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THE  TEACHINGS  OF  JESUS

LIVING  LESSONS

THE TWO GREAT PROPHECIES OF  "THE END OF THE AGE"

The great prophecy recorded in Luke 21 is different both in time, place, and subject from that recorded in Matthew 24 and Mark 13.

The one recorded in Luke was spoken "on one of those days, as He taught the people in the Temple" (Luke 20:1). For one note of time is in Luke 21:1, "and He looked up and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the Treasury." So that He was still "in the Temple" when He uttered the prophecy recorded in Luke 21, for the whole conversation with the disciples follows without a break the Lord’s commendation of the widow.

But with regard to the prophecy recorded in Matthew 24, we distinctly read (verse 1) "and Jesus went out and departed from the Temple…..and as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately" (verse 3). So, in Mark 13:1, "He went out of the Temple…….and as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, over against the Temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked Him privately" (verse 3).

So that we have two great prophecies. One (Luke) spoken in the Temple, the other (Matthew and Mark) spoken later upon the Mount of Olives. As parts of the first are repeated on the second occasion, we will give the leading points of the three in parallel columns, so that the object of each, and the difference between them, may be clearly seen.

They both open with a summary of events which might have taken place in the lifetime and experience of those who heard the words:-

FROM THE CROSS ONWARDS

Luke 21:8-9 Matt. 24:4-6 Mark 13:5-7
Take heed that ye be not deceived:
For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. 
But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified:
for these things must first come to pass:
but the end is not by and by (immediately, so).
Take heed that no man deceive you.
For many shall come in My name,  saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled:
for all these things must come to pass,
but the end is not yet.
Take heed lest any man deceive you.
For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 

And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled:
for such things must needs be;
but the end shall not be yet.

John refers to this first sign in his First Epistle (John 2:18); but had the nation repented at the proclamation by Peter in Acts 3:18-26, by the Twelve in the Land, by "them that heard Him" (Hebrews 2:3), and by Paul in the Synagogues of the Dispersion, "all that the prophets had written" would have been fulfilled.

  THE   FIVE  SIGNS

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THE FIRST SIGN - FALSE CHRISTS
Matthew 24:5

1. Josephus says (War, b. 2 c. 13), that there were many who, pretending to divine inspiration, deceived the people, leading out numbers of them to the desert, pretending that God would there show them the signs of liberty, meaning redemption from the Roman power: and that an Egyptian false prophet led 30,000 men into the desert, who were almost all cut off by Felix. See <Acts 21:38>. It was a just judgment for God to deliver up that people into the hands of false Christ’s who had rejected the true one. Soon after our Lord's crucifixion, Simon Magus appeared, and persuaded the people of Samaria that he was the great power of God, <Acts 8:9-10>; and boasted among the Jews that he was the son of God.

2. Of the same stamp and character was also Dositheus, the Samaritan, who pretended that he was the Christ foretold by Moses.

3. About twelve years after the death of our Lord, when Cuspius Fadus was procurator of Judea, arose an impostor of the name of Theudas, who said he was a prophet, and persuaded a great multitude to follow him with their best effects to the river Jordan, which he promised to divide for their passage; and saying these things, says Josephus, he deceived many: almost the very words of our Lord.

4. A few years afterward, under the reign of Nero, while Felix was procurator of Judea, impostors of this stamp were so frequent that some were taken and killed almost every day. Jos. Ant. b. 20 c. 4. and 7.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

THE SECOND SIGN - WARS AND COMMOTIONS
Matthew 24:6

[The next signs given by our Lord are wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.] These may be seen in Josephus, Ant. b. 18 c. 9; War, b. 2 c. 10; especially as to the rumours of wars, when Caligula ordered his statue to be set up in the temple of God, which the Jews having refused, had every reason to expect a war with the Romans, and were in such consternation on the occasion that they even neglected to till their land.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

WAR, WARFARE

The prophets saw war as God's judgment against Israel. Those looking for a violent end to man's existence saw war as a sign of the end times, both in the Old and New Testaments. Jesus emphasized peace instead of war, and the New Testament church saw war as a spiritual battle between good and evil.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)   (Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Luke 21:10,11 Matt. 24:7,8 Mark 13:8
Nation shall rise against nation, and
kingdom against kingdom: and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences, and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
Nation shall rise against nation, and
kingdom against kingdom: and there shall

be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there
shall be famines, and troubles:

these are the beginnings of sorrows.

Now, it will be observed in the Lord’s discourse as recorded in Luke, that, instead of saying "these are the beginning of sorrows", and going on with the account of them, He stops short; He goes back: He introduces a parenthesis detailing and describing events that would take place "BEFORE ALL THESE" beginnings of sorrows. He describes in verse 12.

