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The Climax of Matthew’s story

With chapter 28 we come to the end of Matthew’s report of his Nazarene teacher Jeshua ben Josef, whom he at first had not yet recognised as the future king of this earth (the king of the Jews). First he had thought this Nazarene was going to liberate them from the Romans and be their king in their age.

Often they had wondered what their master meant when he talked about events to come. Many things he said also did not become clear until God had left His Pneuma come over them.

The apostles did know that the Hebrew Scriptures explained everything that they had to know, but they were pleased that their rabboni took all the time to explain the things which were not yet so clear for them or where there was much dispute between them and the Pharisees.

For many people it was and it still is

 “seeing is believing”

and they had seen incredible things, which they also did not always understand how these things could happen. Their master assured them he could not do those things without his heavenly Father, Who is much greater than him and all other gods.

“Therefore, Jesus answered them: “I tell you this truth: The Son is unable to do anything from himself unless he sees something the Father is doing. For whatever that One may do, it is possible the Son also may do likewise.” (Joh 5:19 mhm)

“You apostles heard that I said to you, ‘I am departing and I am returning to you apostles.’ If you loved me you would certainly rejoice, because I am going toward the Father, because the Father is greater than me.” (Joh 14:28 mhm)

Several times they had seen that Jesus had done miracle works, and each time Jesus had told the people to whom he had done it, not to thank him but to thank God. In modern times this should have those who think Jesus is God already wonder why Jesus said not to thank him but God. Also, Jesus his mentioning that God is greater than him should raise questions about the possibility that Jesus would be God.

The one in whom they had put so much hope now had died and by his death, all their expectations seemed to have crashed. (Again for those who think that Jesus is God, should wonder if He then faked His death and for what cause, because God cannot die but Jesus did.) Mary, the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene were witnesses of that horrible death of Christ. They were close to the stake on which Jesus was nailed like a criminal.

All the time they had seen Jesus humble and presenting himself as a servant of God, saying he was not here to be served, but also telling them he was been authorised by God.

“Just as the Son of Humankind came not to be served but to serve and to sacrifice his soul as a ransom in the place of many.”” (Mt 20:28 mhm)

God cannot be seen, but this Son of Humankind was seen by lots of people, to whom he told he was coming to declare his heavenly Father the Only One True God, the God of Israel Who is One. With his death, there came an end for all those people to see this great storyteller. All were assured it was finished now with this man. But that is without counting on God and without believing in the prophecies which tell a totally different story.

Naturally, the Romans were afraid that Jesus body would disappear and that the followers of that Nazarene would then tell he rose from the dead. Pilate had agreed that Jesus could be buried but listened also to the Pharisees who were afraid something could happen with that killed man. On the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said that they remembered that when that preacher was still alive ‘that deceiver’ had said that after three days he would rise again.  Therefore, they hoped that Pilate would give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal him away and say to the people that their master has risen from the dead. As such the last deception will be worse than the first. For that reason, Pilate ordered to have guards making sure nobody could or would temper with that son of man.
Pilate ordered the grave to make it as secure as those guards know how and set a seal on the stone which was very heavy and blocked the entrance to the tomb.

“62 On the next day–after Preparation–the religious hierarchy and Pharisees assembled together before Pilate, 63 saying, “Lord, we remember that plotter said when he was alive, ‘After three days I will be raised up.’ 64 So, command that the grave be secured until the third day so none of his disciples can come and steal his body and then claim to the people, ‘Jesus was raised up from the dead.’ Then the final plot will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them: “You have a custodial guard. Go and make the security as you know how.” 66 These went their way and secured the grave, sealing the stone with the custodial guards.” (Mt 27:62-66 mhm)

The women who came to the grave were very surprised and could not think what would have happened to their master. Their mentioning to have found an empty tomb spread very quickly. This also because some of the guards came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and counselled together, the religious hierarchy gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, for them to tell the people that the Nazarene his disciples came by night and stole him away while they were asleep. From Matthew’s storyline, we hear that the Pharisees were also willing to protect the guards in case the governor would want to punish them for not being on guard. The guards did not mind the money and did as they had been instructed. This way this story was widely spread among the Jews, as it will be to the day Matthew wrote his book.

“11  While the women were on their way, look! some of the custodial guards entered the city of Jerusalem and reported back to the religious hierarchy everything that had happened. 12 Now in a conference with the Jewish elders they took counsel. They agreed to give plenty of money to the soldiers, 13 telling them, “Say that his disciples came in the night and stole his body while you were sleeping. 14 And if this ever reaches the governor we will convince him and you need not fear.” 15 Those soldiers took the silver money and did as they were told. And just so the rumor spread around among the Jews down to this very day.” (Mt 28:11-15 mhm)

Matthew, in his gospel book, had looked at the family tree of their master and had given a review of all those happenings which should get us to think about the role of that man about whom was spoken already much in the ancient Hebrew writings. Matthew gave a picture from John’s preaching and baptism of Jesus. He also showed how Jesus was tested and how a higher position was offered to him, which he refused, because it is only given to God to give such positions. Often Jesus was surrounded by crowds, who could hear him tell lots of stories. He gave them sermons that should make them think about how to treat others as well as how to relate to God. For Matthew, it had become clear that the true treasures were to be sought in heaven. Therefore, he wrote down how Jesus advised seeking the Kingdom, but also how he warned to be careful and to be aware of the difficulties to go through the narrow gate.

All those things Matthew wrote down so that people could come to see that their master was the one spoken about in the Garden of Eden. (Later on, Jesus good friend John would go deeper into that in his gospel.) Matthew by those few years had come to see and understand that Jesus was that promised man coming from the root of King David.

In his gospel he not only shows how the 12 apostles were called but also how they got ministerial instructions. Following those instructions not to fear but to go out in the light and to preach from the housetops, the writing of his gospel was part of that preaching work, making sure people could come to know the full story.

“26 So, you should not fear them. For there is nothing concealed which will not be revealed, and nothing hidden which will not become known.27 What I tell you in the dark, tell in the light; and, what your ear hears, preach on the housetops.28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul. Rather, continue to fear the One capable of destroying both soul and body in Gehenna. (Mt 10:26-28 mhm)

“16  Now the eleven disciples traveled to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. 17 When they saw Jesus they bowed to the ground before him but some doubted. 18 Upon approaching Jesus he said to them, “All authority in heaven and upon earth was given to me.19 Therefore, go your ways and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing persons in the name of the Father, the Son and the holy Pneuma.20 Teach them to observe everything I commanded you. And, look! I am with you apostles until the consummation of the Age.” (Mt 28:16-20 mhm)

There was now enough to teach about and for. Now all stories Jesus had told them seemed to fit and all the references to the scrolls made sense.

With the last chapter of his gospel Matthew comes to present the “bomb”, the full reason why it is so important to believe in his master. With everything Jesus had said, people should be able to come to see the things to God and to understand how Jesus Christ fits in the Plan of God. Woe to the scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites who can be found in every period of time.

“27 “WOE to you hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees because you are like whitewashed graves which outside seem to appear beautiful but within are full of the bones of the dead every uncleanness!28 Just so you also give the appearance to others of righteousness but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness!29 “WOE to you hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees because you build the graves of the prophets and decorate the memoriums of the righteous.30 You also claim, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers we would never have been guilty of the blood-letting of the prophets.’31 So you provide evidence against yourself that your are sons of those who murdered the prophets.32 Now, live up to the example your forefathers!33 “Serpents, born of vipers, how will you escape the judgment of Gehenna? 34  Because of this, look! I am sending to you prophets, wise persons, and scribes. You will kill some of them, others you will impale, and still others you will scourge in your synagogues. You will persecute from city to city.35 As a result there will come upon you all the righteous blood poured out on earth–from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah (son of Barachiah) whom your murdered between the Divine Habitat and the altar.36 I tell you this truth: all this will come upon this generation! (Mt 23:27-36 mhm)

The prophet Jesus was impaled, but now the good news could come to mankind. Jesus had an open heart for all and gave himself as a ransom, so that all people could come under the grace of salvation. The price Jesus paid made it able to become free.

Through Christ’s death people now could bcome adopted as a child of God

What the ladies came to see was something the whole world had to hear. All over should the cries be heard:

Jesus is risen

At that time, just after the burial of their master they did not yet understand the impact of this all.

“10 Now these included Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and also the others with them. They told the apostles everything, 11 but all their words seemed like a lot of foolishness to them and so they did not believe them. 12 [[However Peter rose and ran to the memorial tomb. He bent forward and saw only the linen wrappings. Then he left wondering what had happened.]]” (Lu 24:10-12 mhm)

Event after the event made the good news spread and they come to believe that the impossible had become possible.

“33 That very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem and found the eleven apostles assembled together with other disciples. 34 They told them, “The Master has truly risen and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 And so they began to explain everything that happened while on the road and how Jesus had revealed himself to them by the breaking of the bread.” (Lu 24:33-35 mhm)

Having seen that Jesus came back from the dead, was now evidence that everything he had told was a word of truth, given by instruction and inspiration of God. For Matthew and the other disciples of Christ it had become clear that they had to do with the Prophetic truth, Jesus being in line with king David, being the sent one from and anointed one of God, or the Christ.

We too should come to see who Jesus really was and is; and why we should honour him for what he has done. We also should come to see and understand how this rising of Christ is an example of what can happen to us. Jesus is the first one of the new world or the first for the newborn generation. With him, we can find hope in a renewed world and a restored paradise. With Matthew’s account, we should have a full picture of the 2° Adam. The 28th chapter being the culmination or the climax to which all the previous chapters and also several Old Testament books point at.

Now we come to learn that it is possible that a man can step out of death. In case Jesus would be God, then naturally we still would not have any proof of such thing. But here it is given to us, even while the Romans did everything to have people believe that what believers said happened to be false. But in such case they would not be willing to risk their life. They were sure that something magical happened and were prepared to die for telling the truth. The Nazarene had told he was the resurrection and the life and that those who would believe in him were going to live, even though when they died.

