The Return of Christ (Luke 21:25-36)


By Daniel L. Sonnenberg | December 2, 2012


Luke 21:25-36 “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, 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.” 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. 34 “But watch 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.”

The second coming of Christ, for believers is a source of comfort and hope, but for unbelievers a source of fear and confusion. The Scriptures foretell that Jesus will come again, not in humility as at his first coming as a child in a manger, but in sovereign authority as King of kings and Lord of lords bringing redemption in its fullness to believers but to unbelievers final judgment. Those who are associated with Christ and his church, yet are leading a double life should beware and repent because the coming of Christ will be sudden and unexpected, like a trap. True believers, on the other hand, should pray for strength to endure the persecutions and temptations of the last days so that they might be found standing faithfully when he comes.

Do you have questions about the return of Christ? You’re not alone. Jesus’ disciples did too. And on this occasion Jesus helped them to voice their concerns and to prepare them for what they would experience after his resurrection and ascension. In verse 6 of this chapter he seizes the opportunity to do so as they spoke about the beauty of the temple in Jerusalem. When Jesus surprisingly predicts its destruction, his disciples ask in verse 7, “when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” They wanted to know,  “when will this happen” and “how will anticipate it,” just as residents along the coast want to know when the hurricane is expected and how will they should prepare.

And like some meteorologists when preparing the public for a severe storm, Jesus gives them a rather long answer as recorded in this chapter as well as in Mark 13 and Matthew 24-25, telling them that many things will take place in the days ahead. Jesus predicts three groups of events.

The near future will include persecution, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and  flight.

The intermediate future will include the coming of false messiahs, continued persecution and an ongoing series of localized wars, earthquakes, famines and pestilences.

The distant future will include a series of world-wide cataclysmic events immediately followed by the coming of the Son of Man in power and authority to bring final judgment and redemption to all the peoples of the earth.

In our passage today in vv25-36 Jesus foretells the events of the final phase of redemptive history, the world-wide cataclysmic events and Jesus’ return. Here he answers their question of what will signal the return of Christ for redemption and judgment. Like a meteorologist preparing the public for a coming hurricane, first he tells them what will happen – the instruction, then how bad it will be – the illustration, and finally, what they should do to prepare – the application.

The instruction is found in vv25-28.  There will be world-wide cataclysmic signs followed by the coming of Christ in sovereign judgment and redemption. First will be the signs. There will be cataclysmic signs effecting a world-wide response of perplexity and fear (25-26). ¶ “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, 26  people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Jesus here summarizes the words of numerous OT prophetic Scriptures found in close association with the day of judgment or the day of the Lord.

 

Isaiah 13:9-10 (ESV) Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. 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.

Eze 30:3; 32:7-8  For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations… 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. 8  All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord GOD.

 

Joel 2:10-11 (ESV) The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. The LORD utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome; who can endure it?  

 

Zep 1:14-15 ESV)14 The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. 15 A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

Jesus also anticipates the New Testament writers.

 

2 Peter 3:10 (ESV) But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

 

Heb 1:10-12…the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed.

 

Revelation 6:12-13 (ESV) ¶ When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13  and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.

It’s as if creation itself is being undone in preparation for its transformation into the new heavens and new earth. Listen to Jeremiah 4:23, 25. “I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens and their light was gone…I looked, and there were no people…” Whether these signs are to be interpreted literally as the falling of the stars from the sky or figuratively of the failing of the entire world-wide economy or some combination of the two is hotly debated. However, the point is that these signs will not be localized as in the past, but will have a disastrous world-wide effect on all the nations, all peoples. The entire world, as it were, will tremble in fear at their effect.

The response of unbelievers will be one of perplexity, foreboding, fear and fainting. They will not know what to make of these fearful signs engulfing them on every side like a tidal wave. They will intuitively interpret them as something to fear – the impending judgment of God against evil.

               Jesus tells them also that these signs will then be followed immediately by the sovereign return of Son of Man (27).  27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Jesus intentionally takes this image from Daniel 7:13ff ”…before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worship him. His dominion is everlasting…his kingdom will never be destroyed. This is the first reference to the Messiah as the Son of Man, a title that Jesus applied to himself earlier. Jesus is saying that he, as the Son of Man, the Messiah, will be enthroned as ruler over the whole earth, and his kingdom will never end, whether in heaven or on earth. He will come again on the last day to judge with sovereign authority and to vindicate his suffering people.

