The signs (Lk 21:25-21:25)

“There will be signs

In the sun,

The moon,

And the stars.

On the earth,

There will be

Anxious distress

Among the nations

With the roaring noise

Of the sea

And the swelling waves.”

 

Καὶ ἔσονται σημεῖα ἐν ἡλίῳ καὶ σελήνῃ καὶ ἄστροις, καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς συνοχὴ ἐθνῶν ἐν ἀπορίᾳ ἤχους θαλάσσης καὶ σάλου,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be signs (Καὶ ἔσονται σημεῖα) in the sun (ἐν ἡλίῳ), in the moon (αὶ σελήνῃ), and in the stars (καὶ ἄστροις).  On the earth (καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), there would be anxious distress among the gentile nations (συνοχὴ ἐθνῶν ἐν ἀπορίᾳ) because of the roaring noise of the sea (ἤχους θαλάσσης) and the swelling waves (καὶ σάλου).  This was a unique use of the term ἀπορίᾳ that means perplexity, anxiety, or doubt, not found elsewhere in the Greek biblical literature.  This Jesus saying is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:29, that is actually closer to Mark, chapter 13:24-25.  Mark indicated that Jesus said 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.  The stars would fall from the skies (καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες ἔσονται ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πίπτοντες).  Matthew indicated that 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).  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.  Luke did not have the details that were in Mark and Matthew.  What kind of cosmic upheaval do you expect at the end times?

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Believe in your prayer (Mk 11:24-11:24)

“Thus,

I tell you!

Whatever you ask for

In prayer,

Believe

That you are receiving it,

And it will be yours.”

 

διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, πάντα ὅσα προσεύχεσθε καὶ αἰτεῖσθε, πιστεύετε ὅτι ἐλάβετε, καὶ ἔσται ὑμῖν.

 

This Jesus saying about faith and prayer can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:22, sometimes word for word.  Mark indicated that Jesus told his disciples (διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν) that whatever they asked for in prayer (πάντα ὅσα προσεύχεσθε καὶ αἰτεῖσθε), they would receive it or it would be theirs (καὶ ἔσται ὑμῖν).  If they believed (πιστεύετε), they would receive it (ὅτι ἐλάβετε), it would happen.  The essential ingredient of effective prayer was faith.

 

The need for faith (Mt 21:21-21:22)

“Jesus answered them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

If you have faith,

If you do not doubt,

Not only will you do

What has been done

To the fig tree,

But even if you say

To this mountain.

‘Be lifted up!

Be thrown into the sea!’

It will be done.

Whatever you ask for

In prayer,

With faith,

You will receive.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε, οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε, ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε Ἄρθητι καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, γενήσεται·

καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες λήμψεσθε.

 

This Jesus saying about faith can be found in Mark, chapter 11:20-24, word for word, but it was the next day after the curse, not the same day.  Jesus answered the disciple’s question (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) about how the fig tree withered with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) about the importance of faith.  If they had faith (ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν) and did not doubt (καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε), they too would be able to effectively curse a fig tree (οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε).  Not only that, but if they had faith, they could move mountains.  They could tell a mountain (ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε) to be lifted up or taken away (Ἄρθητι) and thrown into the sea (καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν), and it would happen (γενήσεται).  Whatever they asked for in believing prayer (καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες), they would receive it (λήμψεσθε).  The essential ingredient of effective prayer was faith.

Be careful with your holy treasures (Mt 7:6-7:6)

“Do not give

What is holy

To the dogs!

Do not throw

Your pearls

Before swine!

They will trample them

Under foot.

They will turn on you.

They will attack you.”

 

Μὴ δῶτε τὸ ἅγιον τοῖς κυσίν, μηδὲ βάλητε τοὺς μαργαρίτας ὑμῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν χοίρων, μή ποτε καταπατήσουσιν αὐτοὺς ἐν τοῖς ποσὶν αὐτῶν καὶ στραφέντες ῥήξωσιν ὑμᾶς.

 

This is a Jesus saying, only found here in Matthew.  They were not to give holy things (Μὴ δῶτε τὸ ἅγιον) to the wild despised dogs (τοῖς κυσίν).  They were not to cast their pearls (μηδὲ βάλητε τοὺς μαργαρίτας ὑμῶν) in front of the equally hated swine, hogs, or pigs (ἔμπροσθεν τῶν χοίρων).  If they did, these dogs and pigs would trample with their feet (μή ποτε καταπατήσουσιν αὐτοὺς ἐν τοῖς ποσὶν αὐτῶν) on the sacred Temple meat and pearls.  These animals might turn on them to tear them to pieces (καὶ στραφέντες ῥήξωσιν ὑμᾶς).  Be careful around dogs and pigs.