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THE END OF AN AGE

Bible Basics

 The accounts of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 all end with the same statement:  "In truth I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away until all these things have occurred."  Some of the most earth shaking events in all of history are spoken of in this prophecy. Yet the only place  Jesus used his special emphasis, "in truth I say to you,"  to focus their thoughts, (and command our attention) was concerning when this prophecy would come to pass. Those words and especially the word generation are not translatable in any other way; nor have they been in over 50 different Bible translations. As you'll see in this article there are a dozen other places in the Bible that also directly say the end of that age would occur in the very generation Jesus and his apostles personally ministered to. There are usually two things that cause people to overlook these dates the scripture clearly presents concerning the time these prophecies will take place. One is ignorance of the events of the first century. The other is the misunderstanding of the illustrations the Bible uses in its prophecy. These chapters will be arranged verse by verse in cells of all three accounts with an appropriate comment. To conserve space by not listing who the author of the verse is: Matthew will always be first followed by Mark and then Luke.

 

*1. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: Then his disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. 2. And Jesus said to them, Do you see all these things? Truly I say to you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
*1. And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, Master, look at what manner of stones and the buildings that are here! 2. And Jesus answering said to him, do you see these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
*5. And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts, he said,6. As for these things which you see, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

     This is the subject of the prophecy. The Buildings, the temple and  the city of Jerusalem. This doesn't change somewhere else in the prophecy nor can someone arbitrarily make it refer to a temple or city far off in the future. This is especially true in light of the fact that it took place exactly as Jesus said, at the end of that generation.


*3. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?
*4. Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
*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?

      When looking at the differing accounts here it is important to recognize that all three were written before the fact as prophecy.  They were not copied from one another or written after they were fulfilled.  The three accounts must be looked at in the same way any court would look at the testimony of three witness to the same fact. If all three used the exact words to describe what they saw or heard it would be said there was collusion between them. Instead what we have are the records of three different witnesses to the same event, Jesus's prophecy. All three emphasizing what they thought was important. They are not interpreting nor writing everything that Jesus said. They are writing down what he said that stood out to them. The Word says of itself  "All scripture is given through inspiration from God...."  What this all means is that one witness (under inspiration) may not have considered a sentence he heard as pertinent. Maybe not even recording it or using language that keeps it short. The other witness may have viewed that same sentence with the utmost importance. Recorded it exactly as spoken or emphasized it with wording to make it more noticeable than other parts of his paragraph. It does not mean there is disagreement between those that heard  but that one thought something should be emphasized while the other did not.

     Notice the difference between Matthews account (verse 3) and Mark and Luke's accounts (verses 4 & 7.)  Plus the fact that  "they" asked, as in more than one asked a similar question. Mark and Luke seem to record what the average person might ask Jesus in response to him saying the buildings they are looking at will be destroyed. "When is this going to happen and what kinds of things and events are going to lead up to it?"  The question emphasized  in Matthews gospel about when that age would end adds a clarifying piece of information to the prophecy.  It should be noted that some translations insert the word "world" instead of age. The Greek word is the word for age, (aión) and is not translatable into the word "world" in modern English. In older English the world was often used as a synonym of age.  To the modern English reader though the  word "world" instead of "age" makes for a radical departure from the context of the destruction of the buildings they are looking at to a prophecy about the end of the world. Another major issue along these lines is with the "dynamically translated"  Bibles that add the word "second" before the word "coming" which is not in the Greek.  In the language of this verse there is not even an implication  of a second coming or advent of Christ, nor of the end of the world. It says and means what the simple translation of the original language says without adding anything to it to render it "understandable" to the reader. Which brings up the subject of why Matthew would emphasize this while the others did not. 

     Matthews gospel was written primarily to reach the Jewish people while Luke is focused on the Gentiles in his gospel.  Matthew seems to be always keyed in on Old Testament scriptures to appeal to Jewish readers and this verse is no exception. When Matthew penned "what shall be the sign of your coming and of the completion of the age," One scripture he was referencing Daniel chapter 9 verses 25-27.  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 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. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
      These verses in Daniel simply state that when Messiah comes the city and the temple will be destroyed which would herald the end of that age.  Jesus confirmed the covenant made to Abraham for a week (7years.) He was cut of or sacrificed in the middle of that week. It was Jesus that caused the sacrifices and oblations to cease because of his sacrifice. He confirmed the covenant for  3 1/2  years in Jerusalem during  his own ministry along with his death and resurrection. Then for an additional 3 1/2 years he confirmed it in Jerusalem through his Apostles.  At that point the political leaders of Israel rejected the Gospel and  drove most of the believers out of Jerusalem. Thus began the ministry to the nations. Then in approx. 33 years the war began that resulted in the destruction of the city, the temple and the end of that age.  Matthews account fits perfectly within the context of the other two writers questions about  destruction of the buildings they were looking at. Here are a few more verses that say when this would all occur.

