The Destruction of Jerusalem Foretold Luke 20-21

In Luke 20, the chief priests and scribes challenge Jesus’ authority in verses 1-8. Then in verses 9-18, he tells the parable of the wicked tenants, citing Psalm 118:22 in verse 17: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” It is obviously about the rejection of the Son of God by the Jewish leaders, and that perception is not lost on those present. Verse 19 says that they “sought to lay hands on him that very hour.”

English: Statue of Pontius Pilate in Bom Jesus...

English: Statue of Pontius Pilate in Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verses 19-26, they try to trap him into saying that they should not pay taxes to Caesar, so they could use that against him. He, of course, said exactly the opposite, noting whose face was on their coins. Yet they would later lie to Pilate, making the accusation that he really did say that.

Luke 21 has the story of the widow who gave all that she had at the offering box, saying that she had done more than any of those who had given larger amounts. He then begins telling them in great detail in most of the remainder of the chapter about the persecution, war and famine that awaited them because of him, along with the ultimate destruction of Jerusalem. He gives them many signs, so the Christians would know what to look for. it is because of this that many of them escaped and survived to continue to spread the gospel.

 

 

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Luke 17, Luke 18, Luke 19, Luke 20, Luke 21

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

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The Coming of the Son of Man – Luke 21

"Son of man" appears 25 times in Luk...

“Son of man” appears 25 times in Luke, a copy (c. 800) shown here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Up through verse 24, most of chapter 21 is pretty easy to understand, and most people get it. But enter verse 25, and the wheels start to come off for a lot of commentators. In fairness, verses 25-28 are among the most difficult verses to understand when it comes to Jesus’ quotations. And it is verse 27 that creates the confusion. As always, context is everything. So let us first back up and remember what the preceding verses are about.

Verses 5-24 are clearly about the coming destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem itself in 70 A.D. Now let’s just take verses 25-26 by themselves:

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

These two verses align perfectly with the signs and the upheaval that Jesus describes in verses 20-24. Now verses 27-28:

And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Sounds like Jesus is talking about His own second coming, right? Well, not so fast… Let’s continue on, as Jesus immediately tells them the parable of the fig tree in verses 29-30. Then in verse 32, He says Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Wait a minute, there will still be people of that generation that are still living when all of this happens! He has to be still talking about the signs and the upheaval surrounding the events of A.D. 70.

But what about “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory?” Think of it as similar to “the day of the Lord.” We see those words often, especially in the Old Testament, and it always signifies a time when God will take decisive action – when some sort of judgment will come to people for their actions. But not all decisive action is of the end time – not all judgment is “the final judgment.”

The figurative language used in verse 27 is much like what we see in Isaiah 19:1:

An oracle concerning Egypt.
Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud
and comes to Egypt;
and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,
and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the ...

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70, Oil on canvas, 1850 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this case, the Son of Man (Jesus) will have already ascended to heaven. Now it is His turn for judgment. Remember in Luke 19:41-44, when Jesus was weeping for Jerusalem as He entered? He was talking about the destruction that would come: “And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” The judgment is coming this time because of their rejection of the Son of God.

OK, so what about the part that says “your redemption is drawing near?” Let’s look at the parable of the fig tree:

“Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”

 

As Adam Clarke put it, “After the destruction of the Jewish state, the doctrine of Christ crucified shall be preached every where, and every where prevail.”

 

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

 

/Bob’s boy

 

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

 

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

 

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Not A Hair of Your Head Will Perish – Luke 21

In verses 5-25, Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem. Because of this, some scholars are naturally anxious to place the writing of the gospel after A.D. 70 (as well as Matthew 24:1-2). But there are problems with that (besides the fact that we know these gospels to be inspired), particularly with Matthew.

The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.

The destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verses 10-19, Jesus tells them of wars, famines, pestilence and earthquakes which we certainly know did happen in that time period. As for the signs from heaven that verse 11 speaks of, there have been some secular writings of some unusual events that occurred in that time frame. We must be careful about referring to secular writings of such things, and some of those that Josephus reported were quite strange indeed. But at that the same time, we should remember that Josephus was not a Christian and did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God – or even a mere prophet. So he had no vested interest (“Wars of the Jews,” Book VI, Chapter 5, Section 3 (Entire)).

The romanticized woodcut engraving of Flavius ...

The romanticized woodcut engraving of Flavius Josephus appearing in William Whiston’s translation of his works. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus also tells them that before all of these things happen, people will lay their hands upon them and persecute them, and they will be brought before kings and governors for His name’s sake. But He tells them to “settle it in their minds” not to think too hard about what to say because He will “give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.” But then He tells them that they will be betrayed even by their friends and closest relatives; and some of them will be put to death. He then tells them that not a hair of your head will perish. This is true, of course, in the context of their eternal lives, as Jesus intended it.

