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Luke 21:29-36

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 12, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular: 2900 words Communion: 2500 words Video=75wpm

Ordain Dave Ritner

Home Fellowships – We are hoping to launch a couple of Home Fellowships in a few weeks.

First we are looking to find a few folks who would be willing to host and lead the groups of no more than twelve people.

We are thinking of the groups meeting weekly for six weeks.

We are thinking there ought to be some sort of food/snacks involved.

These will not be Bible Studies, but times to share and connect with each other.
For now, we want the sharing time to be about the Sunday message – and we will provide you with discussion questions.
We want there to be time spent praying for each other.

If you are interested in leading a group – we will have a brief info meeting today after each service. Or, contact myself or Daniel Grant this week.

Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing this book about Jesus, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

Jesus’ ministry is well under way, and the people have been amazed not just at the things He’s been teaching, but the things He’s been doing.

We are now on the homestretch of Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus is now in Jerusalem, on His way to be crucified.

Luke has reminded us of what Jesus’ main purpose was in life:

(Luke 19:10 NKJV) for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

We saw Jesus arrive in Jerusalem on a Sunday, to the shouts of an adoring crowd, crying “Hosanna”.

The next morning, on Monday, Jesus came into the Temple and cleared out those who were ripping the people off.

He then began to teach in the Temple, as He would every day until He would be arrested.

When someone was admiring the great Temple stones, Jesus said that there was a day coming when not one stone would be left standing on the Temple Mount.

When asked when this would happen, Jesus began to teach about the kinds of signs that would warn of two coming events:
The destruction of the Temple.
His Second Coming

It’s not unusual for prophecies in Scripture to have double fulfillments.

We’re going to navigate our way through a passage that will reflect both events.
I will use black blocks on the screen for the Temple Destruction, and bright red blocks for the Second Coming.
We were talking just last Thursday in our study of Psalm 118, how more than a few prophecies have two fulfillments – one near and one far.
There was a prophesied “forerunner” who would prepare the people for the Messiah’s coming.
The prophecy was fulfilled in John the Baptist, but will also one day be fulfilled by the prophet Elijah coming back.
We saw on Thursday night that some of the events laid out prophetically in Psalm 118 also would have two fulfillments.
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” was partially fulfilled when Jesus entered Jerusalem and the people shouted this.
Jesus said there would be another time when the people would shout this, at His Second Coming.

21:29-36 Signs of His Coming pt.3

:29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.

Lookhorao – to see with the eyes; to see with the mind, to perceive, know

fig treesuke – a fig tree

treesdendron – a tree

:30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.

alreadyede – now, already

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

nowede – now, already

you seeblepo – to see, discern, of the bodily eye; metaph. to see with the mind’s eye

knowginosko – to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel; to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of; to know by experience

neareggus – near, of place and position; of time

summertheros – summer

Summer is near, not harvest.

:30 budding … summer is now near

It’s springtime and the trees in our backyard are budding. Can you guess which kind of fruit we’ll have from each bud?

Olive Tree
Cherry Tree
Lemon Tree
Avocado Tree

:31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.

seehorao – to see with the eyes; to see with the mind, to perceive, know

happeningginomai – to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen

Present participle

knowginosko – to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel; to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of; to know by experience

neareggus – near, of place and position; of time

:31 when you see these things happening

Just as you can tell that the fruit is coming when you see the buds, when you begin to see “signs”, you can know that Jesus is coming back.

What are the “signs” that show this?

Jesus has been talking about them since verse 8:
False Messiahs (vs.8)
Wars (vs.9)
Earthquakes (vs.11)
Famine (vs. 11)
Disease (vs.11)
Persecution (vs.12)
Jerusalem surrounded by armies (vs.20)
Signs in the heavens (vs.25)
Fear (vs.26)

:29 Look at the fig tree

There was one tree that Jesus distinguished from the other trees, the fig tree.

The fig tree is a common tree in Israel.

The fig tree is often used in Scripture as a picture of the nation of Israel (Jer. 24; Hos. 9:10; Luke 13:6-9; Mat. 21:19-20)

(Jeremiah 24:1 NKJV) —1 The Lord showed me, and there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of the Lord, after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah with the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
(Hosea 9:10 NKJV) —10 “I found Israel Like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers As the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal Peor, And separated themselves to that shame; They became an abomination like the thing they loved.

