Luke 21

Luke 21:2 he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites

Alexander B. Morrison

"Among the long lines of contributors was a poor widow, who cast into the treasure chest all that she had, two small bronze coins, known as mites. Taken together they amounted to less than half a cent in American money. Noting the disparity between what she gave and the much greater contributions of some others, Jesus proclaimed, 'Of a truth ... , this poor widow hath cast in more than they all.' Though the rich had given from their abundance, 'she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had' (Luke 21:1-4). Jesus knew it is not the amount we give that matters. In the arithmetic of heaven, value is determined not by quantity but by quality. It is the intent of the willing heart and mind that is acceptable to God (see 2 Cor. 8:12)." ("For This Cause Came I into the World," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 26-27)

Luke 21:6 there shall not be left one stone upon another

"On August 15 (AD 70), Titus ordered the wooden roofs and porches around the Temple to be burned...Flaming brands were tossed into the Temple itself through an open window, and the House of God was burned on the ninth of Ab (August 28).

'As the Temple burned, frenzy gripped both attackers and defenders. Roman shock troops burst through, and Titus was able to dash into the Temple just long enough for a brief look; then heat forced him out. His soldiers continued burning whatever could be kindled, and killing all they could reach, whether combatants, women, or children. Many Jews flung themselves into the fire and perished with their Temple. Others, hiding in corners, were burned to death as Roman torches set new fires.'" (Galbraith, Ogden, and Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City, 215)

"[Weeks later] Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury...Caesar (Titus) gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple...[and when they were done] the wall [around Jerusalem and presumably the temple]...was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited." (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 7:1:1)

Luke 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you

James E. Talmage

"Judaistic opposition to the Church was predicted. While Jesus ministered in the flesh He specifically and repeatedly warned the apostles of the persecution they would have to meet. In answering certain inquiries Christ said to Peter and others: 'But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten; and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake for a testimony against them.' (Mark 13:9)

"Shortly before His betrayal the Lord repeated the warning with solemn impressiveness, citing the persecutions to which He had been subject, and declaring that His disciples could not escape: 'If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me they will also persecute you.' (John 15:18-20)

"...These predictions had speedy and literal fulfilment. From the time of the crucifixion, Jewish malignity and hatred were directed against all who professed a belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ. In the early stages of their ministry several of the apostles were imprisoned and the priestly leaders sought to take their lives. Stephen was stoned to death because of his testimony; and the persecution against the Church became general. James, the son of Zebedee, was slain by order of Herod, and Peter was saved from a similar fate only by a miraculous intervention. The scriptural record informs us as to the ultimate fate of but few of the apostles; and secular history is likewise incomplete. That Peter would be numbered with the martyrs was made known by the resurrected Lord. Paul sets forth the fact that the apostles lived in the very shadow of death and that persecution was their heritage." (The Great Apostasy [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1958], 58.)

Luke 21:19 In patience possess ye your souls

Neal A. Maxwell

"The Lord has twice said: 'And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life' (D&C 101:38, italics added; see also Luke 21:19). Could it be that only when our self-control has become total do we come into true possession of our own souls?" ("Patience," Ensign, Oct. 1980, 28)

Luke 21:20 when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies

Prior to the first Desolation of Abomination, the Jews were to see their holy city surrounded by the Roman armies. But since this first desolation is a prophetic type for the second, another Desolation of Abomination will soon come to pass. It will also be heralded by a concourse of armies encompassing Jerusalem.

Ezra Taft Benson

"There is great conflict yet to come before the millennial reign, before the Christ comes. If you want to get some indication of just what this conflict will be, you may wish to turn to the fourteenth chapter of Zechariah and the eleventh chapter of the book of Revelation, which make it very clear that nations will be pitted against Judah; that there will be great wars, great conflict; that at least two prophets will be raised up among them; that they will make predictions before Christ comes. I have no doubt but what these prophets will be assigned by the leadership of the priesthood, because the Lord's house is a house of order. The gospel will be carried to the Jews and many of them will accept it." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 98 - 99.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

"One thing we are given by these prophets definitely to understand is that the great last conflict before Christ shall come will end at the siege of Jerusalem...When the armies gather in Palestine will be the time when the Lord shall come in judgment." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:46-47)

Bruce R. McConkie

"In 'the generation when the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled,' this awesome scene will be reenacted. Jerusalem, this time besieged by the armies of the earth, shall be direly desolated. But this time there will be a different destiny. The Lord himself will come to fight her battles; [and] a remnant of the people will be saved." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 3: 447.)

