Updated: Mar 7
Yesterday, as I monitored the idle chatter on the web page Episcopalians on Facebook, I saw some woman exclaim that her preparation class for Lent was having them read Mark 13, the “End Times” verses, in particular stating: “this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Mark 13:30b) The woman wanted to know why that would be of value for Lent. Of course, plenty of meaningless prattle followed.
First of all, the reading she referred to in Mark’s Gospel is only read aloud in Episcopal churches on the first Sunday of Advent, in the Year B. That means (if she actually was an Episcopalian and kept up with their Facebook church services during these most dangerous times of COVID19 pandemic fears), she would have heard a priest read those verses aloud just last November 29th (2020). If someone is having her study those verses in preparation for Lent, then her fears about its correlation with COVID19 says she is not prepared for Lent.
Does the first Sunday in Advent not seem like a parallel to Ash Wednesday. Is the end times of sin (preparing a body to receive baby Jesus within) not a lot like giving up chocolates or cigarettes for forty days? Anyway ….
She thinks she is being primed to think our generation is being forced to deal with the End Times, due to a pandemic … I guess. She, it seems, has no fear of COVID19 (presumably because she wears her mask religiously) and all she needs to know, in order to prepare for forty days of Episcopal Lent, is something to read that says, “You can do this!” Apparently, she does not want to think she is nearing death and the price that certainty demands (for true Salvation), so she thinks she is being led by some Lent preparation teacher, who has taken it upon himself or herself to pick out fear themed messages from Scripture.
Fear is such a great motivator. Just look at the television these days. The cross and rosary industry is booming!
Since I don’t post my opinions on the Episcopalians on Facebook page (for various reasons – all good), reading that post got me thinking about what I have analyzed in the past about Mark 13. I was surprised to find that I have not written an article (such as this) about those verses read during the Advent 1-B lessons. I wrote about Mark 13:33, but not Mark 13:30. I wrote a sermon that included this reading (in November 2014), but I did not address this specific verse. I know I analyzed these verses in the book The Star of Bethlehem, but nothing is there that details the meaning of “this generation” and “pass away.” So, I thought it would be good to write about this now.
First of all, to cherry pick Mark 13:30 is to deny everything said by Jesus to his disciples before, in Mark 13:1-29, and beyond [specifically Mark 13:31-37]. It is there that the End Times are stated by Jesus in a futuristic sense, stating what will be, in terms of what has not been for quite some time before.
Without a doubt, the Episcopalian woman on Facebook shrieks in fear whenever she sees an evangelical walking down the street, doing everything in her power to cross to the other side [a sign of hating her neighbor]. She thinks she has a right to hate evangelicals because she thinks they are ignorant for not knowing Jesus was talking about the destruction of the Temple, which came and went in 70 A.D. [atheists call that C.E. now days]. So, she thinks it is ignorance that projects that scene of destruction to our present or future.
This says she not only suffers from “better than thou” disease, but she also has a huge tumor atop her shoulders, called terminal Big Brain Syndrome. That causes tremendous disability to understand Scripture, because she kneels every day before the altar of Self and prays in the temple of Episcopalians on Facebook, offering the sacrifices of her thoughts as the charred remains of a lost religion for others to feast on.
When Jesus spoke in the future of destructive things coming, it is so easy to forget that all those things also happened before. The last Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians. All the Jews [Judeans then] were killed or rounded up and taken into bondage, with their precious land forevermore lost. Jesus was seeing a future that repeats the past. That repetition would certainly take place in 70 A. D., but it would forevermore take place. It is the way life on earth goes: build up, be destroyed.
As such, the same words spoken by Jesus to his disciples become metaphor for life in a human body of flesh. All bodies born will grow, until the time comes for them to break down and be destroyed. A soul, being eternal, as the breath of animation given by God to inanimate matter. Upon death, the soul leaves the dead matter and returns into new flesh, as commanded by God’s Will. Death is followed by new birth; and, then the cycle repeats.
This makes the End Times less important as some end of the world theme and become much more real and personal as each individual’s promise that your life in your body will come to an end, somehow, somewhere, sometime, for some reason, when you may or may not expect it to come. It does not matter how young you are, how strong you are, or how smart you are [watch the movie Charly … it won Cliff Robertson an Oscar!], because you will die; and, no one knows when their end will come.
