Immorality on all levels – a global sign of the Last Days. / Article Dieter Zimmer 00, 2001-04-15
The catastrophe in the USA of 11.09.01, in New York and Washington. / Article, Ernst Panzer
These things which you are looking at.
When will these things happen?
Wars, earthquakes, plagues and famines.
But before all these things, they will deliver you to
You will be hated by all men.
The desolation of Jerusalem.
Signs in sun, moon and stars.
The Lord is coming!
Your redemption is drawing near.
In spring you know for yourselves that summer is now near.
This generation will not pass away.
The Day of the Lord.
Do the acts of war in Syria have a
prophetic background? / Part 1 Discourse 113
Does the Bible predict the Syrian
civil war chaos for the Last Days? / Part 2
A determination of the state of things from the biblical point of view. / Part 3
The flood of immorality and fornication which confronts us on all sides, in
practically all parts of the world, is an unmistakable sign that points to the imminent return
of Jesus. As the verses we quoted at the beginning, from Rev 9,20-21 show, the sins listed there
will predominate on earth during the time of tribulation brought on us by the Antichrist. As an
indication of the imminent coming of the Lord, it is specially mentioned there that people will
not turn away from these sins.
The state of the world today points clearly and unmistakably in this direction. All kinds of perversion are being practiced. The nations, especially those of the western world, could hardly sink any lower! All impulses are openly lived out: fornication, homosexuality, the open worship of Satan, connected with immorality etc. Only sexual intercourse with beasts is lacking. If the world cannot sink any lower, cancer can only continue to spread, and of that too there are unmistakable signs world-wide, as we have seen. As well as the state of things in the western and Islamic worlds, we can point to the flourishing sex tourism that takes people year after year to Thailand, Brazil, Kenya and the Philippines.
With all that is dark and oppressive about these times, the congregation will take to heart Jesus’ saying: "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Lk 21,28).
+) This extract is taken from the article "Immorality on all levels – a global sign of the Last Days" by Dieter Zimmer, Wilmsdorf, which appeared in Philadelphia Kreuz & Reich [Philadelphia Cross & Kingdom], no. 2/2001
(Dieter Zimmer / https://www.philadelphia-verlag.com)
Unmitigated cause of grief to us too, who for the most part have only been in a
position to observe these events. And any one must be overcome with grief if he studies the
background to the catastrophes that have burst upon us and their subsequent effects, and if he
lets himself experience their full impact. Starting with the horrors, the American catastrophe
unleashed by the criminal acts of those Islamic terrorists, and continued through their
consequences and the contributing causes in the politics of religion. Everything calls out for
atonement and retaliation, and even for war.
According to the statements of the American President Bush, that is what is actually going to happen. The terrorists will be taken into custody and will receive condign punishment. But whether the actual problem can be solved in this way remains an open question.
No: in view of this balance of grief, one can find neither comfort nor any cause to rejoice. And yet, as Christians, this is what we are enjoined to do by the Word of God. Consider for instance how the Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Philippians, calls on us to "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near." (Phil 4,4-5). And the last mentioned fact is sufficient reason for us to feel a genuine, true and abiding joy; for only he – Our Lord Jesus who is to come again, and our connection with him – can communicate it to us.
And this is also the fact that for us towers above all the fearful judgments of the Last Days: Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming. He holds all things in his mighty hands, and will soon come again as swiftly as he has promised. Yes, he stands by his word, and continues to ensure that everything of which he has informed us of through his prophets, and also in the very words he left to us, shall be fulfilled before the eyes of the world down to the last iota. And he will continue, all the more in the light of the present culpability of the human race, to bear witness to himself as the one who was, who is and who is to come, and so glorify himself. Even in all these cataclysms and adversities, we must and we will rejoice in this.
No question about it, through this sign of the coming Judgment, which is both phenomenal and at the same time has been revealed to the whole world, Our Lord is giving us a confirmation that he is sticking to his plans for the Last Days and that we are moving deliberately towards his glorious Return. This is what we finally have to grasp. As Our Lord who is to come again tells us in Lk 21,28: "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Let us make a point of following his words.