Luke 21:24 they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations

Ezra Taft Benson

"I think one of the saddest chapters in history is the account of the dispersion and suffering of Judah.

"I have before me a quotation of Will Durant in his book, The Story of Civilization, in which he states that 'no people in history fought so tenaciously for liberty as the Jews, nor any other people against such odds.' He says further, 'No other people has ever known so long an exile, or so hard a fate.'

"Then referring to the siege of Jerusalem under Titus, lasting for 134 days, during which 1,110,000 Jews perished and 97,000 were taken captive; he states that the Romans destroyed 987 towns in Palestine and slew 580,000 men, and still larger number, we are told, perished through starvation, disease, and fire.

"Nearly all Judea was laid waste. So many Jews were sold as slaves that their price fell to that of a horse. Thousands hid in underground channels rather than be captured. Surrounded by Romans they died one by one of hunger while the living ate the bodies of the dead.

"Scarcely eight thousand Jews were left in all Palestine. And even their banishment and scattering didn't end their persecution. Efforts were made to drive them from various countries. Some nations made an effort to banish them completely. They were accused of causing the 'Black Death' that spread through Europe in 1348, and many Jews were crucified therefore.

"I have said nothing regarding the Crusades and the dastardly deeds perpetrated in the name of Christianity upon the remaining Jews in Palestine. Yes, the prophecies regarding the dispersion and the suffering of Judah have been fulfilled. But the gathering and re-establishment of the Jews is also clearly predicted." (So Shall Ye Reap, compiled by Reed A. Benson [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1960], 66-67.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

"This destruction came upon them in the year 70 A.D., and Jerusalem was trodden down; the Jews were scattered over the whole face of the earth. All through the years they have been persecuted, murdered, driven and hated by peoples of other nations. A curse came upon their land. The fruitful fields and vineyards disappeared. The mountains of Canaan, which once were covered with forests became denuded. The once thriving villages all but ceased to exist. The earth became parched and barren; other tribes possessed these cities and villages thus stricken with the curse. It is true that after the dedication of the land these physical conditions began to improve, but the Jewish population of Jerusalem was not greatly increased for years following the time when Orson Hyde went to that land.

"The Lord had given his promise, however, that these somber and unhealthful conditions should not always endure; nor would the ancient inhabitants remain scattered, and be a hiss and a byword among the nations." (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 4: 92.)

Luke 21:24 Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled

Ezra Taft Benson

"The Lord has designated these days in which we live as 'the times of the Gentiles.' The Gentile nations are essentially the so-called Christian nations-North and South America and the European nations from which we came. 'The times of the Gentiles' refers to that period of time extending from when the gospel was restored to the world (1830) to when the gospel will again be preached to the Jews-after the Gentiles have rejected it. This is how the Lord explained it: 'When the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel; but they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' (Doctrine and Covenants 45:28-30; italics added.)" (Come unto Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 111.

Gerald Lund

"For more than 1800 years the prediction of the Master was literally fulfilled-Jerusalem was trodden down by the Gentiles....Although the British [after the first world war]set up Palestine as a homeland for the Jews and the Jewish people began to flock back to Jerusalem, the city of Jerusalem was still not completely controlled by the Jews. When Israel declared themselves to be a free and independent nation in 1948, the Arabs bitterly protested and war broke out. Peace was finally achieved through the United Nations, but Jerusalem was partitioned and became a divided city-half belonging to Israel, the other half to Jordan. Perhaps this is what Zechariah foresaw when he said that '... a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.' But finally, after nearly 1900 years, in June, 1967, the now-famous 'six-day war' broke out and Israeli forces smashed through Jordanian defenses and captured all of Jerusalem. So as Christ, Joseph Smith, Wilford Woodruff, Orson Hyde, and others predicted, Jerusalem is being rebuilt and inhabited once again by those so long ago dispersed from its streets and dwelling places." (Gerald N. Lund, The Coming of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971], 187.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

"Many things have taken place during the past one hundred and thirty-six years to impress faithful members of the Church with the fact that the coming of the Lord is near. The gospel has been restored. The Church has been fully organized...Jesus said the Jews would be scattered among all nations and Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled. (Luke 21:24.) The prophecy in Section 45, verses 24-29, of the Doctrine and Covenants regarding the Jews was literally fulfilled. Jerusalem, which was trodden down by the Gentiles, is no longer trodden down but is made the home for the Jews. They are returning to Palestine, and by this we may know that the times of the Gentiles are near their close." (Conference Report, April 1966, First Day-Morning Meeting 13.)

