Archive for July, 2009

God’s Exact Words: Bothered by the Good Book

Rev. Brady

In an earlier thread, Logiopath and I shared this exchange:

Logio:  The next time your boss tells you something, try and read a double meaning into the words. In other words, if the Gospel texts have any reflection of Jesus’ words, then what is said is probably what is meant (regardless of the accuracy of the statement).

Me:  That’s actually not bad advice. Never having managed people in a business setting you probably have never encountered the overly literal employee who ONLY does precisely as he is told or perhaps follows the instructions so ‘religiously’ that he botches things up….”But that’s what you TOLD me to do!” It helps to understand your bosses general intent (bad bosses kept this secret – Jesus did not).

Logio: You’re right, I’ve never been in management, but I understand giving instructions to students who are literal in their interpretation.

When I discussed this conversation with my friend, Jack the Trivia King, he snapped his fingers and, nodding his vigorously, said “Just like Greg Brady’s exact words!” Which meant absolutely nothing to me.

It turns out that this is a famous episode of the Brady Bunch (a TV show that puberty saved me from having to watch) in which the eldest boy (Greg) is told that he is forbidden to drive the family car for two weeks because of his carelessness behind the wheel.

Taking his father’s words quite literally, Greg instead borrows the neighbor’s car for a drive. Having been found out and now grounded, Greg complains that he did not disobey his parents; after all, he didn’t drive the family car. He was actually very obedient and followed his dad’s instructions to the letter.  To avoid further confusion, Greg suggests that from now on everyone should only say EXACTLY what they mean, using only EXACT words. His wise (and very hip) dad readily agrees and wholesome family hilarity ensues.

This sitcom episode is apparently a classic example of a literary ‘trope’ – “a storytelling device and convention that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations.”; like the Genie granting three wishes or the boy who cried wolf.  In this particular case someone is taking an authority’s instructions so literally that they actually, and quite legally, subvert the authority’s purpose in giving those instructions in the first place.

In the workplace this is known as “Malicious Obedience” or “Destructive Compliance” or “Bothering by the Book”. In order to further their own agendas, the workers obey the rules so religiously that it subverts their employers intentions. Any well run business will encourage their employees to ‘take ownership’ of their responsibilities, allowing them the flexibility to be innovative in their interpretations of the workplace rules, as long as they remain in the spirit in which the rules were written.  In fact, good companies don’t give rules, they provide guidelines. Some of the most successful companies today (like Yahoo!) are quite radical in this respect.

This, I think, is a pretty good analogy for the differences between fundamentalist religion and progressive religion. Jesus would have been considered a progressive, if not even a radical -breaking the religious rules in order to better serve the spirit of those rules.

We’ve all witnessed the sometimes silly but often tragic results of people reading scriptures by their exact words.  More often than not they end up subverting the spirit of those words. Just as in how some have changed Jesus’ imploration to not judge others (in that case, adulterers) into a new legalist ‘sin’; sexual titillation.

Much worse, many have used the ‘exact words’ of Hebrew and Christian scriptures to justify slavery, prejudice and war, the ‘exact words’ of Matthew and John to justify anti-Semitism, the ‘exact words’ of Paul to justify male chauvinism and homophobia and the ‘exact words’ of Mohammed to justify misogyny and initiate violent intifada;  all zealously bothering by the Good Book.

As Greg Brady painfully learned in that episode, taking someone at their ‘exact words’ is something you learn to avoid as you grow up. If you want to avoid confusion and if you want to better serve authority.


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Shameful Revelation

Thank God, I will get a view of the Battle of Armageddon from the grand stand seats of the heavens. All who are born again will see the battle of Armageddon, but it will be from the skies (Carl McIntire, 1965)

What then should be the believer’s attitude to the destruction of the world by fire? First of all, he should welcome it and pray for its nearness (Robert Gromacki, 1970)

The world has one great war yet to endure…. The slaughter that will take place is too frightening to imagine. Just be thankful that you’re not going to be around (Chuck Smith, 1977)

The Tribulation will result in such bloodshed and destruction that any war up to that time will seem insignificant (Jerry Falwell, 1983)

Some day we may blow ourselves up with all the bombs…. But I still believe God’s going to be in control…. If He chooses to use nuclear war, then who am I to argue with that? (Charles Jones, 1986)

-from “God and Empire” by John Dominic Crossan

I’m sorry, but the Book of Revelation should never have been included in the Bible. There. I’ve said it. No more pussy-footing around. I’m no longer going to compromise, rationalizing that it needs to be read, as Augustine said,  ‘spiritually and not carnally’ (metaphorically and not literally).  I  think it would have been better never read at all.