THE THIRD SIGN   -  KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM
Matthew 24:7

Nation shall rise against nation - This portended the dissensions, insurrections, and mutual slaughter of the Jews, and those of other nations, who dwelt in the same cities together; as particularly at Caesarea, where the Jews and Syrians contended about the right of the city, which ended there in the total expulsion of the Jews, above 20,000 of whom were slain. The whole Jewish nation being exasperated at this, flew to arms, and burnt and plundered the neighbouring cities and villages of the Syrians, making an immense slaughter of the people. The Syrians, in return, destroyed not a less number of the Jews. At Scythopolis they murdered upwards of 13,000. At Ascalon they killed 2,500. At Ptolemais they slew 2,000, and made many prisoners. The Tyrians also put many Jews to death, and imprisoned more: the people of Gadara did likewise; and all the other cities of Syria in proportion, as they hated or feared the Jews. At Alexandria the Jews and pagans fought, and 50,000 of the former were slain. The people of Damascus conspired against the Jews of that city, and, assaulting them unarmed, killed 10,000 of them. See Dr. Newton, and Dr. Lardner.

Kingdom against kingdom - This portended the open wars of different tetrarchies and provinces against each other.

1st That of the Jews and Galileans against the Samaritans, for the murder of some Galileans going up to the feast of Jerusalem, while Cumanus was procurator.
2nd That of the whole nation of the Jews against the Romans and Agrippa, and other allies of the Roman empire; which began when Gessius Florus was procurator.
3rd That of the civil war in Italy, while Otho and Vitellius were contending for the empire.

It is worthy of remark, that the Jews themselves say, "In the time of the Messiah, wars shall be stirred up in the world; nation shall rise against nation, and city against city? Sohar Kadash. "Again, Rab. Eleasar, the son of Abina, said, When ye see kingdom rising against kingdom, then expect the immediate appearance of the Messiah? Bereshith Rabba, sect. 42.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

THE FOURTH SIGN - FAMINES, PESTILENCES
Matthew 24:7

It is further added, that [There shall be famines, and pestilences] There was a famine foretold by Agabus <Acts 11:28>, which is mentioned by Suetonius, Tacitus, and Eusebius; which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar, and was so severe at Jerusalem that Josephus says (Ant. b. 20 c. 9.) many died for lack of food. Pestilence’s are the usual attendants of famines; as the scarcity and badness of provisions generally produce epidemic disorders.

Earthquakes, in divers places - If we take the word seismoi (grk 4578) from seioo (grk 4579) to shake, in the first sense, then it means particularly those popular commotions and insurrections which have already been noted; and this I think to be the true meaning of the word: but if we confine it to earthquakes, there were several in those times to which our Lord refers; particularly one at Crete in the reign of Claudius, one at Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos. See Grotius. One at Rome, mentioned by Tacitus; and one at Laodicea in the reign of Nero, in which the city was overthrown, as were likewise Hierapolis and Colosse. See Tacit. Annal. lib. 12 and lib. 14. One at Campania, mentioned by Seneca; and one at Rome,  reign of Galba, mentioned by Suetonius in the life of that emperor. Add to all these, a dreadful one in Judea, mentioned by Josephus (War, b. 4 c. 4.) accompanied by a dreadful tempest, violent winds, vehement showers, and continual lightnings and thunders; which led many to believe that these things portended some uncommon calamity.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

THE FIFTH SIGN - FEARFUL PORTENTS
Matthew 24:7

To these Luke adds that there shall be fearful sights and great signs from heaven <Luke 21:11>. Josephus, in his preface to the Jewish war, enumerates these.
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

1st A star hung over the city like a sword; and a comet continued a whole year.
2nd The people being assembled at the feast of unleavened bread, at the ninth hour of the night, a great light shone about the altar and the temple, and this continued for half an hour.
3rd At the same feast, a cow led to sacrifice brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple!
4th The eastern gate of the temple, which was of solid brass, and very heavy, and could hardly be shut by twenty men, and was fastened by strong bars and bolts, was seen at the sixth hour of the night to open of its own accord!
5th Before sun-setting there were seen, over all the country, chariots and armies fighting in the clouds, and besieging cities.
6th At the feast of pentecost when the priests were going into the inner temple by night, to attend their service, they heard first a motion and noise, and then a voice, as of a multitude, saying,  LET US DEPART HENCE!
7th What Josephus reckons one of the most terrible signs of all was, that one Jesus, a country fellow, four years before the war began, and when the city was in peace and plenty, came to the feast of tabernacles, and ran crying up and down the streets, day and night: "A voice from the east! a voice from the west! a voice from the four winds! a voice against Jerusalem and the temple! a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides! and a voice against all the people!" Though the magistrates endeavoured by stripes and tortures to restrain him, yet he still cried, with a mournful voice, "Woe, wo to Jerusalem "and this he continued to do for several years together, going about the walls and crying with a loud voice: "Woe, wo to the city, and to the people, and to the temple!" and as he added, "Woe, wo to myself!" a stone from some sling or engine struck him dead on the spot!

