Saturday, November 29, 2008
Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 24:15-31 Apocalypse Now
"So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; the one on the housetop must not go down to take what is in the house; the one in the field must not turn back to get a coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For at that time there will be great suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, 'Look! Here is the Messiah!' or 'There he is!' -- do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Take note, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Look! He is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look! He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
"Immediately after the suffering of those days
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from heaven,
and the powers of heaven will be shaken.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see 'the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven' with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Comments: I did a paper on this when I was in seminary and I must admit I STILL don’t know what it is about! Matthew has taken this from Mark who is speaking in apocalyptic language which was fairly common in his day. Mark is writing this during the Judean Revolt when there were all kinds of partisan battles going on. And he is warning the followers of Jesus not to fall into the idea that this was when Christ was going to reappear. The tradition of Israel’s prophecy had developed into this kind of apocalyptic description. Every one wanted to know when the Messiah was going to come and save them. But Mark is saying to his people—look for the signs of Christ—look for the love, look for the freedom, look for the peace, look for the joy. There you will find the Christ.
All of the millennial hokum that has been preached over the past 20 years is just that! Christ comes to our hearts—sometimes from the clouds of our darkness and gives through Divine love the possibility to live each day in his light. It need not be cataclysmic—it sometimes is to our soul-—but it can be the quiet still voice of love.