Elijah and John the Baptist (Mt 17:12-17:13)

“‘But I tell you!

Elijah has already come.

They did not recognize him.

But they did to him

Whatever they pleased.

Thus,

The Son of Man

Is about to suffer

At their hands.’

Then the disciples

Understood

That he was speaking

To them

About John the Baptist.”

 

λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι Ἡλείας ἤδη ἦλθεν, καὶ οὐκ ἐπέγνωσαν αὐτὸν, ἀλλ’ ἐποίησαν ἐν αὐτῷ ὅσα ἠθέλησαν· οὕτως καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μέλλει πάσχειν ὑπ’ αὐτῶν.

τότε συνῆκαν οἱ μαθηταὶ ὅτι περὶ Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς.

 

The comparison of John the Baptist and Elijah can also be found in Mark, chapter 9:12-13, but without the remark about the disciples understanding it.  Jesus told his disciples in a solemn pronouncement (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν).  He said that Elijah had already come (ὅτι Ἡλείας ἤδη ἦλθεν), but they did not recognize him (καὶ οὐκ ἐπέγνωσαν αὐτὸν).  They did to him whatever they pleased or wanted to do (ἀλλ’ ἐποίησαν ἐν αὐτῷ ὅσα ἠθέλησαν).  Thus, the Son of Man was also about to suffer at their hands (οὕτως καὶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μέλλει πάσχειν ὑπ’ αὐτῶν.).  Then the disciples understood (τότε συνῆκαν οἱ μαθηταὶ) that Jesus was talking to them about John the Baptist (ὅτι περὶ Ἰωάνου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  The murdered John the Baptist was the new precursor prophet Elijah.

The weather signs (Mt 16:2-16:3)

“Jesus answered them.

‘When it is evening,

You say.

‘It will be fair weather

Because the sky is red.’

In the morning,

You say.

‘It will be stormy today

Because the sky is red

And threatening.’

You know how to interpret

The appearance of the sky.

But you cannot interpret

The signs of the times.”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ὀψίας γενομένης λέγετε Εὐδία, πυρράζει γὰρ ὁ οὐρανός·

καὶ πρωΐ Σήμερον χειμών, πυρράζει γὰρ στυγνάζων ὁ οὐρανός. τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν, τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε;

 

Matthew is the only one who has this weather saying of Jesus, although Luke, chapter 12:54-56, has Jesus issue some weather commentary about northern and southern winds and rain.  Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that they could read the signs in the sky about weather and storms, but they were unable to recognize the signs in their own world.  Most farmers are aware of the red sky in the morning was a warning, while the red sky at night was a delight.  Jesus answered them (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that at evening time, people would say that there would be good or fair weather if the setting sun in the sky was red (Ὀψίας γενομένης λέγετε Εὐδία, πυρράζει γὰρ ὁ οὐρανός).  On the other hand, if the sky was red today in the morning, they thought that it would be a stormy day (καὶ πρωΐ Σήμερον χειμών, πυρράζει γὰρ στυγνάζων ὁ οὐρανός).  Then he asked them how come they were so good at discerning the overcast stormy weather signs in the heavens (τὸ μὲν πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ γινώσκετε διακρίνειν), but they were unable to interpret the signs of the times (τὰ δὲ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν οὐ δύνασθε), since the weather signs were in the heavenly skies.

The demoniacs call Jesus the Son of God (Mt 8:29-8:29)

“The demoniacs shouted out.

‘What have you to do

With us?

O Son of God!

Have you come here

To torment us

Before the time?’”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔκραξαν λέγοντες Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ; ἦλθες ὧδε πρὸ καιροῦ βασανίσαι ἡμᾶς;

 

All three synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 5:7 and Luke, chapter 8;28, and Matthew here, have these demoniacs speak to Jesus in somewhat similar words.  They cried or shouted out (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔκραξαν λέγοντες).  They wanted to know why the Son of God (Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ) had come to torment them (ἦλθες ὧδε…βασανίσαι ἡμᾶς), since the time (πρὸ καιροῦ) of the final judgment day had not arrived.  All three gospel writers have the demonic person or persons recognize that Jesus was the Son of God, not just another faith healer.  They maintained that the time of their torment or the end times had not yet arrived.  Thus, the evil spirits were able to recognize Jesus as the Son of God.

Yahweh would return to heaven (Hos 5:15-5:15)Yahweh would return to heaven (Hos 5:15-5:15)

“I will return again

To my place,

Until they acknowledge

Their guilt,

Until they seek my face.

In their distress,

They will beg

My favor.”

Yahweh was going to return to his place in heaven. He was going to stay there, until they would recognize and admit their guilt. He would stay there, until they began to seek his face. Finally, when they were in distress, they might beg for his divine favor.