“25 Jesus said to Martha: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. The person who continues to believe in me, though dying, will live.26 Also, everyone living who continues to believe in me, will never die throughout all future periods of time. Do you believe this?” (Joh 11:25-26 mhm)

The fact that it were first women who discovered the empty grave is in a way also interesting, because for Jews women had low status and legally didn’t qualify to be witnesses. But here Matthew notates them to have been the first witnesses. If the disciples were manufacturing or embellishing this story, undoubtedly they would not given those women the honour and would have claimed that men had discovered the empty tomb, because their testimony would have been considered much more credible. Recording the then-embarrassing fact that women first saw the tomb empty is just one more indication that the biblical writers were committed to accurately recording what had actually happened.

Historically it was clear for everybody that somehow the guarded grave had become empty. The Romans and the higher hierarchy with the Pharisees wanted Jesus death but not heaving him disappeared. The Jewish leaders wouldn’t have taken the body because this would give their Jewish brethren who followed Jesus reason to say he was risen out of the dead. A lot of people wanted the Nazarene Jew Jeshua (Jesus) to stay dead. For them, instead of stealing or doing a way with the body it would have been even nicer to parade through the streets with Jesus’ corps. Parading with Jesus’ lifeless body down the main streets of Jerusalem would have instantly killed the growing Jewish movement of Nazoreers (or Jewish sect The Way).

For the apostles, that body of their master having disappeared would be a disaster. It would give them nothing in their hands to prove that Jesus was who he said and that could happen all the things he had said would happen.
We may be sure, in case they had taken away the body, they would have told so under torture, because keeping such a lie and to die for such a charade would be asked too much.

A deliberate cover-up, a plot to perpetrate a lie about the raising of Christ, could not have survived the violent persecution of the apostles and their followers. In later years we also could find hundreds of people who were cast to the lions and got to fight for their life, whilst they could be free when they denied the story of the resurrection of their lord.

Throughout the years following this event told in the last chapter of Matthew, thousands of people refused to renounce the lordship of Christ.

Peter and John also had come to the grave and had checked it out for themselves. They too saw it was empty. But they, with others, came to see their master again. Over a period of forty days this man who had been impaled appeared alive a dozen different times to more than 500 individuals  —  to men and women, to believers and doubters, to tough-minded people and tenderhearted souls, to groups, to individuals, sometimes indoors and sometimes outdoors in broad daylight.

Doctor Luke would later write down what happened further with their master and with them who now came to believe even stronger than they did before. But until today the gospel of Matthew is the opening book of a new era, the Messianic Time, by which he showed that Jesus is really that promised son of God, who did all the time the Will of God, to be His humble servant and faithful slave.

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Preceding

Matthew 20:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Authority Not the Way – Serve Others

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #9 Matthew 27:45-50 – Jesus Expires During a Darkness

Death of Christ and Silent or Black Saturday #1 Abandonment and burial

Death of Christ and Silent or Black Saturday #3 A sincere man or an imposter

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #1 Matthew 28:1 – Two Marys Visit the Grave

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #2 Matthew 28:2-4 – An Angel Rolled Away the Stone

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #3 Matthew 28:5-7 – “Jesus Was Raised Up!”

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #4 Matthew 28:8-10 – The Two Marys Met by the Risen Christ

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #5 Matthew 28:11-15 – The False Report the Body Was Stolen

Matthew 28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Risen Christ appears #6 Matthew 28:16-19 – The King’s Commission

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Further reading

  1. When you believe Jesus is God, do you think he died?
  2. Jesus the “God-Man”: Really?
  3. The saviour Jesus his human side
  4. The son of man given authority by God
  5. Servant of his Father
  6. The night before Jesus his execution
  7. Lost senses or a clear focus on the one at the stake
  8. Looking for a primary cause and a goal that can not offer philosophers existing beliefs
  9. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb
  10. A Messiah to die
  11. Celebrations pointing to events of ultimate meaning
  12. A perfect life, obedient death, and glorious resurrection
  13. Why Did Christ Die on the stake
  14. Through Christ’s death you can be adopted as a child of God
  15. Death and Resurrection of Christ
  16. Why think that (3) … Jesus rose from the dead
  17. Jesus is risen
  18. Today’s Thought “God’s servant will succeed! He will be raised up, exalted, highly honoured!” (Weekend of 2020 June 27-28)
  19. The resurrected Lord
  20. Proof of the resurrection of Christ
  21. Do you purpose that your mouth will not transgress
  22. Eostre, Easter, White god, chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies and metaphorical resurrection
  23. Let me keep to “first importance” things
  24. A Living Faith #8 Change

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Additional relevant articles

  1. Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus
  2. The Empty Tomb of Jesus by Lee Strobel
  3. Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by William Lane Craig
  4. What are the arguments for the historicity of the empty tomb?
  5. The Resurrection Argument That Changed a Generation of Scholars – Gary Habermas at UCSB – YouTube
  6. The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth That Even Non-Christian Scholars Believe
  7. Risen
  8. A Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Pint 1)
  9. A Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Pint 2)
  10. A Case for the Resurrection (Pint 3): Scourging
  11. The Doctrine of the Literal Physical Resurrection by Martyn Lloyd Jones
  12. Did Jesus Christ Rise from the Dead by Ravi Zacharias?
  13. Was Jesus’ resurrection a hoax and His death a sham by Lee Strobel?
  14. What are the Circumstantial Evidence FOR the Resurrection by Lee Strobel?
  15. Evidence FOR the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Lee Strobel
  16. The Evidence for the Resurrection by Sir Norman Anderson
  17. Thoughts on the Resurrection
  18. No Resurrection No Christianity by John Young with David Wilkinson
  19. Did Jesus appear bodily after His death?
  20. Words for the Way VI: Pastoral notes for locked down times -The Road the Emmaus Recognising Christ

Death of Christ and Silent or Black Saturday #3 A sincere man or an imposter

After the horrible experience, having seen how their beloved master had died on the stake, the apostles had retreated themselves. The women who had watched the impalement from some distance got the courage to see if they could not give their friend a proper burial before the high holy day.

“30 Therefore, when he had received the vinegar, Jesus said, “It has been accomplished!” And then his head fell and his last breath escaped.

31 Since it was Preparation, the Jews, so that the bodies might not remain upon the stake–for it was the day of a Great Sabbath–they requested that Pilate break their legs and take the bodies down.” (Joh 19:30-31 mhm)

“38  Now after these events Joseph of Arimathea–a secret disciple of Jesus out of fear of the Jews–asked Pilate that he might carry away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave his permission. So Joseph came and removed the body. 39 Also, Nicodemus–the person who approached Jesus at night originally–brought a roll of myrrh and aloes weighing a hundred pounds. 40 And so, they took the body of Jesus and bound it in bandages with the spices, according to the custom of the Jews in preparation for burial. 41 Now near the place where Jesus was impaled there was a garden, and in the garden a new memorial tomb in which no one had ever been placed. 42 It was there, then, because of the Preparation of the Jews, they placed Jesus.” (Joh 19:38-42 mhm)

They were aware many had a big laugh, now having seen that special man being killed as a criminal. For many, it looked like all the stories they heard about that Nazarene were just fake messages. How was this dead person going to save the world like he so many times had given the impression?

The day after Jesus had died, the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together to Pilate, remembering what Jesus had said over those few years when he was actively going around the region. For them, it was clear that Jesus was a nice talker and a deceiver who could please a lot of people. Now they were afraid some of his friends would do everything to have his predictions come true. Jesus had more than once said he would rise again after three days. For sure such a thing could and should not happen according to those leaders. Therefore, they asked the governor to command that the tomb be made secure at least until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and tell the people,

‘He is risen from the dead’;

so that the last deception will be worse than the first.

“62 On the next day–after Preparation–the religious hierarchy and Pharisees assembled together before Pilate, 63 saying, “Lord, we remember that plotter said when he was alive, ‘After three days I will be raised up.’ 64 So, command that the grave be secured until the third day so none of his disciples can come and steal his body and then claim to the people, ‘Jesus was raised up from the dead.’ Then the final plot will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them: “You have a custodial guard. Go and make the security as you know how.” 66 These went their way and secured the grave, sealing the stone with the custodial guards.” (Mt 27:62-66 mhm)

In the stillness of the night, soldiers kept guard in front of the tomb.

The close friends of Jesus were not at all interested to take away Jesus’ body. For them, it was more important to have their master teacher buried according to Jewish customs and to pay him honour by mourning for him.

Around those apostles and friends of Jesus it had become very quiet. That moment of silence is in Belgium remembered by several churches as “Stille Zaterdag” or “Silent Saturday”. Some churches also call it “Holy Saturday” or the “Great Sabbath”, “Easter Eve” or even “Black Saturday” according to the custom that people were clothed in black when in mourning and that we now had to mourn for the death of Jesus.

The followers of Christ were sad they had lost their master and could not understand how the one they thought was going to save them from the Roman oppression, was now impaled and could not do anything anymore, because he was under the dead. In the Jewish faith (as in our faith), dead people can do nothing anymore, because their corps disintegrates to become dust.

“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.” (Ec 9:5 NIV)

They did not forget Jesus so quickly, though the religious leaders would have loved to see that happen. Those religious leaders and their disgust for Jesus were enough to hide and to keep themselves quiet. Their fear of coming out in public was to stay like that until the day of the festival of Pentecost.

The apostles knew how Joseph from Arimathea had given his own prepared sepulchre so that Jesus could be buried there. Having received a place in that rich man’s grave Isaiah’s prophecy became fulfilled.

“He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” (Isa 53:9 NIV)

“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.” (Mt 27:57 NIV)

“So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.” (Mr 15:46 NIV)

“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no-one had ever been laid.” (Joh 19:41 NIV)

The women had balsamed Jesus and wrapped him in a linen cloth before they laid him in the tomb which had been cut out of a rock for Jesus’ (secret) follower Joseph. They were fully aware that there was rolled a stone against the door of the tomb and that soldiers were guarding the sepulchre.
They could stay inside with confidence, with the assurance that their master would not be done about it now and that no one could steal his body.

