search instagram arrow-down
Charles Johnston

Recent Posts

Blog Stats

Follow Now That I'm Catholic on

Now That I’m Catholic Facebook


Top Posts & Pages

Past articles

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 19,594 other subscribers

Follow me on Twitter

The Bible In A Year: Day 59

Numbers 14
Job 29-30
Psalm 56
Mark 13:1-8

Due to the pessimism and borderline panic of 10 out of the 12 spies sent into the land, the people are afraid to go into the land. They begin murmuring and complaining, and say things like it would’ve been better to die in Egypt.

I’ve never been able to understand this line of thinking. Even if you thought you were guaranteed to die during the invasion of the promised land, why would it be better to die in slavery than now? It seems like they weren’t just lamenting their current situation, but they actually preferred Egyptian slavery.

They try to elect a new leader that will lead them back south to Egypt. Besides Moses and Aaron, who immediately begin begging the people to stop and not rebel against the will of God, the only ones who spoke out in favor of taking the land was Caleb and Joshua. These two make the excellent point that God has already done amazing things since they first left Egypt, and since God is promising to hand the land over to the Israelites, maybe it would be a good idea to trust him. He hasn’t let them down yet, so why doubt?

Moses intercedes for the people when God says he will destroy them for this rebellion. Moses reminds God of his promises of mercy, and his promises to bring Israel safe into the land, and after a lengthy amount of pleading, God relents and pardons the people but on one condition; only Caleb and Joshua will enter the promised land of all the people.

It’s important to remember that even though the conversation plays out like Moses changed God’s mind and talked him out of destroying the people, this isn’t completely accurate. God doesn’t change, and he doesn’t forget his promises that he needs to be reminded, but this is God drawing Moses out and into his role as mediator of the covenant.

It’s very similar to Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman In Matthew 15, where he refused her request several times before granting it. Jesus wasn’t being cruel or discriminatory towards her, he was drawing out her faith and she became an unlikely example for even the apostles themselves.

God announces through Moses the punishment for the people. They will all die in the wilderness as the said they’d prefer. Everyone that was an adult when they left Egypt, and seen all that God had done, will die without entering into the land.

Then another group went up into the hills and tried to enter the land by begging God to be with them and forget what they said. But ironically, and tragically, the very people they claimed to be too afraid of ended up being the ones who killed them, because they refused to go up when God said he’d be with them, only to reverse course and go up after he told them not to.

Job 29-30

Job speaks of former days when he was happy and healthy, when his children were all around him, and when he was an honored member of the community. He mentions taking his seat in the town square by the gate of the city. This reference means he was involved in civic and judicial judgements, this is probably why he keeps using courtroom language like he’s taking a deposition of God. He also refutes his friend’s accusations of injustice towards the downtrodden when he says he judged favorably for the poor, the fatherless, widows and the dying.

But in chapter 30 he begins to recall how it’s all gone now, and all he has left is suffering. He contrasts his former positions of honor with his current state of derision by the community. Where the old and wise would even rise and stand when he came by in former days, he is now shamefully mocked even by children.

Mark 13:1-8

This chapter begins what is called The Olivete Discourse, and can also be found in Matthew 24. Jesus begins here with a prophecy of the destruction of the temple, and when they reach the Mount of Olives he is asked by his inner circle when this will take place.

On the threshold of his Passion Jesus announced the coming destruction of this splendid building, of which there would not remain “one stone upon another”. By doing so, he announced a sign of the last days, which were to begin with his own Passover. But this prophecy would be distorted in its telling by false witnesses during his interrogation at the high priest’s house, and would be thrown back at him as an insult when he was nailed to the cross.

CCC 585

Jesus gives them several signs to look for, and the context of most of the Olivet Discourse is this coming destructive of the temple, and with it all of Jerusalem. This all came to pass in AD 70 when the Romans destroyed the city during the First Jewish Revolt.

Many read this chapter, and the corresponding one in Matthew, as pertaining to the end of the world. This can be validly read I that light only as a partial prophecy, because it’s main focus and context was the coming destruction of the temple in less than 40 years time.

One of the things he cautioned them to look out for was false messiahs. Some contemporary sources tell us that there were in fact several of these false messiahs in the years leading up to AD70 and even beyond into the second century.

See Question; Israel & The Fig Tree for more on the Olivet Discourse and eschatology

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Job 31-32
Psalm 57
Mark 13:9:37

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: