< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: The Ovilet Discourse

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Ovilet Discourse

Mark 13:1-13 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”

5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

This teaching, called the Olivet Discourse, because it took place on the Mt. of Olives, occurred on Wednesday of Jesus’ final week on earth. He had spent much of the first part of the week in the Temple; teaching and healing.

The Olivet Discourse is the longest answer to any question in scriptures. This discourse is recorded in Matthew 24:1 - 25:46, Mark 13:1-37 and Luke 21:5-36.

Jesus had spoken to the Pharisees concerning judgment. And when Jesus was leaving the temple a disciple asked Him about the temple buildings, seemingly so that Jesus could explain how the judgment of which He spoke related to the temple. Herod, who built the temple buildings that existed during the time of Christ's earthly ministry, built them to last. Here Jesus tells the disciples that not one stone of the temple would be left on top of another. This is what occurred in A.D. 70 when Rome, led by Titus, destroyed Jerusalem.

The Jews had rebelled against the Romans and the Roman army surrounded the old city where they hid for 5 months. The Romans beat against the walls, but the Jews had a lot of supplies, the walls were strong and they kept holding them back. Eventually they ran out of food and the Romans scaled the walls. Titus wanted to save the opulent Temple, but the Jews burned it to the ground.

The things made of gold that resided in the temple melted as the temple burned, and the gold ran down into the cracks between the stones. Every stone was toppled from its place as people searched for the gold. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

This temple was probably 10 stories high. One stone was 37 ½ ft by 12 ft by 18 ft! The foundation stones were even larger! The temple was amazing! Huge! And beautiful! But Jesus said not one stone would be left. Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled word for word. In fact He said in Luke 19:41-44 41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

As they went over the Mt. of Olives, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him when this would happen. The Jews were confused about the coming Messiah. In all the prophecies in the Old Testament there wasn’t a clear differentiation between Christ’s first coming and His second coming. In fact they didn’t really understand that there would be 2 comings. Jesus answers the disciple by giving two prophecies. The first: the crushing of the temple. The second “when will we see the end of the age?”

Jesus lets them know this would be a different time then the crushing of the temple. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. And something had to happen first: Verse 10  And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Verses 4 – 13 give the description of the church age.

 Jesus first warns them about things that would happen that should not be interpreted as signs:
 Some would claim to be Christ; deception.
 There would be wars and rumors of wars.

Then Jesus identifies the beginnings of birth pangs, a metaphor for 'false alarm'
 Nations rising up against nations, and kingdoms against kingdoms.
 Fearful events

 Next He described more birth pangs which would lead to the coming Kingdom:
 False prophets
 Persecution of the followers of Jesus
 The spread of Jesus' message (the gospel) around the world.

These things are all happening and have been happening. 100,000 earthquakes are felt every year. There is famine in many countries. In World War II alone 72 MILLION people were killed. Pestilence – the Black Plague in Europe lasted 2 years and killed 100 million people! Believers are persecuted.

Jesus knew it all! He knows the beginning and the end. He will get us through!

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