Luke

21:5-28

Culmination of Messiah's mission, 19:45-24:53

1. The Messiah and the Temple, 19:45-24:53

vi] Signs of the new age and the end times. 21:5-38

a) Troubles and persecution

Synopsis

Having just exposed the corruption of Israel's religious life, Jesus goes on the speak of the coming doom that will befall Israel and the Temple; a day is coming when "not one stone will be left upon another." The disciples ask what sign will herald this event. Messianic signs are the stuff of millennial speculation, and signs there will be, so Jesus speaks of the events leading up to that terrible day "when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies."

 
Teaching

The kingdom of God is at hand, the day of judgment is upon us, repent and believe.

 
Issues

i] Context: See 19:45-20:18. The Signs of the New Age and the End Times is the sixth episode of Jesus' Temple Ministry in Jerusalem, 19:45-21:38. The opening series of episodes recounts Jesus' debates with the religious authorities, all of which serve to enhance his philosophical qualifications as Israel's messiah, while exposing the blind state of religious Israel. Having exposed and warned of "the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy", Jesus goes on to speak of the coming day of judgment.

 

ii] Structure: , Troubles and persecution:

The disciples' question, v5-7:

"not one stone will be left on another ...."

"when will these things be, and what will be the sign .....?"

The signs of the age, v8-28:

Preliminary signs of the age, v8-19:

Deceivers;

Wars and rumours of wars;

Natural disasters;

Persecution;

The desolating sacrilege, v20-24;

The shaking of the powers of heaven, v25-26;

The great assize, v27.

Saying, v28:

Read the signs!

 

iii] Interpretation:

The passage consists of oracles concerning "the end of the age." The first oracle addresses the coming of false Messiahs, troubles in the world, and the persecution of Jesus' disciples, v8-19. These "signs" are but the normal state of affairs and are not be taken as a sign of the end. Then there is the oracle concerning the destruction of Jerusalem / the end of the age, v20-24. This is followed by the oracles concerning the shaking of heaven and the great assize, v25-27.

 

1. Preliminary signs of the age.

False Messiahs, v8. Referring to messianic contenders leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, and the emergence of false teachers / prophets during this period.

"Wars and rumours of wars", v9-11. Again, referring to the normal state of affairs.

Persecution, v12-19. Again, the normal state of affairs, although probably increasing in magnitude toward the end.

 

2. The desolating sacrilege, v20-24:

Primarily referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70AD by the legions of Rome. Of course, as noted below, Jesus' prophetic words concerning the State of Israel and the Temple serve as a paradigm for the culmination of the great tribulation / Armageddon at the end of the age when Christ returns / the final day of judgment.

 

3. The shaking of the powers of heaven, v25-26.

Often seen as describing the dissolution of the earth at the coming of Christ = the shout of the archangel, possibly even the proclamation of the gospel pre and/or post 70AD = the shaking of the nations, cf. Isa.13:10, 34:4, Ezk.32:7, Joel 3:3-4. It seems more likely that this Old Testament prophetic imagery serves to describe, in cosmic terms, the destruction of Jerusalem / the temple / "the apple of God's eye", so N.T. Wright, Dodd, France, also Hatina The Parousia or the Destruction of the Temple?. As such, it serves as a paradigm of the great tribulation of the last day / Armageddon / the day of judgment.

 

4. The coming of Christ and the great assize, v27.

Here depicting the heavenly view of these events, namely, Christ's coming, his entering the throne room of the Ancient of Days to enact judgment, cf., Daniel 7:13.

 

5. Saying - read the signs!, v28:

 

The prophetic perspective: The Biblical prophets usually direct their words to a particular immediate situation, yet their words also push well beyond. When interpreting prophecy, commentators will often argue over whether the words concern the immediate present, or are yet to be fulfilled. Biblical prophecy actually brings with it a depth of perspective. It will address the immediate situation, but the immediate situation serves as a paradigm for a future reality. The prophecies of Jesus are classic examples of this feature. Here in Luke, Jesus is speaking specifically addressing the events leading up to and including the destruction of Jerusalem, yet his words also push well beyond 70AD to the last days - the present day onward to the Great Tribulation and Armageddon.

[prophetic perspective]

For The eschatology of Jesus, see "Background", 17:20-37.

 

The Desolating sacrilege, v20-24: As is typical of prophecy, this oracle / saying of Jesus consist of layered revelation. The saying concerns the destruction of the temple / Jerusalem and answers the question put by the disciples. Yet, the actual event, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70AD, serves as a paradigm of a future fulfilment in the age to come. The sign not only concerns the end of the Restored Kingdom of Israel in the destruction of Jerusalem, but also the end of the age.

 

The shaking of the heavens and the great assize, v25-27. These verses are usually regarded as if describing the cosmic events that lea up to Christ's second coming, although v32, "this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened", opposes such an interpretation. The "signs in the sun, the moon and the stars", the sign of the shaking of the powers, the sun being darkened etc., derives from Isa.13:10, Ezk.32:7, Jol.2:10-11. Although often treated literally, the words simply image God laying his hand upon the powers and authorities that control human affairs, both geopolitical and spiritual. This shaking is realised through the Spirit empowered Word of God, Isa.28:13. Consisting of a series of allusions to prophetic texts, Jesus gives an apocalyptic revelation depicting the Great Day of the Lord, the coming of the Lord in judgment. Jesus' crucifixion is this day (note the cosmic signs associated with Jesus' death on the cross), as is the destruction of the temple / Jerusalem in 70AD, as is Christ's enthronement ("coming") at the right hand of the Ancient of Days to receive glory, honour and power to enact judgment.

