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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
February 4, 2018
The Coming of the Kingdom of God
Jesus is somewhere between the border of Galilee and Samaria and Jericho on His way to Jerusalem with the pilgrims heading there for Passover. Luke records events that occur while Jesus and the disciples are making this journey. Last week we saw that as Jesus approached some unnamed village, ten lepers called out to Him for mercy, and He granted them mercy and they were healed as they were going to the priest as instructed. Only the Samaritan among them turned back when he saw that he was healed to give glory to God, and give thanks and worship to Jesus for the miracle (Luke 17:11-19). (See: The Extent of God’s Mercy). There were important lessons in that story for us in also giving glory and worshiping the Lord for His many mercies granted to us. Things which we all too often take for granted instead of giving thanks.
This morning we find that somewhere along the way Jesus is questioned by some Pharisees about the coming of the kingdom of God. Jesus not only responds to their question, but He then expands on it to His disciples so that they would have an understanding of what was coming in the future. It is a subject that is still relevant to us for we are still awaiting the fulfillment of this prophetic explanation of events that will take place upon the return of the Lord to establish His kingdom. Turn to Luke 17:20.
A Present Kingdom Unnoticed – Luke 17:20-21
20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
The question posed by the Pharisees was based on their own understanding of prophecy and prompted by the fact that Jesus often talked about the kingdom of heaven. In fact, Jesus began His public ministry preaching the same thing as John the Baptist, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It was their belief that Messiah would set up a physical kingdom that would restore the Davidic throne. Since Jesus is claiming to be the Messiah, then it would be a reasonable question to ask as to when He was going to bring about the fulfillment of the prophecies. When would the kingdom of God come?
Because of the antagonism often showed by the Pharisees toward Jesus, I think it is safe to assume that this was not an earnest question of anticipation or even one of just curiosity, but rather one designed to provoke and challenge Jesus’ claim of being the Messiah. “If you are the Messiah, then when will you bring about the Kingdom of God?” This would explain Jesus accurate but evasive answer to them and fuller explanation to His disciples.
I must stress that the question itself was not unreasonable for eschatology, prophecies concerning the end times, can be very confusing and even more difficult for them since the events of the first and second coming of Messiah had not yet been distinguished. Even Jesus’ disciples continued to be confused by it even after Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. In Acts 1:6 they ask Jesus just prior to His ascension, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” The timing of and exact sequence of events still to come are still confusing for us even with the greater clarification given to us in the Biblical writings of the apostles.
The Hebrew prophets speak of all sorts of very visible events and conditions that will be part of the establishment of the millennial reign of Messiah on earth. I specifically state it as being millennial, a period of one thousand years, because the apostle John in Revelation 20:2-7 cites that length of time in each of six consecutive verses demonstrating he is speaking of an actual period of time and not using metaphor as those who interpret Revelation as allegory claim. Their expectation was that Messiah would set up a physical kingdom in which He ruled the world from the restored throne of David in unprecedented justice, righteousness, peace and safety as predicted in Isaiah 9:6-7 & 11:1-10. It would also be a time of incredible abundance as prophesied in Amos 9:13-15 in which crops have not even been fully harvested before the plowman comes to plant the next season of crops. They often questioned Jesus about signs from heaven because Isaiah and Joel both specifically speak of such signs as part of the coming day of the Lord that would bring in the kingdom of God.
Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees is in reference to the first coming of Messiah as the suffering servant that would redeem Israel with His own life as prophesied in Isaiah 53. This coming would not be preceded by or concurrent with the kinds of observable phenomena in the heavens (Isaiah, Joel) or the physical aspects of the prophesied Messianic kingdom. They did not understand a distinction between the first and second coming of Messiah. Even today most Jews do not understand that and either ignore Isaiah 53 or interpret it as allegory in order to blind people to its very obvious fulfillment in Jesus. They were so intent on looking for the fulfillment of particular prophecies of the establishment of a physical kingdom that they missed the multitude of signs Jesus did give that He was Messiah. John the Baptist even questioned this and Jesus’ answer to John’s messengers in Luke 7:22 was, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
There would not be signs the Pharisees were looking for so no one could observe them and claim the kingdom was here or there. Instead, Jesus told them “for behold the kingdom of God is in your midst.” What did Jesus mean by that? The particular word used here, ejntovV / entos, refers to “a position within an area determined by other objects and distributed among such objects – among, with” (Louw-Nida) or even “within” (NASB Dictionaries). In this context, it is easy to see that Jesus is referring to the kingdom being present among them since the Messiah was standing in their presence, and not within them since the Pharisees by and large rejected Jesus as the Messiah. The kingdom of God was present, but not in the way the Pharisees thought it must come. Its spiritual presence was already being established, but its physical presence as described by the prophets was something still future.
A Future Kingdom Visible and Desired – Luke 17:22-25
Jesus now turns His attention to the disciples. Luke does not give specific indication whether this was immediate while the Pharisees were still present or when He was alone with them. The emphasis is that what Jesus now teaches was for the benefit of His disciples. If the Pharisees were present, they would not have understood unless the Holy Spirit enabled them just as it is in the present time. There are plenty of people that read the Bible and do not understand it because they approach it in pride, whether obvious or not, and try to make it fit into their presuppositions which have often been set by worldly philosophies, false religions or cult beliefs. Those who come with a humble attitude praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and striving to understand what Jesus teaches in its context will be able to understand the main points even if they do not understand all the details due to the language, historic and culture barriers that must be overcome in translating and interpreting Scripture.
Jesus begins this teaching by contrasting the present kingdom which is not observable by the signs of an outward physical kingdom to a future kingdom that will be very noticeable when it comes. 22 And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 “They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them. 24 “For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25 “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
Verse 25 assures us that this description is something future since it could not come until after Jesus suffered and was rejected by that generation. These are all things that must happen after His crucifixion and resurrection.
We first note from verse 22 that “the days of the Son of Man” will be something they will long for, but will not have it. It is that longing that causes people to look for what has not come or believe has come when it has not. Why would people long for “the days of the Son of Man,” a reference to the Messianic Kingdom? Because the descriptions of it as a time of peace, abundance, righteousness and justice are attractive even for those that interpret them allegorically into only general terms instead of specific promised characteristics. That longing can easily set a person up to be deceived or self-deceived if they are not careful.
Second, we note that Jesus is very specific that though they will long for those days, they are not to follow after those that are claiming it to be here. The coming future kingdom will not come unnoticed. It will not come quietly or secretly and will not be hidden in any manner so that it has to be pointed out. Related to this Jesus is very specific that its arrival will be like lightning flashing across the sky. It will come as more than just noticeable, it will come in a manner that will get your attention even if you were not looking for it.
I know that many people do not like lightning and some even fear it. I enjoy it. I like to stand in some place where I can watch it, and closer, the better. To see, hear and smell the ozone all at that the same time is thrilling. But even better than that are the storms in which the lightning transverses from one end of the sky to the other so that you hear the thunder boom immediately and its rolling for a long time. It gets your attention. That is the description Jesus gives of the arrival of His future kingdom. It will be more than just noticeable. It will get your attention even if you were not looking for it.
This passage gives a serious problem for those holding to an amillennial position in which they interpret the Bible allegorically so that they do not believe there will be a future physical reign of Jesus on the throne of David for a thousand years as described by both the Hebrew prophets and the Apostles. They spiritualize the many references to this prophesied kingdom to be something that exists in the present within the church however they define it. That is contrary to what Jesus clearly teaches here and in other passages in which He teaches on the same subject (Matthew 24). It is contrary to what the apostle John recorded in the book of Revelation.
If you are alive on this earth when Jesus returns, then you will know it. I have no doubt unbelieving man will come up with all sorts of ideas to try to explain it away, but they will not be able to ignore it. Therefore do not pay attention to those who claim the kingdom of God has come as prophesied and is here or there. Do not believe it. Do not go after them.
