The Mount of Olives

Fredy Winkler

The 9th of Av, which typically falls in August, is a day of mourning according to the Jewish calendar, because the first and second temples were destroyed on that day.

In His sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus foretold the temple’s destruction. For critics of the New Testament, this was an argument in favor of the assertion that the gospels were originally written after the destruction of the temple, because Jesus couldn’t possibly have known about it in advance. First of all, this argument is completely untenable; and secondly, they’re overlooking the fact that the prophet Daniel had already spoken of it (Dan 9:26).

Rome is often presented as the savage power that brought great misfortunes upon the Jewish people of the time. But ultimately, the Romans were only God’s instrument in bringing His judgment on the people of Israel.

The book of Daniel, Jesus’ sermon on the Mount of Olives, and Revelation are the three most illuminating passages in the Bible concerning the end times. In Daniel 8:15, the one who gave understanding to Daniel is compared to someone who looks like a man. Who is meant by that? Obviously, the “Son of Man,” as he is repeatedly called in Daniel (and which is a synonym for Jesus elsewhere in Scripture), depicts the Son of God.

We can say that the Lord speaks not just on the Mount of Olives, but also in the books of Daniel and Revelation. In Daniel 8:17, the Lord tells Daniel, “at the time of the end shall be the vision.”

Jesus gave His first public speech in Nazareth’s synagogue (Luke 4:16-30). In it, He read from Isaiah 61:1-2. But, he only quoted the first half of the second verse, which reads, “[the LORD hath anointed me] to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,” whereupon He said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

Did Jesus also announce the second part of the verse, the day of vengeance? This question is usually answered “no.” However, everything that was written about Him had to be fulfilled (Luke 24:44). Before the crucifixion, at the end of His public ministry, Jesus spoke about the coming day of vengeance on the Mount of Olives.

It can be observed that this topic is increasingly neglected or even avoided when preaching. It is certainly true that God’s grace is great. The time of grace is represented as a “year of grace” in Isaiah, and vengeance as only a “day.” God’s grace can be symbolically described as being 365 times greater than His wrath. Even so, when proclaiming the Word of God, omission of the coming judgment is an omission that the Lord warned against at the end of Revelation (Rev 22:19).

Israel has many allies today who, as far as that nation is concerned, only want to see the Bible’s positive statements about end-time events, and omit or attempt to reinterpret statements about the final judgment. However, it should be clear to us that everything written must be fulfilled.

We can see almost unfathomable development in Israel today. The same thing can also be observed worldwide. Where will it all lead? To heaven on earth, as one might think? The Word of God must consistently be our compass, even in questions of modern times. Back then, Israel and the Roman world experienced a tremendous increase in prosperity as well. The disciples were enthusiastic about the massive construction of the temple, and wanted Jesus to be excited about it, too. But how did He respond to them? “As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Luke 21:6).

Thankful for the solid prophetic Word, which gives us guidance in this confusing time, I send you cordial greetings with Shalom!

News from Israel - 08/2019

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