Jesus Himself has already used the fig tree as a picture of Israel.

(Luke 13:6–9 NKJV) —6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”
Jesus was talking about how He had been looking for fruit from the nation for the last three years, but hadn’t found any.

Matthew recorded that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, He encountered a fig tree.

(Matthew 21:19–20 NKJV) —19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?”
I don’t think Jesus was just hungry and cranky and took it out on a poor fig tree.
He was giving a prophetic picture of God withering the nation of Israel for their lack of fruit, for their lack of recognition of Jesus as their Messiah.

And now Jesus talks about the “sign” of a fig tree putting out leaves, buds, and eventually fruit.

Though Jesus might simply be talking about the other “signs” being a portent of things to come like buds, He could also be referring to the nation of Israel coming out of its long winter, and becoming a fruit bearing tree once again.
I believe one of the biggest signs that we are in the last days is the reestablishment of the nation of Israel.
There has never been a nation that has been conquered, scattered, and then come back to life after 2,000 years.

:32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.

Assuredlyamen – verily, amen

by no meansou me – two negative particles.

pass awayparerchomai – to go past, pass by; metaph. to pass away, perish; to pass by (pass over), that is, to neglect, omit,

Aorist subjunctive

take placeginomai – to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen

:32 this generation will by no means pass away

generationgenea – men of the same stock; the whole multitude of men living at the same time; the time ordinarily occupied by each successive generation, about 40 years.

The word “generation” can speak of people of the same nationality, but it can also speak of the time span of a generation.

When Moses led Israel through the wilderness, a “generation” was considered 40 years.

Jesus might be saying that the nation of Israel would not pass away until Jesus comes back.

Jesus might be saying that the people who see the final puzzle pieces falling into place will be the ones to see His return.

Yet it seems that Jesus is clarifying what He said in the previous verse, “when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors!”.
The puzzle pieces are the same things we talked about in the previous verse, the “signs” He’s been describing since verse 8.
I’d like to suggest that there are two of these puzzle pieces that are still missing – Jerusalem being surrounded by armies (vs. 20), and the signs in the heavens (vs. 25).  Those are things that happen during the Tribulation.
What puzzle pieces?
False Messiahs (vs.8)
Wars (vs.9)
Earthquakes (vs.11)
Famine (vs. 11)
Disease (vs.11)
Persecution (vs.12)
Jerusalem surrounded by armies (vs.20)
Signs in the heavens (vs.25)
Fear (vs.26)
Israel established (vs. 30)

There is a sense in which there is that “double fulfillment” going on, that some of the signs were fulfilled before the coming destruction of Jerusalem.

Yet all of the signs will be fulfilled before the Second Coming.

:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Heavenouranos – the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it; the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings

earthge – arable land; the main land as opposed to the sea or water; the earth as a whole; the earth as opposed to the heavens

pass awayparerchomai – to go past, pass by; metaph. to pass away, perish; to pass by (pass over), that is, to neglect, omit,

Same word used in vs. 32

First use here is future indicative

This is something that will definitely happen.

wordslogos – word

by no meansou me – two negative particles.

pass awayparerchomai – to go past, pass by; metaph. to pass away, perish; to pass by (pass over), that is, to neglect, omit,

Second use is aorist subjunctive

:33 Heaven and earth will pass away

There are some things that will not pass away, but there are some things that will.

Heaven and earth will one day pass away. Peter wrote,

(2 Peter 3:7 NLT) And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
God will replace the current heaven and earth with a new heaven and earth. (Rev. 21:1)
(Revelation 21:1 NKJV) —1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

:33 My words will by no means pass away


The Bible lasts

Voltaire was a famous French atheist who died in 1778.  He said that in one hundred years from his time Christianity would be swept from existence and passed into history. But what has happened? Voltaire is gone, and the Bible and Christianity continue.
Fifty years after Voltaire, the Geneva Bible Society was using Voltaire’s own house and printing press to publish stacks of Bibles.
In A.D. 303 Emperor Diocletian issued an edict to destroy Christians and their books.
Yet 25 years later, Diocletian was followed by Emperor Constantine, who commissioned Eusebius to prepare 50 hand-made copies of the Scripture at government expense.
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 a 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.”
Even today, you will continue to find critics trying to discredit the Bible on all sorts of grounds.
Yet as the archaeologist’s hammers and shovels in Israel continue to work (here is a picture of Magdala), they continue to discover more and more evidence that this book is accurate and true.
Isaiah wrote,
(Isaiah 40:8 NKJV) The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”


