7 They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” 8 And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. 9 When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.” Luke 21:7-9
The background of Jesus’ teaching on end time events surrounds the temple. When Jesus forecasted the imminent destruction of the temple, the disciple’s ears were pricked. They wanted to know more. Most people want to know more about futuristic events. I would assume you are no different. But Jesus, in His wisdom, didn’t tell the disciples what they wanted to hear. He related information they needed to know.
The disciples, like many of us today, were concerned about the wrong things. They wanted to hear information that would be of no real value to them, other than to satisfy their own curiosity. Jesus was more interested in affecting their conduct and character rather than satisfying their curiosity.
Jesus, however, knew that if the disciples looked for signs they would be susceptible to deception. He virtually avoided their question and focused instead on character issues.
In the midst of all these tumultuous end times events Jesus specifically warns the believer about three very real dangers in Luke 21.
- Deception (8) – With all the information we have been given about end-time events by Jesus, the apostles, and others… you would think deception would not be an issue. Jesus specifically warned us that there will be an increase in deception and the tremendous potential for people to be deceived. If Jesus says deception will be our number one problem, then most assuredly it will. Unfortunately, the group who will mislead the greatest number of people will be Christians. They are the ones who love making predictions about the date and time of Jesus’ return.
- Fear (9) – How many times did Jesus tell His disciples not to be afraid? Evidently fear will run rampant in the end times. It is a mistake to take any one prophecy of Jesus or those in Revelation as infallible proof that the end of the age is immediately at hand. As troubles do intensify and increase, the true believer is told to “look up” for their redemption. They are not encouraged to “look at” troubles, hardships, and difficulties.
- Distractions (34-38) – This point is difficult to make because every generation since the time of Christ has been distracted to some degree. But evidently the distractions will be greater as we head toward the end of days. To combat this very issue Jesus told several parables in a row to communicate the need for everyone to be watching, waiting, and ready for His return.
Let me tell you a modern story that mimics Jesus’ parables.
Janell was expecting Jeff to show up. She was dressed up and waiting patiently. However, by the time he was an hour late, she figured she had been stood up. So, she took off her makeup, put on her pajamas, gathered all the junk food in the pantry, and sat down to watch tv with the dog. Just as her favorite show was coming on, the doorbell rang. It was her Jeff. He stared at her wide-eyed: “I’m two hours late and you’re still not ready?”
As someone once said, “God may not be early, but He is never late.” Put your wedding clothes back on and be ready!