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?”
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying,
Jesus sat on the very place where the prophecy He was about to give will occur. The Mount of Olives is just across the Kidron Valley from the temple. This gave a panoramic view of both Jerusalem and the temple from the east. Jesus had just given a prophecy about the destruction of the temple (vv 1-2).
The disciples, shaken by this prophecy, asked Jesus two questions. They assumed that the destruction of the temple would take place at the Second Coming.
“Tell us, when will these things be?
“These things” refers to Jesus’ statement about the destruction of the temple and the fall of Jerusalem (vv 1-2). Jesus did not answer this question directly in chapters 24 and 25. He did indicate that “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (v 34). However, in terms of the exact time Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Mt 24:36).
And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
In the Greek the word “the” governs both “the sign of Your coming” and “of the end of the age.” The disciples did not separate the two events. In their view, the destruction of Jerusalem entailed the end of the age with the coming of the Messiah. Jesus referred to His coming in three places (vv 27, 37, 39). The Second Coming will occur just after the Tribulation period of seven years.
The phrase “the end of the age” means the end of the age of Israel. The Second Coming will consummate that age. The “present age” to Jesus and the disciples was the one before the Messianic age began. The Old Testament taught a sequence of prophetical events:
Destruction of Jerusalem (Zech 14:1)
Messiah would come and end the present age of Israel (Zech 14:3-8)
Messiah would set up a new kingdom for Israel (Zech 14:3-11).
The Rapture will occur just before the Tribulation. The disciples had no knowledge of the Rapture but only of the Second Coming.
The Olivet Discourse has to do with the restoration of Israel to Millennial glory.
We do not find the church anywhere in the Olivet Discourse. All this has to do with the nation Israel and bringing Israel back to the Messiah. The Rapture has to do with the church; the Second Coming has to do with Israel as a nation.