When He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation. Nor will they say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For remember, the kingdom of God is within you.”Luke 17:20–21 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
As Jesus discussed with the Pharisees, He was answering their question of when the kingdom of God comes. The Pharisees are expecting some great heroic Vanquisher to restore Jerusalem from Roman rule. It’s as if that is the Kingdom Jesus is speaking about. Jesus said the Kingdom comes within people. Meaning your allegiance to the Kingdom is within you and is your responsibility.
The conversation then turns to address the misunderstood idea of the Kingdom of God only being the Valiant King ruling in Jerusalem.
Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look here,’ or ‘Look there!’ Do not follow after them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the heavens from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.Luke 17:22–25 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Jesus called that time the days of the Son of Man. What Jesus is teaching here is end times when He conquers the world.
The phrases used by Jesus are emphatic that some would draw disciples’ attention away from Him. It’s hinted at that there are more than just one that would draw believers away, like false Messiahs. The language is similar to that used in another place.
Just as lightning flashes in the sky and lights up everything, these days would not be unmistaken for anything else. They would be, overtly visible. All would know what is happening.
This is connected to the Olivet Discourse where Jesus vividly describes the days of the Son of Man.
“So, if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert,’ do not go there; or, ‘Look, He is in the private chambers,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.Matthew 24:26–28 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Remember in our introduction texts, Jesus is specific and speaks of this generation as alive then. He speaks that He must suffer from them.
There are other texts that use that phrase like this one:
Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.Matthew 24:34 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Many teachers will connect this phrase to the entire data if the Son of Man in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:3-31.) They will use it to disprove futurism. Futurism is the belief that Jesus will come again to rescue His church and set the world right, reigning on David’s throne. The phrase is used to debunk any idea of the rapture, too.
It’s clear in the text. Jesus applies this generation in His Parable of the Fig Tree to a yet future generation that sees the leaves come back. He has shifted His description from the days of the Son of Man to that of what leads up to those days.
That fig tree is used figuratively as Israel. Israel has come back in our generation. We witnessed it. We are those of this generation of the fig tree. It means the days of the Son of Man are very near future.
Rolling back to our text in Luke 17:25, Jesus wasn’t speaking in parables and was addressing what must occur in the short-term future. He would suffer.
He also clearly told those members of this generation listening to Him that day, they would long to see one of the days of the Son of Man. But they would not.
It follows that the days of the Son of Man were much farther into the future than could be perceived. Therefore, for this reason (among countless others,) Amillennialism is not true. Amillennialism is the belief that all of the apocalyptic (considered yet future) Bible passages were fulfilled by the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Some even teach that Jesus already came back at that time.
In Jesus’ own words… Those teachings can’t be. The days of the Son of Man could not occur in the 70 AD siege. Jesus said members of this generation alive then would long to see one of those days, but would not.