Can you believe it? We have made it to the 300th day of this year-long journey. And, the best is at the last. We are seeing what Jesus was like and how He wants us to be to become the Kingdom of God. If this is your first time, visiting this blog, welcome. At BibleBum, we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1. Enjoy!
Questions & Observations
Q. (Mark 13:14-23, Matthew 24:1-25, Luke 21:5-24): So, I think that the sacrilegious object in v. 14 is Satan? Rob, I know you can explain what is going on here much better than I could? It sounds like Satan comes to test us before Jesus gathers His followers. The false messiahs and false prophets come from Satan?
After reading all of these versions of the same story, I have more questions. These accounts are written like they are for Judea only, when the end of the earth would be who knows when and for all people, right? And, how are we to know who is a false prophet if they can do great signs?
A. So there are several things going on here, and I will try to sort them out. One of the most important things to understand is that when Jesus refers to the “last days,” He is not speaking strictly to the end of the earth. To Him (as best we can interpret it, frankly these verses are not always clear), the Last Days began with His incarnation (or He might mean His resurrection), but either way, they refer to more than just the last few days of the planet as we would likely describe it. Jesus means that the Last Days will continue UNTIL His Second Coming … to be discussed frequently in future readings.
Now one of the things that Jesus tells us will happen — and did in 70 AD — is the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus (who would later become Emperor). Note what Mark tells us in 13:30: this will take place within a generation, which as we have come to see in our readings, a “generation” means 40 years. We are around 30 AD now (33 AD is the most commonly given date for Jesus’ passion), so that means Jesus is EXACTLY right about how long it will be before this sign is fulfilled.
Jesus speaks of other things as well, especially as it relates to the coming persecution of the early Church, which we will read about, and the way that the persecution will be used to spread the Gospel message. Jesus begins to talk about the Second Coming, mostly by noting that it will not be like His “first coming”. What He means is that in His Second Coming, everyone will know about it — in the same way we know that when we see vultures we know something is dead, there is no missing the sign). Jesus will continue to discuss His Second Coming in the next sections of the reading, so let’s see how He tells us more about what is to come.
Q. (Mark 13:30-31) Rob, please explain these verses if you can.
A. Just as I mentioned in the last question, these verses are split among the two topics Jesus is discussing: the destruction of Jerusalem is coming within the generation, and that in the end, all things but Christ’s rule will pass away. We just don’t know when! As we keep reading, this will become clearer.