2019 Study Summary 21: The Son of Man Shall Come
Joseph Smith–Matthew 1; Matthew 25; Mark 12–13; Luke 21
“The Son of Man Shall Come”
How is anointing used in life and death?
Anointing is done as one of the respectful ways of preparing a body for burial. Perhaps Jesus, knowing that Mary of Bethany would not have the chance to prepare His body in death as she and other women surely would have desired to do, appreciated her anointing Him while He was still alive. “Anointing with oil is a very ancient custom. It was done for both practical and symbolic reasons . . . In the case of kings, the whole head was anointed, i.e., covered with the oil, whereas the priests had only a mark made on the head with the oil . . . The word messiah literally means “the anointed one.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Mary’s affectionate service in anointing Jesus could have been her testifying of His Messiahship.
How can anointing change us?
“Anointing with oil was symbolic of change in a person’s status.” “The primary feature of the coronation was the anointing of the king’s head with oil by a priest or prophet, the sign of the divine covenant — that is, he had been chosen as God’s anointed.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How does Palm Sunday connect with the Passover that year?
His triumphal entry on a donkey’s colt down the Mount of Olives and into the Gate Beautiful raised the spirits of the Jews. They wanted a Messiah, and they praised this extraordinary man of miracles. Simultaneously, priests were angered and decided to set in motion a plan to have Jesus executed. The triumphal entry has been called Palm Sunday; and again, it was five days before the Passover that year. (The beginning and ending days of Passover are two of the ten extra Sabbaths each year – called “High Days”). Riding a donkey’s colt was one of the traditions ancient kings of Israel did to symbolize a greater king still to come. Other kings throughout the world ride in lavish vehicles weighted with gold and jewels. “As it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.” (Zechariah 9:9) Jewish tradition also indicates a connection between a Messiah and riding a donkey.
What significance are the messianic expectations?
“According to the Talmud, the Messiah will be a descendant of the House of David and will be preceded by a secondary Messiah, from the House of Joseph. Folklore has it that he will arrive riding a donkey, although some sources have him arriving triumphantly riding the clouds. (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) With the inference of a Joseph Messiah preceding a David Messiah, please consider the parable Jesus related in (Matthew 21:33-39; 42-44). Paraphrasing, Jesus is saying that the Kingdom will be taken from the “self-appointed priests in Judah” and will be given to another nation that will bring forth fruits. “The personal visitation of the Father and the Son, choosing Joseph to be the leader of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, marked the beginning of this work, and this was supplemented by the visitation of angels and other holy messengers, conferring upon Joseph the powers of the Priesthood, the authority to act in the name of God–to introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ by divine authority to mankind, and by divine direction to organize and establish the true Church of Christ in the latter days.” (Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards, Pg. 16)
What does the unique feature of fig trees in Israel teach us?
In Israel, first, the fruit appears, then the leaves grow as the tree becomes full, followed by a second fruit. If the first fruit fails (as the gospel accounts tells us), there could not be a second fruit (a second coming)! The modern portion of the parable includes, first, the restoration, then the growth of the Church, followed by the second coming of the Messiah. A pattern emerges as we see ancient Joseph rejected, Israel scattered, and the Messiah rejected. (That rejection does not interfere with the eternal atonement He gave all mankind in the Meridian of Times). Then, a modern Joseph receives the restoration; the Lord’s people gather and grow in preparation for the Messiah’s return.
What insights can we have about the “Gathering of Israel?”
“Ever since the time of the first Babylonian exile over 2,000 years ago, Jews of the world have yearned for the return to Zion. This theme is reflected in the daily prayers, literature, and song of the Jewish people.” “This dream began to take on practical form during the last quarter of the 19th century, as Jews set about rebuilding Israel to serve as a refuge for victims of the pogroms and for other Jews the world over.” “These groups established agricultural settlements all over the country, revived the Hebrew language, and created their own Watchman Society to guard their members from Arab attack. In 1909, on land purchased by the Jewish National Fund, the first kibbutz, Deganyah, was established. By 1914, the yishuv, as the Jewish community was called, numbered some 85,000.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How does a physical gathering relate to the spiritual gathering?
The 2019 statistics reveal that there are about 7 million Jews in Israel, the land of Judah, about 16-million throughout the world. That is parallel to the world-wide membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at about 16-million. About 7-million live in the United State of America, the land of Joseph. Both peoples each represent about ¼ of 1-percent of the world’s population. Both people’s gifts to humanity are extra-ordinary.
How do we relate to governmental authority?
In a juxtaposition of time, other patterns remain consistent. Jesus’ teaching “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s,” is a repeat of former and later statements of belief. Elisha’s continued purpose was to be a servant of God; he even refused payment from Syria’s highest ranking officer in the Land of Israel. The anomaly is that the children of Israel strongly objected to the Syrian occupying forces. The prophet was probably teaching the same principle that Jesus taught and that has been revealed again in our day. (Matthew 22:21) “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (Articles of Faith 12)
How did Jesus refer to an Old Testament account about an “enemy?”
The faithful Israelite woman, serving in Naaman’s household, was a believer and prompted the occupying Syrian officer to come to the prophet to be blessed. Elisha sent a message to do something simple–bathe in the Jordan River. When Naaman finally swallowed his pride he was blessed! Imagine–the enemy was blessed! Jesus would later say, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) We don’t know for sure if that resulted in Naaman’s conversion, and it doesn’t really matter. The blessing was unconditional. The lesson for the unbelieving Israelites was repeated by the Savior as he said: “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of (Elisha) the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:27) Within these thoughts is the cure for hypocrisy. We must love everyone, even those who stray, who believe, worship, dress or speak differently than we do. The Lord loves us ALL, and we are to do the same.