Luke 21:29-38

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

April 24, 2002


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.

When Jesus talked about how the stones of the great Temple would one day be torn apart, someone asked Jesus, “When will this occur?”  We’re at the end of Jesus answering this question.  He is talking about two different things – the coming destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, and His own Second Coming.

:29  And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;

the fig treesuke – a fig tree

The fig tree is often used in Scripture to be a picture of the nation of Israel (Jer. 24; Hos. 9:10)

Look how Jesus uses the “fig tree” in another parable and how closely it parallels the nation of Israel.
(Luke 13:1-9 KJV)  There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. {2} And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? {3} I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. {4} Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? {5} I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. {6} He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. {7} Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? {8} And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: {9} And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Jesus warned the people that they all needed to repent.  Jesus is like the land owner coming to look for fruit on his fig tree.  He gives it time, but if there is no fruit, eventually it will be cut down.

When Jesus entered into Jerusalem, He saw a fig tree without fruit and He cursed it,
(Mat 21:19-20 KJV)  And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. {20} And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

We see this as prophetic of God’ withering of the nation of Israel for their rejection of Jesus.

the treesdendron – a tree

:30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.

shoot forthproballo – to throw forward; of trees, to shoot forth, put out leaves

summertheros – summer

nigh at handeggus – near, of place and position; of times imminent and soon to come pass

Jesus is talking about two things here:

He’s talking about the nation of Israel beginning to “put forth leaves”, that the nation is showing signs of life, that the nation even exists!

He talks about “all the trees”.  Not just the things happening in Israel, but all the different signs of the times.

:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

the kingdombasileia – royal power, kingship, dominion, rule; a kingdom, the territory subject to the rule of a king

nigh at handeggus – near, of place and position; of times imminent and soon to come pass

Just as the leaves appearing on the trees signals that summer is coming, the signs will show us that Jesus is about to come back.

What are the signs He’s mentioned?

False Messiahs (vs.8)
Wars (vs.9)
Earthquakes, famine, disease, fearful things in the sky (vs.11)
Persecution (vs.12)
Jerusalem surrounded by armies (vs.20)
Signs in the heavens (vs.25)
Fear (vs.26)
The Fig Tree sprouting leaves (vs.30).

Do you think that summer is near?

:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

Verilyamen – firm; metaph. faithful; verily, amen; at the beginning of a discourse-surely, truly, of a truth

pass awayparerchomai – to go past, pass by; of persons moving forward; to pass by; of time  an act continuing for a time; metaph. to pass away, perish; to come near, come forward, arrive

generationgenea – fathered, birth, nativity; that which has been begotten, men of the same stock, a family; the whole multitude of men living at the same time; an age (i.e. the time ordinarily occupied by each successive generation), a space of 30-33 years

There are several views as to what “generation” refers to:

Some hold that it is referring to a race or family of people, the race of Jews.  The Jews won’t cease to exist until all these things will be fulfilled.
This might not seem so spectacular to us, but to the Jews living after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, or the Jews living in the times of the holocaust, this would be a pretty special promise.
Some hold the view that it is talking about the generation that will see these things happened, namely us.  The generation that begins to see the things prophesied here come to pass will see the end.  In other words, all these things will happen within the time of a generation.
Within this view, there are different ideas as to how long a “generation” is.  Some would suggest 40 years, since that is the length of time the Israelites wandered in the wilderness until the “generation” that disbelieved all died off.

be fulfilledginomai – to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being; to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen


We’re in the last days

I think we’re in the generation that will see these things come to pass.
We are in the generation that has seen the fig tree put forth its leaves.
While I was looking at “fig” verses, I came across this:
(Song 2:10-13 KJV)  My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. {11} For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; {12} The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; {13} The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

The Song of Solomon is a love song between a husband and his wife.  Some have seen it as a picture of Jesus and the church.  Summer is here, time to “Come away”.

:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

shall pass awayparerchomai – to go past, pass by; of persons moving forward; to pass by; of time  an act continuing for a time; metaph. to pass away, perish; to come near, come forward, arrive

The heavens and earth as we know them will one day be gone.

(2 Pet 3:7-12 KJV)  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. {8} But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. {9} The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. {10} But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. {11} Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, {12} Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

(Rev 21:1 KJV)  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Jesus’ words won’t ever go away.


The Bible lasts

Sidney Collet in All About the Bible, says, “Voltaire, the noted French infidel who died in 1778, said that in one hundred years from his time Christianity would be swept from existence and passed into history.  But what has happened?  Voltaire has passed into history; while the circulation of the Bible continues to increase in almost all parts of the world, carrying blessing wherever it goes.  For example the English Cathedral in Zanzibar is built on the site of the Old Slave Market, and the Communion Table stands on the very spot where the whipping-post once stood!  The world abounds with such instances … As one has truly said, “We might as well put our shoulder to the burning wheel of the sun, and try to stop it on its flaming course, as attempt to stop the circulation of the Bible.””
H.L. Hastings wrote, “Infidels for eighteen hundred years have been refuting and overthrowing this book, and yet it stands today as solid as a rock.  Its circulation increases, and it is more loved and cherished and read today than ever before.  Infidels, with all their assaults, make about as much impression on this book as a man with a tack hammer would on the Pyramids of Egypt.  When the French monarch proposed the persecution of the Christians in his dominion, an old statesman and warrior said to him, “Sire, the Church of God is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.”  So the hammers of the infidels have been pecking away at this book for ages, but the hammers are worn out, and the anvil still endures.  If this book had not been the book of God, men would have destroyed it long ago.  Emperors and popes, kings and priests, princes and rulers have all tried their hand at it; they die and the book still lives.”


