All the signs listed in Matthew 24 have reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70.
The Olivet Discourse
The Olivet Discourse or Olivet prophecy is a biblical passage found in the Synoptic Gospels in Matthew 24 and 25, Mark 13, and Luke 21.
Here is an interpretation of Israel’s history according to which God’s people have always been disobedient and rebellious: their alienation from God, it is clearly implied, is to reach its climax in the murder of the Messiah himself. – Anthony T. Hanson
- 1844: Johann Peter Lange, The Life of the Lord : Olivet Discourse – As soon as Christ comes to the destruction of Jerusalem, He conceives it in the prophetic importance which it has to His disciples. He assumes that they will live to see the destruction themselves. He then points out to them the sign by which they were to recognise that the judgment was about to break over Jerusalem.”
- 2001: H.L. Nigro, Response to the Preterist Position as Outlined by Sproul – The gospel was not preached to all nations at the time Jerusalem was destroyed. It had been preached only to the known world.
- 2007: Doug Beaumont, Olivet Discourse Harmony – While studying the Olivet Discourse in Mt. 24 I decided it might be fun to try to harmonize the account from all four gospels (it’s not technically part of John or Luke 17, but elements are so I threw them in as well). Here is what I came up with.
2012: Joe La Bianca, 70 AD – A Commentary on Matthew Twenty-Four – This is a commentary on Matthew 24. People think this chapter teaches the end of the world, but it does not. It teaches the end of a world, the world of Israel in the first century. So grab your bible, read the verses, and then read my comments below.
I can’t remember when I didn’t think Matt 24 all referred to Jerusalem’s fall. – Jim McGuigan
‘I think it proper to state, in this third edition, that, having now entered upon the deeper study of the prophetic portions of the New Testament, I do not feel by any means that full confidence which I once did in the exegesis, quoad prophetical interpretation, here given of the three portions of (Matthew) chap. xxv. But I have no other system to substitute, and some of the points here dwelt on seem to me as weighty as ever. I very much question whether the thorough study of Scripture prophecy will not make me more and more distrustful of all human systematising, and less willing to hazard strong assertion on any portion of the subject.’ (July 1855.) (in location)
“29 After the Tribulation of Jerusalem, it will be ” lights out ” for apostate Old Covenant Israel. Its civil and religious institutions, and it’s leading citizens will be utterly destroyed. 30 Then there will be the final sign that they were mistaken when they rejected Christ. This sign will prove that He has resurrected from their crucifixion and is now reigning over the earth from His throne in heaven. This sign will be the final destruction of their once holy Temple; and it will cause all the tribes of the Promise Land to mourn in grief over their horrendous suffering and rejection by God. ( In fulfillment of Daniel 7: 13-14 ), they will see ” the Son of Man coming on the clouds up to the Ancient of Days to receive His Kingdom,” and they will subsequently see Him symbolically coming on the clouds with power to judge them for their wickedness. 31 After the destruction of the old temple [ which John says has become a ” synagogue of Satan ” in Revelation ], Christ will then send out His disciples as messengers of the Gospel, to gather in His new synagogue from the four corners of the earth. God will no longer restrict His dwelling place to one special temple in one special nation; but He will have a new worldwide temple— the New Covenant People of God.”
Philip Doddridge (1740)
“The particular parts of the whole discourse have been admirably illustrated by many learned commentators. Christian writers have always, with great reason, represented Josephus’s History of the Jewish War, as the best commentary on this chapter, (Matt. xxiv.) and many have justly remarked it, as a wonderful instance of the care of Providence for the Christian church, that he, an eye witness, and in these things of so great credit, should (especially in such an extraordinary manner) be preserved, to transmit to us a collection of important facts, which so exactly illustrate this noble prophecy in almost every circumstance.” (Doddridge’s Family Expositor, vol ii. p. 373)
Hank Hanegraaff (2004)
“The discourse of Jesus on the Mount of Olives. It took place just after Jesus left the temple grounds. He turned to His disciples and promised them that not one stone would be left on top of another. They were so astonished that they asked Him about it shortly after, as they rested on the Mount of Olives and beheld the glory of the temple.”