+) This extract is taken from the article "The catastrophe in the USA of 11.09.01, in New York and Washington" by Ernst Panzer, Battenberg, which appeared in Philadelphia Kreuz & Reich [Philadelphia Cross & Kingdom], no. 6/2001.
(Ernst Panzer / https://www.philadelphia-verlag.com)
These two articles appeared in the same publication, though a distance of more than
half a year separates them. They treat of two completely different topics: the immorality prevalent
in the world, and the "9/11" catastrophe in the USA. And yet both authors at the end of their
statements refer to the same biblical passage: Luke 21,28. But just this scriptural passage has been
cited, and continues to be cited repeatedly by authors who – for whatever reason – claim to have
seen that the end of the world is at hand.
Now in order to form an actual judgment of what events and circumstances the Lord is referring to in Luke 21,28, we should take the trouble to examine this scriptural passage in its wider context.
The verse Lk 21,28 forms a part of what is known as Jesus’ "eschatological discourse", which actually begins at Lk 21,5.
Let us now work our way through the key statements of this passage in order.
The days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another.
LK 21,5 And while some were talking about the temple, that it was
adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said, 21,6 "As for these things which you
are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which
will not be torn down." Lk 21, 5- 6;
Here the subject of discussion is the Temple in Jerusalem. On this day the disciples
were standing with the Lord in front of the Temple, admiring the beautiful and massive stones of
which it was constructed, and its adornments. But the Lord tells them that none of this beauty will
last. The day will come in which this Temple will be torn down, so that not a single stone will be
left upon another.
For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He’.
Lk 21,7 They questioned Him, saying, "Teacher, when therefore will
these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?"
21,8 And He said, "See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying,
‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. Lk 21, 7- 8;
Naturally enough, the disciples were astonished at this, and alarmed as well. They
knew that the Lord was to be taken seriously in the words he spoke here, and so they asked him
anxiously when this would happen. In his answer, though, the Lord first warned them of people who
would try to mislead him – who before the occurrence of this event would come forward, claiming to
be the returned Christ, and asserting that the Kingdom of God in consequence is about to be
Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.
Lk 21,9 "When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified;
for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately." 21,10 Then He
continued by saying to them, "Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom,
21,11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and
there will be terrors and great signs from heaven." Lk 21, 9-11;
But even when these false Christs appear, the time of the destruction of the Temple
has not yet arrived. Before that, there will be wars amongst all nations world-wide, and great
earthquakes. There will also be great signs from heaven, and in various places there will be plagues
While on the one hand it is incontestable that the Lord is here speaking of the Last Days, and on the other hand these statements are not to be doubted, seeing that the one who utters them is he who will be responsible, even at that time, for the occurrence of all these events, it is all the same interesting to read that the various nations will be engaged in a mutual battle.
Right at the present time many biblical interpreters attempt – not without having good grounds for it – to paint a Last Days scenario in which ongoing globalization has unified and united the entire world, and where individual nations de facto no longer exist – anything and everything having been subjected to a kind of world government. But if in the Last Days nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom, then either this global unification of the nations has not yet taken place, or else these nations have had second thoughts at the end of time, and have withdrawn once more from this global union.
But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you.
Lk 21,12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on
you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before
kings and governors for My name’s sake. 21,13 It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony.
21,14 So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; 21,15 for I will give
you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. Lk 21,12-15;
But in his next statement the Lord returns once more to the beginning of his
discourse, in saying "But before all these things..." Here he must mean, before all these wars,
earthquakes, plagues and famines. Thus before all this begins, they will be persecuted and
condemned by men. With the indication "for My name’s sake" the Lord here gives us clearly to
understand that he is not speaking in this connection of the persecution of the Jews – although
the disciples, to whom these words were in the first instance addressed, were Jews of course – but
of the persecution of Christians, persecution consequently "for the sake of the name of Christ".
At this time, then, the Christians will be persecuted and condemned and delivered to prisons by the
But you will be betrayed, and they will put some of you to death.
