Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Sunday School Lesson #21

Posted by Jim F. on June 5, 2007

Lesson 21: Matthew 24 (JST)

I’ll begin and end a lot less controversially than Joe.

It is sometimes helpful to have the Joseph Smith revision and the King James translation side-by-side, so I have put both versions of chapter 24 together in a PDF file for those who would like to use it: Matthew 24: JST and KJV

Traditional Christianity finds this chapter ambiguous: in some ways it seems to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem that occurred in 70 A.D.; in some ways it seems to refer to the Second Coming. It seems to me that Joseph Smith makes it more clear which passages refer to the destruction of Jerusalem and which refer to the Second Coming. You may also wish to read Doctrine and Covenants 45:60-75 as background for understanding the Joseph Smith version better. Unless I note otherwise, all references to Matthew 24 in these questions are to the JST.

From Matthew 21:3 to Matthew 24:2, Jesus has been in the Temple confronting the Temple hierarchy and other community leaders, a confrontation that seems designed to bring about his death. Why does the discussion of the destruction of the Temple and the end times occur now?

Verse 1: In the Greek text, the disciples want to show the temple buildings to Jesus. Apparently they are struck by it majesty or beauty. In the JST version, they ask Jesus to show them (tell them) about the buildings. What difference do you think that difference makes?

Jesus’ sermon to the elders of Jerusalem and the temple hierarchy appears to go from Matthew 21:23 to Matthew 22:46, followed by a sermon to the multitudes (Matthew 23:1-12) that turns into a sermon directly condemning the leadership once again (Matthew 23:13-39). How does that series of sermons bring on the disciples’ question in this verse? What are they curious about? Why do you think they have come to Jesus privately?

Verses 2-3: Does the fact that Herod’s Temple was still under construction help explain the puzzlement of the disciples to which Jesus refers? What is Jesus prophesying?

Verse 4: What are the disciples two questions? Does Jesus answer both of them? Do the disciples repeat themselves when asking some questions? If so, why? What does it mean to say that “the destruction of the world” and the “destruction of the wicked” mean the same? Given that identity of meaning, how many different events can “the destruction of the world” refer to? If I die before the Second Coming, can it have meaning in my life? The phrase “sign of thy coming” can also be translated “miracle of your appearance” and “end of the world” can be translated as “fulfillment of the age or generation.” Do either of these help you understand the disciples’ questions with more depth?

Verses 5-11: This is Jesus’ last sermon to the disciples before the crucifixion. When do they seem to have understood it, before his death or afterward? If more afterward than before, why was it important for him to tell him these things before the crucifixion rather than during the forty day ministry between his resurrection and his ascension? In these verses, what is Jesus’ first concern (verses 5-6)? The JST version moves the verses that correspond to the traditional translation of Matthew 24:6-8. (Six is found in verse 23, 7 is found in verse 29, and 8 is found in verse 19.) Why might that be so? How are verses 7 and 8 (JST) parallel? How are they different? When will the events of verse 7 occur? the events of verse 8? Does verse 9 prophesy the same thing as verse 6? Does verse 10 speak of the same events as verses 7 and 8 or of different events? Are verses 9-10 perhaps a synopsis of verses 5-8? What is Jesus’ answer to the problems he has described in verses 5-10? How does the JST help us understand what it means to “endure to the end”?

Verse 12: Why do you think that the JST moves the equivalent of verse 14 in the King James version to verse 31? Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11 refer to the abomination of desolation. Up to this point in time, those living in Judea had understood Daniel’s prophecy to refer to the desecration of the temple by Antiochus IV (168 B.C.), when he set up an image of Zeus in the Temple and is said to have sacrificed a pig on the Temple altar. To what is Jesus referring in this verse? Was the previous understanding wrong? What does it mean to “stand in the holy place”? Where is that place literally? What might it signify symbolically? Why does Matthew add the warning “Whoso readeth let him understand”? That suggests a hidden meaning in what Jesus has just said. What is that meaning?

Verses 13-17: To whom is this advice directed, to the disciples or to the saints in general? How do you reconcile the advice to flee (verses 13-15) with the advice to “stand in the holy place”? If you were on the roof of a Palestinian house in Jesus’ day, why wouldn’t you be able to take things from the house with you? If you were in a field, stripped down to a loin cloth if a man or a light shift if a woman, to where might you be tempted to go to get your clothing? Why does Jesus tell them to pray that their flight not be on the Sabbath? What does that warning tell us about Jesus’ attitude toward the rabbinic interpretations of the Law? (Compare Matthew 23:2-3.) How would you explain that attitude, given his withering criticism of the Pharisees and scribes (rabbis) and their belief that he frequently violated the Sabbath?

Verses 18-20: In verse 18 is Jesus referring to Israel as the disciples might have understood it or Israel as we understand it? What covenant is he referring to when he says that the days of tribulation will be shortened “according to the covenant”?

Verses 21-22: Why does Jesus repeat in lengthier form what he has already told the disciples (in verses 5-6, 9)? Are the false Christs and prophets in the church or exterior to it? How do you justify your answer? What does it mean to be elect? The Greek word that Matthew uses can also be translated “chosen.” Who are the elect or chosen? For what are they chosen? What does it mean to be chosen “according to the covenant”? What covenant do you think Jesus has in mind here? How would the disciples, first-century Jews, have understood the covenant? Is that the same covenant that we have in mind when we refer to “the covenant”?

Verse 23: If I were dividing the verses, I would probably have included the first part of verse 23, “Behold, I speak these things unto you for the elect’s sake,” as the last part of verse 23. The verse divisions reflect the thinking of an editor rather than the understanding of the Prophet. Would you divide these verses as I would? as the editor did? in some other way? How does each way of dividing them change the meaning slightly? What would Jesus’ warning about wars and rumors of wars have meant to his disciples? What does it mean to us?

Verses 24-27: When did Jesus tell them these things before (verse 24)? In this sermon or another? What is he telling them that he has told them before? Against what is Jesus warning them when he tells them not to look for him in the desert or in “secret chambers” (i.e., secret meetings or meetings in hidden rooms). What does verse 26 tell us his Coming will be like? The word “eagle” in verse 27 would be better translated “vulture” or “carrion bird.” What is the point of the metaphor in that verse?

Verses 28-29: These verses repeat the warning of verse 23. How is the intervening material (verses 24-27) related to the theme of impending war?

