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Luke 21:5-38

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Jesus has made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, cleansed the temple and entered into several debates with the religious leadership that he repeatedly won.
Then he praised the poor widow and her offering and passed judgment on the religious leaders. Now Jesus left the temple never to return.
According to the parallel accounts of and , Jesus along with his small band of disciples has left the temple and were in the process of walking away from the magnificent building complex that the remarks made here in are made. “Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, (6) "These things which you see--the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down."
“Now and Then”
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According to the parallel accounts of and , Jesus along with his small band of disciples has left the temple and were in the process of walking away from the magnificent building complex that the remarks made here in are made. “Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, (6) "These things which you see--the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down."
They admired the temple for is architectural grandeur, and its expensive decorations. The temple was impressive not only for its beauty but for it size. The foundation stones were almost the size of box cars (67 ft. long, 18 ft. wide, 12 ft. high).
They admired the temple for is architectural grandeur, and its expensive decorations. The temple was impressive not only for its beauty but for it size. The foundation stones were almost the size of box cars (67 ft. long, 18 ft. wide, 12 ft. high).
()
The temple was indeed, both great and glorious, especially to the disciples of Jesus. The disciples were not from Jerusalem, but were from Galilee. We would say that they were “country bumpkins.” They would have seldom been to Jerusalem and thus would have seen the grandeur of the temple as tourists.
The temple was indeed, both great and glorious, especially to the disciples of Jesus. The disciples were not from Jerusalem, but were from Galilee. We would say that they were “country bumpkins.” They would have seldom been to Jerusalem and thus would have seen the grandeur of the temple as tourists.
Today’s text is not an easy one to dissect…it has caused much debate and discussion. A variety of questions surround these verses and this topic. In fact, lots of different opinions exist regarding the topic of end times and last things, which is the primary subject of these verses in .
The temple was indeed impressive, covering about one-sixth of the land area of the ancient city of Jerusalem. The building complex was nearly five hundred yards long and four hundred yards wide.
Today’s text is not an easy one to dissect…it has caused much debate and discussion. A variety of questions surround these verses and this topic. In fact, lots of different opinions exist regarding the topic of end times and last things, which is the primary subject of these verses in .
The temple was indeed impressive, covering about one-sixth of the land area of the ancient city of Jerusalem. The building complex was nearly five hundred yards long and four hundred yards wide.
Jesus’ remarks are especially devastating, since the temple was the heart and soul of Israel’s worship.
And that shouldn’t surprise us – the disciples themselves, who were with Jesus physically, had questions; indicates they were wondering about the end of things, the kingdom, and the temple. So you’re in good company if you have questions and often feel somewhat confused about the topic of end times and last things.
Jesus’ remarks are especially devastating, since the temple was the heart and soul of Israel’s worship.
In verse seven they voice their concerns...
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But that wasn’t Christ’s desire for his followers then or now. And it’s not my desire for you, either. So I’ll make you a guarantee this morning: no confusion from me, okay? It is not my intention this morning to be so complicated that you leave wondering what’s going to happen. Instead, I want to make sure you leave with confidence, assurance, and hope – challenged to live differently because you know what is going to happen.
In verse seven they voice their concerns,
The disciple’s question had two parts.
To help make sure this occurs, we’re going to have a Q and A time at the end this morning – so write down your questions, jot down any thoughts; and then in a few minutes we’ll take some of those from the floor and do all we can to bring as much clarity as possible to this issue and this text.
“So they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?"
They were of course mistaken for a lengthy period of time would intervene between Jerusalem’s fall and the Second Coming. But there was a connection between the judgment executed upon the nation and the temple on one hand, and the final judgment at the end of the age.
Granted – you may not agree; you may even find yourself with a different view point. But at least you’ll leave with clarity, not confusion. And that’s our goal this morning.
It is clear that the disciple’s interpretation of what Jesus had said about the destruction of the temple were viewed as synonymous of with the end of the world. They were of course mistaken for a lengthy period of time would intervene between Jerusalem’s fall and the Second Coming. But there was a connection between the judgment executed upon the nation and the temple on one hand, and the final judgment at the end of the age.
They wanted to know (1) When will all this take place? (referring to the destruction of the temple) and
The disciple’s question had two parts. They wanted to know (1) When will all this take place? (referring to the destruction of the temple) and (2) Will there be any sign ahead of time? The Lord’s reply comprises what is known as the “Olivet Discourse,” which is the greatest sermon on prophecy ever preached.
