Summary: Jesus’ prophetic teachings in Luke 17 are broken down into events that will occur on the Day of the Lord, explanations of God’s present and future Kingdom, the state of world conditions, the ensuing judgment and final warnings from the Savior.

Bible Prophecy for Dummies

Luke 17:20-37

by David O. Dykes


In 1991 a new kind of how-to book appeared on bookstore shelves. Many bookstores refused to carry the book because they thought the title was insulting to their customers. But most of us are willing to admit we are dummies once we get outside our field of specialized training. Since 1991 the Dummies books have sold over 100 million copies in over 40 countries. Initially, dummy books were computer-oriented. After DOS for Dummies there was Windows for Dummies and The Internet for Dummies. These books are popular because they make complicated information easy to understand, even for us dummies.

Here are some actual Dummy books you may not know about:

Congress for Dummies. I wonder how many congressmen have read it?

Law for Dummies. If you go to an attorney, look to see if he has this book.

Potty Training for Dummies. I should have had my kids read that when they were little.

NASCAR for Dummies…and I didn’t even know NASCAR fans could read!

Gambling for Dummies. All I have to say about that one is “it sure is!”

Luke 17 is one of the many prophetic passages in the Bible. Jesus spoke about His future return to earth. I decided we need a book called Bible Prophecy for Dummies. So, I’m going to try to take the confusing topic of Bible Prophecy and make it so easy to understand so even those of us who are dummies can comprehend it.

In all the Dummies books, the terms associated with the topic are clearly defined. So, before we get into the scripture, let’s start by defining some basic terms in Bible Prophecy.

Apocalyptic Writings: Scripture that reveals truth that had been concealed

The word apocalypse means “to unveil,” to “reveal.” In verse 30 Jesus spoke about the day in which “the Son of Man will be revealed.” That word “revealed” is the word apocalupsis from which we get apocalypse. The last book of the Bible is named Revelation, because the first word in Revelation 1 actually says, “The apocalupsis of Jesus Christ.” There are apocalyptic passages in Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah, and Revelation.

Eschatology: The study of the last days

My first thought was to name this message “Eschatology for Dummies.” But most people don’t know what eschatology is. The Greek word for “end times” is eschaton. Thus, any study of the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world is called eschatology. So, tomorrow at school or work, if you want to impress your friends, just say, “Yesterday in church I heard a really eschatological message.”

The Day of the Lord: All the events associated with the return of Christ

“The Day of the Lord” is not a 24 hour period; it is a term used throughout Bible Prophecy to describe multiple events taking place over a long period. When someone says, “We live in the day of cell phones,” they aren’t talking about one single day, but a period of time. In Luke 17, Jesus used “day” and “days of the Lord” interchangeably. The Day of the Lord encompasses the rapture, the tribulation, and the return of Christ at the battle of Armageddon. In case you’re confused about those events, here’s a brief description about the events included in the Day of the Lord.


(1) Rapture: The moment in which Christians will be caught up to be with the Lord

The rapture is next big event on God’s prophetic calendar. We read in I Thessalonians 4 when Christ returns the living Christians will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. The Latin word for the Greek verb “caught up” is raptio, that’s where we get the word rapture. People who do not know Jesus personally will be left behind when the rapture occurs.

(2) The Great Tribulation: Seven years of chaos and trauma in which a leader (Antichrist) will direct a worldwide government and economy

We know from both Daniel 9 and Revelation 6-18 this will be seven years of incredible disasters and difficulties as God pours out His judgement on sinful mankind. In the midst of all this chaos, a single world ruler will be in charge, the Bible calls him Antichrist.

(3) The Battle of Armageddon: When Christ will return to conquer Antichrist and his armies, afterwards He will enter Jerusalem to establish His earthly kingdom (millennium)

At the end of the seven year tribulation, Antichrist and his armies will gather to attack Israel. Revelation 19 predicts Jesus will return and easily conquer Antichrist and his armies. Then according to Zechariah 14, Jesus will enter Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate and set up His Kingdom on earth.

Now, with this introductory background, consider what Jesus said in Luke 17:20ff.

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David Bays

commented on Sep 8, 2006

David Dykes this is a great sermon on Bible Prophecy. I pastor in Morris, Alabama. I have been preaching on Sunday nights on the subject of SIGNS OF THE TIMES. THANKS FOR THE SERMON MATERIAL.

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