Conditions at His Revelation – Luke 17:26-30
Jesus then continues on to describe what the conditions on the earth will be like when the Son of Man is revealed and He establishes His physical kingdom. 26 “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
There are several things here that I want to make sure you notice. First is the description Jesus gives to what is occurring during the days of Noah and the days of Lot. It is common for people to see those references and quickly think they were unusually evil. In once sense it is true that both of those times were marked by horrendous evil. Genesis 6:5-6 describes the wickedness of man being so great that “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” resulting in God being grieved and sorry He had made man on the earth. In Genesis 18:20 the Lord states, “the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.” Genesis 19 then describes in some detail the appalling evil of the men that demanded that Lot turn over the angels that were in his home to them so that they could rape them. Even after the angels blinded those men, verse 11 states that “they wearied themselves trying to find the door.” That was not to get out, but to get into Lot’s house so that they could carry out their wicked desires. The angels then sent Lot and his family away from the city before the Lord destroyed it and Gomorrah with brimstone and fire raining down from heaven.
There is no question about the utter evil of both the days of Noah and the days of Lot to which Jesus refers, but Jesus does not mention any of those things. Instead, He points out the common events of normal life. They were eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. To this description of the days of Lot, Jesus adds buying, selling, planting and building while leaving out marrying and giving in marriage. All of the specific activities Jesus points out are just the common events of everyday life. People were living with little to no thought about the consequences of the evil among them, and that was despite whatever Noah said as a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) for perhaps up to 120 years (Genesis 6:3), or whatever Lot whose soul was vexed by their wicked conduct may have said to the men of Sodom. That is what makes this passage so disturbing.
While these two examples were times of extreme wickedness, it is not the sin to which Jesus points, but the indifference to God in just living out their lives doing the common things of life as they desired. It is at that point that judgment came upon them suddenly. Though they had plenty of warning, they were completely unprepared. They believed life would just continue on as they had always known it. Is there really any difference in our own time and these descriptions Jesus gives? We could point to the rising wickedness not only in our own society but around the world, but more disturbing is the indifference shown to the warnings being given about the consequences God will surely bring. People are busy continuing on their way in conducting the business of life to give much thought if any to the God who created them and will hold them accountable for breaking His commandments. Their focus is on planning weddings, conducting business, planting their fields or building structures, and on what they will eat and drink at their next meal. For those reasons they do not have time to think about God, much less to learn His will to do it or to worship Him. And if they do think about God, it will be according to their own traditions and musings instead of what God has actually revealed about Himself.
They lived with little or no concern about God so that His judgment seemed to be sudden and without warning. But the truth is that God was very patient and longsuffering giving more than ample warning about what the future held for those that did not repent. Jesus states that will be the same way on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. When the Son of Man, the promised Messiah, who is currently hidden from man’s observation because He is heaven, suddenly bursts into open view, it will seem sudden and without warning though the gospel of Jesus Christ has been proclaimed for nearly two millennia. Those who pay attention and heed the gospel will be prepared as was Noah. Those who do not will be swept away in God’s wrath as surely as the flood destroyed the world and brimstone and fire destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
Let me also quickly add here that Jesus using Noah and the flood that destroyed all outside the ark and using Lot and the destruction of Sodom by a rain of fire and brimstone from heaven as examples are testimony of Jesus’ belief that both of these are true, actual events of history. Those who discount them or who do not believe them to be true are forced into the position of believing that either Jesus was deceived or a liar. In either case, such a Jesus would be something other than the Messiah, the Son of God.
The Suddenness of His Coming – Luke 17:31-36
Jesus emphasizes the suddenness of His revelation in verses 31-36. 31 “On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32 “Remember Lot’s wife. 33 “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 “I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 “There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.”
Verse 31 may be a reference to the prophecy in Zechariah 14:5 concerning fleeing by the valley of My mountains as the events surrounding the physical return of Messiah take place. But whether it is or not, with Jesus pointing out to remember Lot’s wife, the emphasis is upon having an unhesitating obedience to the Lord’s commands and have no concern for the things of this world. Lot’s wife fled Sodom with Lot and his two daughters, but she lagged behind him and looked back at Sodom and so was overtaken by its destruction. Jesus’ instructions here are to be single minded without thought for any of your possessions.