Finally, Jesus tells his disciples – and us – how we should respond to his return: not by cowering in fear and fainting like unbelievers, but by standing with confident assurance and lifted heads, knowing that for us, Jesus’ coming means the arrival of our final redemption. Verse 28 says, 28  Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Jesus then illustrates his message with the parable of the fig tree. Like a meteorologist who tells the public how to know when the storm is upon them, Jesus tells us how we will know when these signs are occurring. He draws an analogy between fig trees in the summer and the kingdom of God (29-31) 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. His point is that the signs of Jesus’ imminent coming will be obvious. The difference between the localized wars, famines and pestilences of the intermediated time and the world-wide cataclysmic events preceding the coming of Christ will be as obvious as the difference between a tree with no leaves in winter and a tree full of leaves in the summer. You can’t miss it. It will be like the difference between the deciduous trees in winter and summer in NW Ohio. Can we know exactly when he will return? No. No man can know the day or the hour, but apparently we can know the season. It will be an obvious difference from what we’ve seen to date.

How long will it be from the beginning of these world-wide signs to Christ’s return? Perhaps less than a generation. (32) 32  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. This is another hotly debated issue. What does “this generation” refer to? One commentator says, “His remark comes after comments about nearness of the end to certain signs. The issue of the signs controls the force of the passage. If this is correct, Jesus says that when the signs of the beginning of the end come, then the end will come relatively quickly, within a generation.” If Jesus meant “these things” to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem only, then he was speaking of the generation of the first disciples. If Jesus meant “these things” to refer to final redemption, then he was speaking of the generation of those living when these signs begin. Those who see the beginning of consummation will see end of consummation. They will proceed quickly, they will not drag on for many generations, they will happen in a generation. Revelation indicates the consummation comes quickly once it comes.

However, whenever it does take place, it is certain to take place. (33)  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Jesus says in effect “creation is less permanent than the truth of this teaching about the end. It will come to pass.”

Third, we come to the application. What is the point of Jesus’s teaching about the end times and the final end? How should we respond?  There seem to be two points here for two groups of people: the call to prepare for judgment and the call to remain faithful under pressure

First, the call to prepare for judgment.(34-35) 34 ¶  “But watch 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. The first group addressed here are those persons who may be associated with the church and associated with the things of the Lord, but who are not yet believers. They are living a double life – going to church services, going to Bible study, participating in ministries or activities of the church – but also living a self-indulgent lifestyle because they have never repented of their sin and received Christ.  The message to them – perhaps to you – is “Don’t believe that Jesus’ extended absence means that judgment will never come, because when it comes there are consequences.” In Jesus’ story of the wise and wicked servants in Luke 12:45-46 Jesus says, But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46  the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful.

Mr. Jim Burriss, then in his late 70’s, had served as a deacon, an elder, and Sunday school superintendent in a former church, but was known in the community to be mean as a snake. His business was horses and he was known to cheat people as often as not. However, on Sunday July 4, 1976, when our country was celebrating its bicentennial, the message of the gospel pierced his heart. That day, a the word of God through their new pastor caused him to  repent of his sin and the Lord transformed his life. I too attended church, sang in the choir, participated in youth events and even served on the search committee in high school and my first years of college at BGSU, but especially in the last two years, at the same time, I was living a very different lifestyle that did not honor he Lord. But after moving to NC, I heard the clear gospel message of repentance for sin and faith in Jesus Christ, my life was transformed as well.

Additionally, the message to you is “Don’t wait till it’s too late because the judgment will come suddenly. There will be no time to prepare when it comes. It will appear as unexpectedly as an animal trap in the forest. Once the trap is sprung you’ll never get out of it. In the story of the bridesmaids in Mat 25:10-11 Jesus says,  And while they (the unprepared bridesmaids) were going to buy (more oil), the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward when the other bridesmaids came and said, Lord, lord, open to us, later he answered, ‘I do not know you.’  

Also, the judgment will be comprehensive. “it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.” You must be ready when it comes.  Officials in the path of a hurricane warn people on the barrier islands to evacuate. To those who refuse to leave they warn that when the hurricane arrives in full force we will not be able to rescue you. Your fate is in the hands of the hurricane. It will be too late.

