Persecution (Lk 21:12-21:12)

“But before all this occurs,

They will arrest you.

They will persecute you.

They will hand you over

To synagogues

And prisons.

You will be brought

Before kings

And governors

Because of my name.”

 

πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν καὶ διώξουσιν, παραδιδόντες εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς καὶ φυλακάς, ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς καὶ ἡγεμόνας ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that before all this occurred (πρὸ δὲ τούτων πάντων), they would arrest or lay hands on his disciples (ἐπιβαλοῦσιν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτῶν).  They would persecute them (καὶ διώξουσιν) and hand them over (παραδιδόντες) to the synagogues (εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς) and prisons (καὶ φυλακάς).  They would be brought before kings (ἀπαγομένους ἐπὶ βασιλεῖς) and governors (καὶ ἡγεμόνας) because of the name of Jesus (ἕνεκεν τοῦ ὀνόματός μου).  There was something similar in Mark, chapter 13:9, and Matthew, chapter 24:9.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted.  Mark indicated that Jesus warned them that they should be self-aware (Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς).  They would be handed over (παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς) to courts, councils, or synods (εἰς συνέδρια) and synagogues (καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς), since some of the Jewish Christians were still part of Jewish social, political, and religious life.  They would also be beaten (δαρήσεσθε).  On the other hand, they would also have to stand before governors and kings (καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε) to give testimony as a witness to them about Jesus (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).  This idea of the persecution of the Jesus followers was not a new theme for Matthew, because it was mentioned earlier in chapter 10:16-25, where Jesus was more reassuring, and chapter 16:24, where Jesus spoke about bearing the cross of death.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted, distressed, or afflicted (τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν), even though there was no mention of this taking place in the synagogues in Matthew.  No doubt about it, they were going to be handed over to be tortured and put to death (καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς).  They would be hated and detested (καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι) by all the gentile nations (ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν) because of his name (διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου).  This was tough talk because it was not going to be easy to be a disciple of Jesus after he was gone.  In the Acts of the Apostles, there are many instances of the early Christians being persecuted in prisons and being brought before various magistrates.  Do you think it would be difficult to be persecuted because you were a Christian?

You will suffer (Mk 13:9-13:9)

“Beware!

For yourselves!

They will hand you over

To councils.

You will be beaten

In synagogues.

You will stand

Before governors

And kings

Because of me,

As a testimony

To them.”

 

Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς· παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς δαρήσεσθε καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 10:17-18 and chapter 24:9, and in Luke, chapter 21:12-13, but there is nothing about death here in Mark.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted or distressed.  Mark indicated that the followers of Jesus should be aware about themselves (Βλέπετε δὲ ὑμεῖς ἑαυτούς).  They would be handed over (παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς) to courts, councils, or synods (εἰς συνέδρια) and synagogues (καὶ εἰς συναγωγὰς), since some of the Jewish Christians were still part of Jewish social, political, and religious life.  They would also be beaten (δαρήσεσθε).  On the other hand, they would also have to stand before gentile governors and gentile kings (καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνων καὶ βασιλέων σταθήσεσθε) to give testimony as a witness to them about Jesus (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς).  This was tough talk, because it was not going to be easy to be a disciple follower of Jesus after he was gone.

Persecuted for the sake of Jesus (Mt 24:9-24:9)

“Then they will

Hand you over

To be tortured.

They will put you

To death.

You will be hated

By all nations

Because of my name.”

 

τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου.

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:9, and in Luke, chapter 21:12, where there is a mention of synagogues, kings, and governors, but nothing about death.  This is not a new theme for Matthew, because it was mentioned earlier in chapter 10:16-25, where Jesus was more reassuring, and chapter 16:24, where Jesus spoke about bearing the cross of death.  Jesus said that his followers were going to be persecuted, distressed, or afflicted (τότε παραδώσουσιν ὑμᾶς εἰς θλῖψιν), even though there was no mention of this taking place in synagogues here.  No doubt about it, they were going to be handed over to be tortured and put to death (καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν ὑμᾶς).  They would be hated and detested (καὶ ἔσεσθε μισούμενοι) by all the gentile nations (ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν ἐθνῶν) because of his name (διὰ τὸ ὄνομά μου).  This was tough talk because it was not going to be easy to be a disciple of Jesus after he was gone.

