The coming of Jesus the son of man. The disciples were obviously curious about the statements Jesus made concerning the desolation of the temple (Mat 23:38) and commented about its magnificence to which Jesus basically replied, “It’s coming down!” The disciples asked two questions. When will these things happen? and “What will be the sign that they are about to take place?” This entire section, Luke 21:5-36, is about these two questions.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 21

The Coming of Jesus the Son of Man part 2, Great Tribulation (Luke 21:20-36)

By Pastor Delbert Young

The Coming of the Son of Man part 2 The Great Tribulation (Luke 21: 20-36)

Scriptures: Luke 21:5-7, Luke 21:20-24, Matthew 24:19-21, Matthew 23:34-36, Luke 21:25-26, Isaiah 13:10-13, Ezekiel 32:7-8, Judges 5:19-20, Luke 21:32-33, Luke 2:1, Acts 17:6, Luke 21:27, Daniel 7:13, Matthew 26:64, Luke 21:28, Luke 21:29-33, Luke 21:34-36, Luke 21:23

Likely the day was Wednesday of Christ’s Passion Week. In two days Jesus would be executed. We are investigating the lengthiest answer(s) ever given to any question by Jesus. We are seeing and learning much of the teaching we’ve heard concerning this passage is erroneous. I’ve gotten some of you really messed up and asking great questions and well you should. The disciples of Jesus asked. You should too. This entire section is actually about two questions the disciples asked stimulated by a statement Jesus made.

Luke 21:5-7 Some of his disciples were remarking about how THE TEMPLE was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when NOT ONE STONE WILL BE LEFT ON ANOTHER; EVERY ONE OF THEM WILL BE THROWN DOWN.” “Teacher,” they asked, “WHEN will these things happen? And what will be the SIGN that they are about to take place?”

Jesus left the temple after condemning the Jewish leadership (Mat 23:1-39; 24:1). The disciples were obviously curious about the statements Jesus made about the desolation of the temple (Mat 23:38) and commented about its magnificence to which Jesus basically replied, “It’s coming down!” The disciples asked two questions: (1) “When will these things happen? (2) “What will be the sign that they are about to take place?” This entire section, Luke 21:5-36, is about these two questions.

Jesus began answering telling them first what signs were not the sign saying watch out for “deceitful signs” people would use to persuade the unsuspecting the end was near (Luk 21:8-11). He also told them of their own personal persecutions, including the hate and betrayal of the people, arrests, and even death of some of them (Luk 21:12-19). Next Jesus gave them the answer.

Luke 21:20-24 “WHEN YOU SEE JERUSALEM BEING SURROUNDED BY ARMIES, YOU WILL KNOW THAT ITS DESOLATION IS NEAR. 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. FOR THIS IS THE TIME OF PUNISHMENT IN FULFILLMENT OF ALL THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN. How 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. 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.

If you were reading this without any doctrinal teaching about the end of time, who would you think Jesus was talking about?

The disciples wanted to know when this would happen and they wanted to know if there would be asign so they could avoid this horror. Jesus said, WHEN you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies” – when the Roman armies invade the land FLEE! Jesus said do not take a stand and fight for Jerusalem and the temple. If you’re in the city of Jerusalem get out. If you’re not in the city don’t go there for protection. Run, hide in the mountains. Climbing and hiding in the mountains would be an extremely dreadful time for pregnant women and nursing mothers with infants, but they will have a better chance to survive than remaining in Jerusalem. This was the inevitable event of wrathspecifically coming “against this people” – the people of Judea and Israel with Jerusalem and the temple the primary targets.

I need to parallel this with Matthew’s writing about the identical event.

(KJV) Matthew 24:19-21 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: FOR THEN SHALL BE GREAT TRIBULATION, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, NOR EVER SHALL BE.

The great tribulation we are taught will come actually happened two thousand years ago. NIV says“great distress” here. Exactly what Luke 21:23 says.

Jesus said, “This is the time of punishment in fulfillment of ALL that has been written.” How much of what had been written will be fulfilled? ALL! It was either all fulfilled or it wasn’t. This was the fulfillment of all the “end time” (as it’s called) prophecies in the Bible, or it wasn’t. Those prophecies concerned themselves with the time of punishment (KJV – “days of vengeance”) for Jerusalem and Judaism, not with the end of the planet. The Greek word is ekdikesis {ek-dik’-ay-sis} – a revenging, vengeance, punishment. Jesus, the Son of Man, not the antichrist, would take revenge, vengeance, and punish upon the Jewish nation for killing the prophets, apostles, those sent by God, and, of course, for rejecting and killing Jesus.

Matthew 23:34-36 Therefore I AM SENDING YOU prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And SO UPON YOU will come ALL THE RIGHTEOUS BLOOD THAT HAS BEEN SHED ON EARTH, FROM THE BLOOD OF RIGHTEOUS ABEL TO THE BLOOD OF ZECHARIAH SON OF BEREKIAH, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, ALL THIS WILL COME UPON THIS GENERATION.

