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Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #13 Matthew 26:59-68 – False Witnesses and the Charge of Blasphemy

Matthew 26:59-68 – False Witnesses and the Charge of Blasphemy

|| Mark 14:55-65; Luke 22:63-71

MT26:59 But the religious hierarchy[1] and the entire Sanhedrin Court[2] were seeking false testimony against Jesus[3] so that they might execute him. MT26:60 They discovered none who would come forward as pseudo evidentiary.[4] But at last two ‘witnesses’ came forward. MT26:61 One person claimed, “[Jesus] said, ‘I can tear down this Sanctuary[5] of The God and within three days reconstruct[6] it.’” MT26:62 Now the chief priest Caiaphas rose and said to Jesus, “Have you no answer? What about these testimonies against you?” MT26:63 However, Jesus remained silent.[7] Then the chief priest Caiaphas told Jesus, “I put you under oath down here before the Living God[8] so that you should tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of The God.”[9] MT26:64 Jesus said to the priest, “You said it.[10] Yet I tell all of you: In the future[11] all of you will see the Son of Humankind sitting on the right-hand[12] of the Power and returning[13] upon the clouds of the sky.” [Daniel 7:13; Psalm 110:1] MT26:65 At that the chief priest Caiaphas ripped his outer garments, screaming, “He blasphemed![14] Why do we need witnesses? See, you just heard the blasphemy! MT26:66 How does it seem to you?” But, these answered, ‘He is liable to death!’ MT26:67 Then they all spit into his face and hit him with their fists. Others slapped Jesus, MT26:68 asking, “Prophesy[15] to us, ‘Messiah’! Who just slapped you?”

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[1] Religious hierarchy: The Greek is HARCHIEREIS from which “hierarchy” comes.

[2] Sanhedrin Court: Or, BECK: the whole Jewish court. Research Sanhedrin for notes elsewhere.

[3] Seeking false testimony against Jesus: Or, RIEU: were casting about for evidence against Jesus; NEB: some allegation against Jesus on which a death-sentence could be based.

[4] Pseudo evidentiary: The Greek is PSEUDO-MARTYRON. Or, KJV: false witnesses. Mark 14:59 adds, “But neither on these grounds was their testimony in agreement.”

[5] Sanctuary: The Greek is NAON a Divine Habitat and refers to the inner shrine of the Temple. Research temple or NAOS. Or, KJV: temple; RHM: shrine; GDSP: sanctuary.

[6] Reconstruct: Or, RIEU: build it. This charge is taken from John 2:19.

[7] Jesus remained silent: In fulfillment of Isaiah 53:7.

[8] I put you under oath down here before the Living God: This is the adjuration formula inferred in Leviticus 5:1. Or, KJV: I adjure you; RHM: I put thee on oath; NEB: I charge you.

[9] The Messiah, the Son of The God: The high priest has in mind Psalm 2:1, 7 and whether Jesus claims to be the Anointed One of that Psalm. Peter quotes this Psalm at Acts 4:24-26 and Paul refers to it in a Jewish synagogue (Acts 13:33-35).

[10] You said it: A Hebraism meaning “Yes.” In English it remains a positive statement to this day. Or, KNX: your own lips have said it; MON: I am he; GDSP: it is true. And, thus the response from the priest.

[11] In the future: Or, RIEU: the time has come; NEB: from now one, you will see; BER: shortly you shall see; MOF: in the future you will all see. It is possibly a Hebraism which means, “You will live to see…” or, “you will still be alive when such and such is fulfilled.”

[12] The Son of Humankind sitting on the right-hand: This is a conflate or compound paraphrase of Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1 – a combination which appears several times. Note Daniel 7:13 refers to the ascension to heaven of “a son of man” and is seen from Daniel’s heavenly perspective (Daniel 7:15).

[13] Returning: The Greek word in both Daniel 7:13 (LXX) and here is a form of ERCHOMENON which may meaning coming, leaving, returning. It is virtually a synonym for PAROUSIA judging from the uses in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. It seems to some that it is possible Jesus is referring to his foretold ascension to heaven as Daniel 7:13 predicts. On these details see commentaries in Nazarene Apocalypse© under Daniel 7:13 or ERCHOMENON (Parousia). Compare the parallel readings at Mark 14:62 and Luke 22:69. See how this was fulfilled in Acts 7:54-57 and note who was present then (John 6:62; Acts 1:9-11).

[14] He blasphemed: The priest realizes the answer of Jesus is, “Yes.”