You will be persecuted (Mt 10:17-10:18)

“Beware of those men!

They will hand you over

To tribunals.

They will flog you

In their synagogues.

You will be dragged

Before governors

And before kings,

Because of me.

You will be

A testimony

Before them

And the gentiles.”

 

Προσέχετε δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων· παραδώσουσιν γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια, καὶ ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν μαστιγώσουσιν ὑμᾶς·

καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνας δὲ καὶ βασιλεῖς ἀχθήσεσθε ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ, εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν.

 

Equivalent passages to this can be found in Mark, chapter 13:9, and Luke, chapter 21:12.  Jesus, via Matthew warned his apostles and disciples that they would be persecuted because of him.  They should realize or be aware of what other men were going to do to them (Προσέχετε δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων).  They would be handed over to the local councils, courts, tribunals, or local Jewish Sanhedrin (παραδώσουσιν γὰρ ὑμᾶς εἰς συνέδρια).  These were local gatherings called “συνέδρια.”  They would be flogged or scourged in the synagogues (καὶ ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν μαστιγώσουσιν ὑμᾶς).  This “μαστιγώσουσιν” would be a whipping that one would endure after being tied to a pole.  They would also be dragged before governors and kings (καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνας δὲ καὶ βασιλεῖς ἀχθήσεσθε).  All this would happen to them (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ) because they were going to give testimony or witness about Jesus before other people even the gentiles (εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).  They were warned about how difficult the task of being a follower or apostle of Jesus might be.

The assembly at the statue dedication (Dan 3:3-3:3)

“Then the satraps,

The prefects,

The governors,

The counselors,

The treasurers,

The justices,

The magistrates,

All the officials

Of the provinces,

Assembled

For the dedication

Of the statue

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Had set up.

They stood before

The statue

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Had set up.”

Guess what! All these officials showed up for the dedication of this statue. The satraps, the prefects, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered around the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. They all understood that the request was really an order to show up.

The final destruction of Babylon (Jer 51:54-51:57)

“Listen!

A cry from Babylon!

A great crashing

From the land

Of the Chaldeans!

Yahweh is laying

Babylon waste!

Yahweh is stilling

Her loud clamor!

Their waves roar

Like many waters!

The sound of their clamor

Resounds!

A destroyer has come

Against her!

Against Babylon!

Her warriors are taken.

Their bows are broken.

Yahweh is

A God of recompense.

He will repay in full.

‘I will make drunk

Her officials,

Her sage wise men,

Her governors,

Her deputies,

Her warriors.

They shall sleep

A perpetual sleep.

They shall not wake.’

Says the King,

Whose name is

Yahweh of hosts.”

They will hear the cry of Babylon as its destruction takes place. Yahweh will destroy the land of the Chaldeans as he lays waste to Babylon. Loud noises like roaring waters will be heard in Babylon. A destroyer came against Babylon. The warriors were taken. Their bows were broken. Yahweh is a God of rewards. Thus, he will demand a payment in full. He will make all their officials, sages, governors, deputies, and warriors drunk. They will sleep an eternal sleep, so that they will never again wake up. Thus the God king, Yahweh of hosts has spoken. The final destruction of Babylon will take place as he wishes.

 

The war club of Yahweh (Jer 51:20-51:23)

“You are my war club!

You are my hammer!

My weapon of battle!

With you

I smash nations.

With you

I destroy kingdoms.

With you

I smash the horse.

With you

I smash its rider.

With you

I smash the chariot.

With you

I smash the charioteer.

With you

I smash men.

With you

I smash women.

With you

I smash the old man.

With you

I smash the boy.

With you

I smash the young man.

With you

I smash the girl.

With you

I smash the shepherds.

With you

I smash their flock.

With you

I smash the farmers.

With you

I smash their teams.

With you

I smash the governors.

With you

I smash their deputies.”

Yahweh is the war club or hammer that smashes everything. Thus with Yahweh, Jeremiah can smash nations, kingdoms, horses, riders, chariots, charioteers, men, women, old men, boys, young men, girls, shepherds, their flocks, farmers, their teams, governors, and their deputies. Yahweh is a strong weapon that can smash practically everything.