Everlasting kingdom of Jacob (Lk 1:33-1:33)

“Jesus will reign

Over the house

Of Jacob forever.

There will be

No end

To his kingdom.”

 

καὶ βασιλεύσει ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Ἰακὼβ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, καὶ τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔσται τέλος.

 

Luke indicated that this rule of Jesus would be over the whole house of Jacob (καὶ βασιλεύσει ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον Ἰακὼβ) forever (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας).  No longer would it just be Judah or Judea, but all the tribes of Israel, or the sons of Jacob, would be reunited.  This sounds like a political and religious unification of Israel.  However, there would be no end to his kingdom (καὶ τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔσται τέλος), since this was not a temporary rule, but an eternal one.  The house of Israel would be united under Jesus forever.  It did not exactly work out that way.

Know the truth (Lk 1:4-1:4

“Thus,

You may know

The truth

Concerning the things

About which

You have been instructed.”

 

ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων τὴν ἀσφάλειαν.

 

Luke continued with his address to Theophilus.  He wanted him to know or recognize (ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς) the truth or certainty (τὴν ἀσφάλειαν) about what words or things he had been instructed about (περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων).  This sounds like someone who had become a Christian and wanted to know more about Jesus.  In fact, the Greek term (κατηχήθης) has become the basis of the word catechism or teaching.  This clearly indicates that this was a new Christian wanting to know more.  The literate Greek reader of this work would already have had a rudimentary knowledge of Jewish and early Christian activities, but wanted more.

This is my beloved Son (Mk 9:7-9:7)

“Then a cloud

Overshadowed them.

There came

A voice

From the cloud.

‘This is my beloved Son!

Listen to him!’”

 

καὶ ἐγένετο νεφέλη ἐπισκιάζουσα αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἐγένετο φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ.

 

This voice from the cloud can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:5, Luke, chapter 9:34-35, and here in Mark, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  The wording of the voice from the cloud sounds almost exactly like the voice from heaven in chapter 1:11, after the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.  Instead of from heaven there, the voice comes from a cloud here.  This voice did not address Jesus personally.  However, the idea of a heavenly voice or a voice from a cloud had a very strong tradition in the Jewish writings of the Hebrew Bible, especially among the prophets and Moses.  The Baptism of Jesus, like the transfiguration here, has become the starting point for any theological reflection about early Christian Christology.  Mark said that a cloud overshadowed them (καὶ ἐγένετο νεφέλη ἐπισκιάζουσα αὐτοῖς).  Then there was a voice from the cloud (καὶ ἐγένετο φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης) that said Jesus was his Son, the beloved one (Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός).  There was nothing about being pleased by him here.  However, there is the further admonition to listen to him (ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ).  Mark has a clear connection between the Baptism of Jesus and his transfiguration.  Both times, the Father as the voice from heaven or the cloud pronounced that Jesus was his beloved Son.

Praise of the Most High God (Dan 4:2-4:3)

“I am pleased

To recount The signs,

The wonders,

That the Most High God

Has worked for me.

How great

Are his signs!

How mighty

His wonders!

His kingdom is

An everlasting kingdom!

His sovereignty is

From generation to generation.”

King Nebuchadnezzar now praised the Most High God that the 3 Judeans had worshipped. This most high God had worked signs and wonders for them and him. He was eager to let everyone know about them. He insisted that God’s signs were great and his wonders were mighty. The Most High God ruled an everlasting kingdom that has and will last for generations. This king almost sounds like one of the prophets in his praise of the Israelite God. This looks like a complete conversion for King Nebuchadnezzar.

The failure to serve the king of Babylon (Bar 2:21-2:23)

“Thus says the Lord.

‘Bend your shoulders!

Serve

The king of Babylon!

You will then

Remain in the land

That I gave

To your ancestors.

But if you will not obey

The voice of the Lord,

If you will not serve

The king of Babylon,

I will cease

The voice of mirth,

The voice of gladness,

The voice of the bridegroom,

The voice of the bride,

From the towns of Judah,

As well as from the region

Around Jerusalem.

The whole land

Will be a desolation

Without inhabitants.’”

The Lord via the prophets had told the Judeans to bend their shoulders and serve the king of Babylon. If they did that, they would remain in the land that the Lord had given to their ancestors. However, if they did not obey the voice of God, and not serve the king of Babylon, then God would cease to have any sounds of mirth or gladness from the brides or the bridegrooms from the towns of Judah as well as the region around Jerusalem. The whole land would become a desolation without inhabitants. They had a clear choice, obey the Lord and the king of Babylon, or suffer the consequences. They were already in exile, because they had not obeyed the king of Babylon. As usual, Jeremiah and Baruch were pro-Babylonian.

The plan against Babylon (Jer 50:45-50:46)

“Therefore hear the plan

That Yahweh has made

Against Babylon!

Hear the purposes

That he has formed

Against the land

Of the Chaldeans!

Surely the little ones

Of the flock

Shall be dragged away.

Surely their fold

Shall be appalled

At their fate.

At the sound

Of the capture

Of Babylon,

The earth shall tremble.

Her cry shall be heard

Among the nations.”

Once again, this is the like the preceding chapter against the Edomites. Instead of the Edom, Babylon is inserted. Yahweh clearly wants to get rid of the Chaldeans.   Even the little ones would be dragged away. The shepherds and the sheep would be appalled at what was happening. The fall of the Babylonians would be so loud that the earth would tremble like an earthquake. The sounds of their cries from Babylon would be heard among all the nations.

The weakened king of Babylon (Jer 50:41-50:43)

“Look!

A people

Is coming

From the north.

A mighty nation

With many kings

Is stirring

From the farthest parts

Of the earth.

They lay hold of bow.

They have spears.

They are cruel.

They have no mercy.

Their sound is

Like the roaring sea.

They ride on horses.

They are equipped

Like a warrior for battle,

Against you.

O daughter!

Babylon!

The king of Babylon

Heard news of them.

His hands fall helpless.

Anguish seized him.

He had pain

Like a woman in labor.’”

This section is almost word for word from chapter 6 of this work about the coming invasion of Israel. Yahweh here tells the Babylonians that an invasion is coming from the northern country, but it was actually the eastern Persians. This invader was a great nation coming from far away, but it actually was right next to them. They had bows and arrows along with spears. They were a cruel merciless well equipped group whose horses made the sounds of a roaring sea. When the king of the Babylonians heard the news of this invasion, he felt helpless and anguished. He had pains like a woman in labor. Yahweh called Babylon “daughter,” a name that he had called Israel earlier in this work.