Summary: A study in Luke 17:20-37 End Time Prophecy
“Bible Prophecy by Jesus”
Introduction: If I were to ask everyone here who has read or seen movie versions of at least one of the “Left Behind” series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins to raise their hand, more than half of you would probably raise their hand. Well, if you have, you already know – and if not, I will tell you – that these books all have to do with End Times prophecy. Well, today’s message has to do with End Times prophecy that is found in the Scripture passage of Luke 17:20-37. And, although the human writer of the Book of Luke was, of course, the apostle Luke, Jesus Himself is the real author of this prophecy.
In this passage of Scripture, Jesus used “day” and “days of the Lord” interchangeably. And this term,“Day of the Lord”, encompasses several events associated with “end times” with which most of us are already somewhat familiar. In case you’re confused about those events, here’s a brief description of the events included in “The Day of the Lord.” This is God’s Prophetic Agenda : (1) The Rapture: The moment in which Christians will be caught up in the air to be with the Lord. This, by the way, is the next big event on God’s prophetic calendar. We read about this in 1 Thessalonians 4. (2) The Great Tribulation: This is a seven-year period of chaos and trauma in which a satanic leader (Antichrist) will direct a worldwide government and economy. We know from both Daniel 9 and Revelation 6-18 that this period will include three and one-half years of incredible disasters and difficulties as God pours out His judgment on sinful mankind. (3) The Battle of Armageddon: When Christ will return to conquer Antichrist and his armies. He will afterwards enter Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate to establish His earthly Kingdom and reign for 1000 years. Now, with this introductory background, let’s consider what Jesus said in Luke 17:20-37.
Scripture Reading: “20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God will come, He answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; 21 no one will say, ’Look here!’ or ’There!’ For you see, the kingdom of God is among you." 22 Then He told the disciples: "The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you won’t see it. 23They will say to you, ’Look there!’ or ’Look here!’ Don’t follow or run after them. 24 For as the lightning flashes from horizon to horizon and lights up the sky, so the Son of Man will be in His day. 25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man: 27 people went on eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day Noah boarded the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 It will be the same as it was in the days of Lot: people went on eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. 29 But on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, a man on the housetop, whose belongings are in the house, must not come down to get them. Likewise the man who is in the field must not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife! 33 Whoever tries to make his life secure will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two will be in one bed: one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together: one will be taken and the other left. 36 Two will be in a field: one will be taken, and the other will be left." 37 "Where, Lord?" they asked Him. He said to them, "Where the corpse is, there also the vultures will be gathered."
Now, please let me try to simplify this information with five points about the future: There will be a test!
I. GOD’S KINGDOM IS BOTH PRESENT AND FUTURE.
1. The Pharisees assumed the kingdom of God would be constituted by a military king. They expected the Messiah to come and reestablish the kingdom David and Solomon enjoyed a thousand years earlier. But in v. 21 Jesus said, “…the kingdom of God is among you." The word translated here as “among” may also be correctly translated as “within.” As Jesus spoke these words, the Pharisees didn’t realize that the KING was standing right in front of them – and talking to them!