Rather than underlining Jesus’ (and Paul’s) radical message of the just and peaceable Kingdom of God to be found right now and right here on this earth, Revelations depicts a kingdom somewhere “out there” that will some day come, but only after Jesus returns and and initiates the violent destruction of civilization.

In the Gospels, Jesus offers us a meal of bread and wine- hospitality, friendship, community. In Revelation he offers the birds of the air a meal made up of the flesh of millions of dead.

In the Gospels Jesus talks of his return AFTER a violent apocalypse but an apocalypse that is the result of man’s ‘worldly’ and violent way of life. His return does not precipitate this apocalypse but follows it, bringing the Kingdom’s non-violent redemptive power. Revelation, on the other hand, has Jesus accepting and adopting as his own modus operandi this ‘worldly’ violence, no matter how ‘other worldly’ it is portrayed.

In the Gospels he enters the Jerusalem  meekly,  on a donkey, pointedly lampooning the triumphal entry of the Roman governor.  In Revelation he is on a white charger, wielding sword and with a  blood soaked cape flowing about him.

Is it any wonder that this vision of a doomed and temporary earth violently destroyed by a blood-thirsty Messiah who then selectively redeems it has led to 20 centuries of Church sanctioned violence? Well, not when we realize that it didn’t take long for the Church to stop opposing violent empire and become violent empire. The Book of Revelations proved to be an excellent tool in furthering the worldly ideals and goals of empire.

Americans easily recognize that the fundamentalist theology of Islam, of a disposable world followed by paradise for the fortunate faithful, has eagerly led many to commit acts of horrific violence. But can’t we see that the contemporary dispensationalist theology of Rapture and Armageddon also leads to similar contempt for this world and a a similar eagerness for violent retribution?

It may seem extreme to make comparisons between the actions of radical Islamists and those of fundamentalist Christians, but their rhetoric is similar.  Violent actions no not always follow violent rhetoric but they are always preceded by violent rhetoric.

Perhaps there is some good ecclesiastical advice in this book, advice designed to help the early beleaguered Church to hold fast and resist the temptation to capitulate to empire. But by painting Jesus in heretically violent colors John only helped spur on the Church to become empire. Did Rome co-opt the Church or did the Church co-opt Rome?

How might have history been different, if the rhetoric of violent judgment penned by John of Patmos had never been linked to Jesus’ Gospel of peace and justice?

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The Gospels and Anti-Semitism

In his book, “God and Empire”, John Dominic Crossan makes a good case for the claims that the popular portrayals of Jesus’ passion is at the root of anti-Semitism:

The residents of the Bavarian village of Oberammergau have staged a Passion Play every decade on the decade and also on special anniversaries in gratitude for protection from a 1634 plague. When I saw the second production after World War II, in 1960, it was the same one that Hitler had seen in 1930 and 1934, before and after he became Chancellor of Germany. Later, in July 1942, about the time the German armies were beginning their fateful push toward Stalingrad, Hitler commented on what he had seen a decade earlier:

“It is vital that the Passion Play be continued at Oberammergau; for never has the menace of Jewry been so convincingly portrayed as in this presentation of what happened in the times of the Romans. There one sees in Pontius Pilate a Roman racially and intellectually so superior, that he stands out like a firm, clean rock in the middle of the whole muck and mire of Jewry.”

Judging from that approval, Hitler would have fully applauded Mel Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. There the “rock” is portrayed as even rockier and the “muck” as even muckier than anything ever dreamed of at Oberammergau. That reminds us that any dramatization of Jesus’s death demands a very particular level of ethical responsibility. You must get it right in the present, because getting it wrong has fed theological anti-Judaism and racial anti-Semitism in the past.” [John Dominic Crossan, God and Empire]

I loved Gibson’s “Passion” when it first came out and thought that the accusations of anti-Semitism were unfounded.  Even later, after the drunken Gibson made some hatefully bigoted remarks, I did not believe this proved the movie to be anti-Semitic. It appeared to be a faithful re-enactment of the Gospel’s account of Jesus’ torture and death.  After a careful and more informed reading of the scriptures, though, I have changed my mind.

I’ve always been puzzled at how the same people who greeted Jesus with adoration on Palm Sunday were crying for his crucifixion by Good Friday. What happened to make them change so?  Well, with the help of Crossan, I realize that they did not change, and the evidence is right there on the pages of Mark’s Gospel:

We have already seen that the Jerusalem crowd was on the side of Jesus in the anti-imperial demonstration in Mark 11:8–10 on what Christians call Palm Sunday:

Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

But watch the importance of that continuing support and protection as Mark’s story unfolds day by day from Sunday through Wednesday.

On Monday, after the demonstration in the Temple, Mark 11:18 comments that, “when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.” That sets up a clear distinction between the Jewish authorities and the Jewish crowd concerning Jesus. And it is similar to the divergent reactions to Jesus in Josephus cited at the start of this section.

On Tuesday, there is a series of debates between Jesus and those authorities, in several of which they attempt to drive a wedge between him and his popular support. That, for example, is the logic of the trick question: should we pay taxes to Caesar or not? (12:13–17). If he answers yes, the crowd will desert him; if no, the Romans will arrest him. But three times on that Tuesday, Mark insists, the crowd is on the side of Jesus.

First, with regard to John the Baptist, Jesus shows that the authorities were against John as they are now against him, and thus also against their own people. “The chief priests, the scribes, and the elders…were afraid of the crowd, for all”,”regarded John as truly a prophet” (11:27, 32). Second, after Jesus tells the parable of the wicked husbandmen who kill the vineyard owner’s son, those same authorities “realized that he had told this parable against them [and] they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away” (12:12). Finally, after Jesus shows from Psalm 110:1 that the Messiah is not just the Son but the Lord of David, “the large crowd was listening to him with delight” (12:37). Mark mentions Jesus’ support and protection from the crowd those three times on Tuesday to lead up to his story’s climax the next day.

On Wednesday morning, a final decision is made by the religious authorities: “It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; for they said, ‘Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people’ (14:1–2). In effect, therefore, they have given up hope of moving against Jesus during the festival days, and of course after the festival he might well go home. However big the supporting crowd was, it was big enough to stop the authorities by threatening a riot. At this point within the logic of Mark’s story, Jesus is safe: as he expected, he has gotten away with his double demonstration, and the Jewish authorities have been stopped by the Jewish crowd, who support the Jewish Jesus.

It is precisely this impasse that is solved for the authorities by Judas in 14:10–11: “Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.” Judas offers to tell them where Jesus is at night, away from the crowd, and no doubt their idea is to have it all over and done before the crowd knows anything about it. Betrayal, secrecy, and speed are now essential— within the logic of Mark’s narrative. And so it happens. [John Dominic Crossan, God and Empire]

Then Crossan reminds us that it was already Pilate’s custom to release a prisoner of the people’s choice at Passover.  Barabbas was a violent and effective leader of rebellion against Rome and it is likely that the ‘crowd’ came for his release as opposed to seeing Jesus die. When Pilate offers up the prisoner that (in his opinion) is less threatening to Rome, this ‘pro-Barabbas’ crowd refuses. Which makes perfect sense, this crowd not being the ones who were following Jesus.

Again, this is according to Mark’s gospel, the first one written and the one from which the other three all drew. But in each succeeding Gospel the crowd becomes increasing more angry and bloodthirsty and and more generically “Jewish”. Crossan says that this can be attributed to the early Christian Jews finding  themselves increasingly in conflict with traditional Jews as their ranks swelled with Gentile believers.

Crossan’s book, like most of his other work, helps to open up your eyes and perhaps even your heart.  I understand better how our theology can become twisted by the spin that small minded yet influential  people have put on it. It is easier to understand the complaints that people have made against our popular portrayals and public statements about Jesus, people who have often suffered terribly at the hands of “Christians”. It is also easier to understand how so many of these people who claim to be Christian can rationalize their bigotry.

But just as importantly Crossan clearly shows how history helps to pull Jesus out of the penal substitionary box that the Church has placed him in, allowing us to see more clearly the meaning and purpose of his mission.

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Jesus’ Radical View of Divorce

Next to homosexuality the issue that seems to be most contentious for the Christian church is that of divorce.  I’ve heard people say, when arguing for Christian tolerance of gays, that in the Bible Jesus never spoke out against homosexuality but he did specifically condemn divorce, a practice widely accepted within (if not a prime motivation for) the mainline Protestant tradition. Those Christians who do consider divorce to be a sin often refer to these same scripture accounts, such as this one from chapter 10 of Mark’s Gospel;

Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.”“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’

Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’

But why is it that the Gospels are so specific about Jesus’ outspoken remarks on divorce when there are other ‘sins’ that are not mentioned?  His condemnation of divorce would even appear to disregard the Mosaic laws permitting divorce, laws that are counted among those that Jesus says he did not come to abolish.  Are the Gospels telling us about something rare happening here– Jesus expressly overruling an earlier Biblical instruction? (unless you think that  his Sermon on the Mount is doing the same thing). But why this one? And why was the Pharisee’s question regarding divorce so tricky?

Perhaps we have a clue from chapter six of the same Gospel:

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’

John the Baptist was arrested and eventually beheaded for his outspoken criticism of Herod. In effect John was saying that Herod and Herodias were not worthy of their ruling status, that their illegitimate actions made their office illegitimate.  This was not just a scripturally based Jewish perspective, Herod Antipas was not an authentic ruler but actually a puppet of the Roman Empire.

When Jesus publicly condemns divorce he is implicitly, and dangerously,  condemning Herod and Herodias.  He surely was aware of this and considering the fact that the Pharisee’s were trying to ‘test’ him one can assume that this was another  of Jesus’ prophetic responses calculated to aggravate the Jewish people’s oppressors as well as their collaborators.

Herod’s marriage to his brother Areta’s wife was openly contentious and eventually erupted into war between their two provinces so Herod was not held in the highest favor by his Roman bosses. This was in spite of his immense and expensive construction projects designed to please the Emperor. The Roman buzzword was ‘peace’, a peace provided by Caesar Augustus, the “Son of God”, and Herod was expected to help maintain it.

So Jesus (also proclaiming to be the Son of God) was giving not only a teaching response but also a politically radical one, as insanely radical as a Parisian publicly criticizing Marshall Petain and Hitler during the reign of Vichy France. Herod was much more bloodthirsty than Petain and the Romans were every bit as brutal as the Nazis.  While a firing line would inevitably be the fate of any such French political dissident, John would meet the edge of an Herodian blade and Jesus would hang on a Roman cross.

Jesus’ teachings on divorce, like many of his other teachings, are not expressly about theology.  Unless you happen to believe that we are all motivated by our ‘theology’.  Certainly Jesus’ understanding of God’s will was instrumental in his radically dangerous criticisms of empire.

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All My Taste Is In My Mouth? I Wish!

Is there a doctor in the house?! Or maybe someone else expert in physiology? Or maybe someone who has experienced something similar to what I am going through right now?

Because a funny thing happened to me two weeks ago;  I lost my taste.  Now before you start in with the jokes about my obviously pre-existing  lack of taste, let me jump in and tell you that  I seem to have primarily lost my ability to taste natural sugar. Which really sucks because it changes the flavor profile of just about everything with the exception of things like brussel sprouts, dandelion and chicory. (By the way, did you know that cats, from little kitties to big lions, can’t taste sweet either? Perhaps I should give Fancy Feast a try. Or a Thompson gazelle? )

And before anyone else suggests that I should have my nose checked out, I can smell just fine, thank you. (Please, no jokes!)  In fact, foods that are mostly tasted through the nose (like very dry Italian wines, coffee, kimche and boiled eggs) are even tolerable (if not quite palatable) to me.  Umami is good, when  it’s not linked to sweetness (such as with pine nuts, blue cheese and Parmesan) but we are not presented with many choices there.