The felt very sad because they had lost the one in whom they trusted so much. On him who they hung their very hope, their everything. They were so sure he was going to lead them to a new kingdom and be their king. Now they came to see those Romans still governing over the Jews.

Many of them forsook all to follow him. They left their trade and day by day they were with the man they believed to be the Messiah. But now all their hope seemed to have gone. There was no Messiah any more because their master was dead. Would the sayings of some be true, and had they all the time followed a con-man, a charlatan or defrauder?

How could an eternal Kingdom now be established?

Those who had seen how Jesus was hanged, wept and wondered how it would go with them and what would happen with their dreams and hope they so deeply felt.

They had heard so many stories from their master about him going to build a new temple and to restore God’s Kingdom and how we had to be patient and wait for God to intervene. How could this now fit the plan about which Jesus spoke so many times? Could it be true, that that man from Nazareth was just a good storyteller and was fooling so many?

For the close followers of Christ there was a lot of disappointment. For them this could not be the plan to see perfection torn to shreds, to bury a breathless body in forged out stone to fit the one they thought was the beloved son of God. They did not understand this way of God’s handling, letting His son be killed in such a manner. At that time they perhaps forgot how Jesus had spoken of the Lamb of God and the need for him to bring the sacrificial offering as a ransom for all.

“The next day John saw Jesus approaching, and he said: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world of humankind!” (Joh 1:29 mhm)

For them it was a real sad Passover, them not seeing yet Christ was the new Passover lamb. Several days later they would come to understand ho Jesus was a very special lamb, his bloodshed being the part of whitewashing our sins.

“Purge out the old leaven that you may be a new mixture as you may become unleavened. For, surely, Christ our Passover was sacrificed!” (1Co 5:7 mhm)

“but rather with the precious blood of an unblemished and spotless Lamb –Christ’s.” (1Pe 1:19 mhm)

Many churches remember that day after Jesus death where the apostles were mourning with other friends and beloved ones of Christ. For some, it looked like the darkest of all nights because all their hope seemed to gone up in smoke.

Some of them saw Jesus transfigured with Moses and Elijah and heard there for a second time that their master was the beloved of God. How now could God let such a thing happen to His beloved son?

“1  Now after six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John (the brother of James) and ascended with them to a very secluded place on a tall mountain. 2 And right before them Jesus was metamorphosed–his face illuminated like the sun and his cloak as white light. 3 And, look! they could see Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus.” (Mt 17:1-3 mhm)

“5 Yet while Peter was talking, look! a shining cloud rested over them, and, look! a Voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son whom I approve–listen to him.” 6 Now, hearing this the disciples were frightened and fell on their faces. 7 Jesus approached the disciples and touching them, he said, “Rise and do not be afraid.”8 But, when the disciples looked up they saw nothing but Jesus himself. 9 Now while descending the mountain Jesus charged the three disciples: “Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Humankind is raised from among those dead.” (Mt 17:5-9 mhm)

They remembered that Jesus spoke about him being raised from the dead, so they wondered, could that really happen? In the silence of the night, they waited for a miracle to happen and wondered how Jesus could have life in him and could give life to others, when he was now under the dead.

They kept believing Jesus was the sent one from God and believed also he was the beloved son of God. Today there are still lots of people who call themselves Christian, but do not believe that Jesus is that son of God who died for our sins. That is a shame, and that brings us also to mourn for those lost souls who do not want to believe in Jesus, him being able to bring us closer to his heavenly Father, the God of Israel and the God of Jesus and his disciples.

“I tell you this truth: The person who listens to my word and continues to believe in the One who sent me possesses endless Life. And so that person does not come into condemnation, but has crossed over from the Death unto the Life.” (Joh 5:24 mhm)

“For just as the Father has Life within Himself, so also He gave to the Son to have Life within himself.” (Joh 5:26 mhm)

“I know You always hear me. But, because of the crowd standing around I said this so that they should believe that You sent me forth.”” (Joh 11:42 mhm)

“Jesus said to Thomas: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one can approach the Father, if not through me.” (Joh 14:6 mhm)

With sadness in their eyes, they kept praying to their heavenly Father, the God of Christ and asked for strength and guidance.

We too when we remember Christ’s death can think about his ransom offering and how by his blood could come liberation to us. Like the apostles sometimes doubted, we do that as well. It is part of life and part of our imperfection and part of our not yet mature faith in Jesus and his God.

A pity that even when we live in the aftermath of the resurrection there are still so many who do not want to believe that it was the son of man and son of God who really died (remember God cannot die) and who was taken out of the dead. We know today that what we celebrate at Pascha and remember what happened on that third day after Jesus’ death, is the promise, bore witness to by the Spirit, that we who believe will one day be raised with him. And that is our consolation and Blessed Hope.

After several centuries there have come many false prophets and teachers, trying to bring people away from God and from His well beloved son. They have told people that they would not be able to understand the Scriptures on their own. And many believe that and prefer following the human doctrines instead of taking the words of the Bible for what they say and to go by the biblical doctrines.

Mankind now is in such darkness and silence as it was the days before Jesus his resurrection.

Three days after the death of Christ came a big change for the apostles, bringing not only disbelief and wonder but also a renewed hope. (That is for next chapters.)

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Previous articles

Matthew 17:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Transfiguration Vision

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

God’s Face shining on His servant

10 Nisan An entrance for a king

Matthew 21:10-11 Who Is This? – a Question still posed today #1

Matthew 27 – The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – Bible Students Intro

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #1 Matthew 27:1-2 – Priests Hand Jesus Over to Pilate

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #2 Matthew 27:3-10 – Judas Hangs Himself

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #3 Matthew 27:11-14 – “Are You King of the Jews?”

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #4 Matthew 27:15-23 – Barabbas or Jesus?

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #5 Matthew 27:24-26 – “His Blood Come Upon Us!”

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #6 Matthew 27:27-31 – Jesus Afflicted by Troops

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #7 Matthew 27:32-37 – Executed at Golgotha

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #8 Matthew 27:38-44 – The Mob’s Abuse

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #9 Matthew 27:45-50 – Jesus Expires During a Darkness

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #10 Matthew 27:51-54 – Temple Curtain Torn in Earthquake

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #11 Matthew 27:55-56 – The Women Who Witness the Execution

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #12 Matthew 27:57-61 – Jesus’ Body Given to Joseph of Arimathea

Matthew 27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Final Hours: Trial, Execution and Burial – #13 Matthew 27:62-66 – Guards Seal the Tomb Against an Imposter

Death of Christ and Silent or Black Saturday #1 Abandonment and burial

Death of Christ and Silent or Black Saturday #2 A son of God and king who died

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Additional reading

  1. Biblical Yeshua/ Jesus or Another European Greco- Roman Jesus ??
  2. Jesus son of God
  3. Jesus son of God or God the son
  4. Jesus Christ, his Mission, Life and Work
  5. Spoken in the name of Jehovah God for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience
  6. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  7. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  8. A meal as a mitzvah so that every generation would remember
  9. The Last Supper was a Passover meal
  10. Inauguration of the New Covenant
  11. The New Covenant Victim and Mediator
  12. Not dragged unwillingly to death
  13. The day Jesus died
  14. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb
  15. Ransom
  16. Crucifixion for suffering
  17. A perfect life, obedient death, and glorious resurrection

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Related articles

  1. On god the son
  2. Beloved son
  3. Another Son of God? Pilate’s Tiberieum at Caesarea Maritima
  4. Why is Jesus called the “Son of God” in the Bible?
  5. Like a Lamb to the Slaughter
  6. Jesus our Passover
  7. The Passover Lamb
  8. Behold the lamb
  9. Silent Saturday
  10. Silent Saturday – Many call today silent Saturday. “nothing” happens in the Biblical text between the Friday crucifixion and Sunday’s resurrection, and yet this silence encapsulates much of our lives today.
  11. Silent Saturday – For the first time in decades, it seems like the world has gone quiet… no more major sporting events, concerts canceled, and Late Night T.V. hosts are home in their pajamas watching the television
  12. Life is a lot like the Saturday before Easter
  13. A Silenter Night
  14. Animating The Atonement (Where the Beams Meet)
  15. Jesus is Dead: What’s Next? Hopelessness or Hope?
  16. Sound of silence
  17. The Silence of Saturday
  18. Prayer for Holy Saturday
  19. Waiting for God
  20. Understanding the Passover and Good Friday
  21. 2020 Vision: Pacem
  22. Let’s Go TO and FROM Bethlehem: Preparing
  23. Breaking Bread in Our Homes… Passover 2020
  24. Pandemic 2020-vision: The Tomb

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

Matthew 24:15-28 – Sign 1: Encamped Armies. The Sign Great Oppression Is Near

|| Mark 13:14-23; Luke 21:20-24

MT24:15 “Therefore, when you see The Disgusting Thing[1] of The Desolation[2] [Daniel 9:27] {LK21:20 (encamped armies encircling Jerusalem)[3] [Daniel 9:26, 27; 11:15-17, 44, 45]} (as spoken by Daniel the prophet) standing in a Holy Place[4] [Daniel 8:11-14; 9:26] (let the reader be mindful)[5] {LK21:20 know, then, her desolation has drawn near.[6] [Daniel 8:13; 9:26, 27; 11:31; 12:11]} MT24:16 Then, let those in Judea[7] flee into the mountains[8] {LK21:21 and those within her depart. And those in the regions let them not enter into her LK21:22 because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things written[9]} MT24:17 The one on the housetop,[10] let him not come down to enter his house. MT24:18 And the one in the field, let him not return to grab his outer garment. MT24:19 But, woe to the pregnant[11] in those days {LK21:23 for there will be great necessity upon earth and wrath to this People.[12] LK21:24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword and they will be led captive[13] into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations[14] [Daniel 8:10, 13; 12:7] until the fulfillment of the appointed times of the nations.[15] [Daniel 12:7]} MT24:20 But keep praying your flight be not in winter[16] nor on the Sabbath.[17] MT24:21 For then those days will be a great oppression[18] of a sort not to have occurred from the beginning of the world[19] {MK13:19 which God created} until now but will never occur again.[20] [Daniel 12:1] MT24:22 And if [YHWH][21] {MK13:20} did not shorten those days[22] it is unlikely any flesh[23] would be saved. But for the Elect[24] {MK13:20 He chose} those days will be shortened. MT24:23 {MK13:21} And then if anyone says to you: ‘Look! Christ is here!’[25] Or, ‘There!’ you should not believe it.[26] MT24:24 {MK13:22} For many pseudo-anointed[27] and false prophets[28] will rise. They will give great signs and wonders[29] so as to mislead, if possible, The Elect.[30] MT24:25 {MK13:23} Look! I have foretold everything![31] MT24:26 Therefore, if ever they say to you: ‘Look! He is in the desert!’[32] you should not follow them. Or, ‘Look! He is in the inner chambers!’[33] you should not believe them. MT24:27 For as the lightning[34] comes out of the east and shines to the west so will be the Arrival of the Son of Humankind.[35] [Daniel 7:14, 22] MT24:28 Where the carcass is there the eagles will gather.[36]

