Except for the first 4 verses of this chapter, Luke 21 deals with prophetic issues. It is a parallel to the Olivet Discourse found in Matthew 24-25, and Mark 13, with the portion in Matthew being the most extensive. The term ‘Olivet Discourse’ just means that it was a lesson given by the Lord from the Mount of Olives.

In Luke 21:5-6, the Lord spoke of the destruction of the temple, which would certainly include the destruction of Jerusalem. He said the same thing in Matthew 24:1-2. We then read in Matthew 24:3, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” The disciples did not understand that there would be a long period of time between the destruction of Jerusalem and the return of the Lord in glory. What follows is the Lord explaining to His disciples (and us) the condition of the world prior to His coming in His glory to establish His kingdom upon the earth.

Some of the conditions of the world prior to His coming to reign are: many claiming to be Christ (Luke 21:8), wars and commotions (verse 9), nation against nation (verse 10), earthquakes, famines, pestilences, fearful sights and great signs from heaven (verse 11). The Lord warns in verse 12, “But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.” There will be great torment during this terrible time. Matthew 24:21 calls it a time of “…great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

Now let’s read Luke 21:20-24, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

During this time of ‘great tribulation’, this time referred to as ‘the days of vengeance’, there will be great and terrible judgment upon the people of the earth. RUN! RUN says the Lord. Seek shelter to hide! Those who are pregnant (with child), and those who are nursing young babies (them that give suck) will have a special time of difficulty, being hindered from running very far because of their conditions. In these days of vengeance of the Lord, many will ‘fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations.” What a sorrowful time! These are the days that precede the coming of the Lord Jesus to establish His kingdom on the earth.

We then read in Matthew 24:29-31, “IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Some of this prophesy was fulfilled around 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem. The completion of this prophesy has not yet come. During the Tribulation Period (after the rapture of the church) these things will begin to take place. Matthew 24:22 expresses the horror of this time by saying, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” There will be a Jewish remnant who will remain faithful to the Lord. For their sake, these days of tribulation will be shortened and limited to seven years. (276.2)