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.

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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.

Yahweh will rescue Jerusalem (Isa 29:5-29:8)

“But the multitude of your foes

Shall be like small dust.

The multitude of tyrants

Shall be like passing chaff.

In an instant,

Suddenly,

You will be visited by Yahweh of hosts.

He will come with thunder.

He will come with an earthquake.

He will come with a great noise.

He will come with a whirlwind.

He will come with a tempest.

He will come with the flame of a devouring fire.

The multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,

All that fight against her,

All that had a stronghold,

All that distress her

Shall be like a dream.

They shall be like a vision of the night.

Just as when a hungry man dreams of eating,

Yet wakes up still hungry.

Or when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking,

Yet wakes up faint,

Still thirsty.

So shall the multitude of all the nations be.

All those that fight against Mount Zion

Shall be like that.”

Despite the earlier warnings, Yahweh will rescue Jerusalem, as her many enemies will become like dust. The tyrants against her will be like passing chaff. Suddenly, there will a visit from Yahweh with thunder, earthquakes, strong storms, and devouring flames. All her enemies who distressed Jerusalem will be like a bad dream. All those nations fighting against Jerusalem will be faint and weak. They will be like those who dream of food and drink, yet wake up still hungry and thirsty.

God is a steady hand (Ps 75:2-75:3)

“At the set time,

That I appoint,

I will judge with equity.

When the earth totters,

With all its inhabitants,

It is I who keep its pillars steady.”

Selah

Now we have some kind of oracle by a prophet spoken in the Temple by a prophet who spoke in the name of God. He pointed out that at a set time, when he decided when it would be, God would judge the earth with equity or fairness. Thus when the earth totters, God would keep it steady for all its inhabitants. This might indicate that they were familiar with earthquakes. This section then ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.

God is with us (Ps 46:1-46:3)

To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of the Korahites, according to Alamoth, a song

“God is our refuge.

God is our strength.

He is a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear!

Even though the earth should change.

Even though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.

Even though its waters roar and foam.

Even though the mountains tremble with its tumult.”

Selah

Psalm 46 is another of the psalms or songs of the sons of Korah. However, this is a victory song that inspired Martin Luther to write his famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.” In fact, it is a hymn of Mount Zion that was to be sung by an Alamoth, who was a soprano or female voice. God was their refuge and strength. He was present during any time of trouble. Therefore they would not fear. Even though great changes on the earth were taking place, they would not be afraid. There was a mention of the underwater earthquakes, tsunamis, or above ground earthquakes, when God would be there. At this thought there is a musical interlude or pause, a Selah.