Summary: Jesus warns his followers about hard times near at hand, in the current age, and in the future end times. Today we will look at the “then” and the “now.” Next time we will begin to address the “later.”
Forewarned is Forearmed
1. A woman blogs, “Today, I learned that my daughter's gerbils are not afraid of the vacuum cleaner.”
2. That is not normal. All animals should be afraid of the vacuum cleaner. And all people should know how to spell it. One c, two “u’s.”
3. When it comes to disasters, destruction, famines, and earthquakes, it is natural to be afraid of them, too. God uses them to alert us to the fact that His wrath is upon mankind because of sin. They are not correlated to particular people, but in a general way, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven,” Paul writes in Romans 1.
4. The course of history is filled with horrid events that, in a sense, predict the worst assemblages of disasters the world we see, the End Time 7-year tribulation that occurs before Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom.
5. All of the above — except for the gerbils and vacuum — are addressed by Jesus in the chapter we are beginning.
6. If you put together the Gospels, you will discover that Jesus was asked more than one question. One had to do with the Destruction of Jerusalem that would occur in 70 AD, the other about the End Time Tribulation. Mark summarizes the question into one.
Luke 21:20 answers the question about when Jerusalem would be ready to be destroyed in 70 AD, but Mark leave that information out.
Main Idea: Jesus warns his followers about hard times near at hand, in the current age, and in the future end times. Today we will look at the “then” and the “now.” Next time we will begin to address the “later.”
I. Then: The DESTRUCTION of Jerusalem in 70 AD — the Disaster Near at Hand (1-2)
A. DETAILED answer given to believers in Luke 21:20.
““But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it…’”
B. The historian Josephus recorded the event: over one MILLION Jews killed.
C. This could have been AVERTED had the Jews repented and believed.
Acts 3:17-21, ““And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.’”
D. Jesus elaborated more on this as He was walking to CALVARY.
Luke 23:27-31, “And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
The green tree/dry tree figure of speech comes from Ezekiel 20-21; the green tree represents the righteous, the dry the unrighteous.
E. The 9th of Av and God’s SOVEREIGN hand
1. First temple destroyed/Jerusalem burned in 586 BC, second 70AD
2. Book of Lamentations laments this destruction.
Application: We often do not know what is around the corner. One guy blogged, “Today, I got an invitation to my ‘going away lunch’ the company is throwing for me. I didn't know I was leaving.”
We get surprised all the time; but God is never surprised. We listen to experts predict the future — which team will win, which politician will get elected — which stocks will rise — but unless it is very near future, our guesses are as good as theirs.
God knows what is around the corner for us, and, in His Sovereign plan, He is out to develop us both by what He causes and by what He allows. We cannot figure out how the particulars fit it, but they do. Like an oil painting close up, perplexed.
II. Now: The NATURE of God’s Current INTERIM Kingdom (3-13)
A. The Mount of OLIVES Sermon (3)
This was probably a long lesson, and we have a few minutes of summary