The discussion by Jesus in answer to the questions of four of the Disciples (1) is one of my favorite scriptures, because it covers one of my favorite subjects, the Coming of the Lord Jesus. The discussion is known as the Olivet Discourse, and is included in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
Luke’s account is a little easier to follow because he divided some of the material into two parts. In Luke 17:23-36 he describes the events of the Rapture and the Second Coming. Jesus tells the Disciples that He must first “suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” Then Jesus tells them that at the time of the future “Days of the Son of Man” it will be as in the time of Noah, or as the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Neither the people at the time of Noah, nor the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were expecting what occurred. Jesus then gives the Disciples a description of the Rapture, or the “snatching up.” He speaks of pairs of people; one will be received (2), one will be “left behind.” The Rapture will be a surprise event.
In Luke 21:5-36 in the process of answering two questions, Jesus uses the outline of the Seven Seals of the Revelation. (3)
1 - White Horse, False Messiahs - Luke 21:8
2 - Red Horse, peace taken from Earth - Luke 21:9
3 - Black Horse, famine - Luke 21:11
4 - Pale Horse, Death - Luke 21:16
5 - Souls of Martyrs - Luke 21:18-19
6 - Sun, Moon and stars effected - Luke 21:25
7 - Final Seal - Luke 21:27
Jesus had just told the Disciples that the Temple would be destroyed completely. The two questions Jesus answered were; when will these things happen?; and, what will be the signs of the times? Here is the chronology Jesus gave:
Here are the signs He gave:
You will notice that there is no mention of the Rapture in Luke 21. The Olivet Discourse in chapter 21 was in answer to the questions of the Disciples. Jesus addressed the Disciples, telling them that they would be persecuted. The rest of His discussion was addressed to the Jews (“the land and this people”). The purpose of the events described in the Olivet Discourse is to show the Jews that God is still in charge, and that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Messiah. The wrath or vengeance of God has two purposes. It is directed against the unbelieving, unrepentant (4) world, and it is to show Israel Who is in charge. When modern, secular Israel cannot defend itself, the Lord will step in.
During this future time, the Jews will receive the anger of the world. We are seeing a foretaste of this today. Since the Fall of the year 2000, hundreds of Jews have died at the hands of Hamas. When Israel finally had enough and tried to stop the bombings and the rocket attacks, the world protested and demanded that Israel stop attacking Hamas. Where was their concern over the Israelis who were being blown to bits?
The Olivet Discourse and the Tribulation of the Revelation are not addressed to the Church. After the Seven Letters to the Churches of Asia Minor, the word “church” does not appear in the Revelation. The Church will have been “snatched up” to be with the Lord. Praise His wonderful name!
1 - Mark 13:3
2 - Greek paralambano, Strong’s number 3880.
3 - Revelation 6:1-17, 8:1
4 - Revelation 9:20, 9:21, 16:9, 16:11