Verse 30-36: Jesus repeats the message of verses 10-11. Why? Why is the waning of love, its waxing cold, such a terrible thing? Why is the waning of love the consequence of iniquity? Does verse 32 tell us that there will be a second abomination of desolation or is it referring to the same one referred to in verse 12? Given the meaning of that phrase when used to speak of what happened in 168 B.C. and then to speak of the events of 70 A.D., what might it refer to in the last days? To what does “this generation” (i.e., “this time period”) refer in verse 34? In what sense will earth pass away? heaven? Why would all of the tribes of the earth mourn at the Coming of Christ? Is it relevant that Jesus says tribes will mourn rather than all the people of the earth?

Verse 37: What does it mean to treasure up the words of Christ? How does doing so protect us from being deceived? Why is protection from deception so important?

Verses 38-40: What is the point of the parable of the fig tree? What does it mean to say that Christ is “near, even at the door”? In what ways can he be near? Why is verse 40 important to us? (It is repeated in D&C 39:21 and 49:7.) In how many ways is it important? Is Alma 5:29 relevant to verse 40 or vice versa?

Verses 41-45: Do these repeat the same theme as verses 13-15 or a different theme? How are they the same? different? Does Jesus speak of signs in these verses (e.g., verse 42)? In verses 44-45? What do these verses suggest about what it means to be watchful?

Verses 46-55: We see the theme of diligent watching in this parable. How would a person know if a thief were digging through (“broken up” in the King James translation”) the mud-brick wall of his house at night? What is the point of verses 46 and 48? What does that teaching have to do with us? What does the Lord find the servant doing when he returns (verse 53)? What is the blessing that the Lord gives the diligent servant? To whom is the evil servant (verses 51-52) comparable? Jesus uses an extremely disagreeable metaphor to describe the punishment given the evil servant (verse 53): dismemberment. How is that metaphor apt? The Mosaic Law speaks of being “cut off from among the people” (verse 55) in many places (e.g., Exodus 30:33 and 31:14, as well as Leviticus 18:29). Is that also a version of this disagreeable metaphor, though one that, perhaps, we’ve gotten so used to that we no longer recognize its original meaning? Or does it mean differently? From what people will the wicked be cut off? How will they be cut off? In what variety of ways do we see or will we see this happen?

64 Responses to “Sunday School Lesson #21”

  1. cherylem said

    Jim,
    This looks superb. Thank you for the side-by-side KJ and JST. Since I won’t be teaching this for a couple of weeks, I’ll have a little time to absorb this.

    A couple of quick thoughts:
    It seems to me that this text and that of Revelation as understood by us traditionally makes a violent end of the world inevitable; therefore we don’t work for peace as if we believe peace is possible.

    We pray for Christ’s second coming, which will bring with it the cataclysm, rather than praying for a delay, so that as many souls as possible can be saved in the meantime. But again, this prayer and even the statement I just made presupposes that a violent end is inevitable.

    The violent end always brings with it the destruction of the wicked, as if this is something we should all rejoice in. Yet the one example we have in scripture is the days of Noah, when all – even innocents! – were taken. The Book of Mormon cataclysm is also interpreted the same way – the more wicked part were taken. But this belief – this interpretation of natural events – seems to also assume that our all-powerful God can’t bring an end to things any other way than by destruction.

    It is very interesting, by the way, that the Gospel of John has no eschatological writings of this nature.

    More on this later.

  2. cherylem said

    Here’s a couple of Girardian sites that talk about eschatological writings in general:

    http://girardianlectionary.net/res/th_185-190.htm

    http://girardianlectionary.net/res/jbw_ch8a.htm

    One interesting thing to think about, and something I’ve included in my lesson 19 material, is: what does it mean to be of the “elect?” I propose that election is not a call to privilege, but a call to endless, selfless sacrifice, to a pouring out of oneself for the benefit of others, even to the point of being willing to lay down one’s life . . .

  3. Jim F. said

    cherylem: I don’t think there is any question about your interpretation of “elect.” The comparable Old Testament term, “chosen,” means “chosen by God for a purpose or work,” as the ritual vessels and instruments were chosen. That didn’t mean that they were in themselves special, but that they had been set apart for a holy work. The chosen people, i.e., the lelect, are those chosen to do the work of God–and Jesus shows us on the cross, selfless sacrifice is the work of God.

    I don’t know what to do with the catacylismic nature of the end. I’ve struggled with that for some time (see my “Philosophy and Transcendence: Religion and the Possibility of Justice,” Transcendence in Religion and Philosophy (Indiana UP, 2003) 70-84). I think that it is structurally parallel to the violence that brings us into the world, but I don’t know what to do with that.

  4. Cherylem said

    Does the Book of Mormon have any similar eschatological writings?

  5. Cherylem said

    Jim,
    Thanks for the reference to your book and your chapter in it.

  6. cherylem said

    Jim,
    I read your chapter. It is brilliant.

    Some thoughts. These are not argument, and maybe don’t even relate too well. They are, like Joe sometimes says, perhaps more free association than anything else.

    By speaking history in chiasmus, with the vertical interruption at the center, are you placing the ultimate vertical (and unproveable) interruption as Christ? Is Chiasmus God’s organization? Can time – and creation – be understood chiastically?

    More importantly, is violence and chaos the A, A’ of the chiasmus? Or is this our fear only? Or our projection?

    I have to say that in my heart and my . . . gut . . . I deny the apocalypse. For all our violence, for all our murders, founding and otherwise, I rebel against this ending, this A’. I do not accept the prophesy, if it is prophesy. While to be surprised by murder is to be naive, and to think that violence and totally chaotic violence cannot hit home individually and communally is to be hopelessly blind, I still deny that the only possible ending is the cataclysm. I do not believe this is what the transcendent interruption teaches – indeed, it teaches the opposite: the ultimate irrelevance of the violent act, and that the true community is made up of those that move toward the understanding of that revelation (is that justice?).

    Interestingly Jesus, by taking upon himself the role of innocent victim, makes the very heart of the revelation the innocence of the victim (this is Girard, of course). I believe that each of us has the capability to experience that moment of unproveable transcendence that creates us anew, and we may be surprised by the revelation – that it is so personal, and so profound.