The houses in that area of the world were usually flat and used as living space. That is still very common. They often were accessed by stairs on the side of the building. Jesus’ command here is to not even detour inside the house to grab anything. The same is true of one who is in the field. They usually farmed land in close proximity to their homes. On the day the Lord reveals Himself, the sole focus must be on the Him. Whatever you had in the house is no longer of concern because life just radically changed, and the Lord will provide anything you actually need just as he did for Noah and Lot.
The principle Jesus states in verse 33 is one He has taught before (Luke 9:24-25). This is the opposite of how people normally think and it is a complete contrast between those who are all wrapped up in the common affairs of life and those who quickly abandon those things to follow the Lord. It is the difference between Noah and the rest of the world. It is the difference between Lot and those that lived in Sodom and Gomorrah.
The principle is this. If you try to save your life, in this case striving to live it out the way you think best and preserve it according to your own wisdom, then Jesus states here, you will lose it. The end result of materialism, hedonism and fame according to Solomon in Ecclesiastes is vanity, a pointless chasing after the wind. And worse than that, your soul is lost and you will be damned by God for eternity. At the opposite extreme is recognizing that the purpose of your life is to glorify the Lord God your Creator by doing His will. Your life is in His hands and He has already promised to meet your needs for life as you seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). In doing this, you not only gain a life that has meaning and purpose, but your soul is saved and you will spend eternity in the joy of heaven.
The differences in specific activities between the godly and ungodly may not be great, but God knows the heart. Jesus’ illustrations in verses 34-36 demonstrate both that and the suddenness of His return. The illustrations are of common activities of normal life. People need to sleep, so two are in one bed. One is taken and the other is left. People need to eat, so two women are busy grinding the grain so that they can make a meal. Some grinding stones can be used by one person, but there are also some that take two people. The top stone would have hole in the middle into which the grain is dropped, then the stone is slid back and forth crushing the grain. These women are either working side by side or together when one is taken and the other left. Food has to be grown and gathered, so two men are out in the field, when suddenly one is taken and the other is left.
There is some question as to whether it is one of God’s elect that is taken as in Matthew 24:31 or the person is taken for judgment as in Matthew 13:41. I don’t think that is the critical issue here since the emphasis of the passage is the suddenness of the Lord’s return and the visible changes it makes on earth. However, I do think that the flow of the passage and the emphasis on a sudden, unexpected revealing of the Son of Man best fits the description of what is commonly referred to as the rapture. The righteous are taken up and the wicked left behind.
The term rapture comes from the Latin translation of 1 Thess. 4:13-18 referring to the catching away of believers together with the resurrected dead in Christ in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air upon His descent from heaven. This is not the second coming in which the Lord descends all the way to the earth touching down on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14). The rapture occurs at or near the beginning of the seventieth week of the prophecy in Daniel 9 often called the Tribulation period. The second coming occurs at the end of that period. Throughout the New Testament epistles the return of Jesus is presented as imminent, that is, something that could happen at anytime but yet is not required to happen immediately. Or to state it another way, Jesus’ return is imminent because while many things could happen before Jesus’ return, there are no prophecies that must be fulfilled before He returns, therefore it could happen at any moment. We are to be eagerly waiting for this revelation of the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:7; Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 9:28) for the Lord is near (Philippians 4:5; James 5:8-9).
The Place of His Coming – Luke 17:37
The response of the disciples in verse 37 show they are still thinking in terms of some local event instead of something that will encompass the whole world. And answering they said to Him, “Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.”
Jesus’ answer appears to be a Jewish proverbial saying of universality though somewhat morbid to our sensibilities. It refers to every place the conditions are met. The vultures find and gather wherever there is a dead body. A similar form of it occurs in Job 39:30. (The term ajetovV / aetos can be used for either vulture or eagle. In this context, vulture would be the better translation).