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[1] The Disgusting Thing: The translation from the Aramaic by Lamsa has this as disgusting “sign.” If this is the case, it makes it clear Jesus gave two “signs”: a) one with regard to Jerusalem; and, b) one with regard to the Arrival or Parousia. In a way it shows Jesus has reversed the order of the disciples’ question which had the PAROUSIA first and then SYNTELEIAS or consummation, fulfillment, conclusion. Jesus addresses “The End” of Jerusalem first and then goes on to the Parousia.

[2] Disgusting thing of The Desolation: This phrase is from the Jewish Greek Bible the Septuagint (LXX) at Daniel 9:27 (See also Daniel 12:11). DNTT, Vol 1, page 74ff: “Matthew 24:15 is taken from the LXX of Daniel 12:11 and appears with slight variations in Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 11:31… E. Nestle demonstrated that the phrase originated as a typical Jewish term of contempt for a heathen deity.… To Jesus the term would probably connote idolatry of some sort. It is observed that Luke paraphrases his words by the expression ‘Jerusalem surrounded by armies’ (Luke 21:20). It is possible that this is closer to the intention of Jesus than is commonly recognized, for the Roman armies were notorious for the idolatrous images affixed to their ensigns.” The Nazarene makes one of his many paraphrases of the Hebrew Bible and here shows that Daniel had foretold the ultimate desolation of Jerusalem’s Temple. So it would seem Daniel 9:27 may be the closest, though all three occurrences of the key phrase may bear on the same thing: the destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple.

[3] Encamped armies encircling Jerusalem: This phrase is from Luke and is added here as the explanation of what the Disgusting Thing was to prove to be: the Roman armies in their assault against Jerusalem beginning in the year 66. For details on this event read Josephus’ Wars of the Jews. The Romans minted special coins beginning with Year One and on into the Fifth Year culminating in the spring of 73. Luke 19:43, 44 recorded the Nazarene’s earlier prediction drawing on other words of Daniel: ‘For days will arrive upon you when your enemies will throw up a palisade encircling you. They will distress you on every side. They will dash your children to the ground; and they will not let a stone remain upon a stone.’ Many of these words and phrases are so similar to those in Daniel 8:9-12; Daniel 9:26-27; Daniel 11:15-17, 44, 45; Daniel 12:7, 11 so as not to be ignored and it is for these reasons we believe Jesus cautioned the reader of Daniel.

[4] Holy Place: Read Josephus for details on the Jews’ war with Rome. The Romans actually minted coins for the years of the Jewish campaign and then built the Arch of Titus in Rome to commemorate their final overthrow of the Jewish revolt. This relief pictures the Jewish prisoners and the Great Menorah being carried off as booty. The Temple, called the “holy place” or “sanctuary,” also features in Daniel’s prophecy: Daniel 8:11, 13, 14; Daniel 9:26; Daniel 11:31. This is the very subject before Jesus and the disciples in Matthew ch 24, Mark ch 13, and Luke ch 21.

[5] Let the reader be mindful: Does the Nazarene assume his disciples will be reading the Book of Daniel for details? He asks them to be “mindful,” or to ‘take note of this.’ (PME)

[6] Her desolation has drawn near: Thus the SYNTELEIAS of the disciples’ question about “the end.” The word “desolation” features in Daniel 8:13; Daniel 9:26, 27; Daniel 11:31; 12:11. Jesus had chosen it carefully.

[7] Those in Judea: Not just those within the city of Jerusalem but also within the whole region. In Daniel this region or area of Palestine is called “the land of Decoration (or, Beauty).” (Daniel 8:9; Daniel 11:16, 41) Josephus records the exact campaign of the Romans beginning in the north.

[8] Flee into the mountains: There is some evidence certain Christians did flee to the mountains of Perea.

[9] To fulfill all the things written: Particularly in Daniel chapters 8, 9, 11, 12. In the Book of Daniel there is a unique phrase often bandied about, ‘the time of the end,’ or ‘end-times.’ (Daniel 8:17, 19; Daniel 11:13, 35, 40; Daniel 12:4) These seem to always apply to the “end” of Jerusalem. Neither Jesus, nor his disciples, ever used such a phrase as “time of the end.”

[10] The one on the housetop: Interestingly, the Nazarene has “one” on the housetop and another “one” at work, not at some Christian meeting or involved in missionary preaching. This would have been a good time to say so if that was his meaning. The flight is extremely urgent. Now, it would seem the Nazarene could have anticipated, not the “day and hour,” but the length of the “days of distress” for the prophetic evidence was right there in Daniel 8:13, 14, 17, 19; Daniel 12:7 that the whole period of war would cover 2,300 days, with a particular period of three and a half years. As it turns out it is exactly 2,300 days from the autumn of the year 66 to the spring of 73 and the fall of Masada. It is three and a half years from the fall of 66 to the spring of 70. Jesus avoids this, other than a subtle reference in Luke 21:24, perhaps because of human nature to put things off to the last moment. He encourages all to flee without hesitation at the first “sign” of encircling armies.

[11] Pregnant: This is not a period of time longer than nine months or covering many years as Jesus’ warning to women shows. It may include those years during which a mother nurses. He has lovingly not ignored them in their plight. The disaster which befell Jerusalem was a horror on women and their children as recorded by Josephus (Luke 19:44; 23:27-30).

[12] This People: The Jews. Remember the Christians, or Messianists, were generally viewed as a Jewish sect, the Nazarenes, by the Jews and the Romans. During the wave of persecution by Nero Jews and Christians suffered. Paul and Peter were executed within the period of 66 to 70 AD. Thus viewed, the “chosen ones” may include all Jews but with the emphasis on those Christian saints. The Great Oppression involves the Jews and spreads outside of Judea (Acts 18:2; 24:5).

[13] They will fall by the edge of the sword and they will be led captive: The words “sword” and “captive” are from Daniel 11:32 in the prophetic context of the Temple and The Abomination. Also, note these two words at that future time of oppression in Revelation 13:10. In 70 AD more than one million died in the destruction of Jerusalem alone. Almost 100,000 were led off captive which the Arch of Titus in Rome commemorates.

[14] Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations: It is possible Jesus is referring to the whole period of oppression beginning in 66 through 70 AD. If Jerusalem is destroyed along with her Temple then she cannot be trampled on. It is during the three and a half years of 66 to 70 that Jerusalem is trampled. Note this word “trample” in Daniel as it is associated with Jerusalem (Daniel 8:10, 13; Daniel 12:7). Also note that the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 might well fit that period from 66 to 73 and the conquest of Masada, a word possibly meaning “fortress.” (Daniel 11:31)

[15] The appointed times of the nations: What length of time would this be? By comparing Daniel 12:7 (likely the source of Jesus’ words) and Revelation 11:2 it would seem this period, “the appointed times of the nations,” is three and a half years long and covers that space from 66 to 70 AD.

[16] Winter: A space of three or four months.

[17] Sabbath: Does Jesus still have his Jewish disciples and the Jewish peoples in mind?

[18] Great oppression: In the Greek translation of Matthew this is THLIPSIS MEGALE and is borrowed from the LXX at Daniel 12:1 with hints from Daniel 7:25’s bela (Strong’s #1080) which is rendered “oppress” by some. The words THLIPSIS MEGALE is repeated in Revelation 7:14 for reasons we will see later.

[19] Of a sort not to have occurred from the beginning of the world: This tribulation is without parallel in human creation. Does Jesus not still have Jerusalem in mind? So this is to be the worst disaster in Jerusalem’s history. Note how the Jewish Tanakh (JPS) renders Daniel 12:1, ‘It will be a time of trouble, the like of which has never been since the nation came into being.’ This would refer directly to the nation of Israel.

[20] Will never occur again: Does Jesus the Jew mean Jerusalem will never again experience such a disaster as that by the Romans between 66-70 AD? We shall see later in our consideration of Apocalypse.

[21] YHWH: Or, [the] Lord. The Greek KYRIOS in Mark 13:20 is without the article suggesting God’s Name may have originally appeared here [Compare the Diaglott].

[22] Shorten those days: The period of oppression against Jerusalem.

[23] Flesh: Jewish flesh according to the context.

[24] The Elect: Or, “the chosen ones.” The Greek is EKLEKTOUS. This may well apply to the Jews as a People including the Christian saints. It is during this widespread oppression, with its center in Jerusalem, that Peter and Paul were executed. They did not survive “the great oppression.” They were not “saved” out of it. Note how the term “elect” or “chosen ones” can be applied to Israel (Psalm 105:6, 26, 43; 106:5, 23; Isaiah 65:9, 15, 22, 23; Luke 18:7) and to the Christian disciples (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:9).

