The Olivet Prophecy (& The Second Coming)
An Overview Of Matthew 24 / Luke 21 / Mark 13
(A note of caution: all the dates I mention in this study must be tested by the reader; prophetic years are shorter than normal years, so an event that has a certain estimated chronology, can happen somewhat sooner; finally, be ready for Jesus, whenever you think he may return.)
Before we can understand the Olivet Prophecy, we must understand Daniel 9:24-27, so please read my study below first.
Daniel 9:24-27 is the prophecy of Jerusalem and Judah’s 490 years of punishment. It is essential to understand this prophecy, because in the Olivet Prophecy Jesus is drawing on, establishing, and augmenting Daniel’s prophecy. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that he is also adding further to our understanding of Daniel 9, but his essential purpose when he spoke with the disciples in the early AD 30’s was to direct the proper flow and fulfilment of his earlier prophecy, scheduled for its climactic last week in AD 67-73. (Although it was given by Daniel, we should call it ‘his prophecy’ because Jesus is the author of all prophecy).
The Olivet Prophecy is very simple in structure and general gist. Although Luke does not cite his report as from the Mount of Olives, I believe all three versions are more or less identical and the aggregated whole of the three accounts gives us one clear narrative that we can easily understand; the few small discrepancies are not of great significance. As Mark is almost identical to Matthew, I will generally focus on the texts of Matthew and Luke.
When Jesus answers the disciples’ questions about the destruction of the Temple, he replies in three distinct segments. Because it is simple, I will illustrate it in simple terms:
1) The events from AD 33-73
2) The events post AD 73 to the second coming of Christ
3) Two concluding parables that expound on the second coming
1) AD 33-73: Luke 21:9-24, Matthew 24:4-28
2) Post AD 73 to Christ’s second coming: Luke 21:24-28, Matthew 24:29-31
3) Parables of elaboration: Luke 21:29-38, Matthew 24:32-44
It is clear that much of Jesus’ reply (parts 2 & 3) is about his second coming rather than the destruction of the Temple. Having said that all three accounts are harmonious, we must note that Matthew records that the disciples also ask about the end of the age as well. It would appear therefore that Mark and Luke, by omitting this question of the disciples, wish to draw our attention to something. This question, of what they are highlighting, is better docked for now, and answered at the end of the study when we will have a better understanding. In all other matters though, the accounts are totally harmonious.
Part 1 – AD 33-73 – Luke 21:9-24, Matthew 24:4-28
The events leading up to and including the destruction of the temple are easy to understand. Jesus lays out a series of events that are essentially the countdown to the destruction of Jerusalem. As I have explained in my Daniel study, it was absolutely imperative that no Christian got caught up in the slaughter of Jerusalem. Jesus made sure he separated the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats. He did this through the implementation of the church in Jerusalem, under the leadership of key disciples, whose primary purpose, other than ministry, was to lead all the sheep of the Church to safe pastures in due time, thus fulfilling Daniel’s prophecy. Here is a very nice complementary study which details how all the things Jesus speaks about were historically fulfilled. Some of the events are actually referred to within the Bible, I am thinking particularly of the great persecution of the church in Jerusalem that took place very early on, around 35 AD after Stephen’s stoning. (Bear in mind also that Paul, prior to his conversion in 37 AD, had been very zealous in his persecution efforts). Many of the events are not mentioned in the bible but have historical references. (The content below is very clear, so please do not judge the book by the cover).
There is one discrepancy that exists between Matthew, Mark and Luke’s accounts. Luke says that when you see the (Roman) armies surrounding Jerusalem, it is time to leave the city, but Matthew and Mark say that when you see the abomination of desolation standing in the temple, then it is time. Obviously Luke’s account is the correct one historically, so does this invalidate Matthew and Mark? Not at all. Bear in mind that these gospels were written prior to the destruction of the temple. Matthew and Mark qualify their advice with the caveat, ‘let the reader understand’. Both were writing to the Jewish Church, and therefore encoded their message, ‘sealed’ it in Daniel’s terms. The reader needs spiritual understanding of Daniel to ascertain the correct point at which to leave Jerusalem, the key point here being that they do not spell it out in black and white, because then an apostate Jew might have understood the time to leave Jerusalem, and escaped judgement. Furthermore, the exodus was lead by the Church, and so really the gospel scripts were not so important to the believers in Jerusalem; the only people they might have erroneously benefitted would have been the non-believing Jews, had the message not been encoded.
