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Olivet Discourse Part 7 This Generation Will Not Pass Away Luke 21:27 - 33

July 25, 2021 Speaker: Jim Galli Series: The Gospel According to Luke

Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Luke 21:27–21:33

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Olivet Discourse Part 7   Luke 21:27  - 33

Ch. 21:27 And then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory. 28 “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”  29   Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves and you see it for yourselves, know that summer is now near. 31 “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?  Lk. 18:8b

In this chapter in Luke, as Jesus answers questions about His coming reign and kingdom on earth we are finding out truths about the culmination of 6000 years of history on earth.

Everything looks back to and makes sense because of what we learn in the first three chapters of the first book of the Bible.  If you re-read the creation account, and I encourage you to do that, we keep reading a line over and over and over.

It was good.  It was good.  It was good.  Everything God accomplished in all of His creation of this world was good.  Good, good, good, over and over as if He's making a point.  Finally before He takes a sabbath rest on the 7th day, God looks over the totality of creation and He says it was VERY GOOD.

And then it was bad.  Very bad.  Evil enters, rebellion against God enters, sin reigns instead of God.  God steps aside and doesn't crush the rebellion, although by Genesis 6 He destroys all of the creation with a flood except for 8 people.  

The book you hold in your hands is the story of God, retaking this world that rightfully belongs to Him.  He is the creator.  Everything is His.  He could have crushed the rebellion immediately after man failed in the garden and been done with it.

But it pleased God to win over Satan in a different way.  In the midst of the rebellion, the chaos of sin, God chose to call out a remnant for Himself.  A people for His own possession who He would redeem.  He would purchase a remnant of people who He chooses, and pay the price of their sin with the blood of His own son in their place.

And so that phenomenon has been playing out now since the garden.  In the midst of the catastrophe of sin and the resulting rule of this world by Satan, God has always had a remnant.  A people for His own possession.  A group of people set aside from the sin of this world, a people apart from the condemned rebellers.

If you read the book there are the Patriarchs.  The Fathers.  Men like Enoch and Job who belonged to God.  Then God chooses one of those patriarch's, Abraham to raise up a nation for His own possession.  The jews become God's chosen people.  They still are.  All of the promises that God made to the jews will be fulfilled.

But then a mystery.  Apart from the jews, after the rejection of Jesus by the jews, God puts the jews on a shelf for many days.  Punishment to that nation for many days, and for 2000 years God has been calling a people for His name out of the nations.  The church.

Built on the foundation of the apostles with Jesus as the cornerstone which the jews rejected, the church has been the object of God's calling men out of this world to belong to Him, apart from the world.  A kingdom hidden within a kingdom for now.

This world is the realm and reign of the ruler of this world, Satan.  But within this world where he rules and reigns, another kingdom, a people chosen out of this rebellious world who are owned by and bow the knee to Jesus.  Right in the middle of Satan's world.  An army of enemy combatants who belong to another King who is away on a journey but who has promised to return and ultimately fulfil all things.

The prophets of the old testament, and Jesus Himself, and the apostles who wrote the new testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit all pictured a day when the rebellion on this planet would be crushed, evil would be judged and removed, and this world will be returned to it's rightful owner, the Lord Jesus, for a 1000 year reign by Him on earth.  Paradise regained.

Enoch, a prophet, pictured that exact thing within 7 generations from Adam himself.  Adam was still living when Enoch foresaw the return of Jesus with myriads of His holy ones to crush the evil rebellion here on earth.  The solution has been foretold almost as long as the problem has existed.

The rebellion;  gone.  Evil;  gone.  Satan;  locked up in chains for a thousand years.  The antichrist and the false prophet;  sent alive to the lake of fire prepared for Satan and his demons.  

We could summarize the book quickly like this.  God creates this world.  It is good.  He finishes creation.  It is Very Good.  Satan lies and tricks the woman and mankind falls into sin.  Sin reigns on earth.  Satan becomes the ruler of this world.  God chooses a people out of the rebellion to belong to Him.  God purchases the redemption of those He chooses by the blood of His sinless Son.  God promises to return to this world and depose Satan, crush all sin and evil, and set up a Kingdom, an authority to reign, on earth.  The original envisioned paradise will be regained under the 1000 year reign of Jesus.  

The world was good.  And then it was bad.  And we wait for the day when the promises that Jesus will return and crush the rebellion here and it will be good again.  Very good.  Under the reign of Jesus on David's throne at Jerusalem for a thousand years.

Where are we in all of this?  We believe we are right at the end of the church age and that Jesus return to retake this world is imminent.  We believe that the order of those events is described for the careful student of scripture and that we can know, not the day itself, but the seasons of these things.

