Speaking about those who make end of the world predictions Jesus the son of man said, Do not go running after them. Though warned, many people did then and continue to now go running off after them today. When you hear the doom and gloom predictions do not go running off after them.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 17

The Son of Man Said Do Not Go Running Off After Them (Luke 17:20-37)

By Pastor Delbert Young

The Son of Man Said Do Not Go Running Off After Them – Luke 17:20-37

Scriptures: Luke 17:20-37

How many end of the world and rapture predictions have there been in your lifetime? I did some research and found in my lifetime according to The Interactive Bible, so far there have been 110 end of the world and rapture predictions with still more future predictions already predicted. How many of those were accurate?

One of the latest was by Harold Camping who predicted May 21, 2011. He said the rapture would happen followed by a huge earthquake and judgment would begin. Of course it didn’t happen. Instead of amending his ways, he simply amended his date. He moved it to October and it didn’t happen then either. It’s easy for me to blast these people, but I need to remind myself they are in the family of God as far as I know. I heard a preacher say these guys are like the uncle who talks too loud in public embarrassing the rest of the family, but still a family member. I was amazed at how many people believed his predictions. I remember one person and their spouse stayed home and kept their children home so they could be together when the rapture happened. What effects do these type predictions have on you? How do you respond when people talk about this? If they ask what does your church teach about apocalyptic issues, what do you say?

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to be executed and we read,

Luke 17:20-21  Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with YOUR CAREFUL OBSERVATION, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

It’s important we understand what they meant by their question in their day. We read it with 21st century lenses and miss what they were actually questioning. They were not thinking of an end of the world scenario as most people do. They were thinking from their Messianic understanding meaning the coming of the Messiah (Hebrew term for the Greek term “Christ”). Their understanding and teaching were God would raise up the Messiah, establish a mighty army, and God through Messiah would supernaturally remove Roman and all oppressing rule reestablishing the nation of Israel to rule the world by Messiah their king bringing the kingdom of God. They had it all figured out exactly as we do today with our end time charts of the rapture, great tribulation, and thousand-year millennial reign. They were asking Jesus what his chart said about the coming kingdom since he said he was the Messiah. He should know, right?

Jesus told them their charts and timelines were wrong. Their careful observation was not even close. Was he correct? Did anything close to what they predicted happen? No. So, what do we learn from this? I learned not to heed anyone’s charts, timeline, or predictions. Why? Because nothing close to anything anyone has ever predicted has happened. Have you ever seen one of these charts? I’ll show you two quickly. (Charts) I’m very merciful with these things. I made my own chart long ago, but then learned I didn’t know anything.

Luke 17:20  …”The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU.”

Jesus said you guys don’t have it figured out with your charts and you have obviously taught the scriptures incorrectly. Jesus said it’s not a “Here it is, or there it is” kingdom because the kingdom of God is within you. The word translated within is entos {en-tos’} – within, inside; within you i.e. your soul. The kingdom of God is not a part of you as much as it is you. It’s like your soul. It’s woven into your being. You are the kingdom of God. Some translations say “among you,” but entos meanswithin. Two-thousand years ago, they like so many today, are waiting for the kingdom of God to come. Jesus said no. It’s not going to happen your way. The kingdom of God was within them two-thousand years ago, so where is it today? So if people ask you what we believe about the coming ofthe kingdom of God tell them it’s supposed to already be within you. They usually say something like, “Yes, but what does your preacher say about when it will come in its fullness?” Answer them, “Jesus never said anything about it coming in fullness. He just said it’s within you. He talked about the expansion of it – Jerusalem, Judah, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the world. His concept of the kingdom of God is so different than ours.

After addressing the Pharisees, Jesus explains some deeper and future issues to his disciples. A true disciple should have more understanding than religious people.

Luke 17: 22-25  Then he said to his disciples, “THE TIME IS COMING WHEN you will long to SEE ONE OF THE DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN, but you will not see it. Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ DO NOT GO RUNNING OFF AFTER THEM. For the SON OF MAN IN HIS DAY will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and BE REJECTED BY THIS GENERATION.

Please notice it’s not “long to see the kingdom.” It’s “long to see one of the days of the Son of Man.” Jesus isn’t talking about the kingdom coming. He’s talking about the Son of Man in his day. The Son of Man is the way Jesus referred to himself and he used it four times in this passage, so we need to understand something about the Son of Man. It’s taken from Daniel 7:13-14. Let’s read it.

Daniel 7:13-14 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a SON OF MAN, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an EVERLASTING DOMINION that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that WILL NEVER BE DESTROYED.

Jesus said “That’s me. I’m the Son of Man.” We’re given a word video of this event in Revelation chapter 5 as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who is the Lamb slain, received the scroll written within and without sealed with seven seals. “That’s all cool Delbert, but what is the significance of the termSon of Man?” Well, to me, it’s usually used connected to his coming and frequently has two words in the context – “this generation” (Mat 11:16; 12:39-45; 16:4; Mar 8:38; 11:29-32; Luk 7:31-34; 11:29-32; 17:24, etc.). There is a direct connection with the Son of Man coming in destruction upon the generation to whom Jesus spoke and the disintegration of Israel as the people of God and Israel’s worship system. This is inseparable with the term “Son of Man.”

Matthew 26:63-64 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future YOU WILL SEE THE SON OF MAN sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”

This is what Jesus told Caiaphas and those at his trial. What did they see? Before their generation passed, they saw their end. In AD 70 they saw the annihilation of their temple and worship system. So, when I read about the coming of the Son of Man my mind goes to the termination and the destruction of the Old Covenant worship system telling me natural Israel does not have a copyright on God. I, a gentile, am a child of God. That, to me, was the days of the Son of Man.

