Luke21: 25-38

Written by kathleen on Jul 27, 2014 in - No Comments

 

Luke 21: 25-38

Great Signs From Heaven

As we continue in the study of the Olivet discourse we must keep in mind that this is written for the Jews by a Jew about the Jews and the city of Jerusalem

This session of teaching began when Jesus predicted that not one stone of the temple would remain standing upon another, and the disciples asked: “When will these things happen And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” (21:7).

Jesus begins telling them of the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem and tells his disciples what to do when Jerusalem is besieged. As he speaks of the future and the “great signs from heaven” many of the signs are separate in time just prior to his appearance:

25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.

26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

These events are described as a tremendous Joel 2. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 2:30-

 The prophet Haggai proclaimed “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. Hag 2:6-7

Isaiah tells of the description of this upheaval that’s going to take place upon the earth.

Isa 34 Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it!

The LORD is angry with all nations; “The indignation of the LORD is upon all nations his wrath is upon all their armies He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter.  Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench the mountains will be soaked with their blood. 4 All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree. Isa 34:1-4

At this time in our future and theirs great cataclysmic events are taking place here on the earth.

Meteorite showers that will impact the earth like figs falling from a tree, there are hundred pound Hailstones, plummeting the earth causing terrible devastation.

The mountains are being moved, islands are disappearing, new   mountain ranges being thrust up. A total upheaval of the geographical surface of the earth takes place!

This will be more than a tossing of the sea with just heavy surf, most likely tidal waves or tsunamis.

The perplexity is referring to the complexity of red tape and political hoops of society that must be navigated to assist nations in turmoil. There will be no easy answers. It will be so bad that it will cause hearts to fail. We’re seeing that happen even today.

This chaos is described in detail in your note sheet

Notice by v. 26 the people are fearful for the things that are coming upon them in Revelation 6 we are told Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Rev 6:15-17

So here beginning in Luke 21 verse 25 and in Matthew 24:1-44 describes these events just before His return and is known as the Great Tribulation, which is God’s judgment on mankind because of a Christ-rejecting, rebellious world, who has refused to submit to God but has said, We want nothing to do with God and we will live apart and without God.

These events will begin the 70th week of Daniel spoken of in Daniel chapter nine; up to now there have been 69 sets of 70 week periods for the Jew and the nation of Israel ending the time of grace with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Dan 9:24-27“The Lord has commanded 490 years of further punishment upon Jerusalem and your people. Then at last they will learn to stay away from sin, and their guilt will be cleansed; then the kingdom of everlasting righteousness will begin, and the Most Holy Place (in the Temple) will be rededicated, as the prophets have declared. 25 Now listen! It will be 49 years plus 434 years from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One comes! Jerusalem’s streets and walls will be rebuilt despite the perilous times.  “After this period of 434 years, the Anointed One will be killed, his kingdom still unrealized . . . and a king will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. They will be overwhelmed as with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. This king will make a seven-year treaty with the people, but after half that time, he will break his pledge and stop the Jews from all their sacrifices and their offerings; then, as a climax to all his terrible deeds, the Enemy shall utterly defile the sanctuary of God. But in God’s time and plan, his judgment will be poured out upon this Evil One.” Dan 9:24-27 TLB

Again these things here in Luke 21, Matthew 24, and other prophesies  will not begin until the last 3 ½ years of that time speaking of when the physical manifestation of Satan known as the Anti Christ is exposed according to

Daniel chapter 7:23-27 “This fourth animal,” he told me, “is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be more brutal than any of the others; it will devour the whole world, destroying everything before it. His ten horns are ten kings that will rise out of his empire; then another king will arise, more brutal than the other ten, and will destroy three of them. He will defy the Most High God and wear down the saints with persecution, and he will try to change all laws, morals, and customs. God’s people will be helpless in his hands for three and a half years.  “But then the Ancient of Days will come and open his court of justice and take all power from this vicious king, to consume and destroy it until the end. Then all nations under heaven and their power shall be given to the people of God; they shall rule all things forever, and all rulers shall serve and obey them.” Daniel 7:23-27 TLB

27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

The title “Son of Man” is more than a way of identifying Jesus as human. The title is also used in Daniel 7:13-14 to describe the one who finally establishes the Kingdom of God: Next in my vision that night I saw the arrival of a Man-or so he seemed to be-brought there on clouds from heaven; he approached the Ancient of Days and was presented to him.   He was given the ruling power and glory over all the nations of the world, so that all people of every language must obey him. His power is eternal-it will never end; his government shall never fall   Dan 7:13-14 TLB

This is a reference not to the clouds that are in the sky but a cloud of witnesses which are spoken of in Hebrews chapter twelve, which are the saints of God. “Seeing we’re surrounded with such a great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1), and Jude commenting on the return of Jesus says: “Behold, He cometh with ten thousands of His saints” (Jude 1:14). Paul writing to the Colossians said, “And when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).