The evangelicals who read The Revelation of John and speak lovingly of Jesus coming again to destroy the earth, while rapturing all the evangelicals [leaving all Catholics and Episcopalians to fry forevermore in intense heat], forget to think about why Jesus would come again with long white hair and a white beard. Is Jesus expected to grow old waiting by the Father in heaven? Is Jesus expected to get fed up with sin and come on a white horse with fire in his eyes and a double-edged sword as a tongue? Wouldn't Jesus have been fed up long before now, before his hair turned white?
Couldn’t all that imagery be Jesus Christ leading John to write, where the future is always the judgment of God coming, with His wrath being Judgment placed all the sinners in the world, especially those who claim to be Christians or Jews or otherwise worthy members of some religious sect who should be spared destruction?
Isn’t the long white hair and white beard a statement of God, not sweet Jesus? Isn’t God appearing like Jesus a statement to all those on earth who refused to become His Son reborn, so their old age will bring them their just rewards, as a sudden rush of dawning coming too late?
It seems Episcopalians would argue today [given the leaders they bow down before these days] that Jesus will come as a gay man-woman-biological freak of self-imposed gender determination, riding a rainbow colored unicorn, with a glint in his eye like Santa Claus and a cutting tongue that will condemn anyone who failed to become able to say, “I know if Jesus were here today, he would agree with what I believe!”
Does it not dawn on everyone who reads The Revelation that Jesus Christ was alive in John [he was Jesus reborn in the flesh, as an Apostle], telling him to write a letter and send it to all who claim to be Jews and Christians, telling them: If you do not stop being YOU and start being Jesus Christ reborn, then YOU will always have a judgment coming that is based on the things YOU did wrong, because YOU cannot remain YOU and be reborn as the Son of God. Therefore, the warning of “bad Jesus” coming is YOU deserve to be punished by God for refusing to lose Self and become Jesus resurrected, as a true Christian. Self always leads one to become “bad Jesus.” [So, YOU have no right to go around saying, “If Jesus were here today, he would say ….”]
The whole point of Jesus telling his disciples about coming destruction is as a lesson that says, “You cannot prevent death. The body of flesh is guaranteed to die. However, by dying of Self before physical death comes [the End Times, times two], that makes it possible to be reborn as the Son of God [able to truly call Him your Father], with a soul able to gain eternal life in heaven, so physical death is nothing to be worried about.”
So, when Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened,” he was telling his disciples they would all die of Self and be reborn in the name of Jesus Christ, before they would die physically. Please take note that "pass away" [from the Greek word "parelthē"] is not a coincidental reference for Jews, such that the Passover was coming up and "pass away" meant one of two options: death without the blood, life with the blood. All sacrificial lambs must "pass away" for others to be saved. The End Times, times two means one "passes away" willingly, then rises a new man, living in service to God Almighty, before old Father Time comes to collect the dirt clinging to one's soul.
The problem Big Brain Christians have is they read Mark 13 and see ancient history as the intent. They think Jesus told that to his disciples and they think the disciples were who Jesus foretold the future, which came true. Praise the Lord! Jesus hit the mark!
What they fail to see [or hear] is Jesus speaking to them today, through the words of Mark [and all the other prophets of the Holy Bible], so “this generation” is always pertinent to the readers. People forget the repetition of human life always includes birth and death; but the reason believers read divine texts is not to get a history lesson, or a life lesson, but to be transformed into an Apostle that is saved from eternal damnation, thus no longer needing to fear death.
What is completely missed in the one selection from Scripture is Jesus proceeded to tell his disciples several things that they needed to be aware of, although none of them would understand what he was teaching them at the time. Matthew wrote much the same as did Mark about the destruction times coming, but only Matthew told of the need to marry with God [the parable of the ten virgins], the need to utilize the spiritual gifts of God [the parable of the bags of gold], and the need to be judged as a servant of God, not just some follower of God’s laws [the parable of the sheep and goats]. All of those lessons are relative to what Mark wrote, “all these things have happened,” before “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Mark 13:31)
In each of the parables remembered by Matthew, those chosen by God [as His brides, as His faithful servants, and as His true faithful] will face a day of reckoning, or the Judgment Day. That is a real even in each soul’s future. The parables Jesus told that Matthew recorded are then saying there will be those who serve God, but fail to serve God as His Son reborn. That says [like Jesus Christ telling John to write a letter to the seven churches] not everyone claiming to be a Christian will be judged by God as having been Christian.
In these lessons taught by Jesus, which must be seen as being taught to readers, at all times, is Jesus was teaching his disciples that included Judas Iscariot. For every Big Brain that thinks Jesus was talking about the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem (by the Romans) in 70 .D., none of them take the time to realize Judas never lived to see that event. Judas became a reflection of the destruction without the benefit received by the Apostles. Judas was a bridesmaid whose lamp ran out of oil. Judas was the lazy servant who buried his bag gold, so it never multiplied in value. Judas was the goat who was cast into the outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. Judas was a Big Brain way back then; and, just as history repeats, the world is full of Judases today.
When Jesus told his lessons to twelve lead disciples (along with however many followers of lesser rank that attended his ‘workshop’), the ratio of success stories in the future would be eleven out of twelve would sacrifice Self and be reborn as Jesus Christ [even though none of the attendees knew what Jesus meant, at the time]. That high percentage was specific to those who believed in Jesus, such that Judas was one of the twelve Jews who was straddling the line between the standard [the Temple philosophy] and the unique [the Son of man]. On Pentecost Sunday (fifty days or more later), twelve [one follower added to replace Judas] Apostles began preaching just like Jesus and suddenly three thousand more Apostles were added to their number. Still, 3012 was a drop in the bucket to the whole amount of Jews and barely a moisture of dew in the air, compared to the whole amount of pagans in the world. Over a thousand years the numbers would turn in favor of Christianity; but then, over the subsequent thousand years that followed, the number would begin to drop – another example of history repeating.
Today, there are not many places where one can go and hear someone reborn as Jesus Christ preaching. Therefore, there is little hope that anyone will be taught like Jesus, especially in some forum like Episcopalians on Facebook. We have reached the end of an age.
While the translation of Mark’s thirteenth chapter exclude the word “age,” the duplicate version in Matthew has the disciples come to Jesus privately asking, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” [Mark writes, “What will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”] In Matthew the disciple ask about “aiōnos,” which means, “an age, a cycle (of time), especially of the present age as contrasted with the future age, and of one of a series of ages stretching to infinity.” When they both say the disciples asked “What will be the sign?” [from the Greek word “semeion”], the words “sign” and “age” go together [whether or not the disciples had brains big enough to figure it out] to ask,” What astrological sign will be on the eastern horizon on the first day of spring, which indicates the ages of mankind, based on the wobble of the earth called precession.
At the time Jesus came to the world, the Age of Pisces had only just begun. Now, two thousand years later, modern Christians are living at the end of that Age, with the Age of Aquarius not far away [in a century or two]. Thus, the End Times can also be a reference to the time when the Age of Pisces ends and the Age of Aquarius takes over. The Age of Pisces [known by God beforehand] is symbolic of self-sacrifice for a higher goal, which true Christianity is ALL about. The Age of Aquarius is all about knowledge and recognizing those who made it possible for one to be what one has become, while one helped another be what the other wanted to become – a mutually beneficial self-worth-fest.
So, the moral of this story told in Mark’s thirteenth chapter (and Matthew’s twenty-fourth chapter) is relative to the times one lives in. Soon, no one will ever have thought Jesus was anything more than an imaginary fairy tale, believed only by children and fools. All the Episcopalians on Facebook will have driven out all the ‘conservatives’ [the hated evangelicals] and the government will have made it illegal to practice any form of religious belief. Science will be the altar all human beings must bow down before and pay homage. No one will have to go to a class that prepares them for a period of sacrifice, as that will begin in the education system, where children are sent to government processing centers, where their brains will be analyzed and the child will be molded into what a computer program deems to be where future development should be directed.
And, you will only have a lack of true faith today to blame that future on.