DIDACHE Priority, Parousia Parallels (DID 16, Mat.24, Mar 13, Lk 21, 1Co15, 1Th4

DID. 16.3

Mat 24:30-31

Mar 13:24-27

Luk 21:27-28 

1Co 15:51-52 

1Th 4:15-17

16.6 And then shall appear the signs of truth first the
sign of extension in heaven

next the sign of the trumpet call and third the
resurrection of the dead.

[16.7 not of all the dead, but, as it says, ‘the Lord shall
come, and all his holy ones with him’

16.8 Then the world shall see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven,
and all the holy ones with him, on his royal throne, to judge the world-deceiver
and to reward each according to his deeds.

16.9 Then the evil shall go away into
eternal punishment but the righteous shall enter into life eternal, inheriting
those things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which has not
arisen in the heart of man. Those things which God has prepared for those
who love him.


DID 9.4 As this
fragment lay scattered upon the mountains and has been gathered to become
one, so gather your Church from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. For
the glory and power are yours, through Jesus Christ, forever.

10.5 Remember Lord your
Church, to preserve it from all evil and to make it perfect in your love. And,
sanctified, gather it from the four winds into your kingdom which you have
prepared for it.

And then the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in the heavens.


And then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the heaven with power and great glory. 



(31)  And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.




And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet,

and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the heavens to their ends.









(31)[triplicate of verse,place to show side-by-side comparison with DIDACHE Eucharist) 

And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.












(26)  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.  (27)  And then He shall send His angels and shall gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.


And then He will send His angels


and will gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of earth to the end of heaven.













(27)  And then He shall send His angels and shall gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.

  (27)  And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  (28)  And when these things begin to happen, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near.


Behold, I speak a mystery to you; we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed;  (52)  in a moment, in a glance of an eye, at the last trumpet. For a trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed.

For we say this to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not go before those who are asleep. 







  (16)  For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God.


And the dead in Christ shall rise first.  (17)  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord.

What we have here is intriguing intertextuality which could be the key to understanding a great deal;

The “Four Winds” and the “End of the Earth” Idioms

First, note the DIDACHE and Mark and Matthew, on the ‘gathering from four winds’ and ‘ends of the earth.’  The implication to me is that Mark and Matthew know this language and its echoes in the DIDACHE Eucharistic prayer. This, in the DIDACHE, is the true gathering of the Church from the four winds and the ends of the earth. 

How, then, do the two distinctive phrase find their way into Mark and Matthew where they both operate in an entirely different context, that is, referring to what some today fashionably would call the Rapture. 

There are several possibilities. One can only speculate.  It may be that a redactor has transplanted the two idioms from their original place in the DIDACHE Eucharist, to the Matthean/Markan ‘Rapture,’ because the DIDACHE is being discredited. This I consider only a remote possibility. A more likely one is that these two phrases are inserted into Matthew as code-terms for the benefit of those who have been properly initiated into the DIDACHE baptism and its exclusivistic ‘anti-canine’ policy (DID. 9.5). Thus, when when those initiates read/hear the Gospel of Matthew (the primary Gospel, but post-dating the DIDACHE) they will understand that the portrayal of the Rapture is actually a figurative device alluding esoterically to something else.

Regarding the Markan version of the same:

Note that it, the Markan, is almost verbatim, but the differences strongly indicate (at least to me) that Mark has reworked Matthew.  (Note: Contrary to mainstream scholars, I believe in Matthean priority and Markan dependence; and I believe, again with a minority, that Mark and Luke may have been written in order to (for lack of a more discreet word) subvert the DIDACHE-Gospel.)

Mark has incorporated Matthew’s phrase into his own work.  In the above side-by-side comparison, see where I have copied the texts using a literal word-for-word translation. 

Note that Mark eliminates the Matthean allusion to the trumpet.  Believe it or not, ‘trumpet’ is a loaded word because it strongly resonates with the authentic Apostolic DIDACHE Parousia.  ‘Trumpet’ is a word which I sense may have got Paul into embarrassment in 1Th, where he was sounding imitatively apostolic in his description of the Parousia, which–as the spirit-anointing upon me leads me to suggest– was based on the DIDACHE.  But Paul erred (quite ironically!) in leaving out a very important allusion to the revelation of a Deceiver in DID. 16.3-4). And Paul was basically caught up short for his error. This necessitates writing a second letter to cover his mistake (2Th2:1ff).  In any case, Paul has over-played the trumpet, which is a memorable sign spoken of as preceding the End, as the DIDACHE announces, and which Paul picks up and embellishes in 1Th and 1Co 15.52, his rather derivative (not to say plagiarized) Parousias. (Of course, so does Luke abandon trumpets.)

