Bible Readings for Sunday, November 27th, 2011
– The Week of The First Sunday of Advent
*Click on each bible passage to expand the text.1. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!
2. As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you!
3. For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
4. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
5. You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved?
6. All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
7. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.
8. Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
9. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look upon us, we pray, for we are all your people.1. Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth
2. before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us.
3. Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
4. O Lord God Almighty, how long will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people?
5. You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
6. You have made us a source of contention to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us.
7. Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
17. Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18. Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name.
19. Restore us, O Lord God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.3. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4. I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— 6. because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
24. “But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25. the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 26. “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. 28. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
32. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
35. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
- All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins. – Isaiah 64:6-7
- Restore us, O Lord God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. – Psalm 80:19
- God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. – 1 Corinthians 1:9
- If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Be on watch!’” – Mark 13:36-37
The LORD is coming!
I think that from the day this passage in Mark (and its parallel in Matthew 24) was put to paper, the world suddenly had crazy street-preachers with the ubiquitous sandwich-boards reading, “The day of the Lord is NIGH! REPENT!”, or something of the like. The only problem with any of that is the fact that all of these excitable “you-all-gonna-die” types always neglect to ponder one, teeny-tiny little point contained within Mark 13:
32. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Not even Yeshua, the Word, the Son of God could know when he would return. How is a crazy-street-preacher gonna know??
Oh, yeah, and here’s the other part that we tend to skip over: it’s already happened. All of it. Every single point of Yeshua’s prophecy in Mark 13 has already come true, about 40 years or so after his death during the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army.
A Prophecy Fulfilled
“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus (referring to the temple mount). “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
The temple was destroyed in 70 C.E. Nothing was left standing.
“Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.”
“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”
During the time of Yeshua, the Roman Empire was in the midst of a period of relative peace, known as the Pax Romana. Yet in 66 C.E., the 1st Jewish Roman War began, and in one astounding year, 69 C.E., Rome saw the beginning of The 1st Roman Civil War, too, and the subsequent reigns and deaths of 4 Emperors in a single year after widespread revolt caused Nero to commit suicide. This was the violent upheaval which was a prelude to the destruction of Jerusalem a year later in 70 C.E at the hands of Emperor Vespasian’s son, Titus Flavius.
“There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”
The period between Yeshua’s prophecy and the destruction of Jerusalem was wrought with major earthquakes thoughout the Roman Empire, as well as quakes in Judea that were so violent that the hyperbolic historian Josephus (an eyewitness to the siege of Jerusalem) wrote, “…and amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an earthquake, (Wars 4.4.5), and concluded:
“These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men, when the system of the world was put into this disorder; and any one would guess that these wonders foreshowed some grand calamities that were coming.” (Wars 4.4.5)
The famines of the age are well documented in The Book of Acts:
27. During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29. The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea.
“You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them…”
Shortly after Yeshua’s death, his disciples suffered a long and well documented period of persecutions, and even the violent deaths of Stephen, James, Peter, Phillip, Matthew and Paul all before the fall of Jerusalem.
“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
The “Abomination of Desolation” is a reference to the Book of Daniel, in which the temple is destroyed and ritual sacrifice will no longer be a part of Jewish life. In 379 C.E., St. Augustine viewed Luke 21:20 as a clear explanation of Yeshua’s prophecy:
“Luke, to show that the abomination spoken of by Daniel will take place when Jerusalem is captured, recalls these words of the Lord in the same context: When you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army, then know that the desolation thereof is at hand (xxi. 20). For Luke very clearly bears witness that the prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled when Jerusalem was overthrown.” – St. Augustine (vol. 6, p. 170)
Also, this note from Marvin Vincent:
“The reference here is probably to the occupation of the temple precincts by the idolatrous Romans under Titus, with their standards and ensigns. Josephus says that, after the burning of the temple the Romans brought their ensigns and set them over against the eastern gate, and there they offered sacrifices to them, and declared Titus, with acclamations, to be emperor.” – WORD STUDIES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT (pp. 154-155)
“But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”
In the years encompassing the beginning of the 1st Roman Jewish War (66-73 C.E.), there were 18 partial-to-full solar eclipses worldwide, and two that swept right across the Mediterranean. To mark the beginning of the strife in Jerusalem, Haley’s comet ominously appeared on January 25th, 66 CE. By September 70 CE, the Romans controlled all of Jerusalem, including the temple. September happens to fall directly in the middle of the Perseids (August) and Orionids (October) meteor showers.
The Lord Has Come Already!
Christ is returned and alive among us, right now! No more predictions, no more prophecies, the Christ is alive and well in the hearts, hands and minds of every person living on this planet. God is just waiting for us to figure that out en masse and start living accordingly, as Christ lived, and loving as Christ loved.
Ages and Empires come and go, but Christ, the Logos, the Word of God is constant, returned and alive in every act of selflessness and Grace committed on this planet.
It is time for us to wake from our ignorance and stop waiting for something that has already come.
31. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.