sexta-feira, 21 de abril de 2017


Truly I tell you,
this generation will certainly not pass away
until all these things have happened.
Mark 13:30 (read 13:24-37) – NIV

Jesus describes a series of catastrophic events and then declares "This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened”. But that generation has long passed away as well as hundreds of later generations without the historical end of the world that many people were expecting. In spite of this many amateur biblical interpreters insist on projecting these end events even further into the future. Was Jesus mistaken? Or has the interpretation been all off? Was Jesus wrong, or are we wrong in our reading of what Jesus was reported to have said?

One of the problems of Western culture is that we don’t know how to read and interpret ancient texts. We have a logos mentality. The logos mentality is rational, pragmatic, and literal. We read ancient texts as though they are related to concrete historical and literal events. The logos interpretation continues to wait for the literally historical fulfillment of prophecies of the end of time. This is a vain and frustrating wait, and it keeps us trying to project things further into the future in a literal way. Ironically, for many, Jesus has been returning soon for nearly 2,000 years.

The ancient writers, including the Old and New Testament writers expressed themselves with a mentality different from ours. Scholars of ancient texts call this the “mythos” mentality. Mythos is the symbolic perception of reality. Jesus was a great storyteller and taught through parables and metaphors. Also his actions were not mere events in themselves, but were carriers of deeper truths. The message is not about predicted historical events themselves but in what they represent.

The misguided people are we Westerners who take these ancient teachings literally and seek to transform them into prophecies to be fulfilled in historic events. With this approach each generation needs to find a new set of "facts" to be assigned to the prophecies, because the previous generation’s interpretations did not materialize. This has generated an endless series of frustrations and disappointments. For example, during over 70 years of being a professing Christians I have seen a series of apocalyptic antichrists identified each with hundreds of proofs. None have worked out and I am seeing new ones appearing on the horizon.

Jesus was speaking not of historical facts but of eternal, universal truths. The text speaks of the depth of human experience: the suffering and despair, hope and redemption. There are times when the sun of our lives is blotted and life loses its luster. It seems that the sky is falling in upon our heads and we will be crushed. But the "Son of Man" comes to us and we find ourselves surrounded by "angels" that unite us with others who are also being rescued by God.

These things happen in all generations and in every life. We do not know the future and they can happen at any moment - thus the necessity to stay alert.

The, mythos reading, is much more comforting and rich than the logos reading that seeks cold facts for intellectual satisfaction. Mythos coexists with the mystery of the when and the how and has no need for explanations. It opens doors for worship, art, music and poetry.

The logos reality brings no hope. The world is heading for the abyss. Our Western culture is crumbling. The increase in violence, the inability of governments to contain the collapse of order and the establishment of a parallel government of crime and economic exploitation is frightening to us. The spiritual vacuum is being filled with drugs and consumerism. We need the reality of the mythos to be able to face the reality of logos. Behind the concrete facts that we can examine by logic there is another reality that speaks to our intuition and that gives us meaning and strength to continue because of the perception that there are cosmic forces beyond the immediate events that we are able to see.


But in those days, following that distress,

the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

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