      Mark 14:61 ...Again the high priest asked him, Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62. And Jesus said, I am: and you will see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Or Matthew 16: 27. For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28:Truly I say to you, There are some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Matthew16: 28. Truly I say to you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Mark: 9: 1. And he said unto them, Truly I say to you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. Luke 9: 26. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.27. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. Matthew 25: 64. Jesus says to him, You have said: nevertheless I say to you, After this you will see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Among other verses unmentioned here we could also refer to Joel's prophecy that Peter said was fulfilled  with this outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Acts2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:  Then just as you see in Daniel and many other prophecies the destruction of Jerusalem is spoken of  as part of what would happen when the Messiah came to ancient Israel. 19 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: 20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: 21And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

     Before we go on I would just like to note that this prophecy of the end of the Old Covenant age is not the only end time prophecy in the Bible. The other body of end time prophecy concerns the end of the age of the four Gentile empires. Babylon, Medo\Persia, Greek and Roman; of which the book of Revelation has 11 chapters about.  The Article End Time Prophecy goes into those as well as these.


*4. And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
*5. And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
*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 draws near: go ye not therefore after them.

     As with the entirety of this prophecy. Jesus is addressing the people he is speaking to in the 2nd person. The Word of God is a record of that and one alters that record at their own peril. That means he is telling those who are listening to his prophecy that they will be seeing these things themselves. He is not speaking to a future generation. If one were to be take a literature or language arts test in school and try to twist these words to say otherwise they would fail that test. Unfortunately, thousands of ministry schools completely ignore all the rules of literature and the language arts to do just that. The rest of the New Testament is not a record of the events in Judea so it does not tell us of the false Christ's in the region after Jesus ascended to heaven. There is a historical record from Josephus a Jewish  historian lived during this time and wrote of the false Christ's and Prophets.  Note* "Christ" simply means anointed.


*6. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you are not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
*7. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, be not troubled: for such things must  be; but the end shall not be yet.
*9. But when you hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

    Jesus is giving them very practical instructions about the the things they will see transpire so that they do not confuse those things with the events that happen immediately before the end when the city and the sanctuary are destroyed. To show just how necessary these instructions were. This happened just around 8 years after the resurrection and could have easily been taken as something that heralded the end....except Jesus's prophecy as a whole said it was not. These commotions were recorded by Josephus in the 40's.  


*7. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in different places. 8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
*8. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in different places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
*10. Then said he to them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: 11. And great earthquakes shall be in different places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

     Since the New Testament does not record the events of the Middle East except in relationship to the apostles and church's. Many a Bible reader has been easily led astray from this prophecies context by inserting today's headlines into sentences like this. Perhaps a lack of sound Biblical education in our schools has caused a lack of realization these things came to pass with a vengeance upon the region prior to the destruction of Jerusalem. 

1. These wars between nations and kingdoms happened from the reign of Caligula through the reign of Nero. These were besides all the warring and commotion in the Judean region.

2. Since large famines would have effected the ministries and churches in the NT.  Naturally there was a record of them in the Bible. Josephus also recorded some of them in his history of the region.

3. The were many earthquakes including the ones mentioned in the Bible between the period this prophecy was given and it's fulfillment in 70 AD .

4. There was certainly no lack of great signs from heaven during this time period. In the sky itself, on earth and the events happening among the people.

5. This is Josephus's record of the Roman Procurator Florus that purposely caused the war in Judea to keep his crimes hidden from Caesar. Not only could this be considered one of many signs;  Florus's conduct and what he did to the Jewish nation is certainly the larger part of the beginning of sorrows.


*9. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
*9. But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. 10. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12. Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
*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. 13. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15. For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. 16. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren,  kinsfolk, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. 18. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 19. In your patience possess ye your souls.

These verses will be commented on with five subjects:

1- Persecution: Since the Bible from the book of Acts on is about the apostles and the churches it is quite naturally full of the record of persecutions. In other words this was fulfilled during the lives of those he was speaking directly to prior to 70 A.D. exactly as prophesied. 

2- False Prophets: There are many warnings in the letters to the churches about false prophets\teachers that were hindering the work of the gospel. They may apply somewhat to this but Christ was probably referring to those that were directly involved with the destruction of the nation in 70 A.D. The Bible only  references a few of them such as in Acts 21:38 . Historical  references of the region record that many false prophets did arise and led many astray. They were an integral part and cause of the war, the final destruction of Jerusalem, and the extermination of a majority of the population. 

3. The extent of the Gospels reach: The word "world" in Matthew 24:14 is not an accurate reflection of the Greek word. In the New Testament the word that is usually translated "world" as in "planet earth" appears well over one hundred times. This particular word appears a dozen times in the NT. This is the only time Matthew uses it. The proper translation is "inhabitable land." In the New Testament as noted by Strong's Greek dictionary and other language helps it is used in reference to the inhabitable land of the Roman Empire specifically.  Luke 2:1 is an excellent example of this misuse in it's translation into the word "world": Luke 2:1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. Caesar did not rule the whole planet therefore the use of the word "world" here is wholly inconsistent with the context of the sentence which is the inhabitable land of the Roman Empire. Likewise in Acts 11:28  And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. The translation of this word to "world" in this instance is also wholly incompatible with the context. This was not a planet wide draught but confined to parts of the Roman Empire.  It's not that this word could not used in the context of the word "world." It's just that in the New Testament and the Greek of the day it is not the right word to use if one wanted to say "this gospel will be preached to the entire planet." Along side this is the word "nations" which is actually the Greek word for tribe. In today's use of the language we tend to think of the word "nation" as a state or country in geographical terms rather than ethnic group. This is not meant to imply there were not geographical divisions when it came to ethnic groups but in Acts 2:5 the Word of God already records that people from every tribe heard the gospel that day: And there was staying at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6. Now when this was noised abroad (the Holy Spirit being poured out), the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. Now looking at Matthew 24:14 in light of this it can be seen that it fits exactly what happened in that generation. "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the inhabitable land (Roman Empire) as a testimony ( as evidence) to all ethnic groups."  

