The parable (Lk 21:29-21:29)

“Then he told them

A parable.

‘Look at the fig tree!

Look at all the trees!’”

 

Καὶ εἶπεν παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς Ἴδετε τὴν συκῆν καὶ πάντα τὰ δένδρα

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that he was going to tell them another parable (Καὶ εἶπεν παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς).  They were to look at the fig tree (Ἴδετε τὴν συκῆν), in fact, all the trees (καὶ πάντα τὰ δένδρα).  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:32, and Mark, chapter 13:28, who are word for word the same as each other.  Mark indicated that Jesus said they were to learn a lesson or parable (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) about the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  Earlier in Matthew, chapter 21:19-20, Jesus had cursed a fig tree for not having fruit, but here there was a lesson or a little parable to be learned (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) from the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  These fig trees play an important role in these stories or parables.  Have you ever seen a fig tree?

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Redemption is coming (Lk 21:28-21:28)

“When these things

Begin to take place,

Look up!

Raise your heads!

Your redemption

Is drawing near.”

 

ἀρχομένων δὲ τούτων γίνεσθαι ἀνακύψατε καὶ ἐπάρατε τὰς κεφαλὰς ὑμῶν, διότι ἐγγίζει ἡ ἀπολύτρωσις ὑμῶν.

 

Among all the common elements, Luke has this unique comment of Jesus, that is not in Mark or Matthew.  Jesus said that when these things begin to take place (ἀρχομένων δὲ τούτων γίνεσθαι), they were to look up (ἀνακύψατε) and raise their heads (καὶ ἐπάρατε τὰς κεφαλὰς ὑμῶν), because their redemption was drawing near (διότι ἐγγίζει ἡ ἀπολύτρωσις ὑμῶν).  Only Luke concluded that their redemption or ransom was coming soon.  Do you expect to be saved or redeemed?

The Son of Man (Lk 21:27-21:27)

“Then they will see

The Son of Man

Coming in a cloud

With power

And great glory.”

 

καὶ τότε ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλῃ μετὰ δυνάμεως καὶ δόξης πολλῆ

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that then they would see (καὶ τότε ὄψονται) the Son of Man (τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming in a cloud (ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλῃ) with power (μετὰ δυνάμεως) and great glory (καὶ δόξης πολλῆ).  This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 24:30, and in Mark, chapter 13:26.  Mark said that they would all see or experience the Son of Man (καὶ τότε ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming in the clouds (ἐρχόμενον ἐν νεφέλαις) with his great power (μετὰ δυνάμεως πολλῆς) and glory (καὶ δόξης).  Matthew indicated that Jesus had an introductory comment that the sign of the Son of Man would appear in the heavens (καὶ τότε φανήσεται τὸ σημεῖον τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν οὐρανῷ).  Then all the tribes or races of people on the earth would mourn or lament (καὶ τότε κόψονται πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ τῆς γῆς).  After these phrases, then came the common element that they would all see or experience the Son of Man (καὶ ὄψονται τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) coming on the clouds of heaven (ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ) with his power (μετὰ δυνάμεως) and great glory (καὶ δόξης πολλῆς).  The clouds were the common place where theophanies in the Old Testament occurred, as Yahweh often appeared in a cloud on a mountain.  The Son of Man is a reference to Jesus himself as a Hebrew Messianic figure.  What do you know about the Second Coming of Jesus?

Great fear (Lk 21:26-21:26)

“People will faint

From fear

And expectations

About what was coming

Upon the world.

The powers

Of the heavens

Will be shaken.”

 

ἀποψυχόντων ἀνθρώπων ἀπὸ φόβου καὶ προσδοκίας τῶν ἐπερχομένων τῇ οἰκουμένῃ· αἱ γὰρ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται.

 

Luke had a section of this warning from Jesus that was unique, yet the last phrase was similar to the other synoptics.  Jesus said that people would faint (ἀποψυχόντων ἀνθρώπων) from fear (ἀπὸ φόβου) and expectations (καὶ προσδοκίας) over what was coming upon the world (τῶν ἐπερχομένων τῇ οἰκουμένῃ).  Luke was the only one to use this Greek term ἀποψυχόντων, meaning to leave off breathing, fainting, breathing out of life, dying, or dismayed.  The powers of the heavens would be shaken (γὰρ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται).  Thus, this last phrase is like Mark, chapter 13:25, and Matthew, chapter 24:29, who were word for word the same.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that the powers of the heavens would be shaken or stirred up (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς σαλευθήσονται), while Matthew said precisely the same thing.  The powers of the heavens would be shaken or stirred up (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται).  They were going to experience big time problems, in this time of complete darkness, during this celestial disturbance.  Do you worry about the sky above you?

The signs (Lk 21:25-21:25)

“There will be signs

In the sun,

The moon,

And the stars.

