Luke 21

As the time draws near when the Kingdom of God shall be fully established upon the earth, and the King shall return in glory, the days will be characterized by increasing apostasy, disturbances in the earth and in the heavens, and intense hatred of those who proclaim the Gospel. The age will culminate in a period of terrible fear upon man, and then shall Christ appear.

1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.

2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:

4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

5 ¶ And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,

6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?

8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:

11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.

13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:

15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.

17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.

18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.

19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

25 ¶ And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;

30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.

31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

34 ¶ And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.

38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.

​Luke 21:1-4 – We note the difference between the false teachers, who devoured widows’ houses (Luke 20:47), and the true Leader and Teacher, who set so high a value on a widow’s gift. Our gifts to God should cost us something, else they are not reckoned in the accounts of eternity. The real value of a gift is to be estimated by what is left behind. Remember that the fragrance and beauty of this act have lasted, while the stones of the Temple have crumbled to dust. Holy deeds are imperishable! Jesus is still sitting by the treasury, watching and estimating our gifts. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Luke 21:5-19 – ​Days That Try Men’s Souls

   When we ask speculative questions, the Master bids us take heed to ourselves. His predictions in this passage were literally fulfilled in the events which culminated in the siege and fall of Jerusalem, forty years afterward. “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together” (Romans 8:22), and through these throes and agonies mankind steps up to a new level of experience. The devil will not surrender his kingdom, any more than the bodies of men, without a grievous rending first: but there is a mightier than he.
   The Church is called to follow her Lord. No easier path than His may she choose. Where there is no outward suffering there may be the inner cross and the death to all that the soul had once prized. Jesus has always stood beside His own wherever they have been called to witness for the truth; and the testimony given by His witnesses has reached the great ones of the earth and reverberated through courts and palaces. In suffering our souls become searched as by fire. We learn to know ourselves and to come into possession of an experience and a self-knowledge with which only suffering could have endowed us. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Luke 21:19 – “In your patience possess ye your souls.”

   This text is a promise, not a command, a blessed hope, not a stern ordinance. What is the spirit of this promise? “Souls”; and the thought of winning one’s life, is of accomplishing the highest end of life, and of realizing its highest possibility of power and of peace. Regarded in this light, how sweet is the promise for those who are compelled to live in this impetuous, harassing generation! By patience, we shall win our lives! Impatience in our work; the chafing of the spirit against providential restrictions; the wild haste to be rich; the intolerant and consuming ambition, which to satisfy itself will crush a path over the rights of others, – these are characteristic types of world-life to be seen around us every day. But the servant of the Lord must not, will not abandon himself to this impatient, selfish strife. He will maintain the bright example of the patient Jesus. He will discern by the light of the Holy Spirit’s teaching that the highest end of our life on earth cannot be won by the selfish and the impatient; he will receive the strength to remember that impatience is waste and loss, the strength to live in the hourly atmosphere of that blessed prayer for every busy and every earnest life. (Charles Cuthbert Hall)

Luke 21:20-28 – ​The Coming of the Son of Man in Glory

   This paragraph clearly has its first reference to the fall of Jerusalem, which took place a.d. 70. The directions given by our Lord were of the greatest service to the Christian church, the members of which in large numbers, fled to Pella, across the Jordan, and so escaped the horrors of the siege. But beyond this each great event, such as the dissolution of the Hebrew state, the overthrow of the Roman Empire, the rise of the Reformation, the French Revolution, and so forth, is another stage in the advent of our Lord. He is always “coming in a cloud” so far as the eyes of men are concerned; but with the growing glory of clearer revelation and increased spiritual power. And all these stages are leading up to His final unveiling at His second advent.
   That generation did not pass away before these portents were fulfilled; but each great period or chapter of history closes with similar signs. It is as though nature were as sympathetic to the experiences of the race, as the body is to the motions of the soul. Again behold the travail-pangs of creation, through which the new heavens and the new earth are being born. See Romans 8:22, etc. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Luke 21:29-38 – ​The Need of Constant Watchfulness

   The summer of the world is yet before us! This is but the springtide, when the seeds are beginning to sprout, but the winds are cold. Ah, halcyon days of unbroken summer glory, make haste to break!
   In a limited significance, our Lord’s words were fulfilled within forty years of their utterance; but we are still to see how much more is contained in them than has yet been realized. In the meanwhile let us beware of His warning. Note that cares endanger our soul’s health equally with surfeiting and drunkenness. It is impossible to live as we should apart from constant watching and prayer. The snare is so deftly laid that we may be entangled in it, before we are fully aware. But, oh how great the honor to be one day accounted “to stand before the Son of man” (v. 36)! See I Kings 10:8.
   These last hours of our Lord’s ministry were very full. The days were days of activity, interspersed with snatches of blessed intercourse with the beloved group at Bethany; while the nights were spent on Olivet in prayer. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Luke 21:36—Watch ye therefore, and pray always.

​   Let us never release the girdle from around our loins, nor throw ourselves listlessly upon the bank to drink, the enemy may be stealing up against the wind. It is the art of our great enemy to fill the air with the heavy breath of the poppy; that, like the lotus-eaters of the old legend, we may be indisposed for the perils and toils of our onward journey.
   Watch ye in the season of festivity.—When merry voices fill the chamber with mirth, and jokes pass; old stories are retold; quaint anecdotes circulatedremember to look frequently up into the Master’s face, to discover if aught has covered it with shame, or filled it with regret. Let not your heart be overcharged with surfeiting drunkenness.
   Watch ye in hours of stress and anxiety.—These will come between the soul and Christ, oppressing us with anxious care, leading us to think too much of the things which are seen and transient, and filling our hearts with dismay, as though the future would find us orphans and homeless, because the storm had swept away some few gatherings of the earth’s perishable stores. When stocks are falling, business declining, competition increasing—Watch! Make supplication! Stand before the Son of Man as those whom He cannot forget or forsake.
   Watch ye in seasons of tender love.—We wear armor abroad, but when we come within the closed door of the home, and our hearts expand beneath the genial warmth of kindred natures, how apt we are to cry, Now, surely, we may unbend, ungird, and let nature have free course. But the Master says, Watch ye at every season; and He reminds us that we never cease to stand before the Son of Man. —Our Daily Homily