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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


10. The Sermon on the Mount of Olives About the Future Destruction (Luke 21:5-38)

LUKE 21:05-11
5 Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, 6 “These things which you see -- the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.” 7 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” 8 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them. 9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.” 
10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.”

Jesus left the Temple, which the Jews considered the center of the world, and the unique dwelling of God. This ancient, holy building was first founded in 968 BC during seven years of the reign of King Solomon. He chose the threshing floor on the summit of a hill on which Jerusalem was built, to establish the Temple which rose as a crown above Jerusalem.

In 587 BC the soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar burnt the first Temple. Yet, when the people came back from the Babylonian captivity, they rebuilt it in 520-516 BC in a simple manner, by sanction of Zerubbabel and Joshua. In later times fierce battles broke out around this center of Jewish culture, and attacking soldiers looted the Temple instruments, vessels, and precious treasures. Then King Herod doubled the area of the holy place during the last half of the century BC and rebuilt the Temple in a new imposing style. Augustus Caesar in Rome dedicated sacred vessels to the Temple.

This third Temple was plainly laid out and seen by Jesus and his disciples when they sat on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Holy City, whose center included the great Temple. Jesus said to his disciples: “Now you see beautiful stones covered and inlaid with gold. You think of the holiness of the place and its power radiating out to the world. But I see in this wide courtyard the unclean hearts of men, who are wicked and dead in sins. They are like walking dead bodies. The judgment of God will shortly attack them, and their temple will certainly fall to destruction, for God does not dwell in a house that is made with hands, but centers in the hearts of those who love Christ.

This revelation meant to the disciples the end of the world, removal of sacrifices, and no reconciliation with God in the Old Testament way. They had great expectation that Jesus would remain with them a divine king forever, and set up the kingdom of God in Jerusalem, that all the nations of the world might turn to it. But Jesus foretold about the complete destruction of this shining building, knowing that the old things would be removed in order to pave the way for the new spiritual temple. This is composed of all saints in all times and places which will not pass away, for it is founded on Christ and made a dwelling for the living God.

When the disciples heard these fearful words their hearts trembled, and they asked Christ when and how this end of the world would come. They wanted to secure and provide for themselves, that they might be saved and not destroyed by the sword coming from God to devour their people. Christ, in fact, did not fear for their death, but because of possible temptation and falling into deception and sin. He did not answer them first when and how their world would pass away, but warned his followers against the temptation of following professing spirits and bad examples, that they might not incur the just judgment of God. Jesus testified beforehand that he would die, and that after, and before his next coming, many deceivers would come and give the world lies and false hopes about their ability to save and redeem the world. Christ warns you above anything else and with divine severity, against commitment to any philosopher, dream, thought, religion, or party. Do not trust their extraordinary powers, even if spirits were to rise from the dead saying: “I am the crucified Christ” and appear to worshippers crystallized with shining rays as hung on the cross. Do not believe the false prophet, for the Lord Jesus Christ is not crucified today, but sits at the right hand of God in glory. This is the certain truth. The true Christ will come with great glory, plainly and obviously to our hearts, and we cannot doubt, or mistake him.

But before him, the devil will come, and open the well of hell, and then proud spirits will explode, creating hatred, murder, envy, and revolutions so that nation will rise against nation, and every man will accuse the other and attack him to destroy him. In this brief statement Jesus described the spirit and the history of our world correctly. Thus the storm of hell will cast men in droves into destruction, and the machines of hell will sweep millions to the dunghill of Satan. Deadly world wars will be inescapable, for the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

Earthquakes are a token of the uncertainty and instability of our troubled world about the coming of the Son of God. Today we can see how the devil is bringing more and more poverty and epidemics on earth that men may forget God or curse the Creator. The wicked one will consume ungrateful multitudes by undermining them, and evil will cause deep fear and blasphemy against God. Furthermore, the enemy of the Holy One will perform wonderful miracles and marvelous signs, as if coming from heaven. He will transform himself into an angel of light before those who are amazed, will inspire those who believe in him with inventions that will produce horrible results. He will prepare creatures for the appearance of the superman who will lead the revolution of mortals against the living God.

All these fears, distresses, and wonders must come before the second coming of Christ, for men deserted God and were not satisfied with the Holy Gospel; so God gave them up to devils. The nations decline because the Lord gave up those without faith to the lusts of their hearts, that they might destroy themselves. The history of unfaithful men is like a motion-picture film about the wrath of God, in which we see Satan sifting the peoples and instigating them to general destruction, while he stands smiling and mocking them.

PRAYER: Our Lord Jesus, you are the King. Keep us from being over-impressed by luxurious buildings or people with exceptional abilities or misleading wonders. You alone are worthy of our worship and commitment. We wait for you, and love you. You forgave us our sins. You sanctify us for your second coming, and keep us forever from devouring wrath.

QUESTION 125: What is the point of Jesus’ teaching about the passing away of the world?


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