The Son of Man in glory (Mt 25:31-25:31)

“When the Son of Man

Comes in his glory,

All the angels

Will be with him.

Then he will sit

On the throne

Of his glory.”

 

Ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι μετ’ αὐτοῦ, τότε καθίσει ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ·

 

This last judgment section is unique to Matthew.  The Son of Man theme was a favorite theme for Matthew as well as the Old Testament prophet Daniel, especially chapter 7:13-14, where it might have been messianic also.  Daniel said that the Son of Man would be given dominion, glory, and kingship over all people, nations, and languages.  Everyone would serve him, since his kingdom would last forever, and never be destroyed.  Jesus said that the Son of Man would come in his glory or splendor (Ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ), with all his angels (καὶ πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι μετ’ αὐτοῦ), seated on the throne of his glory or splendor (τότε καθίσει ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ).  The Son of Man was a clear reference to the return of Jesus himself.

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Judea (Mt 24:16-24:16)

“Then those in Judea

Must flee

To the mountains.”

 

τότε οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ φευγέτωσαν εἰς τὰ ὄρη,

 

This is exactly the same, word for word in Mark, chapter 13:14, and in Luke, chapter 21:21.  Then those people in Judea (τότε οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ) should flee or escape to the mountains or the hills (φευγέτωσαν εἰς τὰ ὄρη).  Head to the hills!  Maybe this is a reference to the Jewish revolt in 66-70 CE, when many Jews fled Judea as the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed.

 

The destruction of the Temple (Mt 24:2-24:2)

“Then Jesus asked them.

‘Do you not

See all these buildings?

Truly!

I say to you!

Not one stone

Will be left here

Upon another.

All will be thrown down.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ βλέπετε ταῦτα πάντα; ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται.

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:2, almost word for word, and in Luke, chapter 21:6, but slightly different.  Then Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς).  He asked them if they had not seen all these buildings (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐ βλέπετε ταῦτα πάντα).  Then in a solemn proclamation (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) he told them that not one stone would be left on another stone here at the Temple (οὐ μὴ ἀφεθῇ ὧδε λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον).  All of the Temple buildings would be torn down or thrown down (ὃς οὐ καταλυθήσεται).  In fact, in 70 CE, about 40 years after the time of Jesus, the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by the Romans in their war with Israel.  Threats against the Jerusalem Temple had been common among the prophets in the Old Testament, especially before the Exile in the 6th century BCE.

Your house is desolate (Mt 23:38-23:39)

“See!

Your house

Is left to you

Desolate!

I tell you!

You will not see me again,

Until you say.

‘Blessed is the One

Who comes

In the name

Of the Lord!’”

 

ἰδοὺ ἀφίεται ὑμῖν ὁ οἶκος ὑμῶν.

λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν, οὐ μή με ἴδητε ἀπ’ ἄρτι ἕως ἂν εἴπητε Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου.

 

Both Luke, chapter 13:35, and Matthew have this desolation of Jerusalem, almost word for word the same, so that this may be a Q source.  Jesus said that their house of worship would be left desolate at its destruction (ἰδοὺ ἀφίεται ὑμῖν ὁ οἶκος ὑμῶν), because Yahweh God would abandon the Temple of Jerusalem.  In a solemn pronouncement (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν), they would not see him again (οὐ μή με ἴδητε ἀπ’ ἄρτι), until they would say the Hallel Psalm 118:26 about blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord (ἕως ἂν εἴπητε Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου).  This was a warning against the powerless Temple of Jerusalem, perhaps indicating that Temple had already been destroyed.

The king was angry (Mt 22:7-22:7)

“The king was angry.

He sent his troops.

He destroyed

Those murderers.

He burned

Their city.”

 

ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς ὠργίσθη, καὶ πέμψας τὰ στρατεύματα αὐτοῦ ἀπώλεσεν τοὺς φονεῖς ἐκείνους καὶ τὴν πόλιν αὐτῶν ἐνέπρησεν.

 

Well, yeah, the king was enraged and angry.  First, he invited them to his son’s wedding feast.  Then they would not come after two specific invitations.  Finally, they mistreated and killed his own slaves.  In the equivalent Luke parable, nobody died.  But Matthew has a different story.  Jesus said that he wanted revenge for the death of this king’s slaves.  This king was very angry, provoked, and irritated (ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς ὠργίσθη).  He sent his army of troops (καὶ πέμψας τὰ στρατεύματα αὐτοῦ) to destroy those murderers (ἀπώλεσεν τοὺς φονεῖς ἐκείνους).  Then he burned down their city (καὶ τὴν πόλιν αὐτῶν ἐνέπρησεν).  This destruction of the city may have been a veiled reference to the fall of Jerusalem.  Don’t mess with the king and his slaves!

