5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come,
in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
7 And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be?
and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?
8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name,
saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.
9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified:
for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences;
and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you,
and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons,
being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends;
and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.
17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.
18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
Pastor Eisenhauer spoke to us today about this passage, which quotes the Christian God Incarnate. I have heard many sermons and comments about it in my decades of attention to the Christian Scripture.
There are certain themes that are frequently used. It has certainly been popular throughout my lifetime to emphasize Verse 12, regarding persecution. During my re-awakening as a Christian, during college, I was introduced to Russia for Christ. The persecution of all religions was (and is) a fixture of communist regimes, among others. There have been, and are, many organizations, such as Russia for Christ, which are concerned with religious persecution.
Persecutions and wars and natural disasters have been cited nearly continuously as evidence that the ‘End Times‘ are very close. The cautionary words of Verse 9 have been frequently ignored, even to the point of self-styled Prophets naming Anti-Christs and predicting sequences of events to come, even with dates certain. There are some who believe that their actions can speed events of Biblical Prophesy. Others cling to Verse 17, “ye shall be hated” to justify either simple obnoxiousness or religious sociopathy. Such selective adherence to the scriptures is the most foolish of devotions.
Prediction is most often the realm of science and Engineering. The predictions inherent in a scientific hypothesis are the means by which it may be tested, possibly falsified (the most glorious event in science!), and sometimes found to be worthy of trust as a practicable theory.
Engineering is the most explicit use of prediction. Engineering is a discipline which applies scientific theory at its most predictable level. Engineering work must be correct to a high probability, for lives, property, and time are often at risk.
This passage from the Book of Luke exemplifies Christianity’s valid avoidance of specific prediction. It instead emphasizes continuity of faith – integrity, patience, and trust.
Despite a plethora of commentary on this passage, I have never heard or read (not that I have read scholarly commentaries, which tend to be thorough) an exposition of Verses 13-15. I doubt that I ever will. The testimonies that I have heard and read are not consistent with Verses 14-15. Those testimonies have been dissapointing for being consistently practiced, repetitious, and uninspired. They have generally exhibited a reliance upon tradition and a self-pitying, complaining style. This has been a major factor in my disaffection with Christianity as it is practiced. Complaining is MY job, a blogger’s work. It is not the work directed by Jesus of Nazareth.
“In your patience possess ye your souls.“