We believe that according to Daniel's prophecy of Daniel 9 that 70 weeks of years was decreed for the jews and that Messiah the Prince, Jesus, was cut off at the end of the 69th week.  That leaves one week of years, 7 years of jewish history to be played out before Messiah returns and crushes the rebellion and sets up His kingdom on earth.

Daniel 9:24  “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place.

The church age is a parenthesis after the jews are set aside by God to wander the world and be punished for rejecting the messiah.  It is a mystery.  No one in the old testament saw the church age before it happened.  So we are 2000 years into this age, the church age, and we believe two events will coincide to finish the church age and begin that final week of jewish history that is still on the clock waiting to be completed culminating in the second coming of Jesus.

2 events.  The jews will make a treaty with the anti-christ who promises to protect them.  That's the job that the United States is silently still accomplishing as we speak.  The arab nations that surround the state of Israel would obliterate the jews . . . if they could.  

The work I did for Sandia National Labs for 26 years was a cog in the machine that protects Israel.  Our nuclear arsenal is ready and working if we need to use it.  The big stick that hangs over the middle east.  Mess with Israel and the United States will answer in her behalf.

How much longer?  Well I can tell you this;  you can't get a rental car in Reno.  Things in this country are not what they were.  Israel will need to make a treaty with anti-christ, I think, because the United States either can not or will not any longer protect her.

The other event that triggers the final 7 years of jewish history before Messiah comes;  the church is removed.  That 7 year clock is set in motion because the parenthisis of the church age is over by the removal of the church to heaven.  The rapture of the church.

The church is taken to heaven and we will enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb.  We will be the chaste bride of the Son of God.  He will provide the wedding garments, white and clean.  He will give us His righteousness to be clothed in forever.

The next time the church is seen on earth after Revelation 3 is when we charge out of heaven, with Jesus, at His return to earth to crush Satan and his rebellion of sin and evil in Revelation 19.  

Having said all of that to preface the words that Jesus teaches to His disciples in answer to the end of the age and also of His return, we believe these words aren't for us.  They are for folks who find themselves in that 7 year reign of increasing terror after the church is called home.  This is Israel's final week of years.

After we're gone and these things are unfolding, try to put yourself in the place of someone who has believed and become a follower of Jesus in that time.  These words would be like drops of water on your tongue after a day of wandering in death valley when it's 130 degrees.

Those folks will read these things and they'll be watching moment by moment as all of these things unfold.  It'll all make sense.  They'll know who the anti-christ is.  The world political ruler.  And they'll know who the false prophet is, who claims to be jesus, the world religion ruler who tricks the world into believing the antichrist with his miracles.  They'll recognize the image of the beast that is set up in a rebuilt jewish temple.

How much might it be possible for us to see before we are called home?  I believe that call to Come Up Here (Rev. 4:1) can come at any moment.  No other prophecy must precede that.  The rapture is the next thing.  It ends the church age and begins the final 7 years of Israel.

Even so, some things we may witness before we are called home.  We could see the United States crumble into a meaningless 3rd world power under the control of others.  The anti-christ would be part of that but we all might be making guesses about who he is.  Nothing new there.

We could see Russia march into Israel and be defeated there by God as the mountains fall on them in a horrendous earthquake.  The reason I believe we might be witnesses of some of that is because Ezekiel says that Israel will be burning those weapons and won't need to gather firewood for 7 years.  So those things could happen before we are removed.  Maybe just before.

The temple will be rebuilt and sacrifices will be re-instated in Israel during the 7 year final week of years.  Wouldn't it be exciting if we witnessed a stray bomb demolish that dome of the rock.  Maybe that's the event that brings the armies out of the recesses of the north.  We don't know, but if that thing blows up, it would surely be exciting to witness.

All of that, and more, could happen before the church is removed.  Those are some possibilities.  And we seem intent on the destruction of America.  That's already well under way.  Israel could be shopping for a new protector very soon.  Fasten your seat belts.

Another sign I am watching intently is the crumbling of evangelicalism itself.  The church in America, mostly, more-so than other places where she exists, is awash in neo-liberalism and marxism.  A marker this week;

David Platt, who I previously respected a lot, was an early adopter of all of this social justice warrior stuff within the church of God, as if God needed defining pronouns preceeding justice.  

A member of his church, an elder who has pastoral roles over the church that he leads, made a death threat to all white christians.  You can go look at a video of a church elder stating how much he hates white christians and would like to see them burned.  That's within greater evangelicalism.  That isn't the world saying they'd like to see christians dead.  We expect that, or we should.  This is an elder in a mega-church that has adopted all of the critical race theory and social justice cause, saying he'd like to see white christians; dead.

