Monday, June 11, 2012

Countdown to Destruction: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…"

©Image Asset Management/SuperStock
THE DAYS OF HIGH PRIEST ACTING AS HEAD OF STATE in addition to his religious leadership in Israel did not begin with Joshua of the post-exilic era, but with Eli of the Book of First Samuel, with whom the Aaronic High Priesthood ended. In 1 Samuel 3:18, it says that Eli “led Israel for forty years”; by “led” the passage meant “judged,” the same word used to describe the leadership of all other Judges before him. But unlike some of the Judges that ruled before him, Eli’s role as both head of state and of religious affairs went and ended dismally. It was during his time when the Philistines were making frequent incursions into Israelite territory; the availability of metalworking in the “whole land of Israel” (1 Samuel 13:19) was wiped out, for fear that “the Hebrews will make swords or spears” (verse 19); and the spiritual service of God’s people to the LORD was being vexed by the corruption of Eli’s sons. It was for this last reason that made God reach down to take back what was rightfully His.

In 1 Samuel 2:30 to 36, a prophecy was pronounced against Eli’s family ending the role of his “house” and his “father’s house” to “minister before me forever” (verse 30). Entailing this was a bitter judgment upon Eli’s descendants that will “cut short your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line” (verse 31), this because his sons Hophni and Phinehas did not honor Him but treated their calling with disdain (verse 30). According to the seventeenth verse, their sin was “very great in the LORD’s sight, for they were treating the LORD’s offering with contempt.” In the Fourth Chapter, they carried the Ark of the Covenant to battle against the Philistines; the Philistines prevailed, took the Ark, and killed the brothers (verse 11). The curse upon Eli’s House had exerted its reign. But wait, there’s more. A Benjamite messenger sprinted from the battlefield to Shiloh and came straight to Eli and announced the defeat. More concerned with the Ark of the Covenant, the shock pushed Eli off his chair, crushed the vertebra in his neck because of his cumbersome weight, and died (verse 18).

Thus ended the leadership of Eli in the land with a well-loved Judge this time taking over. The Prophet Samuel spent his young days under the tutelage of the High Priest Eli, knew about the corruption of Hophni and Phinehas, but nonetheless grew “in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men” (2:26). During his time his leadership took over the basics of a High Priest though he did not replace Eli in the office of High Priest. Samuel was called to be a Prophet, the Old Testament vanguard of the integrity of the Jehovic culture over Israel. If he found something wrong, through the power of God he was the uncompromising hammer that straightened it out. In his days Israel lived without a High Priest, but God made sure through Samuel, that it would be of no spiritual detriment to His people because some twenty years after the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines, the great man of God leads a mighty revival throughout the land the effect of which rid all foreign gods from every Israelite household and wiped out a major Philistine attack that was about to swoop down upon the repentant people of God (1 Samuel 7:10–11). Then in the thirteenth verse, another important milestone was reached in the annals of the Israelite nation: “the Philistines were subdued and did not invade Israelite territory again.”
It may not have been written down much in the Scriptures to make a major impression in most of us, but the peace that existed between Israel and her neighbors was centered on the fear of Samuel. Let us remember that God is an unseen God; and for the pagans to fully understand the power of God, Samuel became the visual persuasion of the very Being they must fear. In the fourteenth verse it says that “there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.” The Amorites were a race of people who originated from the west of Palestine, around the Tigris-Euphrates region, and populated the immediate regions around Israel. The Philistines, on the other hand, were not among the Amorites, having emerged from the coasts of Anatolia some time around the fourteenth century B.C. and made incursive attacks against Egyptian and Levantine countries. Though the Amorites were among the people God enumerated as inhabitants of the Promised Land, historians understand that all the other people mentioned by God were but cultural sub-divisions of the more general Amorite race.

Photo source:
The Prophet Samuel’s time may have been that of great revival but it was also one of great turbulence, for it was then when, for the first time, the people of his nation demanded to give them a king to rule over them as the nations around them have (8:5). It may have been partly (in the least) born out of the desire to preserve the peace and prosperity that was reigning over the nation at that time. Fearing that the Prophet was then old and his sons, who were the primary candidates of taking his place, were not anywhere as righteous as him, all the heavenly conditions Israel was experiencing might turn sour as they had in the past two hundred years once a Godly leader dies (Judges 2:10–22). From the time of the Prophet Moses, through the great Judges, up to the time of Eli and the Prophet Samuel, though these leaders stood before the people to command respect for the LORD and His Word, Israel’s King was God. Envisioned by the corrupt prophet Balaam in Numbers 23:21—

©Heritage Images/Corbis
“No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The LORD their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them.”
—and by the great Moses in Deuteronomy 33:5—

“He was king over Jeshurun when the leaders of the people assembled, along with the tribes of Israel.”
If they had been called Jews way back then, then God was the King of the Jews. God’s Theocracy was a very simple condition to which the Israelites agreed to: “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God” (Exodus 6:7). And in this context, God claimed the Israelites for His own, frequently referring to them as “my people.”
The clamor of the people for their own king to rule over them foreboded the end of the time of the Judges. This vehement demand which refused to capitulate even to the words of the Prophet the people loved was the biggest decision of God’s chosen to distance themselves from Him, to considerably limit His hand upon them, to dethrone Him as King—

©Francis G. Mayer/CORBIS
“And the LORD said to him [the Prophet Samuel], ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you that they have rejected as their king, but me’” (1 Samuel 8:8).