(Where Gentry Stood on 9/98) “I do not believe that I am THEOLOGICALLY committed to requiring that both judgments (A.D. 70 and Second Advent) appear in Matthew’s Olivet Discourse. My evangelical creedal commitments require a Second Advent, to be sure, but not necessarily a Second Advent in Matthew 24-25. Indeed, these chapters could theoretically speak ONLY of A.D. 70 (even though I believe such would be quite awkward). I do not have any unyielding theological commitments against applying the entire Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25 to A.D. 70. If these chapters apply only to A.D. 70, so be it!” (The Great Tribulation in Progressive Dispensationalism (Part 3) – Dispensationalism in Transition, September, 1998)
(Where Gentry Stood on 2/99) “But again — as I argue in an earlier newsletter (Oct., 1998) — WHERE is the temporal marker serving as the springboard from the first century into the distant future? I have no problem with A.D. 70 texts coming into close association with Second Advent texts: they are theologically related (see Matt. 24:3-35 with Matt. 24:36ff in my September, 1998 issue). I do, however, have a problem with the mere ASSERTION without proper exegetical notation — and especially since such goes AGAINST positive contrary evidence.” (An Introductory Disclaimer, Orlando Conference)
“But none of our Saviour’s prophecies are more remarkable than those relating to the destruction of Jerusalem, as none are more proper and pertinent to the design of these discourses: and we will consider them as they lie in the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew, taking in also what is superadded by the other evangelists upon parallel occasions. These prophecies were delivered by our Saviour about forty years, and were committed to writing by St Matthew about thirty years, before they were to take effect. St Matthew’s is universally allowed to be the first of the four Gospels;  the first in time, as it is always was the first in order was written, as most writers affirm, in the eighth year after the ascension of our Saviour.  It must have been written before the dispersion of the apostles, because St. Bartholemew  is said to have taken it along with him into India, and to have left it there, where it was found several years afterwards by Pantaenus. If the general tradition of antiquity be true, that it was written originally in Hebrew, it certainly was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, for there was no occasion for writing in that language after the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews into all nations. ” (Prophecy of Matthew 24)
“Parousia / erchomai in Matthew 24:1 – 25:30 exclusively refers to Jesus as ruler of the kings of the earth coming in judgment in AD70 to execute vengeance against the city of Jerusalem and destroy its temple.” (Paher, p. 78)
“Jesus, in the discourses which are attributed to him, announces that he will come back immediately after Jerusalem has been defiled. If the words which are placed in his mouth have any sense, they have this sense; and if they do not have it, it is because for theologians black means white and white means black. But for everyone who is not a sophist this dilemma poses itself categorically: either Jesus is mistaken or these discourses are not from him.The Christian church cannot without disloyalty escape this dilemma.” (T. Colani, Croyances Messianiques, 252.) (Quoted in The Markan Apocalypse)
“In this passage, Jesus predicts specific events that will occur between his resurrection and Rome’s sack of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. But the same predictions appear to point beyond that period and to describe the days before Christ returns. This makes sense if the fall of Jerusalem foreshadows or prefigures the last day.”
“It is not claimed…that any exegete is able completely to untangle what is here intertwined, so as to indicate accurately for each individual passage just how much refers to Jerusalem’s fall, and how much to the great tribulation and second coming.”
C.S. Lewis (1960)
(On Matthew 24:34) “It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.” (Essay “The World’s Last Night” (1960), found in The Essential C.S. Lewis, p. 385)
“The only reasonable conclusion is that Jesus’ prophecies in Matthew 24 are like the Old Testament Messianic prophecies that juxtaposed near-at-hand and far-off events in one context.”
A. T. Robertson
“It is sufficient for our purpose to think of Jesus as using the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem which did happen in that generation in A.D. 70, as also a symbol of his own second coming and of the end of the world or consummation of the age. In a painting the artist by skillful perspective may give on the same surface the inside of a room, the fields outside the window, and the sky far beyond.”
A Comparison of Matthew 24 & Revelation 6
By Doug Beaumont
“And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
|See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will mislead many.||And I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, Come. And I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him; and he went out conquering, and to conquer.|
|And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,||And when He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, Come. And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men should slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.|
|and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.||And when He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, Come. And I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard as it were a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.|
|Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you||And when He broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, Come. And I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. And authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.|
|and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased, most people”s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come. But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days! But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, “Behold, here is the Christ,” or “There He is,” do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. If therefore they say to you, “Behold, He is in the wilderness,” do not go forth, or, “Behold, He is in the inner rooms,” do not believe them.||And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth? And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also.|
|The Day of the Lord|
|But immediately after the tribulation of those daysTHE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.||I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”|