January 21, 2018
The End of Old Covenant Temple Worship or the End of the World?
- Wade Burleson -
Luke 21:5-38 (NASB)
This morning we are going to do something unusual. Because our text is lengthy, we are going to take it a section at a time with comments after each section. How you read this text will determine your view about “the last days” in Scripture, “the Kingdom of God” (is it to come or are we in it?), and much more. It is possible that this section of Scripture may teach BOTH the end of the Old Covenant and the end of the world, but before you dogmatically assert anything, you better know the primary teaching of Jesus.
- This text is primarily about the end of Temple worship or the Old Covenant agreement.
5 And while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said, 6 “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.” 7 They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the [sign when these things are about to take place?” 8 And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. 9 When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.” (Luke 21:5-9)
“The end” in the immediate context is “the end” of Temple worship.
- Any text taken out of it’s context is nothing but a pretext (false conclusion).
- Luke 21 is the parallel passage to Matthew 24 – the “Coming of Jesus” in judgment.
- The day of God’s wrath is the destruction of the Old Covenant way of worship (Temple worship).
10 Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, 11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. 13 It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony 14 So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; 15 for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. 16 But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 17 and you will be hated by all because of My name. 18 Yet not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives. 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. 23 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; 24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:10-24)
Jesus predicted all the things above would take before the end of Temple worship (AD 70).
- A Jewish historian by the name of Flavius Josephus writes about the period AD 30 – AD 70. Jesus spoke these words the week of His death (AD 30), and forty years is a Jewish generation.
- The Works of Josephus chronicles everything that happened AD 30 to AD 70 just as Jesus said.
- The Coming of Christ in AD 70 was a coming in judgment upon the nation of Israel.
25 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 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.” (Luke 21:25-28)
This apocalyptic language is used in the Old Testament to describe God’s judgment on nations.
- In Isaiah 13:1-13, the exact same language is used by God against the nation of Babylon. Notice verse 13, "Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place." God is not speaking of the universe, but the destruction of the nation of Babylon. God fulfilled what He told Isaiah about Babylon in 539 B.C. when the Medes destroyed Babylon (Isaiah 13:17).
- In Nahum 1:1-5, the exact same language is used by God against the Assyrians. "The burden of Nineveh...the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebukes the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers...The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein." This is the way God describes the fall of the nation of Assyria. There are many more nations (Egypt, Idumea, etc.) in the Old Testament upon whom God’s judgment falls.
- The Kingdom of Christ has come to this world through the New Covenant God has inaugurated.
29 Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 34 “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; 35 for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. 36 But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:29-36)
The Kingdom (e.g. “The King’s Dominion”) is now.
- The Kingdom of God is now in your midst (see Luke 17:21).
God’s people are now from “every nation, all tribes, every ethnicity, every tongue” (Rev. 7:9).
Every believer in Christ, both man and woman, is “a priest unto God” (Rev. 1:6).
The temple of God is now the individual believer, not a building (I Cor. 3:16).
We worship God in “spirit and in truth” not through rituals and law (John 4:24).
- “This generation” did not pass away before everything Jesus said took place (v. 32). “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." (Matthew 16:28). The Kingdom of God abides now in you.
- The Kingdom of God is now in your midst (see Luke 17:21).
- To live Kingdom lives we listen to the words of Jesus and obey what He says.
37 Now during the day He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet. 38 And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him. (Luke 21:37-38)
Acouete Auton – “Hear Him!”
You can view the video for this sermon and other past sermons HERE.