[15] Prophesy: Note that the word PROPHETEUSON may be used in a broader since of speaking rather than just predicting something. Mark 14:65 adds, “… to spit on him and to cover his whole face and hit him with their fists.” Luke 22:65 adds, “And they went on saying many other things in blasphemy against him.”

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Preceding

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #1 Matthew 26:1-2 – Two Days Before Execution

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #2 Matthew 26:3-5 – Plotting to Seize Jesus

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #3 Matthew 26:6-13 – A Woman to Be Remembered

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #4 Matthew 26:14-16 – The Price of Betrayal

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #5 Matthew 26:17-19 – Passover Preparations

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #6 Matthew 26:20-25 – The Last Passover

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #7 Matthew 26:26-30 – Keep Doing This in My Memory

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #8 Matthew 26:31-35 – How All Will Be Stumbled This Night

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #9 Matthew 26:36-39 – Garden Prayer

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #10 Matthew 26:40-47 – Two More Prayers for the Cup to Pass

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #11 Matthew 26:48-56 – Betrayal by Judas and Arrest of Jesus

Matthew 26 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Last days of Jesus Christ #12 Matthew 26:57-58 – To Caiaphas

Matthew 25 Jesus ministry drawing to its dramatic conclusion and warning to be ready

Jesus Christ had only a very short time of public life. In those three years of walking and preaching around, he admonished the people to follow the good doctrine, not the evil examples, of the Scribes and Pharisees. They really got annoyed by that rabbi which seemed to know more than them. In Matthew 23 we could see how he denounced eight woes against their hypocrisy and blindness. The Scribes and Pharisees bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. Jesus demands people to live or behave according to the scriptures which means each human being should live according to and with blessings, outlined in the Eight Beatitudes. Now his last declaration was a series of Eight Judgments (‘Woes‘).

Matthew affirms that the message Jesus brings is initially spoken to “the multitudes and to his disciples”. When we want to be a disciple of Christ Jesus, we do have to listen to him and to follow his words. We should not be Pharisaic and tell others what to do, whilst we ourselves would ignore those words of Christ.

Wanting to be a follower of Christ we should be aware that he is the sent one of God who prepared the way to God. But when we as servants are not prepared for his return, we shall get in trouble, because then we shall miss the opportunity to enter his house or shall not be able to enter the Kingdom of Christ nor the Kingdom of God.

The return of the Messiah is going to produce a thorough disentanglement. We have already seen this in the parables of the wheat and the tares, and that of the net cast into the sea, in Matthew 13, and again in the verses we have just considered at the close of Matthew 24. The same great fact meets us again in this fresh similitude of the kingdom of heaven spoken of in chapter 25.

The point all through chapter 25 is the way in which the coming of the Lord will make a complete separation between those who really are his and those who are not. In these parables, we see the separation made between real and spurious in the sphere of profession, and the seal of the Spirit is only possessed by those truly Christ’s. In the world, we can find lots of people who say they are “Christian“, but who adhere to another Christ than the apostles. The apostles did know very well their master. They also worshipped the same God as Jesus Christ. Jesus never prayed to himself or never asked others to praise him for what happened to them. Always, Jesus asked to go to the temple to thank God and to pray to God, with the words

Our Father, Who are in heaven”.

Lots of so-called Christians are not really living as if it would be their last day on earth, nor as if Jesus would be coming back to earth now or tomorrow. They think they still have lots of time to chose or change their character. It can well be that they would be very surprised when that return would be there sooner than they think. More people then shall see,  the shutting of the door sealed the rejection of the false. The foolish do not represent backsliders who once knew the Lord and were known of him. The word is not

“I once knew you, but now disown you,”

but rather,

“I know you not.”

Now the Lord knows those who are his, but these are strangers to him.

In this 25th chapter of Matthew Jesus concludes his parabolic utterances with developing parables of the virgins (vv 1-13), the tradesmen (vv 14-30), and the flock (vv 31-46). It was to be his last exposition before he shared with them the Passover memorial (Mat 26:1-75).

The parable of the virgins taught the need for personal preparation; that of the tradesmen the need for personal effort, and that of the flock the need to prepare for the judgment.

Those parables are still of great importance for us, because they serve as a warning. A warning to be prepared.

In hearing

“You also prove yourselves ready because in an hour you are not expecting the Son of Humankind is coming.” (Mt 24:44 mhm)

we encounter many who will say,

“Yeah, I’ve been hearing that for years.”