Of course, in our age, we would love to define, not just the events surrounding the last day, but the preparatory signs, yet the best we can say is that when the time comes, the "watchful" believer will easily read the signs. We are reminded of the Christians leaving Jerusalem around 68AD in the face of the advancing Roman armies. They were condemned for abandoning the revolution, but they had read the signs. The Jerusalem church was saved from that dreadful day, re-establishing in Pella, across the Jordan.

 

The coming of the Son of Man, v27: It is most likely that this "coming in a cloud" derives from Daniel 7:13, a "coming" viewed from heaven, not earth, ie., Jesus' coming is to the Ancient of Days, to heaven, not to earth. What "the nations", "the powers of the heavens", witness is the Son of Man ascending, entering the heavenly throne-room and taking up his eternal reign. The "coming in a cloud", prophesied in Daniel 7:13, describes Jesus' ascension and glorification, his coming to heaven to reign over all powers and authorities, on earth and in heaven, and to enact divine judgment.

All acts of divine judgment can properly be termed as a "coming". The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, as for its destruction by the Romans, is a "coming". Even the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra can be properly described as a "coming" of God, an act of divine judgment. So, the day this world is consumed in fire is the day when the Lord comes in judgment.

The most difficult feature concerning Jesus' coming is its alignment with earthly time. Although a touch schizophrenic, we are best to understand Jesus' enthronement in heaven as outside of earthly time. Christ's enthronement, and thus our eternal reign with Christ, Eph.2:6, along with the subjection of all powers and authorities under Christ, is a now reality. In fact, the eyes of faith reveal Christ on the cross as Christ on the throne. Yet, what the thief on the cross experienced, namely his being with Christ "this evening", and what Stephen witnessed while he was being stoned, still lies in the future for us. The now of our being seated with Christ in the heavenlies is held in tension with the not-yet of our resurrection in the last day. Both are true. The following mouse-over diagram seeks to illustrate this reality


So, the coming of the Son of Man to the Ancient of Days is a now reality which is imaged in comings that range back and forth in human history. We have witnessed the consequences of the enthronement of the Son of Man in human history, and we will witness it again in the future. For believers, Christ's coming, his enthronement, realises the kingdom and secures our redemption.

 

iv] Synoptics:

See 3:1-20. Matthew 24:1-31 and Mark 13:1-27 cover similar apocalyptic material. Interestingly, Luke has already used some of these sayings in 17:31-37, and so doesn't repeat them here. On the surface it looks as if Luke has used Mark for these oracles, but the problem is that their wording is non-Markan. Some commentators argue that Luke has used Matthew, but then why would Luke, a gospel writer who loves parables, not use Matthew's parables of the ten virgins and the sheep and the goats? Given the dramatic content and logical order of these sayings of Jesus, they would be fixed very early in the oral tradition of the New Testament church. It is not unreasonable to presume that they were available in a local oral form for all three synoptic gospel writers to draw on.

 

v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

 
Text - 21:5

Troubles and persecution, v5-28: i] The disciples' question, v5-7. The temple was completely rebuilt between the years 19BC and 64AD. It was massive, consisting of white limestone with gold and silver inlay. Josephus, a Jewish historian of the time, said it looked like a snow-capped mountain. It was totally destroyed during the conquest of Jerusalem by the Romans. Jesus now predicts its destruction and the disciples ask "When?" and "What will be the sign?"

kai "-" - and. Luke's use of the coordinating kai here rather de indicates a close connection with the previous episode.

legontwn (legw) gen. "were remarking" - [certain people / disciples] speaking. The genitive participle with its genitive subject "certain", serves to form a genitive absolute construction, temporal; "when some were speaking", NRSV. The "some" are presumably the disciples, ie., Jesus is still addressing the disciples in the hearing of the crowd (see Mat. & Mk.), as NIV.

peri + gen. "about" - about [the temple]. Expressing reference / respect: "with respect to, concerning."

oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the "some" said: "some said that it has been decorated ..." The tense of the original statement is retained in the Gk., but not translated. "Some of them were talking about the temple and the beautiful stones and votive offerings which adorned it", TNT.

liqoiV (oV) dat. "with" - [it has been decorated] with [beautiful] stones [and with sacred gifts, he said]. The dative is instrumental, expressing means, the means by which it was decorated.

 
v6

tauta "[as for] what" - these things [which you see]. This demonstrative pronoun serves as a topic heading and refers to the temple complex. It serves as an accusative of respect, "with respect to these things ..." "Yes, you can gaze on all this today, but ..", Phillips.

en ai|V "when" - [days will come] in which = during which. Temporal construction; "when a stone of it will not be left upon a stone."

ou kataluqhsetai (kataluw) fut. pas. "will be thrown down" - [there will not be left a stone upon a stone which] will not be detached from its place. "Will be utterly demolished", Barclay.

 
v7

Matthew's two-part 2nd question "what will be the sign of your coming and [what will be the sign] of the end of the age", is, to say the least, very interesting. Rather than assuming "your coming" as the second "coming" of Christ, we need to remember that divine judgment is properly described as a "coming" of the Lord. Stein seeks to argue that Christ's coming in judgment on Jerusalem is for Matthew, a type of Jesus' coming at the end of the age." Type it is, but Stein may be reading too much into Matthew's intention. Anyway, for Luke, the focus is on the destruction of the temple / Jerusalem, but of course, "these things" certainly serve as a paradigm for the final day of judgment. "What will be the sign when they [these things] are going to happen", Barclay.

didaskale (oV) voc. "teacher" - teacher. A rather general term. We may have expected "Lord" from the disciples, so were these "certain people" disciples?

