Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000
#86. Jesus ends his lengthy answer, not with a picture of world doom, but a warning, counsel to all his disciples of any future Age or period. In the Books of Mark and Luke these are brief and limited to a couple paragraphs. Basically, they warn of the need to remain alert, awake, and in expectation of Christ’s Return. Essentially, Jesus says no disciple can know the time of his Return and must, therefore, remain on guard. Remember, even the Nazarene is ignorant216 of the “appointed time” of his own Parousia!
|216||IGNORANT. Some will object to this word, but it means not to know something and this is what Jesus admits at Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32. Since the Nazarene does not know “the day and hour” of his own royal visit or parousia then it follows he himself has not somehow figured out, say Daniel chapter 4, and made it into some time-chronology which would predict the exact year of his Coming. Those interested in Daniel chapter 4 should read it and note the eight occurrences of the word “interpretation” and how this dream is explained by the angel and the historical developments.|
#87. Luke has the Nazarene saying not to be lured into inattention, overeating, drunkenness and life’s anxieties. In Luke he assures his disciples, ‘For it (the parousia- Judgment) will come to all those on the entire globe. Keep awake and keep praying you will be strong enough to escape all that is about to occur and to hold your stance before the Son of Man.’ (Luke 21:34-36)
#88. Matthew, on the other hand, has Jesus giving a number of parables which emphasize this matter of remaining alert and in expectation. There are four parables: the faithful and evil slave, the wise and foolish virgins, the parable of the talents, and, finally, the longest, the parable of the sheep and goats. All these parables have something in common: a good group and a bad group. Who cannot say these are warnings to those Christian disciples particularly alive when the Master does return? There is another important element in these parables: judgment. For this reason it can be called the parousia-Judgment, that is, the Master’s inspection and accounting of his own Household upon his Return or Arrival. What is this judgment all about?
#89. We have already seen how Paul teaches everyone will be resurrected but in a certain order. In 1 Corinthians 15:21-24 he lists principally, not counting Christ himself, two resurrections: a first and a last. The first, the resurrection of all professing Christians. The next, last or second, to occur later in what he calls “the end.” We leave it to the Apocalypse to discuss this final or last Judgment. (Hebrews 6:2) The writer of Hebrews, whom many consider to be Paul, states this divine fact: ‘It is ordained that all men die, but after this, a judgment.’ (Hebrews 9:26, 27) In the case of Christian believers, all those who profess “Jesus Christ is Lord,”217 will also be resurrected to face their judgment. Paul teaches, ‘For all of us must stand before the judgment of Christ to receive our award for the things done while alive, whether good or vile.’218 (2 Corinthian 5:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5 ) Peter makes it clear that this judgment ‘begins with the House of God.’ (1 Peter 4:17) This is the parousia-Judgment which Jesus taught in his parables of the Master returning for inspection of his Household. (Ephesians 2:19; 1 Timothy 3:15)
|217||JESUS IS LORD! A basic confession of all Christians. (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11; Matthew 7:21; 25:37, 44)|
|218||GOOD OR VILE. Compare John 5:29 and Daniel 12:2.|
#90. These are sobering matters for all professing Christians today, whether Christ returns in our lifetimes or not. Jesus’ teachings on these matters can be reduced to two: stay ready, and be kind and charitable to others. It is really a summary of all his teachings, including the Golden Rule. Note, that in the parable of the sheep and goats, the goats are such, not for evil deeds, but for failure to take positive, charitable and humane steps toward their fellows.
#91. If Jesus’ teaching is anything, it is about loving interest in others, which is displayed by positive action with good and kind results. Whether the King returns in our lifetime or not, these will never change. All of us Christians will be held accountable for this day, today, regarding our speech and actions. (Matthew 12:36, 37; 2 Corinthians 5:10) A re-reading of the Sermon on the Mount (or, Song of Perfection)219 will assist in reminding each one of their duty to others. In affect, this day, as you read this, might well be the last page in your record book, that Book220 of accountability221 God keeps on all mankind. Do you not want what could be the last page to reflect what you really are as a Christian? Reflect on these parables and meditate on how you can better represent the humanity, good manners, kind actions, and Christ-like character demonstrated in these illustrations.
|219||SERMON ON THE MOUNT. See the two commentaries on the Sermon on the Mount: Song of Perfection and The Nazarene’s Mountain Teachings.|
|220||BOOK. Exodus 32:32, 33; Psalm 69:28; 139:16; Isaiah 4:3; Malachi 3:16; Luke 10:20; Revelation 20:12.|
|221||ACCOUNTABLE. Compare Matthew 12:36; Romans 2:6, 15, 16; 14:10-12.|
#92. We have dealt with the above matters in the Nazarene’s answer regarding his disciples’ request for some “sign” because it lays the groundwork for an understanding of one of the Bible’s most complex and misunderstood books, The Revelation, or Apocalypse. Those of us who believe in the inspiration of the Bible, and the Prophet Jesus Christ the Nazarene, are confident that the Son of God’s answer will harmonize perfectly with what we will find in Apocalypse. With great hope and expectation, let us now examine the Bible’s last book and the apocalyptic visions revealed by Christ to his beloved John.
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
©2000 All Rights Reserved