Noble stones of the Temple (Lk 21:5-21:5)

“Some were speaking

About the Temple.

It was adorned

With beautiful stones.

These were gifts

Dedicated to God.”

 

Καί τινων λεγόντων περὶ τοῦ ἱεροῦ, ὅτι λίθοις καλοῖς καὶ ἀναθήμασιν κεκόσμηται,

 

Luke said that some people were speaking about the Temple (Καί τινων λεγόντων περὶ τοῦ ἱεροῦ), since it was adorned with beautiful stones (ὅτι λίθοις καλοῖς), gifts dedicated to God (καὶ ἀναθήμασιν κεκόσμηται).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the word ἀναθήμασιν that means a gift or offering dedicated in a temple by a worshipper or a gift or offering consecrated to God.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:1, and Mark, chapter 13:1.  Mark said that Jesus was leaving the Temple (Καὶ ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  Then one of his disciples (λέγει αὐτῷ εἷς τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ) pointed out to him the beautiful Temple buildings.  This unnamed disciple called him teacher (Διδάσκαλε).  He wanted Jesus to see and look at the wonderful or great stones and buildings (ἴδε ποταποὶ λίθοι καὶ ποταπαὶ οἰκοδομαί).  Matthew, like Mark, indicated that Jesus came out of the Temple (Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  As he was going away (ἐπορεύετο), his disciples came up to him to point out the beautiful Temple buildings (καὶ προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπιδεῖξαι αὐτῷ τὰς οἰκοδομὰς τοῦ ἱεροῦ).  The Jerusalem Temple had been under reconstruction since the time of Herod the Great in 19 BCE, but would not have been completed at the time of Jesus, since it was only finished in 63 CE.  However, most of the work would have been done by the time of Jesus.  Just like many churches, this Temple was not completed in a few years.  Do you know of any churches that took a long time to build or rebuild?

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Whitewashed tombs (Mt 23:27-23:28)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You are like

Whitewashed tombs,

Which outwardly

Look beautiful.

But inside,

They are full

Of the bones

Of the dead

With all kinds of filth.

Thus,

You also on the outside

Look righteous

To others.

However,

Inside you

Are full of hypocrisy

And iniquity.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι παρομοιάζετε τάφοις κεκονιαμένοις, οἵτινες ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνονται ὡραῖοι, ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ὀστέων νεκρῶν καὶ πάσης ἀκαθαρσίας.

οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνεσθε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις δίκαιοι, ἔσωθεν δέ ἐστε μεστοὶ ὑποκρίσεως καὶ ἀνομίας.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:44.  Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes, much like earlier in verses 13, 14, 15 and 25.  The first part of this diatribe is exactly the same as those earlier verses.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees.  This time it was a continuation against the false hearts of the Pharisees.  They were like whitewashed tombs (ὅτι παρομοιάζετε τάφοις κεκονιαμένοις), that looked outwardly beautiful (οἵτινες ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνονται ὡραῖοι).  However, the inside of these unmarked tombs was full of the bones of dead people and other kinds of filth or impure things (ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ὀστέων νεκρῶν καὶ πάσης ἀκαθαρσίας).  Thus, the Pharisees appear to look righteous on the outside to others (οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ἔξωθεν μὲν φαίνεσθε τοῖς ἀνθρώποις δίκαιοι).  However, on the inside of them, in their hearts, they are full of hypocrisy and iniquity or lawlessness (ἔσωθεν δέ ἐστε μεστοὶ ὑποκρίσεως καὶ ἀνομίας).

Final praise to God (Dan 3:67-3:68)

“Give thanks

To the Lord!

He is good!

His mercy endures

Forever!

Bless him!

All who worship

The Lord!

He is the God of gods!

Sing praise to him!

Give thanks to him!

His mercy endures

Forever!”

This prayer of Azariah ended with a beautiful appropriate final praise to God. The Lord is good. His mercy endures forever. Thus, he should be blessed by all those who worship the Lord. He is, after all, the God of gods. Therefore, everyone should sing praise to him and thank him for his enduring everlasting mercy.

Lie with the uncircumcised in Sheol (Ezek 32:19-32:21)

“‘Whom do you surpass

In beauty?

Go down!

Be laid to rest

With the uncircumcised!’

They shall fall

Among those

Who are killed

By the sword.

Egypt has been

Handed over

To the sword.

Carry away

Both it

With its hordes!

The mighty chiefs

Shall speak of them,

With their helpers,

Out of the midst of Sheol.

‘They have come down!

They lie still!

The uncircumcised,

Killed by the sword.’”

This section opens with a sarcastic question about who is more beautiful. The response is that they are to go down and lie with the uncircumcised people and those killed by the sword. Egypt with the multitude of their inhabitants has been handed over to death. The mighty chiefs with their helpers will speak to them in the middle of Sheol, the shadowy underworld of the afterlife. They will say that the Egyptians have come down to lie quietly with the uncircumcised and those killed by the sword, which is the worst place in Sheol.

The wonder and splendor of this great cedar (Ezek 31:6-31:7)

“All the birds

Of the air

Made their nests

In its boughs.

Under its branches,

All the animals

Of the field

Gave birth

To their young.

In its shade,

All great nations lived.

It was beautiful

In its greatness.

It was beautiful

In the length

Of its branches.

Its roots went down

To abundant waters.”

This great cedar tree was splendid. All the birds of the air made their nests in its branches. All the animals of the fields gave birth to their young in its large shade. Many or all the great nations lived under its shadow. It was beautiful in every way, since it had great big beautiful long branches with deep roots that went down into an abundant water supply.

Seek and you shall find (Jer 29:12-29:14)

“Then when you call

Upon me,

I will listen.

When you come,

I will see you.

When you pray to me,

I will hear you.

When you search for me,

You will find me.

When you seek me

With all your heart,

I will let you find me.’

Says Yahweh.”

In somewhat beautiful poetic terms, Yahweh, via Jeremiah’s letter, says that if they called on him, he would hear them. If they prayed to him, he would listen to them. If they searched for him, they would find him. If they sought him with their whole hearts, he would let himself be found. Yahweh was ready and willing to help them. They just had to reach out to him with calls, prayers, and sincere searching.

Yahweh will help the house of Jacob (Isa 46:3-46:4)

“Listen to me!

O house of Jacob!

The entire remnant

Of the house of Israel!

You have been borne by me

From your birth!

I carried you

From the womb!

Even to your old age

I am He!

Even when you turn gray

I will carry you!

I have made you!

I will bear you!

I will carry you!

I will save you!”

Second Isaiah has this beautiful Yahweh call to the house of Jacob and the remnant of the house of Israel. He wanted them to listen to him. He reminded them that he had taken care of them since their birth. He had carried them from the womb. Even to their old age, when their hair turns gray, he would be with them since he made them. He would bear them, carry them, and save them because they were special.