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Gospel of Luke Chapter 21
Theme: Jesus commends the poor widow; Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple, and the desolation of Jerusalem. The Olivet Discourse "When shall these things be?" Christ Jesus urges watchfulness.
This is the prophetic section of Luke's Gospel. Although it resembles the Olivet Discourse in Matthew and Mark, there is a difference. Matthew's Gospel gives us the three questions which the disciples asked the Lord Jesus: #1. When shall these things be? Meaning one stone not left upon another; #2. What will be the sign of thy coming? #3. And of the end of the age? (Mat.24:3). In this chapter, Luke answers the first question. Luke deals with one of the most practical features of the prophecy, and there is no mystery or speculation to his meaning, because most of Luke's record is no longer prophecy; it is history. It was fulfilled in A.D. 70.
Jesus Commends the Poor Widow (Luke 21:1-4)
Avarice of the Scribes; The Widow's Mite (Mark 12:41-44)
Luke 21:1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. (KJV)
And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury . . . the treasury was the place where the chests stood, where money was put in for various uses. I understand that there were thirteen chests in all, in the Temple, where offerings were cast. The money contributed there was used for the service of the Temple, for incense, sacrifice, etc.
Jesus watched as the people, all kinds of people, rich and poor, as they cast money into the treasury (Mk.12:41). And many that were rich gave very abundantly, for they possessed much worldly substance. Even though their religion was not heart-felt with them, they took care to support the external and ritual part of it, like so many millions today. For more on Temple treasury, see:
Luke 21:2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. (KJV)
And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites . . . this poor widow may have been one of the ones who was taken advantage of by the Pharisees and scribes, but she came to make an offering to the Temple, of the little that she had. She very likely lived in Jerusalem, and was very poor. The Lord Jesus seems to have taken special notice of her. Mark 12:42 says: And she threw in two mites, which make a farthing . . . a mite means a small coin made of brass, the smallest in use among the Jews. The exact value cannot be easily estimated. It was much less than any coin we have, as the farthing was less than an English farthing. Its value might have been about three mills and a half, or one third of a cent.
Luke 21:3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: (KJV)
And he said . . . to His apostles. Mark 12:43 says: And he called unto him, his disciples.
Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor woman hath cast in more than they all . . . NOT that she had cast in more money, but Jesus was comparing her to the rich ones around her. She had cast in more than all of them put together; more in proportion to what she had, than they had in proportion to their substance. Hers, although very small in itself, and was most likely very contemptible to the rich ones, yet it was much MORE in God’s eyes, and Christ Jesus, and what she put in was much more highly valued and esteemed of by them, than all that the rich men put in. She gave in faith, and from a heart of love, and with a view of the glory of God . . . they gave only in hypocrisy, to make an outward show, and to be seen of men.
Luke 21:4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. (KJV)
For all these have of their abundance . . . for the rich had much remaining; they had large possessions, and gave much, but they had a much left. They . . .
Cast in unto the offerings of God . . . they cast into the treasury where the gifts, and freewill offerings were put; the same with the "Corban" (Mk.7:11).
But she of her penury hath cast in all the living she had . . . she of her poverty, cast her entire substance, all that she had in the world . . . which was to have bought her food for that day. She left herself nothing, but gave away all, and trusted to the providence of God to take care of her. (Mat.6:11; 1 Tim.6:8-10). See: (Mk.12:44).
#1. Giving to charity is a good thing, and pleases the Lord Jesus . . . and IF we are humble and sincere in it, He will graciously accept it, although in some circumstances this may not be the decision of the world.
#2. Those that have but little, should give alms out of their little, and those that live by their labor, should give to those that need . . . IF they are really in need. I must add this because it is how I truly feel. Eph. 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (KJV) . . . Personally, I think there are millions who are “stealing” from the government. They simply expect the government to take care of them. IF a person is disabled, or is truly in need, like many old and feeble people, and like here, widows with no support; food stamps, etc. is a good thing. BUT . . . when I see all these able bodied people on welfare, it makes me sick! Many who pay for their groceries with food stamps, are in much better shape that I am. It is WRONG! Judgment Day IS coming for them! 2 Thes. 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (KJV)
#3. If you are going to give to a charity, check it out to make sure it is not a rip-off! Many people send money for those starving children overseas, thinking what good they are doing, when some times, it is just the big old fat-cats that run the country that gets your money. BEWARE!!!
Let us not forget that Jesus still SEES the treasury in today's world. He knows how much, and from what motives, people give to His cause. He looks at the heart, and what the person’s views are, in giving alms. He knows whether we do it as unto the Lord (like the poor widow woman), OR they are giving only to be seen of men (like the Pharisees and scribes). ALL the feeble efforts of the poor to honor their Saviour, will be one day be commended, when the deceptive actions of unbelievers will be exposed to utter contempt.
The Destruction of the Temple Foretold (Luke 21:5-7)
(Mat.24:1-3; Mark 13:1-4)
Luke 21:5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, (KJV)
And as some spake of the temple how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts . . . Matthew 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. (KJV)
He said . . . what follows as He went out of the Temple.