However, Jesus is instructing various believers around the world to announce to his church, his Bride, that he is coming very soon.

Furthermore, Jesus gives an indication it is not just alright to say you believe in him or follow him. One must prove that there is such faith in him and in his heavenly Father. Lots of Christians do not want to work for their faith, but we need to labour for the Truth, and to be faithful in all our commitments, so that the talent of time, energy, and opportunity might be expended for the future. Faith without works is dead.

Lots of people who call themselves Christian, worship another God than Christ (namely the Trinity) and live as if nothing is at hand, following their own lusts. They are living their lives chasing their own desires, their own wants and needs, instead of spending their time, serving Jesus and his God and the needs of their kingdom. Those people should know that there will be a severe penalty to pay. There are churches who teach

“once saved, always saved,”

and that one can never lose one’s salvation, regardless of how one lives his or her life. However, this doctrine totally ignores this warning.

“50 the Master will arrive in that day he is not expecting and in an hour he is not knowing 51 and the Master will cut him asunder and give him his part with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and grinding of teeth!” (Mt 24:50-51 mhm)

“All of you continue to work, not for the food that perishes, but rather for the Food that remains unto endless Life–which the Son of Humankind will give you–for the Father, The God, has sealed this person.”” (Joh 6:27 mhm)

“It is a necessity to continue to work the works of the One who sent me while it is day. The night is coming when no one will be able to work.” (Joh 9:4 mhm)

“However, the payment is not credited to the one working as if it were charity, but as a debt.” (Ro 4:4 mhm)

“Give them an abundance of loving consideration because of their work. All of you remain peaceable with one another.” (1Th 5:13 mhm)

“Therefore, just as the body without breath is dead, so also, conviction without works is dead.” (Jas 2:26 mhm)

We also should know that whatever we do should be worthy of Christ.

We need to recognise the basis of judgment:

that of displaying the principles of God manifestation to our brethren: of upholding the divine elements, and of manifesting the characteristics of Jehovah God to those we might be privileged to assist. Then we will hear the glad tidings at the judgment seat of the King:

‘Inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least, ye did it to me.’

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Preceding

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 23 – A Jeremiad against the religious hypocrites

Matthew 23:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 1: Shutting Up the Kingdom

Matthew 23:27-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Woe 6: Whitewashed Graves

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Matthew 24:36-41 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: About That Day and Hour

Matthew 24:42-51 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Stay Awake!

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

When Belonging to the escaped ones gathering in Jesus name

Next: Matthew 25:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment by the King and Ten Virgins

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Additional reading

  1. Dealing with worries in our lives
  2. Hearing words to accept
  3. Believing what Jesus says
  4. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  5. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  6. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #2 What you must do
  7. You know neither the day nor the hour
  8. To be prepared and very well oiled

Bibelen 2020, a contemporary version of the Old and New Testaments published by the Danish Bible Society (DBS)

The new Danish Bible translation “Bibelen 2020” got accused of anti-Zionism and even anti-Semitism and recently was the cause a furor.

Bibelen 2020 is a contemporary version of the Old and New Testaments published by the Danish Bible Society (DBS). It had eliminated the word “Israel” in many places. In some passages, particularly in the New Testament, “Israel” was replaced by such wordings as “the Jews,” “the Jewish people,” or simply “the People.” In others, it was changed even more radically, as when Psalm 121:4,

“He who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps,”

became

“He who watches over us.”

A reaction was not long in coming from Danish Bible readers.

“Bible 2020 is an assault on the faiths of both Jews and Christians, and an attack on the history of the Jewish state of Israel,”

wrote Dr. Petra Heldt, director of the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Jerusalem.

Referring to Psalms 121:4, she went on:

“DBS pretends that we get the divine watchfulness. [The identity of Israel] has been stolen.”

Heldt accuses DBS of

“emulating the current social attitude that develops from the anti-Israelism of Muslim immigrants and that is picked up by other parts of Danish society.”

The Danish Bible Society sought to defend itself.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,”

it declared in a prepared statement, than the charge that its translation had an anti-Jewish or anti-Israel bias.

“The words Israel and Israelites [still] occur in the translation more than 2000 times and the words Jew and Jewish occur more than 500 times,”

the statement said.

Bibelen 2020,according to them

“is a special kind of Bible translation directed at secular readers with no or little knowledge of the Bible and of its history and traditional church and Bible language.”

It was made, the DBS asserted, for that “majority of Danish readers” who might confuse the biblical concept of Israel with the modern country bearing that name and

“wouldn’t know that Israel in the New Testament at large refers to the people of God with which He has made a covenant.”

