Luke 21:5-19

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

April 3, 2002


Note: We’ve now been in Luke for two years (we started on April 5, 2000).

Jesus is in the last week of His life. He has made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The people were calling Him a king as they shouted “Hosanna”, or, “Save us now”. When He entered town, the first thing He did was to clear out the moneychangers from the temple. He said that God’s House was to be a House of Prayer, but they had made it a “den of thieves”.

Then Jesus began to teach the people every day in the temple. The crowds were gathering to hear this preacher from Galilee. It’s some time between Palm Sunday and Thursday night, when Jesus would hold the “Last Supper” and celebrate Passover.

:5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,

stoneslithos – a stone; of small stones; of building stones; metaph. of Christ

goodlykalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable

giftsanathema – a gift consecrated and laid up in a temple; an offering resulting from a vow

The word is used in:

(Gal 1:8 KJV) But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
The idea is that if something is “given” to God, then it must be put to death.

Josephus gives us a description of the temple at this time (Wars of the Jews, 5:5)

Around the Temple courtyard, there were huge gates that were covered with silver, gold, and brass. Each gate had two doors that were 45 feet tall and 22 feet wide. One gate was larger than the others, with the doors being 60 feet tall, covered in shiny Corinthian brass. The Temple itself:

“for it was covered all over the plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays” (5:5:222)


You don’t have to be wealthy to give a lot to God.

Jesus had just been pointing out the poor widow and the value of her offering to God.
(Luke 21:1-5 KJV) And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. {2} And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. {3} And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: {4} For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. {5} And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
What God cares about is not the amount, but whether or not you are paying attention to what He’s asking you to do.

:6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

ye beholdtheoreo – to be a spectator, look at, behold; to view attentively, take a view of, survey; to view mentally, consider; to see

be leftaphiemi – to send away; to leave, go way from one; to leave so that what is left may remain, leave remaining

be thrown downkataluo – to dissolve, disunite; (what has been joined together), to destroy, demolish

Titus would attack Jerusalem in AD 70. The story goes that Titus had ordered that the Temple not be damaged, but a stray fire arrow ended up setting the Temple on fire. The gold of the temple melted and the Roman soldiers tore the stones apart to get at the gold.


It’s all going to burn

Some of the people were impressed by the great magnificence of the temple and the things that people had given to it.
I think that Jesus is saying that we need to be careful that we don’t put our trust in things that will one day be destroyed.
Don’t put all your money in things that are going to burn.
(Mat 6:19-21 KJV) Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: {20} But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: {21} For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Don’t be bummed when something you’ve just spent money on gets a scratch or breaks down. It’s all going to burn some day.
(1 Cor 3:10-15 NLT) Because of God's special favor to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. {11} For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have--Jesus Christ. {12} Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. {13} But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. {14} If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. {15} But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.

: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?

Masterdidaskalos – a teacher; in the NT one who teaches concerning the things of God, and the duties of man

signsemeion – a sign, mark, token; that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known; a sign, prodigy, portent, i.e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature; of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen; of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God’s

The disciples want to know when the temple will be destroyed. They want to know if there are any “signs” to tell that things are about to happen.

It seems there are two things that are going to be talked about –

The destruction of the Temple in AD 70.
The Second Coming of Jesus – yet to happen. Some of the things that will be signs for the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 will be repeated just before Jesus comes back.

: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 draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

Take heedblepo – to see, discern, of the bodily eye; perceive by the use of the eyes: to see, look descry; metaph. to see with the mind’s eye; to have (the power of) understanding; to discern mentally, observe, perceive, discover, understand; to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine

deceivedplanao – to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way; metaph. to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive; to be led into error

many shall come in my name – talking about people who are claiming to be associated with Jesus

I am Christ – the word “Christ” is not in the Greek.

The Greek words are ego eimi, or, “I am”.

These are the same words that are used to translate God’s name, “I AM”, or, “Yahweh”, in Exo. 3:14 in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint.
It is also the phrase that Jesus uses throughout the gospel of John, as He connects Himself to being God, the “I AM”.

draweth neareggizo – to bring near, to join one thing to another; to draw or come near to, to approach

the timekairos – due measure; a measure of time, a larger or smaller portion of time, hence:; a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for; opportune or seasonable time; the right time

We need to be looking for the return of Jesus Christ.

(Mat 24:44 NLT) You also must be ready all the time. For the Son of Man will come when least expected.

But be careful about people who are pointing to themselves, demanding that you follow them instead of Jesus.

goporeuomai – to lead over, carry over, transfer; to pursue the journey on which one has entered, to continue on one’s journey; to follow one, that is: become his adherent; to lead or order one’s life


Be careful of false Messiahs

This would just be one of the things to look for, but not THE thing.