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "they asked" - [they asked him] saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to ask", a redundant Semitic form used to introduce direct speech. For a classification of adverbial, manner, see legw, 4:35.

oun "-" - therefore. Inferential, drawing a logical conclusion.

pote .... tiv "when ..... what ....?" - when [will be .... what ....]? The two interrogatives + the fut. ind. of the verb to-be, estai, defy convention. The two conjoined questions direct the following discourse, in that Jesus sets out to answer them. The first part of the question is probably not seeking an actual date for the destruction of the temple, since in Aramaic idiom the next (parallel) phrase in this construction serves to exegete the first, so the two questions are probably best treated as one, "what will be the end of the old order of things, ie. what signs will herald its accomplishment?" The question concerns the "what", ie., the preliminary signals that will serve to warn disciples "when" Jerusalem is about to be destroyed, cf., Dan.12:6,7.

tauta "these things" - these things. Nominative subject of the future verb to-be. The "these things" are still referring to the destruction of the temple / Jerusalem. Marshall argues that the destruction of the temple is properly associated with the end of the age, so "these things" rightly encompass all that is associated with the coming day of the Lord. Bock notes the plural, arguing that more than the destruction of the temple is intended, although the plural most likely refers to the dislodged stones and the votive offerings of the temple, v6. As pointed out in the notes above, Jesus, in prophetic mode, is quite able to address the issue of the destruction of the temple / Jerusalem in 70AD, and do so in the terms of Daniel's "desolating sacrilege", while at the same time see beyond an immediate fulfilment of his words to a far greater fulfilment, namely, the end of the age.

kai "and" - and. Best taken as epexegetic; see pote ... tiv above.

to shmeion (on) "the sign" - [what will be] the sign. Nominative subject of an assumed future verb to-be. Obviously, the sign heralding "these things."

oJtan + subj. "that" - whenever = when [are about]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause, although with mellw, "to be about", it takes a definite sense, "when" rather than "whenever"; "what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass", AV.

ginesqai (ginomai) pres. inf. "to take place" - to become, be. Complementary infinitive, complementing the sense of the verb "are about".

 
v8

ii] The signs of the age, v8-27: a) Preliminary signs of the age, v8-19 - False Messiahs, natural calamities and political upheaval are signs of the age, but they are not signs of the end. The disciples are not to be led astray by false messiahs using signs to prove their messianic credentials. During (rather than "before") the signs of the age, believers will be persecuted. This will be a time of testimony (gospel proclamation) for believers. Disciples will be given the words that are both wise and powerful, for they are Jesus' words. Mark, in 13:11, refers to the Holy Spirit as the source of these words. Although persecuted and killed, even at the hands of family members, "not a hair of your head will perish" - a promise of spiritual protection, cf., 12:4-7. Endurance, during this time, shows that a disciple is truly grafted in Christ through faith; it shows that the word is not sown in shallow ground, cf., 8:13.

mh planhqhte (planaw) aor. pas. subj. "that you are not deceived" - [and he said, beware,] you should not be deceived, led astray. Technically, mh with an aorist subjunctive is classified as a subjunctive of prohibition, although after a verb of warning it serves to introduce a dependent statement of indirect speech, as NIV, "look out that ..."; see subjunctives after verbs of fearing or warning, Wallace 477. "Look out not to be misled", Berkeley.

gar "for" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why they need to watch out.

eleusontai (ercomai) fut. "will come" - [many] will come. "Appear on the scene", TH.

epi "in [my name]" - upon = under [the name of me]. This prepositional phrase is idiomatic, expressing authority. Not Jesus' actual name, but rather his persona. Possibly claiming to be Christ resurrected, so Marshall, although better either claiming to be "the Christ / messiah", ie., claiming Jesus' office, so Nolland, or claiming Jesus' authority, ie., claiming to speak / act in his name, so Plummer. "Many will come claiming that they are my representatives", Barclay.

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "claiming" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, "come and say", or adverbial, manner, "pretending", Nolland.

egw eimi "I am he" - i am he, the messiah / here. As above, options such as "I am [the Christ]", NCV, are offered, although rather than "I am he / the one", possibly "I am here" = "I'm here to reveal the secret, namely, the time ..."

hggiken (eggizw) perf. "[the time] is near" - [the time] has drawn near. Probably here in a temporal sense, "about to happen", although for Jesus, "at hand" means "is presently impacting upon."

mh poreuqhte (poreuomai) aor. subj. "do not follow" - do not go. A subjunctive of prohibition. The "end is near" message, popularised by apocalyptic preaches in the name of Christ, should be ignored. Life will go on with its usual humps and bumps. Wars and rumours of wars, v9-11, persecution, v12-19, are not signs of the end.

opisw + gen. "after" - after [them]. Spatial.

 
v9

Jesus continues to describe the normal ongoing state of affairs on earth, affairs which could easily be used as signs of the end of the age by apocalyptic preachers.

oJtan + subj. "when [you hear]" - [but/and] whenever [you hear]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause, although "when" rather than "whenever", as NIV.

akatastasiaV (a) "revolutions" - [about wars and] confusions, insurrections, uprisings. Adverbial accusative of reference / respect

mh ptohqhte (ptoew) subj. "do not be afraid" - do not fear. A subjunctive of prohibition; "do not be scared", Moffatt.

gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why there is no need to be frightened, namely because wars and insurrections are not a sign of the end.

genesqai (ginomai) aor. mid, inf. "must [happen]" - [these thing] to happen, become, be [first is necessary]. The infinitive, "to become / happen", functions as the subject of the verb "is necessary." The accusative subject of the infinitive is "these things." For a complementary classification see grayai 1:3. These events are the necessary "birth pangs", as Mark calls them, ongoing troubles prior to the end.