Ezra Taft Benson

"This time of the Gentiles is being fulfilled and the prophecies regarding the reestablishment of Judah and Israel are likewise coming to pass. ("The Jews Return to Palestine in Fulfillment of Prophecy," Washington D.C. Stake Conference, 3 March 1957.)" (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 98.)

George Q. Cannon

"The gathering of the Jews, then, was to be a sign that the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled. To the Latter-day Saints this event is full of great importance. We are looking forward to the coming of the Lord Jesus, according to the promise that He should again descend from heaven, this time in power and in great glory. But before that awful day a remnant of the Jews will be gathered to Jerusalem, and the ancient city will be rebuilt; the land of Palestine will be re-peopled by the descendants of the covenant people of the Lord." (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 353.)

Luke 21:25 there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars

During a typical discussion of the signs of the times, members will say they have seen the sun darkened by an eclipse, or the moon turned to blood by haze, pollution, etc. They speak of meteor showers as if the stars had fallen from the heavens. Yet, the importance and magnitude of this sign is often underestimated. In the scriptures, no heavenly sign is more frequently repeated than that the sun shall be darkened, the moon will turn to blood, and the stars shall fall from the heavens. The members may be well assured that this sign will be of an apocalyptic magnitude. A meteor shower just doesn't count. Consider the Lord's first coming to the Nephites. They described a darkness so thick that they 'could feel the vapor of darkness. And there could be no light...neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all...and it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen' (3 Ne. 8:20-23). Now that's apocalyptic darkness! Are we to suppose that the Lord's Second Coming should be any less dramatic?

Joseph Fielding Smith

"Eventually the sun is to be turned into darkness and the moon as blood, and then shall come the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Some of these signs have been given; some are yet to come. The sun has not yet been darkened. We are informed that this will be one of the last acts just preceding the coming of the Lord." (The Way to Perfection [Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949], 280.)

Luke 21:25 upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity

Elder Elray L. Christiansen

"We are living in a day when prophecy is being fulfilled among the nations of the earth-a time when many things which have long been stable are no longer to be depended upon-a time when the integrity of men and of nations (at least some of the leaders of some of the nations) is too often questioned.

"It is as if the words of the Savior (through his prophets) are being fulfilled: Luke speaks of the time when there should be upon the earth '...distress of nations, with perplexity;...' (Luke 21:25.) And through the Prophet Joseph Smith the Lord speaks of a time when there shall be

'...wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men's hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.

And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.' (D & C 45:26-27.)

"Rumors of wars and uprisings are a daily diet to the reader and the listener of news. Severe crises the world over are arising one after another, and they come to no satisfactory conclusion. (And, for peculiar reasons, our great nation becomes involved in most of them.)

"While tensions and uprisings continue throughout the world there is in our own country, it seems to me, an ever-increasing trend toward lawlessness, and, on the part of some, a seeming disregard and even contempt for the law.

"There are many, too, while holding places of trust, who are suspected of collusion or bribery or of making 'deals.' A constant flow of reports comes of investigations of misconduct of those who are given places of trust throughout the nation." (Conference Report, April 1957, Afternoon Meeting 62 - 63.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"Before modern times, global perplexity simply was not possible. Now, there is a quick transmission of some crises and problems from one nation to others-the consequences of debt-ridden economies, the spreading of diseases, the abuse of narcotics, and, perhaps most of all, a shared sense of near-helplessness in the face of such perplexities. Today, the assembled agonies of the world pass in reminding review on the nightly news." ("For I Will Lead You Along," Ensign, May 1988, 7-8)

Neal A. Maxwell

"Ours has all the potential for a golden age, yet instead it is an age of burgeoning anxiety and unsettlement. Thousands starve. An arms race threatens global terror. Drug traffic increases and even intertwines with governments. Pornography spreads as a multi-billion dollar business. Key problems elude solutions, and such solutions as are reached result frequently in merely fixing things which do not stay fixed. Indeed, a prophecy of the Savior is being filled even as we watch: the nations of the world are experiencing 'the distress of nations, with perplexity' (Luke 21:25).