This warning from Jesus underscores quite graphically the difference of what being a true follower of Jesus meant in the first century compared to today. Even today, though, Christians all over the world are persecuted to varying degrees. Currently, most people in the Americas do not have to fear for their lives in service of the Lord, however. But will that always be the case? We should not count on it. The USA is a strong world power. But that could be said about the Assyrians, Babylonians, and other empires of the past, who are no more.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Jesus Weeps For Jerusalem – Luke 19

Titus Destroying Jerusalem by Wilhelm von Kaulbach

Titus Destroying Jerusalem by Wilhelm von Kaulbach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In verse 41, on His approach, Jesus weeps for Jerusalem. Here, He shows not only His compassion for a people that would put Him to death, but also His deity. Being both man and God, Jesus had a love for them, just as God Himself had always had for His people. But their rejection of the Lord (this time of His Son) would finally exact a price higher than that of the Babylonian captivity. The city, He says, will be surrounded by its enemies and torn asunder, stone by stone. There can be no doubt that Jesus was here predicting the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of Titus and his troops in A.D. 70.

Jesus then cleanses the temple, driving out those who sold inside the perimeter. Afterward, He began teaching in the temple every day. While He did, the Pharisees and scribes “were seeking to destroy him.” But it was not time just yet, so they could not find a way to do so; and all of the people around the Lord served as a buffer between them and Jesus.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Psalms 74 – Arise O God, Defend Your Cause

Nebuchadnezzar_002It is hard to imagine that this lament psalm could have been written about anything other than the fall of Jerusalem.  In fact, Burton Coffman’s assessment (Coffman, James Burton. “Commentary on Psalms 74”, “Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament”) was that it must have been one of three occasions.  The first possibility is of course the 587 BC destruction of the Temple and the city by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24).   The second seems much less likely – the 351 BC suppression of a Jewish uprising by Persian King Artaxerxes.  Although the third possibility seems a bit more credible – the profaning of the Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 B.C – the first seems to fit much better (verse 7 notwithstanding).

Though the superscription assigns this psalm to Asaph, in actuality it would be the “sons” (descendants) of Asaph that were responsible; and the likelihood that it is a prophetic psalm seems quite high.  The psalmist appears to obviously see the destruction to come, yet pleads for hope that it may not all come to pass.  He asks God to remember the covenant and Mount Zion; and to “redeem the tribe” of His heritage.

This moving psalm is very appropriate for any community lament, as the psalmist combines fervor for God’s justice and vengeance against those who scoff, with praise for His power, might, and sovereignty:

Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the midst of the earth…
Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

 

Matthew 24 – Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple

Chapters 24 and 25 are known as the Olivet discourse (Verse 3 – “As he sat on the Mount of Olives…”); and chapter 24 is the source of much discussion and confusion.  The disciples were impressed with the buildings of the temple, and pointed them out to Jesus.  But He tells them in verse 2 that “there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”  Now the total destruction of this temple was such a dramatic thing to envision, that the only thing they could think of to associate it with was the end of the world.  So their question to Jesus was when all of these things would happen.

Old city of Jerusalem, the Temple, and Dome of the Rock, as seen from the Mount of Olives.

The key to understanding this chapter (as is the case with all scripture) is to first examine the context, and then apply what follows using your God-given logic.  In chapter 23, Jesus had just delivered a very vocal rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees in the temple, calling them the “sons of those who murdered the prophets,” and saying “you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”  He finishes up in verses 37-38 with His broken-hear-ted lament for the coming fate of Jerusalem:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate.”

In verses 4-35 of chapter 24, Jesus tells them privately of the fate that awaits Jerusalem, as well as what will become of them (they will be persecuted and put to death).  he even tells them of things that will happen before that Roman army does its work in AD 70 – many examples of which Josephus and other historians confirm.  If these verses were speaking of the end of the world rather than the destruction of Jerusalem, it would not matter if it was in the winter (verse 20) – much less, what day it was!  In verse 34, He tells them that all of these things will happen during their generation.  It is not until verse 36 that Jesus begins speaking of  the final judgment – “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”  The apocalyptic language throughout the chapter is what makes it difficult to separate.  But such imagery when the scripture prophesies destruction is common (see Isaiah 13:10-13 and Ezekiel 32:7-8, for example).  It is helpful to relate the chapter to Luke’s account in chapter 21, particularly as Matthew 24:15-16 relate to Luke 21:20-21.

For an excellent in-depth analysis, please refer to the article in this link.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.