When Jesus comes, he sees Him riding on a white horse and the armies that came with Him. Rev 19:13

Remember when Jesus is on trial before the Sanhedrin shortly after this teaching: he is asked whether he is the Christ. Here is his answer:

Then the High Priest asked him. “Are you the Messiah, the Son of God?”  Jesus said, “I am, and you will see me sitting at the right hand of God, and returning to earth in the clouds of heaven.” Mark 14:61 TLB

It’s clear that Jesus’ teaching in our passage points to this very same title Son of Man and very same event of coming on the clouds.

28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

It’s time for we, the body of Christ to begin to look up and lift up our head. It’s getting close.

The Bible over and over tells us that we have not been appointed unto wrath. 1 Thess 5:9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mat-7:21

Isaiah tells us that wrath is reserved for the wicked and for the sinners.

I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. Isa 13:11

Notice who this great tribulation, is directed against! “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity, and I will lay low the disdainfully proud; snobbish; scornfully arrogant individuals!

This will be the time of God’s indignation against the ungodliness and the unrighteousness of man who have held the truth of God in disrespect.

When these things begin to come to pass, look up, lift up your head.

Paul said, “I’m going to tell you a mystery;” A truth of God that hasn’t been revealed before. “But we are not all of us going to die, but we’re going to be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” 1 Corinthians 15:51

this is telling us that not all Christians will die, but there will be a “final generation” who will be transformed into resurrection bodies at the return of Jesus before they ever face death.

In a single moment, Jesus will gather His people (both dead and on the earth) to Himself, for resurrection.

In other words prior to the great tribulation there will be a remarkable instant gathering of Christians unto Jesus in the clouds.

This has been called the rapture, after the Latin word harpazo translated in Greek rapturous meaning caught up or snatched away by a quick violent force

Paul expresses the same idea again:  1Thessalonians 4 “For the Lord Himself is going to descend from heaven, with the voice of the archangel, the trump of God: and the dead in Christ will rise first: and we who are alive and remain will be caught up” “to meet them together in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words”: 1Thessalonians 4 16-18

Jesus is going to take His church out of this world.

In the book of Revelation understanding John as representing the church in chapter 4:1 he is told “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Rev 4:1

Then after observing the awesome beauty and majesty of God for 2 chapters; the judgment of God as we are studying begins to be poured out on the earth in chapter 6 implying that the church is already in heaven

This is just one of the many acts of grace that is found in the salvation for us that we are able to put our hope in!

29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.  31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

The fig tree in the Bible is the symbol of the nation Israel. Israel’s blossoming as a nation is one of the key signs that the Lord’s coming is drawing near.

The idea is that when a fig tree buds, there is an inevitable result – summer is near, and fruit is coming. In the same way, when these signs are seen, the coming of Jesus in glory, with His church, to this world will inevitably follow.

32 “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The generation that sees those signs will also see the very end. God will not prolong the Great Tribulation forever.

This generation could refer to the Jews and if that is so, it’s true, they have not passed away. Miraculously they survived 2,000 years without a homeland until may 14 1948.  (pick no dates)

Or it could refer to the generation that sees the beginning of these tribulation things, or Jerusalem no longer trodden under the foot of the Gentiles meaning the fulfillment of the gentiles.

(Maybe you’re the last one left to fulfill)

It’s interesting when Daniel gave his prophecies, he said, “and the word is sure”. He confirmed that these are the true sayings of God and he affirms it.

And Jesus now is affirming that this is going to happen. “Heaven and earth may pass: but my words they’re going to happen.” They’re going to be fulfilled.

No mere man could truthfully say this. Jesus is claiming that His words are the very words of God – and they are.

 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.

Here’s a warning: there are certain things that will make one unprepared like drunkenness and carousing and cares of this life. Each of these things can make us unprepared for the day of Jesus’ return.

In Judges 7 Gideon’s three hundred mighty men were chosen because, rather than putting their faces in the river, they drank from their hands. This way, they could remain alert. (They were used mightily)

In other words, God uses men who don’t take unnecessary time doing necessary tasks. Yes, we have to live. Certainly, we must care for our families. But there can come a point when we take too much time doing necessary things. And that is the point we are disqualified from being used by God especially in these last days

Let your every contact with the world be just as light as possible. We have to live in the world but don’t get rooted in it ways for if you do; your time will run out like a trap closing on its prey. (Accused of being an escapist)

36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

We can be so easily sucked into the cares of this life and bogged down by the things of this world.

But when I study the words of Jesus, and spend time in prayer; I am reminded of the big picture all over again.

I am reminded of eternity and that I’m only here for a short time and I know I have a hope and a future waiting for me.

Luke brings us back to present reality in the nest verse!

37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple

Spend consistent time with Jesus. Be like those in our text. Come early to hear Him—and be reminded of heaven all over again.

You don’t have to go through the wrath of God or face the wrath of God against your sins.

God is offering you pardon and forgiveness through Jesus Christ by faith, just as He did during the days of the past; just as He is offering now in our present and will be offering until His return.