So let’s take our Bibles and turn to . And the first thing I want to do is …
(2) Will there be any sign ahead of time?
The Lord’s reply comprises what is known as the “Olivet Discourse,” which is the greatest sermon on prophecy ever preached.
The disciples like many of us today, were concerned about the wrong things. They wanted to know information that would be of no real value to them, other than to satisfy their own curiosity. Jesus was more interested in affecting their conduct rather than satisfying their curiosity. Jesus, however, knew that if the disciples looked for signs they would be susceptible to deception. He virtually avoided their question and instead of telling them what they wanted to know he told them what they needed to know, that is how to conduct themselves in the light of the destruction of Jerusalem and the second coming.
1) Divide the text.
The disciples like many of us today, were concerned about the wrong things. They wanted to know information that would be of no real value to them, other than to satisfy their own curiosity.
Jesus was more interested in affecting their conduct rather than satisfying their curiosity.
Jesus, however, knew that if the disciples looked for signs they would be susceptible to deception.
He virtually avoided their question and instead of telling them what they wanted to know he told them what they needed to know, that is how to conduct themselves in the light of the destruction of Jerusalem and the second coming.
In the midst of all these tumultuous end times events Jesus specifically warns the believer about three very real dangers.
5-24 seem to talking about the end of Jerusalem
As we draw closer to the end of this age…lets consider Jesus instruction to these first century disciples and see how these instructions apply to us also.
First he warns, DON’T BE DECEIVED v. 8
First he warns, DON’T BE DECEIVED v. 8
This was their main question – the temple and Jerusalem? Jesus said the sign was the surrounding of Jerusalem (v. 20). There is debate over this, but this is how I see it.
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Josephus says that in the raid on Jerusalem by Tiberius, over 1 million were killed, imprisoned, etc…I think you can make a strong case for verses 5-24 being fulfilled in 70 AD.
As we move into the first decade of the 21st century, even the most casual observer would have to be alarmed at the spiritual direction of our nation and of especially of God’s people with this nation. Toward the end of the age, Jesus has warned us that there will be an increase in deception and a tremendous potential for people to be deceived. In verse eight Jesus says, “And He said: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, "I am He,’ and, "The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not follow them.”
As we look at the news…we see that the spiritaul condition of this nation and our world…is suffering. We see it in society…but we also see it in His church.
This deception thing is not new, it is as old as the story of mankind. In we are told about how Satan initially deceived mankind.
Bottom line? Jerusalem and the nation of Israel were trampled on. God’s people were dispersed, distressed, and dismayed. What he started with Abraham seems to be disintegrating. When will he restore his people to the land and to the place of peace that was promised them? Well, that’s what he talks about next.
This deception thing is not new, it is as old as the story of mankind. In we are told about how Satan initially deceived mankind. It is interesting to note how very little has changed.
Dr David Jeremiah notes the three steps he used. [David Jeremiah. Until He Comes. (Nashville:Word, 1999) pp. 33-36]
25-36 seem to be talking about the end of this age and the coming of the Son of Man.
Dr David Jeremiah notes the three steps he used. [David Jeremiah. Until He Comes. (Nashville:Word, 1999) pp. 33-36]
First, Dispute God’s Word. The first thing that Satan did in tempting Eve was to dispute the Word of God. Satan appeared to Eve and said () “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden.” He suggested to Eve that somehow she had misunderstood what God meant. “One of the ways that happens today goes something like this; You have a clear plain Word of God in front of you, and it tells you that you shouldn’t do something you’d really like to do. Next thing you know someone sidles up alongside you and tries to to give you an ‘alternative interpretation’ of the text that will allow you to do what you know God doesn’t want you to do. And you end up saying, ‘I’ll not sure I know what this Scripture means.” [Jeremiah. p. 34]
Suddenly he seems to move forward in time and be talking about his return to the earth (not the church’s rapture). Remember – the kingdom is what the disciples were waiting for – “let’s roll out the red carpet and set up the thrones!” they shouted. But since he was rejected by his own people and they did not accept him as the Messiah (), that kingdom would now be set up at a later time – when he returns!