    By the way, when I was teaching seminary to some of my own children some years ago, I balked at Joshua. I refused to teach my own children a text that made so little sense to me – which actually seemed like poison to me – and which we wrest to somehow make seem all right, even good. The death of Moses – his A’ (a possible founding murder fogged over by time and made into sacred myth?) before entering the promised land, and then the murders committed right after still form part of our collective consciousness of what is okay, and make the ending violence acceptable, inevitable.

    But in my opinion, if we accept that the the founding stories have to be repeated over and over, we accept the ultimate lie. Their endings are not the only way. Not inevitable. ALL our energies should be directed toward living peace, and teaching it.

    So teaching lesson 21 should be interesting for me. Though I am already thinking of ways to teach it that will work for me, and avoid the controversy, which would certainly have no resolution in a 45-minute class.

    (And as a side thought, if Moses’ hubris was his besetting sin, but he is still the prototype for a great prophet for all of us, could our own founding prophet have had the same sin? Do we re-imagine him perfect and divine?)

    All for now.

  7. cherylem said

    I can’t seem to quit . . .

    These final paragraph’s of James Allison’s work quoted in the 2nd link in #2 above is germaine to all of this also, I think:

    “Before I engage the anthropological consequences of this understanding there is a further point to be brought out about the eschatological imagination as it emerged in the apostolic witness, and that is a point linked to Girard’s remark, quoted above, about the reality of Jesus’ resurrection in the flesh being difficult to perceive because of the disciples perception formed in mimetic idolatry. There is no doubt but that the apostolic group did possess a very firm hope in the reality of the world that was coming, and in its physical and corporeal reality. (8) That is to say that, as they became possessed by the eschatological imagination, so their minds were set free from the vanity discussed in the previous chapter: the futility of those not able to make the link between created reality and God. The new perception of God enabled a completely new and refreshing relationship to God’s dynamic creativity as a reality already coming into being. Indeed it is the setting of the mind on this reality felt to be more real than the surrounding reality-which-is-passing-away which was to give the joy and peace necessary to be able to support the tribulations of the present time, tribulations including the believer’s own distorted desires (Col. 3:1-5).

    “Of course, as the eschatological imagination emerged, and the apocalytpic imagination waned, the structuring of this hope changed: it began to be seen that this hope was internally structured by patience, or the ability to put up with the vicissitudes of this world. Hence the emergence of patience as an important virtue by the end of the canon: not patience in the sense of “ceasing to be impatient” for the coming of the End, but patience in the sense of being able to resist, or undergo, the troubles of the sort of time that is on its way out of being because one is fixed on a coming into being that is much more real and wholesome and nourishing to the imagination. The important thing to notice as this change in the structure of hope took place is that what we are witnessing is not a diminution of eschatological urgency. It is not as though the process towards a realised eschatology was also the process towards a thoroughly banal liberal unconcern about the next world. The urgency for the coming into being of the new world is just as strong, and is an essential part of the eschatological imagination as received in the Church from Jesus. What has altered is the perception of the structuring of the alterity which gives grounds for that urgency, as the notion of time became simultaneously redeemable (time as being made capable of participating in eternity) and evil (time bent away from eternity and as abandoned to its own futility). Now the urgency is fixed on the deathless creativity of God in which we will be able to participate fully as we persevere in doing good.

    “What I would like to suggest now is that it is in so far as we have an eschatological imagination urgently fixed on the deathless creativity of God that it becomes possible for us to do good. As our desires become retrained towards the promise of a reality that really is desirable, and towards which we tend in urgent hope (for where our treasure is there also is our heart, Matt. 6:21), so we are enabled to become sufficiently untied from the world of our present desires to be able to work justice within this world. It is under this, eschatological, prism that it becomes possible for us to look at what might be meant by concupiscentia.”

  8. Jim F. said

    Cherylem: As I said, I’m still struggling with the story and the as yet unrealized violence of the end. I didn’t really notice that part of the chiasmus until I was just about done with my analysis. When I did notice it, it threw me into an intellectual dither that I’m still trying to get out of. Part of that dither was and is to think that perhaps that point was enough to show that my chiastic analysis is mistaken.

    I find the Book of Mormon particularly interesting because its cataclysm is unnecessary. It shows us the result of repeating the founding stories over and over again, as the Lamanites and Nephites seem to have done. Indeed, I think that one of the most important messages of the book is that cataclysm is the result of injustice and unrighteousness. It is as if the Book of Mormon says, “Here is what the apocalypse will look like if you are unjust with each other, but it need not be that way, and it will not genuinely be the apocalypse, the revelation, if it is.” The apocalypse ought to be what it lilterally means, a revelation of Jesus Christ, not the destruction of humanity. I think that the end of humanity is only the same as the revelation of Jesus to the degree that Jesus is not revealed.

    For me the question is how to bring the Book of Mormon’s insight about catastrophe and the revelation of Christ together with the New Testament prophecies of catastrophe as well as with its place in my analysis of the story of Moses and Israel. I don’t know what to make of what seems to be the biblical insistence on ultimate cataclysm.

  9. Jim F. said

    “threw me” rather than “through me.” I should pay more attention to my typing! [fixed]

  10. Jim F. said

    Cherylem: By speaking history in chiasmus, with the vertical interruption at the center, are you placing the ultimate vertical (and unproveable) interruption as Christ? Is Chiasmus God’s organization? Can time – and creation – be understood chiastically?

    I think that believers have to understand time typologically and that Christ comes at and as the center of time in a typological understanding. The alternative is to make science the arbiter of reality. (I’m not anti-science at all. I just don’t think it tells us about all that is, period. It tells us about all that is when we make particiular assumptions and ask particular questions, but it doesn’t make the assumptions nor ask the questions of religion.) So I tend to think that time may be chiastic for Christians, though I’m not sure. And if it is, I am certainly not sure how to describe that chiasm. For example, I don’t see why it couldn’t include a revelation of Christ (A’) comparable to the Fall (A) without that revelation being violent. Indeed, it would seem to me that the perfect A’ for the Fall would be a reversal of the separation of God and humanity that occurs in the latter.

    That may suggest a way of rethinking the ending of my Moses-Israel chiasmus . . .