We then come to the second and third parts. What we now need to understand is this: in the second part, Jesus is about to cover a very long period of time historically in a very few words. As I have already shown in my Daniel study, the old covenant, which was shrivelling and close to death when Paul wrote Hebrews around 64-65 AD, (Hebrews 8:13), terminated in AD 73. It was all done then, the sheep and the goats had been separated out, and the last rites of the old covenant had been performed. That is why Jesus refers to birth pangs incidentally, the new covenant was experiencing birth pangs as the old covenant died away. From its inception when John The Baptist baptized Jesus with the Holy Ghost to AD 73, the Kingdom Of God was alive and well, but in the womb. With the death of the old covenant in AD 73, the new covenant was then able to be born. These ideas may sound strange, but that is what it boils down to. When we understand that between AD 30 and AD 73, the two covenants were both in existence, we can even get a much greater understanding of the apparently contradictory things that Jesus and Paul said – I won’t cover that here though.
Part 2 – Post AD 73 to Christ’s second coming – Luke 21:24 -28, Matthew 24:29-31
So, the second part of what Jesus says is very succinct, before he explains his second coming.
“And Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
“Immediately after the suffering of those days
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from heaven,
and the powers of heaven will be shaken.”
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven….
Jesus has covered here roughly 2000 years in these lines, both in Matthew and Luke, who describe the same time period through different lenses. He has covered the whole new covenant age, and jumped right to the last scene of the new covenant age, the second coming.
To understand what is meant here in Matthew, we need some very important background understanding. Firstly we need to understand the Kingship of Israel. Because Reuben, Jacob’s first son, sinned, Jacob took the inheritance from him. He then divided it in two; he gave the birthright, which we would understand today as the land, property and cash in his will, to Joseph. The leadership of the tribal family of Israel, which is the kingship, he gave to Judah. In his deathbed prophecy to all the tribes for the last days, Jacob said of Judah:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
Shiloh is a play on words, at several levels. Firstly, its literal meaning is peaceable, so it refers to Christ, “the Prince of Peace”. The prophecy is for the last days, which means it takes effect sometime after Christ’s crucifixion in AD 33. On the face of it it is a benign blessing, and might be understood as meaning: “the Kingship of Israel will permanently pass out of the hands of the tribe of Judah to Jesus himself upon his resurrection; Jesus will become an eternal king on the eternal throne of Israel, and Judah will have seceded the Kingship”. Although it does mean this, and it would be comforting if it meant only this, we also see here an example of the Word being sharp as a two-edged sword, because it has a further meaning. (It may be objected here that if Jesus was a Jew himself, then the kingship has not left the House of Judah. But Jesus did not regard himself as a Jew. He traced his lineage from his paternity, Matthew 22:41-45.)
Shiloh was the first centre of worship of Israel, before Solomon’s temple was built. There the ark was kept in the tabernacle of Moses, and the High Priests were Eli’s progeny. Eventually God abandoned Shiloh, and it was burnt down by the Philistines. The priestly line of Eli all died out, God withdrew his Holy Spirit, “Ichabod”, from that place, and Shiloh became a ruin. So Shiloh is a perfect type for the destruction of Jerusalem because the same pattern of God leaving the house desolate that had been enacted at Shiloh was reenacted at Jerusalem. So Jacob’s Shiloh prophecy prophesied not simply the end of Judah’s tenure of the kingship of Israel when the Messiah came, but more specifically, that it ended at the precise point when Jesus had completed judgement on Jerusalem and Judea. In other words, Jesus first coming was completed in AD 73.
This is confirmed biblically. Jesus said: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” So Jesus’ coming was both peace and reconciliation to the believing Jews and wrath and judgement to the unbelieving Jews – as we have already seen in my study of Daniel 9. ‘Shiloh coming’ then has a double meaning, both peace, and the sword of judgement. As Judah forfeits the kingship and Levitical priesthood at the same time, Jacob’s prophecy refers clearly to that very specific point of time, namely the end of the old covenant, AD 73, when the levitical priesthood was totally abolished. At this moment, Judea forfeited its kingship of Israel, and Christ the king priest, acting both as king and high priest, after the manner of King David and of the order of Melchizedek, (Psalm 110), took the Kingship, and sat down on the throne of David.