Invest in what lasts

How many of you have ever listened to music on an 8-track Tape Player?
How many of you have watched a movie in a Drive-in theater lately?
How many of you have made a phone call in a Phone booth lately?
Video:  The Time You Have (In JellyBeans)
My challenge to you is what you do with that last section of Jelly Beans.  What will you spend your time doing?
If you’re going to invest your time and energy in something that counts, think about investing in God’s Word, something that lasts.
I’ve invested a lot of time in things that haven’t gone anywhere.
I’ve never regretted the hours I’ve spent over the last 45 years in God’s Word.
It’s important not just to read and study God’s Word, but to do what it says.
(Matthew 7:24–27 NKJV) —24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

:34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.

:35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

take heedprosecho – 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; give attention to, take heed

weighed downbareo – to burden, weigh down, depress

Does carousing and drunkenness strike you as things that would “weigh a person down”?

:34 carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life

carousingkraipale – the giddiness and headache caused by drinking wine to excess

; the sickness and discomfort resulting in drunkenness.

It’s not just the high of getting drunk, but the hangover that comes after you’ve been drunk.

drunkennessmethe – intoxication; drunkenness


One Drunken Night
A fellow decides to take off early from work and go drinking. He stays until the bar closes at 2am at which time he is extremely drunk. When he enters his house, he doesn’t want to wake anyone up so he takes off his shoes and starts to tip toe up the stairs. Halfway up the stairs, he falls over backwards and lands flat on his rear end. That wouldn’t have been so bad except that he had a couple of empty pint bottles in his back pockets that broke and the broken glass carved up his rear end terribly. But, he was so drunk that he didn’t know he was hurt. A few minutes later as he was undressing, he noticed blood, so he checked himself out in the mirror and sure enough, his behind was cut up something terrible. He repaired the damage as best he could under the circumstances and went to bed. The next morning, his head was hurting, his rear was hurting and he was hunkering under the covers, trying to think of a good story, when his wife came into the bedroom. “Well, you really tied one on last night,” she said, “where did you go?” “I worked late,” he said, “and I stopped off for a couple of beers.” “A couple of beers? That’s a laugh. You were plastered last night, so where did you go?” she inquired. “What makes you so sure that I got drunk last night anyway?” “Well, she replied, “My first big clue was when I got up this morning and found a bunch of band aids stuck to the mirror!”
It’s not so funny when this is your life.

cares of this life

caresmerimna – care, anxiety
lifebiotikos – pertaining to life and the affairs of this life
This is the worry about how you’re going to make ends meet.
It’s the worry about your next salary increase.
It’s a life that lives for “more”
Drunkenness and the cares of this life can get you sidetracked from what is really important.

:34 that Day come on you unexpectedly

unexpectedlyaiphnidios – unexpected, sudden, unforeseen

comeephistemi – to place at, place upon, place over; to come upon

When your life is headed in the wrong direction, you will not be ready for the day you meet God.

(Luke 12:16–21 NKJV) —16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Being ready for “that Day” is not just being ready for the Rapture, but being ready to meet your God.

Every day people find themselves face to face with God, whether it’s in an auto accident or something tragic happens with their health.
Twenty four years ago when we were meeting at the YMCA, we met a fellow named Bill Cable. Bill was assigned by the folks at the YMCA to help us each Sunday. Bill would come to church, but he also kept resisting the gospel. We were so happy when one day after 2 ½ years, Bill opened his heart to Jesus. Two weeks later Bill was riding his bike down Chapman Avenue at midnight when he was killed in a hit and run accident.
We know that Bill is in heaven now, but Bill almost waited too long before accepting Jesus.

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

will come … oneperchomai – to come to arrive; to come upon, overtake, one

who dwellkathemai – to sit down, seat one’s self; to have a fixed abode, to dwell

:36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

willmello – to be about

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

to standhistemi – to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set; in the presence of others, in the midst, before judges, before members of the Sanhedrin;

the Son of Man

Who is the “Son of Man”?

