The darkness in the skies (Mt 24:29-24:29)

“Immediately

After the sufferings

Of those days,

The sun

Will be darkened.

The moon

Will not give its light.

The stars

Will fall

From heaven.

The powers

Of the heavens

Will be shaken.”

 

Εὐθέως δὲ μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐκείνων ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται, καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς, καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες πεσοῦνται ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται.

 

This is exactly the same, almost word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:24-25, with a vague reference to this in Luke, chapter 21:25.  Jesus said that immediately after the sufferings mentioned earlier in those days (Εὐθέως δὲ μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν τῶν ἡμερῶν ἐκείνων), there would be a cosmic upheaval.  The sun would be darkened (ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται).  The moon would not give its light (καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς).  The stars would fall from the skies (καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες πεσοῦνται ἀπὸ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  The powers of the heavens would be shaken or stirred up (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν οὐρανῶν σαλευθήσονται) in this time of complete darkness, during this celestial disturbance.  This is fully in line with the great Israelite prophetic tradition of the Day of Yahweh, like Ezekiel, chapter 32:7, Joel, chapter 2:10, Amos, chapter 8:9, and Zephaniah, chapter 1:15

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Son of Man coming (Mt 24:27-24:28)

“As the lightning

Comes from the east,

It flashes

As far as the west.

Thus,

Will be

The coming

Of the Son of Man.

Wherever the corpse is,

There the vultures

Will gather.”

 

ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ ἀστραπὴ ἐξέρχεται ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ φαίνεται ἕως δυσμῶν, οὕτως ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου·

ὅπου ἐὰν ᾖ τὸ πτῶμα, ἐκεῖ συναχθήσονται οἱ ἀετοί.

 

This is something similar in Luke, chapter 17:23, about the Son of Man coming like lightening, but in a more succinct way.  Jesus said that as the lightning comes from the east (ὥσπερ γὰρ ἡ ἀστραπὴ ἐξέρχεται ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν) but flashes or shines in the west (καὶ φαίνεται ἕως δυσμῶν), so the Parousia or the second coming of the Son of Man will happen (οὕτως ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου).  Wherever the corpse is (ὅπου ἐὰν ᾖ τὸ πτῶμα), there the vultures gather (ἐκεῖ συναχθήσονται οἱ ἀετοί).  The Son of Man is a clear reference to Jesus in his return, the Parousia, who would return like a flash of lightening.  The vultures or eagles were a reference to the Roman soldiers with their eagle symbols.

 

Where is the Messiah? (Mt 24:25-24:26)

“Take note!

I have told you beforehand!

Thus,

If they say to you.

‘Look!

He is in the wilderness!’

Do not go out!

If they say.

‘Look!

He is in the inner rooms.’

Do not believe it.”

 

ἰδοὺ προείρηκα ὑμῖν

ἐὰν οὖν εἴπωσιν ὑμῖν Ἰδοὺ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἐστίν, μὴ ἐξέλθητε· Ἰδοὺ ἐν τοῖς ταμείοις, μὴ πιστεύσητε

 

This is unique to Matthew, except for the first line that is like Mark, chapter 13:23.  Matthew seemed more concerned about the disciples being led astray.  Jesus warned his disciples, since he was telling them before it happened (ἰδοὺ προείρηκα ὑμῖν).  If someone said that they were to look in the wilderness for the Christ (ἐὰν οὖν εἴπωσιν ὑμῖν Ἰδοὺ ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ ἐστίν), they were not to go out there (μὴ ἐξέλθητε).  If they say that the Messiah was in the inner rooms or secret chambers (Ἰδοὺ ἐν τοῖς ταμείοις), the disciples should not believe it (μὴ πιστεύσητε).  The disciples should be wary of these false messiahs and prophets.

False Christs (Mt 24:23-24:24)

“If anyone says to you.

‘Look!

Here is the Messiah Christ!’

Or

‘There he is!’

Do not believe it.

False Christs

And false prophets

Will appear!

