XXXIII - 12 (00)
what of the night?”
"The hour has come, the hour is
striking and striking at you,
The Sign of the End
In August of this
year a publication of questionable reliability issued its own interpretation on
a prophecy of Jesus, ignoring completely what Jesus Himself had said. The
defiant dictum read - "The Jews will not have regained control of
Jesus Himself had
stood on the
What if the early
Christians who dwelt in
In this verse
(24) and the one following (25), the word, ta eqnh is used four times.
Twice it is translated "nations" and twice "Gentiles." This
word with the article is used for the Hebrew word, hagoyim,
the pagan nations apart from
This sign is
unique and was given by Jesus to answer a specific part of the question asked
by the disciples. The disciples were concerned about the destruction of the
temple, and had asked, "When shall these things be?" (Matt. 24:3).
But they, thinking that such an event would involve the end of the world, asked
further - "What shall be the sign (singular) of thy coming and of the end
of the world?" They asked not what would be the signs of the time of the
end, but the sign of the end of time. Thus the answer of Jesus, in which
Some History of the Interpretation of Luke 21:24
In 1898, James
Edson White published The Coming King .
It went through several editions. It was printed in the
We also read that "
When the Australian edition was printed in 1904, this paragraph was enlarged and modified. The last sentence was omitted, and previous sentence was made to read:
Jerusalem has never again come into the possession of the Jews, but when the "times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled, and Christ comes to gather the faithful of all ages, then all who are Israelites indeed, all the household of faith, will have a home in that city of which the old Jerusalem was but a type, - the city for which Abraham looked, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:10. (p.98)
When an enlarged edition was published by the Review & Herald in 1906, the final paragraph of the chapter was abbreviated to state:
We also read that "
Whether the above interpretation of Luke is James Edson White's is open to question. Inserted in the 1906 edition following the "Introduction" is this brief sentence:
"The author gratefully acknowledges contributions on special subjects treated in this book, from the pens of J. O. Corliss, M. E. Kellogg, and G. C. Tenny." (p. viii) Does this apply to all previous editions as well as to the 1906 edition?
During the time of the publication of the various editions of Edson White's book, his mother wrote in a letter to Dr. J. H. Kellogg the following insight:
In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, Christ foretold what was to come upon Jerusalem; with it He connected the scenes which were to take place in the history of the world just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Letter 20,1901)
Two factors need
to be carefully considered from this statement: 1) Luke 21 is singled out from the other two parallel chapters of
Matthew 24 and Mark 13 in the Synoptic Gospels. It is Luke alone who recorded
Jesus' prophecy - "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the nations
until the times of the nations be fulfilled." 2) It was what "was to come upon
In 1944, the
Voice of Prophecy published for their Book of the Month offer,
The apostle Paul speaks of old
In 1947, another book appeared, The Jews and Palestine. It was published by the Pacific Press and authored by Roy F. Cottrell. In a chapter on "Modern Zionism," the author after quoting Jeremiah 19:10,11 - "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that it cannot be made whole again" - wrote:
The God of heaven who overthrew the city and
nation and who because of their apostasy dispersed the inhabitants to the ends
of the earth forever settles the question of a complete return and restitution
Yet within a year, the State of Israel became a fact. This should teach the Church and its writers on prophecy to be very cautious, recognizing that some positions held may be faulty, and need to be carefully restudied. "God and heaven alone are infallible."
The Church at the
first opportunity rectified its position and returned in principle to the
understanding suggested by Edson White in 1898. In 1952 a Bible Conference was
held in the
Coming." One section of his
presentation was devoted to "Areas of Unfulfilled Prophecy." He cited
three, one of which was "Developments in
There is one prophecy concerning
amazing prowess of the Israeli troops" in every other part of
It may well be
that the same principle applies today, on a wider scale. If so, then
One means used in
Adventist evangelistic outreach has been Bible Correspondence courses. Among
them was one called the "20th Century Bible Course."
Lesson 5 of this course - "Time Running Out" - cited the prophecy of
Luke 21. Question #2 asked - "What sign did Jesus give that would indicate
when the destruction of the city was at hand?" The text given for the
answer was Luke 21:20. Question #3 continued - "How long did Christ say
In reflection it
would seem that providentially, the Adult Sabbath School Lessons for the second
quarter of 1980 were devoted to "The Witness of Jesus." The month
following the conclusion of these lessons, the Knesset of Israel on July 30,
voted that "
We shall not linger long over the numerous signs
given by Jesus in this discourse. Only one will occupy our attention, the one
that deals especially with time. Even in our day it constitutes a critical
point in the political world:
This prophecy of Jesus was a sign for the
Christians of the
It is not a matter of seeing in the return of the
As I understand the Biblical language, the times of the Gentiles is the period set aside by God for the evangelization of the heathen nations. It is not the time needed for them to be converted to Christianity, as some think but for them to hear the gospel. It is in this sense that Jesus said, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come" (Matt. 24:14).
I believe that the times of the Gentiles began in
AD 34, when the prophetic seventy weeks that God set aside for the people of
The very least that this fulfilled prophecy of Jesus is saying is that God is no longer restraining the power of Satan in his control of the nations of earth. Even though Satan declared that he possessed such power and could delegate it to whomever he chose (Luke 4:6), the book of Daniel draws the curtain aside and reveals that God "ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will" (Dan. 4:17). When kings and rulers resisted His purposes, Michael, to whom all earthly authority is given (I Cor. ), comes Himself to influence the outcome of human events (Dan. ). That time is now past, and God has stepped aside and Satan is working his will in the nations of earth.
We have not been
left in doubt as to what Satan is seeking to accomplish. In the Revelation of
Jesus Christ, the picture is drawn. "The spirits of
devils go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather
them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14).
But you respond, that is the sixth plague after the
close of probation. No, it is the cause for the sixth plague, not the plague.
Consider the first plague: a "grievous sore" on those who had
received the mark of the beast (16:2). Was not the mark of the beast received
prior to the close of probation? Just so, the sixth plague. Verse 12 describes
the plague - the drying up of the great river
Note the use of this text in The Great Controversy, pp.561-62. Observe the context - "the last remnant of time."
The location of
this gathering is given as a place in the Hebrew tongue, called
"Har-Magedon" ( ARV). This transliterates back into the Hebrew as Har-Mo'ed - Mount of
the Congregation. Here Satan will seek to realize his objective - "I will
sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north,"
Even as the
sanctuary "was the key which unlocked the mystery of the
disappointment" in 1844 (See, Spirit
of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 268), so also it gives a further understanding as
to the significance of Jesus' prophecy as recorded in Luke 21:24. During the
daily ministration, confession of sin, both individual and corporate was made
in the court of the sanctuary. The distinct difference between these two
ceremonies was where the blood of confession was placed. For the individual,
the blood of his sacrifice was placed upon the horns of the Brazen Altar of the
Court, while for a corporate sin, the blood of the
sacrifice was placed on the horns of the Golden Altar of Incense in the
What Warning Has God Given? -- When God told Moses, the nature of the Coming One, that He would be a Prophet raised up in the midst of the Children of Israel like unto himself, and that He would put words into His mouth, He also sounded a warning:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deut. 18:19)
It was that
Prophet who declared that "
Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:34-36)