Before the day happened men would be predicting all sorts of things about when Jesus was coming and where (1Th 4:15-5:3). I love what Jesus said. “DO NOT GO RUNNING OFF AFTER THEM” (our title). Though warned, how many people did then and continue to now go running off after them? When you hear the doom and gloom predictions do not go running off after them.

Luke 17:24-25 For THE SON OF MAN IN HIS DAY will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by THIS GENERATION.

Jesus said when it happens it will be impossible to miss. It will be like lightning flashing lightingup the sky from one end to the other. It will be unmistakable. One of the most frightening things is a lightning and thunder storm. You can’t miss it. Do you ask, “I wonder if this is really lightning?” The lightening lights up everything. The boom of the thunder rattles the house and shakes our bodies.

I constantly point out to you when Jesus said this generation it means the generation who rejectedhim and caused him to suffer many things.

Matthew 12:41  The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with THIS GENERATION, and shall condemn it…

Matthew 12:42  The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with THIS GENERATION, and shall condemn it…

Matthew 23:36  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon THIS GENERATION.

Matthew 24:34  Verily I say unto you, THIS GENERATION shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Luke 11:50  That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of THIS GENERATION

Luke 11:51  From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of THIS GENERATION.

Luke 21:32  Verily I say unto you, THIS GENERATION shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus referenced this generation too much for it not to be important. Something horrific would happen to their generation. This was the generation nearly annihilated by Rome in the war of AD 70.

Jesus associated the horrific event with two biblical historic events: (1) the flood in the days of Noah (Gen chapters 6-8); and (2) the obliteration of Sodom in the days of Lot (Gen chapters 18:20-19:29).

Luke 17:26-27  Just as it was IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, so also will it be in THE DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and DESTROYED THEM ALL.

Matthew 24:39  And knew not until the flood came, AND TOOK THEM ALL AWAY; so shall also THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN be.

Please don’t miss this happened in the days of Noah and is directly connected with the days of the Son of Man. He’s not talking about the kingdom of God here. Some attempt to use what Jesus said in Matthew 24:39 concerning Noah as the rapture. No. “…took them all away” references their destruction, not a rapture.

Luke 17:28-30 “IT WAS THE SAME IN THE DAYS OF LOT. PEOPLE WERE eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. “It will be just like this on THE DAY THE SON OF MAN is revealed.

Again, the emphasis is the day the Son of Man is revealed not the day the kingdom of God is revealed. Jesus verified the flood and the destruction of Sodom. He didn’t say the mythical flood or the mythical story about Sodom. One of the most amazing aspects of Jesus using the days of the Noah and the days of Lot is the wickedness and evil of those days (Gen 6:2-5: 19:5). It shows us how evil the Lord felt their religious system and generation was. Both were times of cataclysmic judgment. People were eating, drinking, marrying and living life as normal. In both cases they had no “signs” or idea judgment was coming. There were no “secret codes.” When someone says they have the days figured out remember Jesus said, “Don’t go running off after them.”

Luke 17:31-33 On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

Do you spend much time on your roof? How about in the field? Then why would Jesus say this? Because he wasn’t talking to us! Those people did spend a great deal of time on their flat roofs. They slept there if possible, ate there, and relaxed there. There roofs were their living rooms. They were an agricultural people and spent much time in the fields. Jesus will explain this further in chapter 21. He was simply saying when they see these days begin don’t play with it like Lot’s wife (Gen 19:17, 23-26). She was so close to deliverance. Instead she lost everything and became a pillar of salt. Jesus warned when it happens don’t look back. Run!

Luke 17:34-35  I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be TAKEN and the other LEFT. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be TAKEN and the other LEFT.WHERE, LORD?” they asked. He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”

The title for the movie “Left Behind,” a movie about the rapture, was taken from this passage. Is this what Jesus meant? I wish.

It seems the disciples asked a bizarre question, “Where Lord?” Jesus seemed to give a bizarre answer about a dead body and vultures gathering. There are all sorts of interpretations, but in A.D. 70 the vultures literally gathered over this generation (Mat 24:28). After the Romans slaughtered the Jews their corpses were dumped and left for the vultures. The remainder were taken to Rome and sold as slaves.

“So, Delbert, you don’t believe Jesus is coming again, or the rapture, or the great tribulation?” I didn’t say that.

Acts 1:11  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, WILL COME BACK in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Jesus will come again the same way he went into heaven. What does this mean? I don’t know. There will be some sort of harpazo – “caught up” (1Th 4:17). You may have heard it termed “the rapture.” The word “rapture” is not in our bible, but something supernatural will happen. Jesus never taught “the rapture” so neither do I. I have taught 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. I believe the great tribulation (Mat 24:21 KJV), but the one Jesus said would come already happened and is verified in history. Don’t go saying I don’t believe these things. I just don’t believe them like many. I can’t if I believe and teach the Bible.

What I am saying is, to me, Luke 17:20-37 was primarily warning those disciples of the destruction to come upon their generation and are the days of the Son of Man, a horrific event, not the coming of the kingdom. We glean great truths from it. Could something devastating happen to us? No. Something devastating will happen to us if we continue down the road we’re going. God is just and will not judge the days of Noah, the days of Lot, and the days of the Son of Man, but not judge our days. However the primary truth we should get today is “Don’t go running off after them.”

Other Related Sermons:

Prayer for the New Year – sermon notes

Light A Candle NEW YEAR – sermon notes

Treasure and the Pearl – sermon video audio notes

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