Lk 21,16 But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and
relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, 21,17 and you will be hated by
all because of My name. 21,18 Yet not a hair of your head will perish. 21,19 By your endurance
you will gain your lives. Lk 21,16-19;
As can be clearly seen from this passage, Lk 21,16-19, in terms of its content it is
still a continuation of the previous verses, Lk 21,12-15; so these statements are still referring to
the events which will happen "before all these things" – that is, before the wars,
earthquakes, plagues and famines: namely, persecution, imprisonment and condemnation of the
Christians. And in addition these last verses now also tell us that Christians will be hated by the
On the basis of this analysis, we can now see quite clearly that, according to this prophecy of the Lord, the first signs of the Last Days are not wars, earthquakes and famines, and certainly not immorality and terrorist airplane attacks, but the persecution, imprisonment and condemnation of Christians and their being hated by the whole world, including their nearest relatives.
Those authors who already – using every viable and non-viable argument – want to convince us of the imminence of the Last Days, should recognize that if this epoch of world history were actually upon us they could not even be writing these articles, because they – on the presumption that they are really Christian believers and faithful to the Bible – would have been long since stuck in prison, perhaps even already condemned and executed.
Just as in the Third Reich, under Hitler, the "final solution of the Jewish question" led to the persecution, deportation to concentration camps and killing of millions of Jews, so under the domination of the Antichrist the "final solution of the Christian question" will lead to the persecution, arrest and killing of those Christians who remain faithful to the Bible. This is foretold, on the one hand, in the Revelation of John:
As many as do not worship the image of the beast will be killed.
Rev 13,1And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the
beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the
image of the beast to be killed. Rev 13,15;
But even the Lord himself has already informed us of this, in Jn 16,1-4:
But an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.
Jn 16,1 These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from
stumbling. 16,2 They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for
everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 16,3 These things they will
do because they have not known the Father or Me. 16,4 But these things I have spoken to you, so that
when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you
at the beginning, because I was with you. Jn 16, 1- 4;
And just as under the Nazis many Jews thought to escape their fate by converting,
but in the last resort, as non-Aryans – whether converted or not – were subjected to the same
fate, so it will be at that time as well. Even one who switches to the religion of loyalty to the
regime, and worships its idols, will not be able to escape from the hatred of all mankind.
After this persecution of the Christians has been initiated world-wide, there now come wars – like a judgment of God – in which all nations will fight and slaughter each other, and there will be earthquakes world-wide, and in some places plagues and famines.
For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath to this people.
Lk 21,20 But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then
recognize that her desolation is near. 21,21 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the
mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country
must not enter the city; 21,22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are
written will be fulfilled. 21,23 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies
in those days; for there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath to this people;
21,24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and
Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
And now for the first time – from Lk 21,20 on – the Lord returns once more to
that point of his prophecy which he left with verses 21,12-19 and the indication "But before all
these things..." So this is after the wars, earthquakes, plagues and famines. He tells us here
that Jerusalem will be desolated. And now we have a definite answer to the question of the disciples
at Lk 21,7, "When will these things happen?"
(See also Table 05: "Synopsis of the Lord's
Many commentators, now, would like to see this passage as referring to the
destruction of the city by Titus in the year 70 AD, and so dispute its place in the context of
eschatological prophecy. However, there are weighty arguments against this point of view.
1. We are here in the middle of the Lord’s eschatological discourse. It can
hardly be supposed that, in the midst of prophecies relating to the Last Days, the Lord should
suddenly insert five verses about the destruction of the city at the hands of Titus in the year 70
AD, and then just continue with his statements about the Last Days.
2. All the events mentioned earlier which, according to the statements made by
the Lord, are to take place before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, did not occur before
the year 70 AD. Nor, obviously, have the signs in the stars and the Second Coming of the Lord – as
prophesied by the Lord in Lk 21,25-27 – taken place in the time since the year 70 (if we leave out
of consideration the somewhat dubious views of the preterists, Adventists and Jehovah’s
3. We find in Luke – by contrast with the other synoptic gospels – two
prophecies of the downfall of Jerusalem. One in the passage quoted above, Lk 21,20-24, and then here
again, in Lk 19,41-44:
They will level you to the ground, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another.