alla "but" - but. Adversative. The end does not follow on from such events, they are not signs of the end; "but the end does not come immediately after this", Cassirer.

to teloV "the end" - the end is [not immediately]. Nominative subject of an a assumed verb to-be. Given the context, the end is the end of the temple / Jerusalem, the "desolation", v20, but as noted above, the end of the temple serves as a paradigm for an even greater "end", the end of the world.

 
v10

tote adv. "then" - then. Temporal adverb serving to introduce a temporal clause.

autoiV dat. pro. "[he said] to them" - [he was saying] to them. Dative of indirect object. The imperfect "he was saying" may serve to indicate ongoing speech, "he continued", NASB.

ep (epi) + acc. "against" - [nation] against [nation and kingdom] against [kingdom]. Spatial, here expressing opposition; "against."

egerqhsetai (egairw) fut. pas. "will rise" - will be raised up. cf., 2Chron.15:6. "Nations will go to war against one another", CEV.

 
v11

te "-" - [earthquakes] both. Used with kai to form a group, so, the earthquakes are great ones and are also in various places. Used also at the end of the verse to form a group, "terrors and great signs."

kata + acc. "in various [places]" - [great and] according to [places, there will be famines and plagues]. Spatial, "throughout", or distributive, as NIV. "In place after place", Marshall.

apo + gen. "[great signs] from [heaven]" - [there will be both terrifying sights and great signs] of heaven. Expressing source / origin. Probably cosmic activity, eg., lunar eclipse. "Mighty portents from the sky", Rieu.

 
v12

Persecution - the final preliminary sign. As with the previous signs of the age, persecution is part of the normal state of affairs and is not an indicator of the end of the age. None-the-less, The book of Revelation seems to indicate that the persecution enacted by The Man of Lawlessness (2Thes.2:1-12), The Beast, grows to a crescendo toward the end.

pro + gen. "before" - [but/and] before, above [all these things]. Most commentators argue for a temporal sense (even though both Matthew and Mark have no temporal indicator), although primary importance, "above", is more likely, "even greater than all these troubles, they will lay hands ...."

ef (epi) + acc. "[they will seize you]" - [they will lay the hands of them] upon [you]. Spatial.

paradidonteV (paradidwmi) pres. part. "they will deliver you / they will hand you over" - [and they will persecute you] handing over you [into the synagogues and jails]. The participle is adverbial, either modal, expressing the manner in which the action of the verb "persecute" is accomplished, "they will persecute you, handing you over to the courts and dragging you before kings ...", or consecutive, expressing the result of the arrest. With eiV, the sense is to hand over to someone in authority.

apagomenouV (apagw) pres. pas. part. "you will be brought" - being led away. A rather awkward use of the participle here, but it works best aligned with "handing over", although since it is accusative it is technically adjectival, attributive, limiting by describing uJmaV, "you", so Nolland, cf., Culy.

epi + acc. "before [kings]" - upon [kings and governors]. Spatial; "to, up to."

eJneken + gen. "and all on account of" - because [of the name of me]. Causal; possibly "for my sake", "on my account, but probably better, "because of the confession of me which you make", Nolland, or simply "because of your connection (association) with me", Barclay.

 
v13

apobhsetai (apobainw) fut. "this will result / and so" - it will turn out, result. "it will result for you in a testimony", TH; "This will be your opportunity to testify", REB.

uJmin "in your / you" - for you. Dative of interest, advantage; "this will be an opportunity for you to bear witness."

eiV + acc. "-" - toward [a testimony]. Purpose / end-view - goal. Possibly of the gaining of a good reputation by suffering persecution bravely as an innocent, "it will have as a result, a testimony", Hartman, or more likely, of testifying, in the sense of witnessing the gospel to the persecutors; "this (your sufferings) will be your chance to tell people about your faith", CEV.

 
v14

oun "but" - therefore. Inferential, drawing a logical conclusion; "Determine therefore, not ...", TNT.

qete (tiqhmi) aor. imp. "make up [your mind]" - place, put [in the hearts of you]. Idiomatic for "determine, resolve"; "don't worry about what you will say to defend yourselves", CEV.

promeletan (promeletaw) pres. inf. "beforehand" - to prepare ahead of time. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what should not be placed in the heart / determined in the mind, namely, the preparation beforehand of one's defence.

apologhqhnai (apologeomai) aor. pas. inf. "how you will defend yourself" - to defend oneself. This second infinitive is best viewed as complementary, completing the sense of the infinitive "to prepare", "to prepare to defend yourself."

 
v15

gar "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why there is no need to worry about what has to be said, "because, ...."

egw pro. "I" - i [i will give]. Emphatic by position and use.

uJmin "you" - to you. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage; "I give for your advantage .."

stoma (a atoV) "words" - a mouth [and wisdom]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to give." Eloquence and wisdom; "The power of speech", Plummer.

h|/ dat. pro. "that" - [and all the ones being opposed to you will not be able to resist or contradict] which (= that which was given to you, namely eloquence and wisdom). Dative of direct object after the anti prefix infinitives "to resist" and "to contradict." "I will give you an ability to speak, and a wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or to refute", Barclay.

oi antikeimenoi (antikaimai) pres. part. "adversaries" - [all] the ones being opposed. If we read the adjective apanteV, "all", as a substantive, "everyone", subject of the verb "will be able", then the participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "everyone"; "Opponents", TNT.

antisthnai (anisthmi) aor. inf. "to resist" - to resist [or to contradict]. Complementary infinitive, completing the sense of the verb "to be able." So also, "to contradict." The opponents "will find no words in which to answer, and will be unable to refute what the disciples have advanced", Plummer. Obviously, being able to give testimony to Jesus in the face of persecution is not the means of evading that persecution, but rather is the means of communicating the gospel.