[25] Christ is here: With these events and the destruction of Jerusalem it would be the appropriate time for someone to claim to be the Messiah or for others to predict the Return of Christ. Throughout history there have been those who claimed Christ had actually returned. “Christ is here!” they cried, though their interpretations of this varied greatly.

[26] You should not believe it: The Nazarene makes it clear his Arrival or Parousia does not take place with the destruction of Jerusalem as the disciples might have anticipated.

[27] Pseudo-anointed: Or, “false christs (messiahs).” Jesus foretold his “field” would be sown with “weeds” (zizania) or counterfeit “sons of the Kingdom.” (Matthew 13:38) “Apostasy” was foretold by Paul (Acts 20:29; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-7; 1 Timothy 4:1, 2; 2 Timothy 3:5-9). Peter foretold “false prophets.” (2 Peter ch 2) Jude and John stated this process was already in deep ferment (Jude 4, 11-19; 1 John 2:19, 26; 4:3). Any who claimed to be “The Anointed” and yet made false prophecies claiming, “The Time is at Hand!” (Luke 21:8 Byington) were a danger to the true Elect.

[28] False prophets: Read Deuteronomy 18:20-22 on how to know when a prophecy is not from God. Certainly, one of the main themes of these prophets is to go counter to the Lord Jesus who they claim to represent: ‘The Time is at Hand!’ They mislead by complicated and obscure time chronologies which they have worked out. Most of these have used Daniel, particularly chapters 4 and 8.

[29] Great signs and wonders: The more “signs” a prophet points to, the more one ought to be cautious. Paul says something similar at 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10 when he discusses “the Man of lawlessness.” Some in modern times hail their powers to heal, or cast out demons, or point to grand buildings, or international publishing, or great radio and television satellite communication networks. Paul stresses it is “the truth” one ought to hold dear (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

[30] To mislead, if possible, The Elect: Jesus may cover the centuries in this warning for throughout the ages the false prophets have misled millions who have failed to do exactly what Jesus directed: ‘Do not believe them.’

[31] I have foretold everything: At John 14:29 the Nazarene taught, ‘I have told you before it occurs so when it does occur you will believe.’

[32] He is in the desert: There are to be no isolated appearances of the Christ in deserted locations, or wilderness areas where some false prophets might try to gather their followers, where others in general cannot view him.

[33] He is in the inner chambers: There are to be no private appearances of Christ to individuals in their bedrooms or elsewhere. Any who claim to have had the Christ appear in their private rooms would be false prophets. This may include private and personal visions or dreams. Three of the four Christian religions actually founded in America during the 1,800’s make such claims.

[34] As the lightning: Lightning is something visible and discernible with the naked eye from horizon to horizon by all under its illumination. Lightning can be seen even with the eyes closed. Compare Luke 17:24 where the ‘revealing of the Son of Man’ is compared to lightning.

[35] Arrival of the Son of Humankind: For the first time the Nazarene uses the disciples’ word PAROUSIA as Matthew translates the Hebrew. Jesus is to use PAROUSIA three times (Matthew 24:27, 37, 39) according to the Greek translator of Matthew’s Hebrew. The word PAROUSIA only occurs here in the Gospels. It should be kept in mind that Jesus most likely spoke in Hebrew (Acts 26:14) and the disciple Matthew recorded his original Gospel in that language (Irenaeus, a Christian teacher of the Second Century wrote: “Matthew published a written gospel for the Hebrews in their own tongue.” The History of the Church by Eusebius, page 210). So, it was a later translator, possibly Matthew himself, who put the Greek word PAROUSIA in the mouths of Jesus and his disciples.

What Hebrew word might the Nazarene have used? Since PAROUSIA is always connected with the “Son of Man” it is likely Jesus borrowed a word from Daniel 7:13 or 22: athah (Strong’s #857, #858) which means “arrive,” the same meaning of PAROUSIA. See notes on Matthew 24:3 for more details. PAROUSIA means the arrival or visit of a king or important person. The English word “coming” has become a common noun referring to such a royal visit. Paul uses PAROUSIA in the context of the Second Coming only once outside of his Thessalonian letters (1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8).

Mark and Luke do not use PAROUSIA but choose other synonyms: ERKHETAI, ERKHOMENOS, ELTHON which mean “come” or “arrive.” Matthew does this himself (Matthew 24:30, 42, 44, 45, 25:19). ERKHOMENOS happens to be the word used in the Jewish Greek Bible, the Septuagint (LXX), at Daniel 7:13 with ELTHEN being used at Daniel 7:22. Is this enough to establish that PAROUSIA (presence) is roughly the same as ERKHOMENOS (coming) or ELTHON (arrive)?

[36] Where the carcass is there the eagles will gather: This sudden cryptic is not the first time the disciples heard it. See something similar at Luke 17:37 when the disciples respond to certain ones being “taken along.” The disciples ask, ‘Where, Lord?’ The Nazarene responds in words similar to Matthew 24:28. If the “eagles” are those “taken along” (a word similar to that in John 14:3 and Luke 17:34) and these are raptured or gathered, then the “body” is the returning Christ (Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:1 with Matthew 24:30). Luke uses SOMA (body) whereas Matthew uses TO PTOMA (fallen body, carcass, corpse) which happens to also occur at Revelation 11:8, 9, 12 in a context suggesting the Rapture following words paraphrased from Luke 21:24 (Revelation 11:2).

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Preceding

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

Matthew 13:47-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Dragnet

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

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Additional reading

  1. Prophecies over coming days
  2. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #1 The Son of man revealing
  3. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  4. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #3 Coming events revealed in the prophetic writings
  5. Thought on the first day of the new civil year 2020
  6. Today’s thought “My times are in your hand” (January 14)
  7. 1st thought for today “The world may be wicked” (January 16)
  8. Today’s thought “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (April 17)
  9. Today’s thought “When approaching the battle against your enemies today” (May 03)
  10. To be prepared for the Day of Judgment

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

Today we start with a chapter where Jesus, after he has been discoursing all day in the courts of the temple, went out from the temple, going on his way to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples coming to him to show him the buildings of the temple. (Matthew 21:23; 24:3)

The apostle Mark let us know that the disciples particularly pointed out the stones of the temple, as well as the buildings.

“In that temple,”

says Josephus, the Jewish historian,

“were several stones which were forty-five cubits in length, five in height, and sixth in breadth”;

that is, more than seventy feet long, ten wide, and eight high. These stones, of such enormous size, were principally used in building the high wall on the east side, from the base to the top of the mountain. They were also, it is said, beautifully painted with variegated colours.

The Temple was renowned for its beauty and was considered to be one of the wonders of the world. It is written in the Talmud,

‘Whoever has not seen Herod’s Temple has never yet seen a beautiful building.’ (SB I,944).

We find the disciples on the Mount of Olives where they question the Nazarene in particular about his own future coming, the time of the desolation of God’s temple and its destruction and the sign of its advent and the end of the world (verses 1-3). They do not understand Jesus his predictions and cannot believe that the temple should be destroyed in their time. – The one by Herod I in 20 BCE. The new construction of the temple that was started was only really completed seven years before it was destroyed.

We are coming closer to the imprisonment of Christ. The writing here can well be talking about the last private school before their final gathering at the upper room. Jesus comes to talk once more about a future time, namely of the last things, and extends to the end of the world, modelled on the impending end of the Jewish Republic. But this private school is still somewhat linked to the previous lesson. – Jesus went out, as he said, and away from the temple,
in which he made the previous speech, of which the last words were that their house should be left deserted to them. Thus, these words refer back to chapter 23:38, where is mentioned that the House shall be left abandoned.

We shall find a discourse that foretells in the outset the destruction of Jerusalem (e. g., v. 15-21, v. 34); and in the conclusion certainly foretells the final coming of the son of man, with the gathering of all nations, the general judgment of mankind and the resulting permanent state of the good and the bad, (Matthew 25:31-46) in a way substantially equivalent to the predictive descriptions afterwards given by the apostles.

The question of the disciples in verse 3 was obviously misguided, because it attracts the response from Jesus

“Take heed that no man deceive you”.

which echoes the words of God to Zedekiah (Jeremiah 37:9) where he was anticipating a deliverance from the Chaldeans. – When the Romans were surrounding Jerusalem there would have been Jews who encouraged the people, falsely, saying that the Romans would not over throw the city.

Did the disciples think that the coming of Jesus, and the end of the world was to be very soon? Jesus goes to great lengths to let them in gently on the fact that the “time of the gentiles” was to come in the intervening period. (v. 6, 8, 14).

Today still many may wonder what an unfolding end with beginnings of birth pains and those rumors of wars may imply. They should remember it shall only be when the Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

In this last of the five major sermons, Jesus focuses on prophetic and apocalyptic themes of judgment and the end times. The disciples have been listening to the prophetic judgment Jesus has issued on the religious leaders. They have images of collapsing temple buildings, of prophets pursued from town to town, of floggings, and of blood-soaked garments. They can imagine themselves blood-soaked. They wonder when this all will happen, and what it means.