The king will lose his kingdom (Dan 4:24-4:25)

“‘This is the interpretation!

O king!

It is a decree

Of the Most High,

That has come upon

My lord!

The king!

You shall be driven away

From human society!

Your dwelling

Shall be with

The wild animals!

You shall be made

To eat grass

Like oxen!

You shall be bathed

With the dew

Of heaven!

Seven times

It shall pass

Over you,

Until you have learned

That the Most High

Has sovereignty

Over the kingdoms

Of mortals!

He gives it

To whom he will.’”

Daniel then gave his shocking interpretation of the watcher’s cry to the king. He said that this was a decree that came from the Most High God. The king, Daniel’s lord, would be driven away from human society. He was going to live with the wild animals. He was going to eat grass like oxen do. He would be washed in heavenly dew for 7 years, until he would come to recognize that the Most High God ruled over all the mortal kingdoms. God was able to give his kingdoms to whomever he wanted.

The desolation of Egypt (Ezek 32:15-32:15)

“I will make

The land of Egypt

Desolate.

I will strip

The land

Of all

That fills it.

I will strike down

All

Who live in it.

Then they shall know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh has this parting shot about the desolation of Egypt. He was going to strip the land of everything in it. He was going to strike down all those living there. Then they would come to recognize that Yahweh was God.

The punishment of the Philistines (Ezek 25:16-25:17)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will stretch out

My hand

Against the Philistines.

I will cut off

The Cherethites.

I will destroy

The rest of the seacoast.

I will execute

Great vengeance

Upon them

With wrathful punishments.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh,

When I lay

My vengeance

Upon them.’”

There will be no intermediary to punish the Philistines. Yahweh was going to stretch out his hand against the Philistines. He was going to cut down these Cherethites, another name for the Philistines. The use of this term has led to the supposition that the Philistines may have been from Crete. Yahweh was going to destroy the whole seacoast, since that is where the Philistines lived. Yahweh, himself, was going to bring these vengeful punishments without any outside help. Once again, the hope was that these Philistines would recognize that Yahweh was God.

No pity (Ezek 7:8-7:9)

“Soon now,

I will pour out

My wrath

Upon you.

I will spend

My anger

Against you.

I will judge you

According to your ways.

I will punish you

For all your abominations.

My eye

Will not spare you.

I will have no pity.

I will punish you

According to your ways,

While your abominations

Are among you.

Then you shall know

That it is I,

Yahweh,

Who strikes.”

This is exactly the same as the opening verses of this chapter. Yahweh’s anger was going to be let loose on them. He was going to judge them according to their ways. He was going to punish them for their abominations. He would not spare them. He would not have pity on them. By punishing them for their evil ways, they would come to recognize that Yahweh was in charge. He was the God Yahweh who was striking them. They better not forget this.

The end of the land of Israel is near (Ezek 7:1-7:4)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘You!

O son of man!

Thus says Yahweh God

To the land of Israel!

An end!

The end has come

Upon the four corners

Of the land.

Now the end is

Upon you.

I will let loose

My anger

Upon you.

I will judge you

According to your ways.

I will punish you

For all your abominations.

My eye

Will not spare you.

I will have no pity.

I will punish you

For your ways,

While your abominations

Are among you.

Then you shall know

That I am Yahweh.’”

The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man. Yahweh in this oracle told Ezekiel that the end of the land of Israel was coming soon. His anger was going to be let loose on them. He was going to judge them according to their ways. He was going to punish them for their abominations. He would not spare them. He would not have pity on them. By punishing them for their evil ways, they would come to recognize that Yahweh was in charge. He was the God Yahweh.

The priests and the idols (Bar 6:48-6:52)

“When war

Or calamity

Comes upon them,

The priests consult together

As to where

They can

Hide themselves

With their gods.

How then can anyone

Fail to see

That these are not gods?

They cannot save themselves

From war

Or calamity.

They are made of wood,

Overlaid

With gold

Or silver.

It will afterward

Be known

That they are false.

It will be manifest

To all the nations,

To all the kings,

That they are not gods

But the work of human hands.

There is no work

Of God

In them.

Who then can fail

To know

That they are not gods?”

What happens when war or calamity comes to these priests and their idol gods? The priests consult together on where they can hide themselves with their gods. All can see that these are not gods. They cannot save themselves from either war or calamity, since they are made of wood, overlaid with gold or silver. Afterwards, everyone will know that these were false gods. It is will be clear to all the nations and all the kings that they are not gods. As they were the work of human hands, there is no work of God in them. This author asked the question, who would not recognize that these idols are not gods?