Tonight we are going to be taken a close look at what Jesus
was talking about in Luke 17:20 ff. When I first started preparing this lesson
it started out being about
Luke 17:20 Now
when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He
answered them and said, "The
What I discovered about
this section of scripture is that there are 2 different thoughts on what is
being talked about here. 1. Some believe that Jesus is talking about the
Now we know that both of these answers cannot be correct and so what I want to do is show you how I choose which view I believe to be correct and hopefully if I do my job correctly all of you will be able see that that solution I came up with is the most logical one. The choice I made is that this text is talking about Jesus second coming.
The first thing I want to point out is that just because Luke 17 uses similar language as the Olivet discourse does it does not mean that it is talking about the same event or time. We have many examples in the Bible where God uses similar language to describe destruction, but that destruction is used in regards to different people, events and time. For example: notice the following 3 verses.
Isaiah 13:10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. See Isa. 13:19-20
Isaiah is using this vivid language to prophecy
of† the downfall of
Ezekiel 32:7 When I put out your light, I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, And the moon shall not give her light.† 8 All the bright lights of the heavens I will make dark over you, And bring darkness upon your land,' Says the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel use similar
language to prophecy about the downfall of
Matthew 24:29 " Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Jesus uses this same
language to prophecy about the destruction of
So, the whole point is
this, just because we find some similar language in Luke 17 and Mat. 24 this
does not mean that they are talking about the same destruction and so we must
look very carefully at the context of Luke 17 to see what it is talking about.
To further show that Luke 17 needs to be treated separately from the Olivet
discourse found in Matt. 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 is the fact the when Jesus
spoke the words in Luke 17 it was not part of the Olivet discourse in fact he
wasnít even in Jerusalem at this time. When you look at Luke 17:11 and Luke
18:35 you can see that he was heading to
So not only is this
spoken at a different time and place there is nothing in the text that speaks
about the destruction of
Luke 17:20 Now when He was asked by the
Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said,
When we look back in scripture we can see that John Baptist began preaching the kingdom was coming and then when Jesus began his ministry he and disciples started preaching the same message and now these Pharisees want to know when will the kingdom come? We need to realize that many of the Jews thought that when the Messiah came that he would restore the nation back to the Jews with a physical kingdom just like they had under King David. But, they had the wrong concept of what the kingdom was going to be like and Jesus corrects them and lets them know that the kingdom does not come with observation.
In the Jews mind they could see God raising up a
might army that would destroy all their enemies just like it was in the time of
David. This would be something they could see happening before their eyes but
Jesus makes it clear that you can not see the
John 18:36 †"My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
We all know that spiritual kingdom began on the
day of Pentecost which is the church. These terms kingdom and church are used
synonymously in Mat. 16:18-19. So, just as Jesus has stated the kingdom did not
come about by warfare that could be observed instead it started by the Holy
Spirit descending on the apostles and them proclaiming Godís word. Jesus also
shows that the kingdom is spiritual in nature is saying that the
†Luke 17:22 Then He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.† 23 "And they will say to you, 'Look here!' or 'Look there!' Do not go after them or follow them.† 24 "For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.
Jesus on several occasion had told his disciples that he wouldnít be around for very long because he must die and be raised again but they didnít really ever let this teaching sink in. Once again we find Jesus letting them know that he is going to be gone and that they will desire to see another day where Jesus is personally present in their lives but he lets them know that they will not see it. This is certainly a hint that Jesus would not come back again before they died.
This is another reason why I can see that this text is talking about the second coming of Christ because if this were talking about the destruction of Jerusalem then it should follow that all the apostles would be dead before the destruction of Jerusalem and that simply is not the case.
Then in verse 23 Jesus gives them a similar warning that he gave them in Mat. 24 and that is donít believe anyone when they Jesus is over here or over there because it will not be him because when Jesus comes again it will be as visible as lightening is from the east to the west. Many other passages bear this out as well.
Jesus will come personally and visibly
Acts 1:11 †Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
He will come with a shout
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Even those in the grave will hear him
John 5:28 "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
He will be accompanied with angels
Matthew 25:31 " When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
Even though scripture tells us Jesus will come like a thief in the night we can see from the other verses that everyone will know when he does come we just donít know when he will come.
