25 Feb 2016
70AD: the time of your visitation
When [Jesus] approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” -Luke 19:41-44
Hollywood has never taken on the 70AD destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, one of the most amazing events in all of history. It seems tailor-made for a massive, historically inaccurate epic.
Christ’s prophetic discourse on Mount Olivet (Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13) sets the stage and predicts what is to come (by His hand!). The extra-Biblical histories of event itself are mind-boggling. The hostile Roman historian Tacitus, in book 5.13 of his history, said this:
Prodigies [extrodinary and prophetic events] had occurred, which this nation, prone to superstition, but hating all religious rites, did not deem it lawful to expiate by offering and sacrifice. There had been seen hosts joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of arms, the temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. The doors of the inner shrine were suddenly thrown open, and a voice of more than mortal tone was heard to cry that the Gods were departing.
Josephus, 1st-century Jewish military leader and historian, perceived in the event a judgment on his people. Here is what his history says occurred in the years leading up to the destruction of the great city by the Romans:
- A star resembling a sword hanging over the city
- A comet visible for a year
- During the feast of unleavened bread at night, a great light shining around the altar and holy house for a half hour, making it appear daylight
- A sacrificial cow bringing forth a lamb in the midst of the temple
- A massive brass gate secured with bolts in the floor that opened on its own
- During Pentecost, a quaking in the inner court of the temple, with the sound of a great multitude saying “Let us remove hence.” (Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, was the Jewish celebration of the harvest and the giving of the law to Moses, occurring 50 days after passover).
- Before sunset, not long after Pentecost, chariots and soldiers running about in the clouds, surrounding cities.
- A prophet named Jesus who cried woe on the city, to the annoyance of the populace, for 7 years prior to the event
Read it for yourself in The Wars of the Jews, Book VI, Chapter 5.3. And keep reading, because the chronicle of the temple’s destruction, the enraged bloodbath amid horrified shrieking, the Jews expecting their Messiah… it is something else. (Unfortunately, the full translation of the book is hundreds of years old and it can be hard to decipher at points. One wishes there were a modern, footnoted translation of the full book, as it is a fascinating read.)
Today, the garish Dome of the Rock sits atop the Temple Mount in the traditional location of the Herodian temple, a golden reminder that the time of the Gentiles has not ended, and also, as has been noted, an unwitting guardian of the new reality that the High Priest has assumed His office and the copy and shadow is no longer needed.
15 Feb 2016
Antonin Scalia, RIP… and Satan’s throne
Despite quibbles here and there, Justice Scalia was always one of those Catholics I admired from afar, much like Pat Buchanan. His serious intellect, integrity, vibrant and masculine wit, and familial and religious devotion was a potent lure. I admired his willingness to be a whipping boy and his funny dissents from moral squishes like Anthony Kennedy. Scalia was the most formidable mind on the Supreme Court in the last 50 years. He seemed a good man. May he RIP.
Anyone who needed a practical example of the doctrine of total depravity needed only to review Twitter after Scalia died. Many of the posts were vile, with “jokes” about “pissing on his grave” and wishes for him to rot in Hell. See folks, it turns out that something is lost when you no longer see men as made in God’s image.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the First Amendment statue stood almost sacrosanct and seemingly permanent in the temple of progressivism. Liberals celebrated their support of the Nazis of Skokie and even Larry Flynt in the name of free speech. Now, however, the statue looks increasingly wobbly. When you have no lasting foundation for a belief, the winds of cultural drift can erode its pillars over time.
The room in the progressive temple is now increasingly swallowed up by the idol Equality, great and terrible, still busily under construction. The wobbly old First Amendment statue may be torn down, all in the name of the love that dare not speak its name. Old temple guards like Alan Dershowitz are worried by the young intoleristas who bitterly revile the Scalia types who dare question their moral autonomy. The Christian apologist Michael Brown noted that “gay activists” used to tell him “you’re crazy, no one will take away your liberties.” Now that it’s happening, they’re saying “yeah, and you deserve it.”
For those of us who’ve witnessed the rapid facility with which gay marriage has attained majority belief in the last 15-20 years and the intolerance toward any dissent from the new civil religion– you can’t even refuse to make a cake!– it’s not hard to extrapolate forward and see Satan’s throne (Rev 2:13), with Caesar leading increasingly direct persecution.
May God strengthen us, our families, and our churches for what lies ahead. The One who walks among the lampstands (Rev 1:12-16, Rev 2:1) is with us.
07 Feb 2016
Grab a gun, young lady
Conscription is a form of enslavement and I’m thankful that national opinion currently opposes a military draft. I’m also thankful there isn’t the type of mandatory “national service” to Caesar that is in place elsewhere. However, a national emergency is all it might take to change it.
At the Republican debate last night, a moderator asked Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio if women should have to register for Selective Service. All three said yes. Ted Cruz wasn’t asked, but he said afterward that he opposes it:
“I have to admit, as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was, ‘Are you guys nuts?’ … Listen, we have had enough with political correctness, especially in the military. Political correctness is dangerous. And the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it.” To applause, Cruz went on to note that he is a father to two daughters, and he wants them to follow their dreams. “But the idea that their government would forcibly put them in a foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Good for Ted Cruz. It’s a measure of a nation adrift that would think of sending young women to fight in place of men. The feminist heresy marches on, pushing men to suppress their natural desire to protect the ‘weaker sex,’ even to the destruction of the women it purports to help.
When you see politicians like Bush, Christie, and Rubio supporting this kind of stuff, can’t you easily envision a “conservative” politician 10 or 20 years down the line blessing polyamory and incest, or at least saying “nothing to see here, move along” about them? (Jeb also provided a hint hint that an ‘absolutist’ position on abortion like Rubio claims was damaging to one’s “electability.” His dad George HW Bush was always gutsy like that, too, wet finger gauging the wind. Of course Jeb is a “staunch pro-lifer”).