Luke 21-Bible Study

Bible Study

Luke 21

1/14/16

There are a few things that I want to note before we begin on the scripture. To get the most out of this bible study you will need to engage in discussion on almost every verse in Luke 21.The more you study this section on Luke the more we will all learn in our discussions, and are a major factor in how well our bible study goes. I will introduce, I believe, many things from these verses that you have never heard of before; therefore please keep an open mind to the things you will hear, but above all I want to hear your opinion.

The major portion of Luke 21 is Jesus speaking to his disciples, and we all know that every thing that Jesus had to say is important and true. The same discourse of Jesus that is contained in Luke 21 is also contained two other books of the bible, Matthew 24 and Mark 13. And this indicates just how important the Olivet discourse is, especially to end times prophesy. The title in all three books is also the same in my 1985 NIV bible, “Signs of the End of the Age”. This gives us a good clue as to what this chapter is all about.

You may use all or part of this bible study in any way you see fit.

Now let’s move on to discussing chapter 21 in Luke, the opening is titled,

“The Widow’s Offering”.

21;1 As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3”I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

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                                                           What does this say about the widow?

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This is also a statement about her total faith in God, for in giving all she has, she must also believe that God will provide for her.

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Now let’s turn from Luke and go to Matthew 24 as it is much clearer as to the questions that are asked of Jesus in the next section of Luke, we will come back to Luke after we have discussed the questions in Matthew 24:

Mathew 24

Signs of the End of the Age

 

24:1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “2Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

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What do you think Jesus meant by making this comment?

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An explanation of this statement by Jesus is as follows: When the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, it was set on fire and the heat in the temple was so great that the gold on the walls and ceiling liquefied and wicked into the cracks between the stones on the walls. In order to recover all the gold, left in the cracks, the Romans took the temple down stone by stone and moved them off site to recover the gold. The removal of each stone was so good that Jews to this day have no idea exactly where the first temple was located on the temple mount.

(Now let’s continue on with verse 3 of Matthew 24)

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3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?”

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 ─ How many questions did the disciples ask Jesus?

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(Three)

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─ What was the first question?

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(When will this happen… When will the temple be destroyed?)

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─ What was the second question?

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(What will be the sign of your coming?)

What will be the sign of your second return from heaven to earth?

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─ What was the third question?

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(And of the end of the age)

What will be the sign that the beginning of the end has occurred?

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The answer to this third question is extremely important, because it gives the actual sign that will start the end times.

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─ Do you think that Jesus answered all three questions?

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(Yes)

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These questions were all from Matthew 24:3, now let’s go back to Luke 21 to see how Luke handles this same section of scripture.

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Luke 21

Signs of the End of the Age

 5Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

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 As you can see the structure of these two statements (one in Matthew and the one in Luke) is different, why do you think the questions are different in Matthew and Luke?

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It is interesting to speculate about the question in verse 7, as there was only one statement made about the temple, yet the answer in verse 7 is made in the plural; when he uses ‘these things’ instead of ‘this’ and ‘they are’ instead of ‘it is’, it is as if something was left out of the question, but I can only speculate. However in looking at this same question in Matthew, it would seem as if there were three questions instead of one, and Jesus does answer all three questions in Luke. Perhaps the statement in verse 7 is different because Luke got his information from someone other than Matthew; and would also indicate that there was more than one witness to this event, and that Luke did not merely copy this event from Matthew. The three different questions in Matthew 24:3 are answered in Luke 21 verses 20 thru verse 33.

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                                                                    What do you think about this?

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Another reason these two verses are different is perhaps Jesus caused Luke to write this verse the way he did in order to obfuscate the meaning of the questions; after all Jesus did not want the answers to these questions to be completely understood until the end times.