Luke 17:25† "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
Before any of these events occur Jesus must suffer the cruelty of the cross and be raised from the dead. Just as Jesus has predicted here he did suffer many things and he was rejected by his generation which led to his death on the cross. Now please notice that there is nothing in verse that indicate that Jesus is talking about these events occurring in their life time and nothing indicates that he is talking about a local judgment on† Jerusalem.†
Luke 17:26 "And as it was in the days of
Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:† 27 "They ate, they drank,
they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah
entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.† 28 "Likewise as it was also
in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted,
they built;† 29 "but on
the day that Lot went out of
You can also see this example if Noah used in Mat. 24 when it is talking about the day the Jesus will come when he judges the whole world. So all Jesus is saying here that life will be going on as normal, everyone will be eating and marrying but when Jesus comes back again on a day he will be revealed. Both of these examples show us complete destruction and that it will happen when no one is expecting it. Again this shows me that Jesus is talking about his 2nd and finally coming because people could see the signs of that Jerusalem was going to be destroyed and in fact this was slow process that took years because the Jews and Romans began to fight one another in 66 A.D. and it wasnít until 70 A.D. that they broke through and completely destroyed the temple and Jerusalem.
So these examples fit perfectly with the second coming of Christ as Peter tells us,
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.† 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,† 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
So in one day all this will happen when no one is expecting it.
Luke 17:31 "In that day, he who is on the
housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take
them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn
back.† 32 "Remember
This is another section of scripture that can be very confusing on the surface because in Mat. 24 when Jesus is talking about the destruction of Jerusalem and he is giving signs that his disciples can look for so they can escape he uses some of the same language as used here in our text. However, the difference is that †in the Olivet discourse Jesus tells them flee to the mountain for safety when they see the army surrounding Jerusalem but nothing in our text Luke 17 saying anything about fleeing and the reason why is because when Jesus comes again there will be no where to hide and so we must try and figure out what was Jesus teaching.
All I believe that Jesus is trying to covey is
that of being prepared and not turning away from God because if you are not
prepared when Jesus comes again then you will not make it into heaven. This
thought is also brought out when Jesus says remember Lots wife. If you remember
God was going to destroy
"No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit
Friends we must always
keep our eyes on the goal of heaven and not allow material possession or
anything else to come between us and God. Now if you are still not fully
convinced that these verse are not talking about the destruction of
33 "Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
Now I want you to think
about this verse very carefully because when Jesus was telling his disciples
about the destruction of
It doesnít get much
clearly than that. There is no way this can be talking about the destruction of
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.† 24 "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.† 25 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?† 26 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels. ††
Again Jesus is saying exactly what I just said. Those that try to fulfill their own lives with worldly possessions or concepts will lose their life and will not make it to heaven. But those who are willing to serve God faithfully even if they lose their life it will be saved because they will find themselves in heaven.
Luke 17:34 "I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.† 35 "Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.† 36 "Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left."
Now depending on your
Bible version you may not have verse 36 because this verse is missing from many
of the originally manuscripts but it is teaching the same thing as the previous
2 verses. These verses once again have Jesus second coming written all over
them and the reason why is because we have both day and night represented here.
The men are in bed which happened at night time and the women our working in
the field which occurred during the day time. So, when the event happens
described in Luke 17 it will happen both at day and night and from this we get
the idea that this will happen world wide because while it is day here
All these example are illustrating is that there will be a separation from the prepared and the unprepared. The one that are taken represent the Christians that will meet Jesus in the air when he comes back again,
1 Thessalonians 4:17† Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
The ones left behind represent the sinner who face
the wrath of God and will be cast in to hell for eternity. This same separation
is spoken of in Mat. 25:31ff. Again, I cannot see how you can even close to
saying this is referring to the destruction of
Luke 17:37 And they answered and said to Him, "Where, Lord?" So He said to them, "Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."
Jesusí disciples donít seem to understand where this would happen so this why they as where and Jesus does not give them a specific place but simply uses these phrase Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.". This is phrase that could be used to show destruction. Now the word eagle can also be translated vulture and many believe this is better word to use because a eagle likes to kill it food but a vulture is always on the look out for a dead body that it may devour. So this phrase can be used in any context where destruction will occur and Jesus is using it here to show that the destruction that he speaks of will be universal and not a specific place and in then context the dead bodies represent those who are unprepared to meet God.
As we come to the close of our lesson I hope you
have learned that just because similar language is used in different parts of
the Bible is doesnít always mean that the same event is under consideration. I
also hope you have been able to see why this section scripture is talking about
Jesus second coming and not the destruction of