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Nave's Topical Bible - Gentiles; Israel, Prophecies Concerning; Jerusalem; Jesus, the Christ; Jesus Continued; War; Watchfulness; Scofield Reference Index - Gentiles; Times of the Gentiles; Thompson Chain Reference - Captivity of Israel and Judah; Israel; Israel-The Jews; Jerusalem; Jews; Judah, Captivity of; The Topic Concordance - Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; End of the World; Gentiles/heathen; Israel/jews; Jerusalem; Kingdom of God; Redemption; Torrey's Topical Textbook - Gentiles; Jerusalem; Jews, the;
Verse Luke 21:24. They shall fall by the edge of the sword — Those who perished in the siege are reckoned to be not less than eleven hundred thousand. See Matthew 24:22.
And shall be led away captive — To the number of ninety-seven thousand. See Josephus, War, b. vi. c. ix. s. 2, 3, and on Matthew 24:31.
Trodden down of the Gentiles — Judea was so completely subjugated that the very land itself was sold by Vespasian; the Gentiles possessing it, while the Jews were either nearly all killed or led away into captivity.
Of the Gentiles be fulfilled. — Till the different nations of the earth, to whom God shall have given the dominion over this land, have accomplished all that which the Lord hath appointed them to do; and till the time of their conversion to God take place. But when shall this be? We know not. The nations are still treading down Jerusalem, and the end is known only to the Lord. Matthew 24:31; Matthew 24:31.
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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 21:24". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-21.html. 1832.
131. The coming crisis (Matthew 24:1-31; Mark 13:1-27; Luke 21:5-28)
Through his parables and other teachings, Jesus had spoken a number of times of his going away and his return in glory, which would bring in the climax of the age, the triumph of his kingdom and final judgment. His disciples apparently connected these events with the predicted destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore, when Jesus spoke of the destruction of the temple, his disciples immediately connected this with the return of the Messiah and the end of the age. They asked him what significant events would occur before these final great events (Matthew 24:1-3; Luke 21:5-7).
In reply Jesus told them that the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple was not necessarily connected with the return of the Messiah or the end of the age. They were not to believe rumours they might hear from time to time that the Messiah had returned, for there would always be false prophets who tried to attract a following for themselves. Nor were they to think that all wars, famines, earthquakes or plagues were sure signs that the end was near (Matthew 24:4-8; Luke 21:8-11).
The end would not come till the gospel had spread throughout the world, and this goal would be reached only after much opposition. God’s servants would be persecuted by enemies and betrayed by friends; many would be killed. Only by love and unfailing faith in God would the survivors be able to endure their trials. Even if their sufferings resulted in death, God would preserve them for his heavenly kingdom (Matthew 24:9-14; Luke 21:12-19).
Although the people of Jesus’ day would not see the final events of the world’s history, many of them would certainly see a foreshadowing of those events; for they would live to witness the horror of the Romans’ destruction of Jerusalem.
On seeing the awful sight of Rome’s armies approaching the city, people would flee to the hills, without even waiting to collect their belongings. They would find escape particularly difficult if the attack came in winter (when weather conditions would slow them down), or on the Sabbath (when religious regulations would restrict them). Women and children especially would suffer. The enemy’s savage attack would be more terrible and destructive than anything they had known. In fact, if God did not stop the butchery, no one would be left alive. The people would be massacred, the temple burnt and the city destroyed. The event would be a repeat of the atrocities of Antiochus Epiphanes, only many times worse - an ‘awful horror’ (GNB), a ‘desolating sacrilege’ (RSV), an ‘abomination that causes desolation’ (NIV) (Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24; cf. Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:31; see ‘The New Testament World’).
During the time these troubles were building up, false prophets would try to draw Jesus’ disciples into their group. With clever tricks and comforting words they would assure them that the Messiah had returned and was hiding in some safe place, waiting to lead his people to victory. The disciples of Jesus were not to believe such rumours. Jesus’ return would be as sudden, as open, and as startling as a flash of lightning. When God’s great intervention eventually occurred, it would be plain for all to see (Matthew 24:23-28).
Jesus did not return at the fall of Jerusalem, nor immediately after. It seems, then, that his prophecy still awaits its greater fulfilment. If that is so, there could be a repeat of conditions such as those during the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, but on a wider scale and with greater intensity. The powers of nature on earth and in space will be thrown into confusion, nations will be in turmoil, and people everywhere will be filled with fear. The present age will come to an end as Jesus returns in power and glory to save his own and judge his enemies (Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 21:25-28).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Luke 21:24". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/luke-21.html. 2005.
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Fall by the edge of the sword ... Josephus gives the names of the tribes and villages with the numbers put to death, arriving at the fantastic total of 1,100,000; and as Josephus was a Jewish historian, his record must be received as the most reliable that has reached us concerning this disaster.
Led captive into all nations ... Titus alone deported some 97,000 at one time; and the scattering of Israel, as often promised by Jesus, was most thoroughly accomplished.
Trodden down of the Gentiles ... means occupied by the Gentiles. They did not tread down the city during the siege, nor as they devastated it, but as they occupied it for more than nineteen centuries.
The times of the Gentiles ... is here named as the period of time during which the Holy City would be subject to Gentile domination, and it is far easier for Christians now to know what this meant than it was for the apostles who first heard it. The historical record of that period is spread upon the chronicles of nearly two millennia.
The proper understanding of "the times of the Gentiles" must take into account the following:
(1) The fact that nineteen hundred years were clearly a part of the period indicated, that much time having already elapsed.
(2) The fact that these words "are to be understood as the antithesis of the season of Jerusalem" (Luke 19:44). The Times of the Gentiles will be comparable to the times during which Jerusalem held the favored position.
(3) The fact that the apostle Paul used a very similar term, "the fullness of the Gentiles," and prophesied that Jewish hardening would continue until that period was concluded (see Romans 11:25, and also comments in my Commentary on Romans, en loco).