"...the 'whole earth shall be in commotion,' contributing undoubtedly to a condition in which 'men's hearts shall fail them' and in which fear 'shall come upon all people.'

"Some of that fear will exist because of 'those things which are coming.' Much of this 'commotion' may be geophysical, with earthquakes, seas heaving themselves beyond their bounds, and other cataclysmic events.

"For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand (D&C 88:89).

"But the basic unsettlement of 'all things' may reflect the seismology of a sensual, secular society. The sense of being unanchored will be pervasive and will pertain to 'all things,' including the shifting relationships among nations, the overturning of traditional moral values, and the widespread political instability. All such events will finally center in the feelings inside individuals. The wars and multi-caused commotions will produce 'distress of nations, with perplexity.'" (Sermons Not Spoken [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985], 29.)

Luke 21:26 Men's hearts failing them for fear

Neal A. Maxwell

"The last days will be rampant with the cardinal sins, just 'as in the days of Noah.' Society in the days of Noah, scriptures advise, was 'corrupt before God' and 'filled with violence.' (Gen. 6:11-12; Moses 8:28.) Corruption and violence-sound familiar? Both of these awful conditions crest because of surging individual selfishness. When thus engulfed, no wonder men's hearts in our day will fail them because of fear. (See Luke 21:26; D&C 45:26.) Even the faithful can expect a few fibrillations." (Ensign, November 1990, p. 14.)

Luke 21:30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know...that summer is now nigh at hand

Neal A. Maxwell

"... many things have yet to occur before Jesus' second coming, but God can cause events to be compressed. Once the fig trees have put forth their signalling leaves, such as 'distress of nations, with perplexity,' they do not retract them (see Matthew 24:32-33; Luke 21:25)." (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 12.)

Neal A. Maxwell

"The Savior has told us that just as when the fig tree puts forth its leaves, we may know that summer is nigh, so it will be with his second coming (see Luke 21:28-30). The foreseen summer of circumstances is now upon us. Let us not, therefore, complain of the heat!" ("The Net Gathers of Every Kind," Ensign, Nov. 1980, 15)

Neal A. Maxwell

"The 'summer' Jesus cited is now upon us, and you and I must not complain of the heat. Nor, indeed, should we let that heat, as Alma counseled, wither our individual tree of testimony. If we neglect to nourish the tree, 'when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it,' it can prove fatal (Alma 32:38)." (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, 123 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels, by Pinegar, Bassett, and Earl, p. 323)

JST Luke 21:32 the generation when the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled

Gerald Lund

"In the forty-fifth section of the Doctrine and Covenants, we are told that when the 'times of the Gentiles' are fulfilled, '... there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land' (DC 45:31). Many other judgments were then listed as happening also. Thus, the fulfilling of the times of the Gentiles is a key in determining how close the coming of the Lord is." (The Coming of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971], 28.)

Bruce R. McConkie

"Obviously the fulfilling of the times of the Gentiles will not come at a specified moment; it will involve a period of time. We are living in that transition period." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 651, copyright 1966)

Luke 21:35 as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth

Joseph Fielding Smith

"Notwithstanding all the warnings that have been given, and the plainness of the message which has come to us, the world will go on about its business, paying little heed, until that day shall be upon them. Then shall there be great wailing as there was at the destruction among the Nephites at the crucifixion of our Savior." (The Progress of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 490.)

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy

Joseph Smith

"'Watch and pray always,' says our Savior, 'that ye may be accounted worthy to escape the things that are coming on the earth, and to stand before the Son of Man.' If Enoch, Abraham, Moses, the children of Israel, and all God's people were saved by keeping the commandments of God, we, if saved at all, shall be saved upon the same principle. As God governed Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as families, and the children of Israel as a nation, so we as a Church must be under his guidance if we are prospered, preserved, and sustained. Our only confidence can be in God, our only wisdom obtained from him, and he alone must be our protector and safeguard, spiritually and temporally, or we fall." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 126.)