While David was King of Israel, God made a covenant with him and promised him that his throne would one day become everlasting. After Israel split into two kingdoms, the earthly throne of David stayed in Judah, as David was a Judean. (He was originally King of Judah for 7 years before becoming King of Israel). When the northern kingdom was disbanded and scattered, the King of Judah, sitting on the throne of David, became without argument the king of all of Israel, as it was the only part of Israel still left with a sovereign identity. (The people of the Northern kingdom retained their tribal identity, but had no homeland). So the throne of David was by default, at that time, the seat of the King of Israel. When Judah was judged and they lost their nationhood in AD 73, and by extension, all Israel lost their nationhood, the throne of David passed from earthly Israel to heaven, thereby fulfilling God’s promise to make the throne everlasting. Jesus then left the right hand of God, where had ascended after his resurrection, and sat on his own throne, as prophesied by the Angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1):
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Jesus confirms that he took the throne of David, because he explains to John in Revelation that he has left his father’s throne, and taken his own throne:
3:21 To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
We also see Jesus in Revelation (written post AD 73) now sitting on his own throne. Furthermore, as no-one can share God the Father’s throne, the throne Jesus is sharing with those who conquer (alternately known as ‘overcomers’) must be another throne, that being the throne of David. So we see that the throne of David is clearly a separate throne to the throne of God, and it is the same throne Jesus promised to share with the disciples while he was with them:
Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
So clearly Jesus ascends to David’s throne at some point after having sat down in heaven by his father. Amos gives us the exact day, namely the day that Israel, in this case Judah, ceased to be a nation:
8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord………….11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
So Amos confirms that the precise day Jesus finished his judgement time on Judah and Jerusalem, he ascended to the throne of David. The psalmist (Psalm 110) also says that Jesus inherited the throne of David after his enemies had been put under his feet, i.e. after the destruction of Jerusalem. The throne of David then is the throne of King and High Priest, and Jesus could only accede to it once the levitical priesthood had been totally abolished.
So we can see a clear order of events. Jesus ascended to the right hand of God until AD 73 when the levitical order expired, and judgement was completed, and he then ascended to the throne of David, ensuring that the throne had a continual and everlasting King.
Why is all of this important? Because at the precise moment Jesus took the throne of David, not only did it mean the end of the old covenant and the beginning of the new covenant, it also was a very major heavenly event. What happens on the throne of God is a heavenly event. Isaiah 66:1: Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool.
Isaiah (24) tells us:
21 On that day the Lord will punish
the host of heaven in heaven,
and on earth the kings of the earth….
23 Then the moon will be abashed,
and the sun ashamed;
for the Lord of hosts will reign
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and before his elders he will manifest his glory.
We see that when Christ takes his seat on the throne of David in the heavenly mount Zion, the sun, moon and stars are affected in God’s presence. Jeremiah also explains that the sun, moon, and stars and God’s covenant of nationhood with Israel are interconnected.
Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
If this fixed order were ever to cease
from my presence, says the Lord,
then also the offspring of Israel would cease
to be a nation before me forever.
So now we are in a position to understand the spiritual meaning of Matthew 24:29, namely that God’s covenant of physical nationhood for Israel has terminated. Judah, and therefore all Israel, (as Judea was the last relic of national Israel), has now ceased to be a nation. The kingdom has been abolished, and the kingship of the house of Israel has passed to Jesus in heaven. This all occurred immediately after the judgement and destruction of Jerusalem had been completed in AD 73. The people, the house of Jacob, live on, scattered worldwide, but the nation is gone. The old covenant has expired, and the new covenant has now come into force; the Kingdom of Heaven has been birthed. We call this, perhaps loosely, the Church Age, better by far would be the Kingdom Age.
Jesus then tells us that the sign of the son of man will be seen in heaven. There is only one sign of Jesus, as he told the Pharisees, and that is the sign of Jonah, (Matthew 12:39). So we see the sign of Jonah in heaven, what does this mean? Jesus explained this to us, (Matthew 12:40).
