does not tell those on the roof to flee anywhere. He is only telling them  not to delay when the Angels come for them. This may seem too subtle, but the two passages have very different contexts, and this is the most obvious resolution.

 

 

 

Section 5.

 

This is the most difficult section to understand, and it may be the most relevant one to those alive right now. Setting aside all attempts to explain this from a preterist or historicist perspective, I intend to interpret it in a manner consistent with those previously fulfilled sections.  Jesus did not describe this section in the order of the events themselves. When He says that the reason for these events is shaking of the heavens, it is unclear which of the preceding events He is referring to. But the ‘shaking of the heavens’ must precede some of it.

 

There have always been wars and revolutions, and the 20th century had plenty, including unprecedented multinational wars. Earthquakes, famines, and plagues/pestilence have always existed. Lunar eclipses, solar eclipses and meteor showers have always existed. So far, none of these things can be considered signs that the season of Jesus’ Final Return has begun.

 

But Jesus said that the Powers of the Heavens would be shaken. This has no historical precedent. It is actually difficult to interpret, since from an astronomical perspective there are not many ways this could happen, without eliminating all life on the planet. It is possible to understanding all of this literally if ‘the Powers of the Heavens being shaken’, happens first.

 

Jesus says that these events will come in waves, like labor contractions. That implies that they increase in intensity after intervals of relief. This sounds like some of the 7 Trumpets to me.  So, this is how I see it:

 

First.                The powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Second.           All of the sky signs will occur, but they will not be normal, which is an indication that something is really wrong in the solar system.

Third.               Widespread large Earthquakes could be caused by this celestial ‘shaking’.

Fourth.            Earth would be at increased risk of asteroid and comet impact since all of our previous measurements for objects in the solar system have been altered by this ‘shaking’.

Fifth.                ‘Roaring of the sea’ does not mean the sounds of marching armies, as it would in the OT. It is literally about the oceans, referring to tsunamis. This would also be a reasonable consequence of the ‘shaking’ of the solar system.   

Sixth.               The extreme anxiety that can kill is not based on guess work. It is based on the

‘Expectation of what is about to happen to the earth’. This implies that there is very accurate understanding of the dangers caused by this ‘shaking’. This is something that only became possible in modern times. This phrase demonstrates that Jesus is a real prophet. No one in the first century could have imagined the ability to make accurate predictions of the consequences of such an event. I have much more to say about this.

Seven.             When Matthew and Mark record Jesus’ words about the ‘powers of the heaven’ being shaken, they do not include a cause-effect relationship, or indicate a time frame, but Luke adds both of these.

                         In all three synoptic texts, Jesus’ Final Return is next. But no time frame is mentioned, but a period of time is implied. This period of time I associate with the ‘last generation’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paragraph 9

 

There is a longer explanation for the application of ‘This Generation’ in Appendix 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Interpretative notes:

 

Jesus used the term ‘this generation’ in two different contexts to mean two different 40

year time periods.  The ‘generation’ mentioned several times in the Gospel precursor

material refers to the 40 year period of time from Jesus death until the fall of JSM and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. At the end of the OD in the Parable of the Fig Tree, Jesus designates a different ‘generation’. This is a period of approximately 40 years which starts when the prophecy about the ‘powers of the heaven are shaken’ is fulfilled. This starting point corresponds to the 6th Seal of Revelation. This 40 year period is still in the future and includes all 7 trumpets. This coincides with Jesus’ Final Return, which includes several events, such as the ‘Harvest at the end of the age’ (the Rapture), the   ‘end of the age of the Gentiles’, ‘The Day of the Lord’, and the coming of the Millennial Kingdom.

 

Pentecost was prophetically very important. In the Gospel precursors, Jesus described

the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as ‘the coming of the Son of Man in Power’ and ‘the coming of the Kingdom of God’. This is different from the language He used to describe His literal and final return with Angels. This means that Jesus’ teaching is that He would be coming back in two stages. He would return spiritually at Pentecost and literally at the end of the age.

 

Jesus’ Final Return = what most call the Second Coming. It is Jesus’ literal return with

Angels to bring judgment and establish the Millennial Kingdom. This is to  differentiate it

from Pentecost, which Jesus described as His ‘spiritual return’. Jesus’ Final Return includes what is commonly called the ‘Rapture’. I prefer ‘Harvest’, which seems to be a more Biblical team. The ’Rapture’ (Harvest) occurs at the beginning of Jesus’ Final Return. The Harvest is part of Jesus’ Final Return. This connects Revelation 19:11-16 to Revelation 14:14-16, which is the Harvest (Rapture) near the end of the 7th Trumpet.

 

The Great Tribulation is time of ‘Jacob’s trouble’, what Luke calls ‘great wrath against this people’, referring to the Jewish race. It started in the context of the Siege of JSM in 70 AD, and has continued through all of the pogroms, persecutions, expulsions for the last 1900 plus years, and includes the Holocaust. It will continue all the way through the days of the Antichrist. It’s end coincides with the ‘end of the age of Gentiles’ and Jesus Final Return. The Great Tribulation is not 7 years long and has nothing to do with Daniel’s 70 weeks.

 

I am concerned the many Christians will become disillusioned when it becomes obvious that ‘post-rapture’ events have begun to happen. There will not be a revived Roman Empire, the Antichrist will not come from Rome, there will be no 7 year peace treaty, and no 3rd Temple, but the 2nd and 3rd Trumpets should be unmistakable. What is coming is wide-spread Christian apostasy. I believe this will take place in the form of many millions of Christians accepting the Islamic version of Jesus. When the ‘Pre-Trib’ eschatology fails, it will adapt, but it cannot adapt enough to prevent this widespread distrust of Christian leaders. The Apostasy will happen before the Harvest (Rapture).

My understanding is not the same as the ‘Post-Trib’ or ‘Pre-Wrath’ interpretation systems which are both based on the normal Dispensationalist 7 year ‘Great Tribulation’. The Harvest (Rapture) of Revelation 14:14-16 comes near the end of the Antichrist’s 3 plus years of terrorist rule, and before the full Wrath of God is expressed in the 7 Vials of Wrath. This is consistent with both the Post Trib and Pre Wrath views. It is the nature of the Great Tribulation that I see differently.

 

A simple internet search for false Messiah’s shows that at least 28 people have claimed to be Jesus and gained followers since 1750. This is just within Christianity. Most other religions have also had multiple cases of people claiming to be a Messiah, or something similar. Judiasm identifies 4 main Messianic pretenders since 70 AD, starting with the famous Simon Bar Kokhba, who led many thousands of Jews to their death in the 2nd Jewish Revolt which ended with his death in 135 AD. Prior to 70 AD, there is only one possible candidate for ‘false Messiah’ Dositheos the Samaritan, and his time period is not established, nor did he have many followers.  It seems obvious that Jesus’s OD statements about avoiding false Messiahs has no application during the 30-70 AD period, but many since then. The main ‘false Messiah’ is still to come, so Jesus’ warnings about false Messiahs has yet to see it’s main application. This is why I have consolidated those sections of the OD and put them in a post AD context. The ambiguity of the Matthew’s account is such that most would try to show that Jesus intended these warnings to apply before AD 70 as well, I consider that a weakness in those harmonies. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next step is to deal with the information the Disciples had that would add to the information in the OD.

File will be called Addition information no In the OD.