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The Bible In A Year: Day 60

Job 31-32
Psalm 57
Mark 13:9:37

We’ve reached the last of Job’s speeches. In this one he will again assert his innocence, and even run through a list of serious offenses that he is denying having committed. The thing about Job is that he knows he’s not perfect, and that’s why he was often sacrificing and atoning for sins, but he also knows he hasn’t consciously committed a serious sin enough for this calamity to be punishment from God. That’s why he keeps asking for God to reveal to him the reason all this has happened.

A few of the sins he denies in this last speech are, lust, fraud, adultery, oppression of the poor, materialism, harshly treating employees, concealing crimes, idolatry, and a few others.

After Job speaks his final words, a new person steps on the scene. This new person takes to the microphone after the original three friends stop talking because Job is convinced of his innocence.

Elihu steps in and says he’d been waiting to speak because he was so much younger and didn’t want to talk out of turn. He is frustrated with the circular arrangements and figures he has an answer. He does make a good point that being and elder may come with lived experience, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that person is wise, because real wisdom comes from God.

Mark 13:9-37

Jesus continues his Olivet Discourse here with some more warnings of what to look for when the destruction of Jerusalem comes. He tells them of coming persecutions and says that the gospel must reach all nations before the end. Interestingly, the gospel had spread to all corners of the Roman world by AD 70.

He warns that when they see the “desolating sacrilege” set up in the temple, they are to flee for the hills. This is a direct callback to Daniel and his prophecy of a desolating sacrilege that was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes set up an altar to Zeus in the Jerusalem Temple. So Jesus is telling them to look for a similar sign as that.

So when the inhabitants of Jerusalem seen the enemies surrounding them, and eventually the hated eagle standard of the Roman legions, that had never before flown in the temple courtyards, now being planted there as a flag claiming the land, they would no doubt recall the previous desecration of their temple. Eusebius notes that during the siege of Jerusalem, the Christian community took refuge in towns in the hills across the Jordan river and mostly survived a calamity that claimed upwards of one million lives.

Jesus also gives some astrological signs including the sun being darkened and the moon refusing to shine, also the stars falling from heaven. These can be read in a literal sense, which is what people do when they read the Olivet Discourse in a eschatological way, or they can be a type of hyperbole similar to the camel going through an eye of a needle. In that second way of reading this, these signs are meant to mean an extreme calamity that will shake even the natural world because it is such a huge shake up, a huge shake up like the permanent end of the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.

Another possibility that I’ve seen mentioned by Jimmy Akin is that the temple had paintings of astrological bodies all over the ceiling, and when it was destroyed they came crashing to the ground.

Jesus closes the discourse out by telling the disciples to be watchful and waiting, because all these things will come to pass in this generation. Less than 40 years after he spoke those words it did indeed come to pass, but not all his apostles lived to see it. Many of his apostles and followers met their own judgment days long before Jerusalem did, and the warning to be prepared was meant also for them, just as it is meant for us.

We may not live to see the second coming, but we’ll all live to see our own judgment days, and for that we must be prepared. Memento Mori

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Job 33-34
Psalm 58
Mark 14:1-11

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