5Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6"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."
(Jesus predicts the temple would be destroyed and that did not fit with the Apostle’s expectations of the coming kingdom.)
7"Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen? (When will the destruction of the temple occur?) And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?" (There were actually 3 questions asked, Luke only records two. In Matthew 24 we know the Apostles also asked “What will be the sign of your Coming?” In this passage however, Jesus gives signs for the destruction of the Temple and the End Times. The Apostle’s probably that the destruction of the temple and the End Times were synonymous events. Many passages of Scripture, in both Testaments, have both near and far implications and applications. In other words, prophecy operates on two levels of fulfillment i.e. Dual Fulfillment. On the first level, there is a divinely revealed “near” prediction relating to a soon-coming event. e.g. the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. But on a second level, there is a corresponding “far” prediction that will be fulfilled at a later time, or in the events of the end times. e.g. What signs will occur that will identify we are in the end of the age? When this passage is compared to Rev. 6 and Mt 24, it seems to be an example of a near/far prophecy.)
8 He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. (Jesus is pointing out what could deceive Christians in the last days. See Rev 6:1-2. Mt. 24:5. The first seal – false teachers and false messiahs will lead to the ultimate deceiver, the Antichrist.)
9 When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." 10Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (See Rev 6:3-4. Mt 24:6-7a. The second seal – the rise of the Antichrist to power through war.) 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. (Rev 6:5-13. Mt 24:7-9, 21, 29. The third, fourth, fifth and sixth seals. In one sense, the future is going to be quite bleak… We are to expect false Messiahs, increasing wars and revolutions, great earthquakes and pestilences. In modern language we might say terrorism, suicide bombings, jihads, Al Qaeda, tsunamis, hurricanes, pandemics like AIDS and the potential bird flu. Why did Jesus reveal these prophecies about the last days? Simple – Be prepared!)
SIGNS TO PRECEDE THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE
12"But before all this, (Before the six seals of Revelation are broken open and the signs of Daniel’s 70th week begin, the disciples will first experience persecution, including death, before the destruction of Jerusalem. This is particular instruction for the Twelve Apostles and disciples.) 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. 13This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. (Why did Jesus advise His followers not to worry about what will happen to them?) 15For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. (All these events will lead to an opportunity for your testimony to be given.)
16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life.
A NEAR/FAR PROPHECY SIGN CONCERNING THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM
20"When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. (This occurred in 70 A.D. AND will occur again in the future when Jerusalem will be the epicenter of the Antichrist’s persecution during Daniel‘s 70th week. See Daniel 11.)
21Then 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. 22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (Why will the "time of punishment" be necessary? To drive the Jewish people to their true Messiah, Jesus Christ.) 23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress (The Great Tribulation is the period when the Antichrist will persecute both Israel and the Church) in the land and wrath against this people. (This is the wrath of man empowered by Satan. This is not the wrath of God. See Rev 12:12.) 24They 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. (The period of Gentile domination began with the empire of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. and will continue until the 70th week of Daniel, the last 7 years of Gentile domination, until Israel is restored to her glory. Thus, the times or fullness of the Gentiles’ domination of Israel will end when Daniel’s 70th week is complete.)
21Then 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. 22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (Why will the "time of punishment" be necessary? To drive the Jewish people to their true Messiah, Jesus Christ.)
23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress (The Great Tribulation is the period when the Antichrist will persecute both Israel and the Church) in the land and wrath against this people. (This is the wrath of man empowered by Satan. This is not the wrath of God. See Rev 12:12.)
24They 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. (The period of Gentile domination began with the empire of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. and will continue until the 70th week of Daniel, the last 7 years of Gentile domination, until Israel is restored to her glory. Thus, the times or fullness of the Gentiles’ domination of Israel will end when Daniel’s 70th week is complete.)
THE SIGNS THE DAY OF THE LORD IS APPROACHING
25 "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. (Rev 6:12-13. Mt 24:29. The sixth seal.) On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. (Dismay and stress among the nations, and perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves.) 26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, (Men’s hearts will fail them as the unbelieving world will be oblivious to what God is doing) for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (This is the cosmic disturbance sign which immediately preceeds the Day of the Lord see Rev 6:12-17, Joel 2:31.)
