John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded by Herod Antipas (Mark 6:14-29; Matt. 14:1-12). The territory of Antipas included the Trans-Jordan district where was located the famous fortress called “Machaerus.” It was here that John was imprisoned, according to Josephus (Antiquities 18:116-119). Eusebius, a later Christian historian, corroborates the location.
The fortress of Machaerus (Greek word meaning “sword”) was originally built by the Hasmonean Alexander Jannaeus in 90 B.C., destroyed by the Roman general Gabinius in 57 B.C., transformed into a royal palace and city by King Herod the Great in 30 B.C., and destroyed by the Nabatean king Aretas IV in AD 36.A post-Herodian fortress was reconstructed by Judean rebels during their final war with Rome.
The fortress was located on a hilltop east of the Dead Sea, providing a panoramic view all the way to Jericho and the Temple of Jerusalem, Masada to the south, and even to a well north of Jericho overlooking the Jordan Valley.
Machaerus was said to be the second most fortified place in Israel in the time of Christ, only behind Jerusalem. Destroyed by the Romans in the winter of 71/72 A.D., the post-Herodian Machaerus disappeared from the maps for nearly two millennia.
The fascinating element of this biblical site is that its ruins have been excavated by archaeologists for the past fifty years. Its once magnificent 7,000 square-foot royal courtyard complete with a throne-niche, where once sat Herod the Great as well as Antipas, has now seen the light of day. With the assistance of modern technology that is able to trace and even project the figures of the buildings, it is almost as if one is stepping back into a 2,000-year-old time capsule.
Biblical figures come to life. Herod the Great, his son Tetrarch Herod Antipas and his second wife, Princess Herodias, her daughter Princess Salome, and of course, the one and only John the Baptist. Remarkable reconstruction models are found in Biblical Archaeology Review.
“Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition And – We’ll – All – Stay – Free!”
An absolute truism of history and conflict states that “desperate times call for desperate measures.” The desperate times stir the heart with resolve and fortify one’s commitment with courage. The desperate times force men to move from mere words to courageous actions.
The United States of America currently faces a desperate situation requiring “desperate measures.” Our nation needs its citizens to rise up and courageously confront the evil threatening our freedom. It is NOT time to sit back and blithely say “well the Lord is in control and there is nothing I can do.” Such a comment is blatantly wrong. Such confesses one’s blindness to what ought to be done. Such is not just wrong but wrong multiplied—it is foolishness “gone to seed”! One making this statement is surrendering to evil; conceding the very faith that he supposedly is advocating! This is unashamed complicity in surrendering God’s values to the Devil. This retreat using vague words is actually a treasonous act in the midst of battle. Read your Bible and show me a single instance where God was pleased when His people struck their colors and surrendered to the enemy? NEVER once does God approve of a complacent embrace of evil excusing it as “God is in control.”
This point is illustrated by Jeremiah’s lament spoken to those leaving Jerusalem in smoldering ruin, “Is it nothing to all you who pass this way?” (Read Lamentations 1 for the complete account). Ancient Jerusalem had settled into a comfortable convenience saying “This is the city of God and He will protect it so we will not fret about what is happening.” Their comfortable convenience turned into a horrid historical fact. Their unwillingness to engage and confront brought a horrible torture, death and destruction to their family! Their refusal to engage caused them to sacrifice their children. This illustrates what happens when people sit back in resignation and neither says nor do anything while their nation disintegrates before their very eyes!
Now consider the song “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” Remember the undeniable truth that “desperate times call for desperate measures.”
The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 is known as the single greatest loss of American lives (it is now joined with the Muslim terrorist attacks known as 9/11). On the morning of the attack the US Pacific Fleet was wounded (the attack damaged the fleet but within months most of the damaged ships had been repaired and deemed sea worthy).
During the attack an Army chaplain was among the defenders returning small-arms and machine gun fire on the oncoming fighters. In the heat of the battle, he was asked by the men to say a prayer for them, as they were afraid that those were the last moments of their lives. It is said that the chaplain lay down his Bible, manned one of the machine guns and shouted: “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.” This gesture boosted the morale of the soldiers and they continued the defense of the harbor.
The legend behind this song says the song was dedicated to the fighting chaplain, by Frank Loesser in 1942.
The true story is a bit different from the legend. According to the facts of the event a chaplain named Lieutenant Howell Forgy was involved. Forgy was aboard the USS New Orleans at the time of the attack. The story was reconstructed from several sources, one of them being Forgy himself. The officer in charge of the ammunition line on the USS New Orleans reported that he originally heard the phrase during the attack.
When he heard it, he turned around and saw Chaplain Forgy walking towards him through the line of scared man, patting them on the back and saying the famous sentence: “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” The officer reported that it had a positive effect on the man and on him also, because he felt comforted and prepared.
The story became the basis of a patriotic inspirational song for American soldiers on the battlefields, but also for the people on the home front.
After the recording of the song, another lieutenant who served in Howell Forgy’s outfit made a remark how they used to kid him about the event, encouraging him to claim the phrase and stop the counterfeit of the story. According to the same officer, the chaplain was a modest man and he believed the story should remain uncredited to him or any other particular person, for that matter, since this way as a legend it could inspire the soldiers more.