Continuing on with Luke:

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8He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, clamming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9When you hear of wars and revolutions do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

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What does verse 8-9 mean to you…

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To me this is a general warning from Jesus that covers a very long period of time and concerns the general appearance of many individuals clamming to be Jesus, but all these clams are false. There is no doubt about when Jesus will come, because he states, later on in this discourse, that everyone on earth will see him with their own eyes, and that their would be a lot of time go by before the end will come.

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 10Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

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 (What do you think verses 10 and 11 mean?)

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In verse 10 and 11, I believe Jesus in talking about what will be happening during the end times. He says that nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. When he says nation against nation, I believe he is talking about wars between nations, and I believe that this is a common occurrence; as nations have been at war with each other for thousands of years.

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(What do you think he means when he says kingdom against kingdom???)…

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The only kingdom, that I can think of currently, is England, which has a King as the figure head of the country. The only other kingdoms I can think of that exists today are the religious ones. The kingdom of Islam currently is against all other forms of religion and I believe will become more and more radical in the near future, any comments.

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Have you not also heard of the Christian kingdom?

Continuing on with Luke v11

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Verse 11 in Luke reads. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

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Most of these signs are already occurring, the one thing that separates this verse from the others is, “and great signs from heaven.

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 What do you think is meant by, great signs from heaven”?

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 I believe that a great sign from heaven could be the rapture, and this would defiantly put it in the end times.

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Continuing on with Luke verse 12-19.

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12 “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and then they will put some of you to death. 17All men will hate you because of me. 18But not a hair of your head will perish, 19by standing firm you will gain life.

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 Who is Jesus talking to, and what do you think is the meaning of verses 12-19?

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I believe the verses 12 thru 19 are meant directly for the apostles and his disciples at the time, and it indicates what is going to happen to them in their immediate future, after Jesus is crucified on the cross. By standing firm in their belief in Jesus as being the son of God, they will gain life in heaven when they die.

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Now Jesus begins the answers to all three questions that the apostles asked him. The questions are all in verse 3 of Matthew “3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?””

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The first question – (“when will this happen”) Luke verse 20-24

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  20When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies you will know that its desolation is near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

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 Does verse 20 answer the first question, (“when wills this happen”)?

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As you can see, the first question asked by the apostles (“when will the Temple be destroyed”) is fulfilled by Luke 21:20. (20When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies you will know that its desolation is near.) In all three questions, Jesus tells us the sign when each event is about to happen; in this case the ‘sign’ is when Jerusalem begins to be surrounded by the Roman army.

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Is there a purpose for the verses 21-24?

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21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.

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I believe that the meaning of verses 21-24 was to save the lives of the believers in and around Jerusalem in 70AD, by telling them if they immediately leave Jerusalem when it is being surrounded by the Roman army their lives will be saved. This also means that those who do not believe in Jesus words will not leave Jerusalem and thus forfeit their lives. And close to a million Jews lost their lives, or were taken captive and taken to other countries during this time period by the Romans.

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Continuing verse Luke 21:22 (22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.)

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What do you think this means?

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This is what I believe it means, this is the punishment by God, on the Jewish nation for not recognizing the coming of the Messiah and for killing him on the cross; which was foretold many times in the Old Testament.

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What is meant by the end of Luke 21:24? (…Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.)

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That there would no longer be a Jewish nation until the time of Gods punishment had ended. And I believe that God’s punishment ended in 1948 when the Jewish nation was reestablished, more on this later.

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I believe that Jesus also told a parable in Luke 13:6-9 about this event:

Luke 13:6

6Then he told this parable: A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8’Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

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What is your interpretation?

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Here is my interpretation, ‘A man (God) went to the nation of Israel three different times to discern whether or not Israel was being faithful to God’. The first time he went to Israel was 702 BC, when he found no fruit on the fig tree; he destroyed the 10 nation tribe of Israel. The second time he went to Israel (Judah) in 606 BC when he also found no fruit on the fig tree, he destroyed Judah and sent them into exile to Babylon for 70 years. The third time he visited the fig tree was 586 BC, after the 70 year exile, and he found the Jewish people in Babylon still in rebellion against him and decided to cut the fig tree down (because they were still not faithful, he would destroy the Israeli nation.) but ‘the man – Jesus’ replied, Leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

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Leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

What do you think this last statement means?

