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Luke Chapter Twenty-one


I. Content of the Chapter


Teachings Concerning Offering and the Last Time

I. He praised the poor widow’s offering (v.1-4).

II. He predicted that the holy temple would be destroyed (v.5-6).

III. The things that must take place before the last time (v.7-19).

IV. The disaster of the sacred land and the coming of the Son of Man (v.20-28).

V. The parable of the budding of the fig tree------the kingdom of God is near (v.29-33).

VI. Warnings concerning the last time (v.34-36).

VII. In the daytime He was teaching in the temple and at night He stayed on the mountain called Olivet (v.37-38).


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Luke. 21:1 “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,

   YLT: “And having looked up, he saw those who did cast their gifts to the treasury rich men,”

   The Background: the outermost part of the Holy Temple was the Court of the Gentiles (the Gentiles could not go further). Through the inward stone steps, there was a court of women (the Jewish women could not go further). Deeper within, it was the inner court (only the Jewish men could enter). There were thirteen offertory boxes under the porticoes of the court of women for worshipers of God to give money. The orifice of the box was similar in shape of a horn. When the money was cast into the box, it gave off sounds. At that time, men usually cast money into the box in public, so the amount of money could be seen by others.

   Literal Meaning: “putting their gifts into the treasury” “Gifts” refers to money that is offered to God; “treasury” refers to the collection box.

This verse shows that the Lord Jesus attached great importance to the offering of money------He did not count the amount of money there, but saw how the people put money into the treasury.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord is also sitting opposite the “treasury”------the status of devotion, and sees how we “put money into the treasury”!

2) What the Lord cares is not the amount of money that we devote, but the heart and attitude of our devotion of money.

3) Each according as he is purposed in his heart; not grievingly, or of necessity. For God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor. 9:7).


Luke. 21:2 “and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.

   YLT: “and he saw also a certain poor widow casting there two mites,”

   The Background: “mite” (lepton) was the smallest one of the Jewish coppers at that time, and it was almost worthless. “Two mites” were equal to “a quadrans” (quadran” was the smallest one of the Roman coppers at that time).

   Literal Meaning: from the description of this verse, we can see that widow’s devotion has the characteristics as follows:

1) She was “a poor widow”------the word “poor” showed that she was rather poor in the external things besides the body. “Widow” indicated that she was alone and helpless and rather weak.

2) She came to devote------note that it was a voluntary devotion instead of a reluctant tax. Considering her condition, it was rather good of her if she did not complain or seek the relief. Who would rebuke her if she did not devote? She did have the necessity to come to devote.

3) She “put in two mites”------Note that what she had put were two mites instead of a quadran (please note that two mites were equal to one quandran). If it was a quadran which could not be divided, she had to devote it. However, she could keep one of the two mites and only devote the other and it was unnecessary for her to devote both of them. Here we could see that how absolute the attitude of her devotion was.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) What the poor men like the widow could devote was rather a few. The amount of money in the treasury might not be less even though they did not devote. Why on earth did they devote? Today many believers may have such thoughts------let those rich men take the responsibility for the needs of the Lord’s works! Is it possible that the Lord needs such several mites of mine?

2) Someone also says that those who have money devote their money and those who have strength devote their strength, and since I have no money, I devote my strength and I do not need to devote money.

3) Other men are reluctant to devote money in big bills. They purposely change the money in big bills into that in small bills before going to the church lest there is no small money to devote.

4) The Scriptures only mentioned that she was a poor widow did not record her name, which let us learn that: (a) we shall not devote with the purpose of good reputation; (b) we shall not escape devotion because of poverty.

5) The widow’s two mites were remembered by the Lord. In like manner, though we are spiritually naïve and poor, as long as we show our little love and devotion to the Lord, all these will be remembered by the Lord.


Luke. 21:3 “So He said, Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;

   YLT: “and he said, ‘Truly I say to you, that this poor widow did cast in more than all;”

   Literal Meaning: this verse indicated two matters:

1) The Lord was moved by the devotion of the poor widow and taught the disciples to follow her example.

2) The Lord held different views upon devotion from men in the world. The real value of the money that one devotes lies in the quality instead of the amount.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If our devotion is set upon our own wealth (the rich) with a view that we have something to devote, there will be of little spiritual value. However, if our devotion is built upon our poverty and helplessness, we will surely be acceptable to the Lord.

2) Some believer humbly confesses that what he has devoted counts nothing and it is only the two mites of the widow. Though he intended to show his modesty, he actually lowered the value of the widow’s two mites, for what the poor widow had put in was more than all in the sight of the Lord.

3) What the Lord focuses on is different from what men focus on. Men look on what is visible, and the Lord looks on what is invisible. Men see the visible money ------they ask how much you have devoted. The Lord sees the invisible thing------He will ask how you love Him. Men count how much you have devoted, and the more the better, but the Lord sees that how much you have remained-----the less what you should devote and actually you have not devoted, the better it will be.