Based on the text, what is sandwiched in between these two events is the “times of the Gentiles.” This time is an interlude – almost an interruption – a “parenthetical phrase” in the history of time that is almost like a hidden piece of time. This is why most of the prophets and even apostles refer to it as a “mystery.” (Eph ). Many scholars call it the church age, or the church dispensation. I’m not big on those names, but I do believe that this time we’re in is a sovereign time in which God has elected to work with through a people comprised of many races, nations, and languages (i.e., the church made up of Jews and Gentiles), as opposed to primarily one race as in the Old Testament (i.e., the Hebrews).
Secondly, Deny God’s Word. The road from doubt to denial is very short. The next thing Satan does is contradict the word of God. In Satan says to Eve, “You will not surely die.” But that is a flat contradiction of what God has revealed in . Dr. David Jeremiah says it so well when he says, “I am learning that every time you try to find an interpretation of a Scripture that will permit you to do something you know is wrong – every time you give a little ground to the devil and lose some ground from the Word of God – it isn’t long until Satan drives a truck through that opening and dumps a load of stinking garbage in your life.” [David Jeremiah p. 35]
“Be not deceived” is the Lord’s first warning, and we must take it to heart. I believe that we are living in the very edge of the latter times.
You see, what was really happening in this time was not a disintegration of God’s original people, but an integration of God’s original people. Yes, God began creating a new race of people – his church! In this new race “there is neither Jew not Greek, bond or free, but Christ is all and in all.” That’s why we’re called CHRISTIANS. Truth is, we’re not first Americans or Latin or African; those who believe are first CHRISTIAN. Then we’re other things. But our first identity in this new race God is creating is CHRSTIAN!
Third, Displace God’s Word. In
That’s why I see the phrase “times of the Gentiles” as a very key element in understanding this text. It is the bridge between the two events descried in this chapter and is a key to understanding the totality of our text.
Satan says, “For God know that in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be open and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” May I suggest to you that he telling Eve that because she will be as God is she can decide for herself what is good and what is evil. One of the easiest places to see how deception is at work in our world is in our culture treats sin. In the minds of many people, an “improper relationship” is different from adultery. Homosexuality is just an “alternative” lifestyle.
Already the spirit of deception is rampant in our world! The only sure way to keep our balance in a deceptive world is to know the Scripture and obey what God tells us to do.
By the way, he was setting them up for this in his recent teachings. Remember the birds? The branches? (Mention more) While it seems to us that this is a last-minute thought, to our providential and sovereign God this has been the plan all along. Truly He is great and wise, far above everything in wisdom and power!
Little by little the idea of absolute truth is being eroded out of our culture.
“Be not deceived” is the Lord’s first warning, and we must take it to heart. I believe that we are living in the very edge of the latter times. Already the spirit of deception is rampant in our world! The only sure way to keep our balance in a deceptive world is to know the Scripture and obey what God tells us to do.
With that division in mind, let me …
Not only are we not to be deceived …
2) Illustrate the text
Not only are we not to be deceived …
Secondly he warns, DO NOT BE AFRAID.
Secondly he warns, DO NOT BE AFRAID.
This is a basic illustration of as seen through the eyes of the disciples. So the word “now” would refer to the present time if you were one of the disciples, and the word “then” would refer to the future as seen through the eyes of the disciples. I have thrown in a few OT notes and terms for those of you who are a little more steeped in your eschatology. (SHOW DIAGRAM)
How do we deal with a constant barrage of negative and frightening predictions concerning the future?
How do we deal with a constant barrage of negative and frightening predictions concerning the future? We can head for the hills, set up a survivalist commune, stock up on guns and groceries and prepare for Armageddon. We can allow dire predictions of the future to cause us to cave in to fear. In verse nine tells us that this holds true with respect to wars and insurrections. “But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately." (10) Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”
Lastly, I want to …
We can head for the hills, set up a survivalist commune, stock up on guns and groceries and prepare for Armageddon.
We can cower in fear.
Jesus points out things that might cause us to fear...
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Beginning in verse nine Jesus corrects the mistaken impression of the disciples that “everything that seems to be a sign of the end of times is in reality such a sign.”
Beginning in verse nine Jesus corrects the mistaken impression of the disciples that “everything that seems to be a sign of the end of times is in reality such a sign.” It is a mistake to take these separate happenings as infallible indications that end of the age is immediately in sight. But in spite of clear warning found here, there are modern day prophecy experts who speak on “The Signs of the Times” and on the basis of some earthquake or war or threatening comet predict this is “the infallible sign” of Christ’s imminent return.