This day did not take God by surprise, no siree, for this was an eventuality He had anticipated and even prepared for way back in the wandering Days of their ancestors. In Deuteronomy 17 beginning in the fourteenth verse, God had set up the regulations and parameters of choosing a king to lead them. And in the process, He did not exclude Himself from the examination of candidates—

“be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses” (verse 15).

The Prophet Samuel understood this; the people understood this, that’s why they came to him—God’s representative. In the people’s minds the matter was up to the Prophet; in the Prophet’s faith, the matter was up to God. Sure enough, the day before the candidate for Israel’s ever first royal house came to present himself to the Prophet, God had already revealed to the latter that He would be sending “a man from the land of Benjamin” to be anointed leader over all Israel (9:16). On the next day, catching sight of the chosen leader, God confirmed His words: “This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people” (verse 17).

We all know who this was, it was Saul. Now through first impression alone we all know the tragedy attached to the reputation of this king. Yes, God did genuinely choose him to lead His people, but didn’t He pay attention to His foreknowledge that Saul would one day reject Him, disobey Him, and humiliate Him by frustrating the mandate of totally annihilating the Amalekites from the face of the earth, as God had promised from the time these wasteland bandit people pursued and treated the Israelites like wild animals in the desert (Deuteronomy 25:17–19)? Now, hold on: Everything was an open book to God; He knew every detail that would unfold in the future. It was not a matter of knowing, or not knowing, what the future held. Instead, it was everything about giving to the Israelites what they stubbornly demanded of the Prophet Samuel.

Photo source:
The second parameter God had established in choosing for a king was that the leader “must be from among your own brothers,” not a foreigner but a brother Israelite (Deuteronomy 17:15). And God was not about to violate this directive. He not only gave them a leader from among them, but the leader like them. Saul reflected the spiritual condition of his generation, the generation he was to lead. Yes, the people by that time had already been reined in under Samuel’s leadership; they had just gone through a great revival that shattered a large-scale impending Philistine assault upon a massive unarmed gathering of Israelite civilians on their knees in repentance. Yet their relationship with the LORD still maintained a shadow in which lurked the possibility of them reverting to their old ways of corruption once Samuel’s righteous spiritual guidance had gone after his death. They remained a corrupt generation as revealed in the way they rejected both the stern and gentle rebuke of the Prophet Samuel when he tried to change their minds from their insistence for their king—

Photo source:
“Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, ‘This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your tenth of your grain and your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. His menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will no answer you in that day’” (1 Samuel 8:10–18).

Photo source:
And here’s the point we need to see, as pointed out from the nineteenth verse: “But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles’” (verse 19–20).

There is a little bit more to this verse than we have previously evaluated. Notice the desire of the people to “be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us.” Not only did this generation reared their corrupt tantrum before the LORD; they also expressed their desire to be “like the other nations” as the generations before them had gone on to pursue the same aspiration—to be “like the other nations” by worshipping their gods and adopting alien lifestyle never prescribed by the LORD—and perish violently.

Photo source:
Later on in Saul’s life, the rejection that the people slapped on God’s face was returned to the king they chose when before all the elders of Israel, after the king turned away from the Divine directive against the Amalekites, Saul made a spectacle of himself, humiliating himself in the judgment of God:

“’You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!’ As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the edge of his robe, and tore it. Samuel said to him, ‘The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you’” (1 Samuel 15:26–29).

And that pretty much summed up the spiritual life of the nation of the Chosen. An entire kingdom swayed by a single head, a single head that determined life or death for its people. That single head God had blessed with the knowledge of His Spirit, just as what occurred in the life of Saul when He changed him in Gibeah before he was inaugurated as king (1 Samuel 10:10). God was not all judgment and indignation when the people of Israel asked for a king; He did not go ahead and provide them a king who mirrored their corrupt spiritual condition just to drive that they had made a big mistake in electing Him out of the political limelight. Even in His decision to grant the people their desire, God still made His way to provide for them a king after Him. In 1 Samuel 10:6, the Prophet Samuel prophesied that the Spirit of the LORD would come upon Saul in power, enabling him to prophesy and he would be “changed into a different person.” In the ninth verse—

“As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day.”
In spite of this, however, in full knowledge, Saul went on to defy the LORD’s mandate in the Fifteenth Chapter of 1 Samuel. In the very words of God, He confides His disappointment to the Prophet who anointed him king:

“I am grieve that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions” (verse 11).

Let’s just try to analyze this verse. God did not judge Saul for one single mistake of missing out on a directive. If this were so, it picture God as a sore dictator on a rampaging tantrum over a detail. The verse did not say, “he [Saul] has turned away from me because he has not carried out my instruction.” It states instead that Saul had not carried out God’s instructions “because he has turned away from me.” The corruption of the heart took place first then manifested in disobedience.

©Alexandra Day/Corbis
Photo source:
Several thousand years into the future, the images of Saul’s time haunt the time of Jesus like the unclean spirit described in the latter’s teachings who returns to the house it left behind after a period of wandering in the desert, after finding no shelter or rest (Matthew 12:43–44). In His lesson, Jesus ends this teaching with the statement, “That is how it will be with this wicked generation” (verse 45). Comparatively, while pre-exilic Israelite world collapsed on its own rotten foundation, the post-exilic times featured the pagan influences of Hellenization, the Roman political power, and the Persian and other minor neighboring religious philosophies—the “other spirits more wicked than itself,” going in and living there (verse 45)—stilting up the existence Jewish nation. It appears that the demon that had left Israel after its desolation returned when the Jews were restored in Palestine with a new Temple not, however, for God but as a palace for the religious-political leadership of the High Priest. And the Temple was arranged just the way the spirit liked it: “unoccupied” by the Spirit of God, yet “swept clean and put in order” (verse 44).

