The Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24 - 25), is Christ's teaching about two end-time events: the Tribulation and the Lord's Second Coming. It deals with Israel and has nothing to do with the Church. The Church will be removed, via the Rapture, before this judgment begins, because born again believers are not "appointed to wrath" (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Thes. 5:9; Rev. 3:10).
The Tribulation is the seven year "wrath of God" determined for Israel (Dan. 9:24-27; Jer. 30:7; Matt. 24:3-29).
Christ's Second Coming ends God's effort to bring His people and the Gentile world to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 9:20-21; 16:9-11; Matt. 24:22, 30).
Key points in the Olivet Discourse:
* 24:4 - Only Jews are still expecting their Messiah (Christ).
* 24:6 - Israel hears of wars but does not experience them.
* 24:7 - There are famines, pestilences, and earthquakes elsewhere.
* 24:9 - Messianic Jews will be persecuted in synagogues.
* 24:14 - The Gospel message is about an earthly kingdom.
* 24:15 - Only Jews would be outraged at the abomination of desolation in their temple.
* 24:16 - Those in Judea are warned to flee.
* 24:20 - Only the Jews care about the Sabbath.
* 24:23 - The Jews who flee will still be looking for the Messiah.
* 24:24 - The Jews require a sign (1 Cor. 1:22).
* 24:29 - The Tribulation, Daniel's 70th Week, is for Israel (Dan. 9:24; Jer. 30:7).
* 24:30 - The "Son of Man" always refers to the Messiah of Israel.
* 24:32-36 - The Fig Tree is a symbol for Israel (Jer. 24:1-10; Hos. 9:10; Nah. 3:12).
* 24:37-39 - An illustration of God gathering His own, and "taking away" the rest.
* 24:40-51 - Two more illustrations of Christ collecting those who are His.
* 25:1-46 - Those who are His will have "their light shining," will have "used their talents," and will have treated His people well during the Tribulation. They will enter into His Millennial Kingdom.
Some might ask why Jesus would teach His disciples, soon to be the founders of His Church, about things they will not live to see. In fact, since His disciples, both living and dead, will be in heaven due to the Rapture, the obvious question is, "Who will be reading the Olivet Discourse?" I believe the answer is simple; those in the Tribulation who were "Christian" in name only, Jews whose "eyes are opened" when the Antichrist declares himself to be god, and those who believed what the two witnesses preached. Amen.