Their master teacher Jeshua answers them to be careful that no one leads them astray, which we should take at heart also! We too must be be aware of it for many will come in Jesus name, doing as if they are the Messiah or the one who can bring people to salvation. Jesus warns for all those people, preachers and so called prophets who, by their talking and frigtening people will lead many astray. (Matthew 24:4-5,11)

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but should not directly be alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. In Scriptures many signs of times to come are notated. In the Book of books is written that nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are only the beginning of birth pains, it is to say the start of a generation which shall come to see more. (Matthew 24:4-8)

In Scriptures is told that God provides time for man to listen to His Words, and as such, first all over the world, shall the Good News being preached, before the worst battle commences. And we should know that those who preach the Good News and worship the Only One True God, Who is One (and not two or three), shall be mocked and laughed at, and even worse being hand over to persecution and being killed. They that pronounce the Name of the Only One True God  and the true name of the Messiah, Christ (Jeshua the Messiah) will be hated by all the nations because of Jesus and his Father’s name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9-14)

We shall have to face it that many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one other. All that leading astray might happen because of people prefering to listen to false prophets and human dogma‘s instead of listening to the the Word of God and the believe in the Biblical dogma‘s. It shall all happen also because lawlessness will multiply and the love of many will grow cold, by their selfishness.
Though we might have hope, because those who endures to the end will be saved. They that take time to listen to this Good News of the kingdom which shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, shall recognise the signs when there will be great trouble such as has not happened since the beginning of the world, the end will come. We must hear and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, know and believe that for the sake of the chosen, those days will be cut short.(Matthew 24:10-14, 21-22)

Even when false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen, we should be alert and keep tot he writings of Scripture and the call of God and His master teacher, because that last one told us beforehand. (Matthew 24:24-25)

We should know that it shall be with the coming of the Son of Man, being as lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, that we should come to see the signs clearly. Because immediately after the trouble of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
That is when the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. (Matthew 24:26-28, 29-30)
At that time all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. He will send out his angels with a great shofar, and those heavenly messengers will gather his beloved faithful elect from the four corners of creation, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30-31)

This 24th chapter concludes with a parable of a fig tree. We too should learn from that parable from the fig tree. (Matthew 24:32-33)
Jesus tells them that story because he wants to warn that generation which will not pass away until all these things happen. Though it will pass away, Jeshua’s words will never pass away. (Matthew 24:34-35) But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son, except the Father alone, because only Jehovah God is the Only God above all gods Who knows everything. (Matthew 24:36)

Afterwards Jesus also reminds his disciples of those days before the flood, when people enjoyed all the best things of life and were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. We may not forget that at that time they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away, but then it was too late. So shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:37-39) Then many shal be at work as well, but also find some one taken and the other one left. (Matthew 24:40-41) Therefore we all have to stay alert; for like Jesus and his disciples did not know the time of the end, we do not know what day our Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:42) But know this, that if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:43-44)

The chapter ends by talking about the “Faithful Servant“, a subject that can also confuse or despair many, or use some to present their leaders as that only reliable servant.
Jesus questions

“ “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?” (Mt 24:45 NIV)

and then continues with telling that the faithful and wise servant, has to be some one who takes good care of that household to give them the necessary things at the proper time (Matthew 24:45-46)

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Preceding

Matthew 11:20-24 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 5 Reproached Cities a Lesson for Judgment Day

Matthew 12:33-37 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment Day

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

Matthew 13:47-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Dragnet

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Signs of the last days when difficult times will come

Matthew 23:37-39 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jerusalem, Jerusalem – Your House Is Abandoned!

Next:

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

Photo from the blog of Aaron Richert, pastor of The Church at North Pole in North Pole, Alaska. From the article: Is Matthew 24 about the Rapture?

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Additional reading

  1. Looking into the Future
  2. Prophecies over coming days
  3. Signs of the Last Days
  4. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #1 The Son of man revealing
  5. Sign of the Times and the Last Days #2 Wars, natural disasters, famine and false Messiahs
  6. Signs of the times – “An object of scorn and ridicule”
  7. The Rapture Wars
  8. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  9. Memorizing wonderfully 35 When the son returns it shall be As it came to pass in the days of Noah
  10. Be not afraid of those trials which God may see fit to send upon thee
  11. From pain to purpose

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The ice in the photo above reminded Tekoa Manning of judgment that often is described using hail. Mexico’s second-largest city, Guadalajara, has an Arabic name meaning ‘valley of stones and also, a valley of streams.’ – Photo from Obadiah’s Cave article Comfortably Numb

Related

  1. Give Your Precious Time To God
  2. The Events of 70 AD do not Fulfill End Times Prophecies Jesus prophesied that the Great Tribulation will be the most severe time in world history. It will surpass all other times of crisis. Some seek to minimize this prophecy by reducing it to symbolism or by seeing it as being totally fulfilled in 70 AD.
    The Great Tribulation will be so severe that God shortens it to three and a half years to keep the entire human race from being physically killed (Matthew 24:21-22). One million people died in 70 AD and in World War II, 50 million died.
  3. This is Not the Way It’s Supposed To Be
  4. Abundant Fruit (Matthew 24: 6, 11)
  5. Famine
  6. Storm Clouds
  7. Stars Falling From the Sky: Figurative Language
  8. Day 159: There will be wars
  9. A Rising Called For!
  10. Fear Not!
  11. Be alert
  12. Comfortably Numb
  13. Trouble Such as Never Was before
  14. “This Generation” Shall Not Pass Away “Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled”
  15. What Did Jesus Mean When He Said “This Generation Won’t Pass Away”?
  16. The darker it gets
  17. The Olivet Discourse: For Israelis Only?
  18. The Olivet Discourse: 02 – The Destruction of the Temple Foretold
  19. The Last Days Acceleration of Time
  20. Study Guide for Matthew 24: (Matthew 24:1-2) Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple. (Mat 24:3) Jesus’ prediction brings up two questions. (Matthew 24:4-8) Jesus describes general world conditions during the period between His Ascension and the time immediately preceding His second coming. (Matthew 24:9-14) Jesus describes what His disciples must expect during the time between His Ascension and Second Coming. (Matthew 24:15) The sign: the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel.
    1. Yet when we understand the importance and what is said about this event – the abomination of desolation – we must give priority to this event, even more than the easiest interpretation of Matthew 24:34.

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  1. Explaining Matthew 24
  2. Matthew 24:1 // Reboot – The end of times
  3. Matthew 24:3 And Olivet’s Structure
  4. AND when you SEE these THINGS BEGIN
  5. Apocalypse Talks: Temporary Temples – Matthew 24:1-8
  6. Apocalypse Talks: The Fall Is Approaching – Matthew 24:9-14
  7. Apocalypse Talks: Mitigating Disaster – Matthew 24:15-22
  8. Apocalypse Talks: The Bigger Picture
  9. Apocalypse Talks: The Mean Time
  10. Armageddon, Part 3: Are there ‘signs’ that the end is coming?
  11. 11.24.19 Matthew 24 Part I
  12. 11.24.19 Matthew 24 Part III
  13. 11.24.19 Matthew 24 Part V
  14. Matthew 24:12,13
  15. Matthew 24:14
  16. Matthew 24:23,24
  17. Matthew 24:36-44 Sunday School Lessons and Activities
  18. Matthew 24 and the Fig Tree Matthew 24:32-33
  19. Three things that must happen before Jesus returns – Matthew 23:37-39; Matthew 24:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  20. End Times Q&A
  21. Christ’s Coming Again to Judge
  22. Timing of Christ’s second coming
  23. Don’t Be Deceived (about the Coming of Christ)
  24. The Parable of the Fig Tree
  25. Mark 11 – Fig Tree
  26. Being a good servant – talk-notes for 27th Oct 2019
  27. Called or Chosen?
  28. Paul Explains the Second Coming
  29. Hope in the Second-Coming
  30. Faith That Is Fruitful For God

The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression

Before Roman Judean rule

Rome, Ara Pacis museum: cast of a portrait of ...

Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti filius Augustus – Rome, Ara Pacis museum

The Trojan refugee Aeneas had escaped to Italy and founded the line of Romans through his son Iulus, the namesake of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. The Year of the Consulship of Balbus and Vetus was gone by and the Rome considered to have become a real Roman Empire bastion (on 21 April 753 bCE) had sent their conquerors also to the East. One of the most prominent patrician houses at Rome which were known for their pride and arrogance and intense hatred of the commonalty, brought Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti filius Augustus better known simply as Tiberius Claudius Nero. After he had divorced Vipsania Agrippina, he had married Augustus’ daughter Julia the Elder (from his marriage to Scribonia) and was adopted by Augustus, by which act he officially became a Julian, bearing the name Tiberius Julius Caesar. {Tiberius was the stepson of Augustus, grand-uncle of Caligula, paternal uncle of Claudius, and great-grand uncle of Nero.}

On the verge of accepting command in the East and becoming the second most powerful man in Rome, Tiberius suddenly announced his withdrawal from politics and retired to Rhodes, possibly as an interim solution: he would hold power only until his stepsons would come of age, and then be swept aside.

Instalment of Roman client king of Judea

Rome, Ara Pacis museum: collection of casts of...

Rome, Ara Pacis museum: collection of casts of busts showing the members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, March 28 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In in 63 BCE the Romans had taken over control of Syria, and then intervened in the Hasmonean civil war. A Roman client king of Judea was installed. But he seemed for many “the evil genius of the Judean nation” {Tierney, John. “Herod: Herod the Great”, Catholic Encyclopedia (1910): “Herod, surnamed the Great, called by Grätz “the evil genius of the Judean nation” (Hist., v. II, p. 77)} Though the Jews were granted exemptions from the official Roman state religion, they were not happy with this ambitious man and saw their tribe threatened very hard by this ruthless savage. For others he was Herod the Great (not to be confused with Herod Antipas who came later) and became known as Herod I. He has been described as “a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis“.

Worshippers of One God

By the Greek experience they had learned that others could not be forced to worship their idols and they saw for themselves that the Jews, who only wanted to worship One God, were not like other pagan people who had already several gods and perhaps could have advantage in some extra ones. By the years the Jews had prove that they were not going to conform to a worship which would not have been according to their Laws of worship. So the Romans granted the Jews an official status of being exempt from Roman state religion when they were willing to pay their punitive tax called fiscus Judaicus.

At the time Judea was a very important place for several major trade routes. It was sort of like the great way-station for the incense trade coming from Yemen up the Arabian Peninsula and going out to the Mediterranean. It was also one of the most agriculturally productive pieces of land in the Middle East famous for its olive oil (which was used as a main source of light, and not just for cooking), for its dates (the chief sweetener in the times before sugar), and for its wine.

Thorn in the flesh for the Jews

Roman Theatre

Roman Theatre

A thorn in the flesh was the centre of trade and the Roman administrative capitol of Judea, the artificial port city of Caesarea (one of the two largest in the Empire). Like in the most important Roman cities there was a beautiful amphitheatre, a hippodrome for chariot races and people could gamble and enjoy life or give one’s desires in their pleasure gardens. There was also a huge temple dedicated to the Roman god-emperor, Augustus Caesar.