I believe that the Bible alludes to a great falling away, within the church, before the call to come home.  Personally, I see the spewing of the lukewarm church out of Jesus mouth, (Laodicia Rev. 3) as a picture of the lukewarm church being left behind at the rapture.  The wheat will go home with Jesus, the tares will hold church services the following Sunday, after the rapture.  

OK, then, if I've got your attention, let's look at what Jesus tells His disciples in these verses and see if we can rightly divide who it is He's speaking directly to here, and what these words mean.

27 And then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory.

Who is the they in this verse?  Who is the antecedent to that word "they"?  We know who it is.  It's the people on earth who are witnessing all of the destruction of the earth and the universe immediately before Jesus appears in the sky, coming out of heaven which is torn asunder.

Listen to what Revelation chapter 6 says about that time period.
14 And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their (plural) wrath has come; and who is able to stand?”

We learn something here that we didn't see as clearly last week as we spoke of all of the signs that Jesus described surrounding His return.  (tonopahchurch.org).  Here we understand that when the heavens are split open, God is visible on His throne, and the terror of an angry God in full sight is why the people of earth are calling on the mountains to fall on them and hide them from the presence of the wrath of God.

Not only will the world;  see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory
they will also see God in wrathful judgement sitting on His throne because the heavens will be split open.

Isaiah 64:1 says;  Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence—

And that's exactly what will happen.  The heavens will be rolled up like a scroll and God will be visible on His throne and all eyes will see Jesus coming out of heaven to the earth in fiery judgement.  Beyond terrifying.

21:28 “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

these things.  What things?  All the things He's just talked about.  The abomination of desolation in the holy place.  The anti-christ on the rampage killing anyone who will not worship him.

Earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars, death, pestilence, armies surrounding Jerusalem all like no one has ever seen previously.  Then if anyone is counting, in the end of the 3 1/2 year period after the abomination of desolation, after all of those other terrors have been taking place, the signs in the sky, the earth shaken off of it's axis, the seas getting thrown wildly onto the land, the mountains crumbling, the skies being literally rolled up, ripped open, and the Son of Man returning to earth;  those things.  Terrifying final things, never seen before, never to be seen again.  These things.

21:28 “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Then Jesus gives a parable, an analogy that should be patently obvious.  It's so obvious that books have been written explaining what He really meant.  Baloney.  This is very simple, don't make it difficult.

29   Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves and you see it for yourselves, know that summer is now near.

Is that hard to interpret.  Maybe if you live in Los Angeles where there aren't any real seasons.  But in Tonopah we see this every year.  The leaves bud in spring and the baby leaves are just the most exhilerating bright yellow green.

When that happens we don't stand around saying, I wonder if winter is on the way.  Ridiculous.  No.  When that happens we know it's time to summerize the outdoor water faucets and get ready for summer.  It's time to think about planting some tomatoes.  It's time to hope with all your might that some of the apricot buds will actually survive the late spring bluster we almost always get.  Summer is right around the corner.  It's an easy parable.

That's all it means.  When you see that stuff happening, look up, Jesus is coming.  Those signs will be impossible to miss.  Yet if they were happening today, this world that hates God wouldn't have a clue.  They won't rush to search the ancient scriptures to see if someone some time foretold these exact things.  But a remnant in Israel will.  They'll read these words and know exactly what's going on.  If they are God's elect.

31 “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.

Who is the "you also" in this verse?  The ones who see the universe coming apart at the seams.  It's almost as if Jesus looks beyond the disciples in front of Him and speaks directly to someone else who will be reading His words for themselves far in the future.  You also!  The folks alive then, who know about these words and who believe these words can look around at all that is happening and know what?

They can know that the authority to reign of Satan and his world systems of evil rulers, the antichrist and the false prophet and the image in the temple are very near their doom.  Why?  Because the authority to reign of God is near.  Jesus is coming.  Quickly when you see all of those signs.  Look up.  This is very literal.  Not to us, but to God's elect remnant who are alive when all of these things are happening.

32 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.

OK this isn't quite so easy, because people have been making hay out of this for centuries, and most of it is wrong.

Who is the antecedent to this generation?  Well, who has He been talking about in every other instance so far?  It seems so obvious to me.  It's the same folks that He's been speaking to in all of the other verses.  "You also"  The generation that see's the sky's splitting open.  The generation that see's the treaty with anti-christ.  The generation that sees all of the events of Revelation cranking up over that 7 year period, gaining in intensity the whole time until things are literally flying to pieces at the end.  That generation.