In the light of the above considerations, the true meaning of "the times of the Gentiles" would appear to be as expressed by various writers thus:
The interval between the fall of Jerusalem and the End of the Age is called "the times of the Gentiles," during which the gospel is announced to the Gentiles and the vineyard is given to others than the Jews (Luke 20:16; 13:29,30).
To the Jews God granted a time of privilege and gracious opportunity. Near the close of that time the Son of man wept over Jerusalem, saying, "If thou hadst known ... in this thy day." In like manner, the Gentile nations are now having their times, which in due course are to be fulfilled, as was the case with Jerusalem.
The times of the Gentiles may mean the Gentiles' "Day of grace," that is, the church age."The times of the Gentiles" signify the whole period or epoch which must elapse between the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the beginning of the times of the end when the Lord will return ... In other words, these denote the period during which they, the Gentiles, hold the Church of God in place of the Jews, deposed from that position of favor and honor.
There is not much disagreement among commentators that the "times of the Gentiles" represents a very long period of time; but there are many radically divergent views on when those times will be terminated. For example: Dummelow thought they would close "when Israel is converted." Barnes mentioned some who believe they will end "in the millenium" or "when all the Gentiles are converted." Wesley said these times shall terminate "in the full conversion of the Gentiles." Harrison supposed they would close "with Israel's future restoration to favor," etc. All such interpretations of this passage are rejected here.
As Geldenhuys said:Christ nowhere implies that the "times of the Gentiles" will be followed by Jewish dominion over the nations. The kingdom of this world is to give place to "the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ" (Revelation 9:15).
Furthermore, the times of the Jews did not mean their "full conversion," and neither will the times of the Gentiles be their "full conversion," but just the opposite. The times of the Gentiles means the period when Gentiles are being saved; and there is a powerful inference in this text that, just as Israel finally rebelled completely against the Lord, so will the Gentiles, bringing on the time of the End.
A VERY STARTLING FACT
Today, after over nineteen centuries of Gentile dominion over Jerusalem, during which the Romans, the Saracens, the Franks, the Mamelukes, the Turks, and the British have, in turn, held authority over Jerusalem, (the city is today controlled by secular Israel.) If the interpretations which we have advocated above, the same interpretations that have been in vogue among Christian commentators for centuries - if those interpretations are true, then there is a powerful indication in the current status of Jerusalem that suggests the awesome possibility, if not the certainty, that "the times of the Gentiles" have about expired. The current status of true faith in Christ in our troubled world is weak and precarious. Multiplied billions of the Gentile nations have either not heard the gospel at all, or have totally repudiated Christianity, as has Russia. The truth that men cannot foresee the future, and the fact of uncertainty in all such interpretations as those undertaken here, preclude any dogmatism; but the six-day war that lifted the Gentile yoke from Jerusalem in 1967 is in some manner related to this prophecy. The practical applications of his words which Jesus at once propounded should now concern people more than ever, lest "that day" come upon them unawares.
 George R. Bliss, op. cit., p. 304.
 Donald G. Miller, op. cit., p. 148.
 J. S. Lamar, The New Testament Commentary, Vol. II (Cincinnati, Ohio: Chase and Hall, 1877), p. 251.
 Charles L. Childers, Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1964), p. 591.
 H. D. M. Spence, op. cit., p. 185.
 J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 766.
 Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1954), p. 143.
 John Wesley, op. cit., p. 283.
 Everett F. Harrison, Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 262.
 Norval Geldenhuys, op. cit., p. 536.Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 21:24". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-21.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
The account of the destruction of Jerusalem contained in this chapter has been fully considered in the notes at Matthew 24:0. All that will be necessary here will be an explanation of a few words that did not occur in that chapter.
Commotions - Insurrections. Subjects rising against their rulers.
Fearful sights - See Matthew 24:7.
Luke 21:12, Luke 21:13
Synagogues, and into prisons - See the notes at Mark 13:9-10.
Settle it, therefore, in your hearts - Fix it firmly in your minds - so firmly as to become a settled principle - that you are always to depend on God for aid in all your trials. See Mark 13:11.
A mouth - Eloquence, ability to speak as the case may demand. Compare Exodus 4:11.
Gainsay - Speak against. They will not be able to “reply” to it, or to “resist” the force of what you shall say.
A hair of your head perish - This is a proverbial expression, denoting that they should not suffer any essential injury. This was strikingly fulfilled in the fact that in the calamities of Jerusalem there is reason to believe that no Christian suffered. Before those calamities came on the city they had fled to “Pella,” a city on the east of the Jordan. See the notes at Matthew 24:18.
In your patience - Rather by your perseverance. The word “patience” here means constancy or perseverance in sustaining afflictions.
Possess ye your souls - Some read here the “future” instead of the “present” of the verb rendered “possess.” The word “possess” means here to “preserve” or keep, and the word “souls” means “lives.” This passage may be thus translated: By persevering in bearing these trials you “will” save your lives, or you will be safe; or, by persevering “preserve” your lives; that is, do not yield to these calamities, but bear up under them, for he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. Compare Matthew 24:13.
All things which are written may be fulfilled - Judgment had been threatened by almost all the prophets against that wicked city. They had spoken of its crimes and threatened its ruin. Once God had destroyed Jerusalem and carried the people to Babylon; but their crimes had been repeated when they returned, and God had again threatened their ruin. Particularly was this very destruction foretold by Daniel, Daniel 9:26-27; “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” See the notes at that passage.
Shall fall ... - No less than one million one hundred thousand perished in the siege of Jerusalem.
Shall be led away captive - More than 90,000 were led into captivity. See the notes at Matthew 24:0.
Shall be trodden down by the Gentiles - Shall be in possession of the Gentiles, or be subject to them. The expression also implies that it would be an “oppressive” subjection, as when a captive in war is trodden down under the feet of the conqueror. Anciently conquerors “trod on” the necks of those who were subdued by them, Jos 10:24; 2 Samuel 22:41; Ezekiel 21:29. The bondage of Jerusalem has been long and very oppressive. It was for a long time under the dominion of the Romans, then of the Saracens, and is now of the Turks, and is aptly represented by a captive stretched on the ground whose neck is “trodden” by the foot of the conqueror.
Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled - This passage has been understood very differently by different expositors. Some refer it to the time which the Romans who conquered it had dominion over it, as signifying that “they” should keep possession of it until a part of the pagans should be converged, when it should be rebuilt. Thus it was rebuilt by the Emperor Adrian. Others suppose that it refers to the end of the world, when all the Gentiles shall be converted, and they shall “cease” to be Gentiles by becoming Christians, meaning that it should “always” be desolate. Others, that Christ meant to say that in the times of the millennium, when the gospel should spread universally, he would reign personally on the earth, and that the “Jews” would return and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. This is the opinion of the Jews and of many Christians. The meaning of the passage clearly is,
- That Jerusalem would be completely destroyed.
- That this would be done by Gentiles - that is, by the Roman armies.
- That this desolation would continue as long as God should judge it proper in a fit manner to express his abhorrence of the crimes of the nation - that is, until the times allotted to “them” by God for this desolation should be accomplished, without specifying how long that would be, or what would occur to the city after that.
It “may” be rebuilt, and inhabited by converted Jews. Such a thing is “possible,” and the Jews naturally seek that as their home; but whether this be so or not, the time when the “Gentiles,” as such, shall have dominion over the city is limited. Like all other cities on the earth, it will yet be brought under the influence of the gospel, and will be inhabited by the true friends of God. Pagan, infidel, anti-Christian dominion shall cease there, and it will be again a place where God will be worshipped in sincerity - a place “even then” of special interest from the recollection of the events which have occurred there. “How long” it is to be before this occurs is known only to Him “who hath put the times and seasons in his own power,” Acts 1:7.
See the notes at Matthew 24:29.
Upon the earth distress of nations - Some have proposed to render the word “earth” by “land,” confining it to Judea. It often has this meaning, and there seems some propriety in so using it here. The word translated “distress” denotes anxiety of mind - such an anxiety as people have when they do not know what to do to free themselves from calamities; and it means here that the calamities would be so great and overwhelming that they would not know what to do to escape. There would be a want of counsel, and deep anxiety at the impending evils.
With perplexity - Rather “on account” of their perplexity, or the desperate state of their affairs. The Syriac has it, “perplexity or wringing of hands,” which is a sign of deep distress and horror.
The sea and the waves roaring - This is not to be understood literally, but as an image of great distress. Probably it is designed to denote that these calamities would come upon them like a deluge. As when in a storm the ocean roars, and wave rolls on wave and dashes against the shore, and each succeeding surge is more violent than the one that preceded it, so would the calamities come upon Judea. They would roll over the whole land, and each wave of trouble would be more violent than the one that preceded it, until the whole country would be desolate. The same image is also used in Isaiah 8:7-8, and Revelation 18:15.
Men’s hearts failing them - This is an expression denoting the highest terror. The word rendered “failing” commonly denotes to “die,” and here it means that the terror would be so great that people would faint and be ready to die in view of the approaching calamities. And if this was true in respect to the judgments about to come upon Judea, how much more so will it be in the day of judgment, when the wicked will be arraigned before the Son of God, and when they shall have before them the prospect of the awful sufferings of hell - the pains and woes which shall continue forever! It will be no wonder, then, if they call on the rocks and mountains to hide them from the face of God, and if their hearts sink within them at the prospect of eternal suffering.
Your redemption draweth nigh - See the notes at Matthew 24:33. This is expressed in Luke 21:31 thus: “the kingdom of God is nigh at hand” - that is, from that time God will signally build up his kingdom. It shall be fully established when the Jewish policy 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.
Lest at any time your hearts be overcharged ... - The meaning of this verse is, “Be continually expecting these things. Do not forget them, and do not be “secure” and satisfied with this life and the good things which it furnishes. Do not suffer yourselves to be drawn into the fashions of the world; to be conformed to its customs; to partake of its feasts and revelry; and so these calamities shall come upon you when you least expect them.” And from this we may learn - what alas! we may from the “lives” of many professing Christians - that there is need of cautioning the disciples of Jesus now that they do not indulge in the festivities of this life, and “forget” that they are to die and come to judgment. How many, alas! who bear the Christian name, have forgotten this caution of the Saviour, and live as if their lives were secure; as if they feared not death; as if there were no heaven and no judgment! Christians should feel that they are soon to die, and that their portion is not in this life; and, feeling this, they should be “looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God.”
Overcharged - Literally, “be made heavy,” as is the case with those who have eaten and drunken too much.
Surfeiting - Excessive eating and drinking, so as to oppress the body; indulgence in the pleasures of the table. This word does not include “intoxication,” but merely indulgence in food and drink, though the food and drink should be in themselves lawful.
Drunkenness - Intoxication, intemperance in drinking. The ancients were not acquainted with the poison that we chiefly use on which to become drunk. They had no distilled spirits. They became intoxicated on wine, and strong drink made of a mixture of dates, honey, etc. All nations have contrived some way to become intoxicated - to bring in folly, and disease, and poverty, and death, by drunkenness; and in nothing is the depravity of men more manifest than in thus endeavoring to hasten the ravages of crime and death.
As a snare - In Matthew and Mark Jesus compares the suddenness with which these calamities would come to the deluge coming in the days of Noah. Here he likens it to a snare. Birds are caught by a snare or net. It is sprung on them quickly, and when they are not expecting it. So, says he, shall these troubles come upon Judea. The figure is often used to denote the suddenness of calamities, Psalms 69:22; Romans 11:9; Psalms 124:7; Isaiah 24:17.
To stand before the Son of man - These approaching calamities are represented as the “coming of the Son of man” to judge Jerusalem for its crimes. Its inhabitants were so wicked that they were not worthy to stand before him and would be condemned, and the city would be overthrown. To “stand before him” here denotes approbation, acquittal, favor, and is equivalent to saying that “they” would be free from these calamities, while they should come upon others. See Romans 14:4; Psalms 1:5; Psalms 130:3; Revelation 6:17. Perhaps, also, there is a reference here to the day of judgment. See the notes at Matthew 24:0.
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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 21:24". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-21.html. 1870.
And he looked up, and he saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites ( Luke 21:1-2 ).
A mite was one-sixteenth of a penny. In other words, it took sixteen mites to make a penny. Two mites would be an eighth of a penny. Now here are these rich people putting in their great gifts and this certain poor little widow goes up...and there in the temple the offering things are sort of like a horn and they would drop them in...and the poor little widow cast in her two mites.
And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow has cast in more than all of them: for all of these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all of the living that she had ( Luke 21:3-4 ).
So, an interesting thing in God's economy is not the amount that you give, but what it costs you to give. So, many who are giving less in God's economy are giving more. The amount is immaterial. What's the sacrifice? What's it costing you to give?
When David was wanting to buy the threshing floor of Araunah, because the angel of the Lord had stopped there at the threshing floor and David had wanted to buy it and to offer a sacrifice unto the God, Araunah says, "Take it, man, it's yours." And David said, "No, I will not give to God that which costs me nothing." And David insisted on buying it. He wouldn't take it as a gift, because he wanted to give it to God. And he said, "I won't offer to God that which costs me nothing." What does it cost you to give? That's what God measures the gift by.
And as some of them spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts ( Luke 21:5 ),
In "The Wars of the Jews" by Josephus, book number 5 and chapter 5, he gives an interesting description of the temple in Jerusalem; of these great white columns of solid marble, each column a single stone of solid white marble. And how along the fascia all of these gold shields, so that if you would look at the temple, the reflection of the gold was so tremendous that it was like looking at the sun itself. And you couldn't just look at the temple because of these gold plates when the sun was reflecting off of it. It would be hard on your eyes and like looking in a mirror. And he describes the beauty and the glory of this temple that was built by Herod, describing some of the stones as weighing as much as 180 tons. And so some of them were speaking to Jesus of the temple, how it was adorned with these goodly stones, these beautiful marble towers, and the gifts, the gold and the silver and the brass gates and all that were around it. And He said,
As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down ( Luke 21:6 ).
Today when you go to Jerusalem, as you go up the walk next to the western wall that leads on to the temple mount area, they have excavated the area to the right side of this walk. They have excavated down to the pavement that was the Roman street that went through the bottom of the Teropian Valley. And as they have excavated down to this Roman street, street level at the time of Christ, down there on the pavement which was made of great huge stones, there are these huge stones that have been pushed over the wall and that cracked the pavement down below. And you see them as they are just lying there in disarray as they fell and were pushed over the wall and crashed into the valley several hundred feet below, breaking the pavement down below. I've climbed down in to that area and I've touched these big stones and I've marveled at them. Because as I looked at them, I realized I was seeing the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus Christ. "Not one stone was left standing upon another." They filled the Teropian Valley with stones that they pushed over from the temple, watching them crash below.
When we were up in the Grand Canyon, there was one area that I had a bunch of kids. And they were starting to push stones over this canyon cliff, because there was about a 3,000-foot drop before they hit. And it was terrifying to see the momentum that these stones would develop before they hit the bottom, and the crash, of course, echoing up the canyon. But here were the Roman soldiers, when they destroyed the temple, pushing the stones over. And that whole Teropian Valley was filled with the debris and the stones that they pushed over the wall at the time of the destruction of the temple. But it fulfilled literally the prophecy of Jesus, as He said, "You look at these stones, but there shall not be one left standing upon another that will not be thrown down." Thus, as you go up on the temple mount, there is no evidence anywhere of where the temple of Solomon stood. The temple mount that he built is there. But there is no evidence at all of the place of the temple, because not one stone was left standing upon another.
And so they asked him, saying, Master, when shall these things be? ( Luke 21:7 )
What things? When the temple is destroyed and the stones are thrown down.
and what sign will there be when these things ( Luke 21:7 )
That is, the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
what will be the sign when these things come to pass? And so he said unto them, Take heed that you be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am; and that the time is drawing near: but go ye not therefore after them. But when you shall hear of wars and commotions, don't be terrified: for these things must first come to pass; and the end is not yet. Then he said unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom: And there will be great earthquakes in different places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful signs and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before ( Luke 21:7-12 )
Now He's going on to the times of the end with these signs of the great earthquakes in different places, the famines, the pestilences, the fearful signs in heaven, and the worldwide state of wars.
But before all of these, they shall lay their hands on you ( Luke 21:12 ),
Coming back to the destruction of the temple.
and they will persecute you, delivering you up into the synagogues, and into the prisons, and you'll be brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony ( Luke 21:12-13 ).
Jesus said, "Look, you're going to get arrested, you're going to be hauled before the kings and all for My name's sake, but that's all right. It's going to give you a chance to witness." And I find it fascinating that every time Paul was brought before a judge or before the king, he took the opportunity to give a witness for Jesus Christ. "Oh, King Agrippa, I count it a privilege to be able to share with you what's happened to me, because I know that you've studied the law of the Jews and you understand these things. And the things that Jesus did weren't in a corner. Now, I myself was like you, I thought to be against this Man, and I was commissioned to arrest Him," and so forth. And he went on and he gave a heavy witness to King Agrippa. "King Agrippa, do you believe? I know you believe." He says, "Paul, wait a minute! Your much learning has made you mad." And King Agrippa says, "Hey, wait a minute! Hold on! You think that you're going to persuade me to be a Christian?" But Paul was trying. Jesus said, "Hey, they're going to bring you before kings, but don't worry. It's going to give you a chance to witness." And Paul used it every time he got before the king.