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I believe that it means, do not destroy Israel at this time, which was 586 BC. We should wait until I visit Israel as a human, and I will go to the ‘roots’ of Israel, the people, and ‘fertilize’ them with my teaching, miraculous signs, and healings. Then we’ll see if the nation bears ‘fruit’ and believes in me and stops sinning; if they don’t, then destroy the nation. If they had believed in Jesus, the millennial kingdom could have been instituted at that time; but God knew that Jesus would be, regrettably… rejected.

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This parable would seem to indicate that Jesus and God had a discussion about when and if Israel should be destroyed; however I believe that even though they decided not to destroy Israel at that time, God did make the decision to punish Israel for all the backsliding that it had done over the years.

So when did Gods punishment start?

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I believe we have to go back in time to 606 BC, when God sent the Babylonian nation to Judah, and that this is when Gods punishment started. This also explains why there are no more prophets and no word from God for over 400 years until Jesus comes.The entire information is contained in this next section:

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606 BC ─ Judah’s punishment

The reason for the initial punishment for the Jewish nation is laid out in,

 Leviticus 26:34-35

34Then shall the land retrieve its lost Sabbaths during all the time it lies waste, while you are in the land of your enemies; then shall the land have rest and make up for its Sabbaths 35during all the time that it lies desolate, enjoying the rest that you would not let it have on the Sabbaths when you lived there.

The punishment is laid out in Jeremiah 25:11 which indicates that Judah would spend 70 years of captivity in Babylon, and begins by telling what would happen to the land of Judah:

11This whole country will become a desolate wasteland and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12”But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever. 13I will bring upon that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all nations. 14They themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings; I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.”

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At this time I would like to point out that the prophesy about Babylon, that is contained in verses 11-14 came true at the appointed time; just as God said it would.

Any comments?

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Now let’s continue with the discussion of verses 11-14. The reason that Judah had to spent 70 years in Babylon has to do with Judah’s breaking Gods commandment about the ‘Sabbath Year’, and for being in sin against God, mainly by worshiping other Gods, and in breaking many other of his laws.

It begins as follows: Lets turn to Leviticus 25:1-5

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The Sabbath Year

25:1The Lord said to Moses, 2Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the Lord. 3For six years sow your field, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath of rest, a Sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.

Leviticus 25:18-22

18 “‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. 19Then the land will yield its fruit and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. 20you may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” 21I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. 22While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.

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Comments?

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As one can see, if you do not obey God regarding the sabbath year, in addition to breaking Gods rule you are also saying that you do not believe God will provide for you in the seventh, eighth and ninth years as he said he would.

The breaking of the Sabbath year began at the time the Israelites became a united nation under one king, and the land of Israel became unified under one king when Saul became king in 1096 BC. At this point everyone in the nation of Israel was bound to obey the king, and at that point the king should have instituted Gods commandment about the ‘Sabbath Year’. Which he failed to do, so 490 years later in 606 BC, God decided to punish the Israelites for ignoring ‘The Sabbath Year’ provision. (Perhaps the reason God permitted the Jewish nation go for so long [490 years] in ignoring the sabbath year and also for being in sin, has to do with the years they spent in servitude to Egypt which was 430 years, and if you add in the years spent wandering in the desert and the time spent in war against the people that were occupying the land that would become their nation; it would be a total of about 490 years that the Jewish people spent without a home that they could call their own.

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Any comments?

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 Whatever the case, it does show the tremendous love and patience that God has for the Jewish nation. If you divide the 490 years by seven it comes out to be 70 years punishment, one year’s punishment for each Sabbath that had gone by from 1096 BC to 606 BC. So in 606 BC God sent the Babylonians to Judah to punish the Israelites and take them into captivity for 70 years in Babylon.