  11. Thanks for this discussion, Cheryl and Jim. I’m at once fascinated and repulsed by eschatology. I suppose I’m concerned that a wholehearted surrender to the eschatological picture usually read into the scriptures is guided by a rather unfortunate naivete, but I’m not quite comfortable with the only real non-naive approach to eschatological language with which I’m familiar (which renders eschatology a profoundly individual experience, usually following Bultmann’s model in one way or another). If it sounds like I’m given here to a Ricoeurian dialectical hermeneutics (vow of rigor, vow of obedience), don’t be fooled: rather, I’m simply hesitating (for years now) to take up either a rigorous or an obedient hermeneutic of the eschatological events described in the scriptures.

    In the meanwhile, of course, I regard the eschaton as a reality, perhaps as a matter of praxis, but I confess I tend only to think of the eschaton in terms of two events, neither of which draw on the violence spoken of in the scriptures (that is, I tend only to think the eschaton through a kind of reduction): Adam-Ondi-Ahman and the actual appearance of Christ (I’m not convinced, in the end, that those are two overly separable events). I’m wondering, however, in light of this discussion, whether my thinking about the eschaton in this perhaps reductive but certainly more positive manner is not helpful. That is, if we can take up Joseph’s teachings regarding Adam-Ondi-Ahman as a kind of frame for the Second Coming, might we have the outline of a radical reinterpretation of the language of eschatological violence?

    I should probably sketch this out somewhat, especially because there is far too little talk of Adam-Ondi-Ahman (an event that, I’m convinced, Joseph was nearly obsessed with). Interestingly, there seems to be a kind of chiasm at work in this event (not unlike the one already being discussed here): two councils will have been held in that valley, one at the “beginning” and the other at the “end.” In the first (discussed in D&C 107, etc.), Christ appeared and gave to Adam the keys over the human family and sealed him up as king (and god?) over the whole earth and all of its proceedings, etc. In the last (still to come), Christ is again to appear, but this time to receive back from Adam all of the keys, etc., though Adam will retain his patriarchal role in the human family. The purpose of the event is sacerdotal, but I don’t think we need to worry about it being sexist in any particular way: it seems to be a question of those holding the keys of the priesthood as received in the temple. The event will essentially be the crowning moment of the “patriarchal” order, where the Church of the Firstborn will be sealed up a single, great family (a kind of establishment of the Celestial kingdom). All this as an immediate precursor to returning to Zion (the Garden, the chiastic echo of the Fall now), and the establishment of the Celestial order in the midst of the earth.

    Now what if—and this may be a stretch, but here is where my thought is tending—the Second Coming is precisely that event, that Christ will come to dwell in Zion, etc., by appearing at Adam-Ondi-Ahman, and that the celestialization of the earth is ultimately a celestialization of just Zion and its environs. This would ride on an interpretation of the three degrees of glory as being all located on this same earth, though perhaps in something like concentric circles. Thus the violence of, say, Malachi 4 becomes a violence imposed by the apostates, rather than a violence instigated on the part of Christ. Hmmm. Much to think about here.

    Some possibilities for rethinking, at any rate.

  12. Robert C. said

    Karl D., who has frequently made very interesting comments on these Sunday school threads, has been posting Sunday school notes on his own blog. Here is the link to lesson #21—I highly recommend taking a look at his very excellent notes. (Also, if you get frustrated or impatient with Jim’s millions of questions, only seldom suggesting any answers, you will likely find Karl’s notes less irksome!)

  13. Jim F. said

    Robert C (and anyone else), if you’ll point to the places where I provide answers, I will edit them out.

  14. Jim F. said

    Robert C, I neglected to say what inspired my last response, namely my desire to thank you for pointing to Karl’s excellent notes. If one puts together the resources available here at Feasting and in Karl’s notes, there is a mountain of material to help one prepare to teach or to study for Sunday School lessons.

  15. Karl D. said

    Robert, thanks for the plug and the kind words. Although, I am not entirely comfortable having my notes even implicitly compared to Jim F.’s because my notes are clearly inferior. Still, posting my notes has become an enjoyable experience for me and I think it has been beneficial for my class members as well.

  16. robf said

    As the ward SS pres, I’ve been forwarding the GD lesson posts to our sunday school class (along with the assigned reading and official lesson materials) during the week before the lesson as a reminder. Next week I’ll start sending a link to Karl’s posts as well. Thanks to everyone for all your work on these posts.

  17. cherylem said

    Thanks, Jim and Joe, for your thoughts and continued conversation, and the link to Karl’s lesson posts – very great.

    I want to address this again, but won’t be able to until I actually prepare this lesson in a couple of weeks. . . . time, chiasmatic or not . . . is a hard taskmaster.

  18. BrianJ said

    Regarding Matthew 24:27, I asked a question on JimF’s lesson 17 post that was not addressed (I hope that doesn’t sound like an accusation!). I wonder if anyone could help me understand the vulture/corpse metaphor. Thanks.

  19. Jim F. said

    BrianJ, thanks for telling me. I must have missed that when you posted it. Since it isn’t on the front page anymore, if a bunch of other responses get posted shortly after yours, then your post/question rapidly disappears. I’ll go take a look and see what I can do to answer.

  20. brianj said

    Jim F: You ask a question that was also on my mind as I read the chapter: “Why is the waning of love the consequence of iniquity?”
    This comes from verses 10 and 30 (JST):

    “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

    What is the relationship between iniquity and love? Is it that the iniquitous cannot love, or cannot be loved? Whose love is waxing cold, the iniquitous or some other group?
    And what does verse 11 (JST) mean by “overcome”? Overcome by sin (i.e. turned iniquitous), or overcome by false prophets (i.e. deceived), or overcome by persecution (a la verse 7), or simply overcome by the overwhelming turmoil of “that day”?

  21. brianj said

    Cheryl, #4, asks: “Does the Book of Mormon have any similar eschatological writings?” Not that they are eschatalogical in the sense we are discussing, but the events and conditions leading up to the appearance of Christ in the Americas parallel the signs we expect to see before Christ’s Second Coming. As such, the books of Helaman and 3 Nephi should (or could) be viewed as previews of the last days.

  22. m&m said

    brian,
    I agree about Helaman and 3 Nephi. I’m especially moved by the parallel with the idea of “my lord delayeth his coming” and the Nephites who held onto faith in spite of the imminent potential of death for so doing. The signs can help us not lose faith when things get bad.