4. The end: The context has not changed. Jesus is still speaking to them in the 2nd person, dressing them directly and the end is still the destruction of the buildings and temple they were looking at.

5. Salvation: In scripture, salvation is used in the general sense where its literary context determines what someone is being saved from. For instance the word translated "healed" from a disease is often the same Greek word is "saved" from hell or eternal destruction.  In the context of these sentences it is being used to describe being saved from two different scenarios. The most obvious is salvation from hell.  There is no promise of deliverance from persecutions and resulting murder or martyrdom. In fact as a prophecy it's telling them persecution and martyrdom is coming to them. If they hold on to Christ through it, they will be saved from hell and inherit eternal life. The other way salvation is being used may be missed by many because of the strong language and bias on the part of the reader.  It is a well known historical fact that Christians and many others took heed to all of this and followed the prophecies instructions and escaped the region, some just in a nick of time.


*15. When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoever reads, let him understand:)16. Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains:

*14. But when you shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that reads understand,) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains:

*20. And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation of it is near. 21. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains;.....

One can see the importance of looking at all three accounts to get details that might not be mentioned in the others in these sentences. Jerusalem being surrounded by armies is not an interpretation of what Jesus said but something that Jesus said. Jesus apparently clarified at some point what the abomination that sets up desolation was Jerusalem being surrounded by armies. If you think about the practicality of Bible prophecy how could he not in his great mercy clarify it. How would most people know to flee Judea if he had just left it the way Matthew and Mark said it?  Remember not every word that Christ spoke on this subject was recorded, only what the hearers inspirationally deemed important. (Inspirationally because it is the Word of God.) Luke and Mark were companions of the apostles who where eye witnesses of this discourse and Matthew was there himself.  The writing or record keeping of events was the calling of the Jew and the apostles were keenly aware of this as part of their commission. All three of these accounts were written long before their occurrence, in other words decades. The only reason "scholars" dispute this has nothing to do with physical evidence but simply  because to them real prophecy does not occur. 

 Perhaps because so many have not carefully looked at all three accounts many have thought that these verses were in reference to Daniel 8:13 and 11:31. This however is not possible. Daniel 8:13 and 11:31 were fulfilled exactly as prophesied by Antiochus Epiphanies just before Rome conquered the region. The context of the two verses in Daniel is the time period of Greece's Empire that was divided into four realms. What is spoken of in Daniel 8 then 11 regarding these two verses are listed in order under the heading of the Greek empire by an angel making it impossible to mean any other than Antiochus Epiphanies. The details of this can be seen here and here.  Instead, Jesus is again referencing Daniel 9:26. And after the threescore and two weeks shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing: 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 even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that makes desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate. -- American Standard. The abominations spoken of were the gods of the Romans that were carried on the standards of their army. Jesus said in all three accounts when they saw this; to flee to the mountains.  Without going into great detail on how the war began: Under the Roman Emperor Nero, Cestius led the Army to conquer Judea. Jerusalem was surrounded and without much of a battle was days from being easily taken. The vast majority of the people and rulers were ready to open the gates to the Romans and hail them as deliverers. The ones who were leading the revolt were fleeing Jerusalem undercover of darkness. The loss of life would have been small in comparison to what was coming but without any reason that anyone could figure out. Probably just as the false prophets were prophesying. Cestius heard a rumor, left the siege and marched out of Judea. The rebels followed and harassed his army to the point were Cestius left all his equipment and marched out of Judea by night. See Josephus' account. This was considered a great victory and  undoubtedly a fulfillment of the words of the false prophets. It must have been looked upon as an event of Biblical proportions by those who were deceived.   At that point those who considered Christ's prophecy recorded in this chapter did as he had instructed them and fled.  Nero then sent Vespasian to conquer the region, but during Vespasian's campaign Nero died. Three generals attempted to take the title of Emperor for themselves, but Vespasian conquered the throne and left his son Titus to finish the campaign.  It was Titus who took and razed Jerusalem.


*16. Then let them which are in Judea flee into the mountains: 17. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that are nursing in those days! 20. But pray that your flight is not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: 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. 22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 

*14..... then let them that are in Judea flee to the mountains: 15. And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16. And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that are nursing in those days! 18. And pray that your flight be not in the winter. 19. For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created to this time, neither shall be. 20. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he has chosen, he has shortened the days. 

*21. Then let them which are in Judea 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 into it. 22. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23. But woe to them that are with child, and to them that are nursing 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.