Jesus described the event with amazing detail actually taking place about thirty-seven years after he spoke this – before their generation passed. In AD 70 Titus and the Roman armies invaded to punish the Jews. The armies surrounded Jerusalem, putting it under siege for months. By the time the Roman army broke through the walls the people were weak from starvation and hardly capable of fighting. Tens of thousands of Jews were slaughtered by the sword. Men were crucified until there was no lumber left to use for crosses. The remainder of the people were taken as prisoners and dispersed as slaves to all the nations. The city and the temple were laid desolate with every stone of the temple thrown down. Not one remained upon another exactly as Jesus said it would be.

Jesus said “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” What did he mean? The Jewish temple, Jerusalem, and the Jews would no longer be the center of what God was doing. God would primarily work through Gentiles – non Jewish people – in this age. It will be this way until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. God would use Gentiles to reach the world. These are the times/age we live in today. The destruction of Jerusalem and specifically the destruction of the temple marked a monumental change in God’s timeline of human history.

Here many leave the context of the original two questions and jump to an end of the world theology. Let’s read and then discuss it.

Luke 21:25-26 “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. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is COMING ON THE WORLD, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

First, why, with no warning, would Jesus confuse his disciples by suddenly jumping thousands of years ahead while in the middle of answering their questions? They had not asked about the end of the physical world or time. They asked about when the temple would be “thrown down.” I need to deal with two issues for us: (1) sun, moon and stars; and (2) the word “world.”

Please note, Jesus specifically said, “…signs in the sun, moon and stars.” It’s not the sun, moon, and stars fall from heaven, etc. It’s the signs the sun, moon, and stars represent. “The people of Israel were represented by stars (Gen 22:17; 26:4; Deu 1:10).” The type terminology Jesus used is called “collapsing universe language” and the scriptures are filled with it. I’ll only show a few. God said through Isaiah concerning the judgment of Babylon,

Isaiah 13:10-13 The STARS of heaven and their CONSTELLATIONS will not show their light. The rising SUN will be darkened and the MOON will not give its light… Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the WRATH of the LORD Almighty, in THE DAY OF HIS BURNING ANGER.

Babylon fell in 539 BC, but there was no failure in the constellations, sun, or moon. The earth was not literally shaken from its orbit. This is an expression of the burning anger of the LORD. It was “lights out” for Babylon. Concerning the judgment of Pharaoh and Egypt, God said through the prophet Ezekiel,

Ezekiel 32:7-8 When I SNUFF YOU OUT, I will cover the HEAVENS and darken their STARS; I will cover the SUN with a cloud, and the MOON will not give its light. All the shining lights in the HEAVENS I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land, declares the Sovereign LORD.

The Persians conquered Egypt in 525 BC. Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 BC, but all of heaven was not darkened.

In the time of the Judges nations at war were compared to the heavens.

Judges 5:19-20 “Kings came, they fought; the kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo, but they carried off no silver, no plunder. From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera.

The stars were not fighting in the sky literally. This is metaphoric language using the sun, moon, and stars to describe “lights out” for nations. Jesus was saying it will be lights out for Israel. I will show this here and we will talk more about it later. Everything Jesus described here was to take place within and upon “this generation.”

Luke 21:32-33 “I tell you the truth, THIS GENERATION will certainly not pass away until ALL THESE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

All these things will have happened before their generation ended.This is the accurate context and is how Jesus concludes everything he here said. Jumping thousands and thousands of years into the future is not accurate context and not accurate interpretation. Their universe would collapse. Their lights would go out, but the words of Jesus would never pass away. Jesus simply used the correct metaphoric language of the prophets.

Jesus said, “Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world.” The word translated world (earth – KJV) is oikoumene {oy-kou-men’-ay} – the inhabited earth, the portion of the earth inhabited by the Greeks, in distinction from the lands of the barbarians, the Roman empire, all the subjects of the empire. The same word is used in Luke 2:1.

Luke 2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the ENTIRE ROMAN WORLD [oikoumene].

Caesar didn’t tax the entire world. He had no concept how large the world is. It’s also interpreted“entire Roman world” in Acts 11:20. Acts 17:6 says,

Acts 17:6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the WORLD [oikoumene] have now come here

Paul hadn’t caused trouble over the entire world (yet), but was upsetting the Roman Empire. The word oikoumene is also used in Mat 24:14; Luk 4:5; 17:6; 17:31; 19:27; 24:5; Rom 10:18 and several other places including Revelation. It speaks of the then known world ruled by the Roman Empire. Luke 21:25-26 would properly be interpreted “Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the entire Roman world.” If Rome would attack and destroy Jerusalem and their amazing temple, they would do it to any country. Again, Jesus wasn’t out of context and jumping thousands of years explaining would take place at the end of time.

