When therefore will these things happen?
Luke 21:1-28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 3 And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”
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. 21 Then 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.”
Ever since Jesus spoke the words in today’s text regarding the signs of the end times, and His return, people have been trying to figure out the date and time. Even recently there has again been someone who has predicted that the time is near. With the rise of every evil regime comes the effort by people to fit the pieces, the events of the time, into the end time puzzle. Others believe that what Jesus describes has already happened. They say that in AD 70, when Jerusalem fell to the Romans and the temple was destroyed, it was the fulfillment of what Jesus spoke of in today’s text. Myself, I do believe that as the Bible says, Jesus will return and establish His kingdom. As far as I know what Jesus said in today’s text has yet to happen. While Jerusalem has been surrounded by armies, while there have been signs in the sun and moon and stars, while there have been natural disasters, the roaring of the sea and the waves, we have seen “Nation rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there have been great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines. There have been terrors and great signs from heaven. We are seeing times when they have and continue to lay their hands on you (believers) and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. We have not yet seen the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
I personally do not care to enter into the debate concerning the times. All those who hold to a certain doctrine or belief have their reasons and their arguments. For myself, I am satisfied with what Jesus said: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) “As for that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32) Again I believe in and look forward to the return of Christ. But I think we are mistaken when we try to limit the eternal God and the God of eternity to our finite time. The book of Revelation is a prophetic picture and revelation of the return of Christ. Again many people will debate and try to explain the things that are described in John’s spiritual vision in natural terms. Each one who believes in a doctrine might have convincing arguments for their position and belief. For myself, I believe what is said in Revelation 1:8 is one of the most important things for us to keep in mind. It says: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” God is eternal and unchanging. He is, was and will be. I was not born into the times of AD 70, or the time of the crusades, or of World War 1 or World War 2. I was born and live in this moment in time. For myself, I choose to focus less on what was and what will be. I choose to prioritize and focus on what is. So, in this moment in time, in the hours, days and years I am given in finite time, I will heed what Jesus says: “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. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.” In Acts 1:6-8, after Jesus resurrection, it says: So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” I was not born or alive when Ester was queen and saved her people. In Ester 4:14 it says: … who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this? I did not live in the past and my future days and years will have a limit here on earth. Like Ester though, I have attained royalty in this time. Romans 8:16-17 says: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. I was not born for another time, past or future. I was born for such a time as this. I choose to live in this finite time, not trying to discern the times we are in, but rather trying to impact the times of eternity.
Revelation 22:20 says: He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Yet until You come in all Your glory and power, empower me and enable me to live for You in all the time I have. Amen.