TOUGH STUFF: This passage is called the Olivet Discourse, because it was a discourse that took place on the Mount of Olives (v3). The name of this passage is the easiest part to figure out, however. When we looked at this discourse in Mark 13, we concluded that any time we look at end-time passages like this, we must accept that different Christians are going to interpret it differently, so we need to hold our own positions humbly here and allow for other opinions.
RED FLAG: Anytime you encounter someone teaching on the end times who claims they know exactly what will unfold and how & when it will occur, that person is a fraud and you should run the other way. Even worse are those who come saying that they are the returning Christ.
ESKA-WHAT? Teaching that deals with end times like this is called eschatology. Eschat is simply the Greek word for 'last' and of course logy means 'words about' or 'study of.' Another way to describe these sort of chapters is apocalyptic literature, which is a word many people often use incorrectly. The aftermath of a tornado sometimes is described as apocalyptic, but since the word actually means 'revelation,' it doesn't really make sense to use it the way so many people do. This passage, however, is apocalyptic, because it reveals things to us about what's to come.
INDISPUTABLE IMPERATIVES: Although there are lots of differing interpretations of this text, there are several commands Jesus gives us, His children, that are crystal clear:
Be vigilant: Jesus begins this discourse with the command to 'watch out, so no one deceives you' (v4).
Stand firm: even as 'love grows cold' around you (v12-13).
Keep watch: 'because you do not know on what day your Lord will come' (v42).
Be ready: 'the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect Him' (v44).
JESUS HAS YOU IN MIND: The fulfillment of these eschatological prophecies can seem terrifying for sure, but rest assured that as one of Jesus' elect, you will be protected from it (v22-25). In fact, as the Son of Man returns, you will be gathered up to join Him (v31).
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The Ancient of Days surrounded by His angels who gives all authority, glory and power to the Son of Man (from Daniel 7, a passage that Jesus draws much of this imagery from).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will strengthen you to be vigilant, stand firm, keep watch and be ready.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: