Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mark 13:24-27 Paper

Here's a paper on Mark 13:24-27 I wrote this spring.

Mark 13:24-27:
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven."
Excerpt from the introduction:
"In Mark’s gospel Jesus refers three times to the future coming of the Son of Man (8:38; 13:26; 14:62). These passages have commonly been interpreted as references to the second coming of Christ at the end of this age. A minority of scholars, however, have opted for a different interpretation, arguing that it is not Jesus’ parousia that is in view in these passages but his exaltation in the presence of God after his death. . . . It is my thesis that Mark 13:24-27 points to a time after the tribulation described in Mark 13:14-23 when a series of catastrophic natural events will accompany the powerful and glorious coming of the Son of Man in the clouds to earth. At that time he will send out his angels and he will gather to himself the elect from around the world. In the first section, the exaltation view will be summarized, and then the place of 13:24-27 in Mark’s wider denunciation of the temple will be considered. In the second section, a brief survey of the whole of Mark 13 will be provided, since a careful consideration of the whole of Mark 13 will be required in order to properly interpret 13:24-27. Third, Mark 13:24-27 will be examined carefully, particularly in light of the Old Testament passages it employs. Finally a brief survey of the two parables which close out Mark 13 will be undertaken in order to underline the argument that Mark 13:24-27 does indeed portray the parousia of the Son of Man."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Update on Chinese Persecution

A Chinese friend of mine whose church in China was raided by government officials has passed along the following note from a member of that church:
Hi, everyone

Please have a look at the following note.

May 11, Sunday morning, as we were about to start worshiping, some officials and policemen came, they claimed that our gathering was lawless, and tried to dismiss people and stop the worship. Very few people left, and the pastor, elder Christians and everyone present refused their request in a peaceable but firm way. The worship went on, with their photographing and videotaping. And after a short teaching, they requested us all to register the name, ID,working/studying place, address, phone number. Most Christians left the information.

I am so thankful to God that during this process, we indeed keep a quiet and steady heart, no panic, no fear, no furious clash with the officials. I think most of us, bold enough to leave our information,show a kind of publicity of the faith, for being a Christian is no shame, even in China.

The elders think there might be some pressure from the government afterwards. Yet no one knows what it will be. Sure the pastor and main workers in the church are under bigger stress, than us.

As you already knew, the next day, big earthquake happened in southwest China. Even in my working place, a 21 floor office in Beijing, the shake was apparent. Thousands of people have died in this calamity, lots of them, might never heard of the gospel. My dear friends, I hope you can pray for China with me, for the people in this tribulation, for gospel's preaching all over the land, for better environment to worship . I do believe, God's hand is working in this country, however stubborn the soil is, His will and His power are unconquerable.

Bless China!
Continue to pray for the endurance of the saints in China and the effectiveness of their witness.

Monday, May 12, 2008

China Stepping Up Persecution Ahead of Olympics

The Weekly Standard reports:
With less than 100 days to go before the Beijing Olympics, China has stepped up its crackdown on the country’s underground Christian church. Since the beginning of May, the authorities have conducted at least eight raids on house churches. The latest such incident took place yesterday in Beijing. More than two dozen police, along with officials of the religious affairs bureau, interrupted a gathering at the Shouwang Church and took the names, ID card numbers, home addresses, and phone numbers of all church members present.
Pray for our brothers and sisters in China.