After 70 years the Israelites were freed to return to Jerusalem in 536 BC by the Persian king Cyrus (the Persian king who had taken over Babylon, just as God said he would). Even though King Cyrus gave all the Jews permission to return home, only a small number (less than 25%) actually accepted the offer. The overwhelming majority of the Jews had become comfortable over the seventy years they spent in pagan Babylon and chose to stay there and in the surrounding areas.

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Any comments?

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This made God extremely angry, as it is an affront towards the offer of being allowed to peacefully return to their own homeland, which God had given them. (When they left Egypt, 100% of them left Egypt.) So God decided to extend the punishment of the Jewish nation and added the punishment for this additional sin they committed, and all the additional sins they had committed while living in their homes in Israel and in Babylon.

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         Any comments?

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Let’s turn to Ezekiel 4:1-8 and see how the Babylon destroyed Jerusalem.

 

Ezekiel 4:1-8

 1“Now, son of man, take a clay tablet, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. 2then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering ram around it, 3Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the house of Israel.

 4“Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the house of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. 5I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the house of Israel.

6“After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the house of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. 7Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. 8I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.

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Any comments?

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So Ezekiel was to be bound by ropes for 430 days, a day for each year that the whole of Israel was in sin. And after this, Judah and the people, including Ezekiel, were taken captive by Babylon. The rulers and most of the people were then taken in captivity to Babylon and the Temple in Judah was destroyed. They remained in captivity in Babylon for 70 years, and the total amount of punishment for the sins that Israel and Judah had committed would be 430 years, as determined by God.

However, the 70 years of captivity did count for 70 years towards the 430 years that they owed for the sin they had committed, leaving 360 years, and then Leviticus 26:23 was invoked by God, because the Israelites did not respond as they should have to Gods corrective punishment, and therefore God punished them for the entirety of their sins.

Let’s turn to:

Leviticus 26:23

23“ ‘If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, 24I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over.

Thus the 360 years were multiplied by 7 resulting in 2520 years that God would punish them by turning His face from them, and His not being with them to protect and provide for them during the time of punishment.

The beginning of this punishment would start in the spring of the year 536 BC, which was after the 70 years they spent as captives in Babylon. 536 BC was the year that the first captives were allowed to return from Babylon and also the year punishment would begin.

Does someone have a calculator; we will need to do some calculations:

 

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Gods’ punishment

The 2520 years were in Jewish years of 360 days for each year, which if converted to the present calendar days of 365 days, plus leap days, comes to

: (2520x 360=907200 days)

(907200 /365.25=2483.78)

(2483.78 – 536BC = 1947.78)

If we then factor in that it happened in the spring of 536BC we would add about .27 of a year, this would come to 1948, isn’t this amazing?

On second thought, I shouldn’t be amazed, after all this is God I’m talking about. The knower of all things.

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What is the significance of 1948?

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So God chose 1948 as the year that His hostility would be concluded with the Jewish Nation, and then He brought them back as a nation, and He will, according to scripture, be their protector until the end of days.

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(Let’s turn to Ezekiel 37:21-23)

 

Ezekiel 37:21-23

21“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. 23They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God

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So after 536 BC God turned his face from Israel and was no longer with them, and would not be with them again until 1948. Whatever they did would have to be under their own power. Malachi was the last prophet and he probably lived in the mid-fifth century B.C. around the time God turned his face from Israel.

So as I see it, this explains why Malachi is the last Prophet and why there is nothing else from God until He sends his Son to Israel in 1 A.D. and the New Testament begins.

Is there any doubt that in 1948 God became the protector of his people again?

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Is there any proof that God in 1948 again became Israel’s protector? What are your comments?

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God said in Ezekiel 37:23 ‘They will be my people, and I will be their God.’