 
v16

uJpo + gen. "by" - [but/and you will be handed over and = even] by [parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and]. Instrumental, expressing agency. As Jesus has pointed out, he brings division. "Handed over" may be taken to mean "betrayed".

qanatwsousin (qanatow) fut. "they will put [some of you] to death" - they will put to death. The subject "they" is unidentified. Certainly, in ancient societies people had more opportunity to take the law into their own hands, but the sense here may be to hand over to the courts for the judge to "sentence to death." Best left unspecified; "Some of you will even be killed", CEV.

ex (ek) + gen. "some of [you]" - some from [you]. Here serving in the place of a partitive genitive, as NIV.

 
v17

esesqe misoumenoi "will hate" - you will be hated. The future tense of the verb to-be and the present participle forms a future periphrastic construction, possibly serving to express the durative (ongoing) nature of the persecution.

uJpo + gen. "-" - by [everyone]. Expressing agency; "by". "Everyone", in the sense of universal, seems a bit of an exaggeration, although "everywhere" works; "you will be hated everywhere", Phillips. Nolland suggests "all sorts of people", even all sorts of human associations, eg. families, synagogues, social groups ....

dia "because [of me]" - because of, on account of [the name of me]. Causal; "because of your association with me." For "my name", see v12.

 
v18

kai "but" - and. Often translated here as a contrastive / adversative; "Still, you may be sure that ..", Cassirer.

ek + gen. "of [you head]" - [a hair] from [the head of you]. Either expressing source / origin, or used here instead of a partitive genitive, as NIV.

ou mh + subj. "not" - no no = by no means [may perish]. Subjunctive of emphatic negation, "will never ever perish." Of course, many believers have been martyred over the years, cf., v16, so what is the point of this promise?

iThe promise may be literal, Luke, cf., Acts, holds to "the reality of divine protection in the midst of extreme difficulty", Nolland;

iThe promise concerns spiritual preservation, "your souls will be absolutely safe", Plummer;

iPossibly, but unlikely, "no harm will befall you without the Father's permission", Geldenhuys;

iThe promise may refer to the safety of the Christian church as a whole, rather than of the safety of individual members.

Of these options, a spiritual sense seems best, "although put to death, not a hair will perish", Ellis, so Stein etc. Of course, some disagree, eg. Fitzmyer. "The disciple who is allied to Christ is secure (eternally secure in Christ), despite persecution and the threat to physical life", Bock.

 
v19

en + dat. "by" - in, on, with, by [the endurance]. Here instrumental, as NIV, although locative is possible = "in the sphere of"; "in steadfastness you will gain possession of your souls", Berkeley. The sense is certainly retained by employing an imperative, as TNIV, although such is not in the Gk.

uJmwn gen. pro. "-" - of you. The genitive may be treated as verbal, subjective, but better, adjectival, possessive; "by your endurance", ESV.

kthsasqe (kataomai) aor. imp. "you will gain / you will win" - you will gain, acquire, obtain [the souls of you]. The NIV follows the variant kathsesqe fut. ind.; "you will participate in eternal life", Marshall, not "you will preserve your earthly life", Schweizer. Metzger suggests that the aor. imp. is more likely original, "save your souls by means of / in the sphere of steadfastness." Surely in the sense of "a steadfast faith", following the spiritual sense of v18, rather than "a steadfastness in the face of persecution." "Saving faith is persevering faith", Thompson.

 
v20

b) The desolating sacrilege, v20-24. Luke now records his take on the "desolating sacrilege", explicitly tying it to the destruction of Jerusalem. The Roman suppression of the rebellion was severe, with some one million people losing their lives. It is recorded by the Christian historian Eusebius that the Christian community left the city and retreated to Pella, and this in fulfilment of these verses. As outlined in the introductory notes, we are best to understand this prophecy, as with all prophecy, in the terms of layered fulfilment. As the Lord's hand was not stayed from rebellious Israel, so, in the great falling away, his hand will not be stayed in the last day. Woe to those caught up in this distress - may the days be short.

oJtan + subj. "when" - when [you see]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause, although "when", rather than "whenever", as NIV.

kukloumenhn (kuklow) pres. pas. part. "being surrounded" - [jerusalem] being surrounded, encircled. As in a siege. The participle serves as the accusative complement of the direct object "Jerusalem", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object. ; "when you see Jerusalem about to be surrounded / encircled by armies"; "on the point of being surrounded", TH.

uJpo + gen. "by" - by [armies]. Expressing agency. Possibly "military camps."

oJti "that" - [then know] that. Here introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what they should know, namely "that its desolation has drawn near."

hJ erhmwsiV (iV ewV) "desolation" - the devastation. "Abomination of desolation / desolating sacrilege", cf., Dan.12:11. Descriptive of a major affront to God's person, here an affront to the apple of his eye, although here in the context of God's judgment upon religious Israel. It is a "wasted" type of "abomination", a "desolated sacrilege". Daniel uses the word to speak of a "sacrilege" where the temple is profaned and thus detested and rejected by God. A historical example would be the setting up of an alter / statue of Olympian Zeus in the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 BC.

authV gen. pro. "its" - of it [has drawn near]. The genitive is adjectival, verbal, objective, or possessive; "The time of her devastation is at hand", Cassirer.

 
v21

tote "then" - then. Temporal; "at that time those who are in Judea must flee to the hills, .......", Barclay.

oi nom. art. "those who are" - the ones [in judea let flee into the mountains]. This nominative article, and the ones following, serves as a nominalizer, turning the local prepositional phrase introduced by en, "in", into a nominal phrase, subject of the imperatives "let flee", "get out", and "let not enter" As noted above, it is believed that the Christians deserted the city prior to the Roman siege. In normal military strategy, once a city is encircled, the population is not allowed to escape so as to hasten starvation and weaken its defence.

