Thursday, July 28, 2016

Will You Now Stop At Only Words?

I happened to see yesterday a portion of the movie, "The Patriot" for the first time.  One scene in particular really struck me.

A young man enters a church, issuing a call for men to join the Militia...and he is greeted with silence.  The men were hesitatnt to join the movement because outside of the church were the bodies of men whom British soldiers had hung from a tree for their treason in fighting against Britain.  Such is a clear sign to all of the fate which might befall those who decided to enlist in this fight.  Therefore, the men were immobilized.

In the midst of this, a young woman stands and reminds the men how they have all spent hours talking about their desire for freedom.  She asks them, "Will you now stop at only words?"

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why Didn't Jesus Take Up Roman Oppression of the Jews?

"Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt." John 12:15

Jesus was born into a world where His people were dominated and treated unjustly by the ruling authority of Rome. As such, the Jews held to the prophecies that God would send them a Deliverer. Such is why King Herod ordered the murder of all male children born around that time, causing Joseph and Mary to hide in Egypt with Jesus when He was a babe (Matthew Chapter 2).

To get a better understanding of this time period and the lives of Jewish people, look at the following excerpts from Jews and the Roman Empire and The Jewish World of Jesus:
Jews and the Roman Empire
The way the Roman Empire developed, was gradually to take over more and more territories in the eastern Mediterranean. Some of these were governed as provinces. You can imagine the Roman Empire gradually taking over more and more areas as they conquered and progressively moved to the east. North Africa, Egypt, Asia Minor, modern day Turkey, Syria. And gradually, they also conquered Judea. In the process, they set up some as provinces, and some as client kingdoms. Judea happened to be one of these client kingdoms run by its own independent, or semi-independent, King. This is the person we know as Herod the Great.

For the ordinary people of the Jewish homeland, Rome was a kind of dominant political factor. Although they might not have seen Romans on a day-to-day basis, the imposition of Roman power was certainly there. In the case of the client kingdom, Judea, Herod's rule and Herod's forces would have been the political entity. But everyone knew that Rome was the power behind the throne. Everyone knew that Rome was the source of both the wealth and also the source of some of the problems that occurred in the Jewish state. So the political reality of the day was of a dominant power overseeing the life on a day-to-day basis.

The Jewish World of Jesus
Life for the Jews under the procurators was exceedingly difficult. For example, Pontius Pilate was described by Agrippa I as unbending and severe with the stubborn, and was accused of bribery, cruelty, and countless murders. This protrait is confirmed by the Jewish historian Josephus who chronicled a number of events that provoked the Jews under Pilate and other procurators, leading to riots, beatings, and executions. The Legate of Syria eventually removed Pilate on the complaints of the Samaritans, whom he had mistreated. After the interim reign of Herod Agrippa I ended in 44 C.E., the situation under the procurators deteriorated even further. In one case, Josephus (who likes to inflate figures) says 20,000 Jews were killed in a riot prompted when a Roman soldier ridiculed some Passover pilgrims with an indecent gesture. There thus emerged within Judaism groups of revolutionaries who looked back to the militaristic Maccabees and their zeal for the Law as great heroes. These “Zealots” were already active in spirit, if not in name, in the period prior to the birth of Jesus. In 6 or 7 C.E., Judas the Galilean and a Pharisee named Zaddok attempted to arouse the people to revolt against the first Roman census. Self-styled prophets and messiahs appeared from time to time and eventually an even more radical group, the Sicarii (Latin sicarius, “dagger”), emerged to foment revolution by assassination. Clearly, the policy of the tyrannical and brutal procurators, like that of the Seleucid Hellenizer Antiochus IV over 150 years earlier, met with increasing opposition led by more revolutionary Jews; ultimately, the forces of moderation could not contain them.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sympathy From the Devil

"And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness." I John 5:19

These are days that will test what we think we know and believe.  The "whole world" lies in wickedness.
wickedness:  Greek word pon─ôros meaning full of labours, annoyances, hardships; of an evil nature or condition; bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble.
Do we believe that? Do we believe that everything of the world is grounded in evil?

"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." II Corinthians 4:3-4

Do we truly believe that Satan is the god of this world? That every single world system is under his jurisdiction and infuence?

If we believe the word of God, then isn't it illogical to seek sympathy from the devil?  Why seek retibution, understanding, compassion, equality, and justice from the devil?  Why appeal for mercy to the one who is determined to steal from, kill. and destroy you? Why expect Satan to do what is right? What sense does that make? Absolutely none.