A Survey of the Eschatology of the Olivet Discourse Part I -- By: James F. Rand

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 113:450 (Apr 1956)
Article: A Survey of the Eschatology of the Olivet Discourse Part I
Author: James F. Rand


A Survey of the Eschatology of the Olivet Discourse
Part I

James F. Rand

The Importance of the Discourse

The Olivet Discourse as recorded in Matthew 24 and 25 is one of the most important and significant eschatological passages in the entire New Testament. Three reasons may be adduced for the importance of these words of Jesus spoken in the waning days of His earthly ministry.

It is the most complete eschatological passage in the New Testament. Most of the other sections of the New Testament dealing with future things confine their teaching to certain phases of that discipline. For example, 1 Corinthians 15 sets forth the doctrine of the resurrection, while one turns to 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 for teaching concerning the rapture of the saints. On the other hand, the Olivet Discourse presents the teachings of Christ covering the whole range of this vast theological discipline. While the discourse centers around Israel and its Messianic hope, nearly every area of Eschatology is at least mentioned in the course of the Lord’s answers to the questions of His disciples as given in Matthew 24:3. One can hardly name a major phase of the discipline which is not discussed here.

The passage is also important for its contribution to the systematization of doctrine. While the discourse does not necessarily make an original contribution to the Eschatology of the Scriptures, it does enlarge, confirm and illustrate vital doctrines which are found in other sections of the Word. One does not go to these two chapters to find all of the details of the judgment of Israel, the great tribulation or the second advent, for example. These are to be found in greater detail elsewhere. But one does come here to find these doctrines and others relating to the earthly destiny of Israel arranged into a system which demonstrates their relationship

to each other. It may be said that nowhere else in God’s Word is there a passage which is as complete an outline presentation of Israel’s future destiny.

A third indication of its importance is the chronological contribution of the passage. A careful literal interpretation of the words of this passage brings to our attention the fact that there is inherent in the Olivet Discourse a chronological unity and progression which is the key to a clear understanding of these words. If this is recognized, it is seen that in these verses is a clear setting forth in chronological order of the events of the las...

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