25“There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Luke 21:25-27
We are consumed today with “climate change.” Things like volcano eruptions, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and deviations in temperatures—up or down—are supposedly trending. This is nothing compared to what the Lord describes here. What will be on display on earth and in the heavens cannot to be ignored and will cause great fear and trepidation. The word “perplexity” (aporia in the Greek) is used only here in the New Testament and it means “at a loss for a way.” Those present on earth will be at wit’s end to know what to do about what they are seeing, other than to expect Jesus’ imminent return.
As an aside, Satan knows the end of the story—it’s written down—so it’s quite convenient for him to use an environmental theme for ulterior motives. If only God can cause devastating acts of nature—if no human agent could predict and prevent the eruption of Mount St. Helens, for example—how do we think we can restrain his hand? Also, these extraordinarily terrifying acts of nature will not be localized, but will be witnessed by everyone on earth.
29 Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near.” Luke 21:29-30
Jesus uses the example of the fig tree to make his point. To make sure that his meanings were plain, unlike Matthew and Mark, Luke adds “and all trees.” When you see these signs, like you see new growth in the trees, the time of his coming is near. It’s that simple.
31“So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.” Luke 21:31-32
It is perhaps difficult to ascertain who “this generation” is, but it can’t be the one he was talking to. Outside of perhaps seeing the predicted fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., they would not witness all that Christ is describing here. It’s more likely Jesus refers to the generation on the scene when these signs begin to appear. A lot of ink has be used and eschatological positions have been anchored to this statement, but given the facts, you must defer to the obvious.
28“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28
I am captivated by the statement in verse 28. If you’re perceptive and realize that indeed “these things” have begun to take place, and they have in certain respects, it’s cause enough to look up, even to be elated. This is our daily hope.