Hermeneutical Keys To The Olivet Discourse Part 1: Lukan Eschatology (Luke 17) -- By: Ray M. Wenger

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 17:52 (Winter 2013)
Article: Hermeneutical Keys To The Olivet Discourse Part 1: Lukan Eschatology (Luke 17)
Author: Ray M. Wenger

Hermeneutical Keys To The Olivet Discourse
Part 1: Lukan Eschatology (Luke 17)

Ray M. Wenger

* Ray M. Wenger, Th.M., itinerant Bible teacher, Pinnacle, North Carolina

One of the areas of debate regarding the Olivet Discourse (as found in Matthew 24) is whether there is mention of the rapture. The pericope particularly in focus is Matthew 24:36–41 where Jesus referenced the days of Noah and the judgment of the Flood, making a comparison with Jesus’ return when one shall be taken, and the other left. Luke’s account of the Olivet Discourse (Luke 21) does not mention this pericope. Luke did describe a different occasion when Jesus used the analogy of the days of Noah and Lot to teach his disciples about the coming of the kingdom (Luke 17:20–18:8), which for convenience will be called “Jesus’ Discourse on the Coming Kingdom.” Analysis of that material provides a hermeneutical basis for clarifying the discussion of Matthew 24.

Discourse Overview

Contextual Emphasis Upon The Spiritual Nature Of The Kingdom Of God

The broad context of Jesus’ Discourse on the Coming Kingdom emphasizes the inner spiritual condition of those who participate in the kingdom of God. The rich man experienced God’s blessings on earth, but after death, God consigned him to the place of torment, while the Lord sent the despised and neglected Lazarus to the place of blessing (Luke 16:19–31). Jesus taught the importance of not causing someone to fall into sin, and of forgiving even those who repeatedly wrong believers (17:1–4). The disciples recognized that this would require great faith, and they requested that the Lord increase their faith. Jesus gave the illustration of faith as a mustard seed, and emphasized that being a truly profitable servant of God is to go beyond mere dutiful obedience (17:5–10). Only one of the ten healed lepers returned to give thanks, indicating invisible spiritual character that was far superior to that of his nine companions (17:11–19).

After speaking of the coming of the Kingdom of God (17:20–18:8), Jesus contrasted true followers and hypocrites. Two men outwardly did the same thing: they went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee appeared out...

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