Lk 19, 41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over
it, 19,42 saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But
now they have been hidden from your eyes.19,43 For the days will come upon you when your enemies
will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 19,44 and
they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one
stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." Lk 19,41-44;
And it is easy to see that in this prophecy in Lk 19,41-44 we now really have to do
with the destruction of the city by Titus in the year 70 AD. Because of the similar statements of
the Lord, here in Lk 19,44 and at the start of the eschatological discourse in Lk 21,6, that in the
city "not one stone will be left upon another", it might be supposed that the Lord in Lk 21,6
originally likewise meant to indicate this event (at that time also lying in the future). But then
subsequently, in Lk 21,20-24, it is plain that other events are being spoken of.
For whereas one might also, to an extent, explain this "wrath to this people" (Lk 21,23) as a reference to the Jews at the time of Titus (only, however, in relation to the Romans: against this, it is an obvious assumption, on the basis of Lk 21,23, that this "wrath to this people" is to be understood in a world-wide sense), we have no historical record of such a global event as a "great distress upon earth" at that time, nor is it explicable in terms of the situation as at that time it was. But if we refer this passage to the Last Days, these statements immediately become a great deal more transparent. The "great distress upon earth" then fits in with the previous statements in Lk 21,9-11, with the wars, famine, plagues and earthquakes – and of course likewise with the parallel passages in Mt 24,6-7, Mk 13,7-8 and most particularly in Rev 6,3-8.
(See also Chapter 02: "The conquest and the
dispersion of Jerusalem.").
There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Lk 21,25 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, 21,26 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. Lk 21,25-26;
The parallel passage to this, Mt 24,29, likewise tells us that the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
The stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Mt 24,29 But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun
will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and
the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear
in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming
on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. Mt 24,29-30;
When we are told here, "But immediately after the tribulation of those days...",
this is a reference to that "great distress on earth" mentioned above in Lk 21,23. And if many
brethren suppose that they can cheerfully greet the coming of the Last Days, because they
themselves, in their view, will be translated before the Great Tribulation, and after that the
deluge is welcome to follow, this is, in the first place, unethical and unworthy of a Christian, and
secondly it is plainly and simply wrong. As we have seen, the Lord says here in the above passage,
Mt 24,29-30, that "immediately after the tribulation of those days" he will come to fetch home
his own. The congregation, then, will have to live through the whole of this testing time. In this
perspective it can be seen that all those who would like these events to happen as quickly as
possible actually have no idea what they are asking for.
And whereas Luke, in the passage quoted above (Lk 21,25), speaks of signs in sun, moon and stars, Matthew is more specific: "the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky".
And by way of this statement of Matthew’s, we now have a definite link to Revelation. In connection with these signs in the stars, Matthew also speaks of the fact that "the stars will fall from the sky". But we can find this formulation once more – and only once more – in the Bible: namely in Rev 6,12-14.
The sun became black, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth.
Rev 6,12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great
earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like
blood; 6,13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its
unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 6,14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is
rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Rev 6,12-14;
Here too, then, we find the darkening of sun and moon and the fall of the stars. But
this agreement of the passages in Matthew and Revelation is more than just a coincidence. It is
quite plain that they are referring to the same events, which finally also supply us with
significant indications for the localization of the Great Tribulation.
(See also Discourse 05: "The parallel course of
events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.")
(See also Chapter 03: "The Great Tribulation.")
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud.
Lk 21,27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Lk 21,27;
They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky.
Mt 24,30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky,
and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the
clouds of the sky with power and great glory. Mt 24,30;
Also in the following verse, Lk 21,27, Matthew’s account is somewhat more
detailed. Whereas Luke only describes the coming of the Son of Man in a cloud, Matthew also mentions
the sign that will precede this coming: "The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and
then all the tribes of the earth will mourn".
And it is precisely these statements describing the Second Coming of the Lord, which will be visible to all the peoples of this world, that beyond all possible doubt refute the point of view of those groups – to list them once more by name, the preterists, Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses – who assert that the Lord has already appeared "in an invisible manner" and entered on his dominion.
