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Comparing and Integrating Matthew 24
Mark 13
Luke 21

It's important to note at the outset that much of prophecy is framed in apocalyptic language - with its use of highly charged symbols, cosmic metaphors, dreams, visions, angelic messengers, color, and drama; and the interpretation of those passages vexes even the best exegetes. But that's not true of all prophetic passages. Some are couched in straight-forward, non-apocalyptic language. And that's largely, though not altogether, true of the Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24:1-31, Mark 13, and Luke 21, three of the most important prophetic passages in the entire Bible. What I propose to do, therefore, is first to integrate these three passages and then use the events they describe to guide the interpretation and the chronology of the more difficult apocalyptic passages. 

Moreover, while chronology is clearly evident in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 - underscored, for example, in Matthew 24:1-31 by the word "then" (τότε), seven specific instances, and once by the phrase "immediately afterwards" (Εὐθέως δὲ μετὰ) - chronology is not usually characteristic of apocalyptic literature - especially the Book of Revelation. There we find a series of vignettes organized around themes, not chronology. Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, therefore, will serve the additional purpose of fitting those and other apocalyptic vignettes to a fairly well defined chronology.

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