Luke 21:6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (KJV)
As for these things which ye behold . . . “these great buildings", as in Mark; all these goodly stones, so beautiful and large, and so firmly put together.
The days will come . . . and they are speeding on; and in a little while,
In the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down . . . all these things you see with wonder and delight, shall be gone. (Mat.24:2).
Luke 21:7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? (KJV)
And they asked him . . . His apostles asked Him, when they came to the Mount of Olives, where He now sat. (Mat.24:3).
Saying, master, but when shall these things be? . . . in Matthew's and Mark's Gospels the importance is put upon the last two questions asked of the Lord Jesus: "What is the sign of Your coming?" and "the end of the age?" The return of Christ is the more important thing in Matthew, and He answers questions that relate to it. Luke put emphasis on WHEN "there shall not be left one stone upon another"; meaning the destruction of Jerusalem. Although this is part of the Olivet Discourse, our Lord most likely answered the first question of the disciples; then later, as they came to the Mount of Olives and asked Him in detail, He gave the more formal and complete statement which we find in Matthew's Gospel. There is no doubt that the Lord Jesus gave His teachings over and over again, because repetition is how we learn.
And what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? . . .and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? They no doubt thought the date of all these things was one and the same. As usual, their ideas of things were as confused as of the times of them. Our Lord uses His own way of meeting their questions.
Matthew records three questions asked of Christ:
#1. When shall these things be? or when will Jerusalem be destroyed? This is NOT answered in Matthew chapters 24 & 25, or in Mark chapter 13; it is answered only in Luke 21:12-24.
#2. What shall be the sign of Thy coming? This is answered in Matthew 24:4-27, Mark 13:5-23 and Luke 21:8-11,256-26.
#3. When will the end of the world be? This is answered in Matthew 24:27; 25:46; Mark 13:24-37; and Luke 21:27-38.
Mark always puts in a little something extra that we do not get in the other Gospels. We would not have known it was these four men who actually were selected as the committee who asked Jesus the questions, but in Mark they are named.
Jesus Foretells When These Things Shall Be? (Luke 21:8-38)
Characteristics of the age (Mat.24:4-8)
Luke 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. (KJV)
And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived . . . with false Christs, and false prophets.
For many shall come in my name . . . many deceivers will grab hold of His precious Name, claiming that they are Jesus. They would not pretend to be sent by Him, they would say that they were HIM! False Christs is the first sign.
Saying, I am Christ . . . the signs of the times would be that there would be false Christs, which is a feature of the age in which we live today, and has been, ever since Jesus was here on Earth. There were false messiahs in His day, and there are those fools who claim supernatural power today. And even though they may talk a much about Jesus, they move themselves into HIS place and take to themselves the glory that should be His. I think there are quite a few false Christs walking about, and there certainly are many false religions thriving.
And the time draweth near . . . not that such a time will come, BUT when it comes, they will say, that the time of the deliverance of the Jewish nation from the Roman yoke is at hand. The Jews would believe the false Messiahs (Christs), just like today.
Go ye not therefore after them . . . do NOT be their disciples, or follow them where they want to lead you; for nothing but destruction will be the result of it. (Mat.24:4-5; Mk.13:5-6).
This did happen, and was abundantly fulfilled, before the destruction of Jerusalem, and will continue to be fulfilled in today’s world.
But before the destruction of Jerusalem it was, as Josephus assures us, fulfilled in many, particularly: #1. In one Theudas, whether the same mentioned by Gamaliel (Acts 5:36), or some other of that name, is uncertain. #2. An Egyptian sorcerer, mentioned (Acts 21:38). #3. One Dositheus, a Samaritan, was another false Messiah (Christ).
#4.. Simon Magus is also considered one (Acts 8:9-11). He boasted he was the great power of God. It is certain there were many who claimed to themselves the Name of the Messiah, to countenance their heading of a faction. There have also been many since the destruction of Jerusalem, and probably will be many more before the end of the world (2 Tim.4:3; 2 Pet.2:1; 1 Jn.2:18).
Take heed: (2 Thes.2:3,9-10; 1 Jn.4:1; 2 Jn.1:7). The time draweth near: (Rev.1:3; 22:6,10,12,20; Rom.13:11; Jam.5:8-9; 1 Pet.4:7; 2 Pet.3:8).
Luke 21:9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. (KJV)
But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions . . . or rebellions, treasons and tumults. Wars may mean the wars of the Romans against the Jews; and the commotions or seditions, as internal troubles among themselves.