Nor does Luke describe the events that are to follow the Second Coming of the Lord, whereas Matthew correctly appends this second part of the Lord’s prophecy:
And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds.
Mt 24, 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and
they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
This is the event, now, which Paul also speaks of, somewhat more plainly, in his epistles to the Corinthians and the Thessalonians: the raising of the dead in Christ, and their translation, together with those Christian believers who are still alive at that time, on the Second Coming of the Lord.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven and we who are alive and remain will be caught up.
1The 4,15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 4,16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 4,17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1The 4,15-17;
We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.
1Cor 15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we
will all be changed, 15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;
for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.15,53
For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Cor
(See also Chapter 062: "The return of the Lord
– part 2: The Rapture.")
But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads.
Lk 21,28 But when these things begin to take place, straighten up
and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Lk 21,28;
And here we have arrived at that famous verse which is invariably torn out of its
context and adduced in support of all kinds of views, which generally have nothing whatever to do
with this event.
When the Lord says here, "But when these things begin to take place...", we really have to look at the beginning of his exposition. And there we find – prior to all other events – the hatred of the world directed against the Christians, and their being persecuted, condemned and put to death.
So long, then, as we are still able to spread abroad the Word of God in the world, without being persecuted and condemned for it, we should make use of the time we have to preach the gospel in the whole world, so as to reach the last of those willing to be converted, rather than calling for the imminent arrival of the Last Days, which – if the Lord is gracious to us – still lie in the distant future.
As soon as the trees put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
Lk 21,29 Then He told them a parable: "Behold the fig tree and
all the trees; 21,30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves
that summer is now near. 21,31 So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize
that the kingdom of God is near". Lk 21,29-31;
Unfortunately the verses just quoted, Lk 21,29-31, have been abused for the past
half century and more, in order to "demonstrate" the dawning of the Last Days. Here the "fig
tree" of Lk 21,29 is taken to be Israel, and its "putting forth leaves" the foundation of the
state of Israel in the year 1948.
There are certainly scriptural passages where Israel is compared to a fig tree, but it is plain from the entire context here that the Lord wanted merely to relate a simple parable. He speaks, too, of "the fig tree and all the trees". To whom then should these "other trees" refer?
What we have here is a simple and obvious statement: "When you see that it is spring, you know for yourselves that the summer is not far off. And when you see the beginning of these events, you will know too that I am coming soon." It is, then, the same statement as in the previous verse, only in the form of a parable.
If this parable is supposed to conceal a hidden meaning, it could at best be the statement that this time will not last any longer than from two to three months. That is to say, the time from spring till summer. This, however, is highly improbable, seeing that all the events we have mentioned could not possibly take place in the space of a few weeks. We must here anticipate a time frame of at least two to three years.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
Lk 21,32 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away
until all things take place. 21,33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not
pass away. Lk 21,32-33;
(See also Chapter 08: "The reorganization of heaven and earth.")
There are various points of view on the interpretation of Lk 21,32. Some think that
"this generation" (Greek: genea = generation) refers to that generation of the Last Days
which will actually experience the beginning of these events. Others again take the view that "this
generation" is to be seen here as referring to the Jews as a race, and that the passage means that
the Israelites will not die out before all these things take place.
However that may be, it might perhaps be more profitable to take thought on the second sentence, and to realize that this whole universe will fall prey to transience.
For that day will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth.
Lk 21,34 Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down
with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly
like a trap; 21,35 for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. Lk
Finally we have yet again a confirmation that these events will not just, as
supposed by some, come upon Israel, but that indeed the whole world will be affected and that there
will be no escape for any of the people of this world.
Although both the articles cited at the outset of this Discourse are in
essence perfectly correct in what they state, one must nonetheless ask oneself whether
the almost six million Jews killed in the Nazi concentration camps would not be a far
more suitable reason – as compared with the "9/11" catastrophe – to be
preoccupied with the imminence of the Last Days. Moreover the time of the Roman emperor
Nero, for instance, as well as that of some Roman Catholic pontiffs of the Middle Ages,
was characterized by immorality prevailing upon earth, no less than the present day.
(See also Discourse 1132: "The
true end-time prophecies of the Bible.")