:9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

warspolemos – a war; a fight, a battle; a dispute, strife, quarrel

commotionsakatastasia – instability, a state of disorder, disturbance, confusion

be not terrifiedptoeo – to terrify, to agitate with fear

the endtelos – end; termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time); that by which a thing is finished, its close, issue

These things don’t mean that Jesus is necessarily coming back in the next ten seconds. These things must take place.

:10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:

shall riseegeiro – to arouse, cause to rise; to arouse from sleep, to awake; to cause to appear, bring before the public; to raise up, stir up, against one; of buildings, to raise up, construct, erect

nation ethnos – a multitude (whether of men or of beasts) associated or living together; a company, troop, swarm; a multitude of individuals of the same nature or genus; a tribe, nation, people group; in the OT, foreign nations not worshipping the true God, pagans, Gentiles

We get the word “ethnic” from this word. It would seem to me to speak more of people groups than political entities.

againstepi – upon, on, up to

kingdombasileia – a kingdom, the territory subject to the rule of a king

It seems Jesus is picturing the rising and falling of ethnic peoples and kingdoms, similar to what we’ve experienced in our own lifetimes with the fall of the Soviet Union, the constant change among the world’s powerful.

:11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

earthquakesseismos – a shaking, a commotion; a tempest; an earthquake

greatmegas – great

placestopos – place, any portion or space marked off, as it were from surrounding space; an inhabited place, as a city, village, district

famineslimos – scarcity of harvest, famine

pestilencesloimos – pestilence; a pestilent fellow, pest, plague

fearful sightsphobetron – that which strikes terror, a terror, (cause of) fright

signssemeion – a sign, mark, token; that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known; a sign, prodigy, portent, i.e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature; of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen; of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God’s

We’ve seen all these kinds of things taking place.

: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.

allhapas – quite, all, the whole, all together, all

Before the signs in the heavens …

they shall layepiballo – to cast upon, to lay upon; used of seizing one to lead him off as a prisoner; to throw one’s self upon, rush in

persecutedioko – to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after; to pursue (in a hostile manner); in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one; to persecute; to be mistreated, suffer persecution on account of something

delivering paradidomi – to give into the hands (of another); to give over into (one’s) power or use; to deliver up one to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death; to deliver up treacherously; by betrayal to cause one to be taken

synagoguessunagoge – a bringing together, gathering (as of fruits), a contracting; in the NT, an assembling together of men, an assembly of men; a synagogue

prisonsphulake – guard, watch; of the place where captives are kept, a prison

rulershegemon – a leader of any kind, a guide, ruler, prefect, president, chief, general, commander, sovereign

sakeheneka – on account of, for the sake of, for; for this cause, therefore



We see some of this happening in the New Testament.
Peter and John being arrested and put on trial before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4).
Paul being arrested many times through the book of Acts.
Apparently Paul’s disciple Timothy had a reluctance towards pain like I do:
(2 Tim 1:6-8 KJV) Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. {7} For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. {8} Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

It would seem that Timothy shied back from things a little out of fear.

Yet Paul had set an example for Timothy:
(2 Tim 3:10-12 KJV) But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, {11} Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. {12} Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

willthelo – to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose; to desire, to wish; to love; to like to do a thing, be fond of doing; to take delight in, have pleasure

godlyeusebos – piously, godly, dutifully; doing what’s right before God

livezao (infinitive) – to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead); to enjoy real life; to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting

shall suffer persecutiondioko – to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one; to persecute; to be mistreated, suffer persecution on account of something

If you have a desire to do what is right before God, you will be persecuted.

Timothy had observed Paul’s life. It wasn’t an easy life.

Timothy could see that God had been faithful to Paul. Even though Paul was writing Timothy from a prison in Rome, awaiting his execution.

Timothy did pay attention to Paul.
From Fox's Book of Martyrs: (pg.6-7) – Persecution of Emperor Domitian –

“Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until A.D. 97. At this period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him with their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days after.”

:13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

it shall turn apobaino – to come down from, i.e. a ship; to turn out, result, to be the outcome

a testimony marturion – testimony

(Luke 21:13 NLT) This will be your opportunity to tell them about me.


Tough times to witness

Some times we have this idea that if we’re going to be a “good witness” for the Lord, that we have to have perfect lives, perfect health, lots of money, and have everyone wish they were in our shoes.
But God wants to use us when we’re in the fire, under the pressure.
People will pay attention to how you respond to your trials.

:14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:

settle it tithemi – to set, put, place; to set, fix establish

to meditate beforepromeletao – to meditate beforehand; from meletao – i.e. to devise, contrive; used of the Greeks of the meditative pondering and the practice of orators and rhetoricians

Don’t rehearse over and over what you’re going to say.