The second group addressed here are true believers. They are – you are –  called to remain faithful under pressure (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.”

We are to vigilantly watch our lives that we might be found faithful when he comes, because neither do we know the time of Christ’s return. We should pray for strength to endure temptations that will come with persecution Jesus predicts in v 12 as well as other pressures. Luke 21:12-19 (ESV) 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. But Jesus concludes with a promise in v18.  18  But not a hair of your head will perish. 19  By your endurance you will gain your lives. We are to rely on God’s strength that we might stand before Christ to receive his commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” on the day of deliverance.

Summary: as the end comes, disciples are to look for heaven to come to earth and for divine strength to be faithful in meantime.

Notes:

Intro:

What’s the greatest calamity you’ve ever experienced? Was it a howling hurricane, a devastating flood or tornado, or something worse? There are natural disasters and there are man-made disasters. Both are emotionally devastating.

Remember the scene on that quiet December Sunday morning some 70 years ago? The famed and glorious 7th fleet of American warships was parked neatly in rows in the tranquil harbor on Hawaii’s largest island, service and support personnel were going through their daily routines, cooking, eating breakfast, talking, cleaning up, moving about above and below the decks, when suddenly the placid skies were split by the sight and sounds of planes spitting fire and hot metal, exploding shells, burning shrapnel flying thru the air, sinking ships, men trapped underwater, death and destruction. They were caught off-guard, confused, dumbfounded, fearful and frantic. What could be happening? What was happening? How could this be happening? Why weren’t we warned? What can we do?

Similarly, sixty years later on an equally placid September morning, the famed and glorious twin towers of Manhattan, the financial capital of the world, filled with people making their plans for the day, manning the phones, cutting deals, and filling each other in on the family left at home or dropped off at school or about last night’s game. Suddenly, unexpectedly, the sound of a great crash immediately accompanied by flying metal, plaster, wood and glass broke into the side of 37th floor of tower 1, a raging fire broke out, some were immediately killed and injured while others called for help and ran or crawled for safety. Then just as suddenly and unexpectedly, another great crash and fire, injuries and death fractured the side of the second great tower standing next to the first. The stairwells immediately filled with first responders going up and workers coming down – perplexed, fearful, frantic. Then just as suddenly and unexpectedly, both towers collapsed with a tremendous roar, twisted metal, fractured concrete and a storm of dust that filled the surrounding streets for blocks.

 

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[8] But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and [t]a thousand years as one day. [9] [u]The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise [v]as some count slowness, but [w]is patient toward you,[f1] [x]not wishing that any should perish, but [y]that all should reach repentance. [10] But [z]the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then [a]the heavens will pass away with a roar, and [b]the heavenly bodies[f2] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.[f3]

[11] Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, [c]what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, [12] [d]waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and [e]the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! [13] But according to his promise we are waiting for [f]new heavens and a new earth [g]in which righteousness dwells.

[Cross References]

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[r] ver. 10, 12

[s] [2 Thess. 1:9]

[t] Ps. 90:4

[u] Hab. 2:3; Heb. 10:37

[v] [Eccles. 8:11; Rev. 2:21]

[w] Isa. 30:18; Luke 18:7

[x] Ezek. 18:23, 32; 33:11

[y] 1 Tim. 2:4

[z] See Matt. 24:43

[a] [Rev. 6:14; 20:11; 21:1]; See Matt. 24:35

[b] Isa. 34:4; [Isa. 24:19; Mic. 1:4; Nah. 1:5]

[c] 1 Pet. 1:15

[d] [Luke 12:36; 1 Cor. 1:7; 1 Thess. 1:10; Titus 2:13; Jude 21]

[e] See ver. 10

[f] Isa. 65:17; 66:22; Rev. 21:1

[g] Isa. 60:21; Rev. 21:27

[Footnotes]

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[1] 3:9 Some manuscripts on your account