      It's at this point that Jesus's prophecy starts to veer into the illustrative language common to Bible prophecy. Because it is purposefully difficult to understand and the vast majority of the 20th centuries believers have clearly not. It's the main reason they have strayed and ignored the context of the prophecy which is the destruction of the buildings and city they were looking at.  So a little time will be spent on going back to the context. Luke's record of the event of Jesus's prophecy differs significantly from Matthew and Mark. In fact, without it; it would be far more difficult to reconcile Matthew and Marks wording in these verses with the over all context of the prophecy. Which is why we have Luke's record, which it will be helpful to say something about now. There is much contention from secular and leftist "scholars" about when the New Testament was written that have muddied the waters of common sense and history.  Contentions that have nothing to do with physical evidence but are purely political and based on varying agenda's to discredit the scripture. Luke wrote his Gospel and addressed it to the Most Excellent Theophilus. These scholars are pretty sure of themselves no such person existed or it's just a title for some unknown Roman and therefore there is no reason to believe it was even written in the first century.  Yet if one looks at any internet list of Jewish high priests of the first century Theophilus was high priest four years 37-41 AD at exactly the same time Luke's Gospel would have been written. This is also recorded in Josephus's contemporary  history of the region. Not only this but according to the book: God's Honorable Mentions: Minor Players Who Impacted Bible Events by Jim Cole-Rous.   ( Which I don't have time to independently verify.) Theophilus was a classmate of Paul (Saul) and perhaps even Luke in Gamaliel's college and some of the eye witnesses of the resurrection had close family ties to him.  The last high priest before the war in 70 AD was also named Theophilus. So while there is no absolute proof  Luke was writing to this high priest. It shatters the obnoxious speculation of secular\leftist "scholars" who make all kinds of baseless claims rooted in their ignorance and animosities.  This isn't a rabbit trail of information. It's purpose is to head off temptation that would try to lead one to think that somehow Luke, even though it is the exact same prophecy written in the exact same order is somehow talking about something different than Matthew and Mark. It is not.  It is self serving to think otherwise.

     So lets look at what is being said.  It's pretty apparent by all three accounts that the last chance to escape this will be as the previous verses said. Immediately when you see the armies withdrawing. It is clear that any hesitation to flee for any reason will result in their death. It turned out that this was because those that those who were leading the sedition against Rome were using terrorism to keep the people in Judea and forcing them to fight. Once they got back from chasing Cestius army that had inexplicitly left, that would be the last chance short of being raptured that anyone would have to escape. The reference to woman who were pregnant or people who had small children is obvious. Survival would be difficult.

      The next issue in these verses are the declarations of the extent of the death and destruction. While Matthew and Mark's language seem to create open ended impressions of death and destruction un-paralleled in past, present and future history; which would be historically false. Luke actually says exactly what this language is referring to; which was historically accurate. To verify this some more it's probably a good idea to delve into other prophecies about it. The order in which all three accounts of this prophecy and when it was given are the same. The day before this prophecy was given. In fulfillment of messianic prophecy Jesus rode into Jerusalem according to Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes to you: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. The people of Jerusalem do exactly as this prophecy predicted. They meet him, they cast their clothes on the ground for the colt to walk on. The shout for joy and proclaim him the the Messiah, the Son of David the King of Israel. Jesus went to the temple and threw out the money changers and begins to heal the sick in the temple. Then the political leaders of Israel, enraged by all this descend upon him in the temple and attempt to get him to denounce what the people had just done. Jesus does not. He comes back the  next day and begins to teach the people. Once more the political leaders show up to question his authority to even be in the temple and teach.  His confrontations and denunciations of them in the temple are what lead to this prophecy that occurs the same day as they are leaving the temple and his disciples are commenting on the beautiful buildings of the temple mount. So the next few paragraphs of scripture are just a few from the chapters of Jesus's confrontation with those political leaders in the temple the day of the prophecy of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.

 AKJV (Jesus speaking.)

      Matthew 23: 29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Why you be witnesses to yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill you up then the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? 34 Why, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall you whip in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, All these things shall come on this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! 38 Behold, your house is left to you desolate.

     Luke's account says this: Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things which belong to your peace! but now they are hid from your eyes. 43 For the days shall come on you, that your enemies shall cast a trench about you, and compass you round, and keep you in on every side, 44 And shall lay you even with the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone on another; because you knew not the time of your visitation.

    All three accounts quote this parable. Matthew 21:33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and dig a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to farmers, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the farmers, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the farmers took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did to them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent to them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers? 41 They say to him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other farmers, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I to you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spoke of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet. 

      While all of these scriptures confirm and clarify the context of the prophecy there may still be question in the hearts of some readers as to why Jesus would use the language he did as recorded by Matthew and Mark when it can be so easily taken out of the context of the prophecy.  There is an answer within the verses above and in the whole of scripture regarding the end of the Old Covenant age. Something that never happened before nor ever will again. That God chose a single people for the purpose of bringing his written word into the earth. Plus, to bring the messiah into the earth according to that written word and to establish a beachhead for his long planned invasion of all the nations by the invisible kingdom of God.  This mission was accomplished. Since most in ancient Israel never went along with this calling it was the main cause of this calamity.  So if one looks at Ancient Israel's calling and all the circumstances that surrounded everything that happened. It is something that would never again be repeated in the world.  Jesus was quoting Old Testament prophecies about this.  Among many others mainly  Daniel 12:1. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. Daniel's verse, according to the timeline laid out in his book  also clearly places this word of prophecy in the first century. You can read that along with all it's historical data here regarding Daniel 11-12 This leads us to the next subject of these verses. The deliverance of the faithful.