The parable of the lost sheep (Mt 18:12-18:13)

“What do you think?

A shepherd

Has a hundred sheep.

If one of them has gone astray,

Does he not leave

The ninety-nine

On the mountains?

He goes in search

Of the one that went astray.

If he finds it,

Truly!

I say to you!

He rejoices over it

More than over the ninety-nine

That never went astray.”

 

Ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός.

Τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν, οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον;

καὶ ἐὰν γένηται εὑρεῖν αὐτό, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι χαίρει ἐπ’ αὐτῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα τοῖς μὴ πεπλανημένοις.

 

This parable of the lost sheep can also be found in Luke, chapter 15:3-6, with some minor changes.  In some Orthodox texts there is a line that the Son of Man had come to save those who were lost or destroyed (Ἦλθεν γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου σῶσαι τὸ ἀπολωλός).  Jesus then asked them to think (Τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ) about this parable, although he did not call it a parable like Luke did.  A person or shepherd had 100 sheep (ἐὰν γένηταί τινι ἀνθρώπῳ ἑκατὸν πρόβατα).  One of these sheep wandered away from the rest of them and was lost (καὶ πλανηθῇ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν).  Thus, would he not leave the other 99 sheep in the mountains (οὐχὶ ἀφήσει τὰ ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη)?  He would then search for the lost sheep that had wandered astray (καὶ πορευθεὶς ζητεῖ τὸ πλανώμενον).  Jesus then had a solemn pronouncement (ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  If he found that one sheep (καὶ ἐὰν γένηται εὑρεῖν αὐτό) he would rejoice over that more than over the 99 sheep that had never wandered away (ὅτι χαίρει ἐπ’ αὐτῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐνενήκοντα ἐννέα τοῖς μὴ πεπλανημένοις).  Every sheep was precious in the sight of this good shepherd.

The divided kingdom (Mt 12:25-12:27)

“Jesus knew

What they were thinking.

He said to them.

‘Every kingdom divided

Against itself is

Laid waste.

No city

Or house divided against itself

Will stand.

If Satan casts out Satan,

He is divided against himself.

How then will his kingdom stand?

If I cast out demons

By Beelzebul,

By whom

Do your own sons

Cast them out?

Therefore,

They will be your judges.”

 

εἰδὼς δὲ τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πᾶσα βασιλεία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς ἐρημοῦται, καὶ πᾶσα πόλις ἢ οἰκία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς οὐ σταθήσεται.

καὶ εἰ ὁ Σατανᾶς τὸν Σατανᾶν ἐκβάλλει, ἐφ’ ἑαυτὸν ἐμερίσθη· πῶς οὖν σταθήσεται ἡ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ;

καὶ εἰ ἐγὼ ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια, οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν ἐν τίνι ἐκβάλλουσιν; διὰ τοῦτο αὐτοὶ κριταὶ ἔσονται ὑμῶν.

 

There are similar statements to this in Mark, chapter 3:23-26, and Luke, chapter 11:17-19.  Jesus responded to the Pharisees with his house divided remarks.  Jesus knew what the inner thoughts of the Pharisees were (εἰδὼς δὲ τὰς ἐνθυμήσεις αὐτῶν).  He said to them that every kingdom divided against itself would be destroyed (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Πᾶσα βασιλεία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς ἐρημοῦται).  No city or house divided against itself could endure (καὶ πᾶσα πόλις ἢ οἰκία μερισθεῖσα καθ’ ἑαυτῆς οὐ σταθήσεται.).  This was one of President Abraham Lincoln’s (1809-1865) favorite biblical passages about slavery.  If Satan casts out Satan (καὶ εἰ ὁ Σατανᾶς τὸν Σατανᾶν ἐκβάλλει), then he was divided against himself (ἐφ’ ἑαυτὸν ἐμερίσθη).  How can his kingdom last (πῶς οὖν σταθήσεται ἡ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ)?  If Jesus was casting out demons by Beelzebul (καὶ εἰ ἐγὼ ἐν Βεελζεβοὺλ ἐκβάλλω τὰ δαιμόνια,), how were their own sons or other exorcists able to cast out demons (οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν ἐν τίνι ἐκβάλλουσιν)?  Therefore, their own sons would be their judges (διὰ τοῦτο αὐτοὶ κριταὶ ἔσονται ὑμῶν).  This was a very strong argument against Jesus and Beelzebul working together.