Olivet discourse

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The Olivet discourse or Olivet prophecy is a biblical passage found in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. It is known as the "Little Apocalypse" because it includes Jesus' descriptions of the end times, the use of apocalyptic language, and Jesus' warning to his followers that they will suffer tribulation and persecution before the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of God.[1] The Olivet discourse occurred just prior to the narrative of Jesus' passion beginning with the Anointing of Jesus. In the narrative is a discourse or sermon given by Jesus on the Mount of Olives, hence the name.

A major challenge to theologians is to determine the timing of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Of considerable relevance is the determination of whether the tribulation Jesus describes is a past, present or future event.[2]:p.5 In each of the three gospel accounts, the sermon contains a number of statements which at first glance seem predictive of future events. There is general agreement that Jesus prophesies about the future destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. However, modern Christian interpretation diverges as to the meaning of the additional topics in the discourse. Most interpreters, including well known ministers and theologians such as John Hagee and Tim LaHaye, say the passages refer to the coming of Jesus. They disagree whether Jesus describes the signs that accompany his return.

The setting on the Mount of Olives is also thought by some scholars not to have been incidental, but a quite deliberate echo of a passage in the Book of Zechariah which refers to the location as the place where a final battle would occur between the Jewish Messiah and his opponents.

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