November 22, 2016 - Apocalypse

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them! 
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

Luke 21:5-11

The central theme of this blog asserts that Scripture is not intended to be about magic and today’s reading seems to support it.  The Second Temple was destroyed on August 30th in the year 70.  Luke was written sometime between 80 and 90.  So, when Luke wrote this passage in which Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple, the event had already occurred.  When the disciples ask when it will occur, Jesus could have said “August 30 in the year 70” but instead he ignores the question and talks about false prophets. 

Neither Jesus nor the Gospel writers appear interested in making Jesus appear magical or prophetic.  He doesn't even seem that concerned with the apocalyptic signs of the apocalypse except to suggest that we ought not be afraid of them and shouldn't read too much into them.   Instead, in this case, he is more concerned with 'prophesying' that his message will be rejected.  Immediately following this passage, Jesus says, “Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.”