Interpretive Flaws in the Olivet Discourse

Larry D. Pettegrew | August 25, 2009

The Olivet Discourse as the ultimate exposition of events related to the future of Israel has been a proving ground where incorrect rapture systems have gone astray. A survey of the Discourse starts with the backdrop of a scathing rebuke and proceeds to note the stunned disciples, the doomed temple, the timing question, the unexpected delay, the great tribulation, the second coming, and the application. The first of three erring rapture systems, posttribulationism, understands the Discourse to focus on the church, but the larger context and the immediate context demonstrate conclusively that Israel is the main focus. The pre-wrath system is the second erring interpretation when it misconstrues Matt 24:22 and its mention of the shortening of the great tribulation. The third erring system is preterism with its teaching that the Discourse was in the main fulfilled in events around A.D. 70. Preterism falters hermeneutically in its non-literal interpretation of the prophecy. Pretribulationism responds to the hermeneutical fallacies by interpreting “this generation” in Matt 24:34 to refer to the generation alive when events of the great tribulation take place. Consistent pretribulationism understands “one taken, one left” and “the fig tree” to refer to events pertaining to the second coming, not the rapture of the church.

Vol. 13, no. 2 (Fall 2002)

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Pettegrew, Larry D.. "Interpretive Flaws in the Olivet Discourse." The Master's Seminary Journal 13, no. 2 (Fall 2002): 173-90.