Speculators like JD Farag have been really latching onto what Jesus stated in Luke 21:28:
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
The question is, “what things”? What was Jesus referring to that would begin to come to pass, thus heralding their redemption?
To get the answer, you don’t have to look very far. Obviously they are the things that Jesus had just told them about in the previous verses. And Speculators are quick to point out that we are seeing these things mentioned of the Lord:
- Threats of war and unrest in the world (vs 10)
- Great earthquakes in various places (vs 11)
- Famines and pestilences (vs 11)
- Fearful sights and great signs from heaven (some teach that the eclipses, meteors and star patterns portend these things in vs 11)
- In increase of hatred for Christianity or the Bible (vs 17)
- Signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars (vs 25)
- Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity (vs 25)
- The sea and the waves roaring – hurricanes (vs 25)
We are told by the Speculators that these things ARE in fact beginning to come to pass, all at once, and therefore our redemption – that is, the rapture – is nigh (or “near”).
Let’s put aside the fact that all of these things are fairly routine and nobody really has any proof that they have increased since Jesus spoke these words, nor do they have any data that suggest how much they will increase before the end.
The real weakness of this pervasive teaching is that Jesus mentioned many other things in the same passage that clearly NO Speculator would claim has “begun to come to pass”. Not even remotely.
- Unbelieving, apostate Jews giving up Christians to be imprisoned and beaten for their faith (vs 12). In fact, according to Jesus, this was to happen BEFORE all of the earthquakes, wars and rumors, etc.
- Along with this persecution, Jesus stated that He “will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist” (vs 15). I have yet to see even one example of this happening anywhere in the world, let alone an increase in frequency.
- Jesus also insinuates that supernatural protection would accompany the new Christians as they were being persecuted (vs 18).
- Jerusalem literally under siege (vs 20). If this were beginning to come to pass, where is the mass exodus of Jews out of Judea that Jesus commands in verse 21? I am sure the Speculators’ answer will be that this is beginning to come to pass with various nations threatening Israel, or turning their backs on them via the UN. Fine. Then you aren’t reading verse 20 literally, because that speaks of an actual, physical siege on the city.
- If the siege in verse 20 is being carried out today, then we should logically next see “Jerusalem trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”. Which is a real problem for futurists, because according to them we are already in the “time of the Gentiles” today – and that “time” will end at the rapture.
- The powers of heaven shall be shaken (vs 26). I have never heard a single Speculator explain what that means, or how it is being played out today.
- And finally, the Granddaddy of them all: Verse 27, the verse RIGHT BEFORE the one the Speculators love to quote: And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When has this begun to come to pass, and why is it never mentioned?
The fact is, this was a literal conversation Jesus had, with His literal disciples, in front of the literal temple that stood in 33 AD. Jesus says the word “YOU” in the conversation over and over again. YOU means YOU, not THEM. When Jesus told the disciples that they would be persecuted for their faith, by their own Jewish brethren, He meant what He said. And we know that happened (Acts 8:1).
We also know supernatural things followed the disciples (Acts 5:12). The apostles routinely healed people (Acts 5:15, Acts 8) they were released from prison supernaturally (Acts 12, Acts 16). We know a great famine occurred at this same time (Acts 7:11). We also know that Jerusalem was literally besieged for around 3.5 years, from AD 66-AD 70, finally falling to the Romans. The destruction of the temple occurred as well, “in this generation” just as Jesus said it would.