The word “Nazi”, signifying the abhorrent nature of Nazism, seems to crop up all the time these days.
In the UK of recent weeks, Max Mosely, President of the Federation Nationale de l’Automobile, was terribly keen to ensure that nothing of Nazism was associated with him. He had much less problem about publicising his arranged sex with five hookers.
In Jersey the word “Nazi” has been used Senatorially (let the reader understand) – and strong reactions are reverberating in the local press and the corridors of Jersey power.
Nazism is a label for the detestable abuse of power in the extreme of genocide – with accompanying inhumanity.
Take a look again at Jesus’ words above. He used the words “abomination of desolation” as a generic, non-specific phrase – but a phrase that would cover Nazism as well as Pol Pot and Radovan Karadzic. In the oiriginal Greek “abomination of desolation" = bdelugma ho eremosis = foul, detestable thing that lays waste, that brings to ruin. And (see above) the writer who recorded these words of Jesus included a useful statement immediately after the words (in brackets) that confirms their coded nature at the time - “(let the reader understand)”.
So, yes, these words of Jesus did apply to the very serious abusers of power when he spoke them (Jerusalem, AD 33) as well as in the year when Mark wrote them (around AD 65 when the murderous megalomaniac Nero headed the Roman Empire) as well as about 2000 years later in 1940/5 (Adolf Hitler and Nazism) .
But aren’t the words following the “And then” very strange indeed?
Well, having used a coded phrase to describe the wastelands that will result from great power and glorious authority being exercised without mercy then and in the future, Jesus says that folk will, after all those occasions, “see the Son of Man [himself] coming with clouds with great power and glory”.
Was Jesus saying that, immediately after each wasteland, there would be further power struggles on his part (on the part of Jesus) that would bring about a further wasteland of genocidal damage? Was Jesus’ power and glory to be of a similar nature? Would that kind of self-seeking power be used to bring about a gathering of “his elect from the four winds”...?
Before his execution as a criminal, Jesus had to be convicted of criminality worthy of death. The principal court that tried him was the powerful Jerusalem Sanhedrin – equivalent to Jersey’s States, Royal Court and Town Church combined into one.
Its President was the High Priest for that year - a man named Joseph Caiphas who held office AD 18-36. In response to a question, Jesus said to him that he, the High Priest, would personally see “the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
The only thing that Caiaphas actually saw was the Son of Man suffering to death on a Roman stake. This man had the great power, unprecedented and unrepeated, to give himself for others – and the great glory that is due to a man who uses that totally "other" kind of power ---- for others.
Now there, indeed and in deed, is great power and glory. No wonder it works.
‘Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.’ (Abraham Lincoln, Former US President, 1809-1865)