A Tenacious Tragedy

1 03 2010

There is only one way.  There has always only been one way.  There was a people who testified to that way, until the day that they met it face to face.  Upon meeting that one, they rejected him.  They continue, even now, upon that global stage, testifying to a “one,” but their fortress has been built without a cornerstone.  The prophets said that they would return to their homeland when the Messiah called them into it, but in the absence of a suitable Messiah, they have fulfilled the prophecy on their own initiative.  Abraham has lain with Hagar, having aborted the son of Sarah, in this case.  The prophecies will be fulfilled, even if they are not.

One must admire the tenacity of the Jewish nation, having been exiled not once, but twice, returning each time to rebuild a dream.  They have responded to the call, and they have come to assert their identity, to show the world that they have not been defeated.  Evangelicals, especially in America, have cheered their achievement.  More than that, the Christian Zionists, as they are called, actually live vicariously through these people.  The war of Ezekiel 38 seems to be just around the corner.  The Antichrist is set to amass his armies against her, only to be destroyed from above.  But what is this?  Israel, herself, is anti-Christ!  Even now, among her numbers, the Jews discuss the problematic matter of this friendship with the idolatrous Evangelicals.

The problem with Israel, as it stands today, is that she is no different than the day that Vespasian rode his chariots out to knock down her walls.

Before the king of Babylon even considered the spoils of Judea, the future victim had her own prophets warning of her demise, not the least of which was Isaiah.  In this, there was a due cause.  God had his purpose.  The people had fallen into an ungodly state, as had the land to the north, known as Israel.  That nation of Israel was scattered, but they lost their religious identity in the process.  Nine of the original twelve tribes were completely lost.  The land of Judea contained the Judeans, the Levites and the Benjamites (what was left of them).  The prophets warned that Babylon was coming.  Indeed, Babylon came.  They removed the followers of the I Am to a foreign land.

But the faith was not lost.  Their captors were conquered by the Persians, who granted them the freedom to return and rebuild their temple.  This meant many battles with the natives, who by no means identified themselves with this neo-native religion.

The prophets had spoken.  Greece was to come and trample Persia.  The winner would fracture, and its parts would wage war against each other, with the land of Judea caught in the middle.  Out of this, a king would come from the north and desecrate the temple.  After this, the Messiah would come.  All of this happened.  Daniel counted the years until Messiah, and those years had come, and the Messiah did come.

There has always been only one way.  That way came, and the people who followed the way came to a bend in the road and kept on going straight off into the pasture.  The promised Messiah brought redemption into the world, and the initial recipients, the wedding party, turned him away.  This is the crux of Christianity.  We do not differ with the Jews over one doctrinal issue.  We differ with them over the only doctrinal issue.  We follow the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  They follow the god of Judah.

Abraham was sitting at his tent, and the Lord appeared before him in the form of human royalty.  Immediately, he recognized the impostor for his blasphemy.  God never takes the form of a human.  Therefore Abraham went straight out with his servants and had the man hung from a tree.  Is this how it happened?  Abraham did not do this, but Judea did.  The Lord appeared at her doorway in the form of human royalty, and she nailed him to a tree.  This is not to be mourned, so much, for it was through this tragedy that redemption was brought to all humanity.  The ultimate martyr, the ultimate sacrifice had been paid.  Yet, the Messiah lives.

A little over seventy years beyond the appearance of her Lord, Judea found herself sitting idly in the desert, lost without a Messiah.  Then the armies of Rome came and carried her away.  The land of Judah was smashed.  Its inhabitants were scattered.  Christ and his prophets saw this in advance.

A couple thousand years after the appearance of the Messiah, she returned to her homeland to fulfill a promise made to the children of Yahweh.  But she is still without her Messiah.  She has not learned from her Roman captivity, and she still spits in the face of God.  What is this disaster, that the beloved of God, the inheritance of Abraham, has remained stolidly against her God?

Time and again, the armies of the enemies of the modern state of Israel have come against her, and each time they have been destroyed.  God has taken her side.  How long can this last?  Their situation now is no different than it was the day that the Romans came knocking on Jerusalem’s doors.  Now, the Beast from the East is building nukes.  Now, the Beast from the West is rebuilding a new Rome.

And Israel is stuck in the middle, still without her Messiah.  How long can this tenuous situation possibly last?

