Scripture Study: Luke 21

Luke 21  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The contrast between the widow and the rich men suggests the difference between the devoted, yet poor, remnant of the Jews, and the self-satisfied state of the leaders, who with outward display of religiousness, yet were, as we have seen, far from pleasing Jehovah.
Verses 1-4. And He looked up and saw rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And He said, “Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow had cast in more than they all: 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.” The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. So it is here. He looks on the heart’s motives. The rich men gave out of their superfluous abundance, it was no trial; it brought no freed of carefulness or scantiness to them. But the poor widow gave from a heart devoted to the service of the temple, still owned of Jehovah her all. She was “a widow indeed,” and her heart trusted in Jehovah for her next meal. Her confidence was in Him, so she gave all the living she had. The Lord saw her wholeheartedness. She kept back nothing. They kept back their abundance, and gave a little of their superfluity, for selfishness controlled their hearts. And may they not have been some of those who devoured widows’ houses, and for a show made long prayers? (Chapter 20:46,47). And as their prayers there, so their giving here was abomination to Him who could read their hearts. (Isa. 1:11-1511To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. (Isaiah 1:11‑15)). Verily I say unto you they have their reward. And what a warning they are to us, as the widow on the other hand is an encouragement. We might argue, how foolish of her to give her all to such a failing testimony, but it is better to see in these days of weakness, that we have a like privilege to go on with what is of God, and own with our company and interest the little remnant who are truly gathered to the Lord’s name, and have His presence in their midst (Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)).
Verses 5, 6. And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, He said, “As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Verse 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?”
Verse 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 after them.” “The time draweth near,” speaks of what was about to occur, and did take place after Christ was risen and glorified, and the Holy Spirit had come to form the church of God on earth. This warned them of anti-Christs of whom they were to beware. (1 John 2:18, 1918Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2:18‑19)).
Verse 9 warns of wars and commotions, but tells them not to be terrified. These things must come to pass, but the end was not immediately.
Verses 10, 11, tell of the fearful things that were to happen, and did, before Jerusalem was destroyed.
Verses 12-19. The believers are told of the trials to come on themselves as God’s testimony for Christ’s namesake, but they were not to be disturbed in their minds and hearts, and not to premeditate what they were to answer. He would give them a mouth and wisdom, which all their adversaries would not be able to gainsay nor resist. Yet He would allow them to suffer even from their own relatives, and some would be put to death, and they would be hated of all men for Christ’s namesake. But whatever was allowed to happen to them, not a hair of their head would perish; all was in the Father’s keeping; it was the Father’s will, so they could rest, possessing their souls in patience, receiving the end of their faith—soul salvation (1 Peter 1:99Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9)). They would be preserved for God’s heavenly Kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1818And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:18)). Man’s wrath but works out for us the will and glory of God (Psa. 76:1010Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. (Psalm 76:10)). Their home and portion was not in this world.
Verses 20-24 gives them the signal when to flee to the mountains. (Notice the difference in Matt. 24, which is still future. “The abomination of desolation.”) Those in Jerusalem were to depart; those outside were not to enter into it. For these be the days of vengeance, that all that was written may be fulfilled. In Luke 4:17-2017And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. (Luke 4:17‑20), the Lord read Isaiah 61:1, 21The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (Isaiah 61:1‑2), but closed the book at “the acceptable year of the Lord,” for then the day of vengeance had not come, but now He tells of its coming. And we can see it has come. Jerusalem was destroyed with great suffering to the Jews. God’s wrath has come upon them to the uttermost (1 Thess. 2:14-1614For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 16Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (1 Thessalonians 2:14‑16)), and there they remain scattered. Jerusalem and the land is under Gentile power, and so to continue till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. The nations will have power over them till Christ’s government is set up. The Turks had it for years; others have it now more favorable to the Jews. The Roman Beast will have it (Rev. Chaps. 13 and 17). But Hosea 3:44For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: (Hosea 3:4) declares the condition of the Jews now. The terrible tribulation will take place before Hosea 3:55Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days. (Hosea 3:5). Cain’s mark is on them, and they are vagabonds (Gen. 5:1414And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. (Genesis 5:14)).
Verses 25-27. This is future and gives some description of the scene before the Son of Man appears, “distress of nations.” “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.” This affects the Gentiles as well as the Jews. (Compare Hag. 2:21, 2221Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; 22And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. (Haggai 2:21‑22); Heb. 12:26, 2726Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26‑27)). Yet many of both—Jew and Gentile—will own the name of Jesus as the Messiah before they see Him. It will be a fearful time on earth and outside of the present time of the gospel of God’s grace, for when He appears we shall appear with Him, He having come for His saints as seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-1715For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15‑17).
Verses 28-31. When the believers on earth see those things happening it will tell them to look up; their deliverance is near. As trees, the fig tree and all the trees, shoot forth and tell that summer is nigh at hand, so they who have eyes to see the signs of the times will know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand—the time when Christ will take His Kingdom and reign (Rev. 11:1515And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)).
Verse 32. Verily, I say unto you, “This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” Alas! how true this is of the Jewish character. And this unbelieving, blind state will be with the Jews as a nation till Christ comes.
Verse 33. Come He will, and all must be fulfilled. Man cannot hinder God’s purposes. “Heaven and earth shall pass away; but My words shall not pass away.”
Verses 34-36 are words of warning to the disciples of that day, for they desire to stand before the Son of Man on earth. They are warned to be ready; not to be carried away with this life, and the pleasures and cares of it, for Satan will do all he can to lead them into his snare, therefore they were to watch and pray always. In principle they speak to us also that we might be in the watching and waiting attitude, dependent upon and cleaving to our Lord, till we see Him when caught up to meet him in the air.
Verses 37, 38. The Lord goes on with His ministry till the last. In the daytime teaching the people in the temple, and at night in the Mount of Olives (outside of the corrupt city), alone with the Father in the place where He ascended from (Acts 1), and where His feet shall stand when He returns (Zech. 14:44And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4)). And the people came early in the morning to Him in the temple for to hear Him. Does He not still love to speak to the hearing, diligent soul that makes an effort to get early into His presence. May we, like Mary (Luke 10), make choice of it, and taste the blessedness of John 14:18, 21, 2318I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:18)
21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)
23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)