Temples were sacred places and for the People of God the mount in Jerusalem was most sacred and they did not like the pagan ideas of their oppressor who had found an ambitious project in the re-building of ‘the Temple’, which was almost certainly an attempt to gain popularity among his subjects who, he knew, held him in contempt and also to make amends for his cruelty toward the rabbis.

Build walls around the Temple Mount

It took 10,000 men ten years just to build the retaining walls around the Temple Mount (on top of which the Muslim shrine, the Dome of the Rock, stands today). The Western Wall (formerly known as the Wailing Wall or “Kotel Ma’arabi”) is merely part of that 500-meter-long retaining wall that was designed to hold a huge man-made platform that could accommodate twenty four football fields. When it was completed, it was the world’s largest functioning religious site and until today it remains the largest man-made platform in the world.

‘Foresight is the essence of government’, he must have thought and forward looking to a growing Jewish community of which there were already about 6-7 million Jews living in the Roman Empire (plus another 1 million in Persia), they should have felt welcome in the town they had to visit in their lifetime. Because it was considered to go for pilgrimage to  Jerusalem for the three pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.  (Exodus 23: 17; Deuteronomy 16:16). The Mishnah says,

“All are under obligation, to appear, except minors, women, the blind, the lame, the aged, and one who is ill physically or mentally.”

Also knowing that according to the Mosaic law every one should take an offering, though the value thereof is not fixed (comp. Exodus 23: 14; Deuteronomium 16:17) this would mean they had to buy goods in the city and could bring in money for the Roman Empire by the taxes. They were sure of collecting at least the tax for a fixed minimum of three silver pieces, each of thirty-two grains of fine silver (Ḥagai 1:1-2). While the appearance of women and infant males was not obligatory, they usually accompanied their husbands and fathers, as in all public gatherings (Deuteronomy 31:12), which would mean lodging and food for them to be provided. The Talmud plainly infers that both daughters and sons joined the pilgrims at the Passover festival in Jerusalem (Pes. 89a; Giṭ. 25a).

Herod understood that in case the Jews could find a nice place where they could come together to celebrate their festivals, they also would spend a lot of money over there, which would be good for the tax-income. To accommodate such a huge number of people there was a need for a huge space. Hence the size of the platform.

Several Jews where also astonished what the emperor could establish and in the Talmud it was notated:

“He who has not seen Herod’s building, has never in his life seen a truly grand building.” (Talmud-Bava Basra 4a)

In Judea the pilgrimages to Jerusalem were kept up regularly, but the principal gathering of the people was on the Sukkot festival, called “Ḥag ha-Asif” = “Festival of Gathering” (1 Kings 8:65; 2 Chronicles 7:8, 9). The people went undisturbed to Jerusalem for the festivals (Yer. Ta’an. iv. 7; Giṭ. 88a). From beyond Palestine, especially from the River Euphrates, they journeyed to Jerusalem for the festivals. Some even endangered their lives passing the guards posted to stop the pilgrimages (Ta’an. 28a; Grätz, “Gesch.” 3d ed., iii. 157, 668). The number of Jewish pilgrims to the Temple was computed by the governor Gesius Florus (64-66), who counted 256,500 paschal lambs at one Passover festival; allowing ten persons to one lamb, this would make 2,565,000 pilgrims (Josephus, “B. J.” vi. 9). The Tosefta records the census of Agrippa, who ordered the priests to take one hind leg of every paschal lamb, and counted 1,200,000 legs, which would make the total 12,000,000, (Tosef., Pes. iv. 64b). {These figures are evidently exaggerated, and are based on the desire to double the 600,000 of the Exodus, a tendency frequently noticed in the Haggadah.}  It is calculated that ancient Jerusalem comprised an area of 2,400,000 square yards, and, allowing 10 yards for each person, would contain 240,000 persons {see Luncz, “Jerusalem,” i, English part, pp. 83-102}. {Jewish Encyclopedia}

Temple servants also servants of the emperor

Having built the Temple, Herod took pains to make sure it would be run without future problems of this kind. He appointed his own High Priest, having by then put to death forty-six leading members of the Sanhedrin, the rabbinical court.

In that Holy of Holies which was covered in gold there was such a priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Z’kharyah or Zachariah who had a wife who descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honourably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God Who is One. He was a respected priest who could use his words to enlighten many people.
In the other buildings were the walls and columns were of white marble; the floors were of carrara marble, its blue tinge giving the impression of a moving sea of water, the congregation gathered and waited for Zachariah who did not seem to come at his regular time. They waited and waited  and became restless. what they did not know was what happened in the house, where the curtains were tapestries of blue, white, scarlet and purple thread, depicting, according to Josephus, “the whole vista of the heavens.” those heavens seemed to have opened for the priest who was astonished and did not believe his eyes and ears.

A special messenger to a priest

Unannounced, an angel of God had appeared just to the right of the altar of incense and got the priest Zachariah paralyzed in fear. But the angel reassured him not to fear because this messenger of God came to tell that their prayer to receive a child was been heard and would be answered positively.  Elisheva (Elizabeth), his wife, who also observed all the mitzvot and ordinances, but did not seemed to be blessed to have children, would bear a son by him. Both where were quite old and had passed the age of having children so Zachariah did not believe the angel Gabriel, the sentinel of God, sent especially to bring him this glad news.
As priest before God, now not believing the messenger of God, he was punished and became unable to say a word until the day of his son’s birth. He would not be able to say any word until he would be filled with the Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit) when the baby would leave his mother’s womb and would get people to  rejoice when he was born, having to face the one who  was going to turn many sons and daughters of Israel back to their God Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah. That son of those old people would herald and go before his face in the spirit and power of Eliyahu (Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to walk in the wisdom of the just; to make ready for the Most High a people prepared for him.

Dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things were performed, because he did not believe the words, which were fulfilled in their season, he went out the  sanctuary, to the waiting people, who marvelled while he tarried in the temple and saw at his face and how he behaved that something special had happened. They knew he had seen a vision. He continued speechless and had to use sign language with the people. When the course of his priestly assignment was completed, he went back home. It wasn’t long before his wife, Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy.

Luke’s story of the temple priest

The physician Luke (Colossians 4:14) has generally been credited with the writership of the following account:

“5  In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well on in years. 8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshippers were praying outside. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. 16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.” 19 The angel answered, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.” 21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realised he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. 23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favour and taken away my disgrace among the people.”  (Luke 1:5-25 NIV)

Elisabeth’s other family member also receiving honour of being with child

Eastern Christianity fresco of the Visitation in St. George Church in Kurbinovo, Macedonia

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy by which God had taken away away her reproach among men or her  public disgrace, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of  Natzeret/Nazareth to an Essene young girl, a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Miryam/Miriam (the same name as the granddaughter of Hyrcanus, the Hasmonean princess). Miriam is today better known as Mary (Maria), the mother of Christ (and by many also called the mother of God, though God did not have a mother and has been for ever, so did not have a beginning as eternal Spirit).  Mary or Miryam/Miriam became pregnant with the Messiah and lost her virginity at the exact same time (her first time), thus confirming the Messiah’s physical birth (a physical to Spiritual parallel) as a First Born Son (physical for Mary and Joseph, but Spiritual for Jehovah), and legal heir to the throne of King David. This was a serious situation for the young girl, because in the East, the betrothal or engagement was entered into with much ceremony, and usually took place a year before the marriage and was so sacred that the parties entering into it could not be separated save by a bill of divorcement, which could be called in when somebody seemed to have been unfaithful. Unfaithfulness to each other was deemed adultery and could result in stoning to death.

26  In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God.” (Luke 1:26-30 NIV)

Shame over the family

Joseph or Yosef, her husband, being a righteous man,chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced, not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly. But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Most High appeared to him in a dream, saying,

“Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

Not interested in Judean politics

At the time that Jewish nationalistic feelings were rising to the surface and Hellenism dominated Judea, the devote Miriam (Mary) was not interested in politics and the significant number of Greeks as well as other gentiles who adopted the Greek lifestyle who came to settle the land. As a result of Herod’s interference and the ever-spreading Hellenistic influences among the Jewish upper classes, the Temple hierarchy had become very corrupt, but her family always stayed truthful to her God, who was the God of Abraham and which she considered the Only One God, the Divine Creator. But perhaps she also might have looked forward to a solution and to their promised land and have sang:

“Maran de-bashamaya,” “Our Master in heaven, to Thee we beg, even like a captive to his master. All captives are ransomed with money; but Thy people Israel, with mercy and supplication. O grant us our request and prayer, and let us not return from Thy presence in vain.”

The Sadducees, a religious group of the wealthy, who collaborated with the Romans in order to keep their power base, now had come in control of the Temple, much to the chagrin of the mainstream Jewish majority, the Pharisees, and of the extreme religious minority, the Zealots.

Dating “Before and after Christ”

HerodtheGreat2.jpg

Basileus or King, emperor Herod the Great

Evidence for the 4 BCE date as the death of Herod in Jericho, is provided by the fact that Herod’s sons, between whom his kingdom was divided, dated their rule from 4 BCE, and Josephus tells us that Herod died after a lunar eclipse.  {Josephus, Antiquities, 17.6.4} Elisabeth and Mary having become pregnant before his death, should then also have been delivered their child before the so called Anno Domini (AD or A.D.) used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars.That Medieval Latin term specified more fully as Anno Domini Nostri Iesu (Jesu) Christi (“In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ”) was long wrongly taken as the year of birth of Christ Jesus. This Gregorian calendar dating system was devised in 525, but was not widely used until after 800, when the Trinitarians got in the majority of those who still kept to the teachings in which Miriam (Mary) strongly believed. Because BC is the English abbreviation for Before Christ, it is sometimes incorrectly concluded that AD means After Death, i.e., after the death of Jesus. However this would mean that the ~33 years commonly associated with the life of Jesus would not be present in either BC or AD time scales. {Donald P. Ryan, (2000), 15.} Others use it as “Anno Domine” “Year of the Lord” meaning Year of God an having the years BC ‘before Christ’ as the years ‘Before God’ of the “years before God his birth”, which would naturally be impossible, having God being the creator when he would not yet have been born or been in existence.