4) She put in two mites without advertising herself and went away quietly. Men disdained to pay attention to her, but the Son of God the Lord Jesus knew what she had done. He did not praise the money devoted by rich men, but praised the two mites devoted by the widow. The motivation of believers’ devotion is not gaining men’s praise, but gaining the Lord’s praise. The Lord’s praise is a priceless treasure.

5) The Lord did not care for the amount of our devotion, but the heart of our devotion. When we put the money into the offertory box, do we also devote our hearts to Him?


Luke. 21:4 “for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.’”

  YLT: “for all these out of their superabundance did cast into the gifts to God, but this one out of her want, all the living that she had, did cast in.’”

   Meaning of Words: “offerings”: gifts; “livelihood”: the money to live, life, property.

   Literal Meaning: for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God”, it showed that they still had something to keep their life after devotion.

  “But she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had”, it indicated that she had to live her life in reliance on God after devotion.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The Lord does not see how much you have devoted, but how much you have left in your pocket.

2) What she had put into the box was not “out of their abundance”, but “out of her whole livelihood”, in other words, she devoted the indispensible and only part that kept her life. It manifested her complete obedience and confidence.

3) Though two mites were rather minute, it had sufficiently manifested her love toward God. She poured her whole love to God through this action. She preferred to be starved to death, but was unwilling to fail in loving God. She regarded God as worthy of her love that she did put her life into consideration. Since God was the object of her love, she would no longer be alone in her life as a widow.


Luke. 21:5 “Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said,

   YLT: “And certain saying about the temple, that with goodly stones and devoted things it hath been adorned, he said,”

   The Background: “spoke of the temple” The temple that they spoke of referred to the temple that was rebuilt by Herod the Great who wanted to please the Jews, around B.C. 20, after the temple which was rebuilt by Zerubbabel (See Ezra. 3:8) was thrown down. When the Lord Jesus began to serve on the earth, the temple had already been built for forty-six years (See John. 2:20) and had not been finished yet. According to the records of the Jewish historian Joseph, the whole temple was finished in A.D. 64. This temple was magnificent and grand------some of the marble extended more than 10 meters and there were colossal golden decorations in it. How enormous and glittering it was!

   Literal Meaning: “as some spoke of the temple” “Some” referred to the disciples (See Mark. 13:1). The disciples may sing the praise of the magnificence and beauty of the temple.

  “How it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations.” “Donations” referred to the gifts that the citizens of God pay unto God.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “How it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations.” What they care about are the temporary things that are seen, not the eternal glory which are not seen (See 2Cor. 4:17-18).

2) What on earth do we boast? Our “temple”------such as numerous people, thriving works, and beautiful buildings? Or “the Lord” in the temple?


Luke. 21:6These things which you see--the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.’”

   YLT: “`These things that ye behold days will come, in which there shall not be left a stone upon a stone, that shall not be thrown down.’”

   Literal Meaning: “these things which you see” What the disciples saw was the appearance of the temple.

  “The days will come” Here it referred to the things that would be fulfilled in A.D. 70.

  “In which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.” It was fully fulfilled in A.D.70 literally. At that time, the Romans, under Titus’s leadership, completely destroyed Jerusalem and the buildings of the temple. Even the stones were unclenched by them to obtain the gold foil melted into the stones from the roof of the temple when it was burnt up. Others said that there were also some stones that had not been moved at that time. Till the dynasty of the Empire Julian, he attempted to rebuild the temple, so he moved the stones being left (thus the Lord’s prophesy were completely fulfilled). However, his plan of rebuilding the temple was given up halfway.

   Spiritual Meaning: “the temple” typifies the church. “Stones” typifies believers (See Eph. 2:20-22; 1Pet. 2:5).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Today, no matter how beautiful and civilized the world is in men’s physical eyes, all the elements shall melt with fervent heat in the spiritual eyes (See 2Pet. 3:12).

2) The glory of the temple does not lie in gold, silver, or gem but in the presence of God. Since the church is God’s temple, we should value God’s presence more than the outward large scale.

3) If the temple lacks the spiritual reality within, the “big-scale” appearance is of no use and it will be torn down sooner or later. May the Lord make us pay attention to the spiritual reality more than the outward extension------the numerous men, the expansion of works and spiritual high statuses and etc.

4) The church that has thriving appearance but does not have the presence of the Lord will be fallen apart sooner or later. And its members will not be able to get along with each other (“not one stone shall be left upon another”), for the Lord allows such churches to be “destroyed” by the demolishing hands.

5) The natural men (stones) cannot accompany with each other and be built together. Therefore if our natural lives have not been destructed, we can neither let the Lord have position in us nor partake in the true building.

6) All the material beauties (See v.5) will pass away. Only Christ abides forever (See Heb. 1:12). And therefore we should not love the vanity of the world but value the living Christ.


Luke. 21:7 “So they asked Him, saying, Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?’”

   YLT: “And they questioned him, saying, ‘Teacher, when, then, shall these things be? and what [is] the sign when these things may be about to happen?’”

   Meaning of Words: sign”: miracle, token, wonder.

