Panoramic View of the Coming Church Age: Mark 13 and Matthew 24-25
“3) As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately, “4) Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”” Mark‬ ‭13‬:‭3‬-‭4‬ ‭.
After leaving the temple and observing its magnificent structure, Jesus accompanied by four of His Disciples walked up the sloops of the Mount of Olives and sat down overseeing the city of Jerusalem. The panoramic view was amazing!
With Him were Peter, James, John and Andrew. These were the first four disciples Jesus originally called by the seashores of Galilee nearly three years earlier. (See Matthew 4:18-22)
As they sat down, the conversation returned to His prophecy of the destruction of the temple. It is helpful to compare the “question” as asked in the Gospel of Mark to the “questions” asked in the Gospel of Matthew.
According to Mark, they asked; “when will these things be, and what will the signs be when these things are going to be fulfilled?” (Vs 4) The “question” from the Gospel of Mark related to the destruction of the temple and accompanying events.
The “questions” as recorded by Matthew were much broader. Matthew 24:3 says; “when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
I do not see a contradiction in these two accounts, but rather Matthew elaborated more on the full scope of the conversation. He makes it sound like more of the disciples drifted into this impromptu gathering. As they talked, one subject led to the next.
Keep this in mind as you study Mark 13 and Matthew 24-25. The full conversation covered three very different subjects and three different time frames. This will become significant in a moment!
For example, the destruction of the temple happened in 70 AD. The return of Christ and the end of the age are still future events from our perspective. Can you see how broad the scope of this conversation became?
But here is the catch, many events Jesus foretold matched both time frames. Wars, famine, natural disasters and intense persecution to the point of being perceived as tribulation all happened to the first century believers and the Jewish nation. They thought they were living in the end times or the last days.
From our vantage point in history, we try to force Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13 into what we consider “the end times.” Many look at these passages through the lens of the Great Tribulation, the rapture of the church and the return of Christ to set up His Millennium Kingdom.
I see that view as far too narrow. Technically, the scope of the questioning of Jesus by His disciples covered the entire church age. It covered everything from the destruction of the temple in 70 AD to the return of Christ to set up His Millennium Kingdom. It was very broad!
When Acts 1:6-8 is added to this conversation, we have a unique twist. The disciples were wondering if Jesus was going to restore the kingdom to Israel at that very moment after His resurrection. Jesus replied; “It’s not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority, but you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you…”.
Please understand this, the end times span the entire church age marked by the filling of the Holy Spirit and the world wide spread of the gospel. In other words, we have been in the last age for the past 2,000 years. The next big event or epoch on God’s calendar will radically change everything.
Let me summarize, Jesus was painting with a very broad brush in Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13. He was giving a macro view of the entire church age and not a micro view of the final decade before His return. It was a panoramic view of the entire church age.
If you are being caught up in end time frenzy, take a deep breath, stand back and look at the bigger picture. I believe we are rushing toward the climax of this age, but God has been coloring in the details of Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13 for the past 2,000 years. Not everything has to happen in the next few years. Many of these events have already been fulfilled.
This same macro view should also be applied to the book of Revelation. Biblical prophecy is very broad and not narrow. From the perspective of God and eternity, it spans a few days. From the vantage point of earth, it spans a few thousand years. (See 2 Peter 3:8-9)
In Mark 13 and Matthew 24-25, Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives and sharing with His disciples a panoramic of Jerusalem, As they questioned Him, the conversation became a panoramic view of the entire church age!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

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