3) Synchronize the text.
It is a mistake to take these separate happenings as infallible indications that end of the age is immediately in sight. But in spite of clear warning found here, there are modern day prophecy experts who speak on “The Signs of the Times” and on the basis of some earthquake or war or threatening comet predict this is “the infallible sign” of Christ’s imminent return.
In verse eleven, Jesus also speaks about great earthquakes and in various places famines and pestilence. “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
In other words, I’d like to show you some similarities that are in both brackets. Because each time frame has an end; each period has a culmination. And there are striking similarities between the two.
In verse eleven, Jesus also speaks about great earthquakes and in various places famines and pestilence…READ
Just nine years after the fall of Jerusalem, Mount Vesuvius erupted violently, completely destroying the Italian city of Pompei and it surrounding suburbs.
a. Signs
Just nine years after the fall of Jerusalem, Mount Vesuvius erupted violently, completely destroying the Italian city of Pompei and it surrounding suburbs.
“The May 1984 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC shows through color photos and drawings the swift and terrible destruction that wiped out the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in A.D. 79. The explosion of Mount Vesuvius was so sudden, the residents were killed while in their routine: men and women were at the market, the rich in their luxurious baths, slaves at toil. They died amid volcanic ash and superheated gases. Even family pets suffered the same quick and final fate. It takes little imagination to picture the panic of that terrible day. The saddest part is that these people did not have to die.
“The May 1984 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC shows through color photos and drawings the swift and terrible destruction that wiped out the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in A.D. 79. The explosion of Mount Vesuvius was so sudden, the residents were killed while in their routine: men and women were at the market, the rich in their luxurious baths, slaves at toil. They died amid volcanic ash and superheated gases. Even family pets suffered the same quick and final fate. It takes little imagination to picture the panic of that terrible day. The saddest part is that these people did not have to die.
b. Judgment
Scientists confirm what ancient Roman writers record—weeks of rumblings and shakings preceded the actual explosion. Even a plume of smoke was clearly visible from the mountain days before the eruption. If only they had been able to read and respond to Vesuvius’s warning!
c. Responsibility of followers
Scientists confirm what ancient Roman writers record—weeks of rumblings and shakings preceded the actual explosion. Even an ominous plume of smoke was clearly visible from the mountain days before the eruption. If only they had been able to read and respond to Vesuvius’s warning!
There are similar “rumblings” in our world: warfare, earthquakes, the nuclear threat, economic woes, breakdown of the family and moral standards.
This is one of the reasons this text has been hard to grasp – much of what we see is similar to what they saw. And much of what will happen is similar to what already happened. So people sometimes aren’t sure which time frame is being talked about. But don’t let that worry you. Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man.”
There are similar “rumblings” in our world: warfare, earthquakes, the nuclear threat, economic woes, breakdown of the family and moral standards. While not exactly new, these things do point to a coming Day of Judgment (). People need not be caught unprepared. God warns and provides an escape to those who will heed the rumblings. [Michael Bogart www.bible.org/illus/nt/nt-105.htm]
While not exactly new, these things do point to a coming Day of Judgment ().
People need not be caught unprepared. God warns and provides an escape to those who will heed the rumblings.
Instead, take the words of Jesus and live by them – watch, be careful, and pray! Do you see ? My friend, it is important that you not allow yourself to be lulled to sleep by our world’s interpretation of events, or by the world’s method of dealing with disaster and persecution. You see, the world – non Christians – have one way of dealing with difficult times: find a temporary reality and escape to it! That’s what drunkenness, addictions, and things like this do for us – they give us a false sense of security through a temporary escape. They create for us an illusion – a pseudo-reality. It’s pretense at the highest level. And, unfortunately, one day that will bubble will burst and all hell will break loose. And “that day,” as Luke records for us, will surprise them and overtake them. How sad!
According to Matthew’s account of the Lord’s message, he summarized all of the above as merely “ the beginning of sorrows (literally- birth pangs).” (). The distinction of labor pains is that the time of the birth gets closer the pain increases, the intensity grows and the frequency grows. The point being that although the characteristics that Jesus points out can be seen in every age, they will increase and intensify as the time of Jesus’ coming draws near.
According to Matthew’s account of the Lord’s message, he summarized all of the above as merely “ the beginning of sorrows (literally- birth pangs).” ().