Its aim was disambiguation, not the delegitimization of the Jewish state.

When Belonging to the escaped ones gathering in Jesus name

This coming Wednesday it is going to be a very strange particular night to remember.

Normally 14 Nisan is the day that followers of the Nazarene master teacher remember the night that Jesus came together with his close disciples to commemorate the liberation of the People of God. As a devout Jew, Jesus kept to the demand of his God to commemorate that the Elohim requested that month to be the beginning of months for them (the first month of their year). Jesus had not forgotten to tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of that month they had each to select an animal of the flock according to their fathers’ households, one animal per household and how they had to keep it until the fourteenth day of that month.

Passover – The sprinkling of the doorposts with the blood of a lamb.

Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel having to slaughter the animals at twilight. For they had to take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them.

Jesus remembered how they are to eat the meat that night; they should eat it, roasted over the fire along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs…

Here is how you must eat it: you must be dressed for travel, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in a hurry; it is the Lord’s Passover.

This Wednesday it is that day of remembrance.

It is the night that we normally would come together to remember how the messenger of God passed through the land of Egypt on that night and struck every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. It is the night that we remember how everybody in the land had to know that there is only that One God, Jehovah, the God above all gods and leaders (be them a Pharaoh, King, President or minister) of a country.  It is That Invisible God Who will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt, but also over all other gods of the world and over all people on this globe.

Wednesday night is the night that we remember that the blood on the houses where those people in Egypt were staying was to be a distinguishing mark for them but also for us.

“1  The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” (Ex 12:1-13 NIV)

For God and His people it was clear that meal should be imprinted in the memories of the following generations, and every night of this commemoration the elders had to tell about what happened and why it happened and how God liberated and guided His people. Therefore, real lovers of God should continue the tradition to tell others about what God has done for His people.

The tradition wants that all believers in God and in His son, Jesus Christ, also come together on 14 Nisan to have a Memorial Meal.

In 2020 the world got an unseen enemy raging over the globe, and as such most people have found themselves under the rules of lockdown, not able to come together with other believers to have a memorable evening or great night in unity. They shall have to stay at home in isolation and just have the meal on their own with a restricted family gathering (in many cases not even having the children able to visit their parents).

The Passover meal of Jesus

Like Jesus earnestly desired to eat this Passover with his apostle we also should still do that this Wednesday on April the 8th 2020, the 14th of Nisan. Not only shall we then have to remember God, seeing the blood will then “pass over” the houses of the Israelites (Exodus 12:13), while smiting the Egyptians with the tenth plague, the killing of the first-born sons. After God used a man named Moses to deliver them from their slavery, around 1,500 B. C., we also remember God used a man named Jeshua (Jesus Christ) to deliver the whole mankind from their slavery of sin and to liberate them from the curse of death.

It was before he was to suffer, he received a cup to share it among his close friends. In the same manner, he had blessed the cup, he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples telling them that this represented his body which is given for them, but also for us. that symbolic act he presented to them on that night in the upper room in Jerusalem, he wanted to be done regularly in remembrance of him. That way we also should remember that installation of the New Covenant in the blood of this sent one from God, the Kristos or Christ, which is poured out for us all.

“14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God.” 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said,

“Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Lu 22:14-20 NIV)

On 14 Nisan we do remember how God provided a sign of a lamb for the exodus from Egypt and how he about 2 000 years ago gave the lamb Jesus as the fulfilment of the Passover. Jeshua or Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, sacrificed to set us free from bondage to sin. (John 1:29; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) The blood of Jesus covers and protects us, and his body was broken to free us from eternal death (1 Corinthians 5:7).

These days it is very important to remember how Christ Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, to liberate us from all ailments of this world and to safeguard our spiritual life. Yes, we can be killed by a virus or by men, but no illness neither any man can take away the life given by the ransom offering of Jesus Christ. That knowledge should take away all fear that we might have by all the bad news that reaches us in these days of CoViD-19.

Traditionally the Bible Books have already lots of teachings concerning infectious diseases, cleanliness, and hygiene, which were well ahead of our time. They were ultimately inspired by God to benefit and protect humans from illnesses and promote healthy lifestyles. Infection control is an inherent part of Jewish teachings concerning hygiene, but Christians can learn a lot from them. The guidelines that are practised today by major health organizations are almost entirely inline and inspired by the teachings of the Bible and also of the Koran.