    One of the primary motives for Jesus giving this prophecy was so the faithful and anyone else that would heed his words would be delivered from this judgment. The Apostle John was the only one who wrote a Gospel and did not record this prophecy.  One of the reasons could be that he would be the only one among the twelve apostles to live to see it's fulfillment. Just as Jesus said in John 21: 21 Peter seeing him said to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man (John) do? 22 Jesus said to him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? you follow me. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brothers, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not to him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? God may have not wanted any writing about it after the fact.  Or perhaps, it's because John would record it in approximately a chapters worth of the book Revelation right in that books timeline where it belongs. The first century. That is what the 144,000 Jewish believers of the book of Revelation illustrate. The "elect," delivered from the destruction prophesied. As it does in this prophecy recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke. Many other prophecies about the end of this Old Covenant Age predict the deliverance of the believers not from persecution and martyrdom; but from this holocaust type war that destroyed most of the Jewish people and the land of Judea. Here is the prophecy of this in the timeline of the book of Revelation. 

     The last subject of note in these verses concerns 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.  The only "times" of the Gentiles in scripture, or, the only thing one could use in scripture to interpret just what these "times of the gentiles" are, would be all the prophecies and historical records in scripture about the four gentile empires that ruled over God's Old and New Testament saints.  That age also had a specific date when it would end prophesied in scripture. (If you know where to look.) When that fourth empire was to end an age of promise was to begin to appear.  It just so happened that when that age ended. The New Jerusalem, God's saints,  just began to not be trampled under foot by peoples and nations who have set themselves against it.  500 years later. When there were enough real Christians in the world and they were exercising enough influence in the great nations of the world. The Jewish people were shown mercy and got their homeland back. So we have a double whammy prophecy here. 


*23. Then if any man shall say to you, Look, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24. For there shall arise false Christ's, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25. Behold, I have told you before. 26. Therefore if they shall say to you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27. For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28. For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

*21. And then if any man shall say to you, Look, here is Christ; or, look, he is there; believe him not: 22. For false Christ's and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23. But you take heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

*Luke has no comparable verses.

Considering the placement of this warning in the prophecy, that the war is now on. This would be a warning about false prophets and Christ's telling them to do something different than Jesus is telling them to do now. Telling them that God will deliver them and give them victory over the Romans if they just believe and stay the course. This was exactly the case when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem 667 years previous to this and and a few years later razed it to the ground. The majority of the "prophets" told them God would give the nation victory. The persecuted minority of prophets said God is sending the destruction and if you give yourself up to the Babylonians your life would be spared. Same thing here. Anyone who gave themselves up to the Romans were spared.  What greater sign and wonder could there be according to the words of these false prophets than Cestius's army fleeing Judea based on a rumor when the Romans were only a few days from total victory?  But here is Jesus saying in Matthews account that his coming in this great day of judgment is as obvious as a huge thunderstorm and the result will not be deliverance,  but vultures feeding on the corpses of the people of Judea. Josephus in his account says this is exactly what happened.


*29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is close: 33. So likewise, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

*24. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25. And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. 28. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near: 29. So in like manner, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that it is close, even at the doors.

*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 draws close. 29. And he spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30. When they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now close at hand. 31. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is close at hand.

      If not for these particular verses it would seem impossible, even for the most heedless type of Bible reading to imagine that these chapters are talking about anything other than the destruction of Jerusalem in that generation. Especially in the light that the very next verses in all three accounts state emphatically that all these things will come to pass during the lifetime of those he was speaking too. Unfortunately the existence of these verses probably renders it impossible to convince some that these chapters are not talking about the end of the world as we know it. No explanation given will satisfy them otherwise. At this point the author can only plead to those readers that to take these verses as speaking to something else than the destruction of Jerusalem in 70A.D is to falsify the words of Jesus altogether and to render the Bible completely contradictory. Jesus starts the whole discourse by addressing the buildings and the city they were looking at. He addresses his disciples directly in the second person telling them that they would see all these things personally. He told them what to do to escape it all. The historical accuracy of the things he prophesied are undisputable and have been among the most widely read, taught, and marveled at for two thousand years. Then, as if this wasn't enough, he ends the whole prophecy by putting his reputation on the line as the Son of God by  pronouncing, (in the next two verses:) That it is easier for the universe to cease to exist, than for all these things to not come to pass in the lifetime of the people he was talking too. 

      Before dividing these verses up in the next section.  I would like to refer you back to Revelation's timeline from the previous set of verses. That these verses and Revelations verses say the same thing, use the same illustrations to prophesy the same things that occurred at the same time. John received his vision during the reign of the 6th emperor of Rome. If the 6th emperor was  Aulus Vitellius then it would have been in 69 AD. Right before Jerusalem was conquered. In fact right at this point in this prophecy.  What we see in  Matthew, Mark, Luke plus John's account in Revelation will be looked at verse by verse in the next few paragraphs.


*29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

*24. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 25. And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

*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.

* Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, look, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

     Before even directly addressing these as prophecies about the war in Judea that came to pass immediately after all the tribulation that proceed it. It might be helpful to the reader to know that these exact same illustrations are commonly used in the Old Testament to prophesy great days of judgment not related to this one. Things that had come to pass long before the first century.  In fact every phrase used in all four accounts above are used in prophecies about Old Testament events long past. 

      These are prophecies about the war itself that happens after all the tribulation that went on before it.  In that war the whole nation was burned. If any of the readers have been around cataclysmic forest or brush fires. They have seen the sun darkened and the moon not give her light, or turned blood red. Since these phrases are used so often in the Old Testament, (OT) prophecy about OT events though. I'll try to delve into what they are illustrating by looking at other prophecies. It actually corresponds quite well with the prophetic illustration of Ancient Israel, the Messiah and the Roman Empire in Revelation 12. That the light of the sun illustrating God in ancient Israel who is illustrated by the woman. The reflection of the sun which is the moon illustrating the believers that ancient Israel was standing upon. The dragon which is represents Satan's control of the Roman Empire stood before the woman to try and devour the messiah as soon the woman had given birth to him. The Roman Empire is illustrated in Revelation 12 the same way that it started to be illustrated in Daniel chapter 7; with a war that overcame the saints launched by the eleventh of ten emperors.  In both visions the length of time the saints are overcome is illustrated by 1260 days. Turns out those days illustrated years. If you take 1260 years from 1453 AD you get 193 AD, the first year of the reign of Septimius Severus who fulfilled that prophecy precisely. The sun representing the light of God in Ancient Israel and the moon which is his reflection in OT saints being darkened at the end of the Old Covenant age fits right in to all the prophecy and teaching about the end of that era.  How the kingdom of God was removed from Ancient Israel as a nation and given to people of faith both Jew and Gentile of all nations.

     The use of the stars of heaven to illustrate illustrious or notable people, places or things is common in scripture. The English language who's development was heavily influenced by the Bible is replete these types of metaphors.  The powers of the heavens being shaken makes it obvious that stars are being used illustratively to describe people;  leaders. luminaires,  heads of families, people in high places or the spiritual powers that are behind them. Likewise, just like in other prophecy,  mountains and islands in Revelation 6:14 is also being used the same way; to illustrate people and nations. The illustration of the heavens being rolled up as a scroll is particularly interesting. Remember this was used in Isaiah 34's prophecy, (bottom of the page) about Edom being destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar.  My guess would be that it illustrates the finality of something. In this case the end of the Old Covenant age that had been being prophesied about all the way back in the book of Genesis. 

      The day before Jesus gave this prophecy, the day he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and was hailed as the King, the Son of David by the people. The same day he threw the money changers out of the temple, Jesus "cursed" the fig tree because it was not bearing any fruit. John did not record this event that led to Jesus's prophecy or the prophecy itself.  Revelation 6 however is a prophecy about he same thing and here we see a mighty wind tearing the un-ripened figs off the tree which represents Ancient Israel.

     Once more Luke's record doesn't delve into the OT metaphors as much as Matthew and Mark do. He does a little like the reference to the sea and waves.  His focus seems to be geared toward those who are not intimately familiar with the OT.  It just so happens that just as Luke said. Great signs and wonders appeared in the heavens at this time and Josephus who was there recorded some of them.


*30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

*26. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

*27. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

     The first thing to note about these verses is the lack of the phrase "second coming." In fact in the original language, this phrase appears nowhere in the New Testament. That statement in and of itself should trouble many readers because a surprising portion of Evangelical \Pentecostal believers consider the "second" coming an "essential" doctrine. That means it's not possible to be a real Christian without accepting the teaching about a "second" coming of the Lord. Even more troubling than this. Just try saying you do not believe in a "second" coming of the Lord amongst those that do not consider the teaching an "essential" truth. What you will find is the first thing they will do is question whether you are a real Christian. Very strange indeed that there is such hardened consensus about a phrase that is not even in the Bible. What else could that show but the sectarian nature of pop culture end time teachings? To dispel that "extra Biblical" teaching of a "second" coming of the Lord and bring the subject back into a scriptural context.  Lets go back over a few things.

First: The exact same phrase and similar phrases are used throughout the Old Testament to describe and prophesy great days of judgment that has already occurred prior to the New Testament.

Second. Jesus and the prophets said this particular day of the Lord would occur when the messiah came to Ancient Israel.  This is in fact one of the signs from heaven that Jesus is the Messiah. The end of the Old Covenant Age and the destruction of Jerusalem.

Third: Outside of John. The Apostles were directly told they would not be given a clear understanding of the coming of the Lord at the end of that age. John was the only one who lived to see it, he had hindsight the others did not have. 

Fourth: Wordservice.org has a whole article dedicated to the subject called: The Coming or the Day of The Lord.

Fifth: Just what are these clouds?

