“See to it that you aren’t misled. For many will come in my name ... (Luke 21:8-28)

“See to it that you aren’t misled. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he, and the time is near.’ Don’t follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, don’t be afraid. For these things must occur first, but the end isn’t immediate. Tribe will rise against tribe and ruler against ruler. And there will be a great commotion, and in some places, plaques and famines. There will be terror and great signs from the sky. But before any of these things, they will arrest you and persecute you. They will deliver you to the synagogues and prisons and bring you before chiefs and governors on account of me. This will allow you the opportunity to give witness. So keep this in mind – don’t prepare to defend yourselves beforehand. Because I will give you the words and the wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to oppose or refute. Yet you will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends – and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by everyone on account of me. Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your determination you will gain your soul. So when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her destruction is close. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains and those in the city should leave and those in the country mustn’t enter the city. Because this is a time of consequences – so everything that is written will be fulfilled. Woe to those who are pregnant – and to those nursing babies at that time. For there will be great distress within the region and terror to this nation. Then they will fall by the sword and will be imprisoned by other nations. And Jerusalem will be crushed by the foreigners until the reign of the foreigners is completed. There will be signs from the sun, moon and stars, and on the earth, and distress among the people, with confusion matching the roaring sea and waves. People will faint from fear and the expectation of the things to come upon the empire – because the power of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Servant of Humanity appear in the spirit with power and great splendor. (Luke 21:8-28)
This statement by Jesus is in answer to a question from one of his disciples. Here is the question:
They asked him, “Teacher, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign indicating these things are about to happen?” (Luke 21:7)
Both this question and Jesus' answer are being taken from the Lost Gospels of Jesus of Luke. The reason is because sectarian versions contain a couple of inappropriate translation choices, which create a meaning that departs from what Jesus really taught.

Furthermore, most of these sectarian English translations also have an underlying misinterpretation of Jesus' statement regarding this event.

Namely, they propose that Jesus is speaking of an event that will take place in the distant future - something that has yet to happen even today, some 2,000 years later.

Yes, they preach that Jesus is speaking of the end of the world - which is still yet to come.

Numerous sectarian teachers over the centuries have preached this erroneous interpretation of Jesus' statements, and they predicted so many different dates the world would end. See a sampling of the many false prophets.

Jesus in fact predicted the many false prophets who have predicted the end of the world in this very statement:
"For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he, and the time is near.’ Don’t follow them."
This erroneous interpretation of Jesus' statement about the end of the world is also completely contradicted by Jesus' own words in this statement. Here is why the event that Jesus is foretelling is not the end of the world:

1) Jesus is speaking directly to his disciples about something that will take place during their lifetimes. This is why he is detailing things using the words, "you" and "your". They were living nearly 2,000 years ago. Obviously, Jesus is not discussing an event that would take place in our future. He is discussing something that would take place during their lifetimes.

Here are a few examples:

"they will arrest you and persecute you."
If this were the sign of the coming end of the world - something that has yet to happen some 2,000 years later - then how could these disciples who were discussing this with Jesus be arrested and persecuted then?

"They will deliver you to the synagogues and prisons and bring you before chiefs and governors on account of me."
Again, Jesus uses the word "you" because he is speaking to his disciples. Jesus is speaking of a time when they would be arrested and tried for preaching on behalf of Jesus. This is indicative of the time following Jesus' persecution because the Jewish chief priests and the Roman governors during that time still considered Jesus to be an enemy of the state.

Jesus confirms this position when he states just after this statement:
"Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things occur." (Luke 21:32)
"This generation" means those who are alive and physically standing around Jesus. And since he says "all these things" we know that all of the events will take place within the succeeding 30 or so years.

2) Jesus clearly states that what is to occur is specific to the region - namely Jerusalem:

"And Jerusalem will be crushed by the foreigners until the reign of the foreigners is completed."
This took place in 66 AD, when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burnt down the temple and overthrew the Jewish leaders. The "foreigners" were none else than the Romans, but other tribes were also involved in the Jewish-Roman wars.

"So when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her destruction is close. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains and those in the city should leave and those in the country mustn’t enter the city."
If this were the end of the world, why is Jesus telling those who are in Jerusalem to flee to the mountains? If it were the end of the world, fleeing to the mountains would do no good. Furthermore, we know from history that indeed, Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman army and conquered.

