When will it happen? (Mk 13:33-13:33)

“Beware!

Keep alert!

You do not know

When the time

Will come.”

 

Βλέπετε, ἀγρυπνεῖτε· οὐκ οἴδατε γὰρ πότε ὁ καιρός ἐστιν

 

This is somewhat similar to the parable ending saying in Matthew, chapter 25:13, about the virgins at the wedding being vigilant.  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 time (γὰρ πότε ὁ καιρός ἐστιν) would come.  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.

Great tribulation (Mk 13:19-13:19)

“In those days,

There will be suffering,

Such as has not been

From the beginning

Of the creation

That God created

Until now,

And never will be.”

 

ἔσονται γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις, οἵα οὐ γέγονεν τοιαύτη ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ Θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται.

 

There is something similar, almost word for word, in Matthew, chapter 24:21, but not in Luke.  This wording has a hint of Daniel, chapter 12:1 and Joel, chapter 2:2, who talked about the Day of Yahweh.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that at the end times, in those days (ἔσονται γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι), there will be such suffering or tribulation (ἐκεῖναι θλῖψις) that no one has ever seen anything like it since the beginning of the world that God created until now (οἵα οὐ γέγονεν τοιαύτη ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως ἣν ἔκτισεν ὁ Θεὸς ἕως τοῦ νῦν).  In fact, there never will be any kind of suffering like this at any time (καὶ οὐ μὴ γένηται).  This was going to be bad, nothing like it had ever happened before.  This would be the unique end times.

 

The dogs eat crumbs (Mk 7:28-7:28)

“But she answered him.

‘Yes!

Lord!

But even the dogs,

Under the table,

Eat the children’s crumbs.’”

 

ἡ δὲ ἀπεκρίθη καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ναί, Κύριε· καὶ τὰ κυνάρια ὑποκάτω τῆς τραπέζης ἐσθίουσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ψιχίων τῶν παιδίων.

 

This Canaanite woman responded somewhat like in Matthew, chapter 15:27.  This woman was willing to accept that she was like a despised dog.  Mark said that she responded to Jesus, by calling him Lord and agreeing with him (ἡ δὲ ἀπεκρίθη καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Ναί, Κύριε).  She reminded him that even the dogs (καὶ τὰ κυνάρια), who are under the table (ὑποκάτω τῆς τραπέζης), eat the children’s crumbs (ἐσθίουσιν ἀπὸ τῶν ψιχίων τῶν παιδίων) that fall from the table.  In a wealthy materialistic country, we sometimes forget how our crumbs might feed or help poor people around the world today.

Jesus controls the unclean spirits (Mk 3:11-3:11)

“Whenever the unclean spirits

Saw Jesus,

They fell down

Before him.

They cried out.

‘You are the Son of God.’”

 

καὶ τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα, ὅταν αὐτὸν ἐθεώρουν, προσέπιπτον αὐτῷ καὶ ἔκραζον λέγοντα ὅτι Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

This is somewhat similar to earlier in Mark, chapter 1:23, when Jesus made the unclean spirit leave the possessed man.  Jesus commanded even the unclean spirits, so that they listened or obeyed him.  He seemed to have some special spiritual powers that no one else had ever seen.  Here Mark noted that these evil unclean spirits (καὶ τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα) fell down before Jesus or worshipped him (προσέπιπτον αὐτῷ), whenever they saw him (ὅταν αὐτὸν ἐθεώρουν).  They cried out or shouted out to Jesus (καὶ ἔκραζον λέγοντα), that he was the Son of God (ὅτι Σὺ εἶ ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ), when no one else recognized this.  This unclean spirit world was alive and active in first century Israelite culture.

The sheep on the right hand (Mt 25:34-25:34)

“Then the king

Will say to those

At his right hand.

‘Come!

You are blessed

By my Father!

Inherit the kingdom!

It has been prepared

For you

From the foundation

Of the world.”

 

τότε ἐρεῖ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τοῖς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ Δεῦτε οἱ εὐλογημένοι τοῦ Πατρός μου, κληρονομήσατε τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν βασιλείαν ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου.