One reason why the Memorial was instituted also for non-Jews or goyim, had to do with one purpose served by Jesus’ death. He died as an upholder of his heavenly Father’s sovereignty. Christ thus proved that the idea the first people got in their head was a totally wrong idea and that the false charge that humans serve God only out of selfish motives, is just a lie. (Job 2:1-5) Jesus’ death in faithfulness proved this contention false and made Jehovah’s heart rejoice.​ Proverbs 27:11.

We should show the outer world that we keep ourselves safe by social distancing and by isolating ourselves, but that we do not serve God our of fear but out of thankfulness and willingness to please Him and not to please the world. The majority of the world namely wants to keep to human traditions and to heathen festivals. But real lovers of God prefer keeping to the God-given annual festivals, like Passover.

This year the Passover festival may fall at the same time of the Good Week of the Catholics and their Easterday may also be one of these days (Easter Sunday for Roman Catholics: Sunday, April 12; for Othodox Catholics: Sunday, 19 Apr 2020), though we can bet most of them shall not have such a religious meal as we have.
Let us make sure we keep to the command of God, and though we may not invite anyone from farther away, let it be a modest evening full of Bible reading and reflection on what God has done and of how He is good for mankind.

This Wednesday, even when we are not with many, let us remember that God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Indeed,

“ For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ro 6:23 NIV)

Observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal reminds us of the great love shown by both Jehovah and his Son in connection with Jesus’ sacrificial death. How we should appreciate that love!

Having escaped from the chains of death should not have us to think we are free from everything bad this world can offer. Make sure you do not tempt it. Always be careful to keep social distancing and keeping all hygienic regulations.

To have contact with others we shall have to rely on modern gadgets like Hangouts, Face Time, Skype, Messenger, Houseparty a.o., that way preaching and telling also other about why this night is so important.

As we commemorate this important evening in seclusion, let us sense that we will indeed be united with brothers and sisters all over the world in prayer and spirit in union with Christ Jesus.

Bread and wine symbols for the covenants of God and His liberation from slavery of man, salvation from the curse of death.

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Preceding

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception

14 Nisan a day to remember #2 Time of Jesus

14 Nisan a day to remember #3 Before the Passover-feast

14 Nisan a day to remember #4 A Lamb slain

Most important weekend of the year 2016

Preparing for the most important weekend of the year 2018

The Most important weekend of the year 2018

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Additional reading

  1. 1 -15 Nisan
  2. Purification and perfection
  3. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  4. High Holidays not only for Israel
  5. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  6. Torah hanging on two commandments and focussing on a Mashiach
  7. Yom Hey, Eve of Passover and liberation of many people
  8. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  9. Observance of a day to Remember
  10. A night different from all other nights and days to remember
  11. Jesus memorial
  12. The Most special weekend of the year 2018
  13. Soon it shall be Erev Pesach and Passover 2019
  14. The unseen enemy
  15. Dark times looking like death is around the corner – but Light given to us
  16. In a time when we must remain in our place
  17. First time since Nazi time no public gathering
  18. No idea yet for 14 Nisan or April the 8th in 2020 Corona crisis time
  19. Only a few days left before 14 Nisan
  20. A meal as a mitzvah so that every generation would remember
  21. A Passover for unity in God’s community
  22. To turn the world into a “vessel” receptive of God
  23. The Application of the New Covenant
  24. Redemption #5 The perfect sacrifice
  25. Redemption #7 Christ alive in the faithful
  26. Even in Corona time You are called on to have the seder
  27. Call to help others
  28. Catholics facing a totally different Holy Week