authV gen. pro. "" - [and the ones in midst] of her (= the city) [let them depart, get out, and the ones in the fields let them not enter into it (the city)]. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. The worst place to be in a siege is in the city being besieged.

 
v22

oJti "because" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why believers need to escape Jerusalem at this time, "because ....."

hJmerai (a) "this is the time" - days [these are]. Predicate nominative, emphatic by position.

ekdikhsewV (iV ewV) gen. "of punishment" - of vengeance, punishment. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive, idiomatic, "days which are characterised by vengeance", although with "days / hours" it is more likely temporal, "the days when vengeance is carried out", Culy. "Vengeance", or "punishment", is probably too strong. When God deals with his people it is usually termed as "chastisement", given that redemption remains a possibility where there is repentance. Without repentance, Jerusalem / the temple is doomed due to its rebellion, cf. Hos.9:7, (Jer.51:6, of Babylon).

tou plhsqhnai (pimplhmi) aor. pas. inf. "in fulfilment" - to be fulfilled. The genitive articular infinitive may introduce a consecutive clause, expressing result, "with the result that", or final clause, expressing purpose, "in order that"; "so that everything the scriptures say will come true", Barclay. Culy suggests that the construction is epexegetic here, specifying "the days", "that is / namely days when all that stands written in the scriptures is to find its fulfilment."

panta adj. "of all" - all, every = everything. Here serving as a substantive, "everything", and with its modifier "the things having been written", it serves as the accusative subject of the infinitive "to be fulfilled"; "that all may be fulfilled", Meyer.

ta gegrammena (grafw) perf. pas. part. "that has been written" - the things having been written. Reading the adjective panta, "all", as a substantive, "everything", the participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "everything", "everything which is written"; "that is written in the scriptures", Moffatt.

 
v23

ouai "how dreadful it will be" - woe. Expressing sudden danger, TH. "Alas", Rieu.

en + dat. "in" - in [those days]. Temporal use of the preposition; possibly "during." "It will be an awful time", CEV.

taiV .... ecousaiV "for pregnant women" - to the ones having [in the belly and to the ones nursing]. As with taiV qhlazousaiV, "the ones nursing", the participle serves as a substantive, dative of interest, disadvantage; "for those who have a child in the womb / who are pregnant, and for nursing mothers." The preposition en is locative, expressing space.

gar "-" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why it will be a time of woe for pregnant and nursing women.

anagkh (h) "distress" - [there will be great] need = distress, calamity. "Great indeed will be the misery in this land", Fitzmyer.

epi + gen. "in [the land]" - upon [the earth, land]. Spatial. The article "the [land]" may have demonstrative force, "this land."

orgh (h) "wrath" - [and] wrath, anger will be. Nominative subject of an assumed verb to-be. Expressing judgment / chastisement on the people of Israel, ie., divine wrath. "Great" probably also applies to the "wrath".

tw/ law/ (oV) "against [this] people" - to [this] people. Dative of interest, disadvantage. "God's wrath will descend on the people", Barclay, "everywhere in the land people will suffer horribly and be punished", CEV.

 
v24

Drawing on Old Testament imagery, judgment upon Jerusalem culminates in the people put to the sward (some one million according to Josephus, although probably an exaggeration) and many taken into exile as slaves, Deut.28:64, Jer.20:4-6, Ezk.32:9, ....

stomati (a) dat. "by [the sword]" - [they will fall] by the mouth [of the sword]. Instrumental dative, expressing means. The genitive, "of the sward", is possessive. Probably just a literary allusion, Sir.28:18, so as NIV.

aicmalwtisqhsontai (aicmalwtizw) fut. pas. "taken as prisoners" - [and] they will be led captive [into all the nations]. Note how Jesus' prophetic imagery draws on Israel's past history, of the enslavement of the nation under the Babylonians. "They will be led away captive to all countries", Barclay.

estai patoumenh "will be trampled" - [and jerusalem] will be trampled. The future tense of the verb to-be with the present participle forms a future periphrastic construction, possibly expressing the complete nature of the action, or its permanence, so Godet. "Jerusalem will be completely violated by the nations."

uJpo eqnwn "by the gentiles" - by gentiles, nations. Instrumental, expressing means.

acri ou| + aor. subj. "until" - until [are fulfilled, completed]. This construction introduces a temporal clause future referencing, as NIV. "And this will last until", Barclay.

eqnwn (oV) gen. "[the times] of the Gentiles" - [times] of genitles. The genitive as for "days of punishment", v22, adjectival, idiomatic / temporal; "the days when the Gentiles exercise power", Thompson. What is meant by this rather vague statement? Plummer comes up with six possibly interpretations. Obviously, our own view of eschatology will influence the interpretation we give the statement.

Marshall notes that Luke seems to imply a limited time of Gentile domination over Jerusalem / Israel. It is widely held that this is a period of Gentile evangelisation, a time followed by the restoration of Israel, so Ellis, Bock, Stein. Of course, this view is partly responsible for the West's unquestioning support for the modern state of Israel. No other state could so easily appropriate the land of its neighbours, subjugate and / or dispossess resident peoples of a different race and not be held to account. The apostle Paul does refer to the restoration of Israel, cf., Rom.8:13-14, 12:5-11, and it is not unreasonable to argue that Luke understood his friend's views and shared the same hope. Yet, it is more than likely that the Biblical restoration of Israel has nothing to do with the modern state of Israel. The conversion of Jews over the last 2,000 years probably represents the restoration of Israel, rather than the creation of the modern state of Israel.

