Be Not Misled

This poem is an interpretation of part of the Bible (Matthew 24, “The Sermon on the Mount”).

As Jesus was leaving the temple that day
His disciples came to show without delay
The grandeur of the temple and its stones
And all of the various rooms and zones
And he said to them with a solemn frown
“This temple and its stones will be torn down”

And as he was sitting on Olive’s Mount
Jesus’ disciples asked him to recount
The signs that would precede the age’s end
So that they would all know and comprehend
So they would be prepared for his coming
And anticipate what was forthcoming
Jesus answered and said, “Be not misled
Don’t follow the false Christs or lose your head
For many will follow after those snakes
And they will not know that they are all fakes
When you hear about wars, don’t be afraid
It is not yet the end; don’t be dismayed
Famines and earthquakes will come and afflict
While nations will with each other conflict
But these are only the start of birth pains
The world will be wracked by stresses and strains

“Then they will strike you with tribulations
And you will be hated by all the nations
And many will depart, hate, and betray
And they will kill some who my words obey
False prophets will their deceptions unfold
While people’s love will grow icy and cold
But he who endures, and has these things braved
Will last to the end, and he will be saved
Once this gospel of the kingdom is preached
To all the nations, and earth’s limits reached
Then the present wicked age will have passed
And the great tribulation will come fast

“The abomination of desolation
Will appear in the holy location
And the people must escape to the hills
And not tarry to return for their bills
The people must not return for their cloaks
The pregnant and nursing, distress provokes
There will be tribulation that is greater
Than all former, and all that will come later
Those days will be shortened for the elected
So that some life on earth will be protected
For if those dark days had not been reduced
Complete destruction would have been produced

“If someone says, ‘Here is the Chosen One’
Do not pay attention, or after him run
For many false Christs and prophets will arise
And they will put many signs before your eyes
I have told you these things in advance, so
Do not after their signs and wonders go
If they say, ‘He is in the desert place’
Don’t start to follow, or after them race
If they say, ‘He’s in the inner room’
You must not their honesty assume
For the Son will come like a lightning flash
That fills the sky before the thunder crash
When the corpse is seen lying on the ground
There the vultures will gather all around

“But before the trouble of those grim days
The sun will be covered with a dark haze
The moon will not offer its steady rays
And the falling stars will watchers amaze
Then the powers of heaven in the sky
Will all fall down, and they will cease to fly

“When the sign of the Son of Man appears
The people will look at the sky with tears
For on clouds the Son of Man will draw near
And with his power and glory appear
His angels will blow their trumpets on high
To gather his elect and bring them nigh

“Learn the parable of the fig tree’s leaves
Which bud when the plant summertime perceives
This generation will not pass away
Until they have seen these things on that day
Heaven and earth will fade from people’s sight
But my faithful words will never take flight
Only the Father knows the time of the end
The angels and the Son do not comprehend

“But before the Son of Man appears on earth
People will be eating and drinking with mirth
They will be marrying, as in Noah’s day
When the flood came and took them all away
The people were not prepared, and did not know
Until it rained, and they saw the water flow
Two men will be in a field of grain
One will be taken, and one will remain
Two women will be at the mill one day
One will be taken, and one will stay

“If the head of the house knew the time of night
That the thief would come, he would put on the light
In the same way, you should keep your steadiness
Stay alert and watch for him with readiness
For the Son of Man will begin his descent
When people are not expecting the event

“Who is the slave—alert, faithful, and wise
Upon whom his master always relies?
This slave gives to the household their food
At the right time, and is therefore shrewd
Blessed is the slave who is not found shirking
His master will come and see him working
The master will put him in charge of all
That is within his rooms, closets, and hall
But if the clever slave says in his mind
‘My master will not return here and find
That I’m lazy, drunk, and out of my place
He will not return soon, in any case’
Then the master will return and see him
And cut down the hypocrite, limb from limb
In that place, everyone will writhe and swear
As they gnash their teeth and tear their hair”

(written c. August 2012)