Patterns in the Olivet Discourse

In a past lesson, it was shown that the answers to the Disciples’ questions on the Mount of Olives were recorded two different ways by the gospels. Matthew and Mark recorded the answers of Jesus from a Jewish perspective, while Luke showed a Gentile perspective.

The answers of Jesus are known as the Olivet Discourse and can be broken down into seven different subjects. Amazingly, they form a chiasm! A chiasm is a literary device in which the second part of a grouping of subjects is a mirror image of the first. There are many chiasms in the Bible.

Beginning of Sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8, Mark 13:5-10)
    Relationships Shaken (Matthew 24:9-14, Mark 13:11-13)
        False Messiah (Matthew 24: 15-20, Mark 13:14-18)
            The Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22, Mark 13:19-20)
        False Messiahs (Matthew 24:23-28, Mark 13:21-23)
    Heavens Shaken (Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:24-25)
The End of the Church Age (Matthew 24:30-35, Mark 13:26-31)

Because the Gospel of Luke does not record the warnings of a False Messiah, The Tribulation, or other False Messiahs, there are only five groups of subjects in Luke chapter 21. And they, too, form a chiasm.

Beginning of Signs (Luke 21:8-11)
    Relationships Shaken, Deliverance (Luke 21:12-19)
        Times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:20-24)
    Heavens Shaken (Luke 21:25-26)
The End of the Church Age (Luke 21:27-33)

The validity of the Luke outline of subject groupings is confirmed by the Torah design it displays. The Torah is the Jewish word for the first five books of the Bible. We Gentiles call those books the Pentateuch. “Pente” is Greek for “five”; “teuchos” is Greek for “vessel.”

Dr. J. R. Church has noted separate themes in each of the books of the Torah. Each of these five books has a distinct theme:

  1. Genesis - Beginning and the Sin of man
  2. Exodus - Deliverance and Redemption
  3. Leviticus - Sanctification or setting aside
  4. Numbers – Testing in the Wilderness
  5. Deuteronomy - Summation, Establishment of the Kingdom
Here are the five Torah themes applied to the five groups of subjects in Luke’s account of the Olivet Discourse:
  1. Beginning of Signs (Genesis – the Beginning)
  2. Relationships Shaken, Deliverance (Exodus – Deliverance)
  3. Times of the Gentiles (Leviticus – Set Apart)
  4. Heavens Shaken (Numbers – Testing)
  5. The End of the Church Age (Deuteronomy – Establishment of the Kingdom)
The Lord Jesus provided us with an outline of the time from the Day of Pentecost until the Rapture. It appears that that great event is drawing near!

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” – Luke 21:28
Amen and amen!

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