The fall of Jerusalem (Lk 21:24-21:24)

“They will fall

By the edge

Of the sword.

They will be

Taken away

As captives

Among all the gentile nations.

Jerusalem

Will be trampled on

By the gentiles,

Until the time

Of the gentiles

Was fulfilled.”

 

καὶ πεσοῦνται στόματι μαχαίρης καὶ αἰχμαλωτισθήσονται εἰς τὰ ἔθνη πάντα, καὶ Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἔσται πατουμένη ὑπὸ ἐθνῶν, ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἐθνῶν.

 

Only Luke has this unique saying of Jesus.  Jesus said that these people would fall by the edge of their swords (καὶ πεσοῦνται στόματι μαχαίρης).  They would be taken away as captives among all the gentile nations (καὶ αἰχμαλωτισθήσονται εἰς τὰ ἔθνη πάντα).  Jerusalem would be trampled on by the gentiles (καὶ Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἔσται πατουμένη ὑπὸ ἐθνῶν), until the time of the gentiles was completed (ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἐθνῶν).  Falling by the edge of the sword meant death.  It is not clear what is meant by this time of the gentiles.  Perhaps this was when the foreign armies, the Roman army invaded and overwhelmed Jerusalem in 70 CE.  Luke seemed to tie the end times to the fall of Jerusalem.  What do you think the end of the world will be like?

Zechariah was terrified (Lk 1:12-1:12)

“When Zechariah

Saw the angel,

He was terrified.

Fear overwhelmed him.”

 

καὶ ἐταράχθη Ζαχαρίας ἰδών, καὶ φόβος ἐπέπεσεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν.

 

Luke noted that when Zechariah saw this angel (Ζαχαρίας ἰδών), he was terrified, troubled, or disturbed (καὶ ἐταράχθη).  Fear or reverential terror (καὶ φόβος) came over him or overwhelmed him (ἐπέπεσεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν).  A supernatural presence or an extra-terrestrial non-human would scare most people.  Luke often emphasized this religious fear or awesomeness for God and his messengers.

The God of Abraham (Mk 12:26-12:26)

“As for the dead

Being raised,

Have you not read

The book of Moses?

In the story

About the bush,

How God said

To him.

‘I am the God of Abraham.

I am the God of Isaac.

I am the God of Jacob.’”

 

περὶ δὲ τῶν νεκρῶν ὅτι ἐγείρονται, οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως ἐπὶ τοῦ Βάτου πῶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ Θεὸς λέγων Ἐγὼ ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ;

 

Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:31-32, and Luke, chapter 20:37.  They all refer to Moses at the burning bush, a mysterious theophany that overwhelmed Moses, but is not explicitly mentioned here.  However, this was implied by the comment about God based on Exodus, chapter 3:6.  Mark said that the dead will rise up (περὶ δὲ τῶν νεκρῶν ὅτι ἐγείρονται).  Jesus reminded the Sadducees that they had not read the correct book of Moses (οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωϋσέως), and not “the sayings of God” as in Matthew.  Jesus then referenced this saying of Yahweh to Moses in Exodus, chapter 3:1-6, about the burning bush (ἐπὶ τοῦ Βάτου).  Yahweh God spoke to Moses saying (πῶς εἶπεν αὐτῷ λέγων) that he was the God of Abraham (Ἐγώ ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ), the God of Isaac (καὶ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ), and the God of Jacob (καὶ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ).

The living God of their ancestors (Mt 22:31-22:32)

“As for the resurrection

Of the dead,

Have you not read

What was said to you

By God?

‘I am the God of Abraham.

I am the God of Isaac.

I am the God of Jacob.’

He is God.

Not of the dead,

But of the living.”

 

περὶ δὲ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῶν νεκρῶν οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑμῖν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ λέγοντος

Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ; οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Θεὸς νεκρῶν ἀλλὰ ζώντων.