[2] 3:10 Or elements; also verse 12

[3] 3:10 Greek found; some manuscripts will be burned up

2 Pet. 3:10 the day of the Lord. God’s judgment will not be delayed forever (see note on vv. 8–9). When Christ returns it will be sudden, without warning, like the strike of a thiefThe heavens (the sky) will pass away (cf. Ps. 102:25–26Heb. 1:10–12Rev. 6:14) and the heavenly bodies (stars, etc.) will be burned up and dissolved. There will be no place to hide (cf. Rev. 6:15–16), for the earthand every person’s works on the earth will be exposed (Gk. heurethēsetai, lit., “will be found,” a divine passive meaning “found by God”) to God’s judgment. Some translations read “will be burned up” (Gk. katakaēsetai) because some Greek manuscripts have this wording (instead of Gk. heurethēsetai). But the earliest and most reliable manuscripts have “will be found” (Gk. heurethēsetai), indicating with this reading that the annihilation of the earth is not taught in this passage. Scholars have debated whether the NT speaks of an annihilation of the present cosmos and the creation of a new universe, or whether it indicates the transformation of the present cosmos, including the earth. The latter seems more likely in light of: (1) the preferred reading of this passage (see above); (2) Rom. 8:18–25; (3) many OT prophecies about the renewal of the earth; (4) Christ’s resurrection body being in continuity with his earthly body; and (5) the fact that Christ’s resurrection body is a pattern for the resurrection bodies of Christians (1 Cor. 15:12–58). God seems always to renew, not destroy and recreate, parts of his creation that are marred by sin. See note on Rev. 21:1–8.

Romans 8:18-25 (ESV) ¶ For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

1 Corinthians 15:12-58 (ESV) ¶ Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14  And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15  We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19  If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 ¶  But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21  For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23  But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24  Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26  The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27  For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28  When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. 29  Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30  Why are we in danger every hour? 31  I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32  What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33  Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34  Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. 35 ¶  But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36  You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37  And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38  But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39  For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40  There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 ¶  So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43  It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45  Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46  But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47  The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48  As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49  Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. 50  I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 ¶  Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55  “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 ¶  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Revelation 21:1-8 (ESV) ¶ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 ¶  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6  And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”


Rev. 21:1–22:5
 “All Things New.” The destruction of the last enemy, death, and the last judgment will finally lead to the renewal of the entire created order, heaven and earth, to be the perfect home in which the Lamb will live forever with his bride, the people whom he has redeemed out of all the nations through his atoning death.

Rev. 21:1–8 The New Heaven and Earth, Home of the Lamb’s Bride. Having seen Christ’s enemies destroyed, John finally sees “a new heaven and a new earth,” the eternal home of the Lamb with his bride. After the new cosmos is described, the bride herself is introduced (21:9–22:5). Scholars differ as to whether this “new earth” is entirely new (newly created) or is the old earth transformed in a way analogous to the transformation of believers’ resurrection bodies (1 Cor. 15:35–49Phil. 3:21; see note on 2 Pet. 3:10).

1 Cor 15:35-49 35 ¶  But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36  You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37  And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38  But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39  For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40  There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 ¶  So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43  It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45  Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46  But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47  The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48  As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49  Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

 

Philippians 3:21 (ESV) who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Rev. 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The removal of the first heavenand earth eliminates the fatal infection of evil in the cosmic order and gives way to God’s creation of a new cosmic order where sin and suffering and death are forever banished. The old order was in “bondage to decay” (Rom. 8:21) and “groaning … in pains of childbirth until now” (Rom. 8:22), awaiting the day when “the heavens … will be dissolved” and “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell” will be established to forever replace the old (2 Pet. 3:12–13). This represents the specific fulfillment of the prophecy given to Isaiah: “Thus says the LordGod … ‘I create new heavens and a new earth …’” (Isa. 65:13, 17; cf. 66:22). Scholars differ, however, as to the extent and way in which the “first heaven and the first earth” will pass away and be transformed into something new—especially as to whether this represents an entirely new creation, or whether (and to what extent) this represents a “renewed” creation that retains some degree of continuity with the old order. As seen in the example of 1 Cor. 15:35–44, it is clear, with respect to the believer’s resurrection body, that although there is some kind of continuity between the old and the new order, the new reality will also be qualitatively different—for example, as different as a kernel or a seed is from a full-grown wheat plant (1 Cor. 15:35–39). Thus “new” (Gk. kainos) is best understood here in terms of something that has been qualitatively transformed in a fundamental way, rather than as an outright new creation ex nihilo (Latin, “out of nothing”), as in the case of God’s original creation in Genesis 1. By comparison to the old order that is coming to an end, the new cosmic order is radically different—a place where “righteousness will dwell” (2 Pet. 3:13), where God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 21:4; cf. Isa. 25:8 and Rev. 7:17), where “death shall be no more” (Rev. 21:4; cf. Isa. 25:8 and 1 Cor. 15:26), where “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay” (Rom. 8:21), and where all that is “perishable” will be raised and transformed into a glorious new “imperishable” reality (1 Cor. 15:42–43), where the redeemed will rejoice in the eternal presence of “God and the Lamb” (Rev. 14:4; cf. 22:1–5). The sea was no more does not mean there will be no bodies of water in the new earth (cf. 21:6; 22:1–2) but refers to the source of earthly rebellion, chaos, and danger—the sea from which the beast emerged (13:1Dan. 7:3). This symbolic (or literal) source of rebellion will no longer threaten creation’s perfection.

