Gary completes his lessons on Mark 13 on today’s podcast. The audience and time context of the Olivet Discourse must not be ignored.

The first people to embrace Jesus as the promised Messiah were Jews (Acts 2:5), and the first to reject Jesus were also Jews. James Jordan comments:

The Judaizers were the heirs of the tradition-serving Jewish teachers who were Jesus' worst enemy. The Judaizers are the constant enemy in Acts and the epistles. They are the anti-christs of the Johannine letters, who claimed to have been sent out by the apostles but who were not “of us” (1 John 2:18-19; 4:1). They are the main enemy in the book of Revelation.

The Judaizers fit perfectly Jesus' predictions. They claimed to come in His name. They misled many. They claimed an anointing, but it was false. They were false prophets.[1]

This is why John could write that he was a “fellow-partaker in the tribu­lation” (Rev. 1:9) and the church at Smyrna was undergoing “tribulation” (2:9-10) at the hands of the Jews.

The “woman Jezebel” had infiltrated the church at Thyatira and some had succumbed to her teachings and were led “astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” As a result, God threat­ens to “‘throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds’” (2:20-23).

Matthew’s “great tribulation” is synonymous with Luke’s “great distress” (Luke 21:23). Some prophecy writers argue that Luke is describing events leading up to and including the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, while Matthew is describing a great tribulation that will affect a future generation. A comparison of the two accounts shows they are de­scribing the same events. There are differences, but there are differences in the two birth accounts of Jesus in Matthew and Luke, and yet no one argues they describe two births of two Messiahs named Jesus separated by thou­sands of years. By combining the elements of Matthew and Luke, we get a more complete picture of the prophecy, as we do with the birth narratives.

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Wars and Rumors of Wars

Jesus predicted that He would return within the time period of that generation alone. Unfortunately, too many Christians are giving the wrong answer when skeptics claim Jesus was mistaken. Everything Jesus said would happen before that generation passed away did happen.

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Both prophecies end with “this generation will not pass away” (Matt. 24:34; Luke 21:32). “This generation” refers to the genera­tion that was in existence at the time Jesus prophesied about the “end of the age” that coincided with the destruction of the temple. If Jesus had a future generation in mind in either of these accounts, He would have used “that generation” to clear up any possible confusion. “In all probability,” Craig Blomberg writes, “Jesus originally uttered one connected, coherent eschatological discourse from which the three Synoptists [Matthew, Mark, and Luke] have chosen to reproduce different portions in different places."[2]

Gary completes his lessons on Mark 13. The audience and time context of the Olivet Discourse must not be ignored. The events described were set in a first century context and involve first century technologies. The cosmic language is describing judgment, just as cosmic language described judgment in the Old Testament.

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[1] James B. Jordan, An Extended Historical, Literary, Theological, and Homiletical Commentary Upon the Eschatological Discourse of Jesus Christ

[2] Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 185.