Be not terrified . . . as if the destruction of the nation, city, and temple, would be at once,
For these things must first come to pass, but the end is not by and by . . . wars and commotions is the second sign of the destruction of Jerusalem: it is clear that this, and some of the following signs, are given by the Jews, as signs of the Messiah's Coming; while they were forerunners of their own ruin . . . because they rejected Him who had already come. For all these things must come to pass . . . these wars, the reports of them and the panic because of them; the commotions or upheavals, and slaughters, the terrible devastations by the sword must be. They are determined by God, predicted by Christ, and brought upon the Jews by their own wickedness; and shall suffer in righteous judgment for their sin. But the end is not yet . . . as in Mat.24:6. The end of the Jewish economy, the destruction of Jerusalem, does not mean the end of the world, but the end of Jerusalem and the Temple. The Jewish state would continue, and did continue after these instabilities in it.
Luke 21:10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: (KJV)
Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom . . . this seems to be a separate and third sign, a forewarning of the general misfortune of the Jews. There should not only be rebellions and internal wars in the midst of their country, but there would be wars in other nations, one with another; and with the Jews, and the Jews with them. This is also a sign of the Messiah's Coming to Jerusalem, and even now, we are still seeing this in our time, as we await the Lord’s Second Coming ( Rev.19:11-21). The Lord’s prophecy is true. (Mat.24:7).
Luke 21:11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (KJV)
And great earthquakes shall be in divers places . . . in prophetic language, earthquakes sometimes mean political commotions. Accurately, they are tremors or shakings of the Earth, and often shake cities and towns to ruin. The Earth opens, and houses and people sink to destruction. Many of these are mentioned as preceding the destruction of Jerusalem. Josephus, who had probably never heard of this prophecy, and who certainly would have done nothing to show its fulfillment, records the phenomenon and signs which he says preceded the destruction of the city. He says a star resembling a sword, stood over the city, and a comet that continued a whole year. At the feast of unleavened bread, during the night, a bright light shone round the altar and the temple, so that it seemed to be bright day, for half an hour. The eastern gate of the temple, of solid brass, fastened with strong bolts and bars, and which had been shut with difficulty by twenty men, opened in the night of its own accord. A few days after that feast, he says, "before sunsetting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities." A great noise, as of the sound of a multitude, was heard in the temple, saying, "let us remove hence." Four years before the war began, the son of Artanus, a plebeian and a husbandman, came to the feast of the tabernacles, when the city was in peace and prosperity, and began to cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegroom and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!" He was scourged, and at every stroke of the whip he cried, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" This cry he says, was continued every day for more than seven years, until he was killed in the siege of the city, exclaiming, "Woe, woe to myself also."-Jewish Wars, B. vi. ch. v.
And famines . . . a fourth sign of the desolation of the city and Temple, and which the Jews also say, shall go before the Coming of the Messiah. One of these famines was in Claudius Caesar's time, and was foretold by Agabus, and is mentioned in Acts 11:28-29, a most dreadful one, while Jerusalem was besieged, and before its utter ruin, stated by Josephus. Any time there is war, famine will follow. It was so severe in Jerusalem, Josephus says, that many people perished for want of food, Ant. 20, 2. Four times in the reign of Claudius, (AD 41-54,) famine prevailed in Rome, Palestine, and Greece.
And pestilences . . . disease commonly follows famines, and are as a result mentioned together. When famine comes, pestilences shall come sooner or later. Pestilences = raging, epidemic diseases. Plagues remove multitudes of people at once. Diseases usually follow famines, and are often produced by it. A pestilence is recorded as raging in Babylonia, AD 40, (Joseph. Ant. 18, 9, 8) in Italy, AD 66, (Tacitus, 16, 13.) Both of these took place before the destruction of Jerusalem. (Mat.24:7).
And fearful sights . . .or "terrible things", whether heard or seen, such as dreadful thunder and lightning; and a flame was seen in the temple, and the doors of it opened of themselves, as above.
And great signs shall there be from heaven. . . such as comets and blazing stars, a flaming sword, or a comet-like one, hanging over Jerusalem.
I believe that the above are features of the age, which shall probably be intensified toward the end. Are you ready for Jesus to Come? Are you looking forward to His coming in the clouds to take His people out, before the Tribulation period? (1 Thes.4:13-18).
Luke 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. (KJV)
But before all these . . . before all these things come to pass,
They shall lay their hands on you . . . and the high priest, the priests, and the captain of the temple did exactly this to the apostles. (Acts 4:1,3,17-18).
And persecute you . . . just as they did upon the death of Stephen (Acts 8:1).
Delivering you up to the synagogues . . . to the courts of law, or to their great Sanhedrim before whom the apostles were brought to be scourged. (Acts 4:6-7,15,17).
And into prisons . . . as were all the apostles together, and Peter at another time separately ( Acts 4:3,18; 12:4).
Being brought before kings and rulers, for my name's sake . . . for being called by His Name (Christians) and for calling upon it; and for professing and preaching His Gospel (Mat.10:18; Mk.13:9).
Luke 21:13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. (KJV)
And it shall turn to you for a testimony . . . this means the apostles would have a chance to bear witness for Christ Jesus before kings and rulers; and that the outcome would be a way to strengthen and confirm them in the Truths of the Gospel; and be proof and evidence to them of the certainty of the things Jesus had said would be accomplished. They would also be a witness against the rulers and governors, Jews, and Gentiles, before whom they would be summoned. (Mat.10:18).