   Literal Meaning: “but when will these things be?” “These things” referred to the Lord’s prophecy concerning the temple (See v.6).

  And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” In the minds of the disciples, they seemed to only care about when the temple would be destroyed. But there were three matters in the answer of the Lord:

1) The sign before the scared place’s being destroyed (v.8-19);

2) The Tribulation (v.20-24);

3) The second coming of the Lord (v.25-28).  

The Lord Jesus mentioned the three things at the same time. It might imply that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple and the coming disasters in the scared land were the beginning and typifications of the things that would take place in the last day when the Lord comes back.


Luke. 21:8 “And He said: Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, I am He,and, The time has drawn near. Therefore do not go after them.

   YLT: “And he said, ‘See ye may not be led astray, for many shall come in my name, saying I am [he], and the time hath come nigh; go not on then after them;”

   Meaning of Words: take heed”, look out, see carefully; “deceive”: be out of the way, cheat.

   Literal Meaning: “take heed that you not be deceived.” “Take heed” indicated that we should take heed of all the situations that we are confronted with, lest we make mistakes. “Deceive”, it means making it difficult to discern true or false with deceitful means.

  For many will come in My name, saying, I am He’.” They referred to those who called themselves Christ. The Lord’s words show that the appearance of “false christs” is the first sign of the destruction of the temple. The Jewish historian Joseph recorded that during the forty years from the Lord’s resurrection to the destruction of Jerusalem, several false christs came forth and they assembled a group of henchmen. Note that the phenomenon of false Christ has emerged in endlessly throughout the past two thousand years and becomes increasingly intense. Because it is the situation that must appear in last days (See Mark. 13:21-22).

  “And, The time has drawn near. Therefore do not go after them.” “The time” referred to the day of trouble of the sacred land. The false christs certainly would draw men to go after them by messages centering on the last days.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) We should “take heed” because there are “deceits”. Only those who take heed could avoid being “deceived”.

2) It is good for us to hold on the cautious attitude towards the speeches of others concerning Christ.

3) All the prophecies in the Bible, as a lamp that shines in a dark place (2Pet. 1:19), provide us light and keep us from being deceived. Therefore if we do not want to be deceived, we should pay attention to prophecies and discern cautiously so as to prevent us from confusing right and wrong.

4) One of the signs of the last day is that men like to boast themselves with Christ. However, Christ is the spiritual reality instead of a flag.

5) Today anyone who calls himself Christ is actually false. Some deceivers do not declare openly that he is Christ but mislead others to regard him as Christ unconsciously.


Luke. 21:9 “But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.’”

   YLT: “and when ye may hear of wars and uprisings, be not terrified, for it behoveth these things to happen first, but the end [is] not immediately.’”

   Meaning of Words: end”: final, conclusion.

   Literal Meaning: “But when you hear of wars and commotions.” This was the second sign before the temple was destructed. After the death of the Lord, the rumor that wars were going to take place made men scared and jittery.

  “Do not be terrified.” It is of no help for men to be troubled once they have heard wars. What they should do is to prepare themselves to face these things calmly.

  “For these things must come to pass first.” It is the reason for one “not be terrified”. Since wars are unavoidable, “being terrified” is of no help.

  “But the end will not come immediately.” “End” refers to “the end of the age” (See Matt.24:3), i.e. the Tribulation of the three and a half years (See Rev. 11:2).


Luke. 21:10 “Then He said to them, Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

   YLT: “Then said he to them, ‘Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,”

   Literal Meaning: “Nation will rise against nation” It refers to the wars between nations and tribes and even villages.

  “And kingdom against kingdom.” It refers the international wars.

From the Lord’s ascension till now, wars had been taken place incessantly from ages and from generations.

   Spiritual Meaning: “Nation will rise against nation” It symbolizes that the earthly people would rise against the heavenly people.

  “And kingdom against kingdom.” It indicates that the kingdom of Satan will rebel against the kingdom of God.


Luke. 21:11 “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

   YLT: “great shakings also in every place, and famines, and pestilences, there shall be; fearful things also, and great signs from heaven there shall be;”

   Literal Meaning: “And there will be great earthquakes in various places” From all the past dynasties, “earthquakes” have increased constantly and they will become stronger in the last days (See Rev. 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19; 16:18). 

“And famines and pestilences” Wars (See v.10) always bring in “famines”.

  “And there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” According to the record of the Jewish history, there was sight in the air before the ruin of Jerusalem.

   Spiritual Meaning: “earthquakes” symbolizes that all things beyond God shall be removed (See Heb. 12:27). “Famines” indicates that the lack of spiritual food everywhere makes God’s people hungry. “Pestilences” symbolizes God’s judgment and punishment (See 2Sam. 24:10-15).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Wars, famines and earthquakes all bring men tribulations in the flesh. God allows tribulations to come to us for the sake of giving us hope instead of frustrating us.

2) God’s will is to make us turn to Him more by these disasters. The Lord gives us the environmental disasters for the sake of love. We won’t learn to look upon and rely on the Lord closely without the oppression of disasters.


