The Olivet Discourse – Matthew and Luke Comparison

29Jun11

These final introductory posts will deal with a few odds and ends that need some discussion and clarification before continuing into the passage itself.. This includes comparing the discourse in Matthew and in Luke, The Temple importance and what happened in 70AD. This post will deal with the differences, or subjective lack of difference between the two main discourse listing found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke

MATTHEW AND LUKE

As mentioned previously there are many in the Dispensational camp that attempt to argue that the Matthew and Luke discourse are dealing with two different events. It is argued the Luke passage deals with the events of 70 AD while the Matthew passage deals with the events of some future apocalyptic scenario. Below you will find the bulk of both passages and you can decide for yourself. It shouldn’t be difficult and little comment will be needed.

It should be noted that Luke does not state the discourse in one long section as Matthew does, but uses it as needed for the purpose of his gospel. Also, and this is of utmost importance and was dealt with previously, Luke is writing to primarily a Greek audience and Matthew to a Jewish one. This means Luke will use language more familiar to his readers and will explain things while Matthew will use more Old testament allusions and leave them uninterpreted assuming a general working knowledge of the Old testament by his readers. So before listing the passages themselves here are few key differences in a bullet format.

MATTHEW

  • Matthew is writing to a primarily Jewish audience
  • Uses more figurative language
  • Uses more OT references like Sign of the Son of Man, Abomination, etc
  • Centers the prophecy on the Temple
  • More covenantal breaking references in the context – including the context of several confrontations with the  Pharisees

LUKE

  • Luke is writing to a primarily Greek audience
  • Explains the OT references in more literal terms like “Armies surrounding the city” rather than “abomination of desolation”
  • Centers the prophecy more around the city
  • Luke’s context avoids the confrontation with the Pharisees and uses “faithful living” examples and has Jesus speaking to the people therefore explaining the separation of the discourse over a few chapters

The Matthew passages below will be in normal font while the Luke ones will be in italics for the benefit of the reader.

Matt 24: 1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Luke 21: 5 And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, 6“As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 7And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?

4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,‘ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

8And he said,  “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. 9And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.

7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.

10Then he said to them,  “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.11There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

12But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17) You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.

14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

20“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains

17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!

and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people.

20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.

26“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29“Immediately after the distress of those days
” ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

25“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

30“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

32“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

29And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

No two passages in the Gospels could be any more parallel! The Dispensational argument isnwarranted and does a disservice to the passages to make them relate to something they clearly have no intention of presenting. Now whether they relate to the 70AD holocaust or some future event is the true debate and one the will shortly be addressed.

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