Now, Paul was taken before Nero. There's nothing in the biblical account that tells us what Paul said, but as we study secular history, it would seem that Nero wasn't too bad a fellow. He was actually very anxious to leave his mark upon Rome and to build some monuments in Rome. His castle is a great monument in itself that has been uncovered recently. But Nero wasn't really too awful a fellow until in history he met this fellow Paul the apostle. The first time that Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he had his opportunity. You remember when he was before Festus he appealed to Caesar. And so he was sent to Rome, placed there in prison where he wrote his Philippian epistle and he had his chance to go before Nero.
Now, you think that the witness he laid on Agrippa was heavy. You can be sure that Paul thought, "Man, if I can convert this pagan to Christianity, what that would do!" And I'm sure that Paul laid on Nero a witness second to none in the history of the church.
Secular history records this dramatic personality change of Nero right after the time that Paul laid the witness on him. It was at that same period of time in history that Nero went through a drastic personality change and became a beast. He burned Rome because he wanted to rebuild a new glorious Rome for his credit. And then he blamed the Christians for it. But he became almost a man possessed, insane. I feel that, personally, that he became demon possessed after Paul's witness and his rejection of Paul's witness. I believe that he opened his heart and life to demon possession. And I believe that the things that he did can only be ascribed to a man possessed by an evil spirit. But up until that time of Paul's witness, he wasn't that bad of a fellow, his story.
So, Jesus said, "Now don't worry about it. It's going to give you a chance to witness." And Paul took that chance every time he got it. And He said, "Don't make up a little speech in advance in your own heart, what you're going to say... 'Well, I'm going to say this and that and the other...'" But He said,
For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist ( Luke 21:15 ).
Now don't worry about what you're going to say, because I'll give you the words in that time. And you can wipe 'em out.
And you will be betrayed both by your parents, and your brothers, and your kinfolk, and your friends; and some of you they will cause you to be put to death ( Luke 21:16 ).
Fox's "Book of Martyrs" relates to us that sad portion of the history of the church.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not a hair of your head perish ( Luke 21:17-18 ).
They may kill your body, but after that, they have no power.
And in your patience possess ye your souls ( Luke 21:19 ).
What an important bit of instruction! "In patience." God help us! We're so impatient when it comes to the things of God. "In your patience possess ye your souls." God, give me patience!
And when you will see Jerusalem encircled with armies ( Luke 21:20 ),
Which happens within forty years.
then know that the desolation is near. Let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let them that are in the countries enter in there too. For these are the days of vengeance ( Luke 21:20-22 ),
Rome is going to take out here vengeance upon the rebellion.
and all of the things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to those that are nursing, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and they will be led away captive to all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled ( Luke 21:22-24 ).
So, in 70 A.D., when Titus came with the Roman troops and besieged Jerusalem, killed 1,100,000 Jews, carried away the remaining 97,000 as captive, Israel ceased to be a nation. They were carried away captive into all nations and the prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled. And Jerusalem from that day had been trodden down by the Gentiles until June of 1967.
Now, as I understand prophecy, in June of 1967 the time of the Gentiles came to an end. You say, "Well, what are we in now?" Just a space gap. I believe that the Lord is going to begin a very special work with the nation of Israel very soon. There is a seven-year period of prophecy that is not yet been fulfilled, Daniel's seventieth week. And that seven-year period of God's Spirit upon the nation of Israel and dealing with them, and their restoration must come. That period has not yet begun. But in 1967, for all practical purposes, when Jerusalem became again the territory of the nation of Israel, when they drove out the Jordanian troops and they took the city of Jerusalem, at that point, according to the words of Jesus, Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Since that time, it's just been a short period of God's grace giving others that opportunity to become a part of God's kingdom before He gathers His church together unto Himself. So, we're just living in a period of God's extended grace to man. But even as God said in the time of Noah, "My Spirit will not always strive with man," I believe that God's striving with men has just about come to an end. The time of the Gentiles fulfilled.
And now Jesus goes ahead to give signs of His return. And He said,
There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity ( Luke 21:25 );
Signs in the heavens. We know that the comet known as Halley's Comet will be returning into our area of the solar system in just a couple of years. And with the advent of the return of Halley's Comet, there's been a lot of writing in the astronomy magazines and a lot of speculation about asteroids and about comets, and the possibilities of a comet or an asteroid striking the earth. And it is interesting that a large part of the physical makeup of comets is cyanide. And it is also interesting that in the book of Revelation, "he saw a star fall from heaven and strike the earth and all of the fresh waters became bitter; they were called wormwood because they were bitter." It sounds like it could almost be a comet striking the earth and that cyanide poisoning the fresh water systems turning them bitter. The cyanide taste, of course, is a bitter taste. You might pick up the Astronomy Magazine; I think it was December's issue. It had an interesting issue on comets and their makeup. And, of course, because Halley's is returning, there's just a lot of things that you can read now in the astronomy journals and all about asteroids and comets. And there's always that likelihood that an asteroid is going to strike the earth. In fact, our government is making contingency plans. If there seems to be some threat of a large asteroid striking the earth, of sending a rocket out with a nuclear warhead to try and explode it in space so that it won't get to the earth. And these kind of things are things that are being thought of by the science. Signs! "...and the sun and the moon and the stars."
"On the earth there will be distress of nations with perplexity." That means that the distress of nations is problems that nations will be facing. The word perplexity in the Greek is "no way out." Now the government is searching for a way out. We're going to cut taxes and we're going to balance the budget. Government has become burdensome. In fact, government has become so expensive, we can't afford it anymore. And that's the problem that we've hit. There's no way that we can afford government any longer. It's a monster that has just continued to grow, gobbling up everything, until it has grown to such an extent that there are not enough people left to support the government workers. I read a statistic someplace, and I don't know the accuracy of it. But it said some 49% of the people are on the government payroll some way or another; either through welfare or through jobs that are related to the government. So 51% of the people are productive, and the rest are working for the government, supporting the 49. What are we going to do? What's the answer? There is none. So, what shall we do? Have heart failure.
I thought that this was interesting that it came this week.
the sea and the waves roaring ( Luke 21:25 );
Any of you live at Sunset Beach? Seal Beach?
Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for the looking after of those things which are coming upon the earth: and the powers of the heaven will be shaken. And then ( Luke 21:26-27 ),
Of course, He's describing events of the Great Tribulation period here, "And then," after this Great Tribulation,
shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your head; for your redemption is drawing close ( Luke 21:27-28 ).
Now, last October in one of the shopping malls, towards the end of October, I saw them putting them up Christmas decorations. And I said, "Well, Thanksgiving must be getting close." Why? Because I know that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas. And if they're putting up Christmas decorations and Thanksgiving hasn't come yet, then Thanksgiving must be getting close. Because it's got to come before Christmas. Now Jesus is giving you signs of His return. Signs that will happen before His second coming. But if the rapture of the church is to precede the second coming by seven years, then when we will see the signs of the coming of the Lord, we have to say, "Hey, the rapture must be getting close. I see the signs of the Lord's return." That makes the rapture that much closer. So, when you see these things beginning to come to pass, then you look up and lift up your head, for your redemption is drawing nigh.
And he spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all of the trees; When they now shoot forth, and you see and you know of your own selves that summer is now near end ( Luke 21:29-30 ).
And Jesus is basically saying the same thing. If you see the trees start to blossom out and leaf out, you say, "Oh, summer must be getting close." Because I see the trees leaving out, I see the blossoms; summer must be getting close.
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all is fulfilled. Now heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away ( Luke 21:32-33 ).
We have the solid word of Christ. Now even as Jerusalem was destroyed and not one stone was left standing upon another, and the Jews were decimated and the remainder were made slaves throughout the earth, and Jerusalem went under the hand of the Gentiles...just as all of that was fulfilled, you can be sure that Jesus is coming again. The rest of the prophecies will be fulfilled. God didn't bring it along this far to drop it now. We are moving towards the end. The whole system is moving towards this climax, the return of Jesus Christ in power and glory. But when we see the signs of that return, we know that our redemption is so close. And Jesus affirms it; He says, "Now look, heaven and earth will pass away, but not My words."
Take heed to yourselves ( Luke 21:34 ),
Now this is a message for you. "Take heed, be careful."
lest at any time your hearts are overcharged with surfeiting, drunkenness, [partying,] the cares of this life, and that day overtake you unaware ( Luke 21:34 ).
There is a party spirit in the world today. Be careful you're not caught up in it, and that Day of the Lord catch you by surprise. Be careful of these things. Jesus warns you that these things are going to be like a trap for men. "...drunkenness, surfeiting, gourmet type of eating, cares of this life, so that Day come upon you unaware.
For as a snare ( Luke 21:35 )
It's a trap.
shall it come upon all of them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore ( Luke 21:35-36 ),
The Lord's command to His church to watch.
and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things ( Luke 21:36 )
All what things? These things of God's judgment that will be coming to pass upon the earth as there are the signs and the sun and the moon and the stars and the heaven shaken, and the earthquakes and the pestilences and the famines... "pray that you'll be accounted worthy to escape all of these things."
that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man ( Luke 21:36 ).
Now, in the book of Revelation, chapter 5, John saw a scroll in the right hand of Him who was sitting upon the throne, sealed with seven seals, and it had writing both within and without. "And he heard an angel proclaim with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals?'" And when no one was found worthy in heaven or earth, John began to sob convulsively until the elders said, "Don't sob, John. Behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah hath prevailed to take the scroll and loose the seals." "And I turned and I saw Him as a Lamb that had been slaughtered, and He took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat upon the throne. And when He did, the twenty-four elders came forth with their golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints, and they offered them before the throne of God. And they sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy is the Lamb to take the scroll and to loose the seals, for He was slain; but He has redeemed us by His blood, out of every nation, tribe, kindred, tongue and people, and He has made us unto our God kings and priests and we shall reign with Him upon the earth.'"
Listen to the lyric of the song in heaven. "Worthy is the Lamb; He was slain, He has redeemed us by His blood . . . out of all of the nations, tribes, tongues and people...made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign with Him upon the earth." These are those who are standing before the Son of man. And the Great Tribulation does not begin until the beginning of chapter 6. "And when He loosed the first seal, the angel said unto me, 'Come. And I saw a white horse coming forth upon the earth, conquering and to conquer with his rider." And there begins the Great Tribulation period when, after the book is open. But while the book is there in the right hand of the Father, and when Jesus steps forth to take it, that glorious song of the church, "Worthy is the Lamb," sung by those who are standing before the Son of man, Jesus is saying, "Look, you pray always. Watch and pray always that you'll be accounted worthy to escape all of these things that are going to be happening upon the earth, that you'll be standing before the Son of man." It is my prayer and anticipation that I will be accounted worthy to be standing with the company of God's redeemed saints in heaven, singing of the worthiness of the Lamb to take the title deed to the earth, and to lay claim to it. I want to be standing before the Son of man. I surely do not want to be down here on this earth when God's wrath is poured out, as Jesus has described a portion of it here, but you find the full description in Revelation chapter 6 through 18.
And in the daytime ( Luke 21:37 )
That's the end of the message,
he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and stayed at the mount which is called the mount of Olives ( Luke 21:37 ).
So He crossed the Kidron Valley and went up into the Mount of Olives in the evening.
And all of the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, to hear him ( Luke 21:38 ).
So, there was a popular movement towards Jesus by the common people as the chief priest and the scribes and the elders were plotting His death. And so, we move into the final chapters as we get into chapter 22 and Judas' betrayal, the last supper. And we're moving into the final events of Jesus' life, which we will complete next Sunday night, as we finish the book of Luke.