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Further related

  1. Holy Week: a week set apart, in a time set apart.
    Today we begin Holy Week. This is the final part of a longer period leading up to Easter, called Lent. We do this every year, as part of the annual cycle. It is a familiar and comforting ritual for many people of Christian faith.
    This year, however, will be different. In the middle of a viral pandemic, with restrictions prohibiting gathering for worship, Christian people will be walking through Holy Week in their own homes, not in gatherings at church. This is a week set apart, for people of faith, in a time set apart, for all of society.
  2. Pandemics, Plagues and Passover
    It wouldn’t be right to have a blog called Life and Faith Today and ignore what is happening in the world right now! Today is April 4th 2020, and this day finds many centres of population around the world on lock-down, with everybody confined to their homes, while battles rage on the front-line; a front-line that moves relentlessly across the world. COVID-19 is a viral pandemic that has been fuelled by our modern lives and is now destroying them.
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    We pray for your protection for the old and vulnerable
    for pregnant mothers and those undergoing other treatments at this time.
    Almighty God, reach down and soften the hearts of the affluent,
    the greedy and opportunistic, bring humility, caring and giving back into their lives.
    We pray for positive change, that we all learn the lesson of caring for our environment,
    and to respect Your wonderful planet while it’s under our stewardship.
    Help us to learn again to care for each other
    and that together in Your name we are stronger.
    Almighty God, we come to you in deep humility.
    Hear our prayer at this time of our distress.
    Through Jesus Christ our Lord
    Amen
  3. Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Warns of ‘a Lot of Death’ While Revisiting Easter Services
    Veering from grim warnings to baseless assurances in a single news conference, President Trump on Saturday predicted a surging death toll in what may be “the toughest week” of the coronavirus pandemic before also dispensing unproven medical advice. He suggested again that Americans might be able to congregate for Easter Sunday services.
    “There will be a lot of death,” Mr. Trump said at the White House, where he and other American officials depicted some parts of the United States as climbing toward the peaks of their crises, while warning that new hot spots were emerging in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C.At one point Mr. Trump, who initially set Easter Sunday as a target date for reopening the country before backing off, said that the holiday would be a particularly “sad” day for Americans prohibited from gathering in large numbers. He said he would again like to consider relaxing social distancing rules for Easter services and that he had told advisers, “maybe we could allow special for churches” gatherings that were possibly outside with “great separation.”
  4. Easter Bread Recipe
    On April 19th, Greek Orthodox celebrate Easter and this year it’s different.
    Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak and things are not the same. While Easter celebrations are not about clothes or Easter eggs, people gathering to share the joy and true meaning of the holiday is. And this year it’s different! People are asked to remain isolated and social distancing is advised to prevent infection.
    Nevertheless, one thing remains, the faith of better days to come and hope that the coming holidays will bring more joy and peace to everyone.
  5. Virus alters Holy Week celebration worldwide
    For Pope Francis at the Vatican, and for Christians worldwide from churches large and small, this will be an Easter like none other: The joyous message of Christ’s resurrection will be delivered to empty pews.
    Worries about the coronavirus outbreak have triggered widespread cancellations of Holy Week processions and in-person services. Many pastors will preach on TV or online, tailoring sermons to account for the pandemic. Many extended families will reunite via Face Time and Zoom rather than around a communal table laden with an Easter feast on April 12.
    Pope Francis, the first pontiff from Latin America, will be celebrating Mass for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter in a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica, instead of in the huge square outside filled with Catholic faithful.
  6. Holy Week & Coronavirus thoughts.
    coming around to special-ness of having Easter with my church family. looking forward to it since we hadn’t enjoyed it with our church in 3 years. then COVID-19 happened. and we haven’t had a church service in person in over a month. and we won’t be able to celebrate Easter together. best day, the best thing anyone could ever do for me and i can’t celebrate it on its traditional day with my brothers and sisters in Christ. i’ve went to the same church my entire life. 19 years. most of those people are like family. i love them so much. they are my family.
  7. Celebrating King Jesus while Sheltering-in-Place
    here we are, celebrating King Jesus on this special Palm Sunday, while locked down in our homes, helping to “flatten the curve” of the spread of this COVID-19 virus.
    Of course, we are not alone. It seems half the world is observing the “shelter-in-place” orders of the “authorities” over them. Paul told Pastor Timothy that such submission “is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:3).

Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light

In our previous post you could read how Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives and talked to his disciples who had asked him to tell them when this destruction of the temple, about he talked earlier, would take place, and what would be the sign of his coming, and of the end (completion, consummation) of the age?

Jesus answered their question, telling about days or moments and things as the prophets had foretold it, and to make sure that no one would mislead them, but at the same time warns us to be careful not to be deceived and not having us lead into error. (Matthew 24:4) We may not forget that many will so come in Jesus his name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to the sent one from God], saying,

‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. : after the distress of those days, (Matthew 24:5)

Jesus told his disciples that they would continually hear of wars and rumours of wars, and that is also what happened throughout the ages. Several students of the Bible were not at all frightened, because they knew and we know that those things must take place (Matthew 24:6)

Throughout the ages we have seen that nation rose against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Throughout the ages there have always been wars and lots of problems, like droughts, famines, heave destructing storms, earthquakes in various places. Jesus told his disciples generations would encounter such things, but them would all be merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble]. (Matthew 24:7-8)

Jesus told us in advance about many signs which shall occur at certain times. It would be to his followers and readers of the Scriptures to come to know those signs and not to be left in the dark. What should bring us out of the dark is what Jesus further told:

“29 “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” (Mt 24:29-30 NIV)

Even when the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not provide its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken it should not be a time of distress for us, whilst it might be for many in this world.