    I have to say that I feel like a lucky duck (in my world) because I was asked to sub on this lesson tomorrow. :)

  23. JWL said

    ALERT! To any teacher who like me is being lazy and just using Jim’s pdf comparison of Matthew 24 and Joseph Smith Matthew rather than the actual scriptures, the versification of the Joseph Smith Matthew section on his pdf is off starting from the middle of verse 19, so that the right hand column does not correspond to the actual verse numbering of Joseph Smith Matthew throughout the rest of the pdf. Very awkward to discover that in the middle of teaching a class. The pdf comparison was really enlightening and very useful, so no criticism intended, just a warning to any lazy teachers like myself who haven’t taught the lesson yet. Over several years I have been teaching I have found Jim’s comments very helpful, please do keep up the good work.

  24. Bern said

    QUESTION RE: LESSON 21
    Does anyone know why the JST of Matt 24 is separated from the rest of the JST of the Bible? Why was it placed in the scriptures as we have it today?

  25. Bern,

    That is primarily a historical question. Franklin D. Richards put together the first version of the Pearl of Great Price in England in 1851 (the Pearl was not canonized until 1881), simply collecting together a bunch of things that had been published in Church periodicals and so forth that would be of interest to the British saints who were at some distance from the main body of the saints. He decided to include it. As the Pearl has been subjected to changes over the course of its several editions, this excerpt from the translation has survived as an integral part of the Pearl. It is worth comparing with the JST manuscripts, and it certainly should not be read too separate from the remainder of the JST book of Matthew in NT1 (New Testament Manuscript 1). Unfortunately, I think the JST remains the sealed work of Joseph Smith.

  26. Jim F. said

    JWL, thanks for letting us know about that difference! I will have to check to see what happened. I just cut and pasted the JST from LDS Collectors Library, so I don’t know why the numbering would be off. I wonder whether different editions have different versifications or whether, perhaps, that is just a mistake in the LDS Collectors Library.

  27. Bern said

    Joe Spencer
    Thank you so much!!

  28. RuthS said

    My head is spinning from trying to digest all of the threads of thought here. With only 40 minutes of class, providing sacrament meeting doesn’t run over time, there is little here that could possibly be meaningfully developed. Besides, my mind wants to understand the whole before it can deal with a lot of little details. Along this line the whole would seem to need to include Mark 13, Matthew 25 as well as 24 and of course Luke. It is interesting to me that these along with the Book of Daniel and Revelation are the books that are most often quoted by Christians who deal in end time prophesy in order to make sense of the world we live in, many of which are waiting for the rapture while others read it and think there is no such thing. Some think these indicate Christ will come before the Millenium. Others believe he will come after. Some think things will get worse and worse until the Jesus comes and there is nothing they can do about it while some believe they can make the world a better place and influnce how the events play out leading up to the end. So at my level of reasoning and understanding I would be interested in how we reconcile these various possible interpretations and why we need to bother? After all the book of Revelation was almost left out of the Bible and Joseph Smith didn’t think people should spend over much time trying to figure it out.

  29. Jim F. said

    RuthS: there is little here that could possibly be meaningfully developed

    I see things exactly in the opposite way. There is so much material that it is impossible to do everything, but there is so much material that one could develop one or two of the many things in the assigned scriptures and deal well with them in about forty minutes.

    I don’t personally know a great deal about the doctrines concerning the last days, so I can’t answer your question about how we should understand the Second Coming. I do understand that many Latter-day Saints believe that Christ is to come at the beginning of the Millenium and reign on the earth, but that he will not be recognized for who he is and will not come in full glory until after the Millenium and Satan’s short “reign of terror” following the Millenium. However, I don’t know whether that is merely common LDS belief or doctrine.

    Like you, I’m not that interested in the details of the Second Coming. (Do you have a reference for what you say about Joseph Smith? I would be interested in using that.) However, though the details may not be important, it is important that there will be a Second Coming. One way to teach a class would be to discuss why that is so. How is an expectation of the Second Coming essential to Christian faith?

  30. Robert C. said

    Here’s the quote I remember from Joseph Smith on Revlation: “Rev[elation] is one of the plainest books [G]od ever caused to be written” (8 April 1843, Ehat & Cook p. 188; TPJS p. 290).

    I did however find this quote that seems a little closer to what RuthS expressed:

    I make this broad declaration, that whenever God gives a vision of an image, or beast, or figure of any kind, He always holds Himself responsible to give a revelation or interpretation of the meaning thereof, otherwise we are not responsible or accountable for our belief in it. Don’t be afraid of being damned for not knowing the meaning of a vision or figure, if God has not given a revelation or interpretation of the subject. [8 April 1843, Ehat & Cook pp. 185; TPJS, p. 291]

  31. brianj said

    “I do understand that many Latter-day Saints believe that Christ is to come at the beginning of the Millenium and reign on the earth, but that he will not be recognized for who he is and will not come in full glory until after the Millenium and Satan’s short “reign of terror” following the Millenium. However, I don’t know whether that is merely common LDS belief or doctrine.”

    I’m interested to know why LDS would believe this (as well as any other Christians). There are so many passages that make the Second Coming seem to be universally recognized. For example, Matthew 24:27: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” I am inclined to believe that there will be some appearances of Christ on the earth that will be private (e.g. Kirtland Temple) or “invitation only” (e.g. Adam-ondi-Ahman, though invitation isn’t the word I really want to use), but that there will be some point at which Christ’s presence is unmistakable and known to the whole world. This later appearance is what I call (for now, until led to believe otherwise) The Second Coming and it preceded the Millennium. Thus, if there is good reason to believe otherwise (i.e. if I am wrong), then I’d like to know.

    “Like you, I’m not that interested in the details of the Second Coming. However, though the details may not be important, it is important that there will be a Second Coming.”

    This was the sentiment I had until recently, as you may recall from my jumbled post on the Second Coming. Of course, “important” is a subjective word, but I think the details about the Second Coming are more than just details and that there is benefit to knowing them.

  32. Robert C. said

    BrianJ #31: “I think the details about the Second Coming are more than just details and that there is benefit to knowing them.”

    I too think we need to find meaning in the details, but I’m frankly at quite a loss as to how—suggestions?

