Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider 22:1-23. However, before coming to this section of the Gospel of Luke, I would like to give a further word on 21:5-36.
In 21:34 and 35 the Lord says, “And take heed to yourselves lest at some time your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and anxieties of life, and that day come upon you suddenly as a snare; for it will come in upon all those dwelling on the face of all the earth.” Here the snare does not refer to the day of the Lord’s coming. Rather, the snare is the time of the great tribulation, the hour of trial, which will come upon the whole earth (Rev. 3:10). Thus, the great tribulation will come in as a snare upon all those dwelling on the face of all the earth.
In verse 24 the Lord Jesus speaks of the times of the Gentiles: “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive to all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled by the nations until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” The times of the Gentiles here does not refer to the period of grace, which is the time for the Gentiles to be saved, as indicated in Romans 11:25. In Luke 21:24 the times of the Gentiles signifies the time for the Gentiles to control the nation of Israel. This control began with Nebuchadnezzar and will be completed when Antichrist is destroyed at the war of Armageddon referred to in Revelation 19.
Verse 24 is a difficult verse for expositors. The reason for the difficulty is that certain prophecies in the Bible concerning the destruction of Jerusalem mingle two or three things together. The temple has already been polluted twice, and it will be polluted once more in the future. The temple was polluted first by Antiochus Epiphanes, who is signified by the little horn in Daniel 8:8-9. Antiochus was a type of Titus, the Roman prince who polluted the temple for the second time in A.D. 70. Hence, the prophecy in Daniel 8 mixes the pollution of the temple by both Antiochus Epiphanes and Titus. Furthermore, the prophecy concerning Titus at the end of Daniel 9 mixes him with Antichrist. Therefore, the prophecies in Daniel concerning the destruction of Jerusalem imply the destruction by Antiochus Epiphanes, Titus, and Antichrist.
As we read Luke 21:24, we may think that this verse describes the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. However, if we consider the context, we shall see that verse 24 does not refer to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. Verse 25 says, “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth anguish of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the billows.” According to history, such things did not happen after Titus destroyed Jerusalem. Furthermore, verses 26 and 27 go on to say, “Men fainting from fear and expectation of what is coming upon the inhabited earth; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power.” Of course, these things did not happen after Titus destroyed Jerusalem. Therefore, these verses indicate that the destruction in verse 24 should refer to a future destruction, the coming destruction of Jerusalem under Antichrist.
Today Jerusalem is free. But when Antichrist rises up against God, he will capture Jerusalem and destroy it. Luke 21:24 speaks of this coming destruction.
In 21:5-36 we have the Man-Savior’s prophecy of things to come. First, He unveils to His disciples the destruction of the temple (vv. 5-6). Then He goes on to speak of the plagues that will come between His ascension and the great tribulation (vv. 7-11). During this same period of time, the time between the Lord’s ascension and the great tribulation, the followers of Christ will be persecuted. The Lord speaks of this persecution in verses 12 through 19. Therefore, in 21:7-19 we see that two things will take place during the same period—plagues and persecution.
In verses 20 through 27 the Lord speaks concerning the great tribulation and His coming, and in verses 28 through 36, of the disciples’ redemption and the overcomers’ rapture. Before the time of trial, the great tribulation, we need to be watchful, at every time beseeching, so that we might escape “all these things which are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (v. 36). This is to be raptured before the great tribulation, that is, to be taken to the throne in the heavens. While the plagues are taking place and the persecution is going on, we are waiting to be raptured. But if we would be raptured before the great tribulation comes, we need to be watchful and take heed to ourselves, lest at some time our hearts be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life, and that day come upon us suddenly as a snare (v. 34). We need to be watchful so that our hearts will not be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness, and the anxieties of the present life.
Luke 21:5—22:46 is a section in which the Man-Savior prepares the disciples for His death. The Lord accomplishes this preparation in two ways: first, by telling the disciples of things to come (21:5-36); second, by instituting His supper so that the disciples may participate in His death (22:7-23). Even by instituting His supper, or what we may call the Lord’s table, the Man-Savior was preparing the disciples for His redemptive death.
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