When the Spirit of God abandoned Saul, the Prophet Samuel said that the LORD had “torn the kingdom of Israel” from Saul that day and had “given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you” (1 Samuel 15:28). Before Saul’s eyes God’s chosen successor to the throne emerged to be slowly embraced by the Israelite kingdom. Furious and tenaciously holding on to the royalty that no longer belonged to him, Saul took measures to take David out of the picture. David, however, refusing to sin against the LORD and His anointed, takes on a life of a prey warily evading the consummation of the threats of death.

In the time of Jesus, the kingship was held by a pretender and a foreigner—Herod the Great, an Idumean. One night, foreign delegates from Persia informed him that the real King of the Jews had been born in the country he ruled. Furious, fearful, but tenaciously holding on to the royalty that never belonged to him, Herod took measures to hunt down this newborn King even if it meant slaughtering all infant boys of Bethlehem and its surrounding vicinity (Matthew 2:16). But like David, Jesus had God’s hand upon Him. The night after the Magi had made their visit, God warned Joseph beforehand to take the infant Messiah and Mary and escape to Egypt where they stayed after the death of Herod the Great.

Photo source:
In around 4 B.C., the rule of Palestine was split in three with another Herod—Herod Antipas—ruling the northern region of Galilee and Perea. Jesus later called this Herod a “fox” (Luke 13:32) for his slyness and vindictiveness. By religion, Herod Antipas was a Jew but only up to the point where it rules out marrying one’s half-brother’s daughter who was also another half-brother’s wife (Matthew 14:3; Mark 6:17; Luke 3:19). For this he was rebuked by the fiery Prophet John the Baptist, who was also Jesus’ cousin. According to the Bible Herod basically wanted to kill John for openly speaking against his marriage with Herodias along with his other misdeeds, but fearing the people who considered John as a prophet Herod opted to duck away. The time came, however, when Herod would be compromised into a corner that would compel him to execute the Prophet. In Matthew 14:13, the moment Jesus heard about the death of His cousin, “he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”
Photo source:
• The Temple Hydra

The religious world of Palestine was also as fake as the land’s political set up. According to Biblical historians, the particular period that covered the life of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and the early days of the Christians in Israel was considered as the most corrupt episode of religious Israel. For the first time, the office of high priest, which God prescribed for only one person, was held by several, all of a single family of unscrupulous and formidably terrifying political reputation. But the most despicable aspect of this controversy was that none of these pretenders were in any way, shape, or form descended from the house of Aaron, the brother of Moses.

In Exodus 28:1, God handpicked Aaron and his sons to minister before Him as priests. In the fortieth chapter, He commanded Moses to anoint Aaron first, then his sons, in their sacred garments, for the service. “Their anointing,” God said, “will be to a priesthood that will continue for all generations to come” (verse 15). No other family in the Bible was awarded the office of priesthood aside from Aaron’s. In the twenty-fifth chapter of Numbers, Aaron’s house gets blessed with a covenant of lasting priesthood, through the zealous act of Phinehas that turned the anger of God away from the Israelites. The priesthood recognized by the Mosaic culture, therefore, was the Aaronic priesthood.

F025_AnnasCaiaphas It was a mandate straight out of heaven shamelessly disregarded in the last fifty turbulent years before Jesus’ birth, when an aristocrat named Annas was appointed high priest in Jerusalem. The nation, probably tired of reacting against their foreign oppressors, tolerated the appointment further when Annas maneuvers to swap and share the office with his son Caiaphas and another relative to accomplish a unique multi-headed mutation of an originally Divine design. Very often in the gospels, the controversial plurality of “chief priests” is confirmed in many passages, beginning in Matthew 2:4 to John 19:21; then from Acts 4:23 to the twelfth verse of Chapter Twenty-Six.

What was meant to be a single-headed leadership with the high priesthood on top turned into a religious council patterned like a Greek-style oligarchic supreme court. It was almost the four-headed, four-winged leopard monster in the Prophet Daniel’s vision (Daniel 7:6).

©Brooklyn Museum/Corbis
At a very weak period of Jewish history the Annas-Caiaphas-et al religious atrocity seized the synagogue innovation and twisted it to their advantage. As a result, it achieved as its greatest the death of Jesus on the cross. After that, it was all downhill for the beast. It even kicked and lashed to protect itself when it even further exploited its influence over the elders of Israel when they together conspired to devise a plan to douse the excitement that would surely reprise in the evident light of Jesus’ resurrection from the grave:

©Fine Art Images/SuperStock
“…some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priest had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, ‘You are to say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day” (Matthew 28:11–15).

The success of story woven by the chief priests proved that their corruption had by then seeped deep into the nation’s cultural fiber. The city that killed the prophets and stoned the ones sent to her (Matthew 23:37) had revealed a heart swollen in apostasy and calloused stone-hard from the touch of God. Jesus, in prophetic sorrow, saw a nation on its way to the ground—the grave—when He mourned:

©Fine Art Images/SuperStock
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Matthew 23:37–39).

Jesus saw a Jerusalem that had cast its lot with the enemies of God. In Luke 19:41, it says that His love for Jerusalem was such that He burst weeping as He approached the city. While a crowd of admirers rejoiced “in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen” (Luke 19:37), Jesus was distressed when at that instant, a vision of the future unfolded before His eyes, which He sadly described:

“The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (verses 43–44).