Shall we pray? Father, as we look around the world in which we live, and as we look at Your Word and as we see these things beginning to come to pass, we see the nation of Israel existing once again. We see the city of Jerusalem under the control of the nation of Israel. And we see the distress of nations and the perplexities, we see the nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, the increased earthquakes, these pestilences and famines. Oh Lord, help us that we will be accounted worthy to escape all of these things that are going to come to pass. Oh God, we want to stand in that heavenly throng around the throne of God proclaiming the worthiness of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who died for us, who redeemed us by His blood and has made us unto our God kings and priests. Thank you, Jesus, for that redemption that we have tonight. Oh Lord, may we be worthy to be in that throng. In Jesus' name. Amen. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Luke 21:24". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/luke-21.html. 2014.
D. Jesus’ teaching about the destruction of the temple 21:5-36
The emphasis in Luke’s version of this important discourse concerning the future, the Olivet Discourse, is a warning and an encouragement to persevere. Jesus gave this teaching so His disciples would be ready for the coming of the kingdom (cf. Luke 21:34-36). Luke had already reported much teaching about the future (Luke 12:35-48; Luke 17:20-37). However some lessons bore repetition, such as the place of signs in signaling the end and the importance of faithful perseverance. There is also new revelation. Particularly the relationship of the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem to Jesus’ return was not clear before. Jesus now clarified that these events would not occur together, but some time would elapse between them.
"Keep in mind that this was a message given to Jews by a Jew about the future of the Jewish nation. Though there are definite applications to God’s people today, the emphasis is on Jerusalem, the Jews, and the temple. Our Lord was not discussing His coming for the church, for that can occur at any time and no signs need precede it (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). ’For the Jews require a sign’ (1 Corinthians 1:22); the church looks for a Saviour (Philippians 3:20-21)." [Note: Wiersbe, 1:260.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 21:24". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-21.html. 2012.
3. The judgment coming on Jerusalem 21:20-24
Jesus now returned to the subject of when the temple would suffer destruction (Luke 21:7). The similar passages in Matthew and Mark are sufficiently different to alert the reader to the fact that they deal with a different incident from what Luke described (Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-20). Even some commentators who believe that Luke depended heavily on Mark for his material admit this difference. [Note: E.g., Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 770-71.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 21:24". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-21.html. 2012.
The distress of pregnant women and nursing mothers then represents the trouble that all people in and around Jerusalem would face. God’s wrath and the wrath of Israel’s enemy would also be great. Some of the Jews would die in battle, and others would become captives and have to leave Palestine. Gentiles would dominate Jerusalem itself. This would last until the end of "the times of the Gentiles." This is a phrase that describes the period during which Gentiles rather than Jews would control the fate of Jerusalem (Daniel 2; Daniel 7). It began when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and will continue until Jesus Christ returns at the Second Coming (cf. Daniel 2:34-35; Daniel 2:45; Romans 11:25). Throughout this entire long period of history, including the present, Gentiles have controlled the fate of Jerusalem. [Note: See J. Dwight Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ, p. 399; John F. Walvoord, "The Times of the Gentiles," Bibliotheca Sacra 125:497 (January-March 1968):3-9.] Luke’s reference to the times of the Gentiles is consistent with his interest in Gentiles.
Again careful comparison with the similar passages in Matthew and Mark reveals that they were recording Jesus’ prediction of the attack on Jerusalem just before His return (cf. Zechariah 14:1-2). Luke recorded His prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction that happened in A.D. 70.
Acts 3:19 records Peter’s invitation to the Jews to repent and to return to a proper relationship to God with the result that "times of refreshing" might come from the Lord’s presence. This is probably a reference to the inauguration of the messianic kingdom (cf. Zechariah 12:10-14). If the Jewish nation as a whole had believed in Jesus then, how could Jesus’ predictions about the destruction of Jerusalem have taken place? Probably the Romans would have invaded Jerusalem sooner than they did, the Rapture would have happened (John 14:1-3), the seven-year Tribulation would have followed, and Jesus would have returned to set up His kingdom. All of this could have happened within about 10 years from the time Peter extended his invitation.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 21:24". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-21.html. 2012.
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword,.... Or "mouth of the sword", an Hebraism; see the Septuagint in Judges 1:8. The number of those that perished by the famine and sword, were eleven hundred thousand f:
and shall be led away captive unto all nations; when the city was taken, the most beautiful of the young men were kept for the triumph; and those that were above seventeen years of age, were sent bound into Egypt, to labour 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 g:
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 which spot 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, till the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in; until the Gospel is preached all over the world, and all God's elect are gathered in out of all nations; and then the Jews will be converted, and return to their own land, and rebuild and inhabit Jerusalem; but till that time, it will be as it has been, and still is possessed by Gentiles. The word "Gentiles", is left out in one of Beza's exemplars, and so it is likewise in the Persic version.
f Joseph. de Belio Jud. l. 7. c. 49. & Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 3. c. 7. g Ib.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 21:24". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-21.html. 1999.
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judæa 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. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 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. 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. 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; 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. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Having given them an idea of the times for about thirty-eight years next ensuing, he here comes to show them what all those things would issue in at last, namely, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the utter dispersion of the Jewish nation, which would be a little day of judgment, a type and figure of Christ's second coming, which was not so fully spoken of here as in the parallel place (Matthew 24:1-51), yet glanced at; for the destruction of Jerusalem would be as it were the destruction of the world to those whose hearts were bound up in it.
I. He tells them that they should see Jerusalem besieged, compassed with armies (Luke 21:20; Luke 21:20), the Roman armies; and, when they saw this, they might conclude that its desolation was nigh, for in this the siege would infallibly end, though it might be a long siege. Note, As in mercy, so in judgment, when God begins, he will make an end.
II. He warns them, upon this signal given, to shift for their own safety (Luke 21:21; Luke 21:21): "Then let them that are in Judea quit the country and flee to the mountains; let them that are in the midst of it" (Of Jerusalem) "depart out, before the city be closely shut up, and" (as we say now) "before the trenches be opened; and let not them that are in the countries and villages about enter into the city, thinking to be safe there. Do you abandon a city and country which you see God has abandoned and given up to ruin. Come out of her, my people."