During the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans, the wise thing was to leave for the mountains, because at the time the Romans weren't interested in the mountains. They were interested in taking over the cities and bigger towns of the region. For this reason, those who escaped to the desert also escaped the slaughter of the Jews and early Christians at the hands of the Romans.

"And Jerusalem will be crushed by the foreigners until the reign of the foreigners is completed."
Here again, Jesus speaks specifically of Jerusalem. Not only that, he also speaks of an end to the occupation of Jerusalem by the Romans, as the "reign of the foreigners is completed."

Jesus is appropriately describing the sacking and occupation of Jerusalem and surrounding towns and cities, during and following a period called the Jewish-Roman Wars, which started with the 66 AD sacking of Jerusalem and ended sometime around 106-120 AD.

Most historical scholars of that time period agree that Jesus is speaking of the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans.

3) What about all the signs and upheavals, you ask?

"There will be signs from the sun, moon and stairs, and on the earth, and distress among the people, with confusion matching the roaring sea and waves. People will faint from fear and the expectation of the things to come upon the empire – because the power of the heavens will be shaken."
Many simply take this part of Jesus' statement out of context. Seeing signs of upheaval in nature at the same time of strife and warfare is a common occurrence. For example, when the sun releases more solar flares, the earth is bombarded with electromagnetic radiation that can affect the oceans and the appearance of the skies.

When these events take place, they can affect human behavior as well as natural events. This is the same with the moon, which can affect human behavior as well as the ebb and flow of the tides. Also the reference to the 'power of the heavens' relates to the higher planets, and those with greater power than humans. Jesus and many of the prophets such as David also illustrated the existence of the 'gods' - being entities more powerful than humans which control different elements within the physical universe.

4) But what about Jesus' return - or "second coming" as they like to put it? Isn't Jesus saying that he will return to the earth at this time of destruction?

One of the reasons sectarian teachers have gotten this wrong is because of a basic mistranslation of terms along with the misinterpretation of what Jesus speaks of as he refers to his appearance at the time of death.

The word often translated to "coming" - as in Jesus' "second coming" - in this verse is ἔρχομαι (erchomai). Yes, this can mean to come. But it can also mean to appear. In this case, Jesus is speaking of appearance. He will be appearing to them.

The other word that is mistranslated among the sectarian versions is "cloud" - as if Jesus is "coming" within a "cloud."

The Greek word is νεφέλη (nephelē). What is actually being discussed is another plane of existence - the plane of the spirit. Jesus is stating that he will be appearing to his followers at their time of death - to escort them back to the spiritual realm. This takes place within a plane or dimension that is not visible to the physical eyes.

When the physical body dies, the spirit-person will leave the body and be guided to their next destination. This will happen to each of us when we "pass away."

If one leads a materialistic animal life, for example, that spirit-person will be guided into an animal body or some other hellish body form such as insects or otherwise. But if one leads a life in search of God - one where we seek to follow the instructions of Jesus to love and serve God - then Jesus will be there for us at the time of death to escort us back to the spiritual realm.

This appearance doesn't take place in the clouds - as if Jesus will be riding a team of horses through the clouds as envisioned by some. It takes place within ones personal view - on the spiritual plane at the time of death.

Yes, Jesus is speaking of a time where many of his followers will die in the Jewish-Roman wars. Many will be elderly by that time and will be persecuted for their faith in Jesus. Thus Jesus will appear before them at the time of death to escort them back to the spiritual realm.

This is God's system. He sends His representatives to the physical world to teach us about Him. Then, those who sincerely follow His representative during their physical lifetimes will be guided back to the spiritual realm at the end of their physical life - by His representative. This is how God brings us back to Him. It is a system of loving relationships.

This takes place within an interpersonal, spiritual plane. It is not as if there is a big physical appearance on the clouds or something. If God or Jesus wanted to appear on the clouds for all to see they certainly could. But they don't. Why? Because those living in the physical world don't want to see God. This physical world is designed for those who want to get away from God - and try to enjoy life without Him. This is why God hides Himself from the physical senses.

But for those who want to return home to God, He guides us back through His representative. How else could we expect to return to the spiritual realm after the death of this physical body? We don't have the ability to get there by ourselves. But if we've taken instruction from His representative, then we will be guided back to our Home - the place where we can live eternally within our loving service relationship with our true Soul Mate, the Supreme Being.