They will produce

Great signs

And wonders,

To lead astray,

If possible,

Even the elect.”

 

τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἤ Ὧδε, μὴ πιστεύσητε·

ἐγερθήσονται γὰρ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται, καὶ δώσουσιν σημεῖα μεγάλα καὶ τέρατα ὥστε πλανῆσαι, εἰ δυνατὸν, καὶ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς

 

This is exactly the same, almost word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:21-22, with a hint of this in Luke, chapter 17:22-23.  Matthew also spoke about the false Messiahs earlier in this chapter 24:5.  Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them to look because the Messiah Christ was there (τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἤ Ὧδε), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύσητε).  Both false or pseudo Christs and false and pseudo prophets would appear (ἐγερθήσονται γὰρ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται).  They would produce great signs and wonders (καὶ δώσουσιν σημεῖα μεγάλα καὶ τέρατα), in order to lead astray even the elect or the chosen ones (ὥστε πλανῆσαι, εἰ δυνατὸν, καὶ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς).  Both Mark, chapter 13:5-6, and Luke, chapter 21:8, also warned them against people who might lead them astray.  Many people would come saying that they were the Messiah Christ in order to deceive them.  Apparently, there were many deceptive Jewish messianic leaders who were saying that they were the Christ Messiah.  John the Baptist was an example of a messianic leader in the 1st century CE.  Other political Jewish leaders had messianic ambitions also, especially those who led the revolt against the Romans in the 2nd half of the 1st century.  Jesus was warning against all of them.

 

Short days (Mt 24:22-24:22)

“If those days

Had not been

Cut short,

No one

Would be saved.

But for the sake

Of the elect,

Those days

Will be cut short.”

 

καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐκολοβώθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι, οὐκ ἂν ἐσώθη πᾶσα σάρξ· διὰ δὲ τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς κολοβωθήσονται αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι.

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:20, but not in Luke.  Jesus said that if those days had not been cut short (καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐκολοβώθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι), no one would be saved (οὐκ ἂν ἐσώθη πᾶσα σάρξ).  However, for the sake of the elect or chosen ones (διὰ δὲ τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς), those days will be cut short (κολοβωθήσονται αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι).  There will be less suffering at the end times because God does not want his chosen elected ones to suffer too much.

The great tribulation (Mt 24:21-24:21)

“At that time,

There will be great suffering!

That has not been

From the beginning

Of the world

Until now!

No!

And never will be!”

 

ἔσται γὰρ τότε θλῖψις μεγάλη, οἵα οὐ γέγονεν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κόσμου ἕως τοῦ νῦν οὐδ’ οὐ μὴ γένηται.

 

There is something similar, almost word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:19, but not in Luke.  This wording has a hint of Daniel, chapter 12:1 and Joel, chapter 2:2, who talked about the Day of Yahweh.  Jesus said that at the end times, there will be such great suffering or tribulation (ἔσται γὰρ τότε θλῖψις μεγάλη) that no one has ever seen anything like it since the beginning of the world until now (οἵα οὐ γέγονεν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κόσμου ἕως τοῦ νῦν).  In fact, there never will be any kind of suffering like this at any time (οὐδ’ οὐ μὴ γένηται).  This was going to be bad, nothing like it before now or after now, except the end times themselves.

 

Wrong times (Mt 24:20-24:20)

“Pray that your flight

May not be

In the winter

Or on a Sabbath.”

 

προσεύχεσθε δὲ ἵνα μὴ γένηται ἡ φυγὴ ὑμῶν χειμῶνος μηδὲ σαββάτῳ·

 

Mark, chapter 13:18, mentions only the problem of winter, while Luke does not mention a bad time at all.  Jesus said to pray (προσεύχεσθε δὲ) that their flight would not be in the winter (ἵνα μὴ γένηται ἡ φυγὴ ὑμῶν χειμῶνος) or on a Sabbath (μηδὲ σαββάτῳ).  Matthew added the comment about the Sabbath since he considered himself and the followers of Jesus as faithful Jews.