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Jesus was crucified on the Friday, and died around 3PM Friday night. The disciples then rushed to get him prepared before dusk fell on the Sabbath, when it was against the law to work. He spent the Sabbath in the grave, and rose very early on the Sunday morning, because when the women came to the tomb, he was risen. He thereby fulfilled his promise, crucified and died the first day, entombed the second day, and rose the third day. Therefore he only spent one day entombed. That means he only completed one day in the heart of the earth, and two days and nights are outstanding. Adamic unregenerated man is made of the dust of the earth. The new covenant is to put God’s laws in men’s hearts, whereby sinful Adamic man is able to overcome sin and death by the holy spirit in his inner being. So this really is the new covenant more or less in a nutshell, to have Jesus indwelling our earthly bodies, (in the heart of the earth), and the collective body of spirit-filled believers form the Church, the body of Christ. As a thousand years are as a day, and a day as a thousand years, (2 Peter 3:8), the remaining two days of the sign of Jonah then equate to two thousand years. So the sign of Jonah was another double-edged sword. It was a double witness. It meant both Jesus’ resurrection, and it meant Christ’s Body, the Church, would act as a sign to the unbelieving Jews. As we understand from Paul in Thessalonians that the dead are raised first, we can then also see that all the saints who have been in the earth for two thousand years, (two days and nights), rise from the dead and form the church of the saints in heaven with Jesus. (We can say 2000 years and not longer, because the first saints were raised when Jesus was resurrected.)
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
So the sign of Jonah is the church, and the sign of Jonah in heaven is the the resurrected saints who join Jesus at his second coming, and appear with him in the sky. (The elect who are still alive remain initially earthbound though).
In Luke Jesus condenses the same 2000 year period into one line, he is even more economical here than in Matthew, merely referring to the times of the gentiles prior to Jesus’ second coming. This can be confusing, if you do not understand what the times of the gentiles (nations) are. It refers to the period of beast kingdom rule, which began when Judah went into captivity in Babylon. The beast kingdoms are pictured as the five elements of the statue seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream: gold, silver, copper (brass), iron, and iron mixed with clay. The reign of the beast kingdoms is a very specific period of punishment time that Judah was put under, and amounts to 2520 years. (Dr Stephen Jones explains this at godskingdomministries.com). Briefly:
There are 360 days in a prophetic year
Therefore a prophetic month = 360 / 12 = 30 days
42 prophetic months (Rev 12) = 1260 days
As a day = a year, 1260 days = 1260 years
The period of 42 months is also referred to as ‘a time, two times, and half a time’ (Rev 11 & 13)
Therefore ‘a time, two times and half a time’ = 1260 years
[Where ‘a time’ = X] X + 2X = X/2 = 1260 years
Therefore, a time = 360 years
So we establish the unit of punishment time is 360 years.
According to Leviticus 26, God would punish Israel sevenfold for disobedience. So 7 X 360 years is 2520 years. Judah’s punishment started in 608 BC, so the completion date was 1913. However, as I have shown in my study of Daniel, we then still have another 120 years of punishment time to add on, which is comprised of 103 years and 17 years. The total 120 years takes us to 2033, and the 103 years takes us to 2016.
In Leviticus 26 God also explains punishment time as an aggregate of sevens. That if after having come under foreign subjugation, ‘(after) your foes shall rule over you’, the nation refuses to repent, then they will come under a sevenfold punishment cycle repeated four times. This can be expressed as 7 X 7 X 7 X 7. If we impute the jubilee to the first 7 X 7, (since after every 49 years, the fiftieth year was jubilee), we have the sum of 50 X 7 X 7. 50 X 7 X 7 = 2450 years. Again we can add 103 years and 120 years to this total, giving us 2553 and 2570 years. As Judah finished their Babylonian captivity, their first punishment, in 537 BC, when we add these sums, we arrive at 2016 and 2033 again.
So now we have three separate timelines that point to the year of 2033: the two days and nights of Jonah, and the two punishment times above. Clearly 2033 marks an extremely important time – more than my linguistic abilities can express. In fact, 50 X 50 is the jubilee of jubilees, and when we arrive at 2033, we enter therefore the jubilee of jubilees also. However, sticking to our study, 2033 marks the end of the time of the Gentiles. (2016 may well mark the fall of mystery Babylon, i.e. the end of the usury based banking system.)