ThePalmaCollectionPhotodiscGettyimages_JesusKidsJesus loved children. During the years of His earthly ministry, He gave importance to the kids. Who will ever forget the ever-famous line, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:24, King James Version, of course!)? In Matthew 21:16, it is apparent that one of His favorite verses was Psalms 8:2, which says, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” In Mark 7:27, He tries to illustrate the priority of His earthly mission with a family norm: “First, let all the children eat all they want…for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” In this story, He heals a daughter of a Syrophoenician woman. In His parable, He used sons; He healed a lot of sons; and daughters, like Jairius’ little girl whom He raised from the dead. Among His most memorable illustrations involves children. He could just put a plug in the dispute among His disciples by setting a little child before them to drive the truth into them: “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3 to 4). His words that follow this passage bear a promise for the children: “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me” (verse 5). Then there was the indignation to anyone who causes “one of these little ones who believe in me to sin”—“it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea” (verses 6 to 7).

©Brooklyn Museum/Corbis
One of the elements of the vision that broke His heart was the children. The gospels that contain this prophecy never fail to include what He witnessed of the children. In Mark 13:17, Jesus was so troubled that He shared, “How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!” Even during His last moments before His death, on His way to Calvary heaving a beam on the back of His head, Jesus turned and addressed the women in the crowd wailing and mourning for Him:

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed'” (Luke 23:28–29).

© Bridgeman Art Library/Gettyimages
And the time came. In 70 A.D., a longstanding siege formed by the Roman general Vespasian in 68 A.D. swooped down into Jerusalem under the command of his son Titus—and in the words of the late great Jewish historian Max I. Dimont in his book Jews, God and History (Mentor: New York, 1994)—“slaughtering a populace reduced to helplessness by starvation. The Temple was put to the torch”—fulfilling what Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:2, Mark 13:2, and Luke 21:6—“infants thrown into the flames,”—exactly what troubled the Lord Jesus—“women raped, priests massacred, Zealots thrown from the wall. Altogether, [Roman historian] Tacitus estimates 600,000 defenseless Jewish civilians were slain in the aftermath of the siege” (pages 110–111). The horrific death echoes the words of the people when Jesus stood trial before Pilate and a mob made bloodthirsty by the ruthless chief priests:

BrooklynMuseumCorbis_CruxifyHim “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’ All the people answered, ‘Let his blood be on us and on our children!’” (Matthew 27:24–25)

Innocent blood has a voice and it cries out to God when unjustly spilled. When Adam’s firstborn Cain murdered Abel, God confronted Cain with these words: “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10). In 2 Kings 21:16, a king named Manasseh who ruled Judah for fifty-five years (verse 1) “shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from end to end—besides the sin that he had caused Judah to commit, so that they did evil in the eyes of the LORD.” God later forgave Manasseh who “sought the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers” (2 Chronicles 33:12), rebuilt Jerusalem’s fortification and restored the Temple the way it was before he defiled it with his foreign gods and occult paraphernalia. In spite of these amends, even being succeeded by a God-fearing grandson in Josiah who rediscovered the Book of the Law and had it re-implemented in the cultural mainstream of the land, God would not “turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to provoke him to anger” (2 Kings 23:26). More than sixty years after his reign, Judah was ravaged by the Babylonians and raiders from Aram, Moab, and the Ammonite kingdom—

AliMeyerCORBIS_MassacreInnocents BrooklynMuseum_Corbis_VoiceWilderness “because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive” (24:3 to 4).

As for first-century A.D. Jerusalem, the prophets were proved right. God had uprooted the very nation He established. John the Baptist, years before this, preached about the consequence of hardening their hearts to the voice of God allegory:

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:9–10).

It was perhaps because John had lived closer to the time of Jerusalem’s destruction for the prophecy to have been so vivid in his mind and in the words he spoke. A short time later, John the Baptist was murdered (the story of how he died is told in Matthew 14:1–12 and Mark 6:14–29) by Herod the Tetrarch (Luke 9:9); and a development of the prophecy fell upon the anointing of Jesus. If John’s warning came in the context of producing “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8), Jesus’ seemed more ominous and inevitable: coming up hungry to a fig tree one day to share of its fruit, He said, “May you never bear fruit again” (Matthew 21:19), when He found nothing of it to eat. “Immediately,” according to the Gospel of Matthew, “the tree withered.” The incident occurred on the morning after He had made His grand entry into Jerusalem and the unexpected incident with the Temple merchants. Jesus was not only a tad closer to the appointed time; He was by then walking the terrain where the Roman siege work would be assembled. Jesus, nonetheless, Images_dot_comCorbis_ManNAxdelivered the same message that John preached: “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (verse 26).

Jesus preached the same message of repentance heard from John. It was one of the comparisons drawn between the cousins that made people, including Herod the Tetrarch, suspect that John had resurrected after his execution (Matthew 14:2; Mark 6:14, 8:28; Luke 9:19). The urgency in His words, however, was apparently more distressful when He alluded to the destruction of Jerusalem. While John saw the “ax…already at the root of the trees,” Jesus in a parable He shared in Luke 13:6 to 9 envisioned a garden owner just itching to use that ax:

BrooklynMuseumCorbis_Fig Tree“A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
The context of this parable was based on a conversation that revolved around the heinous massacre of a number of Galileans whose blood was used by Pontius Pilate to desecrate their sacrifices with. It was current events at the time. What did you think? All Jesus and His disciples ever talked about were super spiritual matters? He may have been God, but He was human too, you know. And in verse 4, His statement about “those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them,” proved that He was very much aware and actively evaluating the temporal events of His country! In the same way as we interpret “great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven” as foretokens of the end of the age (Luke 21:11), Jesus pointed out that the subject of their discussion entailed a spiritual warning that the end of Jerusalem was just a few years away. But unlike the daily news that provides no single alternative to avert or evade an impending tragedy, Jesus taught: “Unless you repent, you too will all perish” (verses 3 and 5).

