Psalm 122 The Voice (VOICE)
A song [of David][a] for those journeying to worship.
This is a Davidic psalm celebrating the grandeur and significance of Jerusalem and its temple. It is ironic that Jerusalem means “city of peace” since more battles have been fought over it than over any other city.
1 I was so happy when my fellow pilgrims said,
3 Jerusalem! What a magnificent city!
6 Ask heaven to grant peace to Jerusalem:
Genesis 6:11-22 The Voice (VOICE)
11-12 They lived at a time when the world had become vile and corrupt. Violence was everywhere. God saw that the earth was in ruins, and He knew why: all people on earth except Noah had lived corrupt lives and ruined God’s plans for them. He had to do something.
Eternal One (to Noah): 13 Noah, I have decided to wipe out all the living creatures I have made because they are spreading violence throughout the earth. Watch! I will destroy them with the earth. 14 I want you to build an ark. Build it out of cypress wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with tar. 15 Here’s how you will do it: build the ark 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. 16 Put a roof[a] on the ark and leave a gap of 18 inches below the roofline for air to circulate. Put the door of the ark in its side, and build it with lower, middle, and upper decks. 17 Look! I am going to unleash a torrent and flood the earth to destroy all flesh under the heavens which breathes the breath of life. Everything that is on the earth will die.
18 But I will make a pact with you, Noah—a covenant agreement. To survive, you and your family—you, your wife, your sons, and your sons’ wives—must go into the ark. 19 And, out of all the living creatures I have made, you must bring two of each kind into the ark with you, to keep them alive. Bring one male and one female of each kind. 20 Bring all kinds of birds, all sorts of animals, and all varieties of creatures that creep on the ground in pairs, so that each species will survive. 21 Also, you must bring food with you. Bring every kind of food that may be eaten, and store it all inside the ark. That way, you and all of the creatures will have enough food to eat.
22 So Noah listened to God, and he built the ark. He did everything God asked him to do.
Matthew 24:1-22 The Voice (VOICE)
24 Jesus left the temple. As He was walking away, His disciples came up to Him and asked what He thought about the temple buildings.
Jesus: 2 Look around you. All of it will become rubble. I tell you this: not one stone will be left standing.
3 Later, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately.
Disciples: We don’t understand Your predictions. Tell us, when will these things happen: When will the temple be destroyed? What will be the sign that You are returning? How will we know that the end of the age is upon us?
In this, the last of the five major sermons, Jesus focuses on prophetic and apocalyptic themes of judgment and the end times. The disciples have been listening to the prophetic judgment Jesus has issued on the religious leaders. They have images of collapsing temple buildings, of prophets pursued from town to town, of floggings, and of blood-soaked garments. They can imagine themselves blood-soaked. When will this all happen, and what does it mean?
Jesus: 4 Take care that you are not deceived. 5 For many will come in My name claiming they are the Anointed One, and many poor souls will be taken in. 6 You will hear of wars, and you will hear rumors of wars, but you should not panic. It is inevitable, this violent breaking apart of the sinful world, but remember, the wars are not the end. The end is still unfolding. 7 Nations will do battle with nations, and kingdoms will fight neighboring kingdoms, and there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But these are not the end. These are the birth pangs, the beginning. The end is still unfolding.
9 They will hand you over to your enemies, who will torture you and then kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. 10 And many who have followed Me and claimed to love Me and sought God’s kingdom will turn away—they will abandon the faith and betray and hate one another. 11-12 The love that they had for one another will grow cold because few will obey the law. False prophets will appear, many will be taken in by them, and the only thing that will grow is wickedness. There will be no end to the increase of wickedness. 13 But those who do not waver from our path and do not follow those false prophets—those among you will be saved. 14 And this good news of God’s kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, a testimony to all people and all nations. Then, beloved, the end, the consummation of all things, will come.
15 You will remember that the prophet Daniel predicted this—predicted the abomination that causes desolation[a]—when you see the prophesied desolation of the holy place. (Reader, take notice; it is important that you understand this.) 16 When you see this, let those in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 If you are relaxing on your rooftop one evening and the signs of the temple’s destructions come, don’t return to your house to rescue a book or a pet or a scrap of clothing. 18 If you are in the field when the great destruction begins, don’t return home for a cloak. 19 Pregnant women and nursing mothers will have the worst of it. 20 And as for you, pray that your flight to the hills will not come on the Sabbath or in the cold of winter. 21 For the tribulation will be unparalleled—hardships of a magnitude that has not been seen since creation and that will not be seen again. 22 Indeed the Lord God your merciful judge will cut this time of trial short, and this will be done for the benefit of the elect that some might indeed be saved—for no one could survive the depravity for very long.