Furthermore, this triple confirmation is in fact a form of the Sign of Jonah in itself. These timelines prove that the Messiah finished his work in AD 33. Once you have established the punishment times, then you can run 2000 years, the two days and nights of Jonah, back to AD 33, to show that Jesus has already come and gone. So if you print off the PDF of this study and Daniel’s 70 Weeks, you can show it to a Rabbi, or a Jewish friend.
Part 3 – The concluding Parables – Luke 21:29-38, Matthew 24:32-44
The third part of what Jesus says are parables ostensibly on the nature of his return, rather than the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus has already laid out a very precise roadmap for that in part 1, so there is no need for qualifying it any further. One constant thorn in the the side which blurs understanding is the use of the word generation in all three versions.
“this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”
This is a not a mistranslation, although it does imply that the entire Olivet Prophecy concerns the events of the disciples’ lifetime, and as such makes no real sense; it is only the first part that refers to their lifetime. The word translated here as generation is ‘genea’ which means literally tribe or clan, and generation. It is in fact the pharisees and religious authorities that Jesus is talking about, the same people Jesus called a ‘generation of vipers’. It is not an easy word to translate directly, but ‘clan’ is a possibility. It is a group of people with a specific ethnic identity, and in this case where Jesus is talking, a creed of racial superiority wrapped around an antichrist belief system. Jesus is saying that this clan-cult will still be in existence at the time of his coming.
The fig tree is the symbol of the Levitical priesthood, (see my study on the fig tree here), as fig leaves were used to cover sin in the garden of Eden, and thus equate to the Levitical law, something that identifies sin, but cannot alter its nature. When Jesus cursed the fig tree, he promised that it would never produce fruit again. Fruit can only come from the spirit, and God can now only be approached through Jesus. There is no other way to be spirit-filled and therefore able to produce fruit. So any attempt to resuscitate the old covenant will be a fruitless task. Many people think the fig tree refers to the Jews, or the modern day state of Israel, but I think it is specifically the symbol of Levi, and it is the resuscitation of the Levitical covenant, a covenant of peace and safety, that is in view here. This would likely entail a full reimposition of Temple practices and old covenant law. The site of the temple, Jerusalem, is then much more pertinent than the modern state of Israel, in my estimation, as a focus of our attention. Jerusalem was retaken in June 1967, although no temple has ever been reconstructed there. After June 2016 we will enter the 50th year (jubilee) of Jerusalem being in possession of the state of Israel. This obviously lines up with the date of 2016 we have already deduced mathematically. The 17 year gap up to 2033, the end of the time of the gentiles, corresponds to the 17 years after King Cyrus’s decree to rebuild the temple, when work ceased, leading to a reissuing of the decree 17 years later. Might this 17 year period now, from 2016-2033 correspond to a period where work on the temple recommences? We shall see. Jesus tells us that the fig tree with leaves, but not fruit, is a sign we will observe. When Jonah went to Ninevah, they were given 40 days to repent. The 40 days obviously is prophetic for 40 years. In Jesus’ time this was fulfilled in the 40 years from John The Baptist’s ministry starting in 27 AD, the call to repentance, to 67 AD, the commencement of the destruction of Jerusalem. As a generation is 40 years, we can see that ‘genea’ really has a double meaning. The generation of Jesus’ day had 40 years to repent, but Jesus is putting this 40 year generation in view here at the endtime. So when the time of the gentiles ends in 2033, we then enter the last generation, the Levitical Fig Tree generation, which lasts from 2033-2073 AD. When Jesus returns and appears in the heavens are told that ‘all the tribes of the earth will mourn”, (repeated in Revelation by John); the word used for tribe ‘phyle’ also means leaves of a tree. So this may be understood to mean that all the leaves of the fig tree will mourn also, meaning that all those involved in the revival of Levitical Judaism will mourn. As we have seen in the study of Daniel’s 70 weeks, the generation in view is really the fourth generation of Levites under judgement for idolatry. 3 generations, 120 years, have been served, and the fourth generation, the final 40 years, is served at the end of the time of the gentiles.