For Students of the Bible it shall be that time to be recognised as the sign of the Son of Man [coming in his glory] for which many of us waited such a long time. For centuries fellow members looked forward for signs to appear in the sky, when they would come to see all the tribes of the earth and especially Israel to come to mourn [regretting their rebellion and rejection of the Messiah] (Matthew 24:30)

We still wait and look forward to that day when we will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliance and splendour] (Matthew 24:30). Waiting already such a long time we should not be weary, the return of the Christ is imminent.

When looking at what is going on in the world we may be sure that one day, not so far in the future, the sun will grow dark, and the moon will not give its light, people coming to see the stars falling from the sky [heaven] (Matthew 24:29).

When Jesus was talking about all this he had already told them that he was going to have to go to Jerusalem to have his final days there, because him being betrayed, falsely accused, tried, beaten, and eventually put to death. He had spoken about his reason for his (first) coming to earth. He told about his primary mission being to serve as the sacrificial offering for the sins of mankind. Having told them that he would be killed he also assured them that this would not be the end of him, because he would be restored to life and there would come a day when he would return to earth a second time.
But there was much that would have to take place before that return. And the date of his second appearance was and would be a mystery for many years. He told the disciples,

“No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mt 24:36 NIV)

Yes, even Jesus himself did not know the day. He as a son of man, not being like God, an all-knowing god, was in darkness about the moment God would allow him to come back to earth to fulfil his task.

The short time Jesus had his public life, he warned people to return to God and to prepare themselves to be worthy for entering the Kingdom of God, because everybody had to know there would come a day of death, or end of living, and a judgement day, when it would be all too late to change anything. All choices for the way of living have to be made whilst living, so before the moment of death arrives.
Jesus has warned those around him several times,

“ So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Mt 24:44 NIV)

The point Jesus seemed to be making had to do with preparedness. He wanted not only his disciples to live with a sense of eager expectation, anticipating that his return could happen at any moment. Jesus wanted to warn everybody and tried with his many parables to show what the Torah implicated and how there would come a time we would have to come before the Elohim to justify us.

People had to come out of the darkness of the world before another sort of darkness would frighten them even more than all the previous events. This led Jesus to tell a few parables to drive home his point. As such people could hear him tell a story about the wedding banquet or ten virgins who were anticipating the arrival of the bridegroom. In the story, all ten virgins share a common expectation of the bridegroom’s arrival. They are eagerly anticipating his coming, but five of them are prepared, while five are not. In the story, the bridegroom has not shown up as expected. But, as part of the welcoming party, they were to have been ready, because, as Jesus had said, the groom was

“coming at an hour you do not expect.”

With the parable of the fig tree Jesus is attempting to open the eyes of his disciples and wants to help them (and us) develop a long-term perspective regarding his Kingdom. From the books of the Messianic writings (1st and 2nd part of the New Testament) we can clearly see that the apostles were focused on the here-and-now, and having trouble understanding that the talk of their master teacher his coming death in Jerusalem was anything but bad news or something to be avoided at all costs.

This entire 24th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew contains the surprising and difficult-to-comprehend words of Jesus as he reveals the bigger picture regarding God’s plan of redemption. Jesus’ death on the wooden stake would be just the beginning of the much larger, comprehensive Plan of God. It would also include his resurrection, God calling him out of the hell where he was for three days, as well as his return to his Father’s side. Jesus to be taken up in heaven to sit at the right hand of God. But, even more importantly, it would require his eventual return to earth as the conquering King.

Jesus trusted his God, the God of Abraham, and knew very well his position and his task here on earth. But he also had confidence that what was written in the scrolls all would become a reality. Jesus knew that there would be a long delay before his return would take place, and therefore he wanted to assure his followers that they should not worry too much but should always prepare themselves, always being ready for when the moment would be there.
Jesus wanted his disciples and followers to live with a sense of eager anticipation. If they expected it to happen and kept their eyes open, looking for the signs of its approach, they would be able to endure the struggles that were coming their way.