III. He foretels the terrible havoc that should be made of the Jewish nation (Luke 21:22; Luke 21:22): Those are the days of vengeance so often spoken of by the Old-Testament prophets, which would complete the ruin of that provoking people. All their predictions must now be fulfilled, and the blood of all the Old-Testament martyrs must now be required. All things that are written must be fulfilled at length. After days of patience long abused, there will come days of vengeance; for reprieves are not pardons. The greatness of that destruction is set forth, 1. By the inflicting cause of it. It is wrath upon this people, the wrath of God, that will kindle this devouring consuming fire. 2. By the particular terror it would be to women with child, and poor mothers that are nurses. Woe to them, not only because they are most subject to frights, and least able to shift for their own safety, but because it will be a very great torment to them to think of having borne and nursed children for the murderers. 3. By the general confusion that should be all the nation over. There shall be great distress in the land, for men will not know what course to take, nor how to help themselves.
IV. He describes the issue of the struggles between the Jews and the Romans, and what they will come to at last; in short, 1. Multitudes of them shall fall by the edge of the sword. It is computed that in those wars of the Jews there fell by the sword above eleven hundred thousand. And the siege of Jerusalem was, in effect, a military execution. 2. The rest shall be led away captive; not into one nations, as when they were conquered by the Chaldeans, which gave them an opportunity of keeping together, but into all nations, which made it impossible for them to correspond with each other, much less to incorporate. 3. Jerusalem itself was trodden down of the Gentiles. The Romans, when they had made themselves masters of it, laid it quite waste, as a rebellious and bad city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and therefore hateful to them.
V. He describes the great frights that people should generally be in. Many frightful sights shall be in the sun, moon, and stars, prodigies in the heavens, and here in this lower world, the sea and the waves roaring, with terrible storms and tempests, such as had not been known, and above the ordinary working of natural causes. The effect of this shall be universal confusion and consternation upon the earth, distress of nations with perplexity,Luke 21:25; Luke 21:25. Dr. Hammond understands by the nations the several governments or tetrarchies of the Jewish nation, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee; these shall be brought to the last extremity. Men's hearts shall fail them for fear (Luke 21:26; Luke 21:26), apopsychonton anthropon--men being quite exanimated, dispirited, unsouled, dying away for fear. Thus those are killed all the day long by whom Christ's apostles were so (Romans 8:36), that is, they are all the day long in fear of being killed; sinking under that which lies upon them, and yet still trembling for fear of worse, and looking after those things which are coming upon the world. When judgment begins at the house of God, it will not end there; it shall be as if all the world were falling in pieces; and where can any be secure then? The powers of heaven shall be shaken, and then the pillars of the earth cannot but tremble. Thus shall the present Jewish policy, religion, laws, and government, be all entirely dissolved by a series of unparalleled calamities, attended with the utmost confusion. So Dr. Clarke. But our Saviour makes use of these figurative expressions because at the end of time they shall be literally accomplished, when the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all their powers not only shaken, but broken, and the earth and all the works that are therein shall be burnt up, 2 Peter 3:10; 2 Peter 3:12. As that day was all terror and destruction to the unbelieving Jews, so the great day will be to all unbelievers.
VI. He makes this to be a kind of appearing of the Son of man: Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory,Luke 21:27; Luke 21:27. The destruction of Jerusalem was in a particular manner an act of Christ's judgment, the judgment committed to the Son of man; his religion could never be thoroughly established but by the destruction of the temple, and the abolishing of the Levitical priesthood and economy, after which even the converted Jews, and many of the Gentiles too, were still hankering, till they were destroyed; so that it might justly be looked upon as a coming of the Son of man, in power and great glory, yet not visibly, but in the clouds; for in executing such judgments as these clouds and darkness are round about him. Now this was, 1. An evidence of the first coming of the Messiah; so some understand it. Then the unbelieving Jews shall be confined, when it is too late, that Jesus was the Messiah; those that would not see him coming in the power of his grace to save them shall be made to see him coming in the power of his wrath to destroy them; those that would not have him to reign over them shall have him to triumph over them. 2. It was an earnest of his second coming. Then in the terrors of that day they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, and all the terrors of the last day. They shall see a specimen of it, a faint resemblance of it. If this be so terrible, what will that be?
VII. He encourages all the faithful disciples in reference to the terrors of that day (Luke 21:28; Luke 21:28): "When these things begin to come to pass, when Jerusalem is besieged, and every thing is concurring to the destruction of the Jews, then do you look up, when others are looking down, look heavenward, in faith, hope, and prayer, and lift up your heads with cheerfulness and confidence, for your redemption draws night." 1. When Christ came to destroy the Jews, he came to redeem the Christians that were persecuted and oppressed by them; then had the churches rest. 2. When he comes to judge the world at the last day, he will redeem all that are his, from all their grievances. And the foresight of that day is as pleasant to all good Christians as it is terrible to the wicked and ungodly. Their death itself is so; when they see that day approaching, they can lift up their heads with joy, knowing that their redemption draws nigh, their removal to their Redeemer.
VIII. Here is one word of prediction that looks further than the destruction of the Jewish nation, which is not easily understood; we have it in Luke 21:24; Luke 21:24: Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. 1. Some understand it of what is past; so Dr. Hammond. The Gentiles, who have conquered Jerusalem, shall keep possession of it, and it shall be purely Gentile, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, till a great part of the Gentile world shall have become Christian, and then after Jerusalem shall have been rebuilt by Adrian the emperor, with an exclusion of all the Jews from it, many of the Jews shall turn Christians, shall join with the Gentile Christians, to set up a church in Jerusalem, which shall flourish there for a long time. 2. Others understand it of what is yet to come; so Dr. Whitby. Jerusalem shall be possessed by the Gentiles, of one sort or other, for the most part, till the time come when the nations that yet remain infidels shall embrace the Christian faith, when the kingdoms of this world shall become Christ's kingdoms, and then all the Jews shall be converted. Jerusalem shall be inhabited by them, and neither they nor their city any longer trodden down by the Gentiles.
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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Luke 21:24". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/luke-21.html. 1706.
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18