Christ’s Olivet Discourse on the End of the Age Part III: Signs of the End of the Age -- By: John F. Walvoord

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 128:512 (Oct 1971)
Article: Christ’s Olivet Discourse on the End of the Age Part III: Signs of the End of the Age
Author: John F. Walvoord

Christ’s Olivet Discourse on the End of the Age
Part III:
Signs of the End of the Age

John F. Walvoord

[John F. Walvoord, President, Dallas Theological Seminary, Editor, Bibliotheca Sacra.]

Having completed in Matthew 24:4–14 the itemization of the nine signs which will be fulfilled in the present age in general and which will be especially characteristic of the end of the age, Christ now gives specific signs, answering the disciples’ original question. They had asked for the sign of the end of the age and of His coming into His kingdom.

In the interpretation of this passage as in many other prophetic portions, one is faced with the tendency, especially in liberal scholarship, of considering prophecy as actually already history when written and, therefore, not subject to future fulfillment. An outstanding illustration of this is the critical interpretation of the entire book of Daniel. Critics have attempted to prove Daniel a forgery written in the second century instead of the sixth century B.C., and thereby escape the force of the detailed prophecy given by Daniel.

This tendency to explain away prophecy has also extended to interpretations of the Olivet Discourse. Even some evangelical expositors have been influenced by liberal scholars to interpret the Olivet Discourse as fulfilled in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. This is given credence by the fact that the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem is a part of this prophetic utterance and is included specifically in Luke’s account (Luke 21:20–24). As in all such attempts, however, the discounting of factual predictions of the future involves neglect of the particular exegesis of the passage as there is nothing in history that really corresponds to what is here described in the Gospel of Matthew. Although there is some similarity between the destruction of Jerusalem and the

ultimate conflict preceding the second coming of Christ, there are many distinguishing particulars.

As pointed out in a previous discussion, such an author as G. Campbell Morgan, for instance, finds fulfillment of Matthew 24:6–22 in the fall of Jerusalem1 and Alfred Plummer goes even further to find the fulfillment of the second coming in Matthew 24:15–28 as occurring at the destruction of Jerusalem.2 It is significant that in both cases there is an avoidance of any spec...

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