But that is not how we should be acting! We should not be caught up in addictive lifestyles, drunken behavior, or mindless activity that lulls us to sleep – that is not how his followers behave. Why? Because we know how it ends! We need to live soberly, righteously, and diligently. The coming end demands that the church wake up and live prayerfully and carefully. Oh, Christian brother and sister, arise from your sleep and live as one fully aware of what’s just ahead.
Note that verse twelve, begins with “But before these thiings...”
Note that verse twelve, begins with “But before these things…and describes what must happen.
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all these things”. “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. (13) But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. (14) There-fore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; (15) for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. (16) You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. (17) And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. (18) But not a hair of your head shall be lost. (19) By your patience possess your souls.”
May I remind you of what Paul exhorted the Thessalonian believers to do in :
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all these things”. “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. (13) But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. (14) There-fore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; (15) for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. (16) You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. (17) And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. (18) But not a hair of your head shall be lost. (19) By your patience possess your souls.”
The persecution being described here is something that will take place in the immediate future.
This is what God wants from you this morning: Live like there’s no tomorrow!
The persecution being described here is
something that will take place in the immediate future.
Comments and questions
William Barclay - “Jesus promised that His disciples would never meet their tribulations alone. It is the sheer evidence of history that the great Christians have written over and over again, when their bodies were in torture, and when they were awaiting death, of the sweet times with Christ. A prison can be like a palace, a scaffold like a throne, the storms of life like summer weather, when Christ is with us.”
Prayer and invitation
“Jesus promised that His disciples would never meet their tribulations alone. It is the sheer evidence of history that the great Christians have written over and over again, when their bodies were in torture, and when they were awaiting death, of the sweet times with Christ. A prison can be like a palace, a scaffold like a throne, the storms of life like summer weather, when Christ is with us.” [ William Barclay. The Gospel of Luke. (Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1956) p. 270]
Rather than being blown away by persecution (whether it is religious, secular or domestic) we are to persevere, to endure, to stand firm.
Rather than being blown away by persecution (whether it is religious, secular or domestic) we are to persevere, to endure, to stand firm.
We are not to be frightened into failing to be a witness for Christ and…
We are not to be frightened into failing to be a witness for Christ and…
Now we want to skip forward to verse thirty-four. Let me just in passing summarize.
(Now we want to skip forward to verse thirty-four. Let me just in passing summarize. In verses 20-24, Jesus foretells the destruction of thew temple, which will be fulfilled in A. D. 70 by the Roman general Titus.
In verses 20-24, Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple, which will be fulfilled in A. D. 70 by the Roman general Titus.
In verses 25-28, Jesus gives some details
In verses 25-28, Jesus gives some details about the signs of his coming which we will look at on Wednesday.
about the signs of his coming which we will look at on Wednesday evening. And in verses 29-33 Jesus gives an illustrative parable of the Fig Tree.)
And in verses 29-33 Jesus gives an illustrative parable of the Fig Tree.
Third, He warns, DO NOT BE DISTRACTED vv. 34-38. “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. (35) For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. (36) Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
Third, He warns…Do Not Be Distracted
Read
vv. 34-38. “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. (35) For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. (36) Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
His message is that people across the world in that day were caught up in doing the ordinary things.
Turn with me to the parallel account in which reads, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (38) For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, (39) and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Jesus said that when the end of the age comes, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. When we read that we tend to think that he is talking about that it will be evil as it was before the Flood. But when it says that they were “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,” it is not describing something evil. Although there was great evil in that day, that is not the problem that is being described here.
They were taking life as it came, just living day to day.
His message is that people across the world in that day were caught up in doing the ordinary things. They were taking life as it came, just living day to day. And they were completely ignoring the warnings all around them. Rather than turning to God in repentance they were drifting alone with the prevailing culture, living lives characterized by the attitudes of the day. And Jesus says that is the way it will before he returns.
And they were completely ignoring the warnings all around them.
Rather than turning to God in repentance they were drifting alone with the culture, living lives characterized by the attitudes of the day. And Jesus says that is the way it will before he returns.
Jesus warns us of three great dangers
So tonight…as we see prophecy being fulfilled...
1. We are not to be deceived into departing from the truth.
Don’t be decieved
2. We are not to be frightened into failing to be a witness for Christ
Don’t be afraid
3. We are not to be distracted into living as if this life is all there is.
Don’t be distracted
Pray
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