In the parable of the fig tree, Matthew refers us back to the times of Noah. As I have shown in the study of Daniel 9, God added to the 490 year punishment of Jerusalem and Judah an extra 120 years. These 120 years were extra time imputed to Judah from the sins of pre-flood world. It is probable – though I am speculating – that the addition of these years caused the confusion amongst the Rabbis which was in part responsible for their rejection of Christ, and therefore their terrible end in the charnel house of Jerusalem when the Romans sacked it. Mathematically the time of the Gentiles expires in AD 2033, and then Christ can return at any time. I suppose the warning here is don’t stick to the math too closely. Maybe Jesus will return tomorrow or next week. Or maybe 2033 will expire, 2034 will roll by, and then people will slacken off and lose faith. The same theme is carried through into the last parable.
The most substantive difference between the three accounts is that in Matthew the disciples ask a further question about Jesus’ second coming and the end of the age, whereas in Luke and Mark it is not reported. This implies that the events subsequent to AD 73 are integrated in some way with those previous events. Now if Matthew had not added the extra question, (or if all three had asked the extra question), we would have to assume that Jesus just gave them the whole history, lock stock and barrel without inference. But as Matthew does add the question, we have his version as the master reference. Now we effectively have two ways of understanding the same account. Matthew’s is linear, but Luke (and Mark) we can read in a different light. Why when they asked purely about the destruction of the temple has Jesus given them an answer that encompasses everything thereafter including his second coming? The implication must surely be that the final judgement shares some features with the earlier judgement on Jerusalem. So we can now extrapolate the warnings from the first century into our time. Clearly the most critical ligature is the ‘genea’, the pharisees, who appear at both events. It appears that we need to be aware of their leading role in both periods. The global gospel ministry that occurred in the first century will also be repeated I believe.
So, the key features Jesus tells us about prior to his return are the existence of the Pharisaical sect, and similar times as existed before the flood. According to the Book Of Jasher, mankind was very devout in following God, until they became rebellious, started following their own idols and robbing each other, whilst the princes stole the married women that they wanted. This would seem to indicate times of worldwide prosperity, faith and revival on earth, which are then undermined by the attempt to steal God’s harvest orchestrated by the legalists. They will corrupt the faith, and try to undermine the Church. This attempt to bring people back into bondage to the Law will surely centre on Jerusalem.
Interpolating here, it would seem that the great revival and move of the Holy Spirit will be triggered by some kind of great shaking out. I would expect in this regard the fall of the banking system, and a complete restructuring of the world’s wealth. So, personally, I anticipate the fall of mystery Babylon followed by a time of worldwide financial redistribution, and immense faith and revival, culminating, or rather terminating, with a rebellion against God, as happened in Noah’s age, as believers are seduced from the gospel of grace into a cult of legalism manufactured by a Pharisaical sect. Luke 18:1-8 tells the parable of the widow who is being defrauded, and who complains to the judge. Jesus uses this to indicate that when the final times of robbery begin, he will not delay his return. (In Malachi 2 God calls the failure of priests to allow people into the Kingdom of God ‘robbery’).
Having established an end-time order of events, based purely on the Olivet Prophecy, we can now backtest it against other scriptures. Does our understanding line up with 2 Thessalonians 2? Yes, perfectly. This passage also depicts a rebellion, similar to the rebellion of Noah’s time. Thessalonians appears to suggest that not only will there be an end-time Temple set up in Jerusalem, but that Jesus will return to destroy it, ushering in his millenial kingdom. This destruction then would be the total annihilation of Jerusalem as prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 19:11).
As we noted, 2016 appears a very important date also, as a precursor to 2033. As it is linked to date of the establishment of the federal reserve, 1913, it has even more significance. The US was founded in 1776, so 2016 marks 240 years of their existence, which is of course 2 X 120 years. It is interesting to note that when God judges Babylon, he calls for a double punishment: ’repay her double for her deeds’.
The period 2016 – 2033 is mirrored by the 17 years when the rebuilding of the the Temple was held up, because King Cyrus had revoked his decree. 17 is a very interesting number scripturally, and particularly so here. When in John 21 Jesus commanded Peter to throw the net over the right hand side of the boat, he caught 153 fish. 153 means the same as 17, the fullness of the Kingdom. It is the same as 17, because 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15+16+17 = 153. So 17 represents these precise 17 years of the Church, from 2016 – 2033, where the Church is brought in cumulatively to its fulness.