Luke21: 12-24Written by kathleen on Jul 20, 2014 in - No Comments
12 “But before all this they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. But see the purpose in this. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them.
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It’s interesting to look at the book of Acts. You find how that Stephen was brought before the religious court and the testimony he laid on them.
The apostle Paul was brought before various governmental officials, even before Nero. We don’t know anything about Paul’s witness before Nero but legend has it that after that meeting Nero lost it and burned Rome blaming it on the Christians.
Asking Agrippa, do you believe? He said, Wait a minute, Paul. You trying to make me a Christian? Yes he was, he was definitely trying to do that. So he used every opportunity.
So every time the apostles were arrested and they stood before the courts, they gave a strong witness for Jesus Christ.
For us today when our world seems to be falling apart, we are to look to God in all the turmoil because we will be witnesses to him. In times of extreme distress the real person emerges. When that happens to Christians, people are to see our faith in Jesus clearly displayed. If it is a sham, that will be revealed. But if it is real, then we become powerful witnesses to him, even in our distress
14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
Our greatest occasions for testimony come when we are “on trial” before others, either in a formal or an informal sense. We can trust Jesus that He will do as He promised as we rely on the Holy Spirit.
We don’t have to lie awake in bed at night or pace back and forth worrying rehearsing and planning what to say
He’ll give you such wisdom that your adversaries won’t be able to answer you because you’ll have such a powerful witness.
16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.
One of the saddest parts of a disciple’s suffering is having even those closest to us turn away from us and turn us in:
The word translated “betrayed” is the Greek word paradidomi, The word does not mean “betray” in itself. But when it is put in the context of being “turned in” by family and friends, then it carries the meaning of betrayal by those who are close and should have been loyal
In this case “betrayed” is a technical term for ‘hand over into the custody of police and courts
17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish.
Isn’t that a contradiction? NO!
Jesus shifts here from the physical realm to the spiritual. Even though we may die physically, spiritually we are okay.
Physically we may die a martyr’s death, but we enter into his presence in great glory. Spiritually we are saved, rescued, redeemed, with Christ.
When Jesus said “Not a hair of your head shall perish” in the sense that we say, “That’s no skin off my back.” In other words, “They might kill your body, but you will be escorted into eternity. The moment you are there, you won’t care about what you lost on earth.”
19 By standing firm you will gain life. By your patience possess your souls.
Standing firm in your convictions concerning anything you give up for the Lord—be it a boyfriend or girlfriend you let go because he or she doesn’t want to walk with God, a job you’ve been fired from because you’re not willing to compromise in the area of integrity, or even your life itself; you will gain a greater prize! You see when you get to heaven you’re not going to say, I wish I would have kept that.”
Be in control by being patient. We so often are going around all tense and want to fly off the handle with an unloving response; because we want action and we want it now! But Jesus said, “In patience control your soul.”
Continuing to speak of the signs of the destruction of the temple.
20 When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.
21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.
22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.
NKJV 22 For these are the days of vengeance,
23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
In the first two hundred fifty years of the church beginning with Caesar Nero and extending through the ten waves of persecution that followed—a minimum of six million Christians were killed for their belief in Jesus Christ.
-More Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in all previous centuries
-About 170,000 Christians are martyred for their faith each year (over 400 per day)
-Currently over 200 million Christians are being persecuted worldwide
-Christians are persecuted in 131 of the world’s 193 countries [Pew Forum study]
So Jesus is telling them of the things that will be happening in their day: When you see the Roman troops setting the siege against Jerusalem, when you see them camped on Mount Scopas and on the mount of Olives, when you see them surrounding the city and building their forts around the city, know that the destruction of the temple is near.
Most Jews expected the Messiah to return in glory when hostile Gentile armies surrounded Jerusalem. When the Romans circled the city in 70 a.d., there was a sense of rejoicing among many of the Jews.
However, Christians in Jerusalem knew what Jesus had said and they obeyed Him, fleeing across the Jordan River to a city named Pella. It is said that no Christians perished in the fall of Jerusalem. They listened to what Jesus had to say and then obeyed his words!
Not only was the temple burned in A.D. 70, but also, by the end of the 143-day siege, over one million Jews were killed.
