Luke 21:25-28: Sign and sound of the coming of the Son of Man

JeffContinuing our study of Yeshua’s “apocalyptic discourse” in Luke 21, Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13, this time we focus on the phrase “sign of the Son of Man”:

“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, 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. Then they will see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:25–28; cp. Matt. 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27)

The historical setting of these passages had people who were steeped in the Hebrew scriptures. The Hebrew word for “sign” is נס nes (Strong’s lexicon Nos. H5251–H5252) is found in the Prophets section of the Bible in reference to the Messiah. The TaNaKh (Torah, Prophets and Writings) uses the word nes ‎21 times to refer literally refer to a signal pole, standard, ensign (flag of nationality), banner, sign, sail or warning (as you see it in Num. 26:10). 

God raised a נס among the nations — and blew a שופר shofar (trumpet) — to punish Israel for forsaking God’s ways. How do we know? We read about this several times in the writings of the Prophets. 

“How long must I see the standard And hear the sound of the trumpet? ‘For My people are foolish, They know Me not; They are stupid children And have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, But to do good they do not know.’ ” (Jer. 4:21–22)

The prophet Yeshiyahu (Isaiah) echoes this lament about the desolation of Israel and its land in Isaiah 45, drawing on similar allusions to Genesis 1 (Isa. 45:18) that Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) does in Jer. 4:23–26.

The testimony of Yermiyahu starts off (Jeremiah 4) with bad news, but by the end (Jeremiah 50), we see good news.

“The word which the Lord spoke concerning Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, through Yeremiah the prophet: ‘Declare and proclaim among the nations. Proclaim it and lift up a standard. Do not conceal it but say, “Babylon has been captured, Bel has been put to shame, Marduk has been shattered; Her images have been put to shame, her idols have been shattered.” ‘For a nation has come up against her out of the north; it will make her land an object of horror, and there will be no inhabitant in it. Both man and beast have wandered off, they have gone away! “In those days and at that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘the sons of Israel will come, both they and the sons of Yehudah as well; they will go along weeping as they go, and it will be the Lord their God they will seek. They will ask for the way to Tsion, turning their faces in its direction; they will come that they may join themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten. My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains; They have gone along from mountain to hill and have forgotten their resting place.’ ” (Jer. 50:1–6)

There was a change in attitude of the people of Israel between Jeremiah 4 and Jeremiah 5. They went from being “stupid children” to repentance. 

“Lift up a signal in the land, Blow a trumpet among the nations! Consecrate the nations against her, Summon against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz; Appoint a marshal against her….” (Jer. 51:27)

When you see a standard lifted to the nations and the shofar, they signal blessings and corrections to God’s people. 

“He will also lift up a standard to the distant nation, And will whistle for it from the ends of the earth; And behold, it will come with speed swiftly.” (Isa. 5:26)

The context of these verse is that Lord signaled Babylon to come take His carefully tended “vineyard” — Israel — into captivity “for their lack of knowledge” (Isa. 5:13). Yeshua used the parable of the vineyard and the servants hired to tend to it in some of his parables. God is summoning the nations against Israel for a reason. 

God also said He would “whistle” — שָׁרַק sharaq (H8319) — for Israel to bring the scattered members back together before the Day of the Lord (Zech. 10:8).

In Isa 11:1–12:6 we will see a few familiar messianic prophesies but we also see the standard of God being lifted up. This is a very enthusiastic and encouraging prophesy, a couple of Messianic prophesies embedded within. We look forward to moving from being “stupid people” to knowing His Yeshua and crying out to Him for salvation. 

“Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations And set up My standard to the peoples; And they will bring your sons in their bosom, And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders. Kings will be your guardians, And their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth And lick the dust of your feet; And you will know that I am the Lord; Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame.’ ” (Isa. 49:22–23)

Those who “hopefully wait” are those who God exalts, not those who are impatient. 

Many people know about the verse John 3:16. But the context of that contains a key example of the “sign” of Yeshua:

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. [Because] God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. [Because] God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:14–21)

Coming into “the Light” was the difference between the exile, when ancient Israel was leaving the light, to when they came back, when they realized they had to attach themselves to the LORD and actively live with Him. God was their source of strength.

The serpent Moses lifted in the wilderness is recorded in Num. 21:4–9. They had to look up at the serpent to live. Yeshua is the standard that we are to look to so we can obtain eternal life. When the people realized their error, the plague was halted. That which brought them death could bring life. The destroyer also brought the lamb. Correction will come but mercy will come, too. It’s a great picture when we encounter God’s discipline in our life, we have a choice to be stupid and rebel or we become wise and acknowledge the correction. Those He loves, He disciplines. 

The next passage we will look at is which says, “Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.’ Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’ Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner [‏יהוה נסי‎ YHWH nesi]; and he said, ‘The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.'” (Ex. 17:8–16)

Sometimes the nes is a standard that stands on a hill that you see. It’s also the shofar that one hears with the ear.

We don’t know exactly what this final sign of the son of man will be but it will most likely mimic signs we have seen before in scripture. 

In 1st Cor. 15:47–57, we are told by Paul that there will be both visible and auditory signs of the coming of the Son of Man. 

We have the choice. We are told to “chose life.” The people alive in front of the bronze serpent had a choice. Do you live in the presumption that we have an “understanding” with God or do we really want to attach ourselves to God and get to know Him as He really is. The “dark side” appeals to strong emotions. If you doubt that, watch a scary movie and then monitor your pulse, it will go up. There are people who obsess with sorrow and for some, sorrow and pain is a compelling force. It’s hard to trust in our emotions. 

The Exodus from Egypt came before God gave the Law at Sinai. Israel was given freedom from slavery before they learned His law. He frees us then saves us — the answer to the question of salvation in Acts 15:1. Our salvation happens at once, then can take an entire lifetime of Spirit-led transformation.

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy. No recording of this talk is available.

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