Luke 21:14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: (KJV)
Settle it therefore in your hearts . . . decide on this in your minds, and let it be a rule never to be departed from,
Not to meditate before what you shall answer . . . Matthew 10:19 says: Take no thought how, or what ye shall speak . . . these twelve were not going to be professional speakers. They would not have to take special pains and search their thoughts to prepare an elaborate speech. For these twelve would not lack for words, because they would have the exact arguments put into their mouths, and be given the proper language to express them. Matthew says: For it shall be given you in the same hour, what ye shall speak . . . immediate assistance would be given to them either by His Father, or by Jesus Himself . . . in the form of His Spirit. The Holy Spirit would give to them, at the right time, the proper words to be said, and help them to deliver those words in the proper manner, and these would be most convincing arguments. This was greatly demonstrated and proven in Peter and John, two poor fishermen, when before the council (Acts 4:18-19), and also Stephen (Acts 7). They did not have to sit down, and study a form of words, and system of things, nor what to reply to the ensnaring questions, that they probably would be asked by kings and rulers, or any of the judges before whom they should be brought. It would only be natural for persons, especially of a low life, to be nervous and fearful, to appear before such great persons, and to be worried about what to say to any question that may be asked them.
Luke 21:15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. (KJV)
For I will give you a mouth . . . an ability to speak, and to speak properly, rightly on any point.
And wisdom . . . the main prayer for myself is, “Wisdom and words, that I may better serve You and Your people.” He has NEVER failed me, even when I was teaching classes. There was once a woman who wanted to take my place. She certainly did know her Scriptures. She tried to trip me up, week after week. The Lord never left me alone. He gave me the exact words I needed to stop her. It ended with our becoming good friends, and she did apologize.
The Lord gave me the right words to say, just as He gave the apostles right words to say.
Which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist . . . This was remarkably fulfilled in Peter, and John, and in Stephen. (Acts 4:13-14; 6:10).
Luke 21:16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. (KJV)
And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends . . . See: (Mat.10:21). . .
And some of you shall they cause to be put to death . . . as Stephen was stoned to death, and James, the brother of John, Herod killed with the sword (Acts 7:58; 12:2), and indeed all of them were put to death, except John, before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Christ Jesus has fortified the minds of His apostles by the preceding promises of divine influence and assistance. Any time that the Lord chooses a person for a particular task, you can rest assured that He shall equip that person to do the job. This does not say that brother shall put brother to death; but that he shall betray is brother. The Coming of Christ into the world divided mankind. It did NOT bring unity. When one person in a family accepts Christ and another family member does not, there is a division. I can verify this! 1 Cor.1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (KJV) . . . Luke 12:51-53 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (KJV) . . . If there were there no evidence that this had been done, it could hardly be believable. The ties which bind brothers and sisters, and parents and children together are very strong, and it is hard to believe that division of feelings on religious subjects would make them forget they are related. Yet history assures us that this has been done. Since it is so, how awful it must be with the evil that is in the human heart against religion! This dreadful opposition to God and His Gospel, has induced, or can induce people to turn against the tenderest relationships, and deliver the best of friends to torture and death. To add to the horrors of this, those who were put to death in past persecution were tormented in the most awful ways that human minds could come up with. As dreadful as this prediction was, it was fulfilled; and incredible as it seems, parents and children, and husbands and wives, were wicked enough to deliver up each other to these cruel modes of death because of unbelief of the Gospel. Such is the utter opposition of the heart of man to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! That hostility will overcome the strong ties of natural affection, and will be satisfied with nothing else than to show its power. BEWARE!!! There can be NO slight opposition to the Gospel of God. ANY opposition is too much opposition! This shows the sad corruption of human nature, its enmity to the Gospel of Christ, and the confirmed malice and hatred of Satan against Christ and His interest.
Luke 21:17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. (KJV)
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake . . . See: (Mat.10:22; 24:9).
Luke 21:18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish. (KJV)
But there shall not art hair of your head perish . . . if Almighty God knows the number of all the hairs of your head, don’t you think He loves you! His special providence is found in the tiniest manifestations, and a blessed assurance that even if we fall by the hand of man, God is with us in the fall! My friend, this makes it a blessing instead of a calamity. The perfect knowledge God has, and the wonderful care He takes of us, and of all His creatures, especially His dear children and faithful servants, that not even a single hair of a man's head falls to the ground without the knowledge, and will of God! (Mat.10:29-30).
Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls. (KJV)
In your patience, possess ye your souls . . . by patiently bearing all afflictions, reproaches, disgraces and persecutions, you shall possess the peace and joy of Jesus in your souls, which the world cannot take away (Rom.5:3-5). By patient perseverance in the ways of God, and the Truths of Christ Jesus to the end, you shall be saved. (Mat.10:22; 24:13).