• The Hellenistic Beasts

lehi-prophesy-jerusalem-mormon Right before the destruction of Jerusalem, the religious hydra of the land that had gained a greater murderous clout, which sparked among the Hellenistic Jews in Jerusalem, had triumphantly chased away the children of God—the believers—out of the city. Until the Hellenistic Jews became involved, the chief priests, who were Hebraic Jews, could only arrest the believers (Acts 5:18)—the Apostles, in particular—detain them in prison for but overnight (Acts 4:3), warn them not to speak about Jesus’ name again (Acts 4:18,21, 5:28), and then send them home singing praises to God (Acts 5:41). The worst the chief priests could do to the believers was have them flogged (verse 40). This was because the leaders who pushed for the death of Jesus “feared that the people would stone them” should they use force upon the Apostles (Acts 6:26). But with the involvement of the Hellenistic Jews, things became more brutal.

SciencePhotoLibrary_Gettyimages_Archimedes The Hellenistic Jews were different from the Hebraic Jews. It can be understood to this day that there is an overwhelming urge for a Jew to return to the land God has given him. It has been this way since the Apostles’ time. The Hellenistic, or Grecian, Jews were such who retained their Jewishness but adopted Greek cultural trappings, which, among others, included name, education, language, profession, and clothing. Because they were adapted to foreign life from birth, much of the Mosaic culture was unfamiliar to them.

An example of this was the young Timothy of Lystra in Acts 16, whose mother was a Jewess and his father a Greek (verse 1). The third verse relates that the young man had not yet undergone the rite of circumcision until the Apostle Paul came to their home. Wanting to take him along in his missionary journey, the Apostle performed the circumcision on Timothy as a necessary measure to gain the confidence of the Hebraic brethren and establish his credibility among them.

Upon returning to Israel at some point to enroot their lives in the land their own, they were looked down upon by the Hebraic Jews, who maintained over them some air of superiority in that the Hebraic had never been aliens to the culture God has blessed them to live by. In this, it was important for the Grecian Jew to catch up and gain equal footing with his Hebraic brother. It was, therefore, the first one’s dream for an opportunity to prove his worth in a predominantly Hebraic society. That opportunity came with the chief priests’ problem of the Jesus believers.

Because of the weakness the chief priests possessed in prosecuting and stopping the Jesus faith from swallowing the Mosaic society, a particular group of Grecian Jews, who felt they had nothing to lose, were just too desperately reckless to go to the extent of applying murder on the enemies of their Hebraic brethren.

stefanus-di-depan-dean-sanhedrin1 Now, not all Hellenistic Jews gravitated towards the Mosaic religion; there were also those who became Christians. The story in Acts 6 begins with the friction between the Grecian and Hebraic Jewish believers. The Apostles, who were Hebraic, thought of solving the issue by appointing a seven-man committee, known to us today as deacons, to directly address the issue of the Grecian widows neglected in the daily distribution of food (verse 1). The fifth verse introduces the seven, all with Greek names, which means the Church’s first deacons were Hellenistic Jews. The Grecian membership loved the idea (verses 3 to 4). So while the Church had decisively solved the equality problem between the Hellenistic and the Hebraic, the Mosaic society was still getting into gear with its solution.

In the ninth verse, the opportunity presented itself when the Grecian Jew of the Church crossed paths with the Grecian Jew of the Mosaic "Synagogue of the Freedman" (Acts 6:9), which was constituted by the “Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia.” This particular synagogue came into opposition to the Christian deacon Stephen while he was doing “great wonders and miraculous signs.” The men of the Freedman Synagogue, wanting to snare the man of God into speaking blasphemy “against Moses and against God” (verse 11), methodically stirred up the people, the elders, and the teachers of the law to seize Stephen and bring him before the chief priests. Notice in the fourteenth verse that the ultimate objective of respect in a predominantly Hebraic society was very manifest from the allegation of this Freedman mob: “For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”
BrooklynMuseumCorbis_JesusWept What happened next was a tremendous Spirit-filled educational discourse that neither the Hebraic nor the Hellenistic in that trial ever thought of getting. And then it happened. At a speech as if being delivered by Jesus Himself—with the words, “Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One?” (Check out Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you….”)—the Greek-schooled folk, who were supposed to have been taught sophistication and emotional restraint, erupted into a bestial pandemonium, furiously “gnashing their teeth at [Stephen]” (7:54), covering their ears, “yelling at the top of their voices” (verse 57). They all stampeded toward Stephen, “dragged him out of the city” and stoned him until he died (verse 58). At this, Christianity gained its first martyr. If the chief priests hid behind the crowd they manipulated against Jesus, the Freedman mob got down and dirty and drew the blood of Stephen with their own hands.

SuperstockGettyimages_StStephen “On that day,” according to Acts 8:1, “a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem”—led by these Grecian-educated social climbers acting no different from the mindless orgiasts under the Bacchanalian moonlight, which they had undoubtedly learned about in the marbled universities of Greece, Rome, and Asia Minor—“and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” The death of Stephen marked a new phase in Christianity in that it got thrown toward the Mediterranean border of Jewish Palestine; it also marked the decline of the church in Jerusalem. In the same chapter in the Book of Acts, we find the Samaritan ministry of Philip (verse 4 to 8), another deacon, and his Ethiopian encounter (verses 26 to 40); Simon Peter also began fortifying the Samaritan frontier in 8:9 to 25. Blown out of the water, so to speak, were the Christians in Jerusalem and very quickly then after did local fellowships begin sprouting at the periphery of the western Jewish borders, such as the ones in Damascus, Antioch, and Cyprus (Acts 11:19). And they flourished there.