 

Jesus continued his explanation that can also be found in Mark, chapter 12:26-27, and Luke, chapter 20:37-38.  They both refer to Moses at the burning bush, a mysterious theophany that overwhelmed Moses, but is not explicitly mentioned here.  However, this was implied by the comment about God based on Exodus, chapter 3:6.  As for the resurrection of the dead (περὶ δὲ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῶν νεκρῶν), Jesus reminded the Sadducees that they had not read the correct sayings of God (οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε τὸ ῥηθὲν ὑμῖν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ λέγοντος).  He then referenced the saying of Yahweh to Moses at the burning bush, that he was God of Abraham (Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ Θεὸς Ἀβραὰμ), the God of Isaac (καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰσαὰκ), and the God of Jacob (καὶ ὁ Θεὸς Ἰακώβ).  Jesus ended by saying that Yahweh, the Father, was the God of the living (ἀλλὰ ζώντων), not the dead (οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Θεὸς νεκρῶν).

The Magi follow the star (Mt 2:9-2:10)

“When they had heard out

The king,

They set out

On their way.

There ahead of them

Went the star

That they had seen

Rising in the east.

It stopped

Over the place

Where the child was.

When they saw

That the star

Had stopped,

They were overwhelmed

With joy.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες τοῦ βασιλέως ἐπορεύθησαν· καὶ ἰδοὺ ὁ ἀστὴρ, ὃν εἶδον ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ, προῆγεν αὐτούς ἕως ἐλθὼν ἐστάθη ἐπάνω οὗ ἦν τὸ παιδίον.

ἰδόντες δὲ τὸν ἀστέρα ἐχάρησαν χαρὰν μεγάλην σφόδρα.

 

When the magi had finished their conversation with King Herod (οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες τοῦ βασιλέως), they set out on their way (ἐπορεύθησαν) to Bethlehem.  Then they saw that the star in the eastern skies (δοὺ ὁ ἀστὴρ, ὃν εἶδον ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ).  This star led them until it stopped (προῆγεν αὐτούς ἕως ἐλθὼν ἐστάθη) over the place where the child was (ἐπάνω οὗ ἦν τὸ παιδίον).  They were really happy with exceeding great joy (ἐχάρησαν χαρὰν μεγάλην σφόδρα) about seeing this star (ἰδόντες δὲ τὸν ἀστέρα) that had guided them.  Obviously, this was a religious miracle star, not some ordinary star.  The magi had completed their task.

The secret passionate elders (Dan 13:8-13:12)

“Everyday,

The two elders

Used to see Susanna,

Going in,

Walking about.

They began

To lust for her.

They suppressed

Their consciences.

They turned away

Their eyes

From looking

To heaven,

Or remembering

Their duty

To administer justice.

Both were overwhelmed

With passion for her.

But they did not tell

Each other

Of their distress.

They were ashamed

To disclose

Their lustful desire

To seduce her.

Day after day,

They watched eagerly,

To see her.”

Now the plot thickens. The scene has been set. These two elderly judges have a passion for Susanna, the wife of Joakim, in whose house they conduct their trials. She normally went for a walk in the garden, after everyone had left. These two elders saw Susanna go in and out for her walk. They began to lust after her, as they suppressed their consciences. They forgot about their duty to administer justice, as they turned their eyes away from heaven. Even though they were overwhelmed with passion for Susanna, neither elder told the other, because they were ashamed to let the other one know about their lustful desires to seduce Susanna. They were secret sexual lovers of Susanna, as they watched her every day.

The great fear (Wis 17:15-17:17)

“Now they were driven by monstrous specters.

Now they were paralyzed

By their souls’ surrender.

Sudden fear overwhelmed them.

Unexpected fear overwhelmed them.

Whoever was there fell down.

They were kept shut up in a prison not made of iron.

Whether they were farmers,

Or shepherds,

Or workers who toiled in the wilderness,

They were seized.

They endured the inescapable fate.

With one chain of darkness

They all were bound.”

Everyone was struck with fear (φόβος). They were overwhelmed with this sudden unexpected fear. They all fell down as if they were in an invisible prison. It did not matter whether they were farmers, shepherds, or ordinary workers. They all suffered the same fate. It was if they were all chained together in darkness. This fear and darkness was worse than the actual problems they were facing.