  33. RuthS said

    The Joseph Smith citation I was thinking of is in The TPJS, 1976 edition pages 287-294 where he talks about some disputes that have arisen because of the teaching of one Pelathiah Brown, “one of the wisest old heads we have among us…” on p. 287 this is what the Propet says. “I have seldom spoken from the revelations; but as my subject is a constant source of speculation amongt the elders, causing a division of sentiment and opinion in relation to it, I now do it in order that division and differences of opinion may be done away with, and not that correct knowedge on the subject is so much needed at the present time. If we get puffed up by thinking that we have much knowledge, we are apt to get a contentious spirit, and correct knowledge is necessary to cast out that spirit.” It sounds like the burden of what he is saying is that we need to learn about it in order to be unified. I think it is an antidote to last days fever.

    Joseph Fielding Smith gave a series of lectures at the tabernacle in Salt Lake City during WWWII. They were published in a book called Signs of the Times. In this book he laid out the LDS beliefs on the subject. It has long been out of print, but must be in a library somewhere and in some private collections. I wish I had it.

  34. Robert C. said

    RuthS #33, wow, great quote, thanks. I had to read your statement “I think this is an antidote to last[-]days fever” several times before making sense of it—I thought you were saying this antidote would last [many] days [forever?]…. At any rate, I think this is a fascinating quote from Joseph Smith, and I’d like to consider it at length sometime. Also, I wasn’t aware of this Joseph Fielding Smith book, though I imagine much of what I’ve read from Bruce R. McConkie is based in that book, no? My sense is that reading these kinds of writings about the signs of the times feeds ‘last days fever’, which is one reason I struggle with how to think about these issues. Do I need to develop more last days fever (we finally got our food storage done[!], or at least mostly done; but since I’m still confused about these topics, I’m less inclined to think that my own sense of guilt is the problem…), or am I missing something in these kind of writings, or are these kind of writings a bit dated and the onus is on me/us as individual members to rethink last-days issues, or what??

    (By the way, I just noticed that JFS’s Signs of the Times is available through GospeLink—I’m hoping the link will take you to directly to the Table of Contents if you have a subscription.)

  35. Rats, I just recently sold a copy of JFS’s Signs of the Times. I’ll have to look through my lists and see if there is another one hiding in the stacks. Although I must confess that I think there is a great deal more thinking to be done than is represented in that book. It is nice summary of LDS thought on the last days until that point, but it hardly represents a unique contribution or a careful exploration of the scriptures in question.

    As for Revelation, I really think Latter-day Saints have to take that book far more seriously. For one, both 1 Nephi 14 and Ether 4 seem to privilege it above other texts in the Bible, and it is clearly a good place to begin thinking about much of our temple experience. I’m not personally impressed with any LDS publications on it, but here are a few non-LDS commentaries that have been very helpful for me (I’ve been toying for a couple of years with the idea of writing something on Revelation to alleviate these difficulties…): J. Massyngberde Ford, Revelation; Jurgen Roloff, Revelation; Eugene Boring, Revelation; David Aune, Revelation (3 vols., this is the Word Biblical Commentary); Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Revelation: Vision of a Just World; Margaret Barker, The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

  36. brianj said

    Robert C, #32: “I too think we need to find meaning in the details, but I’m frankly at quite a loss as to how—suggestions?”

    That’s not exactly what I meant in my comment (#31)—if I understand what you meant. {smile}

    I wasn’t trying to say that we need to find meaning in the details, but rather that knowing the details can be meaningful. What I see you saying is that the details have a meaning—symbolism perhaps—that is beneficial to understand. For example, we hear about violent storms, and we can think about that spiritually as well as temporally. I’m not saying that sort of thinking isn’t good (I think it is), but the point I was making is different. I’m saying that knowing the details may be important because, for example, knowing that there will be violent storms may encourage us to get our food storage ready. (I’m apologizing—to myself—for how trivial I’ve made my thoughts sound!) Any suggestions I have are in the post I wrote on the subject (which I referenced above, but perhaps that post was too…rough, to put it mildly?).

  37. RuthS said

    RobertC #34 Last Days Fever–this is not necisarrily the natural guilt I haven’t been able to convince my husband to feel regarding food storage. This is the almost delusional or maybe fully deliusional belief that some little off hand remark by a general authority is a signal that the second coming is immenant. It is the equivant of the frantic activity seen when a snow storm is in the forecast and there is a run on milk, bread and toilet paper. It is the infection that causes panic and to some degree energized the survivalist movement. The last round of it we saw was at the turn of the this century. It occured among Christians at the time of the black death. (Barabara Tuckman, A Distant Mirror) It is at the bottom of the Branch Davidians and what happened at Waco. It is not what the Prophet Joseph wanted for the church. Although I will say I had a Sunday School teacher once who claimed he could discerne when the second coming would be based on the symbols and numbers on the dollar bill under the all seeing eye.

    brianj #31 Joseph Smith had something to say about the grand sighn of the Son of Man. “There will be wars and rumors of wars, signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun tuned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving behond their bounds; then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in hneaven. But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, etc. But the Son of man will come as the sign of the coming of the of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of lthe east. (April 6, 1843)TPJS p. 287

    Of course if none of this is crystal clear and definative. If it were there were would be no suspense. If we had that kind of certainty how would that effect human behavior?

  38. RuthS said

    Oops too many weres in the last paragraph.

  39. BrianJ said

    RuthS: thanks for the quote from JS. That is definitely the sort of quote/reference I am interested in. Do you have any more to add? (I ask because I would like to consider all of them as I try to study this some more, not because I’m trying to tally up quotes.) Given JS’s comment, couldn’t the wicked think they have merely seen a planet, only to find out by and by that it was really the Savior? In other words, the world might be able to “write it off,” but not for very long, becuase they will be destroyed before the Millennial reign.

    I hope you understand through my mumbling that the big question I have is this: Will there be some point at which everyone who is on the earth will recognize that Christ is living in the earth and ruling as king, and if so, will that be at the beginning of the millennium or some other time? I’m not sure that JS’s quote answers that question.

    “If we had that kind of certainty how would that effect human behavior?”

    I think you might be implying—or asking—that if the whole world knew that Christ was living and ruling on the earth, that agency might be diminished or compromised (i.e. faith becomes unnecessary) during the Millennium. If so, I would answer that such a situation would not be unlike our premortal life, when all of us knew who God was (i.e. faith was unnecessary) but some chose not to trust in him. (I’m using “faith” in the “belief” sense, a la Alma 32).

  40. robf said

    Margaret Barker has an interesting take on Revelations, claiming it was the revelation given to Jesus at the start of his mortal ministry. If this is so, then we have a lot more to wade through to separate out what might really be applicable to our day in all of this end time discussion

  41. cherylem said

    Robf,
    On what does she base this? (Margaret Barker)

  42. robf said

    I haven’t had a chance to read her whole book on this, but the link above gives a taste of where she’s coming from. Also take a look at how she sees apocalyptic in this discussion of Enoch. She sees apocalyptic as the restoration of the original cosmic covenant that ordered/created the world. Good stuff to chew on in light of our previous thoughts here on chiasmas. A is the creation, establishment of the cosmic covenant. A’ is its restoration. Binding the elements of chaos and decay in both instances.

  43. cherylem said

    Robf,
    Thanks. I’ve bookmarked these and will read them a little later.

    Interestingly, by the way, the group of which I’m a part – The Michigan Center for Early Christian Studies (U of M), supports financially the ENOCH SEMINARs. I am hoping to attend myself, in 2008, as a very passive, lay-person participant.

    See http://www.nd.edu/~thanneke/es/

  44. Robert C. said

    Cheryl, Barker’s view is highly speculative, based in part on some indications that Jesus seemed to have contact with some mystics at an early age and thus began learning “Enoch traditions.” You’ll notice that Barker is not listed as one of the participants at Enoch seminars you linked to—my sense is that the academy finds her views to extreme and speculative to be taken seriously. (Here is an interesting post at FPR regarding the Enoch texts if you’re interested. Notice the tone in which Barker is discussed at the end, which I think is a bit uncalled for—just because some theories are highly speculative doesn’t in my mind rule out their plausibility, after all these are ancient texts we’re talking about and there is very little hard evidence to base theories on which I think makes all theories quite speculative….)

  45. cherylem said

    The Enoch Seminars are relatively new – Boccaccini single handedly built this up from something very small to what you see there. Barker may or may not even be in this loop. I’ll ask him what he thinks about Barker, just to test those waters.

    And being speculative isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as you say.

  46. RuthS said

    brianj:That is about all that is releveant to the second coming that I am aware of. Brigham Young had a few things to say on the subjectof what comes after. “I most assuredly expect that the time will come when every tongue shall confess and every knee shall bow to the Savior, though the people may believe what they will with regard to religion. . . . What will they do: They will hear of the wisdom of Zion. . .and the nations will come up to Zion to inquire after the ways of the Lord, and to seek out the great kjnowledge, wisdom and understanding manifested through the Saints of the Most High. They will inform the people of God that they belong to such and such a church, and do not wish to change their religion. . . By and by the world will be overturned according to the words of the prophet and we will see the reign of righteousness enter in, and sin and iniquity will have to walk off. But the power and priciples of evil, if they can be called principles, will never yield one particle to the righteous march of the Savior, . . . we have got to take the ground by force. Yes, by the mental force of faith, and by good works, the march forth of the Gospel will increase, spread and grow and prosper, until the nations of the earth will feel that Jesus has the right to rule King of nation as he does king of Saint. (Discourses of Brigham Young, Deseret News Press, Salt Lake City, pp112-113

    So yes, at some point people will come to realize that the Savior has come.

  47. Cheryl,

    I would temper Robert’s comment about Barker’s speculativeness just a bit. Her Revelation commentary is by far her most speculative book, and she speaks in a voice somewhat unlike that of her other books. But it is speculative in the end. I’ve found that I enjoy reading people who are willing to shake up readings a great deal more than I enjoy reading those who confirm or repeat readings, so I thoroughly enjoy her work.

  48. cherylem said

    I asked both Hal [J. Harold] Ellens and Boccaccini. Hal (also an Enochian scholar) wrote back (and it will be interesting to see if Boccaccini agrees):

    Dear Cheryl,

    I know everything about Margaret Barker. She is highly esteemed in the
    field. Her work is very useful and dependable.

    Hal

  49. cherylem said

    In fact, see a reprint of two of Barker’s books listed here, under classic reprints:

    http://www.sbl-site.org/Publications/Publications_Books_SPP_SeriesDetails.aspx

    I am looking forward to reading the links Robert and Robf posted . . .

  50. robf said

    I ended up teaching this lesson at the last minute when my GD teacher cancelled just before Church. Glad I’d been using this blog to keep up with reading and thoughts about these scriptures!

    We ended up spending most of our time thinking about what might be an appropriate attitude towards the end times, and the need to live as if the end was coming today even if it never comes in our lifetime. I tied the command to flee in with D&C 63:37 and how we are to warn our neighbors “by word and by flight” and we discussed what it might mean to testify by flight. Can our neighbors see by our actions that we are prepared and that there is another way to go rather than full participation in this age of wickedness? I also riffed on the concept of flee/flea with an analogy that we are fleas on the mangy dog of this wicked aeon, and that we are commanded to jump off or flee, but we may be too attached to this world to always do it.

    We also spent a fair amount of time talking about false prophets (cf. Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:22), and how true prophets are always called false prophets by the established religious leaders of the day.

  51. nhilton said

    In regard to eschatolical thinking/study, the most helpful input I have had in many years that brings peace and direction is taken from McConkie’s DNTC, 3 Vol. 1:674:77:

    “No preparation we make to ready ourselves for the 2nd Coming is in vain. Christ comes to every generation & has already come. Each will be judged based on our acceptance or rejection of him.”

    The power of this statement is obvious. It both liberates us from 2nd Coming Fever and obligates us to be just as “ready” for our/the 2nd coming as those who witness “IT.”

    Additionally, thinking that we must wait until the Millenium to bind Satan…basically wade through all the muck of the End Days until peace can be established, is a faulty & “pass the buck” premise. Per D&C 45:55, it is our responsibility to bind Satan from our lives NOW! We bind him by exercising our agency to choose the right. In so doing, we invite the 2nd Coming to occur personally NOW and spread peace globally. This is what we should be teaching.

  52. nhilton said

    sorry…I meant “eschatological.”

  53. I think I prefer eschatolical, Nanette. :)

  54. nhilton said

    Jesus prophesied, as did others, of the destruction of the temple & Jerusalem. During a “BYU Round Table Discussion” I listed to months back, I heard what the early Christians did to escape this destruction — going to some other city, but wondered if anyone has any facts, historical sources or references I could go to on this. I think this is a relevant “lesson” to us in listening to prophecy & following the prophet in our day & age.