Luke. 21:12 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.

   YLT: “and before all these, they shall lay on you their hands, and persecute, delivering up to synagogues and prisons, being brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake;”

   Meaning of Words: rulers”: dominator (including governors and magistrates).

   Literal Meaning: “they will lay their hands on you” “Synagogue” was the place where the Jews from various regions gather together, read the Bible and worship God.

   Spiritual Meaning: “synagogues” symbolizes the religious circumstance.

  “Kings and rulers” symbolizes the power of the world.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) A true believer of the Lord may usually give rise to religionists’ envy, opposition and persecution. Therefore, we have to watch out for them.

2) The organized system (synagogue) of God’s elect even became the organization that persecuted those who were really of God. Today, there are also some organizations in Christianity who are willing to help the tyrant to do evil------to help the evil political power to persecute true Christians.

3) Since we are not of the world, the world hates us. They have persecuted the Lord, they will also persecute us (John 15:19-20).

4) The church does not lack men who give sermons, but lacks men who can stand for the Lord and bear witness of the Lord.


Luke. 21:13 “But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.

   YLT: “and it shall become to you for a testimony.”

   Literal Meaning: “it” refers to the disciples’ being laid hands on, persecuted, questioned, delivered up to prison and brought to officers in v.12.

  “Turn out as an occasion for testimony.” It indicates that the above-mentioned conditions are good chances to “bear witness” to the Lord, showing how the Lord is whom one believes.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) The experiences of life of Christians, especially the experiences in disasters, are the best testimonies.

2) The persecutions in the last days will turn out for believers for testimony. When persecutions come, if we are willing to stand for the Lord’s name’s sake (See v.12), they will turn out for us as occasions for testimony before God and men.


Luke. 21:14 “Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;

   YLT: “`Settle, then, to your hearts, not to meditate beforehand to reply,”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When we are confronted with persecutions and oppositions, we shall not answer by ourselves.

2) When we believers are faced with persecutions and oppositions, we shall not deal with them by ourselves, but commit ourselves to the Lord in faith. He who believes the Lord shall not be ashamed (Rom. 9:33).

3) If men insist on speaking by themselves, the Lord won’t say for us. If men are willing to not speak for themselves, the Lord will manifest His words.


Luke. 21:15 “for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

   YLT: “for I will give to you a mouth and wisdom that all your opposers shall not be able to refute or resist.”

   Literal Meaning: “I will give you a mouth and wisdom” The status of “I” in the original specially strengthens the tone of this sentence. The Lord Himself will give His disciples God’s help which enables them to conquer the accusation of the adversaries.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) If we are persecuted for the sake of the Lord, the Lord will not only be with us but also give us words to enable us to answer those who persecute us. The Lord’s attendance is so careful that we need not be frightened.

2) Many times, believers can say what they are unable to say and what they have not expected to say, for it is the Lord who gives us “an occasional mouth and wisdom”.

3)   We shall learn to face persecutions not by ourselves and retreat to the spirit to rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit of God abides in our spirit (Rom 8:9).

4) The Holy Spirit is our helper and comforter, when we suffer persecutions because of the service of the Lord.

5) In the wars of the last days, the words and wisdom given by the Lord are the sharp weapons that could conquer the adversaries. “Brothers overcame it (Satan) by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:11). Therefore we should not keep silent, but blow the trumpet.


Luke. 21:16 “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.

   YLT: “`And ye shall be delivered up also by parents, and brothers, and kindred, and friends, and they shall put of you to death;”

   Meaning of Words: “be betrayed”: transmit, surrender.

   Literal Meaning: the family’s division resulted from conflicts over faith has been very common and will be increasingly severe in the future. There are two reasons for opposition of family members and friends:

  1) Because they hate the Lord and the word the Lord (John. 15:18).

  2) They are afraid to be involved in and therefore they report to offices and accuse believers.

   Spiritual Meaning: brothers” symbolizes the brothers in the church.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Many believers even betray brothers and sisters in order to preserve themselves because of being unwilling to suffer hardships and death.

2) Believers should love one another. However, since they hold distinct views and stand in different statuses, they will become at enmity toward each other and even kill one another.


Luke. 21:17 “And you will be hated by all for My name's sake.

   YLT: “and ye shall be hated by all because of my name”

   Literal Meaning: “you will…for My name’s sake” “You” referred to the disciples, for they were both the Jews and the disciples. Therefore, the troubles mentioned here are both related with the Jews and believers in the New Testament.

  “Be hated by all.” “All” referred to the unbelieving Gentiles. Both the Jewish believers and Gentile believers be hated and persecuted and killed by unbelievers (See Matt. 5:11) for the sake of the Lord.


Luke. 21:18 “But not a hair of your head shall be lost.

   YLT: “and a hair out of your head shall not perish;”

   Literal Meaning: This verse seems to contradict with the former sentence “they will put some of you to death” (v.16). However, it actually expresses that:

  1) That they have been put to death are permitted by the will of God.

  2) None of hairs of their head shall be lost apart from the will of God (See Matt. 10:29-30).

   Enlightenment in the Word: if we could die for the sake of the Lord, we will thank Him because He counts us worthy of that age (See 20:35). If we are safe and sound in persecutions, we shall also thank Him because He keeps us.


Luke. 21:19 “By your patience possess your souls.

   YLT: “in your patience possess ye your souls.”

   Meaning of Words: “patience”: constancy, cheerful endurance; “possess”: gain, purchase; “soul”: the life of soul, breath.

   Literal Meaning: “by your patience” It means that in various disastrous environments, one keeps the word of the Lord and the name of the Lord (See Rev. 3:8-11).

  “Possess your souls” It does not refer to one’s being redeemed but one’s enjoyment of soul in the kingdom.

  Disasters made our souls suffer pain and “patience” indicates that one keeps the faith and stays unmoved in pain and on the contrary saves his soul (See 17:33).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Through many tribulations, we must enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). However, since we have the hope of kingdom, we should endure in tribulations.

2) Believers are fellow-partakers in the tribulations and kingdom and patience of Jesus (Rev. 1:9).


Luke. 21:20But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.

   YLT: “`And when ye may see Jerusalem surrounded by encampments, then know that come nigh did her desolation;”

   Meaning of Words: “surround”: compass, encircle, embarrass.

   The Background: According to the records of historians, the Jews betrayed Rome in A.D. 66 because the Roman governor bullied the Jewish people------abused his authority to deal with them with brutal and cruel ways. The Roman Emperor dispatched armies to encircle Jerusalem and broke into the city and slaughtered men wantonly. It was said that more than a thousand and a hundred thousand people perished and several tens of thousand people were starved to death and another several tens of thousand people were carried away captive to various countries as slaves.

   Literal Meaning: these scriptures (v.20-24) predict the things that would happen in the sacred land and the holy city from A.D. 66-70.

  “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies.” “Surrounded by armies” is “began to be surrounded by armies” in the original. At that time the city of Jerusalem had been surrounded for several years.


Luke. 21:21 “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.

   YLT: “then those in Judea, let them flee to the mountains; and those in her midst, let them depart out; and those in the countries, let them not come in to her;”

   Literal Meaning: Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” “The mountains” are easy for men to hide. According to the report of the early church, before Jerusalem was occupied, the disciples fled to the city of Piera at the foot of mountains and on the east of Jordan River.

  “Let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her”------depart from the crowed places and avoid fleeing to the crowed places. In old times, in the scourge of wars men usually fled to the inside of the city wall. However, in the day of God’s punishment, the city of Jerusalem was the most insecure place.

Spiritual Meaning: “flee to the mountains” It symbolizes paying price to live in the spiritual realm. “Those who live in the midst of her depart” symbolizes those who live under the worldly influence. “Those who live in the country” symbolizes those who have been delivered from the worldly influence.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When suffering persecutions, God’s people are supposed to “flee” instead of resisting (See Matt. 10:23, Rev. 12:6).

2) If believers want to escape the Tribulation at the last day, the best way is to pay price to seek to reach the high spiritual realm (“flee to the mountains”) and then would be raptured by the Lord.


Luke. 21:22 “For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

   YLT: “because these are days of vengeance, to fulfil all things that have been written.”

   Literal Meaning: this verse explains the reason why the city of Jerusalem was destroyed------the vengeance on the obstinacy and unbelief of the Jews. There are many prophecies that God will punish the people of Israel in the Old Testament.


Luke. 21:23 “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.

   YLT: “`And wo to those with child, and to those giving suck, in those days; for there shall be great distress on the land, and wrath on this people;”

Literal Meaning: “woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies” because they are tied by the leg and there’s not enough time for them to flee.

For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.” According to the records of the Jewish history, about a million Jews had been killed in the case in A.D.70, and most of them were crucified. Not a few of the Jews were sold into slavery and seriously suffered bitterness to death finally. However, this situation could not catch up with the severity of the Tribulation at the last day.

   Spiritual Meaning: who are pregnant” refers to those who have conceived various lusts; “who are nursing babies” symbolizes those who have fleshly entanglements.


Luke. 21:24 “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

   YLT: “and they shall fall by the mouth of the sword, and shall be led captive to all the nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by nations, till the times of nations be fulfilled.”

   Meaning of Words: “all nations”: various nations, Gentiles.

   Literal Meaning: Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles” “Trample” means enslave and keep in bondage.

  “Until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” “The times of the Gentiles” refers to the days when the city of Jerusalem was trampled by Gentiles. “Until…are fulfilled” shows that the days limited and it would end.

  How to count “the times of the Gentiles”? The Bible exegetes had two kinds of opinions:

  1) From the time when God took away the authority to rule the land of Judah from the house of David and delivered it to the Gentile king Nebuchadnezzar to the time when Christ comes and sets up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.

  2) From the time of the king Nebuchadnezzar to the day when Israel was restored in A.D. 1948. 05.14 and declared its independence.

  The time of the above-mentioned two kinds of data is quite long and they are at least about two thousand and five or six hundred years. Moreover, we could find arguments to support both the calculations in the Lord’s prophecies in this chapter. Concerning the first calculation, from v.25-28 in which the Lord predicted that Jerusalem would be trampled by Gentiles and immediately talked about the Lord’s coming in a cloud in the last days, we could know that it was up to His second coming. However, the Lord predicted the parable of the budding of the fig tree (v.29-31) which refers to the restoration of Israel and on which the second calculation based.

   Enlightenment in the Word: the historical changes are in the charge of God and the reigns of government of all nations are of God’s establishment.


Luke. 21:25And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;

   YLT: “`And there shall be signs in sun, and moon, and stars, and on the land [is] distress of nations with perplexity, sea and billow roaring;”

Literal Meaning: from v.23-27, we could know that that the Lord’s second coming happens at the end of the Tribulation. Moreover, when He comes, the signs of the heaven will change greatly (See Zech. 14:5-6; Joel. 2:31; 2Pet. 3:10).

   Spiritual Meaning: the change of the signs of heaven sometimes also symbolizes the upheaval of social condition and the rise and fall of dynasties and nations (See Ezek. 32:7-8; Amos. 8:9). It also indicates the shake-up of nature.

   Enlightenment in the Word: the sun, the moon and stars all typify Christ; when the body comes, the shadow is not essential (See Col. 2:16-17). The moment Christ appears, all light bearers will be overshadowed.  


Luke. 21:26 “men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

   YLT: “men fainting at heart from fear, and expectation of the things coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.”

   Meaning of Words: “the earth”: the world, the habitable earth; “men’s hearts failing them from fear”: breathe our, faint. 

   Literal Meaning: “those things which are coming on the earth” refers to the Tribulation of three and a half years that would come in the last days (See Matt. 24:21; Rev. 3:10; 11:2; 13:5).


Luke. 21:27 “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

   YLT: “`And then they shall see the Son of Man, coming in a cloud, with power and much glory;”

   Literal Meaning: “then” refers to the time when “there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars” (v.25-26).

  “They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” “The Son of Man” is the title for the Lord when He became flesh and suffered pain. When the Lord comes, He will show the “power” and “Great glory” because the Lord shall consume the antichrist with the spirit of his mouth (power), and shall destroy it with the brightness (Great glory) of his coming (See 2Thess. 2:8).

  “Coming in a cloud” At that time, He will not be hidden in the clouds of air, but will come in a cloud.


Luke. 21:28 “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.’”

   YLT: “and these things beginning to happen bend yourselves back, and lift up your heads, because your redemption doth draw nigh.’”

   Literal Meaning: “these things” refers to the things mentioned in v.25-26. At that time, the sun and the moon will not shine, the heaven will fall, the earth will crack and the sea will churn.

  “Look up and lift up your heads” means “rejoice”.

  “Because your redemption draws near” It expresses the reason why we should “look up and lift up our heads”. “Redemption” does not refer to the salvation of spirit because we have got it when we believe in Him. The “redemption” here refers to “the redemption of our body” (See Rom. 8:23).

  When we believe in the Lord, we have received the eternal salvation and our spirits have been saved. However, our bodies still groan, travail, are under the bondage of corruption and suffer the pain of diseases and senescence in the old creation. We shall receive the redemption of our body until the coming of the Lord. When the Lord comes, He would redeem and change our body that is under the bondage of the old creation and bring us into the glory of freedom of the new creation. At that time, our lowly body will be transformed that it may be conformed to His glorious body (Pill. 3:21). It is the meaning of the so-called “redemption of body” in the Bible.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) When the Lord comes, men’s hearts fail them from fear (See v.26), however, believers should “look up and lift up our heads” to meet Him. On one hand, it is our hope of glory and on the other, it encourages us to preach the glad tidings to the poor world, lest they perish forever when the Lord comes.

2) We could “look up and lift up our heads” until the Son of Man comes in glory (v.27). It shows that:

A. The glorious appearing of Christ brings those who have received grace into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21) and reaches God’s highest will towards men.

B. Before the coming of that day, we have to bow our heads and walk on the narrow way of cross. Just as Watchman Nee had said, “since my glories lie ahead, now patient I must be. I will not go before my Lord, much glory to receive”.


Luke. 21:29-30 “Then He spoke to them a parable: Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. When they may now cast forth, having seen, of yourselves ye know that now is the summer nigh;

   YLT: “And he spake a simile to them: `See the fig-tree, and all the trees,”

Literal Meaning: “When they are already budding” refers to the time when the tree flourishes, showing that it is spring already and therefore summer is not far away.

   Spiritual Meaning: “the fig tree” typifies the kingdom of Israel. It was cursed because it did not bear fruits (See Mark. 11:14, 21) and therefore its withering typifies the fall of Israel. Today its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, indicating the restoration of Israel.

“Summer” is in contrast with winter and winter symbolizes the time of the Tribulation (See Mark. 13:18-19). Summer symbolizes the age of the restoration of the kingdom (See Luke. 21:30-31) and this age will start from the Lord’s second coming.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) “Look at the fig tree.” The Lord wants us to learn the second coming of Christ from the budding of the fig tree. It shows that the principle of Christ fills all in all (See Eph. 1:23) and all things manifest Christ. And therefore we should learn to know Christ from all.

2) Christ reigns in life (See Rom. 5:17) and His kingdom must be full of abundant life. The more abundant life believers have (See John. 10:10), the more they will partake in the kingdom of God.


Luke. 21:31 “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.

   YLT: “so also ye, when ye may see these things happening, ye know that near is the reign of God;”

   Literal Meaning: “when you see these things happening” “These things” refers to the Lord’s prophecies that had been fulfilled in the past two thousand years.

  “Know that the kingdom of God is near.” The “summer” in the previous verse refers to the kingdom of God.

Spiritual Meaning: the Lord’s words remind us that as long as we see that the kingdom of Israel has restored, we should know that the Lord’s second coming and the realization of the kingdom are near.


Luke. 21:32 “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.

   YLT: “verily I say to you This generation may not pass away till all may have come to pass;”

Literal Meaning: “this generation will by no means pass away” “Generation in the Bible usually does not mean men’s physical years in the world, but men’s moral state before God (See Deut. 32:5, Matt. 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45; 23:36). In other words, the situation of evil, adultery and wickedness in the world determines the length of the generation. Therefore “this generation” shall be the whole age until the Lord’s second coming.

Till all tings take place.”------“All things” include all things before the Lord comes back.

What the Lord has said must be fulfilled. The Restoration of Israel was fulfilled in A.D. 1948. Therefore we can hear indistinctly the steps of His second coming. Saints should never ignore the Lord’s words.


Luke. 21:33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

   YLT: “the heaven and the earth shall pass away, but my words may not pass away.”

Literal Meaning: “heaven and earth will pass away” The singular form of the word “heaven” shows that it is the heaven in contrast with the earth. One day, the old heaven and earth will perish (See 2Pet. 3:10; Heb. 1:11-12).

But my words will by no means pass away.”------The Lord’s word is settled in the heaven (Ps. 119:89) and must be fulfilled.

Enlightenment in the Word: the Lord’s words are more stable and permanent than the heaven and the earth. However, men often make a fetish of the permanent heaven and earth, but they have doubt in the Lord’s words.


Luke. 21:34But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.

   YLT: “`And take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts may be weighed down with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day may come on you,”

   Meaning of Words: “carousing”: drunkenness, excessive drinking; “drunkenness”: intoxication, alcoholism; “cares”: anxieties, worry; “weigh”: burden, overcharge; “expectedly”: accidentally.


Luke. 21:35 “For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

   YLT: “for as a snare it shall come on all those dwelling on the face of all the land,”

   Meaning of Words: “dwell on”: sit, ride.

   Literal Meaning: this verse shows that the second coming of the Lord is to all human beings.


Luke. 21:36 “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.’”

   YLT: “watch ye, then, in every season, praying that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are about to come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.’”

   Meaning of Words: “watch”: be on the alert, be sleepless, keep awake; “be counted worthy”: overcome, defeat.

   Literal Meaning: “watch therefore, and pray always” The definition of “watch” is “keep awake and be on alert”. “Watch therefore, and pray always” means that one keeps awake both in praying and by praying.

  “All these things that will come to pass” refers to the Tribulation.

  “And to stand before the Son of Man” It implies that those who watch and pray always in the Spirit shall be kept from the hour of the Tribulation which is about to come upon all the world (See Rev. 3:10), in other words, they shall be caught up to Christ before the Tribulation (See 1Thess. 4:17). If men have not been watchful or ready, they won’t pass through the judgment before the judgment-seat of Christ and therefore they cannot stand.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) As to the Lord’s second coming, it is better for us to pay attention to our real spiritual states inside than to spare much time to research the problems such as time, signs and prophecies and etc. It makes no difference to those whose spiritual states are normal, no matter when the Lord comes. Moreover, they have already tasted the real meaning of the Lord’s second coming in spiritual reality.

2) “Watching” is the most important thing in welcoming the kingdom. All those who do not care about the Lord’s second coming are not watchful enough.

3) Jessie Penn-Lewis said, “Christians should watch from the first day of their Christian life”. We should be watchful for the enemy, the world and ourselves.

4) Believers should not be careless (watch), but live and work with the attitude of waiting for the Lord everyday and all our walking and thoughts should also be prepared to meet the Lord and please Him.

5) Satan always makes us not feel the need of prayer. And it makes us only have the form of prayer and lack the desire and burden of prayer. Therefore, we should pray watchfully.

6) Dr. Miguel said, “a watchful state in one’s spirit guarantees right prayers, and lifeless and depressed thoughts may hold back the effect of prayers” (it is translated from the Chinese version),


Luke. 21:37 “And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet.

   YLT: “And he was during the days in the temple teaching, and during the nights, going forth, he was lodging at the mount called of Olives;”

   Literal Meaning: but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet.” The Lord Jesus spent the night in Bethany every night (See Mark. 11:11). “Bethany” was a small village at the southern foot of the Olive Mount, outside of the city of Jerusalem. There was the family of Martha, Mary and Lazarus (See John. 11:1-5, 18) and the family of Simon the leper (Mark. 14:3) in whose house Mary did a good work (Mark. 14:3-6, John. 12:3).

   Spiritual Meaning: the city of Jerusalem typifies the Christian organization which has fallen and deteriorated as well as the so-called church. They have a name that they live, and are dead (Rev. 3:1). The Lord couldn’t have rest there and left them and went out of the city to find another place of rest.

  “The mountain called Olivet” As implied in the name, it is a place abounding in olive oil. The olive oil typifies the Holy Spirit. The Lord finds rest where it is filled with the Holy Spirit.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1) Jerusalem, the city of the great king, became the place where the Lord couldn’t stay. Therefore it is inevitable that it became desolate (See 13:35). We should never boast of the past glorious history and we should ask whether the Lord Jesus at present has position and rest here.

2) A normal church should be filled with the Holy Spirit (what “the mountain called Olivet” stands for), thus the Lord could have rest.

3) A normal church should be full of life (Lazarus), love (Mary) and service (Martha), thus the Lord will have rest.

4) Christ only dwells in our hearts by our faith and love (See Eph. 3:17).


Luke. 21:38 “Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.

   YLT: “and all the people were coming early unto him in the temple to hear him.”

   Enlightenment in the Word: early in the morning is best time for one to hear the voice of the Lord and therefore every day we’d better come to the Lord early in the morning, have communion with Him and read His word------the Bible.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Special Features of the Widow’s Devotion (v.1-4)

I. Others devoted because they had been blessed with treasure (the rich) and the widow devoted because of her love to the Lord.

II. Others out of their abundance have put in offerings for God and the widow out of her poverty still put in.

III. Others devoted the external things and the widow devoted all the livelihood.

IV. Others devotion did not concern “the life of self” and the widow devoted her “life of self”.

V. Others’ devotion was reasonable and the widow’s devotion was praised by the Lord.


The Signs before the Sacred Land Suffered Disasters

I. There will be men deceiving the elect by assuming the name of Christ (v.8).

II. There will be wars and rumors of wars (v.9-10).

III. There will be earthquakes and famines and pestilences (v.11a).

IV. There will be sights from the heaven (v.11b).


The Danger and Counterplot for the Saints to Preach the Glad Tidings

I. Dangers:

  A. They will be laid hands on and persecuted and delivered up to the synagogues (v.12a)------be persecuted by the nominal groups in Christianity or by the nominal Christians in the church.

  B. They will be delivered up to prisons and brought before kings and rulers (v.12b)------be persecuted and judged by the political power of the world.

  C. They will be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives and friends (v.16)------be hated by family members according to the flesh.

  D. They will be hated by all (v.17)------be hated and despised by men in the world.

II. Resolutions:

  A. Settle it in one’s hearts (v.14a).

  B. Do not meditate beforehand on what you will answer (v.14b).

  C. Look upon the Lord that He will give you a mouth and wisdom (v.15).

  D. By your patience possess your souls (v.19).


The Lord’s Prophecies and Exhortations towards the Disaster of the Sacred Land

I. Prophecies:

  A. When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near (v.20).

  B. These are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled (v.22).

  C. The holy city will be trampled by Gentiles (v.24).

  D. Until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (v.24)------there will be a time limit.

II. Exhortations:

  A. Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains (v.21a).

  B. Let those who are in the midst of her depart (v.21b).

  C. Let not those who are in the country enter her (v.21c).

  D. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days (v.23).


The Prophecies and Exhortations of the Lord’s Second Coming

I. Prophecies:

  A. The Lord comes after the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (v.24b).

  B. When the Lord comes, there will be great changes in the sun, in the moon and in the stars (v.25-26a).

  C. Men’s hearts fail them from fear (v.26b).

  D. The Lord will come in a cloud (v.27).

  E. When the Lord comes, the redemption of believers draws near (v.28).

II. Exhortations:

  A. When the fig trees are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer------the kingdom of God is near (v.29-31).

  B. The words of the Lord’s prophecies must be fulfilled (v.32-33).

  C. That Day comes on you unexpectedly (v.34-35).

  D. Watch and pray always (v.36).


The Preparations that Believers should Make for the Coming of the Lord

I. The positive aspect:

  A. Take heed to yourselves (v.34a)------lest you be deceived (See v.8).

  B. Do not carouse or drink to excess (v.34b)------do not be greedy for the pleasures of this life.

  C. Lay down the cares of this life (v.34c)------do not worry about the life on the earth.

II. The negative aspect:

  A. Watch (v.36a)------draw near to the Lord always and never depart from Him.

  B. Pray always (v.36b)------trust the Lord in everything and commit everything to the Lord.


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Sharon Ren