5 And while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said, 6 “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.”
7 They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” 8 And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘ I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. 9 When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”
10 Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, 11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
12 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. 13 It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; 15 for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. 16 But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 17 and you will be hated by all because of My name. 18 Yet not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
20“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. 23 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; 24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; 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 But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
29 Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
34 “ Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; 35 for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. 36 But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Observation – What does it Say
- Some of the people were admiring the temple.
- Jesus had what said in verse six previously, as he entered the city Luke 19:41-42
- Who is the “They” that questioned Jesus about the Temple
- Jesus is talking to his disciples.
- “the end does not follow immediately” end of what?
- Jesus knew about the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem
- Jesus said when armies surround Jerusalem those in Judea must flee to the mountain. Conventional wisdom of the time said to flee to the cities for protection.
- Jerusalem is will be trample by Gentiles until the times of Gentiles is fulfilled
- There is a time of Gentiles
- The time of Gentiles will end.
- The time described are days of vengeance
- There will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars
- They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud
- The Son of man will come with power
- The Son of man will come with great glory
- When this great calamity occurs redemption is near.
- When these thing happen the Kingdom of God is near.
- This generation will not pass away until all the things were fulfilled
- The disciples were not be worried about the things of life
- The disciples were not to be weighted down with distractions
- The disciples were to pray for strength to escape the things that were about to take place.
- The disciples were to pray for strength to stand before Jesus
Interpretation – What does it mean
Prophecy is one of the best apologetic tools. This set of verses should demonstration the legitimacy of Jesus and put to rest any question of his authority. Unfortunately this very set of verse is used as an example of the untrustworthiness of scripture. The one verse that many find troublesome is verse 32, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.”
Many have tried to explain this problem away by examining what Jesus meant by “this generation” Was it the current generation or a future generation that would see all these things? Others have tried to understand it by examining “all things” Which of the all the thing Jesus spoke about were included in “all things”?
I think the easiest way to understand it is to understand this verse, verse 35, in the most plain, simplest terms possible. Understanding “this generation” seem most clearly to refer to the present generation. That is, the generation that was living at the time of Jesus.“All things” seem to refer back to all the things Jesus was talking about in this section this is from verse 6 to 36
Understood in this manner allows us to accept the scripture at face value. Additionally, if we look at history we find everything happened just as Jesus said it would. All the things Jesus described occurred in 70AD within the current in a generation.
After Jesus death and resurrection the Book of the Acts of the Apostles records the followers of Christ being thrown in prison and drug before the synagogues. They were brought before kings and governors, all for proclaiming the name of Jesus.
In 70 AD Rome sacked Jerusalem. During the siege of Jerusalem starvation was extreme. There was much suffering. When the Romans broke through the walls of Jerusalem they killed every one and every thing. The Temple was completely destroyed. There was no place safe in the city. The only safe place was the mountains where Jesus told his disciples to go.
But what about seeing the coming of the Son of Man in a cloud and signs in sun, moon and stars. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote of such things in War of the Jews Book 6 chapter 5. Bear in mind Josephus was not a Christian. He was a Jew writing a historical account of the War of the Jews for the Romans. He writes of repeated signs in the heaven Where is one excerpt,
Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. …Thus also before the Jews’ rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus, [Nisan,] and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which lasted for half an hour. This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it.
…on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the temple,] as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence.”
So it would appear that there were signs in the heavens and the Son of Man was seen in the clouds.
Application – How does it Work
Jesus’ word is trustworthy. Often times we allow out preconceived notions to prevent us of seeing the plain truth of the word of God.