27 At that time (the time when all these signs are occurring) they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things (The signs of Daniel’s 70th week.) begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (In striking contrast to the world’s reaction, those of the kingdom of God, the overcomers, will look up with great joy and expectancy when all these things begin to take place.)
What OTHER signs will usher in the end of the age?
Ø Rebirth of Israel. Ez 36, 37. FULFILLED
Ø Israeli control of Jerusalem. Dan 9:24 FULFILLED
Ø Return of the Jews to their homeland Jer 23:7-8 FULFILLED
Ø Preaching the gospel to all nations. Mt 24:14. FULFILLED
Ø The rebuilding of the Jewish temple. Dan 11:31.NOT FULFILLED
Ø Abomination of Desolation. Mt 24:15. Dan 9:27. 2 Thess 2:1-4. NOT FULFILLED
Ø Return to Sanhedrin Laws. Mt 24:15-20. PARTIALLY FULFILLED
Ø The Revived Roman Empire. Dan 2:40-41. Dan 7:7-8. Dan 8:12. NOT FULFILLED
Ø A Seven-year covenant with Israel. Dan 9:27. NOT FULFILLED
Ø One World Government under the control of the Antichrist. Rev 13:7. NOT FULFILLED
Ø Israel will not be at peace, Jerusalem a cup of trembling Zech 14. PARTIALLY FULFILLED
Ø The Mark of the Beast. Rev 13:16-17. NOT FULFILLED
Ø The Destruction of Mystery Babylon. Rev 17, 18. NOT FULFILLED
Ø The Two Witnesses. Rev 11:3, 9-10. NOT FULFILLED
Ø An attack upon Israel from the North. Ezekiel 38. NOT FULFILLED
Ø Young men shall dream, old men shall see visions Joel 2:28. PARTIALLY FULFILLED
Ø Sun, moon, stars go dark Joel 2:38. NOT FULFILLED
Ø God will shake the heavens and remove the earth out of her place Isa 13:13. NOT FULFILLED
We are beginning to look like the generation that is seeing the signs come true…
THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE
29He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32"I tell you the truth, this generation (the generation that sees these signs) will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR BELIEVERS SURVIVING THE END TIMES
It is here that believers are told how to respond to the events of Daniel’s 70th week and the persecution of the Antichrist. Not merely fleeing, not merely fighting, but holiness!
34"Be careful, (Pay attention, take heed, be on guard and ready! A state of readiness is required to respond appropriately to Daniel’s 70th week.) or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, (If a believer is not ready, you will develop a callous heart characterized by demonstrated by a lack of spiritual discernment and hearts that will be insensitive to the teachings of Jesus. See 2 Tim 3:1-5.) drunkenness (Over consumption of alcohol.) and the anxieties of life, (Do not allow the worries and cares of this life to overtake you. Pay attention and so not allow your heart to become insensitive to the teachings of Jesus by copying the world’s conduct. Believers are warned not to over-worry or care about 1. the length of life Mt. 6:27,34, 2. the necessities of food, water and shelter Mt. 6:19-24 and 3. What to say Mt 10:19. God has always provided food and shelter for His people and will do so in the end times.) and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. (In other words, the church is warned to not copy the world’s conduct and if you are not prepared, the day may catch you off guard.)
35For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be always on the watch, (Constantly watch for the signs of Daniel’s 70th week.) and pray (Pray for divine strength to overcome the events of the end times.) that you may be able to escape all (The church will not be subject to the divine wrath of the Day of the Lord.) that is about to happen, (Don’t run, hide or fight, rather pray for divine strength to have moral correctness before the Day of the Lord begins. Then when He appears, there will be no cause for shame or red faced guilt at His coming see 1 John 2:28.) and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."
The “Big Issue” – Where are you in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you ready to stand before him? He has made it possible so that we can stand, without blemish. He has taken our sins upon Himself at the cross. By His blood we are healed and totally and thoroughly and completely forgiven of every wrong we have done.