It is worthy of remark that Josephus appeals to the testimony of others, who saw and heard these fearful things. Tacitus, a Roman historian, gives very nearly the same account with that of Josephus. Hist, lib. 5.  
(from Adam Clarke Commentary)

  THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM

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Luke 21:12

But before all these, that is to say "BEFORE" the great Tribulation, all that is recorded concerning Jerusalem in vv. 12-24 would take place. These are the closing words:-

Luke 21:24

"And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (1948 AD)

Now, in the discourse recorded in Matt. 24, instead of going back to speak of the condition of Jerusalem before and until the beginning of the great Tribulation; having said "All these are the beginning of sorrows", He goes on to describe the sorrows, or birth-pangs of the Tribulation (Matt. 24:9-28, Mark 13:9-23), and He continues the prophecy concerning these sorrows up to the moment of His appearing in the clouds of heaven.

While, in the discourse recorded in Luke 21, having gone back, and described what should take place "before all these" beginnings of sorrows, the Lord does not speak further of the great Tribulation, but takes it up at the end, and, as in Matthew and Mark, speaks concerning

His Coming in the Clouds of Heaven

(of course, in Luke the words are slightly different from those in Matthew and Mark):-

Luke 21:25-27 Matt. 24:29,30 Mark 13:24-26
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; men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth;
for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
and then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days(*) shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and

the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall,

and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken,

and then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
(*) Leaving no space, therefore, for a millennium of peace between the "great Tribulation" and the appearance of the Lord in glory; proving that the Second Coming must be pre-millenial.

The first prophecy, in the Temple (Luke 21), was uttered in answer to two general questions:

The Questions:

"When shall these things be?"
"What sign shall there be when these things shall come to pass ?"

The Answer:

(1)    Luke 21:8-24

8 And He said: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them.
9 "But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately."
10 Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
11 "And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
12 "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.
13 "But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.
14 "Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;
15 "for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
16 "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.
17 "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake.
18 "But not a hair of your head shall be lost.
19 "By your patience possess your souls.
20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.
21 "Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.
22 "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.
24 "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.     (NKJ)

(2)    Luke 21:25-28

25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
26 "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.
27 "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."   (NKJ)

The second Prophecy, on the Mount of Olives (Matt. 24 and Mark 13), was uttered in answer to three distinct questions:

The Questions:

"When shall these things be?"
"What shall be the sign of Thy coming?"
"And [what shall be the sign] of the end of the age?"

The Answer:

(1)    Matt 24:4-14

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.
10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.    (NKJ)

Mark 13:5-13

5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: "Take heed that no one deceives you.
6 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and will deceive many.
7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.
8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.
9 But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.
10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.
11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
13 And you will be hated by all men for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.   (NKJ)

(2)    Matt 24:15-27

15 Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),
16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.
18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.
19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.
23 Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it.
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it.
27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.   (NKJ)

Mark 13:14-23

14 So when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not" (let the reader understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
15 Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house.
16 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his garment.
17 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter.
19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.
20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.
21 Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, He is there!' do not believe it.
22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.    (NKJ)

(3)    Matt 24:29-31

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.     (NKJ)

Mark 13:24-27

24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in heaven will be shaken.
26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.   (NKJ)

Luke 21:25-28

25 And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
26 men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.
27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."   (NKJ)

And then both prophecies conclude with the Parable of the Fig-tree, and the final solemn assurance:-

"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall by no means pass, till all these things may be fulfilled" (Matt. 24:34, Mark 13:30, Luke 21:32).

The conclusion of both prophecies thus consists of an assured certainty, with a definite contingency, or uncertainty, which was not fulfilled.

Had the Nation of Israel repented, then Jesus Christ would have been "sent", and "the restoration of all things which God had spoken by all His holy prophets since the world began" would have taken place, in accordance with God’s Divine assurance given by Peter in Acts 3:18-26; but the condition of national repentance (Leviticus 26:40-42; Hos. 14:1-4) was not fulfilled; hence that generation passed away, and both prophecies (with all the others) are now postponed. The first sign of all did (and will again) take place - the rising of the "many antichrists", whereby John could say they knew that it was "the last hour" before "the end of that age" (I John 2:18).

Acts 3:18-26

18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,
21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.
23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'
24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.
25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'
26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities."    (NKJ)

Lev 26:40-42

40 But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me,
41 and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt--
42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.    (NKJ)

Hosea 14:1-4

1 O Israel, return to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity;
2 Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him, "Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us, we will not ride on horses, nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, 'You are our gods.' For in You the fatherless finds mercy."
4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him.    (NKJ)

I Jn 2:18

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.   (NKJ)

 

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