Watch for the heavens (Mk 13:25-13:25)

“The stars

Will be falling

From heaven.

The powers

In the heavens

Will be shaken.”

 

καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες ἔσονται ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πίπτοντες, καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς σαλευθήσονται.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 24:29, with a vague reference to this in Luke, chapter 21:25.  Mark said that the stars would fall from the skies (καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες ἔσονται ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πίπτοντες).  The powers of the heavens would be shaken or stirred up (καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις αἱ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς σαλευθήσονται) in this time of complete darkness, during this celestial disturbance.  This was 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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The sun and moon will fail (Mk 13:24-13:24)

“But in those days,

After that suffering,

The sun

Will be darkened.

The moon

Will not give its light.”

 

Ἀλλὰ ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν ἐκείνην ὁ ἥλιος σκοτισθήσεται, καὶ ἡ σελήνη οὐ δώσει τὸ φέγγος αὐτῆς,

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 24:29, with a vague reference to this in Luke, chapter 21:25.  Mark indicated that in those days (Ἀλλὰ ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις), after the sufferings (μετὰ τὴν θλῖψιν), 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 assumption was that the moon had its own source of light, not merely a reflection of the sun.  This was fully in line with the great Israelite prophetic tradition of the Day of Yahweh, as in Ezekiel, chapter 32:7, Joel, chapter 2:10, Amos, chapter 8:9, and Zephaniah, chapter 1:15.

Did they know what they were asking? (Mk 10:38-10:38)

“But Jesus said to them.

‘You do not know

What you are asking?

Are you able

To drink

The cup

That I drink?

Are you able

To be baptized

With the baptism

That I am baptized with?’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε. δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον ὃ ἐγὼ πίνω, ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι;

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:22, but slightly different.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) by asking if they knew what they were requesting (Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε).  Were they able to drink the cup (δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον) that he was about to drink (ὃ ἐγὼ πίνω)?  The idea of a cup as suffering or the cup of wrath could be found among the major prophets in Isaiah, chapter 51:17, Jeremiah, chapter 25:15, and Ezekiel, chapter 23:31.  Jesus asked them if they were ready to be baptized with the baptism that he was going to undergo (ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι)?  This baptism was a form of suffering.

The Spirit descended on Jesus (Mk 1:10-1:10)

“Just as he was coming up

Out of the water,

He saw

The heavens

Torn apart.

The Spirit

Descended upon him

Like a dove.”

 

καὶ εὐθὺς ἀναβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος εἶδεν σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανοὺς καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα ὡς περιστερὰν καταβαῖνον εἰς αὐτόν·

 

The role of the Holy Spirit at the baptism of Jesus was very important.  The four gospel stories show what happened to Jesus after he had been baptized Matthew, chapter 3:16, Luke, chapter 3:21-22, and John, chapter 1:32, are almost word for word the same as here.  John did not mention a dove, while Luke called it a bodily form of a dove.  Mark said that just as Jesus was coming up out of the water (καὶ εὐθὺς ἀναβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος), he saw the heavens torn apart (εἶδεν σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανοὺς).  The Spirit descended upon him like a dove (καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα ὡς περιστερὰν καταβαῖνον εἰς αὐτόν).  The heavens opened up or broke open was a theme found among the prophets Isaiah, chapter 63:19, and Ezekiel, chapter 1:1.  As Jesus came up from the water, not during the baptism itself, the Holy Spirit, as a dove, came to stay on Jesus.  Just as the dove after the great flood in Genesis, chapter 8:8-12, heralded a new age, so too Jesus would preach the good news in this new age.  With his prophetic vocation, Jesus was anointed with power to begin his public ministry of healing and exorcising.  The later concept of the anointing of Jesus with the Spirit referred to this action of the dove, after his baptism in the Jordan.  There was a clear distinction between the baptism of Jesus himself, and the specific dove bestowal of the Spirit that followed.  Despite the fact that there was no indication of any real anointing in any of these baptismal accounts of Jesus, the coming of the Spirit, in the form of a dove, was considered a symbolic anointing of Jesus within the Judaic prophetic line.  This incident functioned as the basis for an understanding of Jesus’ metaphorical anointing as “the anointed one,” “Christ.”  This symbolic metaphorical anointing action gathered many of the Hebrew bible strands of a messianic king, a sacerdotal high priest, a servant, and a prophet into this one event.   Within this process, the messianic time began with a pre-figuration of what was going to take place at the later Pentecost event, when the fullness of the Spirit came to all the followers of Jesus.

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

The difficulties (Mt 20:22-20:22)

“But Jesus answered.

‘You do not know

What you are asking.

Are you able to drink

The cup

That I am about to drink?’

They said to him.

‘We are able.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε. δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον ὃ ἐγὼ μέλλω πίνειν; λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Δυνάμεθα.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 10:38-39, but slightly different.  Jesus answered her by asking (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν) if she knew what she was asking (Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε.).  Were her two sons able to drink the cup (δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον) that he was about to drink (ὃ ἐγὼ μέλλω πίνειν)?  They, her sons, responded themselves that they were able to do so (λέγουσιν αὐτῷ Δυνάμεθα).  The idea of a cup as suffering or the cup of wrath could be found among the major prophets in Isaiah, chapter 51:17, Jeremiah, chapter 25:15, and Ezekiel, chapter 23:31.  There is an addition from the Greek Orthodox text where Jesus asked them if they were ready to be baptized with the baptism that he was going to under go (ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι)?  Of course, the brothers said that they would be able to do that as well as drink from the suffering cup.

Peace or the sword (Mt 10:34-10:34)

“Do not think

That I have come

To bring peace

To the earth.

I have not come

To bring peace,

But a sword.”

 

Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν· οὐκ ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἀλλὰ μάχαιραν.

 

This verse of Matthew is similar to Luke, chapter 12:51, indicating a Q source.  Luke said that Jesus had come to bring division, not a sword, like here.  Jesus was a disrupter.  They should not think (Μὴ νομίσητε) that Jesus has come to bring peace on earth (ὅτι ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν).  He has not come to bring peace (οὐκ ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην), but quite the opposite, to bring the sword (ἀλλὰ μάχαιραν), much like the Old Testament Hebrew prophets, especially Ezekiel, chapter 38:21.  The sword meant war not peace.  Jesus was not a peacemaker, but a sign of contraction.