©The Gallery Collection/Corbis
What the Freedman religio-social climbers sparked against the Christians in Jerusalem did nothing to stop God’s judgment. Instead of repenting, as preached by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles, the influences that ruled Jerusalem at that time took God’s message and slapped it to His face. God, by now acting through His Holy Spirit, moved to protect the welfare of His people, the believers, the real Israel born out of Abraham; and like what He did to save the lives of Lot and his family, a subtle but swift flight from Jerusalem had to be carried out. He needed to move the real Israel away from the dust, dross, and shaving that clung to it and claimed its origin from Abraham. These were the goats that Jesus talked about in His parable in Matthew 25:32 and 33, the tenants that killed their landowner’s servants and son in 21:43, the honored guests who refused the king’s invitation in 22:1 to 14, the “blind fools” of 23:17, the five foolish virgins of 25:1 to 13.

By 60 A.D. major Christian churches have been established in several parts of Asia Minor, Greece, and even in Rome, giving a new home to the believers, who by this time were still guessing what was in store for them in this new phase of their lives. By this period, the Christian culture had opened its doors to new adherents, non-Jews. Prior to this, it was a practice of the original apostles to baptize their converts first into Judaism and then into Christianity. This was because Christianity back then was classified as a sect of the Jewish mother religion; by this time, it had become the fifth addition to the top four of Jewish beliefs—the Pharisaic, the Sadducean, the Essene, and the political Zealot.

It was the norm for alien converts to be baptized into Judaism first, to be circumcised most of all, before joining any of its sects. Jews were free to join any they wished, including Christianity; they just later had to contend with the snarling Freedman pack who thought that Christian-bashing was a shortcut to the acceptance and respect they aspired to receive from their traditionally superior Hebraic brethren! Before those intellectual beasts entered the scene, the Hebraic Jews respected them Jews of the fifth sect. When the Apostle Peter stood up to address the crowd on that historic Pentecost Day, "God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven" who "were staying in Jerusalem" for the holiday (Acts 2:5) listened to his message and were "cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' (verse 37) That day, according to verse 41, three thousand accepted the message, repented and were baptized into the Christian faith. In Acts 2:47, this peculiar new Jewish sect enjoyed the favor of all the people. In Acts 5:13 it says that the Christian believers were "highly regarded by the people" though "no one else dared join them"; but still "more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number" (verse 14). The Christians were highly esteemed by their traditional Jewish brethren that they were not driven away from the Temple courts where the believers chose to meet together every day (2:46). Dude, the traditional Jewish authorities afforded Christianity a niche alongside their other sects—maybe with much reluctance, but accepted and tolerated nonetheless! As far as the Bible is concerned, Jewish Christianity had only two sets of detractors: the chief priests and the Freedman folk—none of which representing of the popular Jewish sentiment on the Christian "threat."

©Fine Art Images/SuperStock
Did the Jews kill Jesus? It's an age-old question that has spawned hatred, erroneous doctrine, dead-wrong Bible interpretations, and deadly religious beliefs. So, did they?...kill Jesus? No. Them Jews did not kill Jesus, period. Not even them Roman sadists killed Him! In fact, when He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34), He was praying for the cold-hearted Roman soldiers who, despite torturing Him and nailing Him on the cross, were just following their orders from their superiors. When Peter drove his point in his Pentecost message and said, "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36), he was alluding to the rebellious spirit that the people needed to repent of; there was no intention to slap them with guilt and accusation. The Jewish people loved Him! He came to them healing, feeding, and preaching deliverance. How could anyone not love Him? He loved kids! He brought hope. Sure, there were those who got offended in His teaching when they thought He was talking about cannibalism about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, but an entire nation did not hate him. Those He helped and loved loved Him back and followed Him as a crowd mourning Him while He staggered all the way to Calvary with that heavy cross on His back. Lots of Jews may have hated Him; lots of Jews may not have cared about Him; but lots of them also loved Him. And lots of them came to understand and love Him when the apostles took on their ministry, preaching the same message that was distinctly Jesus all over. Who killed Jesus? The chief priests. These were the ones who schemed and planned with all the proverbial itch in their body! And why did they scheme and plan? Because they were scared of the people (Matthew 21:46; Mark 11:18, 12:12; Luke 20:19, 22:2). And why were they scared of the people? Because the people loved Him and one false touch from anyone might cause a riot—something that the Roman authorities might handle with unmitigated cruelty and which will eject them chief priests out of business!

©Universal Images Group/Superstock
Now, when we say business here, we just don't mean religious business. We categorically do not mean taking care of the spiritual lives of the people. We mean financial business—ch-ching, ch-ching! b-bling, b-bling! The annual worth of a high priest in those days already stood at 8 million dollars by today's standard. He raked an annual salary of about 16 million dollars and amassed commissions, among which came from the sacrificial animals sold in the Temple area that brought him an average $8 per approved sacrifice. This data alone will explain why Annas, Caiaphas, and the other members of the Temple hydra would send a Jesus to His death and smash the brains out of a kindly Grecian Jewish Christian deacon who did nothing but share food and the Gospel to whom he thought were the underdogs of a Mosaic society. The Jews did not kill Jesus; the masters who controlled them—who just happened to be Jews—did!

And you thought thirty pieces of silver was just about it concerning the Temple Hydra. Well, how about the time when Jesus turned the tables on the moneychanging Temple scam on His first day in Jerusalem?

