The Olivet Discourse is found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 17 and 21. Under the leading of the Holy Spirit, there are subtle differences between the answers to the disciples’ questions in each of the gospels. Matthew 24 and Mark 13 are the most similar, but Mark does mention things not found elsewhere.
I have long been of the opinion that Jesus was speaking to the Jews in His Discourse. Jesus warns of false messiahs. As Christians we know who the Messiah is. Were you deceived by the “Reverend” Sun Yung Moon, who claimed to be the Christ? We should not be fooled. For this reason, and others, it seems that Jesus was addressing the non-believing Jews, certainly in the Matthew and Mark accounts of the Discourse which warn of false messiahs. The Luke account does not give this warning. I believe this is because the Luke account is addressed to the Church.
In Matthew’s and Mark’s account of the Discourse, Jesus gives the warning, “when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” One of the interesting differences between these three gospels is the fact that the “abomination of desolation” is not mentioned in the Luke account. In Luke Jesus warned, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.”
In my opinion, Jesus did not mention the abomination of desolation in Luke, because the Luke account is addressed to the Church, and when the abomination of desolation takes place we will not be here! Because I am of pre-Millennialist belief and interpret the Word literally, I feel this is yet another indicator of the Lord’s wonderful plan to remove the Church before the time of His wrath. Praise the Lord!
We know from history that the Church in Jerusalem was spared the terrible events of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, because they heeded the words of Jesus. The Church was warned by Jesus ahead of time.
Some students of the Bible believe that Luke 17 is not part of the Olivet Discourse. Because of the similarity of subjects and language, I think it belongs to the Discourse. In Luke 17 Jesus discusses the day of Noah and the day of Lot. He then says that it will be the same “in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”
Matthew discusses Noah, but does not use the phrase “when the Son of Man is revealed.” The Greek root word for “revealed” is apokalypto, the same root word for the Revelation given to John on the Isle of Patmos. Why did Matthew not use the word “revealed”? My thought is that this “revealing” refers to the mystical event when Jesus comes for, and is revealed to, His Church and not His later appearance when all mankind will see His magnificent Return. Of course, the mystical event is when the Church is snatched up, in Greek harpazo, also known as the Rapture. Matthew did not use “revealing” because the Jews who have not accepted Jesus as Messiah will not participate in the Rapture. (First Thessalonians 4:16-18)
I look forward to the Day of revealing. May the name of Jesus be praised, always!