Great earthquakes (Lk 21:11-21:11)

“There will be

Great earthquakes.

There will be

Famines

And plagues

In various places.

There will be

Terrors

And great signs

From heaven.”

 

σεισμοί τε μεγάλοι καὶ κατὰ τόπους λοιμοὶ καὶ λιμοὶ ἔσονται, φόβητρά τε καὶ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἔσται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be great earthquakes (σεισμοί τε μεγάλοι).  There would also be famines (καὶ λιμοὶ ἔσονται) and plagues (λοιμοὶ) in various places (καὶ κατὰ τόπους).  There also would be terrors (φόβητρά τε) and great signs from heaven (καὶ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἔσται).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the term φόβητρά, that means a cause of terror, a terrible sight, or an object of fear.  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:8, and in Matthew, chapter 24:8, almost word for word at times.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that there would be earthquakes in various places (ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους) and famines (ἔσονται λιμοί).  All of this was the mere beginning of the end (ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said there would be famines (καὶ ἔσονται λιμοὶ) and earthquakes in various places (καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους).  All of this was like birth-pangs (πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων).  These comments and the idea of birth pains were in the Hebrew prophetic tradition of the apocalyptic literature, the Day of Yahweh, the judgment day.  Jesus was speaking like many of the ancient Israelite prophets who warned about the coming of the divine judgment at the end of days, the end times.  However, Luke did not emphasize the beginning of the end here.  What do you think that the end of the world will be like?

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The seventy (Lk 10:1-10:1)

“After this,

The Lord

Appointed seventy others.

He sent them

On ahead of him,

In pairs,

Into every town

And place

Where he himself

Intended to go.”

 

Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα ἀνέδειξεν ὁ Κύριος ἑτέρους ἑβδομήκοντα, καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς ἀνὰ δύο πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ εἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ τόπον οὗ ἤμελλεν αὐτὸς ἔρχεσθαι.

 

Luke uniquely spoke about these 70 disciples.  He said that after these comments (Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα) about the demands of discipleship, the Lord (ὁ Κύριος), not Jesus, appointed 70 others disciples (ἀνέδειξεν ἑτέρους ἑβδομήκοντα), who were not the 12 apostles.  He sent them on ahead of him or his face (πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ), in pairs (καὶ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς ἀνὰ δύο), into every town and place (εἰς πᾶσαν πόλιν καὶ τόπον) where he himself intended to go (οὗ ἤμελλεν αὐτὸς ἔρχεσθαι).  They were to be his front men or advance people.  There was no mention of these 70 disciples in the other gospel stories, only here in Luke.  This group of 70 was reminiscent of the elders with Moses in Numbers, chapter 11:24-25, where Moses gathered the 70 elders of the people around the tent.  Then Yahweh took some of the Spirit that was upon him and put it upon the 70 elders.  These elders temporarily prophesied.  This sharing of power may have helped Moses, since God gave some of the power of his spirit to these 70 elders.  Thus, the Jerusalem Jewish Sanhedrin had 70 members.  These 70 missionaries of Jesus went out in pairs, two by two, a common practice in the early Church.  Mark, chapter 6:7, said that Jesus sent out his 12 apostles in pairs, two by two, also.  Interesting enough, the activities of these 70 missionaries seem to be much like the 12 apostles as described earlier in chapter 9:2-4.  Have you ever been on a missionary expedition?

The signs of the believers (Mk 16:17-16:17)

“These signs

Will accompany

Those who believe.

By using my name,

They will cast out demons.

They will speak

In new tongues.”

 

σημεῖα δὲ τοῖς πιστεύσασιν ταῦτα παρακολουθήσει, ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου δαιμόνια ἐκβαλοῦσιν, γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν καιναῖς,

 

Only this long Mark addition has these comments about what the disciples of Jesus would be able to do.  This addition to Mark indicated that Jesus said that these signs (σημεῖα) would accompany (παρακολουθήσει) those who believed (δὲ τοῖς πιστεύσασιν ταῦτα) in the name of Jesus (ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου).  They would be able to cast out demons (δαιμόνια ἐκβαλοῦσιν,).  They would also be able to speak in new tongues (γλώσσαις λαλήσουσιν καιναῖς).  Certainly, the early Christians believed that these actions would be important among the followers of Jesus.  They would be able to cast out evil spirits and speak in tongues.