Jesus used the visual lesson of a fig tree in order to help the disciples understand that there would be visible, recognizable signs associated with His coming. The budding of a fig tree is a natural indication that summer is near. It is unmistakable and irrefutable. In the same way, Jesus stated that the signs of his return will be undeniable. He even assures his disciples that

“ I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Mt 24:34 NIV)

From the Scriptures we do know that Jesus always wanted to do what God wanted. He even put his own will aside to do the will of God. From the Scripturues we also do know that Jesus was without fault, i.e. did not sin and as such always told the truth.

In this chapter he was not saying that the events associated with the end times would take place during the lifetimes of his disciples. But while they were alive, they would already begin to see the early signs of his return. The budding of a fig tree provides a premonition or portent of something to come. The buds do not mean summer has arrived, but that it is coming. In the same way, the disciples would live to see signs that would point to Jesus’ coming.

In a sence they would be alive when he returned, because after his death he appeared to them. But the signs he warned them about would not be then, but much later. Jesus gave those warnings so that those who would come after the disciples could see clear indications that it was going to happen.

Each generation of believers has been given signs that Jesus his coming is imminent and inevitable. These signs act as assurances of God’s faithfulness and are meant to encourage us to continue to wait eagerly and hopefully.

The earth would continue to go through all kinds of struggles, including earthquakes, famines, floods, disasters, and even wars. The apostle Paul reminded the believers in Corinth:

“ those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1Co 7:31 NIV)

The apostle John wrote,

“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives for ever.” (1Jo 2:17 NIV)

This gives already something to have hope for. Because even when we die, there shall be the prospect for that time coming, when Jesus would call the living and the death to raise and to come before his judgement seat. When having lived according to God’s Law the lover of God should not have to worry, because all promises of God shall come true.

In this world of darkness, not many intereted in the Only One True God, Who is One, for many, the second coming of Jesus will be a surprise. Because the majority not being interested in God, His commands nor His Words, the second coming of Christ will catch the majority of people living on earth at the time completely off-guard and unprepared.
Jesus used the days of Noah as an apt point of comparison. In a way, Noah’s building of the ark was a clear sign that something was coming. And Peter seems to indicate that Noah warned his neighbours of God’s coming judgment and the availability of salvation made possible by the ark.

“ if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;” (2Pe 2:5 NIV)

From the Scriptures history telling we know that the people in Noah’s day ignored the signs and refused the message of Noah. Instead, they busied themselves, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark (Matthew 24:38). Like in the days of Noah, today we also see how people continue their way of life like they want to enjoy life. They go on with their lives, oblivious to the warning signs and ignorant of what is about to happen. Jesus made it clear to his disciples that the same thing as in Noah’s time was going to happen when he finally shall return. It would catch the world unprepared and completely off-guard.

Let us make sure we are prepared!

+

Preceding

Matthew 22:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of Invitation to a Marriage

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Matthew 22:14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Many Invited – Few Chosen

Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age

Matthew 24:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Setting

Matthew 24:3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Desolation, Oppression and the Parousia – The Apostles’ Question

Matthew 24:4-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part One – Beware Being Misled

Matthew 24:9-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Part Two – The Acts of the Apostles Foretold

Matthew 24:15-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer: Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

++

Find also to read

  1. Today’s thought “They flattered … they lied” (February 14)
  2. Today’s thought “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (April 17)
  3. Will There Ever be Peace on Earth?
  4. Looking into the Future
  5. Looking forward for what is to come
  6. The resurrected Lord
  7. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  8. Jesus Christ will return to earth
  9. You know neither the day nor the hour
  10. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment
  11. The New Testament and Judgement
  12. Prophecies over coming days
  13. Memorizing wonderfully 24 the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father
  14. Memorizing wonderfully 35 When the son returns it shall be As it came to pass in the days of Noah
  15. Signs of the Last Days
  16. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  17. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
  18. Today’s thought “Sun, moon and stars” (January 22)
  19. Today’s thought “And they feared greatly” (February 6)
  20. Today’s Thought ” … the earth will be shaken” (May 23)
  21. To be prepared and very well oiled
  22. Preparing for his coming
  23. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  24. Not about personal salvation but about a bigger Plan
  25. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings
  26. What I Hope For Is What You Hope For
  27. As you see the Day approaching
  28. The Rapture Wars
  29. Seeds, weeds and kingdoms
  30. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 3 Mythic theme 2 Hebrew story of the flood
  31. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 12 Corrupted earth
  32. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 13 Noah’s ark and the flood
  33. Today’s thought “A Damaged and Wicked World” (January 03)
  34. Today’s thought “God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark” (January 04)

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