The generation that see's all of those events will be the generation that literally sees Jesus returning in the clouds in great glory.  Awesome glory.

The word translated generation is genea.  We get our word genus.  A genus is a type of thing.  An identifiable thing.  Genus.  It's actuall a pretty generic word, and generic also comes to us from the same root.  The dictionary says;  a class, kind, or group marked by common characteristics or by one common characteristic

Theologians have written volumes about this word.  Israel!  It's Israel,  Israel will still be a genus when this happens.  That is an interpretation that's unnecessary.  The bible has told us that over and over.  It's non sensical to make that what this means.

And one of the most infamous interpretations is one that we have just lived through.  This will be familiar.  Hal Lindsey.  The fig tree is Israel, and when you see Israel back in the land, THAT generation will be the generation that sees all of these things take place.

OK class, that was 1948.  If you were 20 or so in 1948, that's actually my parents generation and those folks are getting very thin on the ground.  Thin and getting thinner.  The generation that was alive in 1948 is the great generation.  The World War II generation.  Almost all vanished.

I remember a book, the Herschbachs had read it and they were all excited and getting ready to go up on the roof and wait, because it was 1988 and according to Hal Lindsey a biblical generation was 40 years and 1948 - 1988 it's time to look up because Jesus is right around the corner.  '98, '08, '18  '21 no Jesus.  We're still here.

I told them they were nuts and showed them all the passages about we don't know the day or hour and luckily for me, because I'm not the touchy feely sort of apologist, they have been our friends ever since.  We still get christmas cards from them.

I think genea, genus if you will, in this verse represents not necessarily jews, but anyone who God calls and gives faith to believe in Him.  That generation of faithful believers, whether jew or gentile, those who belong to Jesus, that genea will not pass away from the earth, in spite of all of the horror going on around them.

I think Jesus is answering the question He posed in Luke 18.  When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?  Lk. 18:8b

I think this answers that question.  That genea.  That genus.  What genus?  The genus of called out believers who have faith in God and in the finished work of Jesus who they expect to return and depose Satan at any moment.  Those folks, that generation, those who by faith God has purchased out of this world, will not pass away until all of these things take place.  Jesus will find faith on the earth when He comes.  That's what the verse is telling us.

32 “Truly I say to you, this generation (a faithful remnant in this evil world who are owned by God) will not pass away until all things take place.

33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

We don't have the book of Enoch.  It passed away.  But not all of it.  We have words that Enoch prophecied when Adam was alive, included in Jude's epistle.  You can read those words in the book you hold in your hands in Jude vss 14 and 15.  Words spoken while Adam, the first man was still living, immortalized in this book that Jesus says will never pass away.

All other books pass away and are remembered no more.  All of them.  

An interesting footnote.  In my lifetime billions, no trillions of words have been written and stored on electronic chips.  Cyberspace.  Of all the fools errands, to think any of that will survive.  All of it will be gone in a day.  Gone, but not forgotten because God remembers, and Jesus has told us that we will be judged for our idle words.

From Sophocles 500 years before Christ, to the trash published yesterday on twitter, all of it, gone forever except for judgement.  Each persons words will be held and used against them in judgement.  One book lasts forever and ever, beyond heaven and earth.  The book you hold in your hands.

All of the words in this book, old testament and new, are His words.

I'll finish this morning by reading you words written by David 3000 years ago from the Legacy Standard Bible, a new revision of the NASB released just last year in NT and Psalms with the entire Bible being released later this fall.

3000 year old words that have survived intact that are about the words of this book that Jesus says will survive beyond heaven and earth.  God's words.  Brought to us through His slave David 3000 years ago.  Words that will last through all eternity.

Psalms 19:7 - 14
7    The law of Yahweh is perfect, restoring the soul;
         The testimony of Yahweh is sure, making wise the simple.

8     The precepts of Yahweh are right, rejoicing the heart;
    The commandment of Yahweh is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9     The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring forever;
    The judgments of Yahweh are true; they are righteous altogether.

10     They are more desirable than gold, even more than much fine gold;
    Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.

11     Moreover, by them Your slave is warned;
    In keeping them there is great reward.

12     Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.

13     Also keep back Your slave from presumptuous sins;
    Let them not rule over me;
    Then I will be blameless,
    And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.

14     Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    Be acceptable in Your sight,
    O Yahweh, my rock and my Redeemer.

You hold in your hands words that foretell the end, but those words will survive the end and be with us for eternity.  In a world collapsing in on itself in chaos, these words will be sweeter than honey from the honey comb.