Troubles ahead (Mk 13:8-13:8)

“Nation will rise

Against nation!

Kingdom will rise

Against kingdom!

There will be earthquakes

In various places!

There will be famines!

This is but the beginning

Of the birth-pangs.”

 

ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπ’ ἔθνος καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν. ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους, ἔσονται λιμοί· ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:7-8, and in Luke, chapter 21:10-11, almost word for word at times.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that the gentile nations would rise up against other gentile nations (ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπ’ ἔθνος).  Kingdoms would rise up against other kingdoms (καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν).  There would be earthquakes in various places (ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους) and famines (ἔσονται λιμοί).  All of this was the mere beginning of the end, the birth-pangs (ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα).  These comments and the idea of birth pains were in the Old Testament prophetic tradition of the Day of Yahweh, the judgment day.  Jesus was speaking like many of the ancient Israelite prophets who warned about the coming of the divine judgment at the end of days, the end times.

Pilate claims that he is innocent (Mt 27:24-27:24)

“Thus,

When Pilate saw

That he could do nothing,

But rather that

A riot

Was beginning,

He took some water.

He washed his hands

Before the crowd.

He said.

‘I am innocent

Of this man’s blood.

See to it yourselves!’”

 

ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Πειλᾶτος ὅτι οὐδὲν ὠφελεῖ ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον θόρυβος γίνεται, λαβὼν ὕδωρ ἀπενίψατο τὰς χεῖρας κατέναντι τοῦ ὄχλου λέγων Ἀθῷός εἰμι ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος τούτου· ὑμεῖς ὄψεσθε.

 

Once again, only Matthew has the Roman governor Pilate proclaim his innocence about the death of Jesus.  These comments of Pilate were not in any of the other gospel stories.  Matthew said that Pilate saw that he could do nothing (ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Πειλᾶτος ὅτι οὐδὲν ὠφελεῖ).  He thought that this might be the beginning of a riot (ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον θόρυβος γίνεται).  He took some water (λαβὼν ὕδωρ) and washed his hands (ἀπενίψατο τὰς χεῖρας) before the crowd (κατέναντι τοῦ ὄχλου).  He proclaimed (λέγων) that he was innocent of this man’s blood (λέγων Ἀθῷός εἰμι ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος τούτου).  He told them to see to it themselves (λέγων Ἀθῷός εἰμι ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος τούτου).  In fact, only the Roman governor, himself, could impose the death penalty of crucifixion.  This was another attempt by Matthew to show that the Romans were not responsible for the death of Jesus.

The troubled times (Mt 24:7-24:8)

“Nation will rise

Against nation.

Kingdoms will rise

Against kingdoms.

There will be famines

And earthquakes

In various places.

All this is

But the beginning

Of the birth-pangs.”

 

ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπὶ ἔθνος καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν, καὶ ἔσονται λιμοὶ καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους·

πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων.

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:8, and in Luke, chapter 21:11, almost word for word at times.  Jesus said that the gentile nations would rise up against other gentile nations (ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπὶ ἔθνος).  Kingdoms would rise up against other kingdoms (καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν).  There would be famines (καὶ ἔσονται λιμοὶ) and earthquakes in various places (καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους).  All of this was the mere beginning of the end, the birth-pangs (πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων).  These comments and the idea of birth pains were in the Old Testament prophetic tradition of the Day of Yahweh, the judgment day.  Jesus was speaking like many of the ancient Israelite prophets who warned about the coming of the divine judgment at the end of days, the end times.

The wise man (Prov 29:8-29:11)

“Scoffers set a city aflame.

But the wise turn away wrath.

If the wise go to law with fools,

There is ranting.

There is ridicule without relief.

The bloodthirsty hate the blameless.

They seek the life of the upright.

A fool gives full vent to his anger.

But the wise quietly hold it back.”

The scoffers or the cynics will set a city in flames with their comments. The wise, on the other hand, will turn away or stay away from anger. If there is a dispute about the law, the wise will win out because the fools will be ranting away and ridiculed non-stop. The bloodthirsty evil men hate the blameless since they seek the life of the upright ones. Fools give vent to their anger but the wise ones hold back quietly.