For or against Jesus (Mt 12:30-12:30)

“Whoever is not with me,

Is against me.

Whoever does not gather

With me,

Scatters.”

 

ὁ μὴ ὢν μετ’ ἐμοῦ κατ’ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν, καὶ ὁ μὴ συνάγων μετ’ ἐμοῦ σκορπίζει.

 

This saying of Jesus is exactly the same, word for word, in Luke, chapter 11:23, thus indicating a Q source.  You are either with Jesus or against him.  There is no in between.  Whoever is not with Jesus (ὁ μὴ ὢν μετ’ ἐμοῦ), is against him (κατ’ ἐμοῦ ἐστιν).  Whoever does not gather with Jesus (καὶ ὁ μὴ συνάγων μετ’ ἐμοῦ), scatters abroad (σκορπίζει).  Either you stand and gather with Jesus or you are against him and scatter everywhere.  The choice is yours.

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The birds do not worry (Mt 6:26-6:27)

“Look at the birds

Of the air!

They do not sow.

They do not reap.

They do not gather

Into barns.

Yet your heavenly Father

Feeds them.

Are you not

Of more value than they?

Can any of you,

By worrying,

Add a single hour

To your life span?”

 

ἐμβλέψατε εἰς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν εἰς ἀποθήκας, καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τρέφει αὐτά· οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε αὐτῶν;

τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται προσθεῖναι ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ πῆχυν ἕνα;

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:24-26, has a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Luke called the birds ravens.  Matthew has Jesus tell his disciples to look and see the birds of the heavenly skies (ἐμβλέψατε εἰς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  The word “οὐρανοῦ” means heaven, sky, or air.  These birds do not sow or scatter (ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν), reap or harvest (ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν), or gather crops (οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν) into a granary or barn (εἰς ἀποθήκας).  They are freeloaders.  Yet they are able to eat off the land, because the heavenly Father feeds them (καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τρέφει αὐτά).  Are the disciples or followers of Jesus not more valuable than these birds (οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε αὐτῶν)?  Is worrying going to add one cubit or one hour to your life span or age (τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται προσθεῖναι ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ πῆχυν ἕνα).  Probably, the opposite is true.  Don’t worry!  Be happy!

The chaff burns (Mt 3:12-3:12)

“His winnowing fork

Is in his hand.

He will clear

His threshing floors.

He will gather

His wheat

Into the barn granary.

But he will burn

The chaff

With an unquenchable fire.”

 

οὗ τὸ πτύον ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ διακαθαριεῖ τὴν ἅλωνα αὐτοῦ, καὶ συνάξει τὸν σῖτον αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν ἀποθήκην, τὸ δὲ ἄχυρον κατακαύσει πυρὶ ἀσβέστῳ.

 

Once again, there is a common source for John’s menacing saying between Luke, chapter 3:17, and Matthew, perhaps Q. God, the Lord of this farmer, has the winnowing fork in his hand (οὗ τὸ πτύον ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ). He was going to clear the threshing floors (καὶ διακαθαριεῖ τὴν ἅλωνα αὐτοῦ,). He was going to gather his wheat into his barn in the granary (καὶ συνάξει τὸν σῖτον αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν ἀποθήκην). The leftover chaff would be burned with an everlasting fire that could not be put out (καὶ συνάξει τὸν σῖτον αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν ἀποθήκην). This was a warning against the useless ones who would burn in an unstoppable fire.

The attack on Jerusalem (Zech 14:2-14:2)

“I will gather

All the nations

Against Jerusalem

To battle.

The city shall be taken.

The houses shall be looted.

The women shall be raped.

Half of the city

Shall go into exile.

But the rest of the people

Shall not be cut off

From the city.”

Yahweh was going to gather all the other countries to battle against Jerusalem.  Jerusalem would be defeated, as the city would be taken.  Their house would be robbed and their women raped.  Half of the city would go into exile, while the other half would be okay in the city.

The great return (Zech 10:8-10:11)

“I will signal for them.

I will gather them in.

I have redeemed them.

They shall be

As numerous

As they were before.

Though I scattered them

Among the nations,

Yet in far countries

They shall remember me.

They shall rear their children.

They shall return.

I will bring them home

From the land of Egypt.

I will gather them

From Assyria.

I will bring them

To the land of Gilead.

I will bring them

To Lebanon,

Until there is no room for them.

They shall pass through

The sea of distress.

The waves of the sea

Shall be struck down.

The depths of the Nile

Shall dry up.

The pride of Assyria

Shall be laid low.

The scepter of Egypt

Shall depart.”

Yahweh was going to give a signal for the Israelites to gather, since he had redeemed them from their captivity.  They would be as numerous as they were before.  Even though they were scattered among many distant countries, they raised their children there before they returned.  Yahweh was going to bring them home from Egypt and Assyria.  He was going to put them in Gilead, the east side of the Jordan River, or in Lebanon, on the seacoast, until there was no more room for them there.  They would have no problems, since Yahweh was going to lead them through distressed seas, mild waves, and the deep dry Nile River.  The pride of Assyria would be brought down, while the control of the Egyptian rule or scepter would leave.

The final return (Zeph 3:20-3:20)

“‘At that time,

I will bring you home.

At the time,

When I gather you,

I will make you

Renowned.

I will make you

Praised

Among all the people

Of the earth,

When I restore

Your fortunes

Before your eyes.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, uttered his final oracle.  He was going to bring them back home at that time.  He was going to gather them from everywhere.  Thus, they would be renowned and praised among all the people on earth.  They would have their fortunes restored right before their own eyes.  Yahweh has spoken.  Good times were coming.

No more disasters (Zeph 3:18-3:19)

“I will remove disaster

From you,

So that you will not bear

Reproach for it.

I will deal

With all your oppressors

At that time.

I will save the lame.

I will gather the outcast.

I will change their shame

Into praise.

I will make them

Renown in all the earth.”

Yahweh, via Zephaniah, would remove all the disasters from the Israelites.  They would not have to bear any reproach.  Yahweh was going to deal with all their oppressors.  He was going to save the lame and gather the outcasts, so that their shame would be turned to praise.  The Israelites would be known throughout the whole world.