Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You better watch out! (Mat. 24)

Watch the classic German flick M some time. It's a standard police procedural with some interesting twists. The criminal underclass makes common cause with the police to track down a child murderer. The characters are recognizable types, the cops and robbers so frequently encountered in our own movies, acting as expected.

The kicker? The movie was released, I believe, in 1938 or 1939. The perfectly normal society it depicts is -- Nazi Germany. When you are on the eve of dramatic and permanent cultural disaster, it's still hard to believe that life won't go on just the same as always.

Some of our Lord's words were starting to worry His disciples. If He felt free to castigate the legitimate rulers of Israel, what could the Israel that followed their lead hope for? In their anxiety, the disciples pointed out the apparent permanence of the cultural landmarks at the center of their identity as Jews.[1] "Master! Look at these buildings! This magnificent masonry!"

"So?" Jesus replied. "Not one of these stones will be left standing on another."[2]

"When will all this happen?" the startled disciples asked when they'd settled down for the evening. The resulting conversation, the Olivet Discourse, is reported in all three of the synoptic gospels. It is couched in the Biblical language of prophecy, using themes and metaphors drawn from prior scripture. Jesus answers their "when" question thus:
Size doğrusuna söyleyeyim, bütün bunlar olmadan bu kuşak ortadan kalkmayacak.
I'm telling you straight, this generation will not have moved on before all of these things happen. (in the Turkish, you can string together double negatives for emphasis. Jesus means exactly what He's saying.)

So what are we supposed to do? Well, Jesus tells us several things NOT to do:
Sakın kimse sizi saptırmasın!
Korkmayın sakın!
Do NOT let anyone deceive you.
Do NOT be afraid.

And, one thing the listeners were assured of:
Ama sonuna kadar dayana, kurtulacaktır.
A few words:
  • bu kuşak -- this generation
  • bütün bunlar -- all of these things
  • Sakın -- watch out! Beware!
  • saptırmak-- deceive
  • korkmak -- fear
  • sonuna -- to the end
  • kurtulacaktır -- will be saved
When Jesus came with / in the clouds of judgment, the whole world beheld that the Son of God was, indeed, reigning from heaven. Those who were prepared to drop everything and head for the hills escaped with their lives. They had endured, holding fast their allegiance to Israel's Messiah, even when most of Israel went back to "business as usual." Therefore, they were ready, when the prophesied events came to pass, to make a run for it.

Tough times don't last, Robert Schuller entitled a book of his. But tough people do.

______________

[1] To this day, during a Jewish wedding, a crystal goblet is broken to commemorate the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem.

[2] When the temple caught fire, much of the gold trim and accessories melted, and flowed down between the building stones. To recover the gold, the Romans dismantled the ruins stone by stone.

2 comments:

dori said...

Interesting - next time I watch Fiddler on the Roof I'll look for the crystal goblet breaking.

In English you can use double negatives for emphasis, too, just not in the prestige dialects.

dori said...

Interesting - next time I watch Fiddler on the Roof I'll look for the crystal goblet breaking.

In English you can use double negatives for emphasis, too, just not in the prestige dialects.