The very day that Israel became a nation in 1948, war was declared against them by Palestine and the Arab armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. The Israeli’s were outnumbered by their opposing armies by a 5 to 1 ratio; the Arabs also had a similar favorable ratio in tanks and airplanes.

How did Israel win with such odds against them?

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I believe God was on their side.

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This is also ample proof as to why 1948 is special and the starting of the end times; more on this later.

So we are now ready to go to question two ─ (What will be the sign of your coming)

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25“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken, 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When these things begin to take place, Stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

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Does verse 25-28 answer the second question ─ (What will be the sign of your coming)?

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I believe verse 25 ( There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.) answers the question as to what the ‘signs’ on earth will be, when Jesus makes his second return to earth; just as he gave us the sign for the first question, he now gives the sign for the second question. Verse 26 indicates how all the people on earth will react to these signs, verse 27 indicates that ‘at that time all men will see Jesus’, and verse 28 would indicate that the ‘righteous’ should be happy because their time on earth is drawing to a close, and that then they will be in heaven. So I would say, yes they answer the second question ─ (What will be the sign of your coming)?

(By the way, how could there be righteous people on earth,  (Stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.) Weren’t all the righteous people on earth taken up to heaven by the rapture? (The answer to this is also covered in Revelation.)

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So in verses 25-28 we are given the sign for the end of tribulation so, let me now ask you a question, does the beginning of tribulation also have a sign?

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Let’s turn to Joel 2:30-

30I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

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What does this verse mean to you?

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Could this be the sign that tribulation is starting? This reading of Joel sounds a lot like the opening of seal number 6, which reads in Revelation 6:12-14

The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13and the stars in the sky fell to the earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14The sky receded like a scroll rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

There are so many similarities between these two verses that I think they are talking about the same event. The sun is black and the moon is red in both verses; there are wonders in heaven and on the earth in both verses; the stares falling to earth, the sky receding like a scroll, every mountain and island being removed from its place would certainly qualify as wonders in heaven and on earth.

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What are your comments?

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The thing that makes these two verses different is the qualifier in Joel’s account of this event as happening, “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”.

So, in Joel 2:30-31, what do you think, “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”, mean

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The ‘dreadful day of the Lord’ to me sounds like the beginning of tribulation, what do you think?

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If it is tribulation starting, then seal number six starts the tribulation. If this is true it would also mean that seals one thru five open before tribulation starts. This would put a few more pieces of the end times in place; again my article on Revelation covers this time period and all the seals.

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  Do you have any comments?

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     ۩۩۩۩۩۩۩۩۩۩    

And now we are ready to go to the very important third question, (“What will be the “sign of the end of the age?”). I would note that in Luke the verses 20-24 answer the first question, verses 25-28 answer the second question, and therefore, shouldn’t the verses 29-31 answer the third question?

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         your comments…

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Verses 29-31 is a parable and not easily understood. However it is easy to understand why Jesus would not give a clearly discernable answer to the third question ‘what will be the sign that will start the end on the age’.

 

What are your thoughts?

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Why do you think Jesus would use a parable to answer the third question?

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I believe that it is because God did not want anyone to know that they were in the end time until we were actually well into the end times. And I believe verse 4 of Daniel 12 tells us that the scroll of the seven seals is closed and sealed until the end times, which I believe we are now well into. (65years as of 2013)

12:4But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.

And, I don’t believe anybody in their right mind would ever deliberately cause that sign to come to pass, if they knew what it would cause the end of the age to start. Could the parable in verses 29-31 be the sign that starts the ‘end of the age’?

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What do you think?

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To find out, we need to try to figure out what this parable means.

29He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

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 What does this parable mean to you?

