Be ready

“Be on guard!

Thus,

Your hearts

Will not be weighed down

With dissipation,

Drunkenness,

And the worries

Of this life.

Then that day

Will not catch you

Unexpectedly.”

 

Προσέχετε δὲ ἑαυτοῖς μή ποτε βαρηθῶσιν ὑμῶν αἱ καρδίαι ἐν κραιπάλῃ καὶ μέθῃ καὶ μερίμναις βιωτικαῖς, καὶ ἐπιστῇ ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς αἰφνίδιος ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνη

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to be on guard or aware (Προσέχετε δὲ ἑαυτοῖς), so that their hearts should not be weighed down (μή ποτε βαρηθῶσιν ὑμῶν αἱ καρδίαι) with dissipation (ἐν κραιπάλῃ), drunkenness (καὶ μέθῃ), and the daily worries of this life (καὶ μερίμναις βιωτικαῖς).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use this term κραιπάλῃ, that means drunken nausea or drunken dissipation.  Thus, the day of the end times would not suddenly catch you unexpectedly (καὶ ἐπιστῇ ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς αἰφνίδιος ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνη).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:43 and Mark, chapter 13:35.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that they were to be aware (Βλέπετε) and alert all the time (ἀγρυπνεῖτε), because they did not know (οὐκ οἴδατε) when the end times (γὰρ πότε ὁ καιρός ἐστιν) would come.  Luke, chapter 12:39-40, also had something similar about the thief at night.  Jesus warned his disciples to be vigilant.  They were to stay awake (γρηγορεῖτε οὖν), because they did not know on what day (ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε ποίᾳ ἡμέρᾳ) the Lord was coming (ὁ κύριος ὑμῶν ἔρχεται).  Therefore, they had to be ready or prepared (διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι) for the coming of the Son of Man (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται) because he would be coming at an unexpected hour (ὅτι ᾗ οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ).  This is also similar to the parable ending in Matthew, chapter 25:13, about the virgins at the wedding being vigilant.  This was a simple message to be vigilant all the time, because your end or the end of the world could happen at any time.  Are you ready to go?

Jerusalem surrounded (Lk 21:20-21:20)

“When you see Jerusalem

Surrounded

By army camps,

Then know

That its desolation

Has come near.”

 

Ὅταν δὲ ἴδητε κυκλουμένην ὑπὸ στρατοπέδων Ἱερουσαλήμ, τότε γνῶτε ὅτι ἤγγικεν ἡ ἐρήμωσις αὐτῆς.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that when they would see Jerusalem (Ἱερουσαλήμ) surrounded by military army camps (Ὅταν δὲ ἴδητε κυκλουμένην ὑπὸ στρατοπέδων), then they should know (τότε γνῶτε) that its desolation was near (ὅτι ἤγγικεν ἡ ἐρήμωσις αὐτῆς).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer that used the word στρατοπέδων that meant a military camp, an army, or an encamped army.  Perhaps, this was a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.  There was something similar in Matthew, chapter 24:15, and in Mark, chapter 13:14.  Mark said that Jesus warned them that when they saw the desolating sacrilege or cursed devastation (Ὅταν δὲ ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) standing or set up in the place where it should not be (ἑστηκότα ὅπου οὐ δεῖ), those reading this should understand (ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω) what was happening.  Matthew indicated that Jesus warned that when they saw the desolating sacrilege or cursed devastation (Ὅταν οὖν ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως) standing in the holy place (ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ), they would understand (ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω) what was happening.  Only Matthew explicitly and specifically mentioned the prophet Daniel (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου), chapter 9:27 and chapter 11:31, talking about the desolating abomination in the Temple.  In 175 BCE, the prince, King Antiochus IV Epiphanes came to destroy the high priest Onias III, and the city of Jerusalem with its sanctuary during the war against the Maccabees uprising.  During that time, the sacrifices and offerings ceased in the Temple.  Instead, they had these terrible abominations and desolations of the false idols.  Thus, the reference to Daniel is both eschatological, about the end times, as well as a reference to the political religious revolt of the Maccabees nearly two centuries earlier.  Have you ever seen a religious shrine or church destroyed?

Family betrayal (Lk 21:16-21:16)

“You will be betrayed

Even by parents,

Brothers,

Relatives,

And friends.

They will put

Some of you

To death.”