Almost all beer is impossible (lots of maltose) although a recent triple hop IPA was marginally drinkable, but still not much more flavorful than your standard Budweiser. Even my beloved bone-in rib-eye (cowboy) steak tastes like cardboard soaked in Crisco. Celery still tastes like…celery. I feel like crying.

I have not been hit on the head,  struck ill,  had recent surgery or received radiation or chemo-therapy. I am not vitamin B-12 or zinc deficient.  I have not burned or cut my tongue.  I DID smoke the occasional cigar but have not done so since  this has happened. OK maybe a little more than occasionally, but not more than a couple of times a week and I have friends that have been two-packers-a-day for thirty years and they don’t have this problem.

What’s weird is that I CAN taste some artificial sweeteners like saccharine and Xylitol. But not Splenda, Equal or Nutrasweet.  Haven’t checked Stevia out yet.

It has been an enlightening (if rather unappetizing ) experience.  After having spent my entire life preparing and serving food I now understand the physiology of taste in a way that absolutely no cook (or text) book ever could convey it.  I don’t believe this will effect my career adversely – I remember recipes and can still read them,  I just need a taster by my side (anyone seen “Tortilla Soup”?) It may even be possible for me to explore new avenues in cooking.  Right now some of our cutting edge chefs are introducing bitter tasting foods on their menus, something that other culinary cultures are much more familiar with. Perhaps for me, bitter is better.

There is a silver lining to this gustatory cloud;  my appetite is so diminished that I’ve lost about ten pounds. This is the world’s most effective weight loss program. I’m pretty much convinced  that the biggest enticement to overeating is that food just tastes so damn good. (There is even an Indian herb and a pill made from it that claims to deaden your sense of taste and has allegedly helped people lose weight.) It’s convenient for me, I guess,that the foods that taste the worst right now are those containing the most sugars and simple carbs, the biggest contributors to weight gain (through insulin resistance). So maybe I really don’t want this problem fixed….Nah!  Good food is one of God’s greatest gifts, much more so than sex, fame, money or skinny-ness – believe me!

So, what the hell happened?  I know some of you folks have some understanding of the science behind food and eating. If anyone has any ideas or any suggestions….HELP!

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God is Good to the Last Drop. Maybe.

I’m in the middle of an interesting book; “Ready for Rapture” by Daniel Radosh.  I doubt it is a book that many Christians will pick up – but they should.  Radosh, a practicing Jew that happens to be agnostic (?) brings an outsider’s fresh perspective to the inside of Christian pop culture. And that is what he is critiquing; not Christianity itself but the unique, separate and often silly world that many American Christians have created and so many have misinterpreted as the ‘faith’.

I’d like to discuss this book in more depth when I finish it, but every once in a while Radosh shares something that I think is worth mentioning.  At one point he tells us of attending a “Christian” skateboard event, ostensibly presented by Stephen Baldwin, (who never shows up). It’s a rainy day but just as the skate boarding demonstration is about to begin the skies clear:

“An MC hopped onto the central platform holding a wireless microphone. After a few words of welcome to the spectators—about four hundred lined up behind yellow caution tape—he pointed to the sky. “You noticed it stopped raining? That’s because God is good!”

Radosh says that he found the skateboarding pretty boring but the following BMX biker show much more exciting.

“Except that twenty minutes in, it started to rain and the event had to be cut short. The MC made no comment on this, but I could only surmise that either God was now bad, or that he prefers skating to BMX—in which case we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.”

Some Christians may think this a little naive or even cynical of Radosh, although perhaps expected of someone who professes to have no faith in any god. But simple statements  like “God is good” tend to sound a bit trite when they fall so easily and so often off the religious tongue. Because when any trivially ‘good’ thing is used to point out God’s goodness someone else can just as reasonably point to a significantly  ‘bad’ thing as proof of his lack of goodness. Or, his lack of existence.

If God is good when a cancer patient is ‘miraculously’ cured then what is he when the patient dies?  (In an earlier post I asked similar questions.) Perhaps the indiscriminate dropping of these little God-bombs are one reason why the ‘outsider looking in’ can sometimes only scratch his head in bemusement.

