It is written:
“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 3 Now as He sat 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?” (Matthew 24:1-3)
Matthew 23-25 contains what is known as The Olivet Discourse. It is a series of sermons that Jesus preached shortly before His arrest.
In Matthew 24, there are several prophecies which Jesus makes regarding the destruction of the city of Jerusalem (which occurred in the year 70 A.D.), as well as prophecies of His Second Coming.
Which of these prophecies were fulfilled in 70 A.D., and which are yet to come? Were they all fulfilled in 70 A.D.? Are the vast majority of them still unfulfilled? If so, how are we to know which are still future and which have been fulfilled already?
These are some of the questions which we will set to investigate in this series of brief articles.
The first thing I would call your attention to is the fact that in Matthew 24:3, the Apostles of Jesus ask Him three questions: when will these things be? What will be the sign of Your coming? What will be the sign of the end of the age?
Comparing the parallel passages in Mark and Luke are very informative as to helping to identify which of these prophecies apply to the destruction of Jerusalem, and which apply to the Second Coming.
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:3-4)
“So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7).
One author has written:
“An analysis of the verses quoted above shows that the disciples, according to all three accounts, utilized the same expression “these things” in their questioning of Jesus. The first question, according to all three accounts, is “when shall these things be?” The thing uppermost in their minds was the question of when would Herod’s temple be destroyed. The second question asked for a sign, according to all three accounts. Mark and Luke agree that the disciples asked for a sign when “these things” would come to pass or be fulfilled. Both of these writers still place the main question on the destruction of Herod’s temple. We are on solid ground, then, when we say that the signs found in Mark and Luke are signs of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, rather than signs of the second coming of Christ. Sound exegesis demands that we accept the import of each author’s own statements. Matthew adds the questions regarding signs of Christ’s parousia or second coming, and of the end of the world. And Matthew discusses those matters in Matthew 24: 36 and onward. It does violence to the total picture to insist that Matthew deals with last things in the first 35 verses of Matthew 24.” (Everett Carver, When Jesus Comes Again, 4598-4510 (Kindle Edition); Prestonsburg, Ky; Reformation Publishers)
Thus, we can see that the Olivet Discourse recorded in Mark and Luke deals primarily with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.