Saint Matthew 24: 15-28

3rd Last Sunday: 12 November Anno Domini 2017

Father Jay Watson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

Death, judgment, Satan, and Hell.  The end is surely drawing near. Be ready. Death, judgment, Satan, and Hell—are these topics—these realities being preached into your ears by the pastors at the pulpits which you weekly attend?  They should be and they need be, for they are the things which The Lord Christ most talked about. They infuse the conversation of His New Testament.

Both the Psalmist and the Prophet, speaking Jesus’ words, are correct about the shortness of your temporary life in this decayed world.  Like dew lasting on the grass until the moment the summer sun comes up and like flowers in the field when autumn arrives, such is your sojourn.  So too St. Job: “man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble…he fleeth…as a shadow, and continueth not.”  Three score and ten if one is so gifted.  David was, most of the Apostles were not—Paul was not.

If death only leads to oblivion, an unconscious eternal nothingness, then Hamlet would have committed suicide.  But the Catholic (Christian) Shakespeare has the Dane correctly opine that there is, or could be, something after death, and, that, that something might be even worse than the tragedies of earthly existence. You are going to die.  Saints die. History lessons do not save or protect.  Greek word studies offer no salvation.

Everything The Lord said, and, had subsequently written down by His Evangelist and Apostles (He wrote nothing Himself—directly) was because His Words, like Himself (THE WORD), not only endure forever but are THE SAME, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  The historical facts and past history lessons cease to be current, they change, they no longer apply in the exact way, but nonetheless the truth and reality of your struggle against sin, death, and the power of the devil remains until—you die!

St. Daniel’s prophecy insofar as it applied to Persia, Babylon, and the Roman Empire’s blasphemous treatment of God’s Temple and the Jews who still believed in the coming Messias, is interesting to you but not “the real point.”  Christ’s parenthetical words: “whoso readeth let him understand” were either spoken because He knew His followers were faithful readers of the Hebrew Scriptures, or, because Saint Matthew himself inserted them—for the same reason.  And then, it isn’t even about the Roman Imperial Legions attacking and destroying your country, state, city, and neighborhood.  Your enemy is not Caesar but the “abomination of desolation.”

What does this mean.  What did it mean for Daniel and what did it mean for the Disciples of Jesus when they heard Him speak of it.  The pagan idolatries of the Chaldeans, of the Medes and Persians, of the Romans?  Yes.  But also of the apostasy and unbelief of the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Sanhedrin.  Whew!  If that’s all of ‘em then you’re all pretty safe.  No.

The First Commandment is the First because He is first. But, He’s not just first and foremost but everything: all-in-all. He is Creator and everything else is creature and serves His purpose and will.  The greatest abomination, the greatest sin, is to worship false gods—idols—whatever they may be: persons, self, objects, interests, diversions, self.  Adam committed this abomination by not Obeying, Fearing, and Loving The Lord—His Word—but rather his own willful desires.  He received the just deserts of his own work. His wages were the desolation of the desert world. His wages were death.

Death comes to all men. You pray and cling to The Lord, His Word, that though death is guaranteed so too is Salvation and the Life of the world to come.

Nebuchadnezzar erecting a statue that had to be “prayed” to was an abomination. Not because statues are bad, indeed statues here in the chancel (if it were larger) would be very salutary, but because to worship the creature is to make an idol. Idols are the continuing anti-theme of the entire Old Testament. Not only was it a supreme abomination for the Romans to bring their Imperial Eagle standards, their Ensigns of the Emperor—who was considered to be a “god”—into the Temple, it was an abomination for anything idolatrous to be introduced into holy and sacred space.  This is why sin is the ultimate abomination.  Every time you consciously, deliberately, and intentionally sin, you are Caesar.

The end, the Eschaton, will come in a flash of lightning. Jesus’ return will be so swift that no pagan idol worshipper will have time to repent—then.  Today is the day of salvation.  Christ is here again to assure you and insure you that your sins of idolatry and temptations to apostasy have been forgiven. You are forgiven and absolved and washed in His holy and precious blood.  You are disinfected from all abominations by drinking His Holy Blood and eating His Precious Body—the Flesh of Life.  Your desolations are desolate no more as you are filled by the Holy Ghost Who comforts you with Jesus’ light and life.

You are abominable when you don’t do the commandments because all of your trespasses, your old sinful nature, is based on the selfish pride-driven ego of Self—idolatry and idol worshipping.  Jesus as The entirely selfless, and giving, and sacrificially atoning Paschal Lamb, became abominable on the Tree at Calvary so that you are lifted up and elevated to the place of Royal Priests at His nuptial banquet—this morning and hereafter.

The Roman Imperial eagles are long gone. The American Eagle itself has turned into base idolatry. Eagle as scavenger is fact but Eagle as noble conqueror in myth and fable persists.  The sinful bird of either predatory raptor or carrion-cleanup knows where to go to dine—on the corpses, the carcasses of dead things.  But because of Jesus’ forgiveness: “and you ARE + FORGIVEN,” you with Saint John, he of the Eagle motif (the tetramorph for his soaring theology), are little eagles gathering this day not around the carcase of a dead thing, but around the Living Body of The Living God/Man.  Gather and eat fully.

In the Name of the Father and + of the Son and of The Holy Ghost



Email the webmaster.Contact Augsburg Lutheran Church: (913) 403-6194