Monday, July 10 Signs and Times
A casual comment by one of Jesus’ disciples was no accident. The comment came a day or two before the crucifixion. As Jesus and his disciples were leaving the temple complex, one of the disciples called Jesus’ attention to the beautiful stones of the temple (Mk. 13:1). That simple comment was Jesus’ cue to warn the disciples of things to come. His first remark really got their attention. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” After climbing up the Mount of Olives and looking across the Kidron Valley at this magnificent temple, they asked the Lord when this would happen and what sign would warn them of it. And here is where the problems of this passage begin. Jesus, seemingly ignoring those two questions, began to warn them of the evil times to come, eventually revealing things that would take place before his coming back—the second advent (Mk. 13:5-27). To compound the problem, he ends up with a series of enigmatic statement (13:28-32). Verses 28-29. “Now learn from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.” This seems to be the sign that the disciples were asking about. It’s obviously an analogy, but what does it mean? Verse 30. “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” “This generation” is a problem in itself. Is it the generation of these disciples? If so, how can “all these things” that take place before the second advent be in their generation? The second advent, which is yet to occur, is about two centuries after their time. Verse 31. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Why is this here? How does it fit in with the context? Verse 32. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Two questions: Why did Jesus say this? And why does Jesus, who is supposedly omniscient, not know the time of the second advent? Enough questions? I’ll try (I said TRY) to unravel some of this tomorrow.