     It is clear that if one approaches all that the Bible itself has to say on this subject rather than the teachings of men and their never ending speculations based in sectarian doctrines.  The Lord has been physically coming to the earth to oversee great days of judgment or the destruction nations bring upon themselves since the creation, and will continue to do the same. The only difference between this particular day of the Lord  verses the ones that preceded it is this. Before the Messiah came it was Jehovah the Word of God who came down to the earth during these times and seasons.  Now Jehovah the Word has become a man, the descendant of Abraham, the Messiah, the king and inheritor of the world. Jesus the Son of God risen from the dead is now he that comes to oversee great judgments against the wicked and to rescue his people. Ultimately,  to usher in the age of promise that was to occur when the Roman Empire ended, 1453 AD.


*31. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 

*27. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

*28. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws close.

     There are two things being spoken of here. One is the deliverance of the believers from this cataclysm.  Which seems to be Luke's focus. Telling them to keep their eye's, their hearts on heavens means of deliverance rather than on man's means. Matthew and Mark, perhaps without even knowing what they were emphasizing were saying the same thing John's revelation said. That after the war and the destruction of Jerusalem. Not only would the saints be delivered from it;  but afterwards there would be a great harvest of souls in the Roman empire. You can see this by going back one more to time to these corresponding verses in Revelation. Specifically Revelation 7:9-17 and starting at Revelation 14:6.

      Many pop culture end time prophecy teachings try to equate these verses with their teachings about a great catching away or "rapture " of believers at the end of the world. The word is the Greek word for gather not catching away which is the one referred to as rapture.  This obviously fits the context of the prophecy much better with the idea of those gathered illustrating millions of "elect" who accepted Christ in the world during and after this time period.  If one wants to keep these verses specifically in the context of the war in Judea though. Revelation 7: 1-9 references the believers in Judea who were "sealed" as "the elect"  and delivered from that destruction.

     This prophecy is practical in nature. It is not written just to confirm that Jesus is the Messiah, and the Bible is the Word of God by demonstrating Gods miraculous ability to know the future.  It would seem a main reason for his prophetic discourse is to insure that no believers perish in the great judgment at the end of the age. As Abraham of old said when talking to Jehovah the Word about the impending judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 18:25. Far be it from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should fare as the wicked, Far be it from you: shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? The point  alludes to why they were gathered, to be preserved, and to not suffer the punishment that was to come on the land. Luke uses the word redemption to describe this, that those redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ escape this judgment handed down in  Matthew 23:35. That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar. 36. Truly I say to you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that murder the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! 38. Behold, your house is left to you desolate.

     There are also more references to this gathering  in the gospels in the form of parables such as: Matthew 13:47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48. Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49. So shall it be at the consummation of the age: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. The fire he is referring to is this war and the destruction of Jerusalem.  Christ's parables describe different aspects of the kingdom of God, you can know that one is talking about the end of the 1st covenant age because it refers directly to it. It also fits the scenario of this prophecy being written about perfectly. Here is another one. (That has a separate article about it.)

      Matthew 13:24 He (Jesus) parable put forth another parable to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a man which planted good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and planted tares (Darnel) among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said to him, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? where did the tares come from? 28 He said to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, do you want us to go and gather them up? 29 But he said, No; lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn..... 36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came to him, saying, Declare to us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said to them, He that planted the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this age. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who has ears to hear, let him hear.

     All of the prophecies about the end of this age and what would occur are quite uniform as is this one written by Daniel. It is in a timeline that occurs at the beginning period of Rome's empire and its first emperor; and shortly after the death of Herod the Great. Daniel 12:1. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 


*32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is close: 33. So likewise, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34. In truth I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36. But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

*28. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near: 29. So in like manner, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that it is close, even at the doors. 30. In truth I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32. But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

*29. And he spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30. When they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now close at hand. 31. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know  that the kingdom of God is close at hand. 32. In truth I say to you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. 33. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

 The parable of the fig tree and other trees is self evident.  We then arrive at the words that everyone who has ever read these prophecies should have noticed, and, should have heeded.  "This generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled." Christ puts a date on his own prophecy, ending all speculative interpretations forever.  He did not do this in passing but emphasized it above all other aspects of his prophecy by preceding it with " In truth is say to you."

     God's people as a whole do not understand the great shame and confusion they have brought upon themselves and their cultures because they simply lacked patience. Some things dear brothers and sisters where not meant to be revealed to you now, maybe not even for decades. But humans have itching ears, they desire to know now. They never gave their great Lord and Teacher; their great companion the Holy Spirit time to reveal to them the mysteries hidden away in the scripture. Instead they turned to the teachings of men. These words of Jesus in all three accounts should have been the great firewall against all speculation about the meaning of the mysterious illustrative vernacular of the previous verses. It does not matter  how many teachers, preachers, pastors or prophets; nor hundreds of millions that follow them declare this prophecy to be teaching about your future. What matters was that this verse should have stopped the believer in their tracks. One may go years before their eyes even began to get a glimmer of light as to the meaning of the illustrative verses. In that time they should have said. "I cannot accept what these people are speculating and prognosticating about this prophecy and the future.  Jesus said it is a definite thing that all this would would happen to that generation in the first century. I don't pretend to understand it, but it would make his prophecy false to say it is in our future. I know the word of God isn't false."  Regrettably  the last couple of generations when confronted with that choice chose to ignore the words of Jesus. That is said to the great shame of some of the readers.  1st John 2:26. These things have I written to you concerning them that seduce you. 27. But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and do not need to have any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, you shall abide in him. If the Bible were just another of the "holy" books of man's religions with prophecy in it. Written in a way that can be forever speculated on in every generation. Then this confusion and shame could be overlooked. However the fact that it came to pass exactly as and when when Jesus said it would puts it on a completely different level.  Why ignore that?  Why take it out of it's context and place it into the context of the worlds religions and all their false prophecy? That is in fact what is being done here. Taking the Bibles prophecy that came to pass, then by ignoring the most important parts of that prophecy; creating teachings that place the prophecy in other ages it does not belong. Then using those teachings to falsely prophesy the future.  How does the embarrassed Christian react to the many flagrant false prophecies about the end of the world? Regrettably with this:  Mark 13:32. But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

