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God’s Word for You

Luke 21:25-26 the foreboding of what is coming

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars. On the earth there will be anxiety and despair among nations due to the roaring and the surging waves of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror and from the foreboding of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Jesus is describing the very end of the New Testament age, a time when Satan will have been set free for a short time (Revelation 20:3). God will send signs for us all to see to know that the end is getting closer. Exactly what these “signs in the sun, moon, and the stars” will be, we can’t say for certain. Will there be an increase of comets or meteors? Will there be collisions between the planets? Will new stars explode into life? Will old stars, familiar signs in the sky since the beginning of time, suddenly disappear from their constellations? Or might the blackness of the night sky suddenly begin to change color? The nature of a sign is that it is visible, and can be seen by all.

Another sign will be the worry of the nations over the behavior of the sea. “Roaring” (ἤχους) is the sound or “news” of the sea; the “surging waves” (σάλου) are the roughness of the sea, the building of ever-higher waves, and their violence. An increase of activity on the surface of the water means one of two things: strong winds moving over the surface or violent movement beneath the surface from earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. All of these things are a concern to anyone who lives near the shore, and for many miles inland.

Jesus says that the “powers of the heavens” will be shaken. The NIV translates this “heavenly bodies,” but dynamis (δυνάμις) simply means “power,” and it seems to be used here the way it so often is, as of armies in the heavens, like the “starry host” (Isaiah 34:4), and in the frightening scene in Daniel’s vision: “It threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host…” (Daniel 8:10-11). So the “powers of the heavens” here are probably not another reference to planets and stars as in verse 25, but to angels and demons.

Jesus is describing everything and everyone being shaken up by the sudden coming of the very end. People will faint in terror. The sign in the oceans and seas will be especially distressing. The heavenly bodies, whether stars and planets or angels and demons, will be shaken.

Yet we can’t forget who is speaking. Jesus “gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:4). If the one who warns is also the one who saves, we have nothing to do except to trust in him. We put ourselves completely in his hands, and he will not fail. How can we be certain? Because he has already accomplished everything that needs to be done. In Jesus, we have the promise of everlasting life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.



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