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So, I believe the answer to (“What will be the sign of the end of the age?), is contained in this parable. Now to figure out what it means, we have to look for clues within parable, and the first sentence gives us a clue. He says look at the fig tree and all trees, why didn’t he just say look at all trees, after all the fig tree is just another tree. So I believed that there is some special significance to the word ‘fig tree’; one day while I was reading MacArthur’s study bible I read the following:

In Macarthur’s study bible Luke 13:6, MacArthur says this about the fig tree:

Fig Tree: Often used as a symbol for Israel.”

If the fig tree is often used as a symbol for Israel, Lets look for other instances where Jesus talked about a ‘fig tree’ and see if he is also talking about the nation of Israel. I found a total of three times that he talked about a fig tree. After I had studied them for a while, I concluded that in each instance that he was indeed talking about the nation of Israel.

The first time he talks about a fig tree is in Luke 13:6 and it is also a parable.

Luke 13:6

6Then he told this parable: A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8“’Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

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Do you have an interpretation of this parable?

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Here is my interpretation, ‘A man (God) went to the nation of Israel three different times to discern whether or not Israel was being faithful to God’. The first time he went to Israel was 702 BC, when he found no fruit on the fig tree; he destroyed the 10 nation tribe of Israel. The second time he went to Israel (Judah) in 606 BC when he also found no fruit on the fig tree, he destroyed Judah and sent them into exile to Babylon for 70 years. The third time he visited the fig tree was 586 BC, after the 70 year exile, and he found the Jewish people in Babylon still in rebellion against him and decided to cut the fig tree down (because they were still not faithful, he would destroy the Israeli nation.) but ‘the man – Jesus’ replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

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What do you think this last statement means?

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I believe that it means, do not destroy Israel at this time, which was 586 BC. We should wait until I visit Israel, and I will go to the ‘roots’ of Israel, the people, and ‘fertilize’ them with my teaching, miraculous signs, and healings. Then we’ll see if the nation bears ‘fruit’ and believes in me and stops sinning; if they don’t, then destroy the nation.

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(Did this parable actually happen?)

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What are your thoughts?

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This parable very definitely happened, as it is talking about the punishment of the 10 nations of Israel, the 70 years of punishment of Judah by Babylon and then the 2484 years of punishment by Gods not being with the Israeli nation from 586 BC to 1948. Then, because Gods punishment ended in 1948, the Jews were allowed to return to Israel and God has again become Israel’s protector.

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And now we go on to the second time he talks about a fig tree, it occurs in Matthew 21:18. I believe this parable is a follow up on the parable we have just talked about, as Jesus had just about completed his mission in Israel.

 

 Matthew 21:18

18Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city he was hungry.19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

20When the disciples saw this they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

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Do you have an interpretation of this parable?

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I believe that this (withering of the fig tree) was a fiscal manifestation of what was going to happen in the future to fruitless Israel (as indicated by verse 19 “Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves.” (No figs on the tree stands for Israel still not bearing fruit) Israel did not recognize the time of the messiah; it did not respond to his teaching, healing of the sick, and ‘signs’, and then put him to death. Therefore the nation of Israel would wither away just as the fig tree did; and Israel withering away started in 70AD.

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(This parable also actually happened)

 

What are your thoughts?

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The third time Jesus talks about the fig tree is in Luke: 21:29-31.

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29He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

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Do you have any idea what this parable means now?

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So this is the third time Jesus talks about a fig tree and just as the other two times he was talking about the fig tree, I believe the fig tree mentioned in this case also means Israel.

When Jesus is talking about the fig tree twigs getting tender and its green leaves come out, I believe, he is talking about Israel’s future rebirth as a nation in 1948 as being the ‘Sign’ that the beginning of end times has occurred.

The parable means that the fig tree, after a long winter of appearing lifeless and barren, shows it is alive through its green leaves appearing in the spring time. Just as the Jewish people, after almost 2000 years of not having their own nation (lifeless, barren – perhaps ‘in the grave’), showed that it was alive again (green leaves) by becoming a nation in 1948. I find these two verses in Ezekiel 37:12-13 very reveling:

12Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.

