New Testament Notes 291-293

New Testament Notes 291-293 May 12, 2019


Banner with "SPQR"
The “Vexilloid” of the Roman Empire
SPQR = Senātus Populusque Rōmānus
(“The Senate and People of Rome”)
Wikimedia Commons


Matthew 24:23-28

Mark 13:21-23

Compare Matthew 24:4-5, 11; Mark 13:5-6; Luke 17:20-21, 23-24, 37; 21:8




Again, it’s really easy to sit back and condemn, or even to mock, those who have been, are being, or will be seduced by false teachers — as if such teachers came somehow clearly and obviously marked “false.”  If even the “very elect” are deceived, though, it’s reasonable to assume that those false teachers will be plausible and persuasive.  Instead of pointing the finger at others, we should be vigilant against being deceived ourselves.  I doubt that any faithful Saint who’s ever fallen away from the Church set out deliberately to become an apostate.




In Matthew 24:28, the Greek word άετόί — which the King James Version renders as “eagles” — can also be (and, in my opinion, probably should be) translated as “vultures.”  Essentially, the term άετός means “big bird.”  (Try not to think, in this context, of Sesame Street.)


After all, it’s not eagles who typically gather around carcasses, nor even in groups, but vultures.


A funny story in this connection:


The same Gospel Doctrine teacher to whom I referred in another recent blog entry here, who misguidedly used cooling candle wax decades ago in an attempt to illustrate how the love of many will “wax cold,” also evidently invited his class to ponder the significance of eagles in Matthew 24:28.


Plainly, he said, this is a prophetic reference to the United States, whose symbol is an eagle.


Unfortunately, though, if  άετόί is rendered as “vultures” his interpretation doesn’t work quite so well.


In any event, there have been and are plenty of countries besides the United States — including Mexico, the Arab Republic of Egypt, imperial Rome, the Hapsburg dynasty, the Russian Romanov dynasty, Fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany — with eagles as their symbols or on their flags.


I can’t think of any nations, though, who’ve adopted the vulture as their symbol — though I can think of quite a number who ought to have done so.


Last Judgement, Jean Cousin
Jean Cousin, “The Last Judgment” (16th century); Wikimedia Commons public domain image


Matthew 24:29-36

Mark 13:24-32

Luke 21:25-33


“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”


Maybe so.  But I’ve watched a few TV preachers who seemed pretty confident that they knew the year, if not the month.


So send your love gifts!


Posted from Cairo, Egypt



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