Of those who survived, many were taken prisoner, leaving the rest to scatter throughout the world.
The Romans, when they took the city, were ruthless. They didn’t spare. Women, children, it was a wholesale slaughter
When the Romans were done with Jerusalem not a single Jew was left alive in the city. At that point 1.1 million Jews were killed; and another 97,000 were taken captive as slaves back to Rome in one of the worst calamities ever to strike the Jewish people.
The Romans eventually renamed the city Aelia Capitolina and for many years would not allow a Jew to even enter what was formerly known as Jerusalem except on one day a year when Jews were invited to come and mourn the anniversary of the fall of the city and the destruction of the temple,
Jesus meant it when He said these are the days of vengeance. This is why He wept over Jerusalem in chapter 19. He could see the massive devastation that was coming upon this city He loved – and why He warned all who would listen how they could flee from the coming destruction.
Even now in these passages warning is given for us today of the coming of the great day of the Lord where vengeance is going to be poured out! Question is; are we going to listen and respond to the warning?
24b.Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The times of the Gentiles is a period of time that actually goes back to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel chapter 2 which dealt with the full spectrum of what’s going to happen during the times of the Gentile world powers.
Then in 586 BC. Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah and took the city of Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. That was a time that began the time of the Gentiles as recorded in 2 Kings Chapter 25.
So it began with Nebuchadnezzar and it is still in place today, we are still in the times of the Gentiles, except that it seems that we’re sort of in a transition.
Jerusalem from that day in 70 A.D. to June of 1967 was trodden down by the Gentiles and was under Gentile control until the Israel took possession of Jerusalem in 1967, but the holy mount is still Arab property, under Arab rule.
So as far as God is concerned, the most important piece of real estate in Jerusalem – and prophetically speaking, the most important in the world – is still being trampled by Gentiles.
The Jewish people wandered without a homeland until May 14, 1948, when Israel became a nation once again.
(Only nation in the history of the world that has done this)
Then in 1967 a Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ends with a United Nations-brokered cease-fire.
The outnumbered Israel Defense Forces achieved a swift and decisive victory; over the Arab coalition that threatened the Jewish state and more than doubling the amount of territory under Israel’s control.
The greatest part of the victory was in seizing the Old City of Jerusalem.
Israel took possession of the entire city except for the temple mount or the Dome of the Rock, which is still under Muslim control, since it is the site of one of the holiest places of Islam.
This event in a technical sense would signify that the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled. BUT!
Today we find ourselves in a small transition period between the times of the Gentiles and the establishing of the kingdom of God and the reign of Jesus Christ upon the earth.
We are at the time of the end and the times they are a changin’ there can be no question about that.
The fact that Jerusalem is under the reign now of the nation of Israel; we know that that’s one of the hot issues in the Middle East right now.
The Palestinians are claiming that their intent is to have complete destruction of Israel and set up their capital in Jerusalem. And Israel has said it’s “not gonna happen” That Jerusalem belongs to them.
For Jerusalem to be taken from Jewish control it won’t be done without a humongous battle which would probably also include nuclear weapons which Iran, of course, is developing and Israel has already developed. This is prophesied in the book of Ezekiel chpt. 38-39
The interesting thing is that Jerusalem is under the control of the nation of Israel but is still under the foot of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Has the Times of the Gentiles been fulfilled? “Fulfilled” is Greek pleroo, “to make full.” And can mean to “fulfill” a prophecy. But here it means “to bring to completion an activity in which one has been involved from the beginning,
There are a number of questions that need to be answered:
With Israeli possession of the entire city of Jerusalem, has the Times of the Gentiles been fulfilled?
Or will the Times of the Gentiles only be completed when control of the temple mount comes into Israeli hands?
Or is there something else on God’s horizon like the Gospel being preached all over the world to every person?
Or maybe all the Jews must return to their land and inhabit Jerusalem
So are we now awaiting the next step in the final drama which could happen at any time? If so— What happens when the times of the Gentiles are over?
Then, God’s particular dealings with Israel begin again, and the last seven-year period of Daniel 9:1-27 begins. The calamities described in following verses of this chapter will come in this period.
Next week v25