To properly understand the message that
Christ delivered to His disciples, recorded in Matthew 24,
25, one must understand the overall framework of events in
Matthew’s gospel. The subject at hand throughout this gospel is
the King and the proffered Kingdom. With the King
present in Israel’s midst, the Kingdom of the Heavens (the heavenly
portion of the Messianic Kingdom — a rule from the heavens over the
earth) was offered to and rejected by Israel. With Israel’s
rejection, the kingdom of the heavens was taken from Israel with
a view to the kingdom being offered to a separate and distinct “nation.”
The house of Israel, rejecting the King and the Kingdom, was
then left desolate (Matthew 21:33-43; 23:38,
The discourse that Christ delivered to His
disciples on Mount Olivet was given immediately following His
pronouncement of desolation upon the house of Israel, two days prior
to the time Israel would climax the nation’s rejection by crucifying
“Jesus, the King of the Jews” (cf. Matthew 23:38;
26:2; 27:37). Christ had previously mentioned the
Church, anticipating that which was about to occur (Matthew 16:18).
He then alluded to the previously mentioned Church (though the
Church was not yet in existence) shortly before His discourse on
Mount Olivet as the “nation” that would be allowed to bring
forth fruit in the realm where Israel had failed (Matthew 21:43;
cf. Matthew 21:18, 19). And the Church was about to
be called into existence to be the recipient of that which had
been rejected by and taken from Israel.
Christ’s discourse on Mount Olivet takes
into account all things that had previously occurred during His
earthly ministry (anticipating the existence of the Church) and
concerns not only Israel and the Church but also
the Gentile nations. This discourse, delivered in a tripartite
With the house of Israel (apart from the kingdom of the
heavens) during and following the Tribulation (24:4-39).
With the Church (in relation to the kingdom of the heavens)
during and following the present dispensation (24:40-25:30).
With the saved out of the Gentile nations (in relation to the
kingdom) following the Tribulation (25:31-46).