 

παραδοθήσεσθε δὲ καὶ ὑπὸ γονέων καὶ ἀδελφῶν καὶ συγγενῶν καὶ φίλων, καὶ θανατώσουσιν ἐξ ὑμῶν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that they would be betrayed (παραδοθήσεσθε), even by their parents (καὶ ὑπὸ γονέων), their brothers (καὶ ἀδελφῶν), their relatives (καὶ συγγενῶν), and their friends (καὶ φίλων).  They would put some of them to death (καὶ θανατώσουσιν ἐξ ὑμῶν).  This was something similar in Matthew, chapter 10:21, and Mark, chapter 13:12, probably based on Micah, chapter 7:6, where the prophet warned that they should not trust anyone.  Micah said that the son was treating his father with contempt.  The daughter was against her mother.  The daughter-in-law was against her mother-in-law.  Their worst enemies were not outside, but in their very own house.  This was a time and a place where you could not trust anyone, even your friends, family, and lovers.  You had to be careful with everyone.  Jesus, via Mark, seemed to indicate the same thing.  Brother would betray or hand over his brother to death (καὶ παραδώσει ἀδελφὸς ἀδελφὸν εἰς θάνατον).  A father would hand over or betray his child to death (καὶ πατὴρ τέκνον).  Children would rise up against their parents (ἐπαναστήσονται τέκνα ἐπὶ γονεῖς).  They would have them put to death (καὶ θανατώσουσιν αὐτούς).  Matthew only had the vague “they” betraying one another.  Jesus warned them that many of his followers would fall away, stumble, or be scandalized (καὶ τότε σκανδαλισθήσονται πολλοὶ).  They would betray or abandon each other (καὶ ἀλλήλους παραδώσουσιν), even hating and detesting one another (καὶ μισήσουσιν ἀλλήλους).  Family disputes would arise over Jesus.  This was a far cry from love your neighbor.  Have you ever had a religious dispute within your own family?

Great earthquakes (Lk 21:11-21:11)

“There will be

Great earthquakes.

There will be

Famines

And plagues

In various places.

There will be

Terrors

And great signs

From heaven.”

 

σεισμοί τε μεγάλοι καὶ κατὰ τόπους λοιμοὶ καὶ λιμοὶ ἔσονται, φόβητρά τε καὶ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἔσται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be great earthquakes (σεισμοί τε μεγάλοι).  There would also be famines (καὶ λιμοὶ ἔσονται) and plagues (λοιμοὶ) in various places (καὶ κατὰ τόπους).  There also would be terrors (φόβητρά τε) and great signs from heaven (καὶ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ σημεῖα μεγάλα ἔσται).  Luke was the only Greek biblical writer to use the term φόβητρά, that means a cause of terror, a terrible sight, or an object of fear.  There is something similar in Mark, chapter 13:8, and in Matthew, chapter 24:8, almost word for word at times.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that there would be earthquakes in various places (ἔσονται σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους) and famines (ἔσονται λιμοί).  All of this was the mere beginning of the end (ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων ταῦτα).  Matthew indicated that Jesus said there would be famines (καὶ ἔσονται λιμοὶ) and earthquakes in various places (καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους).  All of this was like birth-pangs (πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων).  These comments and the idea of birth pains were in the Hebrew prophetic tradition of the apocalyptic literature, the Day of Yahweh, the judgment day.  Jesus was speaking like many of the ancient Israelite prophets who warned about the coming of the divine judgment at the end of days, the end times.  However, Luke did not emphasize the beginning of the end here.  What do you think that the end of the world will be like?

Surrounded on every side (Lk 19:43-19:43)

“Indeed,

The days

Will come upon you,

When your enemies

Will set up ramparts

Around you.

They will hem you in

On every side.”

 

ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν,

 

Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that bad days were coming to Jerusalem (ὅτι ἥξουσιν ἡμέραι ἐπὶ σὲ).  Jesus said that it would come to them when their enemies would put up a barricade against them (καὶ παρεμβαλοῦσιν οἱ ἐχθροί σου χάρακά σοι).  They would surround them (καὶ περικυκλώσουσίν σε) so that they would be hemmed in on every side (καὶ συνέξουσίν σε πάντοθεν).  This is the only Greek biblical use of the word περικυκλώσουσίν that means to hem them in on every side, encircle, surround, or encompass.  Jesus was using the words and images of the ancient Israelite prophets against Jerusalem.  Isaiah, chapter 29:1-3, called Jerusalem Ariel, a symbolic name for Jerusalem and its altar.  Isaiah, warned Jerusalem about what was going to happen to it.  Yahweh was going to encamp against it and set up siege works against it.  They would be able to speak only from below the earth and the dust.  Their voices would be reduced to a whisper, like a ghost in the middle of this dust pile.  Jeremiah, chapter 6:6-8, warned Jerusalem that its enemies were going to cut down trees in order to make a ramp siege against Jerusalem, because this city needed to be punished.  There was nothing but oppression and wickedness within her.  Jerusalem was a place of violence and destruction with sickness and wounded people all around.  Yahweh was going to turn away in disgust against Jerusalem. Thus, it would become a desolate uninhabited land, if it did not heed his warning.  Ezekiel, chapter 4:1-3, also condemned Jerusalem with Ezekiel’s symbolic action.  A voice told Ezekiel to be an expert model Lego builder of the siege of Jerusalem.  Ezekiel, the son of man, was to take a brick and portray the city of Jerusalem.  He was to put the siege works with a siege wall against this city.  He was to put a ramp and camps against this city with battering rams all around it.  Then he was to take an iron plate and make an iron wall between himself and the city, looking at it.  Thus, there was a state of siege, a sign for the house of Israel.  Ezekiel was part of the exiles from 598 BCE before the taking of Jerusalem and the second captivity in 587 BCE.  Of course, here this was allusion to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE by the Roman soldiers putting down a revolution in Judea.  Luke would have known about this at the time of his writing.  Have you ever seen a city destroyed?

Do not fall for false claims (Lk 17:23-17:23)

“They will say

To you.

‘Look there!”

Or

‘Look here!’

Do not go!

Do not follow them!”

 

καὶ ἐροῦσιν ὑμῖν Ἰδοὺ ἐκεῖ, Ἰδοὺ ὧδε· μὴ ἀπέλθητε μηδὲ διώξητε.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus remarked that people would tell them (καὶ ἐροῦσιν ὑμῖν) to look here (Ἰδοὺ ἐκεῖ) and there (Ἰδοὺ ὧδε).  They were not to go and follow them (μὴ ἀπέλθητε μηδὲ διώξητε).  This was similar to earlier in this chapter, 17:21.  This is also somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 13:21, and Matthew, chapter 24:23, who were almost word for word to each other.  Mark said that Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them that the Messiah Christ was there (καὶ τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἴδε ὧδε ὁ Χριστός), or if they said look here (Ἴδε ἐκεῖ), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύετε).  They were not to be misled by rumors about the Christ Messiah.  Matthew said that Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them to look because the Messiah Christ was there (τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἤ Ὧδε), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύσητε).  Many people might lead them astray, by saying that they were the Messiah Christ in order to deceive them.  Apparently, there were many deceptive Jewish messianic leaders who were saying that they were the Christ Messiah.  John the Baptist was an example of a messianic leader in the 1st century CE.  Other political Jewish leaders had messianic ambitions also, especially those who led the revolt against the Romans in the 2nd half of the 1st century.  Jesus was warning against all of them.  Have you ever been misled by a religious leader?

The kingdom of God is near (Lk 17:21-17:21)

“They will not say.

‘Look!

Here it is!

Or

‘There it is!

In fact,

The kingdom of God

Is among you.’”

 

οὐδὲ ἐροῦσιν Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ἤ Ἐκεῖ· ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐντὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that people would not say (οὐδὲ ἐροῦσιν), “Look!  Here it is (Ἰδοὺ ὧδε)!” Or “Look!  There it is (ἤ Ἐκεῖ· ἰδοὺ)!”  Jesus emphasized that in fact, the kingdom of God (γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) was among them (ἐντὸς ὑμῶν ἐστιν).  This is somewhat similar to Mark, chapter 13:21, and Matthew, chapter 24:23.  However, they were concerned about the coming of the Messiah rather than the coming of the kingdom of God.  Matthew said that Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them to look because the Messiah Christ was there (τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἤ Ὧδε), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύσητε).  Mark said that Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them to look because the Messiah Christ was there (καὶ τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἴδε ὧδε ὁ Χριστός), or if they said look, there he is (Ἴδε ἐκεῖ), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύετε).  They were not to be misled by rumors about the Christ Messiah.  Here in Luke, it was about the kingdom of God and the not the Messiah.  More importantly, Jesus insisted here in Luke that the kingdom of God was with them already.  Is the kingdom of God among you?