His Repeated Warning

On the Mount of Olives, Jesus reiterated key information that is necessary for his disciples to avoid deception by false prophetsHis final block of teaching is comprised of instructions given to the disciples shortly before his arrest and execution, and it is punctuated with warnings about coming deceivers and false prophets.

In this discourse, and repeatedly, he warns that “many deceivers” and “false prophets” will propagate false information about his return and the end of the age, therefore, constant vigilance is necessary.

Hillock - Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash
[Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash]

His discourse begins with a warning to “
beware lest anyone deceive you.” Liars and charlatans will come in his name and “deceive MANY.” Likewise, “MANY false prophets” will come, not just a few, and they will target the “elect” of God with their false teachings. And in these sayings, the stress is on the term “MANY” - (Matthew 24:4-11, 24:23-24, 24:26).

The contents of their teachings include false information about the return of Jesus. They claim he “is here” or “there,” or that he is “in the wilderness” or “in the secret chambers.” Some of them set false expectations about the imminence of Christ’s return by claiming that the “season had drawn near” - (Matthew 24:23-26, Luke 21:8).

Disciples will “hear of wars and reports of wars.” Deceivers will point to wars, earthquakes, and similar calamities as “signs” that the “end” is near.

Certainly, wars, seismic activities, and famines occur over the course of human history; however, they are NOT indicators of the end’s nearness. They constitute “birth pains,” evidence of the inevitable end of the present age. Nevertheless, as Jesus stated, the “end is not yet” - (Matthew 24:4-6).


And Jesus warns us that “no one knows the day and hour, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, except the Father alone.” For emphasis, he ends this declaration with the term “alone,” which is emphatic in the Greek sentence. The Father is the ONLY exception to the rule, period.

He repeats this warning at least four times in the Olivet Discourse. Additionally, he states that believers do not know “on what kind of day” he will come, for he is coming “at an hour you do not expect.” The version in Mark adds that we do not know “when the season is” - (Matthew 24:42-44, 24:50, 25:13, Mark 13:32-35).

Jesus made his most complete warning about the timing of that day prior to his ascension. When the disciples asked when he would restore the kingdom, he replied, “It is NOT for you to know times or seasons, which the Father has set within His own authority.”

The Greek nouns rendered “times” and “seasons” are both plurals, and together, they cover virtually any way one might wish to delimit time - (Acts 1:7-8).


Rather than calculate chronologies and timetables, Christ’s disciples must concern themselves with proclaiming the gospel to all nations. THAT is the mission assigned to the church by Jesus.

But in the interim between his ascension and return, they must always remain prepared for his sudden and unexpected arrival. And it is because they do not and cannot know the timing of the end that believers must be ready every moment of every day - (Matthew 24:14, 24:42-44, 25:13, Mark 13:32-36).

The ‘Olivet Discourse’ is NOT a detailed outline of future events that must occur during history’s final few years, nor does it provide a timetable by which believers can ascertain the time of his arrival in glory.

But it certainly does provide clear and emphatic warnings about deceivers who will plague the church with deceptions and false expectations about the future, a trend that will continue for the entire period between his resurrection and return, and one that has come to characterize much of the leadership of the contemporary church.