Luke 21:27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a CLOUD WITH POWER AND GREAT GLORY.

The cloud is an interesting study. Many scriptures speak of the cloud metaphorically as the coming and presence of God (Exo 13:21; 14:24; 19:9; 20:21; 24:15; 33:9; 34:5; 1Ki 8:12; Psa 97:2; 104:3; Jer 10:13; 51:16; Eze 30:3; Joe 2:2; Isa 19:1, etc). However, in the numerous cloud related scriptures, no one ever literally saw God. It doesn’t mean Jesus will be riding a big cloud. When Jesus references his, the Son of Man coming in a cloud, he’s referencing Daniel 7:13-14.

Daniel 7:13 “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.

This is not his coming “down” at the end of time to receive his saints. It’s his coming “up” to receive his kingdom. It’s the Ascension (Acts 1:9-11) and his receiving the kingdom (Rev 5).

Matthew 26:64 “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.”

Caiaphas, the high priest, asked Jesus if he was the Christ the Son of God. Jesus said yes and then told Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, they would see Jesus as the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven. What did Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin see? They saw lights out. They saw their universe and world shaken and end.

Luke 21:28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because YOURredemption is drawing near.”

Must we wait for the rapture and the great tribulation before we can have redemption? The wordredemption is apolutrosis {ap-ol-oo’-tro-sis} – a releasing effected by payment of ransom, deliverance, liberation. At the desolation of the temple and the religious system they and we are set free and redeemed from the Law. A part of the Jewish temple and Judaist religious system being destroyed and terminated was for our redemption.

Luke 21:29-33 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree AND ALL THE TREES. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when YOU see these things happening, YOU know that THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NEAR. “I tell you the truth, THIS GENERATION will certainly not pass AWAY UNTIL ALL THESE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Jesus said the kingdom of God is near when Jerusalem was surrounded by armies. The destruction of the temple literally ended the Old Covenant system. Jesus will end it in Luke 22:16 as he institutes the New Covenant with Communion, but the destruction of the temple meant no more sacrifices, feasts – Passover, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Tabernacles. The feasts required a temple. No more need for a High Priest, chief priests, or temple priests. No more Pharisees, Sadducees, or Herodians. It all ended and the kingdom of God came fully. The Passover, though installed with Moses, was not consummated until a generation later in Canaan. The New Covenant was installed with communion at the Last Supper, but not totally consummated until a generation later with the destruction of the temple.

Jesus told them the “sign” they asked about. Some want to interpret the fig tree as the nation of Israel. Obviously this is not what Jesus meant as he said “fig tree and all the trees.” Jesus simply meant as certain as when we see buds and leaves appear we know summer is near, when they saw the things he’s previously said know the Son of Man is near. The bottom line is “this generation will certainly not pass away UNTIL ALL THESE THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.” It is more probable the earth dissolves and disappears than for all this not to happen to this generation.

Luke 21:34-36 “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. For it will come upon all THOSE WHO LIVE ON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH [ge]. 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.”

The word translated earth is ge {ghay}. We talked about this last time. It never means the entire planet. At its max it means the inhabited land, but also means a garden, or a region, or a state, or a nation (see The Coming of the Son of Man Part 1). Ge must be interpreted in context. There is no reason to translate the same word as “earth” in verse 35 after translating it as “land” in verse 23.

Luke 21:23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the LAND [ge] and wrath against this people.

The context is primarily the temple (v5), Jerusalem (v20, 24), Judea (v21), and at its largest possible context, the Roman world (v26), but not the earth. Earth is a horrible translation. This word must be translated in context and is in verse 23 as “land.”

Jesus instructed his disciples to not become weighed down with dissipation (indulgence and debauchery), drunkenness, anxieties of life, etc. They would be tempted to become discouraged waiting for the Son of Man to come. If they did, they could become trapped in Jerusalem when the armies invaded. Instead, watch and pray they would escape ALL THAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!Once it began there was no stopping. This would be the coming of the Son of Man.

How about us? Do we sometimes become weighed down with the anxieties of life concerning the things of God? Have you ever wanted to, or perhaps did, give up and give in to the indulgences, debaucheries, and anxieties of life? Don’t! Be careful! You will find yourself trapped and slaughtered, but not only you. Your family, infants, grandchildren, and loved ones will also be trapped. Stay strong in the Lord. Pray. Remain on course and purpose. Be certain you will be able to stand before the Son of Man. You can escape all the things that could come against you and trap you.

Other Related Sermons:

Story that will Never Die – Easter sermon video audio notes

Excitement of Christianity – Easter sermon video audio notes

The Promise – Easter sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Life Gate Church Sermons by Delbert Young

Sermons Change the World.com