Photo source:
But thanks to the Hellenistic beasts, the land was ignited with a vicious kind of persecution against the Jewish Christian that carried with it a threat to his life. It caused an inadvertent ejection of many Christians from their homeland and the understandable scrambling to get their lives back basically on track ground Church membership growth to a halt. The Freedman threat did much to fire up the chief priests and may have even reprogrammed the popular Hebraic attitude toward the Christians decisively severing away the Church's source of Jewish converts. And even when the disenfranchised believers had finally gained their bearing in their new foreign setting, they found some complication in fulfilling the Great Commission to draw the non-Jewish people into God's House. For one thing, their story of being expulsed out their homeland may had come as a bad rep to non-Jews wishing to be converts. The statistics of those wanting to join the Faith that came in in droves back in Israel went down to trickles in Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome.

©Sandro Vannini/CORBIS
One other thing that may have squeezed the slowdown of new membership in the House of God was the foreign reception on the prerequisite of going through the Jewish baptism of proselytation. It could have been that a range of feelings from fear to anorexy impeded the prospects of conversion in that there was a predominating apathy for the Jewish culture, if not for Jesus Christ and His message. What therefore was viewed as a powerful and up-and-coming fifth sect that took Israel by storm was nothing but another fish when dropped in the larger sea of ethnic cultures, religions, and philosophies. Against this new setting, the local Christian fellowships that would found the great churches of Ephesus, Galatia, Corinth, Thessalonica, Rome, and others, were in danger of languishing as insignificant enclaves of a neo-Judaic counter-culture.
In the face of possible extinction or stagnation, God gave the believers a man who would sow the seeds of church growth and hew for the believers a doctrine that would liberate them from the clutches of an old tradition.

He was a Jew, raised in Tarsus, a city in the vicinity of Cilicia. Despite the Hellenistic setting of his youth, he was strictly reared a Hebraic. At an early age, he was brought to Jerusalem to study at the feet of a great Hebraic teacher named Rabbi Gammaliel to become a Pharisee. By age thirty, some scholars suspect, he was already a member of the Sanhedrin. He was about Jesus' age, according to historians, when came to Jerusalem about the same time Jesus began His ministry; the two never met, though. He is first mentioned in the Bible as Saul of Tarsus (Acts 8:1), as one who stood by and gave approval to the stoning of the Christian deacon Stephen. He declared himself an enemy to those who followed the Way (9:2) and militantly pursued them, "whether men or women...[to] take them prisoners to Jerusalem" (Ibid.). From this point alone, history proved him to be a life-changer in that his infamy struck fear in the hearts of the Christian believers. In Acts 9:13, panic was all over the Godly Ananias at the mention of the name. Note that where there was supposed to be a "Yes, Lord, I will obey," a wealth of words instead issued out of his databanks:
©Christie's Images/CORBIS

"'Lord,' Ananias answered, 'I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.'"
That reminds us about ourselves when God at some time told us to do the right thing and then we went, "God, You gotta be kidding!" But the simplicity of His virtue alone is enough to nag the bad attitudes out of us and get us back on track to Him!

In another passage, in verse 26, even the apostles recoiled in fear at the sight of him. This guy was bad news. If the believers in those days had a Believers' Broadcasting Network, it wouldn't take a lot of air time to send the folks running for cover if the newscaster would merely say, "Saul of Tarsus."

In one of his missions, however, he had a God encounter. Through this, it was the life-changer's turn to get his life changed. Forever.

©Stefano Bianchetti/Corbis
The account in Acts 9:1 to 9 tells it all. Though he grew up in a Hellenistic city, he was not Hellenistic but strictly Hebraic. But his character—snarling, "breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples" as he galloped towards Damascus, where some believers' assembly was reported to exist—made him no different from his rabid Freedman brethren that screamed for Christian blood. All of a sudden, a flash of bright light from the heavens sends him sprawling to the ground; then in the midst of this brightness, a voice spoke to him saying, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (verse 4) It was Jesus introducing Himself to Saul in a private vision, in spite of the group that he was traveling with. In the seventh verse, they heard "the sound but did not see anyone." It was Jesus who created that sound; but just like a parable that hides its meaning from the unspiritual, there was nothing slightly intelligible that could be suspected of it, as far as the company was concerned. It was nonetheless so startling that stunned them "speechless" (Ibid.). It was a whole different story from Saul's side, however. At that instant, Jesus showed Mr. Saul who the Boss was. In the sixth verse, He commanded Mr. Big-Time Persecutor of the Believers to "get up and go into the city" of Damascus where he would be told what he had to do (Ibid).

©Alinari Archives/CORBIS
So like a good boy he entered Damascus. Blind. A devout brother named Ananias came to him and laid hands on him in prayer to restore his sight. “Immediately,” according to Acts 9:18, “something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.” The next verse tells how this persecutor of the Christians got up, got baptized into the Christian sect and “regained his strength” to preach to the Jews in their synagogues in Damascus that Jesus is the Son of God.

A combination of knowledge that came from years of studying the Holy Scriptures and the fiery fervor of a man with the Truth made him an unstoppable force that baffled his target audience which he wanted to win for Jesus (verse 22). There was, however, some learning of value here. His knowledge and fervor made him too unstoppable and the immovable advocates of Judaism were not amused one bit. In the twenty-fourth verse, Saul learned of a plot to murder him sending him fleeing for his life out of Damascus and into Jerusalem. In the nation’s capital, he tried to enter the apostles’ church but his infamy just blew him out of the doors. Eager to do his share and win souls for Jesus, however, he marched right for the “Grecian Jews” —these guys!—and tried to debate with them and tried to get himself killed (verses 28 and 29). Immediately, “the brothers” (verse 30) swooped down to his rescue and then sent him off to Tarsus.

