This evening we are reading through Mark 11-13 when Jesus is in Jerusalem but prior to his trial and Passion. As we looked at when we began our study of Mark, this Gospel is in the genre of an apocalypse. Throughout his Gospel, we see Mark’s use of symbolic language to tell us of the battle between good insiders and evil outsiders and where the hidden things, such as Jesus’s true identity, become disclosed. Mark 13 is known as the “Little Apocalypse” where all of these themes reach a crescendo. Within this section, also called the “Olivet Discourse” (because Jesus was speaking from the Mount of Olives), Mark draws heavily from the language and imagery from the end of the Book of Daniel:
- Jesus admonition to endure to the end (Mark 13:13) is taken from the concluding verse of Daniel (12:12-13).
- In Mark 13:14-23, Jesus speaks of the “Abomination of Desolation” and false Christs. These words are taken from Daniel 11:31 and 12:11. At the time of the Daniel prophecies, the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes IV desecrated the Temple in 167 BC by sacrificing a pig in the Holy of Holies. This set off the Maccabean Rebellion. At the time Mark wrote his Gospel, the Romans were carrying out a similar desecration during the Jewish Rebellion of 66-72 AD.
- Mark 13:24-27 speaks of celestial signs and the Son of Man descending on clouds. This imagery is drawn directly from Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:13. (It is also from this verse in Mark that Charles Wesley begins his great Advent hymn.)
If you have time today, read through the apocalypse of Daniel 7-12 and compare it overall tone and imagery with that of Mark 13.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is Pork Bolognese & Mafalda Pasta. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.
Lo! he comes, with clouds descending,– Charles Wesley
once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of his train:
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
Christ the Lord returns to reign.