There is only one God.  There is only one way.  There is only one solution that can prevent Israel, the tenacious, Israel, the beautiful, from becoming the last great tragedy of the Jews.  God save the Jews.

Worms in the Wood

30 05 2009

Change always brings the crazies out of the woodwork.  Here, you’ve got one man walking through town naked, telling everyone that some Middle Eastern nation is going to kill, destroy and maim.  The end is near, they say.  There, you’ve got a man lying on his side for days next to a street, talking to a cake made with mud, babbling something about how the country has lost its faith in God, bringing down wrath upon everyone.  The end is near, and the sky is falling.  One man even married a prostitute, just so he could write verses about her and compare her to the sinfulness of the country.  We’re all going to Hell in a hand basket, and we forgot to pack a lunch.  The country was once founded in faith, dominated by one set of beliefs, but something external worked its way in.  The country once served a higher calling but now serves only itself.  The people who once were in love with God, who founded the country for the sole purpose of unifying under one religious code, now love only themselves and revile any rules that would suggest that they not do exactly as they please.  Now we’ve got self-proclaimed prophets and conspiracy theorists trying to make everyone afraid that the end is near, because their religion is waning, and they’re afraid of seeing the country change.

 I could be talking about the United States of America, but I’m not, yet.  When the ancient nations of Israel and Judea were adopting the beliefs and lifestyles of the nations around them, compromising faith and purity, all kinds of people claimed to have a word from the Lord, threatening punishment.  The prophet, Joel, told that an army would come from the north and take over the region, that they would be unstoppable.  The prophet, Isaiah, said that Babylon would prevail and take his entire nation into exile.  Yet, even though that nation of Judea was, in fact, far less faithful than it had been in times past, it was still far more in league with the laws of Yahweh than was the nation that came to conquer it.  Prophets predicted judgment on God’s nation, which still retained some faith, but where were the prophets of Babylon, which never had any such faith?  Seemingly, the nation that had never followed God was getting rewarded at the expense of a nation that had once followed God, and even yet still followed him a little.

 Why is it that a man is deeply angered and hurt by the woman he loves, who once loved him but turns her back on him, but he is unmoved by a woman on the street who never loved him in the first place?

 Joel was right, though.  Assyria from the north conquered Israel and led them out with cruel hooks through their jaws, like fish.  Isaiah was right, too.  Babylon besieged Judea until the people started to eat their own children, and then the Judeans were taken away and scattered.

 Ever notice how loud the religious conservatives are getting?  Notice how they portend disasters and coming storms; how they believe that there will be a great war in the Middle East and calamity will befall the United States?  Ever wonder why a halfway Christian nation would expect the wrath of its own God, while the same God fairly ignores the faithlessness of pagan nations like Nepal and China?  To some, it seems like the whining of a losing team.  Ground that the Christians could once take for granted is now probably lost forever.  To others, it seems like history repeating itself.

 We love those who love us.  We are most easily hurt by those we love the most.  We believe that God loves us, but we don’t seem to think that he has feelings, ironically.  God is only love, never resentful, right?  He only rewards, but he never punishes, right?  We expect him to let the country slide until it has completely lost its faith and looks exactly like the nations that never believed, and then we think he might do something about it.  Punishing a faithless nation is like beating a dog that hasn’t got a clue that it did anything wrong.  Try yelling at a coyote, “Bad dog!”  What do you think it would do?  If you’re lucky, it would walk away.  You can’t train a dog that has no loyalty.

 Yes, the End-Times crowd is really in their wheelhouse now.  The nation is on the brink of falling into a pit that it can never crawl out of.  We’ve got industrialized infanticide and legitimized homosexuality.  Some despot, somewhere, is itching to show us a little divine nuclear punishment.  The screams of the religious right keep getting louder.  Their tactics seem to get nuttier by the day.  They’ve been stricken from the schools and the textbooks.  They’ve been defeated at the polls and denounced by the press.  They’ve been censored here and there, yet they keep coming through with their absurd claims of conspiracy.  They claim that the government is out to silence them.  I can’t imagine why they would think that…just because it’s true.  You start changing society, and the voices of the old way warn of bloody murder.

 The only problem, though, is how starkly frequent the nuts prove to be right.  The only thing worse than crazy people everywhere warning the world of impending doom is crazy people everywhere accurately warning the world of impending doom.