©Image Asset Management Ltd./SuperStock
Three succeeding chapters of the Book of Acts move on with Saul’s name appearing in only three verses of the Eleventh Chapter and the last of the Twelfth. By this time, the Jewish Christians were faced with the inevitable fact that “Gentiles also had received the word of God” (verse 1), and from the Tenth Chapter, God had been speaking to the Apostle Peter through a vision (10:11 to 16) and His Spirit (verse 19 to 20) about the foreign prospects of the Great Commission. In essence, God was telling the Apostle Peter that the inevitable part of the Great Commission, where it says “…go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18), has finally come, beginning with the Greeks whom the brethren from Cyprus and Cyrene had been reaching out to (11:20). And these Greek converts were coming in by the droves (verse 21). Peter had to decide quickly on what to do with the imports. One Jewish brother in the church in Jerusalem, however, was trying out a contingency of his own: bring back Brother Saul (Acts 11:25)—that Greek-speaking Hebraic Roman citizen would know what to do!

©Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS
This is where Saul’s ministry begins to crystallize. The Jewish brother who suddenly remembered Saul was Barnabas of the Jerusalem church, “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (11:24) who was sent to the church in Antioch to check out the new growth of Greek believers. After encouraging them all “to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts” (verse 23), he made a trip to Tarsus “to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch” (verses 25 and 26). In a year’s time, Saul and Barnabas were able to disciple the swelling congregation of the church in Antioch as well as support the city’s evangelization.

©Brooklyn Museum/Corbis
The Jerusalem church, though it continued to retain the respect of the Christian fellowships elsewhere, started to diminish from prominence. The churches in Israel enjoyed “a time of peace” (9:31) after the Freedman incident exploded, but church growth was no longer as before. One element concerns the rise of the Grecian Jews who were liable to lose it when a Christian brother came in contact with them. Saul himself found this out when he tried to talk and debate with them (verse 29) in the name of the Lord (verse 28). Another is the severe famine that struck “the entire Roman world” (11:28), which included Palestine, as predicted by the Prophet Agabus (Ibid.), to further lose numbers of the Jerusalem church congregation to emigration. Then in the Twelfth Chapter, it says that Herod the Tetrarch “arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them” (verse 1). With a top political personality now getting his dirty fingers into the “Christian situation,” it became clear to many believers that it was time for an emigration. It was very ironic that as the Hellenistic Jews came pouring into the land of their Mosaic heritage, the believers of the land were draining themselves into the vast frontiers of the Graeco-Roman realm.

©Richard T. Nowitz/CORBIS
Being banished from the Promised Land, the Jewishness of the Jewish Christian was being hurt. Culturally, he was taught that only the disobedient were undeserving of the Promised Land, the heaven God had made for His chosen people. But in his devotion to obey the teachings of the Messiah, like Abraham launching out of Ur, the Christian saddles up either for Antioch or the farther centers of Asia Minor, even the more distant lands of Macedonia and Rome, where Christian churches had by then been established. In the years ahead, there would no longer be any Christian in Jerusalem. By 70 A.D., Jerusalem was no more.

Through all of these, one thing we could learn between the Christians and the Jews is that both seem to form the two sides of a coin; and I say coin because each of them had an inability to look at the other while one was undergoing a crisis. It was just too bad because they could have learned much from each other well. History shows us that the Jewish believers underwent the very same problems, dilemmas, and ordeals that the Christians believers did; the flight from Jerusalem was the first. If the Jewish believers took a hint of the plight of the Christians when they were sent scattering all over the Roman Empire, there might have been some measures taken—like the repentance that John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles had preached—to minimize or even avert the tremendous slaughter that occurred during 70 A.D. and the reprisals of 113 A.D. and 132 A.D. If the Jewish believers had taken note of the extreme religious persecution the Hellenistic Jews had put the Christians through, they might have considered it a glimpse of their future when the Jewish people too would undergo the same treatment from the nations they sought refuge in during the centuries after 135 A.D., when Jerusalem and Judaean Palestine was made off-limits to the Jews by the Romans, until May 14, 1948, a Friday, at 4 p.m., when the Israeli state was born.

And in considering the ordeals each has undergone, it can be observed that both underwent the same problems in a way that it seemed they were handing them down to each other after one was finished with it. The pattern in the lives of these two people was so evident that an impending problem could have been surely foretold, and averted, if one people had the time and the humility to observe and learn from the other.

In light of the destruction of Jerusalem, we now understand why Jesus came for the lost sheep of Israel—

“He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel’” (Matthew 15:24).

“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: The kingdom of heaven is near’” (Matthew 10:5–7).

Through the message of the Gospel, Jesus was able to save a great remnant for God’s people and for Israel, as God has always done before.

Now we understand that God did meet the expectation of the Jews for deliverance when Jesus came to them as the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 53. While we still see the said passage in a largely spiritual context, God did intend to rescue Israel from the “day of the Lord’s vengeance” (Isaiah 61:2), which He later described in detail in Luke 21:22 as the “days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (King James Version):

Photo source:
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (verses 20–24).

We saw in our previous article that Jesus came to reclaim the High Priesthood and, in His death and resurrection, He accomplished this. But just like the anguish of His people of old, their cries have gone to the point—once again, which also goes for the buildup of sin!—that has reached up to heaven, and He has to, once and for all, raise a Leader to deliver His people and rid them of all the sin that was corrupting them. It was like way back in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, only this time, He sends no two angels. MORE TO COME.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this article. It's really interesting. Keep it up, all the best.