The revelation of the Son of Man will not be limited to some local place. It will be universal in scope. It will not be something that is hidden or can escape notice. It will come in such a fashion that the world will know. The book of Revelation describes horrendous events that will generate plenty of corpses around the world with just the first five seal judgments in Revelation 6 at the beginning of the Tribulation period describing war, famine, plagues and martyrdom. Those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be left behind to experience the wrath of God poured out on mankind. That is a very sobering reality that should cause everyone who has even the slightest doubt about whether they are right with God to make sure that they have been forgiven and are at peace with Him.
For those of us who have been saved by God’s grace through faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, we face the future with great confidence knowing that there is no condemnation of those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) and that God has not destined us for such wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9). If you do not have that confidence, then get right with God today. Do not delay.
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Footnote to verses 36
The 4th & 5th Century manuscripts do not contain verse 36. (Except D which is 5th-6th Century). It appears to be taken from Matthew 24:40.
Footnote to verse 37
The question of the disciples “Where, Lord?” could be “Where will these things take place?” as I have assumed in my above interpretation.
Some have seen this as a reference to “Where have they been taken?” If the later, then Jesus’ answer is still a Jewish proverbial saying of universality, but the morbid nature of it may better fit an interpretation in which the unrighteous are taken in judgment as in Matthew 13:41. However, such an interpretation has its own difficulties. In Matthew 13:41 the unrighteous are taken and thrown into the furnace of fire and their bodies are not left for the birds. The future judgment described in Ezekiel 39 includes calling the birds to feast on the bodies of the slain, but this is due to a war situation and not one in which people are taken while at peace.
These difficulties of interpretation are a reminder that eschatology is difficult because the timing of the fulfillment of the various prophecies of events that are still future is uncertain and often confusing to us as was the prophecies of Jesus’ first coming were confusing to those present at that time. It was confusing even for the prophets that made the prophecies – 1 Peter 1:10-12.
Sermon Notes – 1/28/2018
The Coming of the Kingdom of God : Luke 17:20-37
While on His way from Galilee to Jerusalem, Jesus continues His ministry of miracles and ____________
A Present Kingdom Unnoticed – Luke 17:20-21
The question arose from the Pharisees’ _________and Jesus’ theme of preparing for the kingdom of heaven
This was probably a _____________as to why Jesus had not yet brought about the visible kingdom of God
Eschatology is ___________and the disciples were also looking for the visible kingdom of God (Acts 1:6)
Messiah will reign on David’s throne for a ____________- Isa. 9:6-7; 11:1-10, Amos 9:13-15; Rev. 20, etc.
Jesus’ answer refers to the prophecy of the suffering ______________ in Isaiah 53
Jesus had already demonstrated proof of being Messiah by His _____________ and teaching – Luke 7:22
The physical kingdom was _______________, but the spiritual kingdom was already present
A Future Kingdom Visible and Desired – Luke 17:22-25
Jesus turns His attention to teach His ________what can be understood by the humble led by the Holy Spirit
Jesus contrasts the present spiritual kingdom with the very noticeable ______________ kingdom to come
Verse 25 – this physical kingdom was _____since Jesus had to first suffer and be rejected by that generation
People will long for “the days of the Son of Man” because it will be a time of _______, abundance & justice
Jesus ___________ about being deceived by false claims for the future kingdom will not come unnoticed
The arrival will come in a manner that will get your attention – like ____________that transverses the sky
This is passage is ____________ to the allegorical interpretations of amillennialism
If you are alive when Jesus returns, you will ________it – though unbelieving man will try to explain it away
Conditions at His Revelation – Luke 17:26-30
The days of Noah and Lot were extremely ______________ – Genesis 6:5-6; 18:20; 19:1-26
Jesus points out the _____________ activities of life and not the evil of those days
People lived with ___________to the preaching of Noah (2 Peter 2:5; Gen. 6:3) and actions of righteous Lot
Judgment came upon them ______________while they were living out normal lives and indifferent to God
The _____conditions will be present when the Son of Man is revealed – those are conditions of our own time
This passage affirms Jesus’ _________in the story of Noah & the flood and Lot & the destruction of Sodom
The Suddenness of His Coming – Luke 17:31-36
Verse 31 may refer to Zechariah 14:5 – but the passage emphasizes _________minded obedience to the Lord
Whether on the housetop or field, do not return to the house to get possessions – just ________ the Lord
Verse 33 is the difference between Noah & the world and Lot & Sodom – obey _____, not your own desires
Pursuing materialism, hedonism or fame results in _________(Ecclesiastes) and your soul being damned
Living for Christ results in ______________ in this life and eternity with God in heaven
Verses 34-36 illustrate the sudden and ___________ return of Christ.