Luke 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. (KJV)
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies . . . the Roman army, for it was by the army which Titus Vespasian brought against it, and besieged Jerusalem with.
Then know that the desolation thereof is nigh . . . meaning that there would be no deliverance to be expected, as when the Assyrian army under Rabshakeh appeared against it (Isa.36); but that when the Roman army Jerusalem, its destruction might be looked upon as expected; nor was the siege halted until it was destroyed, which was about four years later.
Luke 21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. (KJV)
Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains . . . this has to do with people who are in Judea. Our Lord is giving that prophecy to those people, not to us. When this sign takes place, let them that are in the city of Jerusalem, depart out of it. Those who are in any other parts of Judea, in any of the towns or cities . . . let them not go to Jerusalem, thinking they may be safe there, in so strong and fortified a place, but let them flee elsewhere. It seems that many did flee about this time; and it is stated by several interpreters, and which Josephus takes notice of with surprise, that Cestius Gallus having advanced with his army to Jerusalem, and besieged it, all of a sudden, without any cause, stopped the siege, and withdrew his army, when the city might have been easily taken; by which means a signal was made; and an opportunity given to the Christians, to make their escape: which they accordingly did, and went over Jordan, as Eusebius says, to a place called Pella; so that when Titus came a few months after, there was not a Christian in the city, but they had fled as they are here bidden to . . .
Flee into the mountains . . . or any places of shelter and refuge. Destruction would not only visit the city, but would extend to the surrounding part of Judea. The mountains . . . in the mountains of Palestine, caves abound, a safe retreat for those pursued. All through the ages these caves were the favorite places of robbers; and were also resorted to by those in danger. In the mountains they would be safe. (Mat.24:16). Caves: (Gen.19:30; 23:9,19; 25:9; 49:30; 50:13; Josh.10:16-18,22-23,27; Judg.6:2; 1 Sam.13:6; 22:1; 24:3; 2 Sam.23:13; 1 K.19:9; 1 Chron.11:15; Isa.2:19; Eze.33:27; Jn.11:38; Heb.11:38; Rev.6:16)
And let them which are in the midst of it. . . either in Judea, or in Jerusalem, and which really was in the midst of Judea; let them go out, to Pella, Mount Libanus, and other places.
And let not them that are in the countries . . . either foreign countries, or in towns and villages,
Enter thereinto . . . do not enter either into Judea, or into Jerusalem; BUT, contrary to this advice, they came from all countries to the feast of the Passover at Jerusalem, and were there shut up by the siege and destroyed.
Luke 21:22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (KJV)
For these be the days of vengeance . . . of God's vengeance on the Jewish nation, for their rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah.
That all things which are written may be fulfilled . . . as in Moses and the prophets. (Deut.28:20-68; 32:22-26; Isa.6:10-11; Dan.9:26-27).
Luke 21:23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. (KJV)
But woe unto them that are with child . . . not that it would be a crime for them to be with child, or a judgment on them; for it was always counted a blessing to be fruitful, and bear children. This expresses the miserable circumstances these women would be in, who, by reason of their heavy burdens, would not be able to go as quickly. This reveals the Lord’s great care and concern for mothers and little children. It will be a time when one should not have children.
And to them that give suck, in those days . . . the mother’s love will not allow them to leave their children behind, but in their weakness, the children will be a great hindrances to their speedy flight. So that the case of these mothers is worse than that of men on the house top, or in the field, who could much more easily leave their goods and clothes, than their children, as well as they had more agility and strength to flee.
For there shall be great distress in the land . . . of Judea. With the enemy without, and their rebellions and divisions within, the robberies, murders, and famine, which prevailed and abounded, their miseries are very great.
And wrath upon this people . . . meaning the wrath of God, as well as of man, which came upon the Jews to the uttermost. (Mat.24:19)
Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (KJV)
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword . . . the number of those that perished by the famine and sword, was said to be eleven hundred thousand.
And shall be led away captive unto all nations . . . when the city was taken, the most handsome of the young men were kept for the triumph; and those that were above seventeen years of age, were sent bound into Egypt, to work in the mines; many were distributed through the provinces, to be destroyed in the theatres, by the sword or beasts; and those that were under seventeen years of age, were led captive to be sold; and the number of these only, were ninety-seven thousand.
And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles . . . the Romans, who ploughed up the city and temple, and laid them level with the ground; and that place has been ever since inhabited by such as were not Jews, as Turks and Papists, and so it will be,
Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled . . . that is, until the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in (Rom.11:25); until the Gospel is preached all over the world (Mat.24:14), and all God's elect are gathered in out of all nations (Isa.11:12; Jer.29:14); and then the Jews will be converted, and return to their own land (Isa.14:1), and rebuild and inhabit Jerusalem (Isa.44:26) but until that time, it will be as it has been, and still is possessed by Gentiles.
Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (KJV)
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon . . . they shall be darkened, and suffer very strange and surprising eclipses. See: (Mat.24:29).
