Yesterday I noted that there are four major approaches to the Olivet Discourse. (1) It refers entirely or primarily to the events of AD 70. (2) It refers entirely to eschatological events. (3) It refers to events that span from the first century through the present to the eschatological return of Christ. (4) It refers to AD 70 as the type of the Day of the Lord and to the eschatological Day of the Lord itself.
In this and subsequent posts I plan to provide a brief exposition of the first part of the Olivet Discourse according to the fourth approach.
When Jesus left the temple for the last time, judgment may have been an implication of this departure. As Yhwh left the temple in Ezekiel 10, so now the Messiah left the temple. Since all three Gospels note that Jesus had pronounced judgment on the Jewish leaders, the judgment aspect of this departure may have been apparent to the disciples. Matthew records that Jesus had proclaimed “your house is left to you desolate” (23:38). The disciples’ praise of the temple buildings may have been a response to this saying. Perhaps they wished Jesus to affirm their view of the temple’s splendor—a visible sign of God’s presence and splendor. At the very least their response shows them to be out of step with Jesus’s viewpoint of the temple.
Jesus responded to their praise of the temple by predicting, “There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (24:2 || 13:2 || 21:6). This statement provoked questions from the disciples. All three Gospels record the disciples asking, “when will these things be?” (24:3 || 13:4 || 21:7). They were clearly asking Jesus when the temple destruction he spoke of would take place.
Matthew pairs this question with another, given in two parts: “and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (24:3). Here the disciples link the destruction of the temple with an eschatological advent of Christ. The same thing occurs in Mark, though with less clarity: “and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” (13:4). This phrase alludes to Daniel 12:6-7, a passage describing “a time of trouble” for Israel “such as never has been since there was a nation till that time” (12:1). In the course of this vision someone says, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” (12:6). The response is that “it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished” (12:7) (bold italics indicate parallel wording in the Greek text of Daniel and Mark). When Daniel inquired further, he was told, “the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end” (12:9). According to Luke, as Jesus was leaving the temple, the disciples asked Jesus, “and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7). The plural “things” may indicate that more than just the temple is in view, though it may just indicate that Luke is more focused on the temple destruction in his account of the discourse.
When the Gospels are compared Luke’s presentation focuses the reader’s attention on the typological fulfillment in AD 70 whereas Matthew’s presentation focuses on that anti-typical fulfillment in the final day of the Lord.
Clearly the disciples linked the destruction of the temple and the Son of Man’s coming at the end of the age. They expected these things to happen as a single event, and Jesus, who in this discourse states that he did not know the timing of these events (and thus whether or by how much they are separated), treats them together (24:36 || 13:32). It was appropriate for him to link the two events: “the events accompanying those judgments upon the guilty city will be the foreshadowing of the Final Judgment at His second advent.”
Perhaps this is fitting because the temple was microcosm of the cosmos. The judgment on the one symbolized the judgment on the other.
 Oden and Bray 2010: 370; Aquinas 2012: 762; Calvin 1996: 115; France 2002: 495; Strauss 2014: 568; Robertson 2004: 297; Köstenberger, Stewart, and Makara 2017: 35.
 Swete 1898: 295; Bolt 2004: 92.
 Cranfield 1959: 393-94.
 Edwards 2002: 390; Adams 2007: 140.
 Marshall 1978: 762; Bock 1996: 1663.
 Garland 2011: 828; Edwards 2015: 595.
 Bock 2016: 206.
 Geldenhuys 1951: 523.