Gary DeMar provides a helpful corrective to non-preterist readings of the Olivet Discourse.
Therefore, behold, I am sending YOU prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them YOU will kill and crucify, and some of them YOU will scourge in YOUR synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon YOU may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom YOU murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to YOU, all these things will come upon this generation (23:34–36).
We find the same audience reference noted again and again. The second person plural is used repeatedly throughout the chapter.
Matthew 24 begins the same way in terms of audience reference: “See to it that no one misleads YOU. . . And YOU will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that YOU are not frightened. . . Then they will deliver YOU up to tribulation, and will kill YOU, and YOU will be hated by all nations on account of My name” (vv. 4, 6, 9). There is nothing in these verses that would have led Jesus’ audience to conclude that He was speaking about a different group of people, especially as time unfolded and reports were coming in of famines (Acts 11:28; see Josephus, Antiquities iii.xv.3, Tacitus, Annals 12:43; Suetonius, Claudius 18), earthquakes (Matt. 27:51–54; 28:2; Acts 4:31; 16:26; Laodicea in AD 61 and at Pompeii in AD 62), and wars and rumors of wars(DeMar, 2013).
What is particularly important, DeMar points out, is that the prepositional phrase "in the whole world(οἰκουμένῃ)" is used of the universal preaching of the Gospel(Matt. 24:14). This is the same "world" or "οἰκουμένην" that was "taxed during the reign of Caesar Augustus"(Luke 2:1)"(DeMar, 2013). The Bible therefore defines what constitutes the οἰκουμένην as opposed to the κόσμος, which refers to the entire created order or system:
Murray comments on Matthew 24:14, but does not note that “the world-wide preaching of the gospel for a witness to the nations” is a Roman Empire-wide (οἰκουμένῃ) event and not a distant global event (Rom. 1:8 [κόσμος]; 16:25–26; Col. 1:6, 23; 1 Tim. 3:16). James Hamilton writes the following in his commentary on Revelation: “In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus says the gospel has to be proclaimed to the whole world, ‘then the end will come’ (Matthew 24:14).” Like Murray, he does not mention that Matthew uses οἰκουμένῃ and not κόσμος.
Murray’s comments surprised me because in his first volume of his 1959 commentary on Romans he wrote the following on Romans 1:8:
“Throughout the whole world” has been regarded as hyperbole. This is not perhaps the most felicitous way to expressing the apostle’s thought. Paul did not mean, of course, that the whole world distributively, every person under heaven, had heard of the faith of the Roman believers. His terms could not be pressed into that meaning even if most literally understood. But the expression here witnesses to the extensive diffusion of the gospel throughout the known world during the apostolic age (cf. Col. 1:23; Acts 17:30, 31).
Paul uses the word kosmos in Romans 1:8. So if kosmos can be used in a way that applies to a limited area and time, as Murray and other commentators argue, can’t the same be said for Jesus’ use of the more restrictive oikoumenē in Matthew 24:14(DeMar, 2013)?
The "end" of Matt. 24:13-14 refers not to the final eschaton but to the end of the Mosaic Economy.
In reality, Jesus was addressing the very specific “end of the age” that would come before that generation passed away (24:3, 34). The expression “end of the age” refers “to the end of the ‘Jewish age,’ i.e., the time of transference from a national to an international people of God,” what the Apostle Paul describes as the “ends of the ages” (τέλη τῶν αἰώνων) that had come upon that generation of Christians (1 Cor. 10:11). Matthew is the only gospel writer to use the phrase “the end of the age” (Matt. 13:39, 40, 49; 24:3; 28:20; cf. Heb. 9:26).
A similar use of telos (end) is used by Jesus in Matthew 10:22: “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved(DeMar, 2013).”
Such a use of "saved" is quite common in Matthew's Gospel(Matt. 8:25; 9:21–22; 14:30; 24:22; 27:40, 42, 49). This is clearly what Jesus means in 24:13, 22, since he assures his audience that anyone who does not retreat to the mountains outside Judea(Matt. 24:15-22) will be physically killed(as opposed to facing eternal damnation). Jesus means the same thing here that he does in Matthew 10:5-6, when he refers to his sending of the Apostles out to the lost sheep of Israel. The "salvation" mentioned here refers to escaping physical death by persecution.
Notice what Jesus says next to the twelve He commissioned to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel: “But whenever they persecute YOU in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to YOU, YOU will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes” (10:23). The audience reference is self-evident. If this were a description of events that impacted a future generation, the command would be universal and not confined to the cities of Israel(DeMar, 2013)