It’s Jesus. The one who is talking

:36 counted worthy to escape all these things

Some aspects of the end times can be calculated to the very day.

When the antichrist declares himself God in the rebuilt Temple, you can count 1260 days, and Jesus will return.

Other aspects of the end times that are unexpected and can’t be calculated.

Jesus said,
(Matthew 24:36 NKJV) “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

How can it be able to be calculated, and yet unexpected?

It’s Jesus’ Second Coming to judge the earth that can be calculated.
The unexpected part is known as the “Rapture”, when Jesus will snatch all believers from the earth to be with Him.
Paul wrote,
(1 Thessalonians 4:17 NKJV) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

This is the unexpected, sudden part of the End Times.

The general layout of the End Times looks like this:

At any time Jesus will snatch His church away in the Rapture.
That will be followed by a seven year period known as the Tribulation.
At the end of the seven years, Jesus will return with the church and judge the world. This is the Second Coming.

The Bible talks about the Tribulation as being the worst time in human history.

You don’t want to be here when that happens.
Though some people believe that the church will go through the Tribulation, Jesus seemed to think that it was possible to be counted “worthy” to escape it.
Jesus wrote to the church of Philadelphia:
(Revelation 3:10 NKJV) Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

Some people think that this idea that the church will be raptured before the Tribulation didn’t come into existence until the 1850’s.

Yet the early church believed in the “imminency” of Jesus’ return, that He could come back at any moment.

The “Didache” was a document dating back to the late first century. It gives all sorts of instructions to churches about things like living a holy life, baptism, fasting, prayer, and communion. The last chapter is all about being ready for the Second Coming. It starts with:
16.1 Be watchful for your life; let your lamps not be quenched and your loins not ungirded, but be ye ready; for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh.

worthy to escape –

The early church fathers also spoke of the imminent return of Jesus.
In the late first century, a document known as the “Didache” was written, giving instruction to the early church after the Apostles had all passed. This is from the last chapter of the Didache:
16. Be watchful for your life; let your lamps not be quenched and your loins not ungirded, but be ye ready; for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh. 2And ye shall gather yourselves together frequently, seeking what is fitting for your souls; for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you, if ye be not perfected at the last season. 3For in the last days the false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate. 4For as lawlessness increaseth, they shall hate one another and shall persecute and betray. And then the world-deceiver shall appear as a son of God; and shall work signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unholy things, which have never been since the world began. 5Then all created mankind shall come to the fire of testing, and many shall be offended and perish; but they that endure in their faith shall be saved by the Curse Himself. 6And then shall the signs of the truth appear; first a sign of a rift in the heaven, then a sign of a voice of a trumpet, and thirdly a resurrection of the dead; 7yet not of all, but as it was said: The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him. 8Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.[1]

:36 pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape

always – literally, “at all times

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

Prayer based on specific needs

counted worthykataxioo (“according to” + “judge worthy”) – to account worthy, judge worthy

Some manuscripts have a different word here, carrying the idea that we are to pray to “have strength” to escape.
counted worthykatischuo – to be strong to another’s detriment, to prevail against; to be superior in strength; to overcome; to prevail

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

Either way, the result is the same, to “escape” what is coming.

:36 Watch therefore

Watchagrupneo – to be watchful, vigilant

Grammatically, this is the only command in the verse.  This is what we’re supposed to do.

While we are watching, we should be “praying” that we are counted worthy to escape what is coming.


Ready or not

Are you ready for what’s around the corner?
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Jesus wants us ready to “escape” the things coming on the earth.  How do we do that if we’re “watching”?
We pray.

We’re not going to escape without the help of Jesus.

Whether the idea is about having “strength” to escape, or being “worthy” to escape, the idea is that you’re not escaping without Jesus.

I do not believe that Jesus will only take those in the Rapture who are “good” Christians.

Salvation is about grace. It’s about faith in Jesus.  It’s about trusting in what He did for us when He died on the cross.

(Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV) —8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Do you want to escape the things coming on the earth?

Then you need to turn your life over to Jesus.


[1] Lightfoot, J. B., & Harmer, J. R. (1891). The Apostolic Fathers (p. 235). London: Macmillan and Co.