Taking the statement at face value, it is likely that "the times of the Gentiles" refers to the period of the Roman action against Jerusalem during the years of 68-70AD, while "fulfilled" refers to the completion of the siege; "until the triumph of the Romans over Jerusalem is complete", Fitzmyer. The phrase "the times of the nations" alludes to Daniel 12:7, which refers to God's judgment upon Israel at the hand of the Gentiles and this for a determined period, "a time, two times and half a time", ie., however long the siege lasted, so Caird. One suspects that this is the intended meaning of the passage.

None-the-less, Nolland's view is certainly worth considering. He argues that Following the pattern already established in the Old Testament, the instrument of God's chastening hand, in this case Rome, having acted with excess, has guaranteed its own judgment, this judgment being "the times of (judgment upon) the nations (Rome)." "Jerusalem will be violated by the nations (Rome); and this will last until they finish what was given them to do"

 
v25

c) The shaking of the powers of heaven, v25-26. Jesus now uses apocalyptic language to describe an earth-shattering event, v25-26. As noted above, the actual event is in dispute, but given the disciples' question and the logical sequence of the events described, with the conclusion "this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened", then obviously the destruction of the temple / Jerusalem is the specific "coming of the Son of man" that Jesus has in mind. The verses are not exact quotations from the prophets, but certainly pick up on "the common stock of apocalyptic terminology used in Jewish writings both of political upheaval and of the end of the age, cf. Isa.13:10, 34:4, Ezk.32:7, Am.8:9, 4Ez.13:30ff", Ellis. The texts allude to a cataclysmic intervention of divine judgment against the unrighteous. Although the prophets commonly used this type of cosmic language when depicting judgement upon the enemies of Israel, Jesus now turns it onto Israel itself.

As already noted, Jesus' description of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple serves as a paradigm for the destruction of the world at the end of the age.

kai "-" - and. Coordinate, "then", identifying what follows the tribulation, namely the destruction of the temple.

epi + gen. "upon" - [there will be signs in sun and moon, and] upon [the earth]. Spatial, as NIV. "And upon the whole world."

eqnwn (oV) gen. "nations" - [anguish, torment] of nations, gentiles, peoples. The genitive is adjectival, possibly verbal, objective, receiving the distress, or subjective, exhibiting the distress, or attributed, "distressed Gentiles." "Among the heathen", Goodspeed, pushes in the right direction, since "nations" is a bit too specific. The word can describe geopolitical groupings, but also language groupings, tribes, and thus, broad human associations, so "all people will be in anguish." "And on the earth nations will not know where to turn", Barclay.

en + dat. "in [anguish and perplexity]" - in [perplexity, doubt, uncertainty]. Probably here adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the nations' perplexity, or possibly attendant circumstance, "The nations on earth will be afraid of the roaring sea and tides, and they will not know what to do", CEV.

qalasshV kai salou gen. "[at the roaring] and tossing of the sea" - [sound, noise] of sea and surf. The genitive is probably ablative, source / origin, the sound that comes from the sea and surf, possibly extending to cause, "caused by ...." Allusion to Psalm 46:3. As noted above, Jesus' figurative language (at times, apocalyptic) serves to describe the shaking, undoing, of powers and authorities. The use of a sea image is particularly useful since the Jews had an abiding dread of the sea. "At the roar of the surging sea", Phillips.

 
v26

Jesus' use of prophetic apocalyptic language to describe the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple continues, cf. Isa.13:6-10, 34:4, Dan.8:10, Hag.21:21.

apoyucontwn (apoyucw) gen. pres. part. "will faint" - and fainting, being discouraged, disheartened [men]. Hapax legomenon, once only use in the NT. Literally, to stop breathing, "swooning", Moffatt. The genitive participle and its genitive subject "men" forms a genitive absolute construction, temporal, introducing a temporal clause, "while people will be fainting", Barclay.

apo + gen. "from" - from, by, since. Probably causal, "because of."

fobou kai prosdokiaV (a) gen. "terror, apprehensive" - fear and expectation. The shaking will cause "panic and foreboding", Moffatt. Possibly a hendiadys where a single idea is being expressed in two words joined by kai, "and". "Fearful expectation", TH.

twn epercomenwn (epercomai) gen. pres. part. "of what is coming" - of the things coming upon. The participle serves as a substantive, with the genitive adjectival, probably verbal, objective, "about / concerning the things coming upon the world; "of what is happening", CEV.

th/ oikoumenh/ dat. "the world" - the world. The dative is local; "in the whole inhabited world."

gar "for" - for, since, because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why people are fainting with fear, "because ....."; "for you see, the heavenly powers will be shaken."

twn ouranwn (oV) gen. "the heavenly bodies" - [the powers] of heaven. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, as NIV. The NIV understands "powers" as referring to the stars. The term may refer to earthly authorities or powers, or heavenly angelic powers, but cosmic bodies, planets, stars.., is more likely. None-the-less, for the ancients, the stars / planets of the night sky are, or are associated with, heavenly powers and authorities. "The powers of the heavens will be shaken", NRSV.

saleuqhsontai (saleuw) fut. pas. "will be shaken" - will be shaken. As noted above, the image of cosmic shaking illustrates the shaking of all power and authority, in heaven and on earth. Specifically, these powers are shaken as the ascending ("coming") of Jesus passes through their domain and takes up rule over them. As noted above, this time it is the temple / Jerusalem that is shaken. "Will be violently shaken."