From told before

Palestine after Herod's deathIsrael had not yet seen realized the long-awaited fulfilment of the promise regarding the Seed through whom blessings would flow. (Ge 22:15-18) Israel had tried to create their won country and to liberate themselves many times from several oppressors. But their own efforts at salvation had produced nothing, unreality. They did not yet form a political nation where there could be found freedom “from enslavement to corruption” and peace for which all creation “keeps on groaning together and being in pain together.” (Romans 8:19-22; compare 10:3; 11:7.) Jehovah, their God had made Jerusalem like a woman who had been made pregnant by her husband and who brought forth numerous children. (Isaiah 54:1-8). After several prophets telling about a saviour to come the time seemed to be ripe.

Later the devout Jew and convert to the new faith, the apostle Paul quoted this prophecy of Isaiah chapter 54 and applied it to “the Jerusalem above [which] is free, and she is our mother.” (Galatians 4:26, 27)

At the end of the current time indication the stars and the moon came to stand in a situation which was predicted by the earlier prophets. Some wise men knew those predictions of a great king and noticed the signs which were predicted in many books. some started traveling and following the stars to find the right place where that king would come to earth.

They did not know that out of that simple devout woman from Nazareth would arise such a great prophet. The apostle John his vision recorded at Revelation 12:1-5 brings the pregnant heavenly “woman” to the forefront. In his revelation we can see that there is given birth to “a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.” The shepherding of the nations with an iron rod is directly connected with the Messianic Kingdom of God, and hence the vision must relate to the producing of that Kingdom, so that, following the defeat of Satan’s attack on the newborn “child,” the ensuing cry goes forth:

“Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ.” (Revelation of the apostle John 12:10)

The anguish of the pregnant heavenly “woman” preceding the birth calls to mind Paul’s expression at Galatians 4:19, “childbirth pains” there apparently representing stirring interest and fervent desire to see full development of matters reached (in Paul’s case, the full development of the Galatian believers as Christians).

  • Lectionary sermon for 15 December 2013 (Advent 3 A) on Matthew 11:2-11 (billpeddie.wordpress.com)
    John’s undoing in this instance was that he believed Herod Antipas the Tetrarch had done something quite immoral, and despite knowing Herod Antipas’ unpleasant reputation, told him so. Herod Antipas had been named as king by Caesar Augustus on the death of his father King Herod the Great, but the Romans had decided his power should be limited and only gave him a quarter share of his father’s territory. He set about trying to win back more power by building the city of Tiberius in honour of his current patron the Emperor Tiberius. The immoral action which had offended John was that Antipas also fancied his brother’s wife, Herodias, so he divorced his own wife and married Herodias. Well it is one thing to believe the king had done wrong, but telling him so was quite another. It is understatement to say upsetting a ruthless king from a ruthless family by calling him immoral was not a wise career move and it was probably no surprise to anyone that John was now imprisoned, and, according to the historian Josephus, in the forbidding fortress Machaerus.
  • Tiberius (14-37) (mkukahiwaharuno.wordpress.com)
    During this time, Augustus’ death in 14 had then caused Tiberius to become ruler.  However, at the time of Augustus’ death, he had hesitated to take over as ruler because he felt as if he was inadequate for the position.  He had even gone as far as telling the senate that he was reluctant and inadequate to fill this role.  He was then appointed control of the Praetorian Guard.  The authority in which Tiberius had during this time since he was Augustus’ heir was also greatly and positively impacted because of his tribunician power, the fact Augustus adopted him and Augustus’ bequest to him of his estate along with one of the most important components, his name… Augustus.  However, Rome’s armies had saw the death of Augustus in a different aspect which was it simply being their way to possibly obtain munity.
  • Sorting out the Agrippinas (timesonline.typepad.com)
    One of the problems of the first century AD is that there are simply too many Agrippinas. Not only the “Elder Agrippina” (the wife of the glamorous prince Germanicus, who kept his memory alive after his suspicious death and was morally upright to the point of being a bit of a pain in the neck) and the “Younger Agrippina” (daughter of the Elder A, wife of Claudius and mother — and lover it was said — of Nero). There’s also the virtuous lady that we tend to know as Vipsania, who was the first wife of the emperor Tiberius….the one he really loved but was made to divorce in order to marry the dreadful Julia. Vipsania was actually “Vipsania Agrippina”, the daughter of Augustus’ aide, Agrippa.This last Agrippina is often missed. In fact the traditional title of the picture, below right (by Rubens, now in the National Gallery in Washington) was “Tiberius and Agrippina”… but has been changed to A0000e45“Germanicus and Agrippina”, partly because the traditional pairing seemed so odd (the Elder Agrippina hated Tiberius, whom she believed was heavily implicated in the death of Germanicus). But actually it’s a pairing that makes perfect sense if you remember it could be what we would call “Tiberius and Vipsania”. This is the sad loving couple who were forced to divorce by the imperial dynastic machine.
  • The Story of Mary and the Birth of the King (womenfromthebook.com)
    or over 500 years the nation of Israel chafed under the thumb of first one Gentile kingdom and then another—Babylon, Persia, the Greco Macedonians, and now Rome, with its absolute ruler Caesar Augustus, and Herod the Great, one of his ruthless client kings. It wasn’t unusual, particularly during Passover season, for passions to ignite as the tribes of Israel revisited the story of God’s intervention and the stunning liberation of their ancestors.  When the white-hot flames of resistance and rebellion flared, they were summarily stamped out under the cruel boot of Herod’s soldiers.Exorbitant taxation compounded the misery of oppression in pre- and first-century Palestine: the mandatory tribute to Rome; locally imposed taxes; several layers of temple tax; impromptu levies to fund military expeditions and building projects. Privation and hardship enveloped the land like a dank, smothering blanket, and peasants found themselves forced to sell their land holdings—inheritances from generations past—in order to survive. The swelling ranks of day laborers told the tale.
    +
    On a cool autumn morning sometime before Herod’s death, in the frontier town of Nazareth in Lower Galilee, a young woman prepared for a long trip to Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus called for a census, declaring “all the world should be taxed” (Luke 2:1-5) and ordered that everyone[1] must register in their ancestral home. And so, Mary, nearly full-term in her pregnancy, helped Joseph load the cart with the necessities they would need to see them through their journey to the ancient city of David.
  • Signs and Wonders (mnorth52.wordpress.com)
    Astrology boomed under the Caesars: here we had a severely autocratic regime which considered it worthwhile to be seen as “one with the gods”, and so it greatly benefited the emperors to have the legitimacy of their sovereignty literally “written in the stars.”Tiberius was no exception: having become self proficient in divination, after a dream which told him to give a large sum of money to a certain person, he decided he was the victim of enchantment, and had the man put to death. So even if you have no connection with someone (even an emperor), you could find your life terminated simply on the arbitrary say-so of interpretation of dreams. Freud no doubt would have been in his heaven among the Romans.
  • Rome’s Religion (ecpsocialstudies6.wordpress.com)
    Honoring gods was a big part of Roman life. There were thousands of Roman gods. The ancient Romans believed gods lived everywhere—in trees, by the side of the road, in a flower, under the bed, and maybe even in the oven in your house.  In ancient Rome, everything had a spirit in charge of it.
  • Tiberius Used Quantitative Easing To Solve The Financial Crisis Of 33 AD (businessinsider.com)
    Tiberius ruled the Roman Empire from 14 AD to 37 AD.  He was frugal in his expenditures, and consequently, he never raised taxes during his reign. When Cappadocia became a province, Tiberius was even able to lower Roman taxes. His frugality also allowed him to be liberal in helping the provinces when, for example, a massive earthquake destroyed many of the famous cities of Asia, or when a financial panic struck the Roman Empire in 33 AD.As with many financial panics, this one began when unexpected events in one part of the Roman world spread to the rest of the Empire. To quote Otto Lightner from his History of Business Depressions, “The important firm of Seuthes and Son, of Alexandria, was facing difficulties because of the loss of three richly laden ships in a Red Sea storm, followed by a fall in the value of ostrich feather and ivory. About the same time the great house of Malchus and Co. of Tyre with branches at Antioch and Ephesus, suddenly became bankrupt as a result of a strike among their Phoenician workmen and the embezzlements of a freedman manager. These failures affected the Roman banking house, Quintus Maximus and Lucious Vibo. A run commenced on their bank and spread to other banking houses that were said to be involved, particularly Brothers Pittius.
  • Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 22:15-21 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
    Pharisees are in a special manner said to be the instigators or concocters of this scheme, to insnare our Redeemer, both, because they were most hostile to Him, and among them, especially the following captious question was agitated. Instead of being struck with feelings of dread at the punishment menaced by our Redeemer, and conceiving feelings of true sorrow, they become more hardened in their iniquity, and endeavour to insnare Him.
  • The man behind the emperor: major Augustus exhibit opens in Rome (rawstory.com)
    A political genius, a great reformer, a patron of the arts — but ancient Rome’s first emperor Augustus was also a family man, as highlighted in a new exhibition that opened in Rome this week.The show marks 2,000 years since the death of the founder of the Roman Empire and the man most associated with the “Pax Romana”, a period of immense architectural and artistic achievement.“We wanted to look at the personality of Augustus beyond the official persona,” said Daniel Roger, chief conservator at the Louvre museum in Paris, which is co-organising the exhibition in Rome.

    Through some 200 items including statues, jewelry and platters, the exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale delves into the emperor’s family life and tries to depict the ebullient mood of the time.

    The show brings together for the first time statues of Augustus in his attire as a divine leader and as a star general, as well as an equestrian one found in the Aegean Sea in Greece and displayed in Italy for the first time.

  • Augustus (aaam4e.wordpress.com)
    Augustus got very sick in 23 BC he died visiting his fathers grave on August 19 14 AD

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