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Tired of Waiting for the Beginning of the End Times?

If you ever get one of these letters then..uh-oh…

Dear Floyd;

This message has been sent to you by a friend or a relative who has recently disappeared along with millions and millions of people around the world. The reason they chose to send you this letter is because they cared about you and would like you to know the truth about where they went. This may come as a shock to you, but the one who sent you this has been taken up to heaven.

I f you read a Bible, you will see that after chapter three in the book of Revelation, the church is no longer mentioned as being on earth. (The church are the believers in Jesus Christ, not the buildings in which people meet.)

In the Bible, 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4 verses 16 and 17 tell how Jesus came to take away His church. But, you have to believe the Bible is the Word of God in order to believe this.

I am sure that there will be a lot of speculation as to what happened to all these people. The theories of some scientists and world leaders will have so much credibility that most of the world will believe them.It will sound like the truth!

But, there is only one truth. And, that truth is that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came back to earth and took with Him to Heaven all who believed in Him and made Him their Lord.

If you would like to give your life to Jesus Christ and be born again, it is not too late. First you must pray to God saying“Father I admit I am a sinner, and I will turn from my sin and do good. I believe that Jesus was your son and that He came here to die for me so that my sins would be forgiven. I ask you to forgive me and I will repent of my sins. In Jesus name I pray.”

If you just prayed that prayer and meant it with all your heart, then God will know you as one of His own. You should now seek out others who have also given their lives to Christ, read a Bible daily, and do your best to bring others to Christ.

God bless you,

Aunt Bea

Yep. That’s right. There is a website called where people can sign up to have an e-mail sent to their ‘left behind’ friends explaining where they are and what the hell heck just happened:

And if you decide to ignorJesus First Bloode this heartfelt warning? This is what the Prince of Peace has in store for you:

Men and women soldiers and horses seemed to explode where they stood. It was as if the very words of the Lord had superheated their blood, causing it to burst through their veins and skin…Their innards and entrails gushed to the desert floor, and as those around them turned to run, they too were slain, their blood pooling and rising in the unforgiving brightness of the glory of Christ. (“Glorious Appearing”, Jenkins and LaHaye)

Great stuff, huh.  I can’t wait.  But if I’m raptured, won’t I miss out on all the fun? (I know what you’re thinking:“If I were you I wouldn’t worry”.) Will the raptured have good seats for all the action?  Since we’ll still have our bodies, will popcorn be available? Will we be naked and if so will we all be issued Grace Goggles?  For answers to more questions like these check out: Rapture Ready.Com It’s got the answers to all your Pre-Trib concerns AND it’s full of  fun facts like these:

The Bible predicts that the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Ever since the 70 AD destruction, one major roadblock barring the reconstruction of the Temple is the fact that the Temple Mount area has been defiled by warfare. In order to cleanse the tribulation Temple Mount for worship, the Jews will need the ashes of a pure red heifer. Numbers chapter 19 describes red cowhow King Solomon cleansed the first Temple with the ashes of a specially prepared Red Heifer.
(Numbers 19:2-9)

(Israeli scientists have been working for years to genetically engineer a red calf. But why would they want to kick-off the Tribulation?)

Replacement theology is the view that Israel, having failed God, has been replaced by the Church around 70 AD. The Church is now seen as spiritual Israel and spiritual Jerusalem. This teaching claims that all the promises and blessings, in fact Israel’s entire inheritance, now belongs to the Church. However, all is not lost for Israel; it gets to keep all the curses.

Lucky them.

During the latter part of the tribulation an Oriental army of some 200 million strong, will move into the Middle East, crossing over the dried up Euphrates River. This army, guided by four demonic angels, will kill one third of mankind.

You certainly don’t want to be hanging around for that.  Reminds me of an old joke; 200 million Chinese guys walk into a bar and order a drink…..uh, I forget the rest.

I know a lot of good folks who waste a lot of good time with all this hooey. I wonder what they would think if they knew that these cherished ‘biblical truths’ have only been around for about 100 years or so and are mostly the result of a ne’er-do-well-cum-Evangelical-huckster’s popularization of an imaginative Anglo-Irish minister’s ruminations.

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