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Luke 21:25-36 - Stand up and raise your heads

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Jesus said, "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."


Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.


"Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."


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This is the Gospel selection to be read aloud by a priest on the first Sunday of Advent, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow an Old Testament reading from Jeremiah 33, where the prophet was told by Yahweh that “the days are surely coming … when [He] will fulfill the promise [He] made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” That will be followed by a singing of Psalm 25, where David sang, “Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions; remember me according to your love and for the sake of your goodness Yahweh.” Those will precede a reading from Paul’s first letter to the Christians of Thessaly, when he wrote, “Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.”


The last time this reading came up in the lectionary cycle (2018), I wrote a deep evaluation of what Paul’s words say. Because of that depth, I will not restate that already written. If you would like to read that commentary, it can be accessed by clicking on this link. I will now offer more of an overview of what this reading presents, relative to it being read on the first Sunday of Advent.


These words of Jesus follow his telling the disciples that the Temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed. That was the Gospel presentation on the twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 28], the lesson before the last Sunday after Pentecost [Christ the King Sunday, last week]. This continuation here in the first week of Advent means the end of one will be the beginning of another, where the same destruction of the old is still ongoing into the reformation of the new.


This lesson of the change from an old to a new is then metaphor, where “there will be signs” that follow the same repetitive motions of the bodies of the Solar System, including the precession of the stars over ages. Jesus was saying change is inevitable, in the same way that birth [the new] always leads to death [the old], when the eternal life of a soul must be recycled or returned to a different state of being. The prophecy Jesus gave was, “Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory.” This means a soul will be reborn with the seed of the soul of Jesus planted inside the womb of one’s soul. A wife of Yahweh will realize inner changes that means the past must be wholly destroyed, so the future will be a new temple-tabernacle where Yahweh can reside and His Son become the high priest. This is what makes it possible to “stand up and raise your heads,” in order to begin a new rest of your life as a priest in the name of Jesus, as a Christ reborn, so “your redemption [can] draw near.”


In the parable of the fig tree, one needs to realize that summer is not the first season of a year. Winter is the season symbolizing death, with spring the season symbolizing rebirth. Summer is then when the signs of bearing fruit begin to show. When Jesus said this is when “you know that the kingdom of God is near,” that depends on the fruit one bears. Good spiritual fruit will be desired by many and it will nourish their spiritual needs. The same cycle also applies to weeds and poisonous fruits, which human cannot safely consume. This means “the kingdom of God is near” is the cycle of death coming closer, when judgment will be rendered. Just as the season never end, they only change, so too is it with a soul. The words of Jesus are those of Yahweh, so they have eternal meaning that will always be true.


The final segment in this reading then is Jesus warning that it is the fruit one produces that will be that which factors into one’s soul’s judgment. The cycle of old and new is yearly, so oneself can be transformed from a weed to a fig tree in a mid-life change. The thing that keeps people from this change that involves a soul divinely marrying Yahweh and receiving His Spirit, so within one’s womb of self circulates the coming of a new self, as the soul of Jesus possessing one’s soul and resurrecting as the Lord of one’s body of flesh. That is the good fruit of the true vine that must take place. However, Jesus warned of the weight placed on a heart that becomes the addictions of the worldly realm [drunkenness and worries], which keep one’s soul from desiring inner change. Everyone that has a soul will face this time of decision, when one must change for righteous sake or be judged as a selfish sinner. Thus, Jesus prayed that “you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”


In the translation as “Son of Man,” the capitalization of “Man” gives the impression that Jesus is the only “Son of Man.” That misleading thought keeps others of mankind [men and women] from seeing the truth, thinking only Jesus can ever be Jesus. The truth is “anthrōpou” is not capitalized, so “of man” means everyone that is a soul in human flesh [mankind] will be called upon to be reborn as “the Son.” Failure to do this says one’s soul did not have “the strength to stand” and not lay down in defeat. When Jesus said “stand before the Son,” this is an indication that one’s soul will stand before Yahweh at a time of judgment – prior to death – when Yahweh will decide if He will marry one’s soul. This means one’s soul will “face” Yahweh [stand before]; and, the only way to do that and gain eternal life [life to face Yahweh] is to wear His face as one’s own. That new “face” will be “the Son of man,” who always wears the face of Yahweh.


The lesson fits the theme of Jeremiah, where the prophecy is the coming time when a new growth will spring out as a “Beloved” of Yahweh [a wife and the meaning of the name “David”], who will take on his name in marriage as “Yahweh one’s righteousness.” The name that we now know will be Jesus, which means “Yah[weh] Saves.” It will be like David was, when he was divinely inspired to write Psalm 25, beginning by singing, “into Yahweh my soul will be lifted up.” That will happen when one’s soul marries Yahweh and receives His Spirit. It is the love that brings two together in union, just as Paul wrote: “[bearing Yahweh’s Son within you] make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.”


As a Gospel reading to be read aloud on the first Sunday of Advent, the newness of a cycle calls for inner change. One needs to let the old fall away, so a new self can emerge, one that is committed to a righteous path. That road can only be traveled with a helper or advocate, which is the gift of Jesus being sent into one’s soul by Yahweh. The only way to become saved, to earn the reward of eternal life with Yahweh, is to become His Son, reborn into the body of flesh [mankind] again.

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