And in the stars . . . some say that the images here used are not to be taken literally, but symbolically. They are often used by the sacred writers to mean any great calamities, such as the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars would be an inexpressible calamity, so any great catastrophe, any overturning of kingdoms or cities, or dethroning of kings and princes, is represented by the darkening of the sun and moon, and by some terrible convulsion in the elements. The destruction of Babylon is foretold in similar terms (Isa.13:10); and of Tyre (Isa.24:23). The slaughter in Bozrah and Idumea is predicted in the same kind of language (Isa.34:4). Also see: (Isa.50:3; 60:19-20; Eze.32:7; Joel 2:30-31; 3:15; Amos 5:20; Acts 2:20; 2 Pet.3:10; Rev.6:12).
And upon the earth distress of nations . . . upon the land of Israel; and in the several nations and countries belonging to it.
With perplexity . . . not knowing what to do, which way to go, or which step to take.
The sea and the waves roaring . . . which mean some unusual and extraordinary storms and tempests, and floods in the sea of Galilee, or Tiberias, which would be so bad, that it would cause excessive uneasiness, distress and confusion. Some versions say, "because of the sea."
Luke 21:26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (KJV)
Men's hearts failing them for fear . . . of what these signs in the heaven, earth, and sea foretell.
And for looking after those things which are coming on the earth . . . in the land of Judea.
For the powers of heaven shall be shaken . . . (Mat.24:29).
Luke 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (KJV)
And then shall they see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory . . . at the destruction of Jerusalem, the sign or evidence of His Coming was found in the fulfillment of His predictions. At the end of the world, the sign of His Coming will be His Personal appearance with the glory of His Father and the holy angels (1 Thes.4:16; Lk.21:27; Mat.25:31; 26:64; Acts 1:11).
And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. . . this could refer more directly to His Coming at the last day, although I think it may also mean that the evidence of His Coming to destroy Jerusalem shall then be seen. In the clouds of heaven. He ascended in a cloud (Acts 1:9), and He shall return in like manner (Acts 1:11). With power . . . POWER, so obvious in the destruction of Jerusalem, by the wonders that preceded it, and by the overturning of the Temple and city. On Judgment Day, His POWER shall be obvious by the consuming of the material world (2 Pet.3:7,10,12), by raising the dead (Jn.5:29-30; 1 Cor.15:52); by changing those who may be alive when He shall come (1 Thes.4:17; 1 Cor.15:52); by bringing the affairs of the world to a close, by receiving the righteous to Heaven (Mat.25:34; 1 Cor.15:57), and by sending the wicked, however numerous or however strong, to Hell (Mat.25:41,46; Mk.9:44,46,48-49; Lk.16:26; Jn.5:29; 2 Thes.1:8-9; Rev.14:10-11; 20:10,15; 21:8). Great glory. The word glory here means the visible display of His honor and majesty. This glory will be manifested by the manner of His Coming, and the presence of the angels of God. (Mat.24:30).
Matthew says: All then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn . . . meaning all the tribes or people of the land of Judea shall mourn at the great calamities coming upon them at the destruction of Jerusalem, or all the nations of the world shall wail when He comes on Judgment Day. ALL the wicked shall mourn at the prospect of their doom (Rev.1:7). The cause of their wailing on Judgment Day shall mainly be that they have pierced, killed and rejected the One and Only Saviour, and that they deserve the condemnation that is coming to them (Jn.19:37; Zec.12:10-12; Rev.1:7).
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (KJV)
And when these things begin to come to pass . . . when the first of these signs appears, or any one of them . . .
Then look up and lift up your heads . . . do not hang down your heads, but look up and put on a happy face, and look upwards, from whence your help comes (Ps.121:1-2), and look out longingly and intently, for your salvation and deliverance.
For your redemption draweth nigh . . . your redemption draweth nigh (Mat.24:33). This is expressed in verse 31, "the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" . . . it shall be fully established when the Jewish rule shall come to an end; when the Temple shall be destroyed, and the Jews scattered abroad. Then the power of the Jews shall be at an end; they shall no longer be able to persecute you, and you shall be completely delivered from all these trials and calamities in Judea. (Rom.8:23).
Are these things beginning to come to pass? No one is in a position to know when the Lord Jesus will come in the clouds to take the church out (1 Thes.4:13-18). But, I do know that He is coming back and that is very important to me. We must be diligent in our looking for His coming for us. (Tit.2:13; 2 Pet.3:14). We must also be bold in our stand with Him, and our walk with Him (Phil.1:20; Heb.4:16; 10:35; 1 Jn.2:28; 4:17).
Although the grandeur of the language in this Passage carries the mind to the Second Coming of Christ, believe it is mainly for the Lord's Coming in terrible national judgment, and from verses 28 and 32, it seems undeniable that the immediate reference of this Passage was to the destruction of Jerusalem . . . although its final reference, beyond a doubt, is to Christ Jesus’ final coming. He came the first time as a tiny Baby, a Servant to His Father in Heaven. BUT, when He comes again, it will not be to serve, He shall come as KING! See Psalm 2.
Christ Exhorts to Watchfulness (Luke 21:29-38)
Now learn a parable of the fig tree, or any tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
Luke 21:29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; (KJV)
And he spake to them a parable . . . to His apostles.
Behold the fig tree, and all the trees . . . the fig tree or any other tree. (Mat.24:32).
Luke 21:30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. (KJV)
When they now shoot forth . . . their buds, branches and leaves.
Ye see and know of your own selves, the summer is now nigh at hand . . . we do have to get hints or directions from others, because it is so plain and obvious, when a tree buds out, summer is close behind. I believe the fig tree is symbolic of the nation Israel. God's timepiece is not Gruen or Bulova, it is Israel. The fig tree: (Jer.24:1-5; Hos.9:10).
Luke 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. (KJV)
So likewise when ye see these things come to pass . . . the signs mentioned before, verses 8-11, 20,25-26.
Know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand . . . a more visible and glorious display of the Kingdom of the Messiah, in the destruction of His enemies, the Jews. (Mk.9:1).
Luke 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. (KJV)
Verily I say unto you, this generation, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled . . . the Jews will not stop being a distinct people, until all the counsels of God relative to them and the Gentiles be fulfilled. Some translate this generation, to mean the persons who were then living, that they should not die before these signs took place: but although this was true, as to the calamities that fell upon the Jews, and the destruction of their city, government and Temple, yet as our Lord mentions Jerusalem's continuing to be under the power of the Gentiles until the fullness of the Gentiles should come in (Lk.21:24), until all the nations of the world would receive the Gospel of Christ, after which the Jews themselves should be converted unto God (Rom.11:25). I think it might be better to keep the meaning here to the few years which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem; but also to understand that the care taken by Divine providence to preserve the Jews as a distinct people, and yet to keep them out of their own land, and from their Temple service. John probably lived to see these things come to pass (Mat.16:28; Jn.21:22).
The war began, as Josephus says, Ant.b.xx.c.11.s.1, in the second year of the government of Gessius Florus, who succeeded Albinus, successor of Porcius Festus, mentioned in Acts 24:27, in the month of May, in the twelfth year of Nero, and the seventeenth of Agrippa, mentioned in Acts 25 & 26, that is, in May, A.D. 66.
The Temple was burnt August 10, A.D. 70, the same day and month on which it had been burnt by the king of Babylon: Josephus, Ant.b.xx.c.11.s.8. The city was taken September 8, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, or the year of Christ 70. Ant. b. vi. c. 10.
That was the end of the siege of Jerusalem, which began, as Josephus several times observes, about the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, or our April. See: War, b.v.c.3.s.1, c.13.s.7; b.vi.c.9.s.3. Another remarks: There is also an ancient inscription to the honor of Titus, "who, by his father's directions and counsels, had subdued the Jewish nation and destroyed Jerusalem, which had never been destroyed by any generals, kings, or people, before." (Mat.24:34-35).
Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (KJV)
This same parable is in both Matthew and Mark. Parable of the Fig-tree: (Mat.24:32-35; Mk. 13:28-31)
Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (KJV)
And take heed to yourselves . . . BEWARE of your lives and conversations. Be on guard, watch, because your souls and bodies are at great risk.
Lest your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness . . . excessive eating and drinking are common place in today’s world. But this sinful lifestyle is not good for us. We must keep a spiritual watch over our hearts. The Lord especially cautions His apostles against luxury and worldly mindedness. Here He expresses gluttony and drunkenness, which are two eminent kinds of that lifestyle, which affects the body physically, and the heart spiritually; lest they should be so impressed with the world, that they be surprised by Christ's Coming, as He tells them the most of the world would be. (Mat.7:14; 20:16; 22:14; 25:1-12).
And cares of this life . . . is concern of what you shall eat or drink, or with what you shall be clothed. All such anxious and worldly cares, are to the soul, what overindulgence is to the body. There are millions being intoxicated with the world, just as millions are with booze. These things He stressed to the apostles to avoid, so as not to be surprised by Christ's Coming.
And so that day come upon you unawares . . . that day is the day of Jerusalem's destruction; and this suggests, that such would be the corrupt and immoral lifestyles of some persons, and so they would be surprised with destruction at once. (Lk.17:26-30),
Luke 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. (KJV)
For as a snare shall it come . . . a snare is a trap in which a bird is suddenly taken, and cannot get out again. The destruction of the Jewish nation would be sudden and unavoidable, and universal; for it would come.
On all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth . . . the apostles were not to let down their guard. That destruction of Jerusalem is past. But, my friend, Jesus’ Second Coming has not yet taken place, so we are to watch! We are not to give in to the world! We cannot change or reform the world, but we are not to give up watching for His return! Let us remember: The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous (Ps.1:5).
