20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.21 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,22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.23 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.24 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. Luke21: 20-24 ESV
This is a very poignant prophecy by Jesus Christ just days before his crucifixion. This was a prophecy both for his contemporaries and for the future. He foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and it's recovery by the Jews. The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple happened roughly forty years after his death and resurrection. The reclamation of Jerusalem happened forty five years or so ago during the "Six day war". So if I read Jesus correctly, the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. So what's next? Jesus continues his prophecy
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,26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Luke 21: 25-28
Ok, so the first section of verses is fairly clear. Jerusalem is going to be destroyed. The second group of verses is a little more vague and if you continue to read the NT seems that Jesus is giving a summation of the events of his second coming. Jesus does continue to give revelation to his disciples in the following years and they are passed down to us in the letters written to the early churches. Events such a great falling away in the church (which I believe we're seeing the beginnings of) and the revelation of the man of lawlessness,aka The Anti-Christ,. (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
Another thing that I believe will happen and I think you can support this from Biblical history will be the rebuilding of the temple. If you look back at the books of Ezra and Nehemiah one of the first things that the nation did when it returned was rebuilt the temple. I've heard arguments against this saying that it's not necessary, that the people don't really want it etc.... However have been and are plans to do this, they are currently looking for a suitable site.(see www.templeinstitute.org and others)
I know to the world and probably many in the Church I sound nuts, like I'm trying to set a date or I'm some sort of conspiracy theorist, but the signs are there. The clear sign from Jesus is that the time is drawing near. I don't know when, maybe in my life time, maybe in my children or grand children's lifetime but we are near.
29 And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and
drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly
like a trap.35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.36 But
stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape
all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the
Son of Man."
37 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.
In this next section Jesus tells us to watch for the signs of his second coming and he says this generation will not pass away till it all has taken place. Now this is a highly disputed segment. The Preterists (those that think Jesus's prophecies are applying to the first century church) believe that he's talking for his disciples and those listening however is you follow the context he's not. He's clearly talking about the generation that is alive after the time of the gentiles ends (He's God he can do that) and clearly the time of the gentiles doesn't end until Jerusalem is in the hands of the Jews.
But I digress, This next group of verses is warning us to watch for the signs and be prepared for his coming. I'm not going to make any real predictions. I don't know when Jesus is coming back but by looking at his own words, it's going to be soon, real soon. When the signs in the moon and the sun and the stars begin happening I don't believe there is going to be any doubt for the vigilant believer about what is happening and there will be no doubt when the Son of Man comes again.
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,21 nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."t
22 And he said to the disciples, "The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.23 And they will say to you, 'Look, there!' or 'Look, here!' Do not go out or follow them.24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.t
25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.27 They
were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage,
until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and
destroyed them all.28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building,29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.31 On
that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the
house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is
in the field not turn back.32 Remember Lot's wife.33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left.35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left."t
37 And they said to him, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather." Luke 17 20 - 37
So are you ready for the second coming of the Son of Man? Again I don't know when it's going to happen, nobody but God does. But whether it by the second coming or by natural causes we will all stand before Jesus Christ. Are you ready?