This Generation Will Not Pass
March 14, 2021
 And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said,  “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”  And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”  And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.  And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.  But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.  This will be your opportunity to bear witness.  Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer,  for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.  You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death.  You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.  But not a hair of your head will perish.  By your endurance you will gain your lives.
 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it,  for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.  Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people.  They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,  people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.  As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (ESV)
“I believe that the vast majority of Christians rarely feel the weight of the problem of this text. I have seen many attempts to get around it with exegetical gymnastics or torturous attempts to simplify the problem.” – RC Sproul
The plot thickens because there are two other texts that we find in Matthew’s Gospel that are also problematic: 16:28 and 24:34. Matthew 16:28 says this: “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” And 24:34 says this: “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” – RC Sproul
“Josephus reports that during the reign of Nero deceivers and false prophets were arrested on a daily basis. In his Ecclesiastic History, Eusebius refers to the prevalence of false messiahs in this period.” – Sam Storms
“…. the period A.D 33-70 witnessed countless military disturbances. An uprising in Caesarea took 20,000 Jewish lives; at Scythopolis 13,000 Jews were killed; in Alexandria 50,000 were slain; 10,000 were killed in Damascus. When the Emperor Caligula ordered his statue to be erected in the temple at Jerusalem (A.D.40), the Jews refused. As a result they lived in a state of fearful anxiety over imminent war with Rome and were in such distress that they even neglected to till the land.” – Sam Storms
Such historical records as we have for the first century mention earthquakes in Asia Minor in AD 61 and in Italy in AD 62, in Jerusalem in AD 67, and another serious earthquake at an unspecified earlier date in Palestine. A widespread famine around AD 46 is mentioned in Acts 11:28 and Josephus. — R.T. France
Some point to the fact that, in late 66, the Christian community, under the leadership of Symeon (a cousin of Jesus), withdrew to the village of Pella in Perea, a mountainous region east of the Sea of Galilee. History records that the commander Cestius inexplicably and without warning ordered his troops to withdraw. This gave the Jewish believers an opportunity to flee the city in accordance with Jesus’ advice (Luke 21:21). According to Josephus, after Cestius’ siege and retreat the Jews left Jerusalem like swimmers from a sinking ship…. By all accounts, no Christian died in the holocaust that engulfed Jerusalem shortly thereafter. – Sam Storms
Isaiah 13:10  For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. (ESV)
Isaiah 34:4  All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree. (ESV)
Ezekiel 32:7–8  When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light.  All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord GOD. (ESV)
Josephus, when he gave his record of the destruction of Jerusalem, talked about the multitude of eyewitnesses who saw signs in the sky. When they looked up, they saw chariots of fire in the sky and heard a voice saying, “We are departing hence.” They heard the words of the leaving of divine glory, as the people of Israel had heard centuries before when the chariot of God was leaving, giving Jerusalem over to destruction (Ezek. 10). Jesus came at the end of the Jewish age in judgment. – RC Sproul
Daniel 7:13-14  “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.  And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (ESV)
Jesus is using Daniel 7:13 as prediction of that authority which he exercised, when in A.D. 70 the Jewish nation and its leaders, who had condemned him, were overthrown, and Jesus was vindicated as the recipient of all power from the Ancient of Days…..Jesus, exalted after his death and resurrection to receive his everlasting dominion, will display it within the generation…..by an act of judgment on the nation and capital of the authorities who presumed to judge him. Then they will see….for themselves that their time of power is finished, and it is to him that God has given all power in heaven and earth.” – RT France
This prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple provides firm proof of the identity of Jesus and the inspiration of Scripture by the Holy Spirit, and it should close the mouth of even the most hardened skeptic. – RC Sproul
Questions For Discussion/Application (Care Groups):
- Re-read the text, Luke 21:5-33. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- The interpretation of the Olivet Discourse we head on Sunday is commonly known as a preterist or partial preterist interpretation. Watch this 20 minute video from RC Sproul entitled, “This Generation: The Last Days According to Jesus with R.C. Sproul.”
- Had you heard this interpretation of the Olivet Discourse before? How does it land on you? What questions do you have?
- The sermon ended Sunday with a reminder that the judgment of God is real and that this passage does point to the judgment of God coming at the end of the age. Consider taking time to pray for unbelievers and friends who don’t yet know Christ and that the Lord would help us to be faithful in our witness to them.
Questions For Discussion/Application (parents with younger children):
- Re-read selected excerpts from the text, Luke 21:5-33.
- This is a text in scripture that some Christians understand differently than others.
- Some people believe this refers to the second coming of Christ.
- Some Christians think this passage is mainly about when Jesus came in judgment upon the people of Israel for rejecting Him.
- Whatever view someone has, all Christians agree that Jesus is coming again.
- We also all agree that when Jesus comes, that will be happy day for some, but a sad day for others.
- Those who know Jesus and have experienced His saving grace, will spend eternity with Christ forever!
- Those who don’t know Jesus, and haven’t experienced his salvation, will spend eternity apart from Christ. They will experience eternal judgment.
- Ask: What does it mean that Jesus died in our place, on the cross?
- Explain: The idea of Jesus being our substitute. He bore God’s judgment in our place so that we don’t have to if we will but trust in Christ to forgive us of our sins and turn from our sins.
- Watch: Video “Jesus In My Place.”
- Pray: Take time to thank God for sending His Son Jesus to die on the Cross in our place for us so we can spend eternity with Him.