Count on what will last

There were a lot of people who lost a lot of money because they trusted it all in their investments with the Enron corporation.  Enron is pretty much gone.  So is their money.
It’s not just reading God’s Word, but living it.
(Mat 7:24-27 KJV)  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. {26} And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: {27} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

: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 upon you unawares.

take heed prosecho – to bring to, bring near; to bring a ship to land, and simply to touch at, put in; to turn the mind to, attend to be attentive; to attend to one’s self, i.e. to give heed to one’s self; give attention to, take heed; to apply one’s self to, attach one’s self to, hold or cleave to a person or a thing; to be given or addicted to; to devote thought and effort to

overcharged baruno – to weigh down, overcharge; from barus – heavy in weight; burdensome

surfeiting kraipale – the giddiness and headache caused by drinking wine to excess; the sickness and discomfort of drunkenness.

drunkennessmethe – intoxication; drunkenness

cares merimna – care, anxiety

life biotikos – pertaining to life and the affairs of this life; from bios – life; that by which life is sustained, resources, wealth, goods

This could be translated … “the worries about salary …”

unawaresaiphnidios (“not” + “shining”)  – unexpected, sudden, unforeseen


Yesterday there was a terrible train accident in Placentia.  A freight train collided with a Metrolink train.  Two people were killed. One of those who died was Robert Kube, 59, of Moreno Valley.  In the Register, there was an article about him, saying that his Bible was his companion every day on the train as he rode to work.  He taught a New Believers’ class at his church and loved to talk about the Lord.

:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

a snarepagis – snare, trap, noose; of snares in which birds are entangled and caught; implies unexpectedly, suddenly, because birds and beasts are caught unawares

What will come as a snare?

The things that are coming upon the earth:

(Luke 21:25-26 KJV)  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.

:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Watch yeagrupneo (“not” + “sleep”) – to be sleepless, keep awake, watch; to be circumspect, attentive, ready

always – literally, “in all times”

praydeomai – to want, lack; to desire, long for; to ask, beg; to pray, make supplications

may be accounted worthy kataxioo (“according to” + “to count worthy”) – to account worthy, judge worthy

The newer translations have here “may have the strength …”.  Based on a different manuscript.

to escape ekpheugo – to flee out of, flee away; to seek safety in flight; to escape

There are people who do not hold to a “pre-trib rapture”.  One of their criticisms against those of us who do hold this view, is that we’re “escapists”.  They think that we’re all going to be severely disappointed when we all go through the Tribulation period.

Yet Jesus teaches here that we ought to pray that we might escape.

and to stand … -

In the book of Revelation, we have a road map of things to come.

Chapters 2-3 contain letters to the seven churches, giving us a picture of what we call the “Church Age”.
Chapter 4 begins with a picture of the Rapture – a trumpet sound and John being caught up into heaven.
(Rev 5 KJV)  And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. {2} And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? {3} And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. {4} And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. {5} And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. {6} And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. {7} And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. {8} And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. {9} And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; {10} And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. {11} And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; {12} Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. {13} And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. {14} And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
I wonder if the 24 elders aren’t some kind of a picture of the church.  They have been redeemed out of every nation.  And they are before the Lamb.
(Rev 6:1-2 KJV)  And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. {2} And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
The redeemed are in heaven, and the Tribulation begins to break out on earth.



The first thing Jesus tells us to do.  Don’t fall asleep.
This was hidden in the news this week, in the Jerusalem Post, April 23, 2002:
Saudi Arabia masses troops on western border

Saudi Arabia has reportedly dispatched eight brigades to the Gulf nation's western border with Jordan.

The Saudis began redeploying troops upon receiving intelligence reports Israel is currently massing troops along its own eastern border with Jordan.

An IDF source has denied the Israeli troop reorganization.

It may indeed be nothing, but it certainly sounds exciting to me.



We need to be people of prayer.  I think that today we often want to be used of God, but don’t want to do things God’s way.  God’s way is prayer.
E.M. Bounds in Power Through Prayer (pg.14) writes,
Preachers are not sermon makers, but men makers and saint makers, and he only is well-trained for this business who has made himself a man and a saint. It is not great talents nor great learning nor great preachers that God needs, but men great in holiness, great in faith, great in love, great in fidelity, great for God—men always preaching by holy sermons in the pulpit, by holy lives out of it. These can mold a generation for God.
After this order, the early Christians were formed. Men they were of solid mold, preachers after the heavenly type—heroic, stalwart, soldierly, saintly. Preaching with them meant self-denying, self-crucifying, serious, toilsome, martyr business. They applied themselves to it in a way that told on their generation, and formed in its womb a generation yet unborn for God. The preaching man is to be the praying man. Prayer is the preacher’s mightiest weapon. An almighty force in itself, it gives life and force to all.
The real sermon is made in the closet. The man—God’s man—is made in the closet. His life and his profoundest convictions were born in his secret communion with God. The burdened and tearful agony of his spirit, his weightiest and sweetest messages were got when alone with God. Prayer makes the man; prayer makes the preacher; prayer makes the pastor.
This isn’t just about pastors, it is about people who want to count for God.  We need to be people of prayer.

:37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.

During this last week in Jerusalem, this was Jesus’ practice.  He’d teach in the temple in the day time and camp out on the Mount of Olives in the evening.

:38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.

came early in the morningorthrizo – to rise early in the morning; from orthros – daybreak, dawn; at early dawn, at daybreak, early in the morning


Early with Jesus.

There’s a phrase in the King James that I like concerning the Old Testament prophets:
(Jer 25:3-4 KJV)  From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened. {4} And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.

Maybe it’s just because I’m a “morning guy”, but I think there’s something special about giving the Lord the first part of your day.  Get up early and let Him speak to you.