Whose framework should we use as the “gold standard” for the end times?
Jesus, in His sermon on the end times recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, provided extensive details about events leading to the time of the end. In this sermon Jesus describes what is going to happen at the end of this age (Matthew 24:3). Jesus gave us a road map for the end times. The destination? The day of the Lord.
Essentially, the day of the Lord will be the fulcrum point where this current age transitions to the age to come. I love to ponder this. Here we will see the ultimate fulfillment of prophecy when the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) and the god of this [age] world (2 Corinthians 4:4) receives an overwhelming blow to the head (Genesis 3:15). While we live in a world today that is evil (Galatians 1:4), the day is coming when Jesus will come again to restore all things (Acts 3:19–21; Matthew 19:28) and establish the kingdom of God (Luke 21:31) when He has reign and dominion over all the earth during a millennial kingdom (Daniel 7:13–14; Revelation 11:15; Zechariah 14:9; Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 60:19–21; Isaiah 66:22–23; Psalm 72:8; Revelation 20:4). This is beautiful and inspiring. It will be so wonderfully glorious that “the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17). Jesus will be king, and out of the LORD’s house and out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2–3).
Jesus Christ brought so much to mankind at His first coming, but so much is yet to come! Jesus is truly the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).
Jesus Christ is not only the essence of prophecy, He is to be considered the greatest of all the prophets! Jesus prophesied of many things that were literally fulfilled during his lifetime. Here are just a few examples: Matthew 16:21; Matthew 26:2, 21, 34; John 2:18–22; John 14:26. Also, Jesus was declared a prophet multiple times in the New Testament (Luke 7:16; 24:19; John 6:14; 9:17; Acts 3:22; Hebrews 1:1–2). So not only was Jesus a prophet, He fulfilled prophecy at His first coming and He will fulfill prophecy yet future at His second coming.
Considering that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, considering Jesus’s prophetic record, and considering that three of the gospels record Jesus’s extensive prophetic sermon on the end times, I believe without reservation that we should use Jesus Christ’s straightforward end-times framework from the Olivet Discourse as our “gold standard”.
What I mean is that we should use this simple framework as a “measuring rod” to not only keep our bearings when studying prophetic scriptures, but to evaluate our own personal interpretation of prophetic scriptures.
The blue boxes contain a high-level summary of the events foretold by Jesus along with a handful of additional New Testament passages. This end-time chronology as summarized below is vitally important.
I encourage you to take time and familiarize yourself with these important scriptures. If we don’t, how can we effectively obey Jesus’s command to be awake, to be watchful, to be prayerful, and to be ready for the coming of the Son of man? See Matthew 24:42–44; Mark 13:34–36; Luke 21:36.
In the next blog post, we will compare Jesus’s Olivet Discourse “framework for the end times” with the testimony of the prophets from the Old Testament. I think that you will be favorably impressed with how their testimony consistently aligns with Jesus’s “gold standard” framework.