 
v27

d) The coming of Christ and the great assize, v27. See "Interpretation" above. Jesus continues in apocalyptic mode, alluding to Daniel 7:13-14. The destruction of the national life of Israel, just described in the terms of a cosmic shaking, is an act of divine judgment. This judgment is now described in the terms of the coming of the Son of Man. In cosmic terms beyond space and time, Jesus, as the mysterious Son of Man, comes to the Ancient of Days to receive authority and power, and with all knees bowed before him, he enacts divine judgment. The righteous reign of God, once evident in the national life of Israel, is now exercised in the corporate Son of Man - the kingdom has come.

kai tote "at that time" - and then. Temporal, although the time signature is debatable. The NIV is to be preferred, rather than "sometime later." It is likely that the events are contemporaneous.

oyontai (oJraw) fut. "they will see" - you will see. Who are the "they", the powers of heaven, or the nations? The verb is best viewed as an indefinite third person plural, so "all humanity / all powers and authorities will see."

tou anqrwpou (oV) gen. "of Man" - [the son] of man. The genitive is adjectival, relational. Jesus' self-designation for the messiah, Daniel's messiah who comes to the Ancient of Days to receive an eternal kingdom; oJ uiJoV tou anqrwpou, 4:43.

ercomenon (ercomai) pres. part. "coming" - coming. The accusative participle serves as the complement of the direct object, "the Son of Man", standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object. As noted above, Daniel makes it clear that the view of Christ's coming is from heaven, not earth. Jesus comes to heaven to reign. Of course, such a coming heralds the end times. It is this reality that gives urgency to the proclamation that "the kingdom of God is at hand." So, Christ's "coming" to heaven to reign is what "people / powers" witness. .

en + dat. "in" - in, with, on [a cloud]. Expressing space. Matthew has "on /upon the clouds of heaven"; note, "clouds" plural. Luke stays with the singular. Mark has "in clouds." Daniel has "with the clouds." "With" implies accompaniment, whereas "in" puts more stress on the one coming within the cloud. None-the-less, "in / with / on / upon" presents much the same image. The image of a cloud, of course, serves to remind us of the divine presence.

meta + gen. "with" - with. Probably adverbial, modal, expressing manner, but possibly expressing association, "in company with"; Christ's "coming in a cloud is associated with much power and glory."

pollhV adj. "great" - much, many [power and glory]. This description of the coming of the Son of Man is expanded in 9:26 where we are told "he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Unlike Luke, who uses the genitive "of the holy angels", Mark uses the preposition "with": the Son of Man "comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." Should we read Luke's genitive as one of association? So, is "many / much" (rather than "great") of the "power and glory" referring to the glorious and powerful angelic army accompanying the Son of Man to his throne? If so, who makes up this massive crowd, who are these "angels", or properly, these "messengers of God"? There is the possibility that we are this great crowd - the "many messengers" made up of last-day resurrected believers, coming with Jesus to the Ancient of Days, gathering before Jesus to witness his ascent to his throne. Of course, there is a now/not yet time problem here, but there always is, and always will be, when we are dealing with a Time Lord who transcends time! See above for the now / not yet of eschatology.

 
v28

iii] Saying, v28: Note the parallel verse in Mark 13:27 and Matthew 24:31. Nolland suggests Luke is drawing on his own original source, but none-the-less, Mark's words may well serve to exegete what Luke means by "your redemption is drawing near." Taking "angels" to mean "God's messengers", then the calling out and gathering of the elect is likely to be the image here, the gathering at the time of judgment. Again, we have a now / not yet problem. A calling out of the disciples occurred at the time when the Roman legions moved against Jerusalem, and the call also goes out in our age through gospel preaching, and will go out again at the parousia with the sounding of the trumpet, a clarion call which will raise the faithful dead in the last day.

arcomenwn (arcwn) pres. part. "when [these things] begin" - [and] beginning [these things]. The genitive participle, and its genitive subject "these things", forms a genitive absolute construction, temporal, introducing a temporal clause, as NIV. What things? Surely the events associated with the destruction of the temple, the primary sign being the surrounding of Jerusalem by military forces ("the desolating sacrilege", cf., Mk.) , although Bock argues for "the Son of Man's appearance with cosmic signs."

ginesqai (ginomai) pres. inf. "to take place" - to occur. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the participle "beginning".

anakuyate (anakuptw) aor. imp. "stand up" - stand erect [and lift up the heads of you]. The aorist expressing immediate action. Possibly "look up", Moffatt, but more likely as NIV.

dioti "because" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why we may confidently stand upright, rather than cower in fear, "because" our redemption is near.

hJ apolutrwsiV (iV ewV) "redemption" - the redemption. Nominative subject of the verb "to draw near." Release of something gained by the payment of a price, therefore liberation, deliverance. As is evident in this whole passage, the interpretation of each element, such as here with the word "redemption", is determined by our understanding of the time sequence in this prophecy. If, for instance, we have taken v35 literally, along with Lightfoot and his ilk, then the "redemption / deliverance" is from the persecution of the Jewish rebels and the Roman armies around AD70. If, on the other hand, we regard that v25 and following, addresses the future return of Christ, then either we are looking at "deliverance" from the great tribulation, or "redemption" in eternal terms. Following the note above, we are best to opt for a layered "deliverance" from the "desolation", both the destruction of Jerusalem and the tribulation prior to the coming of Christ. Of course, "redemption", as presently offered in the gospel of grace, should also be included since there is a sense, within the perspective of Biblical eschatology, that today is the last day.

uJmwn gen. pro. "your" - of you. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, although possibly verbal, objective, where the genitive "of you" receives the redemptive act.

eggizei (eggizw) pres. "is drawing near" - draws near. In terms of approaching a particular reference point, here probably in time terms; "you will soon be set free", CEV.

 

Luke Introduction

Exposition

Exegetical Commentaries

 

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