On the earth,

There will be

Anxious distress

Among the nations

With the roaring noise

Of the sea

And the swelling waves.”

 

Καὶ ἔσονται σημεῖα ἐν ἡλίῳ καὶ σελήνῃ καὶ ἄστροις, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς συνοχὴ ἐθνῶν ἐν ἀπορίᾳ ἤχους θαλάσσης καὶ σάλου,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be signs (Καὶ ἔσονται σημεῖα) in the sun (ἐν ἡλίῳ), in the moon (αὶ σελήνῃ), and in the stars (καὶ ἄστροις).  On the earth (καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), there would be anxious distress among the gentile nations (συνοχὴ ἐθνῶν ἐν ἀπορίᾳ) because of the roaring noise of the sea (ἤχους θαλάσσης) and the swelling waves (καὶ σάλου).  This was a unique use of the term ἀπορίᾳ that means perplexity, anxiety, or doubt, not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature.  This Jesus saying is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:29, that is actually closer to Mark, chapter 13:24-25.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that in those days (Ἀλλὰ ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις), after the sufferings (μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν), there would be a cosmic upheaval.  The sun would be darkened (ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται).  The moon would not give its light (καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς).  The assumption was that the moon had its own source of light, not merely a reflection of the sun.  The stars would fall from the skies (καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες ἔσονται ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πίπτοντες).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that immediately after the sufferings mentioned earlier in those days (Εὐθέως δὲ μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐκείνων), there would be a cosmic upheaval.  The sun would be darkened (ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται).  The moon would not give its light (καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς).  The stars would fall from the skies (καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες πεσοῦνται ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  This is fully in line with the great Israelite prophetic tradition of the Day of Yahweh, like Ezekiel, chapter 32:7, Joel, chapter 2:10, Amos, chapter 8:9, and Zephaniah, chapter 1:15.  Luke did not have the details that were in Mark and Matthew.  What kind of cosmic upheaval do you expect at the end times?

The fall of Jerusalem (Lk 21:24-21:24)

“They will fall

By the edge

Of the sword.

They will be

Taken away

As captives

Among all the gentile nations.

Jerusalem

Will be trampled on

By the gentiles,

Until the time

Of the gentiles

Was fulfilled.”

 

καὶ πεσοῦνται στόματι μαχαίρης καὶ αἰχμαλωτισθήσονται εἰς τὰ ἔθνη πάντα, καὶ Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἔσται πατουμένη ὑπὸ ἐθνῶν, ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἐθνῶν.

 

Only Luke has this unique saying of Jesus.  Jesus said that these people would fall by the edge of their swords (καὶ πεσοῦνται στόματι μαχαίρης).  They would be taken away as captives among all the gentile nations (καὶ αἰχμαλωτισθήσονται εἰς τὰ ἔθνη πάντα).  Jerusalem would be trampled on by the gentiles (καὶ Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἔσται πατουμένη ὑπὸ ἐθνῶν), until the time of the gentiles was completed (ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἐθνῶν).  Falling by the edge of the sword meant death.  It is not clear what is meant by this time of the gentiles.  Perhaps this was when the foreign armies, the Roman army invaded and overwhelmed Jerusalem in 70 CE.  Luke seemed to tie the end times to the fall of Jerusalem.  What do you think the end of the world will be like?

Great distress (Lk 21:23-21:23)

“Woe to those

Who are pregnant!

Woe to those

Who are nursing infants!

In those days,

There will be

Great distress

On the earth.

There will be

Wrath against this people.”

 

οὐαὶ ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις· ἔσται γὰρ ἀνάγκη μεγάλη ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ ὀργὴ τῷ λαῷ τούτῳ,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said woe to those who would be pregnant (οὐαὶ ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις) or nursing infants (καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις) in those days (ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις).  There would be a great distress (ἔσται γὰρ ἀνάγκη μεγάλη) on the earth (ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), as there would be wrath or anger against this people (καὶ ὀργὴ τῷ λαῷ τούτῳ).  This is the same, almost word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:17, and Matthew, chapter 24:19.  All three synoptic gospels have the same wording for this curse.  According to Mark, the cursed ones (οὐαὶ δὲ) would be those women who were pregnant with a baby in their womb (ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις) or those women nursing infants (καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις) in those days (ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις), during the end times.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that the cursed ones (οὐαὶ δὲ) would be those women who were pregnant with a baby in their womb (ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις) or those women nursing infants (καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις) during the end times, in those days (ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις).  There would be no earthly future for their infants.  However, Mark and Matthew did not mention anything about great distress or anger, but it might be assumed.  Luke, on the other hand, did not mention like Mark chapter 13:18, and Matthew, chapter 24:20, that it would be better if this was not in the winter time or on the Sabbath.  Is it a distressful time for women who are pregnant or nursing?