Perhaps because Mark knows about the sore history of the trumpet and the troubling note it stirred for Paul, Mark deletes the reference in his Parousia.

Now the interesting question concerns Mark’s use of the two idioms of  ‘gathering of the elect from the four winds’ and also ‘from the ends of the earth.’  The first question is, does Mark even recognize that these come from the DIDACHE Eucharist?  My tentative answer is, I think not!  Here, I think is what happened.

First, I believe that Matthew quite consciously re-adapted and then integrated the DIDACHE Eucharistic prayer idiom in question, into a Matthean Parousia written some years later.  In so doing, Matthew uses this Eucharistic allusion in a manner consistent with his whole exquisite Parousia Eschatology laid out in chapters 24-25. Because of this consistency, aptness and evidence of careful thought, the use of the two idioms in both Matthew and DIDACHE is not a mere coincidence but intended.  The Eucharistic prayer was prayed as it was, and it was memorized and internalized; and too, the Matthean hope and expectation of the Lord’s gathering of the saints from the four winds, was a fervent and ultimate hope. The two interrelated events–a weekly Sabbath Maranatha feast, and final rendezvous of the saints with Lord –is really the ultimate endpoint of Christian existence, even more so, one might say, than the Judgment, which, in a sense, is a life of preparation for meeting the Lord.

(Such a shame and pity, then, that the correct DIDACHE Eucharist was eventually subverted in later Christian practice; more on that, perhaps, elsewhere.)

Then, along came Mark, writing a variant on Matthew. In this text, Mark aims to archaize and consciously to incorporate certain primitive oral-flavored diction, the better to impart the subtle suggestion to hearers/readers and modern scholars, that Mark’s own gospel’s comes earlier, thus has priority, and hence greater authenticity, vis-a-vis the DIDACHE-Gospel of the Twelve; though actually it does not.

In so doing, Mark innocently copies the Matthean sentence in question almost verbatim: ‘And then He will send His angels and will gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of earth to the end of heaven.’  In so doing, Mark leaves out only the word trumpet. What is Mark’s redactive purpose? I think Mark simply wants to seem authentic by imitative copying here, and so he follows the Matthean original without reflecting adequately on the undesired suspicion this casts upon his archaizing project.  He does not grasp the fact that these two tell-tale idioms, which Matthew has shifted out of the Eucharistic prayer of DIDACHE and into the Parousia, were already in the  Eucharistic prayer.

There are several possible reasons why, in naturalistic terms, Mark (the not-quite-clever-enough scribe) may have overlooked this leaving-of-a-fingerprint ; we could speculate quite a bit, but in any case, it happened, for some divine purpose, and Mark made a slip-up, for which I think we should rejoice.

There is also the possibility that the idioms of ‘four winds’ and ‘ends of the earth’ were simply quite commonplace, so that their usage by any author in any context is not remarkable; see Eucharist category concordances for both phrases to get a sense of their commonality.

But if, as I believe, the use of these idioms signifies intertextuality of DIDACHE with Matthew, which Mark has then re-worked, then the implications are I think momentous; for one thing this would affirm Matthean priority, against the grain with most scholars.

Consider, for another, the Matthean Parousia in chapters 24-25.  I suspect most scholars assume many of the words could not have been said by Jesus, at least not in the form presented. (I don’t mean to impugn the profession, but most scholars seem to take an extremely minimalist position almost reflexively.)  However, in this case, if, as all the evidence I marshal seems to show, the DIDACHE is authentic, then it would make perfect sense that its Eucharistic prayer would use the very language the Christ Himself used, albeit in the context of the Parousia.  It is quite remarkable to me that the two idioms about the gathering of the saints from the four winds, and the ends of the heavens, should both occur together in the Eucharist prayer (in different portions) and then be joined in the Parousia. The use of these phrases in the prayer actually gives the attribution in Matthew 24 greater credibility, I would say.  The most plausible explanation for why the phrases occur in both places is that the same community participated in writing Matthew and the DIDACHE, and still recalled the Lord’s words in some context, of gathering the saints from the four winds and from the ends of the heavens. And so the community  consisting of the Twelve apostles and their church  included these words in their Maranatha prayer.  And this same theme naturally came to mind in the Eschatological language of the End.  The Miraculous Feeding anticipates the eternal banquet with Jesus. This is why the Eucharistic cry is, ‘Maranatha!   Come Lord!  Come to us in our feast.


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Filed under Chapter 16, Intertextuality: Pro-DIDACHE

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