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Signs of Christ’s Coming
Luke 21:13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.
Trials are always opportunities and persecution is often an opportunity to magnify one’s testimony.
Supporting scripture: James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, :3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. :4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Luke 21:14 Therefore 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.
Luke 21:16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.
Luke 21:17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.
Luke 21:18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost.
This was not a promise for the preservation of their physical lives, but a guarantee that they would suffer no eternal loss. God Himself sovereignly preserves His own.
Luke 21:19 By your patience possess your souls.
Verse 19 indicates that those who patiently endure for Christ rather than renouncing Him will thus prove the reality of their faith. Those who are genuinely saved will stand true and loyal at any cost. The RSV reads, “By your endurance you will gain your lives.”
Destruction of Jerusalem
Luke 21:20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.
A comparison with Mt 24:15, 16 and Mk 13:14 suggests that this sign is closely associated with “the abomination of desolation”. This sign of Jerusalem under siege was previewed in a.d. 70, but awaits its fulfillment in the future.
Luke 21:21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. :22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. :23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. :24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Now the Lord clearly takes up the subject of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. This event would be signaled by the city’s being surrounded by the Roman armies.The Christian of an early day—the year A.D. 70—had a specific sign to introduce the destruction of Jerusalem and the razing of the beautiful marble temple: “When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” This was to be a positive sign of the destruction of Jerusalem, and at that sign they were to flee. Unbelief might have argued that with a besieging army outside the walls, escape would be impossible; but God’s Word never fails. The Roman general withdrew his armies for a short season, thus giving the believing Jews the opportunity to escape. This they did, and went out to a place called Pella, where they were preserved.
Any attempt to re-enter the city would be fatal. The city was about to be punished for its rejection of the Son of God. Pregnant women and nursing mothers would be at a distinct disadvantage; they would be hindered in escaping from the judgment of God on the land of Israel and the Jewish people. Many would be slain, and the survivors would be carried off as captives in other lands.
The latter part of verse 24 is a remarkable prophecy that the ancient city of Jerusalem would be subject to Gentile rule from that time until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. It does not mean that the Jews might not control it for brief periods; the thought is that it would be continually subject to Gentile invasion and interference until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The NT distinguishes between the riches of the Gentiles, the fullness of the Gentiles, and the times of the Gentiles. 1.The riches of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:12) refers to the place of privilege which the Gentiles enjoy at the present time while Israel is temporarily set aside by God. 2.The fullness of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:25) is the time of the Rapture, when Christ’s Gentile bride will be completed and taken from the earth and when God will resume His dealings with Israel. 3.The times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24) really began with the Babylonian captivity, 521 B.C., and will extend to the time when Gentile nations will no longer assert control over the city of Jerusalem.
Down through the centuries from the time of the Savior’s words, Jerusalem has been largely controlled by Gentile powers. Emperor Julian the Apostate (A.D. 331–363) sought to discredit Christianity by disproving this prophecy of the Lord. He therefore encouraged the Jews to rebuild the temple. They went to the work eagerly, even using silver shovels in their extravagance, and carrying the dirt in purple veils. But while they were working, they were interrupted by an earthquake and by balls of fire coming from the ground. They had to abandon the project.
The Second Coming
Luke 21:25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; :26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. :27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. :28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
These verses describe the convulsions of nature and the cataclysms on the earth that will precede Christ’s Second Advent.
There will be disturbances involving the sun ... moon, and stars that will be clearly visible on earth.
Heavenly bodies will be moved out of their orbits. This might cause the earth to be tilted off its axis. There will be great tidal waves sweeping over land areas.
Panic will seize mankind because of heavenly bodies on a near-collision course with the earth. But there is hope for the godly:Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
Parable of the Fig Tree
Luke 21:29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. :30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. :31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
Another sign indicating the nearness of His return is the budding of the fig tree and all the trees. The fig tree is an apt picture of the nation of Israel; it would begin to evidence new life in the last days. Surely it is not without significance that after centuries of dispersal and obscurity, the nation of Israel was re-established in 1948, and is now recognized as a member of the family of nations.
The shooting forth of the other trees may symbolize the phenomenal growth of nationalism and the emergence of many new governments in newly developed countries of the world. These signs would mean that Christ’s glorious kingdom would soon be set up.
Luke 21:32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.
Jesus said that this generation would not pass away till all things take place. But what did He mean by “this generation”?
1. Some feel He referred to the generation living at the time He spoke these words, and that all things were fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem. But this cannot be so because Christ did not return in a cloud with power and great glory.
2. Others believe that “this generation” refers to the people living when these signs begin to take place, and that those who live to see the beginning of the signs would live to see the return of Christ. All the events predicted would happen within one generation. This is a possible explanation.
Hindson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 121). Nashville: Thomas Nelson. MacArthur, J. F., Jr., MacDonald, Farstad, Believers Bible; Hindson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.