     That verse that no one knows the day and the hour is not only the extent of the knowledge of hundreds of millions of serious Christians in the world. It is also the extent of the knowledge of most of best and brightest among us. Meaning; it's the extent of the knowledge of the majority of our pastors, teachers and para-church leaders about this prophecy.  In quoting this verse, and it is probably quoted 10,000 times a day worldwide in answer to those speculating that the the time of the end of the world is at hand. In quoting it. The whole false premise\teaching  of this as a prophecy predicting the end of the world is validated. Not just validated but validated 10,000 times a day!  Think about it. What better explanation can there be for 2000 years of prognostication that has been 100% wrong 100% of the time other than the fact it has already come to pass when Jesus said it would?  How else could they not even get the millennia these things are supposed to occur in right?  That particular scripture in it's context meant no man knows the exact date within an approx. forty year time period. They did know, all of them, if they heeded Jesus's words that it would happen within those forty years. To paraphrase it: " Although the angels and even I the son of man do not know the exact year, month or day that all these things will come to pass; (the Father does however.)  You can rest assured it will all take place in this generation, during your lifetimes. As a matter of fact it would be easier for the universe to pass away than it would for all this to not come to pass exactly as I said it would; during your lifetimes." So how does that scripture apply to the rabid speculations about the end of the world? It does not. Every time it is quoted it furthers the error about the times and the seasons we live in today. No man even knows if the world will end in the millennia we currently live in because the scripture does not address it. What the scripture does address via 100+ chapters of the Old and New Testament is an age of promise that mankind has barely begun to live out. The Word of God has just gotten into the hands of the general population in the last five centuries in comparison to almost 7 millennia of darkness and tyranny. This subject is fully vetted in other Wordservice.org  articles on Bible prophecy or the article on The New Jerusalem. 


       The previous verses were the practical end of that specific prophecy. Jesus now transitions into a general teaching on the coming of the Lord. What is that? A "general teaching" on the coming of the Lord? If you have read all the hyperlinks in this article and seen all the different times the Lord has come in the Old Testament. How his prophets prophesied his coming. The language they used. The purposes of his coming. The rewards and punishments when he came . Who was saved who perished.  Well, a wise pastor or teacher could produce teachings on the coming of the Lord relative to all generations and circumstances in the world based on those. Not teachings about he end of the world mind you. But teachings on how God works with his creation. Causes and effects. How his invisible government operates in the earth among the nations of the world. How he seeks salvation and transformation rather than leaving people to their own destruction. How someone truly great in the kingdom of God could turn a nation from its path towards a terrible day of judgment. (Blessed are the peacemakers.) 

*37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come. 43 But know this, that if the manager of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing. 47 Truly I say to you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delays his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

*33 Take you heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is. 34 For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch you therefore: for you know not when the master of the house comes, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you I say to all, Watch.

*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 on you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

      In Luke's rendering of Jesus teaching he clearly says that this day would come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth. It has and will continue! Remember this greatest of these days of the Lord at the end of the Old Covenant age  is not the only end time prophecy in the Old and New Testament. There is another great body of end time prophecy about the terrible judgment about to befall the city of Rome and then later the end of the age of the four gentile empires. That is not all though. Six of the seven churches in Asia are told they will see a day of judgment as the Lord will surely visit them.  These are specific prophesies just like this one about Jerusalem and the Temple they were looking at. The year of the end of the four gentile empires is actually prophesied if you know where to look; 1453 AD. That is how hyper specific they are. Then after that age, in this present age we live in. Great judgments are prophesied to occur upon non specified nations and peoples who seek to stop the growth of the invisible government of God in the earth. These nations are illustrated by the prophesies of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel and Revelation.  Notice in those prophecies they loose their wars of conquest. And it has happened just as prophesied. The nations that are most influenced by the Word of God and the Gospel have come out on top in these wars of conquest launched by the ungodly. This was not the case in the last two ages were the general rule was the bad guys always win. Just imagine the day when there are a hundred nations as influenced by the Gospel and the Word of God as the few have been in the last few centuries?

     So as a teaching, not all this specific prophecy. We can rest assured that God will be visiting individuals, churches and the nations for as long as the earth continues. If our pastors and teachers would could just grasp this teaching. Maybe when the Lord comes in one of these days. He will find a whole bunch of his servants ready for their Lord and even a nation or two that he can reward as Matthew states. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing. 47 Truly I say to you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

 

© Daniel Martinovich 2012-2017