The destruction of Jerusalem was not only Jerusalem, but all Judea and Galilee. And when Jesus comes back to remove the church (1 Thes.4:13-18), He will then bring judgment to the entire world! Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (KJV) . . . Are you watching? Are you ready for Jesus to come in the clouds to take you out of this world BEFORE that Great Tribulation starts?
Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (KJV)
Watch ye therefore, and pray always . . . Jesus warned the apostles to watch against every sin, snare, and temptation, especially against the above things, surfeiting, drunkenness, and worldly cares. The same conditions thrive in today’s world! We must pray continually, for fresh supplies of grace. 1 Thes. 5:17 Pray without ceasing. (KJV)
That ye may be counted worthy . . to escape all these things that shall come to pass; those that should come to pass at or before the destruction of Jerusalem, or afterward; and to stand before the Son of Man, meaning the last judgment. Worthy through the grace and goodness of God. (Rom.5:1; Col.1:10; 1 Thes.2:12).
To escape all these things that shall come to pass . . . the dreadful miseries and distress, that shall come upon the Jews in the destruction of Jerusalem; and for us in things to come.
And to stand before the Son of man . . . with courage, confidence and desire; and to meet Him at His Coming in this way, with great joy and tremendous comfort . . . be it at our death, and on Judgment Day. 1 John 2:28-29 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (KJV)
Luke 21:37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. (KJV)
And in the day time he was teaching in the temple . . . Jesus’ schedule every day, until the feast of Passover came, was to go up to the Temple, and there openly and at will, preach the Gospel to the people, who came there in great numbers, for that reason.
And at night he went out . . . at night, He went out of the Temple, and out of the city.
And abode in the mount that is called the Mount of Olives . . . stayed in the mount, most likely to pray, both for himself and for His apostles, since His time with them was very short.
Luke 21:38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him. (KJV)
And all the people came early in the morning . . . not all the people in Jerusalem, not every inhabitant of the city. This word "all" is often taken with a restriction, and here it means a large number; or vast multitudes. Some came out of curiosity, while others came from a real love for Him and His ministry. They arose and came very early.
For to him in the temple, to hear him . . . which is said, in praise of Christ's hearers, and is worthy of imitation.
Christ Urges Watchfulness
Christ tells His apostles to observe the signs of the times, by which they might rightfully judge. He tells them to look upon the destruction of the Jerusalem as near, yet the race and family of Abraham was not be rooted out; it survived as a nation, and shall be found as prophesied, when the Son of Man shall be revealed. He cautions them, and us, against thinking that we are secure and worldly. This warning is given to ALL Christ's disciples of today! We must take cautions that we are not overpowered by temptations, nor betrayed by our own natural corruptions. We are not, and CANNOT be safe, if we think that we are worldly secure.
We know NOT the day of our death and of judgment that should come upon us when we are not prepared. We know not when we shall be called out of this world. That is the furthest thing from our thoughts . . . but it should be the thing nearest to our hearts. Death and judgment will come upon most of people, who dwell upon the Earth, who are concerned only with worldly things, who have NO fear of Hell. It will be an absolute terror and a destruction to them.
My friend, our aim in this brief life on Earth should be that we may be accounted worthy to escape all those things; and that when Judgment Day comes, we may not be in the joint catastrophe that shall be the case of the vast majority of the world (Mat.7:14; Rev.20:15). What shall happen to most, need not happen to you!
There is only one way that we can be found WORTHY to stand before Judge Jesus on that day! If you have not so far believed God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and accepted Christ Jesus into your heart and life (Jn.3:18,36; 5:24; 6:40,47; 20:31), go to Him now, for Jesus is the ONLY One who can save your soul from eternal destruction of Hell. IF you want to go to Heaven, where the Father is (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12), you must go through God’s only begotten Son, Jesus (Jn.1:14,18; 3:16,18; Heb.11:17; 1 Jn.4:9).
It is wisdom for you to know that God hates pride. If you have not humbled yourself before Almighty God for your sins, it is not too late. If you have already humbled yourself, I urge that you stay humbled. Watch therefore, and pray always. Watch against sin; watch in every aspect of your life, and make the most of every opportunity to do good. Pray always. Those who will be accounted worthy to live a life of glory in the other world, will live a life of prayer in this world. May we begin and conclude each day attending to Christ's Word, obeying His precepts, and following His example, and until He comes, let us be found watching. Humble yourself: (Mat.23:12; Jam.4:6,10; 1 Pet.5:6).
1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (KJV) . . . Humble yourself and admit you are a sinner. When you are sincere about turning away from your sin (repentance), God will forgive you. Thank You Jesus!
Gospel of Luke
ch.1 . . ch.2 . . ch.3 . . ch.4 . . ch.5 . . ch.6 . . ch.7 . . ch.8 . . ch.9 . . ch.10 . . ch.11 . . ch.12 . . ch.13 . .ch.13 . . ch.14 . . ch.15 . . ch.16 . . ch.17 . . ch.18 . . ch.19 . . ch.20 . . ch.21 . . ch.22 . . ch.23 . . ch.24