The Didache, Part 4 (final)

So here is the final part of my translation of the Didache. Parts 1, 2, and 3 are also available. The complete Didache, in rtf format, is available here.

This part starts with some general admonitions, then moves at the end into a description of the expected return of the Lord and the last days. Notes follow the text, as usual.

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The Start of the Didache, Wikipedia

The Start of the Didache, Wikipedia

When coming together on the Lord’s own day, break bread and give thanks after confessing your transgressions.
In that manner, your sacrifice will be pure.
Do not let anyone coming with a quarrel against a brother join you until they get reconciled,  so that your sacrifice is not made impure.
For this has been spoken of by the Lord, “in every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great King,” says the Lord, “and My name is wonderful among the nations.”

Appoint for yourselves, therefore bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord:
Gentle men,
not lovers of money,
true and approved.
For they serve you without pay as prophets and teachers.
Therefore, do not despise them, for they are to be honoured among you along with the prophets and teachers.

Do not reprove one another in anger, but in peace, as we have been shown in the Gospel.
Do not let anyone speak to a person who is unloving to his neighbour  nor let him hear a word from you, until he repents.

Pray and give and live as you have found in the Gospel of our Lord.

Watch over your life.
Do not let your lamps be extinguished or your body unclothed, but be ready,
for you do not know the hour in which our Lord comes.

Assemble yourselves together frequently to seek the things that benefit your souls, for all the time of your faith will not profit you unless you are perfect at the end.
For in the last days, false prophets and seducers will increase, turning the sheep into wolves, and love into hate.

For lawlessness will increase and they will hate and persecute and betray one another.
And then the deceiver of the world will appear as though he were the Son of God,
and he shall do signs and wonders and the earth shall be delivered into his hands.
He will commit immoralities which have never been done since the age began.

Then shall mankind come into the fire of proving trial and many shall be made to stumble and perish.
But those who remain established in their faith shall be saved from under the very curse.

And then the signs of truth shall be revealed.
First, a sign spread out in heaven,
then a sign of the sound of a trumpet,
and third, the resurrection of the dead,
Not all of the dead. but as it was said,
“the Lord shall come and all His Holy Ones with Him.”
Then the world shall see the Lord coming in the clouds of heaven.

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NOTES:

1) When the text talks about the Gospel, it means the good news they heard preached, not any written Gospel, nor the story of Jesus’ life.

2) Notice again the mention of  bishops and deacons serving “without pay”.

3) The apocalypse used here is much simpler than the one in the book of Revelation, more akin to the ones in the Gospels. Simply put: Things will get worse, people will be tested, then the end (or new beginning). Personally, I think this should give us pause when it comes to reading too much into the Revelation, as far as trying to interpret it as a detailed timeline of the  end times.

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