  55. BrianJ said

    nhilton, #54: Here is an exerpt from an article I found on JSTOR (Funk RW and Richardson HN, The Sounding at Pella, The Biblical Archaelogist, Vol XXI, No.4 Dec 1958 pg 82-98):

    In the course of the bloody events…in AD 70, the Jews of Caesarea were mercilessly slaughtered. In reprisal, parties of Jewish insurrectionists set out to sack cities and villages populated by non-Jews, among which were Gerasa, Pella and Scythopolis. Thus for a second time…(80 BC and AD 66) Pella was razed, and a serious problem is created for the interpretation of early Christian tradition.

    Eusebius records in his Ecclesistical History (3.5.3) that the Christians in Jerusalem, being warned by an oracle…fled to Pella…. This tradition, which may rest on the writings of Hegesippus (2nd cent. AD), is widely regarded as historically accurate (Harnack A, The Expansion of Christianity, II, pp. 250-253).

    The authors mention that there are some problems with accepting the Christian tradition, but do not dwell on them. The paper then goes on to discuss some of the archaelogical sites in Pella.

    There is a very short blurb on Wikipedia as well, if you search “pella, jordan.”

    I know nothing about the quality of the sources I just listed.

  56. nhilton said

    Thanks, BrianJ, So the first paragraph is discrediting the tradition that the Christians escaped destruction by watching the signs & “following their leaders” to safety?

    This is what I’ve found on this subject:

    “The city [Pella] earned its name in church history in AD 66 when Pella became a refuge for Christians who were fleeing Jerusalem because the Roman army was coming to quiet a Jewish revolution. Pella continued as a strong Christian city after that and hosted many monasteries throughout the prosperous Byzantine period.” The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume Four, Page 672.

    Eusebius, one of the early church fathers wrote: “The whole body, however, of the church of Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella. Here those that believed in Christ, having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of Judea; the divine justice, for their crimes against Christ and His apostles finally overtook them, totally destroying the whole generation of these evildoers from the earth.” Ecclesiastical History, 3:5:3.

    Pella was at that time a city in the Decapolis. In modern times it is known as Tabaqat Fahil. It is located in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Jordan Valley about 100 km to the northwest of Amman and about eighteen miles south of the Sea of Galilee. Pella flourished until the late Byzantine period when a decrease in the water supply, an invasion by the Persians, and an epidemic of bubonic plague resulted in a reversal of its growth. A devastating earthquake in CE 747 ended its long history as a city of major influence in the region.

    Nowhere do these sources indicate that the Christians in Pella were persectuted at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, quite the contrary.

  57. robf said

    Sign, sign, everywhere a sign…And the sign said long haired freaky people…wait a minute, wrong sign. My bad.

  58. BrianJ said

    I wouldn’t say “discrediting,” rather it is pointing out or acknowledging the difficulties associated with the tradition before making a statement in support.

    One of the problems with Eusebius is that he was writing about 250 years after the fall of Jerusalem. We want to read from an historian closer to the events, such as Josephus, but as far as I can tell he didn’t record anything about the Christian flight. The article in JSTOR references Hegesippus, but even he came several decades late.

    “Nowhere do these sources indicate that the Christians in Pella were persecuted at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, quite the contrary.”

    I wouldn’t say that our sources are in disagreement. The article I referenced actually goes on to discuss the prosperity of Pella in the Byzantine period, but remember that this was hundreds of years after the fall of Jerusalem. The point is that the initial stages were probably pretty rough (think LDS in Nauvoo). I think the consensus view of our articles would be: Christians fled to Pella and were relatively safe there despite some attacks from Jews around AD 66; their strength and prosperity eventually grew along with the city Pella, becoming a Christian “stronghold”; this lasted several centuries until a series of events led to the destruction of Pella (but by then, Christianity had grown strong elsewhere).

  59. cherylem said

    Jim,
    late as usual I am just preparing this lesson. Interestingly, the Matthew 1 in the Pearl of Great Price does not match up with your side-by-side. For instance, there are 55 verses in Matthew 1 according to the LDS website: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/js_m/1 but there are 56 verses in your side-by-side.

    The side-by-side match up is different also. I’m going to post another side-by-side in a new post on this lesson, even though I haven’t finished my notes yet, just to offer this comparison.

    I wonder what the source was for your Matthew 24:JST.

  60. […] comments cherylem on Sunday School Lesson #21cherylem on Violent Scripturesm&m on Faith and aporiasm&m on Faith and aporiasrobf on […]

  61. nhilton said

    Cherylem, see above #23 JWL re: mess up in PDF side-by-side.

    BrianJ, you use the word “Jews” for those who persecuted early Christians but I believe most of the early Christians, especially those who fled Jerusalem, were Jews themselves.

    In light of the focus of this lesson, I think the tradition that the church watched for & saw the “signs” of the times & together fled to safety is a significantly relevant lesson for our times. The details I think are less important and what isn’t substantiated. But I think the message is valuable and has merit in the classroom.

  62. Cherylem said

    Nhilton:
    The discrepancy I noted was that the actual verses – their number, and their numbering, that was used in Jim’s pdf does not correspond to Joseph Smith 1 in the POGP. They are two different versions of the JST.

  63. brianj said

    nhilton, #61: “…but I believe most of the early Christians…were Jews themselves.”

    I agree, and so my use of the word “Jews” is appropriate: the people in Jerusalem that rebelled against Rome and attacked neighboring Gentile cities were Jews, though that does not mean that all Jews were in rebellion. I’m sorry if my comment was taken to mean otherwise.

    “In light of the focus of this lesson, I think the tradition that the church watched for & saw the ‘signs’ of the times & together fled to safety is a significantly relevant lesson for our times. The details I think are less important and what isn’t substantiated. But I think the message is valuable and has merit in the classroom.”

    I think I agree (I’m not sure what you mean by, “The details I think are less important and what isn’t substantiated”). When I present this sort of thing in class, I make clear my lack of knowledge and understanding, and recommend that the class members ‘search the history books’ if they want more information. Then I go on to discuss why such an event would be important for us to know about. I just get nervous about basing an entire lesson (or particular part of a lesson) on something that might not be correct (a la this post).

  64. CLELL JENKINS said

    JESUS IS IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING GOOD EVIL ETC. ETC. ETC. ETC.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

 
%d bloggers like this: