In a comment to my blog post “Hope For A Peaceful Future” Deb quoted from the Biblical prophecies in Luke 21, so I thought I would use that as the subject for my next Bible study.


Jesus’ prophecy of the end times are found in his sermon on the Mount of Olives.  I see it refereed to as the Olivet discourse.  This prophecy is found in three books in the bible, Mark 13, Mark 24 and Luke 21.

I found this table in a discussion for which I have unfortunately lost the link to:

Sequence of Events
in the Lord’s Second Coming

Event Text Parallel Texts
The Setting: Temple to be Destroyed Mark 13:1-2 Matt. 24:1-2; Luke 21:5-6
The Question: What will be the sign of your coming? Mark 13:3-4 Matt. 24:3; Luke 21:7
Characteristics of the Latter Days Mark 13:5-13 Matt. 24:4-14; Luke 21:8-19; 1 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Tim. 3-4; 2 Peter 2-3
The Abomination of Desolation and the Great Tribulation Mark 13:14-23 Dan. 9:26-27; 12:10-12; Matt. 24:15-28; Luke 21:20-24;
The Coming of the Son of Man (Removal of Saints) (Day of the Lord Mark 13:24-27 Matt. 24:29-31; Luke 21:25-28
Lessons from the Last Days Mark 13:28-37 Matt. 24:32-51; Luke 21:29-36
The Marriage of Christ to His Bride Rev. 19:1-10  
The Banquet of the Buzzards: The Defeat and Destruction of Christ’s Enemies Rev. 19:11-21  
The Millennial Reign of Christ
(Binding of Satan)
(Resurrection of O.T. saints)
(1,000 year reign of Christ)
Rev. 20:1-6Rev. 20:1-3
Rev. 20:4-6
The Final Battle
(Satan Released)
(National rebel against God)
(Enemies devoured by fire)
Rev. 20:7-9
Rev. 20:7
Rev. 20:8
Rev. 20:9
Resurrection of the Wicked and Judgment
(Satan’s Doom)
(Resurrection and Judgment of the Unrighteous Dead)
Rev. 20:10-15Rev. 20:10
Rev. 20:11-15
John 5:28,29Dan. 12:2
The Creation of the New Heavens and New Earth Rev. 21-22 Heb. 11:13-16; 2 Pet. 3:10-13; John 14:1-2

There are two opposite views among evangelical Christians about whether the “Tribulation” describes past events, or future events.

Tribulation as a past event (Dr. Kenneth Gentry)
  • The Great Tribulation occurred during the first century.
  • Those events marked the end of God’s focus on and exaltation of Israell.
  • Jesus’ prophecies marked the beginning of the Christian era in God’s plan.
  • The Tribulation is God’s judgment on Israel for rejecting her Messiah.
  • The Tribulation judgments will be centered around local events surrounding ancient Jerusalem, and also somewhat affecting other portions of the former Roman Empire.
  • The Tribulation judgments are governed by Jesus as the Christ to reflect his judgment against Israel, thus showing that he is in heaven controlling those events.
Tribulation as a future event (Dr. Thomas Ice)
  • The Great Tribulation is still to come and is rapidly approaching prospect.
  • Those events marked the beginning of God’s focus on and exaltation of Israel.
  • The prophecy says the Christian era will be concluded just after the church is taken from the world.
  • Rather than being God’s judgment on Israel, it is the preparation of Israel to receive her Messiah.
  • The judgments involve catastrophes that literally will affect the stellar universe and impact the entire planet.
  • The coming of Christ in the Tribulation requires his public, visible and physical presence to conclude those judgments.

Dr. Kenneth Gentry –

Dr. Thomas Ice –

Whose viewpoint do you agree with?

Looking at Luke 21, verses 20-33 (New International Version):

20“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

 29He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

 32“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

All the events described in verses 20-26 can be seen to have already happened.  Jews did lose control of Jerusalem, but have gained it back since 1947.  The people of every nation I can think of have fallen by the sword, and returned the favour in kind.

Verse 27 describes the only way I can think of that Christians can now the end time is here, when Jesus returns on a “cloud of power and great glory”.

Verse 32 confuses me when it refers to “this generation will certainly not pass away until these things have happened”.  Which generation?