Some have used this to give an excuse as to why they don’t study or prepare for a sermon or Bible Study.
I don’t think Jesus is saying that it’s bad to study apologetics, to learn about answers to people’s questions.
Jesus is prescribing this for when you are going to be put on trial for your faith, not for teaching God’s Word.

what ye shall answerapologeomai – to defend one’s self, make one’s defence; to defend a person or a thing; to give a full account of; to calculate or consider well

:15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

a mouthstoma – the mouth, as part of the body: of man, of animals, of fish, etc.; since thoughts of a man’s soul find verbal utterance by his mouth, the "heart" or "soul" and the mouth are distinguished

wisdomsophia – wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters

to gainsayantepo – to speak against, gainsay

resistanthistemi – to set one’s self against, to withstand, resist, oppose; to set against

adversariesantikeimai – to be set over against, opposite to; to oppose, be adverse to, withstand


Be sure to speak what Jesus tells you to

I think that’s the whole point here.
When Jesus gives you something to say, say it.
(1 Pet 4:11 NLT) Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ. All glory and power belong to him forever and ever. Amen.

:16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.

shall be betrayedparadidomi – to give into the hands (of another); to give over into (one’s) power or use; to deliver up one to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death; to deliver up treacherously; by betrayal to cause one to be taken

parentsgoneus – fathers, parent, the parents

kinsfolkssuggenes – of the same kin, akin to, related by blood; in a wider sense, of the same nation, a fellow countryman

friendsphilos – friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well

cause to be put to deaththanatoo – to put to death

It’s hard when those closest to us don’t understand.

:17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.

ye shall be hatedmiseo – to hate, pursue with hatred, detest; to be hated, detested

Not hated because we’re obnoxious, but because we’re Christians.


Warning to people-pleasers

Some of us like to live our lives in a way so that we please others.
This can get us into trouble sometimes.
Sometimes we face a choice of being true to Jesus, or pleasing people.

We need to be true to Jesus.

(John 12:42-43 KJV) Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: {43} For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

:18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.

hairthrix – the hair of the head

shall … perishapollumi – to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; to kill; metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell; to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed

Jesus has just said that some would be put to death. He can’t be talking about physical death here. Jesus is talking about eternal death, damnation in hell.

Can’t touch a hair.

A man was blissfully driving along the highway, when he saw a rabbit hopping across the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid hitting the bunny, but unfortunately the rabbit jumped in front of his car and was hit. The driver, being a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulled over to the side of the road, and got out to see what had become of the bunny. Much to his dismay, the bunny was dead. The driver felt guilty and began to cry. A woman driving down the same highway saw the man crying on the side of the road and pulled over. She stepped out of her car and asked the man what was wrong. “I feel terrible,” he explained. “I accidentally hit the rabbit and killed him. What should I do?” The woman told the man not to worry. She know exactly what to do. She went to her car trunk, and pulled out a spray can. She walked over to the limp dead bunny, and sprayed the entire contents of the can onto the little furry animal. Miraculously the rabbit came back to life, jumped up, waved its paw at the two humans and hopped on down the road. 50 yards away the rabbit stopped, turned around, waved and hoped on down the road another 50 yards, turned waved, hopped another 50 yards and waved again! The man was astonished. He said to the woman, “What in heaven’s name is in your spray can?” The woman turned the can around so that the man could read the label. It said: “Hair Spray. Restores life to dead hair. Adds permanent wave.”


Forever is secure

Though they may kill us physically, they can’t touch our eternity.

:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

patiencehupomone – steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings; patiently, and steadfastly; a patient, steadfast waiting for; a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

possess yektaomai – to acquire, get, or procure a thing for one’s self, to possess; to marry a wife

(Luke 21:19 NLT) By standing firm, you will win your souls.

Here’s a taste of the two positions in Scripture:

Verse 18 speaks of our security with Jesus. We have eternal security.
Verse 19 speaks of our responsibility to endure. We need to keep hanging on to Jesus.


Hang on

The Best Position To Pray Is..
Three preachers sat discussing the best positions for prayer. A telephone repairman who was working nearby happened to overhear the conversation. “Kneeling is definitely best,” claimed the first minister. “No,” the second pastor contended. “I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched toward Heaven.” “You’re both wrong,” the third preacher insisted. “The most effective prayer position is lying prostate, face down on the floor.” The repairman could contain himself no longer. “Hey, fellas,” he interrupted, “the best prayin’ I ever did was hangin’ upside down from a telephone pole after my safety strap broke.”
The book of Hebrews is primarily focused on encouraging Hebrew believers who were going through tremendous persecution. It’s the thread that runs through the whole book – “hang on”.
(Heb 12:1-4 NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. {2} We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven. {3} Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up. {4} After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. Hold on.