 

This last judgment section is unique to Matthew.  The right side is always the good side.  Jesus said that the king, not the Son of Man, would tell those at his right hand (τότε ἐρεῖ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τοῖς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ) that they had been blessed by his Father (οἱ εὐλογημένοι τοῦ Πατρός μου).  They would come (Δεῦτε) to inherit the kingdom (κληρονομήσατε…βασιλείαν), since it had been prepared for them (τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν) from the foundation or inception of the world (ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου).  The righteous right-side sheep would inherit the kingdom of heaven that had been prepared for them since the beginning of time.  This almost sounds like predestination.

The great tribulation (Mt 24:21-24:21)

“At that time,

There will be great suffering!

That has not been

From the beginning

Of the world

Until now!

No!

And never will be!”

 

ἔσται γὰρ τότε θλῖψις μεγάλη, οἵα οὐ γέγονεν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κόσμου ἕως τοῦ νῦν οὐδ’ οὐ μὴ γένηται.

 

There is something similar, almost word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:19, but not in Luke.  This wording has a hint of Daniel, chapter 12:1 and Joel, chapter 2:2, who talked about the Day of Yahweh.  Jesus said that at the end times, there will be such great suffering or tribulation (ἔσται γὰρ τότε θλῖψις μεγάλη) that no one has ever seen anything like it since the beginning of the world until now (οἵα οὐ γέγονεν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς κόσμου ἕως τοῦ νῦν).  In fact, there never will be any kind of suffering like this at any time (οὐδ’ οὐ μὴ γένηται).  This was going to be bad, nothing like it before now or after now, except the end times themselves.

 

On the housetops (Mt 24:17-24:17)

“The one on the housetop

Must not go down

To take

What is in his house.”

 

ὁ ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος μὴ καταβάτω ἆραι τὰ ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας αὐτοῦ,

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 13:15, but not in Luke.  During this end times, the people on the housetop or roofs of their houses (ὁ ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος) should not go down (μὴ καταβάτω) to take things out of their houses (ἆραι τὰ ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας αὐτοῦ).  It would be useless to do so, as the world was coming to an end.

The practical consequences of religious belief

Religion is about belief and behavior.  How we behave depends on what we believe.  The “what” and “why” of life feed into each other.  By doing a certain thing we understand why we are doing it.  We start to do it by first believing it worthwhile.  Behavior is determined by belief, but belief is also determined by behavior.  Praxis is acting and doing.  Theory is thinking and understanding.  We live according to what we believe.  We believe according to the way we live.  There is a circular interplay.  True religion is an integrating force in our lives, so that the whole person is really an integrated personality.  Religion is not a view of life, but a way of living.  A person’s view of the world reflects a way of living.  We express our ethical beliefs in both a concrete and symbolic way.  We have to understand what is being done, in order to understand what is said.  Religion is a life style, not an idea.  Are you challenged to be yourself?  Do these religious practices increase your identity?  Do they challenge you to be freer?  Do they open new horizons?  Do they have value?  Is your human existence better off?  These are the questions you must ask about your religious practice.

Atheism

Atheism proclaims that there is nothing out there, no transcendence, no God.  Therefore, there is no theism or belief in God.  There is nothing but us mere humans, so that we have to do the best that we can do.  There is nothing but individual concerns that sometimes merge into some common causes.  This world is full of nothingness or just plain old materialism.  Get as much as you can now.  There is nothing more.  Quite often, this is a reasoned position, in that atheism is a minority opinion, since the natural tendency of most people is to believe in something other than yourself.

The punishment for Edom (Ob 1:2-1:4)

“I will surely make you

Least among the nations.

You shall be

Utterly despised.

Your proud heart

Has deceived you.

You live

In the clefts

Of the rock.

This dwelling is

In the heights.

You say in your heart.

‘Who will bring me down

To the ground?’

Though you soar aloft

Like the eagle,

Though your nest

Is set among the stars,

From there,

I will bring you down.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh’s oracle in Obadiah was addressed to Edom itself.  Yahweh was going to make them the least of the nations of the world.  They would be utterly despised.  Their proud hearts had deceived them.  They lived high in the rocks.  They thought that no one could bring them down to earth.  They could soar like an eagle, since their nests were in the high stars.  However, Yahweh was clear.  He was going to bring them down.