Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bible Study: Synoptics #17: End Times Discourse

Relevant Readings

The primary readings for this chapter are Matthew 24:1-25:46, Mark 13:1-37, and Luke 21:1-36.

Additional passages are: Genesis 18:25, Ezekiel 32:7-8, Psalms 7:7-8; 73:25-26; 84:2-3,11-12; 96:13; 110:5-7, Proverbs 19:17, Isaiah 13:9-11; 58:6-9, Ezekiel 34:17, Daniel 7:13, Joel 2:10-13, Amos 8:9, Zechariah 9:14, Matthew 5:22,29-30; 7:13-14; 10:28; 16:24-28; 18:7-9; 23:13-15, Mark 9:41; 14:61-62; 16:19, John 14:1-3, Acts 7:55-56, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, Colossians 3:1-4, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Hebrews 6:4-6,10-12; 13:1-3, James 1:27; 2:15-17, 1 Peter 3:21-22, and Revelation 1:13; 14:14; 15:4; 16:7.

Summary

Matthew 24:1-25:46 Mark 13:1-37 Luke 21:1-36




1-4 Jesus praises the widow who offers her little wealth.
24:
1-2
Jesus foresees the destruction of the temple. 1-2 Jesus foresees the destruction of the temple. 5-6 Jesus foresees the destruction of the temple.
3-14 On the Mount of Olives, some disciples ask Jesus about the signs of [Christ]'s coming, and the end of the age. Jesus tells them of false Messiahs and prophets; wars, famines, and earthquakes; people being persecuted because of belief in Christ; and the preaching of the gospel to all the earth. 3-13 On the Mount of Olives, Peter, James, John, and Andrew ask Jesus about the signs when all these things are about to come to an end. Jesus tells them of false Messiahs and prophets; wars, famines, and earthquakes; people being persecuted because of belief in Christ; and the preaching of the gospel to all the earth. 7-19 At the temple, disciples ask Jesus for signs about when all these things are about to happen. Jesus tells them about false Messiahs and prophets; wars, earthquakes, famines, and plagues; signs in the heavens; and people being persecuted because of belief in Christ.
15-28 Jesus foretells the fate of Jerusalem, the tribulations, and the coming of the Son of Man. 14-23 Jesus foretells the fate of Jerusalem and the tribulations. 20-24 Jesus foretells the fate of Jerusalem and the time of punishment when all the scriptures are fulfilled.
29-31 Jesus describes the darkening of the sun and moon, stars falling from the sky, the powers of the heavens being shaken, and the coming of the Son of Man in glory. 24-27 Jesus describes the darkening of the sun and moon, stars falling from the sky, the powers of the heavens being shaken, and the coming of the Son of Man in glory. 25-28 Jesus describes signs in the sun, moon, and stars, nations in dismay, the powers of the heavens being shaken, and people dying of fright. He describes the coming of the Son of Man in glory, bringing redemption.
32-35 Jesus uses the fig tree to show that his second coming will be clearly forewarned by signs. Matthew writes that this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 28-31 Jesus uses the fig tree to show that his second coming will be clearly forewarned by signs. Mark writes that this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 29-33 Jesus uses the fig tree to show that his second coming will be clearly forewarned by signs. Luke writes that this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.
36 Jesus says that no one knows the day but the Father. 32 Jesus says that no one knows the day but the Father.
37-42 Jesus uses the flood as an example of people going about their daily business up to the very moment of the flood; people will not know on which day [the] Lord will come. 33-37 Jesus uses an example of a man traveling abroad; his servants do not know the hour of his return, and must be vigilant not to be caught sleeping when he returns. 34-36 Jesus warns them against becoming drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life and being caught by surprise when the day comes.
45-51 Jesus uses the example of a servant who is taking care of the household when his master returns, and contrasts him with a wicked servant who falls into sloth and drunkenness.
25:
1-13
Jesus tells the parable of the ten virgins at the wedding.
14-30 Jesus tells the parable of the talents.
31-46 Jesus explains that whatever you do for the least of your fellow man, you have done for Christ.

Questions

  1. What can you learn from these Old Testament verses: Genesis 18:25, Psalm 7:7-8, Psalm 96:13, and Psalm 110:5-7?
    In Genesis 18:25, Abraham is asking God if the wicked and the just truly share the same fate. In Psalm 7:7-8, we read that the LORD will judge the wicked. Psalm 96:13 tells that the LORD judges with justice and faithfulness. Psalm 110:5-7 tells us that the Lord will judge nations and end kingdoms.
  2. Compare Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:24-25, and Luke 21:25-26.
    These three passages tells of the tribulation: the sun darkens, the moon stops shining, stars fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Luke doesn't describe the events as specifically as Matthew and Mark do.
  3. What does Jesus advise and foretell in Matthew 16:24-28?
    Jesus talks giving your life up to Christ, so that you may truly live. He also mentions his resurrection as well as the final judgment.
  4. Identify distinct information from Matthew 24:30-31, Mark 13:26-27, and Luke 21:27-28.
    Matthew mentions mourning by the tribes of the earth, and a trumpet blast from the angels. Mark's is the simplest, and mentions the Son of Man coming in the clouds. Luke's rendition encourages the faithful to raise your heads because redemption is at hand.
  5. To whom does Jesus foretell the second coming in Mark 14:61-62?
    The Sanhedrin (Mark 14:55).
  6. Describe the situation in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18.
    This message from Paul is one basis for the idea of the "rapture" (Matthew 1:39-41).
  7. What can you learn from these Old Testament prophets: Isaiah 13:9-11, Ezekiel 32:7-8, Joel 2:10-13, and Amos 8:9?
    Isaiah contains references to the sun darkening, the moon ceasing to shine, and the judgment of the wicked. Ezekiel mentions the sun, moon, and stars as well. Joel does too, but also follows by describing the merciful and kind qualities of God, and urges repentance. The verse in Amos refers to darkness at midday.
  8. To whom do these verses point: Daniel 7:13, Acts 7:55-56, Revelation 1:13, and Revelation 14:14?
    All four reference the Son of Man, Christ.
  9. What two things are made clear in Revelation 15:4 and Revelation 16:7?
    In Revelation 15:4, John sees all nations glorifying God and God alone. In Revelation 16:7, the "altar" professes that God's judgments are true and just.
  10. How is the Last Judgment identified in Zechariah 9:14, Matthew 24:29-31, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16?
    All four connect a trumpet blast to the Last Judgment.
  11. What will be brought to light on the last day?
    CCC 678 explains that our conduct, and the secrets of our hearts, will be brought to light upon the Last Day.
  12. How can someone risk condemnation, according to CCC 679, Matthew 25:31-46, and 2 Timothy 4:3-4?
    The CCC tells us that by rejecting the grace granted to us by God through Christ, we bring judgment upon ourselves and condemn ourselves. In Matthew, we read that Jesus will say to those condemned what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me. In Paul's letter to Timothy, he writes that people who stop listening to the truth [will] be diverted to myths and thereby ignore Christ.
  13. Explain these three parables: Matthew 24:45-51, Matthew 25:1-13, and Matthew 25:14-30.
    The parable of the faithful servant reminds us to remain faithful Christians: we do not know when Christ's return is, and we must not fall prey to wickedness and sin. The parable of the ten virgins at the wedding illustrates our need to be vigilant and prepared for the coming of Christ at all times, and that the Last Judgment is not up to us, and we cannot vouch for others with our own works. The last parable, of the master and the talents, shows how we must use our God-given abilities the best we can, and not to squander the gifts God bestows on us. Just as the servant who buried his talent produced no gain for his master, if we ignore our talents and do not put them toward service in God, we make no return for what God has given us.
  14. Compare Ezekiel 34:17 and Matthew 25:31-33.
    Both refer to the separation of the faithful (sheep) and the wicked (goats) onto the right and left sides of God at the judgment.
  15. Is it possible to renounce the gift of salvation?
    Paul writes in Hebrews 6:4-6 that it is.
  16. What encouragement do the following verses provide: Isaiah 58:6-9, Matthew 25:34-40, James 1:27;2:15-17, and Hebrews 13:1-3?
    The LORD shall reward those who help the oppressed, clothe the naked, and feed the hungry.
  17. Identify the promise in these verses: Proverbs 19:17, Mark 9:41, and Hebrews 6:10-12.
    In Proverbs, we read that God repays those who serve ([have] compassion on) the poor. In Mark, Jesus says that whoever serves those who serve Christ are rewarded. Paul writes in Hebrews that God rewards those who serve the holy ones.
  18. What does Jesus teach in the following verses: Matthew 5:22, Matthew 5:29-30, Matthew 10:28, Matthew 18:7-9, and Matthew 23:13-15?
    Jesus is urging us to avoid and purge ourselves of those things which cause us to be sinful, and those who would lead us to sin.
  19. What do Matthew 25:46 and CCC 1033 have to say about Hell? How can one avoid ending up in Hell, according to Matthew 7:13-14, CCC 1036, and CCC 1037?
    Matthew mentions eternal damnation, and the CCC describes hell as the state of definitive self-exclusion from the communion with God. Matthew writes that it is indeed a narrow path, as others have noted as well: The wayfarer,
    Perceiving the pathway to truth,
    Was struck with astonishment.
    It was thickly grown with weeds.
    "Ha," he said,
    "I see that none has passed here
    In a long time."
    Later he saw that each weed
    Was a singular knife.
    "Well," he mumbled at last,
    "Doubtless there are other roads."
    ~ "The Wayfarer" by Stephen Crane
    The CCC reaffirms this.
  20. What hope can be gleaned from these passages: Psalm 73:25-26, Psalm 84:2-3,11-12, Mark 16:19, John 14:1-3, Acts 7:55-56, Colossians 3:1-4, and 1 Peter 3:21-22?
    God is the rock of my heart and my shield. We are made for God -- we long for Him. Jesus has ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the dwelling place of God. Christ has prepared for each of us a place in heaven. If we live in Christ, we shall be raised to new life in Him.

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