2 Pet. 3:11–13 Living Effectively in View of the Lord’s Return. Peter concludes his treatment of the Lord’s return by turning the discussion once again to Christian lifestyle. The second coming should be a motivation to live a holy life.

2 Pet. 3:11 The people of God ought to live in holiness and godliness, to avoid the punishment coming to the ungodly and to devote themselves to things that will last beyond the judgment.

2 Pet. 3:12 Hastening (Gk. speudō, “hurry [by extra effort]”) the coming of the day of God suggests that, by living holy lives, Christians can actually affect the time of the Lord’s return. That does not mean, of course, that the Lord has not foreknown and foreordained when Jesus will return (cf. Matt. 24:36Acts 17:31). But when God set that day, he also ordained that it would happenafter all of his purposes for saving believers and building his kingdom in this present age had been accomplished, and those purposes are accomplished when he works through his human agents to bring them about. Therefore, from a human perspective, when Christians share the gospel with others, and pray (cf.Matt. 6:10), and advance the kingdom of God in other ways, they do “hasten” the fulfillment of God’s purposes, including Christ’s return.

2 Pet. 3:13 The hope of Christians ultimately depends, though, not on their works (cf. note on v. 12) but on God’s promise. Their hope is not in the destruction of the wicked and their works, even though that is a necessary part of God’s final judgment. Their hope is in the promise that God will bring about a new heavens and a new earth (see Isa. 65:17; 66:22Rev. 21:1–22:5), which will be the eternal abode of the righteous. “New” could mean “newly created” but probably means “renewed, made new” (see notes on Rom. 8:20–212 Pet. 3:10).

 

 

Luke 21:8-11 (ESV) And he said,

False teachers: “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.

Wars and rumors of wars: 9  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.

Nation again nation.  10 ¶ Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

Signs in the heavens: 11  There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

Persecution Luke 21:12 (ESV) 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.

-Destruction of the temple

-Destruction of Jerusalem

-Wars and persecutions

 

and we see this in the next verse 27.

 

27  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

The coming of the Son of Man of which Jesus speaks to his disciples, will be immediately preceded by cataclysmic signs, changes in the heavenly bodies and the oceans of the earth. It will seem as if the creation itself has come unglued, its foundations shaken.

  1. Image from dan 7.18, 22, 27

Daniel 7:18 (ESV) But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

Daniel 7:22 (ESV) until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.

Daniel 7:27 (ESV) And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’

  1. Representative head of a collective body of saints
  • Regal figure, receives kingdom authority, comes with superhuman majesty
  1. “cloud” is key image of authority
  2. Returning person brings judgment with the power of God
  3. Jesus refers to himself and his return (see exeg 9.26; 17.30; 12.8)
  • Brings vindication to his suffering people as authoritative messiah

 

  • Author’s preference is that once the signs begin the consummation will take place within that generation
  1. His favored alternative view for “this generation” (same as Green, ) = this type of generation (ie the faithless gen of 11.29-32) –

Luke 11:29-32 (ESV) ¶ When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30  For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31  The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32  The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

  1. The point is the end will come before the end of the faithless generation
  2. The point is that evil people will be judged, pp. 1690-91
  1. Peter predicts this day in his sermon on Pentecost in Act 3.19-21 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21  whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

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