It is important to note that in Luke 21:20-32, Jesus answers in sequence all three question from the disciples, so there should be little doubt about Jesus’ answer to the third question as being the ‘Fig tree proverb’, and that it is the ‘sign of the end of the age’.

So now what do you think about this interpretation of verse 29?

 29He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. ]

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(And once again this parable actually happened in 1948, and God set the time of 1948 as the end of punishment for the Jewish nation of Israel and the beginning of end times.

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What do you think is the meaning of then end of verse 30: you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.?

 And what about verse 31: 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. If we are in ‘the end times’-What do you think these verses means?

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Those of us that are Christens realize that God is behind every thing that is going on. And that before things get really bad (summer is near), I believe that the phrase, ‘summer is near’, could mean the lead up to tribulation and perhaps ‘the kingdom of God’ – could mean the rapture. According to Rev 3:10 the rapture will happen before tribulation begins.

Revelation 3:10

 10Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

 What do you think is the meaning of this statement?

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I believe that by the way this statement is phrased, that Jesus is talking ‘literally’ to the people of our generation. And that the seven churches that are talked about in Revelation 2-3 represent the churches from the age that Jesus first founded the church, and taught the elect, while he walked on the earth; until the church age comes to a close at the mid point of tribulation. If this is true, then this would mean that ‘we’ are the Philadelphian church and that when we, and the dead of the previous 5 churches, are taken away in the rapture, then the Laodicea church age will begin. (To find out more about the Laodicea church age, read the article on Revelation)

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Now to continue on with Luke.

Then it goes on to say in verse 32 how long it will be until all these things will be finished.

32 “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

     Who is ‘this generation’?

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I believe that ‘this generation’ is the people that were born when Israel was brought back to ‘life’ by God; so those who were born in and around 1948.

What do you think verse 32 means?  32I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

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This is telling us how long the end times will last from beginning to end, one generation.

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And what does this phrase mean until all these things have happened’?

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I believe that when Jesus says ‘until all these things have happened’, he is talking about everything he has said in the previous verses. The last thing that he said would happen was his return to earth, or the second coming in verse 25-27.

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25 There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken, 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

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So what does this mean to you?

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So I believe that some of those who were born in 1948 will personally see the second return of Jesus to earth. I would think that your next question would be, ‘How long is a generation’?

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The average lift span today is around 72-74 years, which is to say, 50% die before this age and 50% live longer. We know that the longest lives go to about 100 years old, so I would think that what Jesus was talking about some where in between 72 and 100. I would think around 85 years old.

What do you think

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So, ‘What would that date be?’

 

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If it were 85 years from 1948, then his return to earth would be around 2033.

Is there anything special about this date?

 

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It would be 2000 years from his crucifixion, and if he rules from earth another 1000 years, it would be 3000 years total of his rule. And as the number 3 is used throughout the bible it is a very special number to God; but these are just interesting speculations. What we do know is that some of the generation born in 1948 will see his return to earth in his second coming, and the elect of this generation will participate in the rapture, before the tribulation begins…   more on this in my article on Revelation.

 

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         What are your thoughts?

 

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Now let’s return to Luke’s final words on chapter 21.

34Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35For it will come upon all those who live on the whole earth. 36Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you nay be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

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What do you think about verse 34-36?

 

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What are your thoughts about all that we have been reading and discussing?

 

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Now to finish Luke 21.

 

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37Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.

 

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What are your thoughts on verse 37-38?

 

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He kept teaching the people the same way as he always had; just as he did over his entire ministry, even though he knew that he would die a horrible death in just a few days later. If we go back to the widows offering at the beginning of Luke 21, there is a lot to compare, for they both gave all they had to someone else, the widow to the church and Jesus had nothing to give but his life for us as our salvation, and that is how much he loves us!!!

So the big question is, ‘Will you ignore Jesus’s offer of salvation to all people?’