Is the one taken one of God’s __________ (Matt. 24:31) or the wicked (Matt. 13:41)?
The flow and emphasis of the passage as sudden and unexpected best fits the __________- 1 Thess. 4:13-18
The rapture is at the ____________of the 70th week of Daniel 9, and the second coming is at the end of it
The New Testament epistles present Jesus’ return as ____________- it could happen at any time
The Place of His Coming – Luke 17:37
Apparently a Jewish proverbial saying of _____________ (Job 39:30)
The revelation of the Son of Man will be universal in scope and ______followed by lots of corpses (Rev. 6)
Those who are not true Christians will be left to face the horrendous events or Revelation – a sobering _____
The redeemed are saved from such _____(1 Thess. 5:9) and will be with Jesus during the Tribulation period
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times a reference is made to Jesus’ return? 2) Discuss with your parents the how to be prepared for Jesus return.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Why do the Pharisees question Jesus about when the kingdom of God would come? How would Jesus’ teaching have prompted their questions? What was commonly believed then about the signs that would accompany the restoration of the Davidic kingdom? Why is it proper to refer to that as the Millennial Kingdom of Christ? (See Revelation 20). What will conditions on earth be like during the Millennial Kingdom? Why do we believe the Scripture prophecies of two comings of Messiah? How does Isaiah 53 relate to that belief? What evidence did Jesus point to in assuring John the Baptist that He was the Messiah (Luke 7:22)? What did Jesus mean “behold the kingdom of God is in your midst” ? Jesus turns his attention to teach His disciples. If the Pharisees were still listening, would they have understood the teaching? Why or why not? What is necessary to properly understand the Bible? Do you meet those conditions? If not, what needs to change? Why would the disciples long for “the days of the Son of Man”? How would that longing make people susceptible to deception? How can they prevent from being deceived? How does Jesus’ illustration guarantee that His revelation will be noticeable? Have you seen lightning transverse the sky? What is it like? How does this passage contradict the allegorical teaching of the amillennial position? What were the days of Noah and the days of Lot like in terms of evil? How does Jesus describe those days? Why doesn’t He mention the evil? How did God show patience and longsuffering toward those that were eventually destroyed? What warnings did God give to them? How is our own time similar to that of the days of Noah and the days of Lot? Why does Jesus tell those in the housetop and those in the field not to return to the house to get their possessions? What happened to Lot’s wife? Why did that happen? How does that story illustrate both God’s patience and kindness as well as His justice? What is the principle of Luke 17:33? How do the stories of Noah and Lot illustrate that principle? How do you apply that principle in your own life? According to Ecclesiastes, what is the end result of the pursuit of materialism, hedonism or fame? How do the illustrations of Luke 17:34-36 demonstrate the suddenness and unexpected nature of the revelation of the Son of Man? Matthew 24:31 describes the angels of God gathering His elect and Matthew 13:41 describes angels taking people for judgment. Considering the flow and emphasis of this passage, which do you think is being described by these verses? What is the meaning of the word rapture and how did it come to be used to describe the events of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18? When does the rapture occur? What events follow it? When does the Second Coming occur? What events follow it? Are you ready for Jesus to return? If not, what do you need to do?
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