Jack McDowell noted that the press became more interested in the story and eventually got the permission to interview the crew members of the USS New Orleans to learn the identity of the man. Chaplain Forgy’s superior officers set up a meeting with members of the press and at last, the real story of the song and the man who had inspired it was confirmed. Later, after the war, Forgy made an appearance on the popular game show “I’ve got a secret,” where he recalled and told the entire event:
“Well, I was stationed aboard the USS New Orleans, and we were tied up at 1010 dock in Pearl Harbor when the attacked began. We were having a turbine lifted, and all of our electrical power wasn’t on, and so when we went to lift the ammunition by the hoist, we had to form lines of men — a bucket brigade — and we began to carry the ammunition up through the quarterdeck into the gurneys, and I stood there and directed some of the boys down the port side and some down the starboard side, and as they were getting a little tired, I just happened to say, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” That’s all there was to it.”
The song was often played and released by multiple covers. It reached the number 1 position on the Billboard Chart in 1942.
The message and historical background of this song should alarm those today who are silent and complacent in the face of the evil facing our nation. Many have friends, family and associates who either uphold the evil political platform for the coming election or who silently “like” the atrocious immorality that is advocated by continuing to fund the recognized censorship of social media platforms! People do not understand that their “hiding” and “dislike—thumbs down” supports the platform that is dedicated to destroying the “Republic for which it stands”! A malevolent deception and many are willing cohorts of Satan in this platform. They love the platform more than they love God!
It is NOT time to sit complacently. It is NOT time to mutter meaningless words of faith without action. It is NOT time to say “the USA is God’s nation and He will take care of it.”
If you want a stinging rebuttal to this attitude of complacent surrender excusing one’s inactivity, then turn to (Judges 5:23). There God’s nation was in a desperate condition and urgently needed desperate action by God’s People. However, one village sat inactive. They excused their involvement. In military terms they did not “engage” in enemy. What is God’s opinion of such action? “‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the Lord, ‘Utterly curse its inhabitants; Because they did not come to the help of the Lord, To the help of the Lord against the warriors.’”
Modern America is facing a desperate situation. The nation is divided by those pursuing an anti-God Marxist agenda and urging citizens to embrace the most heinous immorality. The troubling reality is that our nation’s soul is in peril. Let us trust in God BUT do not let us excuse our silent rejoinders to those advocating support and acceptance of the Democratic platform. Those who choose to be silent and sit inactively while professing an inexcusable “faith in God” to deliver, will historically join the defeated Jerusalem citizens who would not answer the Prophet’s query, “Is it nothing to all you who pass this way?”
Consider another historical anecdote from Ancient Judah. The background is King Asa’s reign. Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of one million men and 300 chariots. King Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah 280,000 from Benjamin. The recon reports were demoralizing. The superior strength of the enemy exaggerated the obvious weakness of King Asa.
What did Asa do? Did he sit back, cowering in a corner wringing his hands whimpering, “What can I do? Look at all that is happening. Well…God in control and I cannot do anything.” Did he allow the voices of defeat and compromise to paralyze his response?
History records that Asa mobilized his army, engaged the enemy and defeated the Ethiopians with an amazing victory. “Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up in battle formation in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.” But in addition to his active response in engaging the enemy, history says, “Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, ‘Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.’ So the Lord routed the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.”
In terms of Pearl Harbor 1942, Asa praised the Lord and passed the ammunition!
Where are YOU in this battle for America’s soul? Are you too embarrassed to make your commitment to God and His principles known to others? Do you justify your cowardice to engage saying “It will not matter what I say.” Are you a closeted believer whose faith is intimidated to silence so you allow family, friends and associates spew vile support for ungodly political platforms? Are you sitting back, cowering in a corner wringing your hands whimpering, “What can I do? Look at all that is happening. Well…God is in control and I cannot do anything.” Are you allowing the voices of defeat and compromise to paralyze your response to ungodly posts and comments?
On the battlefield there is absolutely NO tolerance for the cowering soldier. Such action jeopardizes the safety of the unit and allows for compromise of values and offers encouragement to the enemy. In the spiritual war, God will not allow such betrayal to go unpunished. “Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness” (2 Peter 3:17).
The Proverb writer urges man to practice behaviors that are “stately; becoming; admirable.” One of these is found in 30:30 where man is urged to emulate the Lion “which is mighty among beasts and does not retreat before any.”
It is past time to speak up and stand out as God’s soldier! It is time to engage and confront those who have casually accepted the evil’s that are embraced in the current election by the Democratic Party and its ancillaries BLM/ANTIFA.
John Kachelman, Jr.is a Christian patriot, preacher, and missionary for Jesus Christ to foreign countries. He lives in Montgomery, AL.
“Politics” is one of those words that has taken on ugly connotations in almost every context in which it is used. It has the air of manipulating people for some personal gain. Indeed, one of the definitions of “politic” is “shrewd, crafty, unscrupulous.” If we leave it right there, then the issue of Christian involvement settles itself.
However, political science refers to the methods and principles of governing. When used in this sense, it is more statecraft, which is “the art of managing state affairs.” Used in this way the entire issue of Christian participation takes on a different color. Let’s back up to some basics.
God created man in his own image (Gen. 1:26). Only mankind (humanity) was created by God with this “image.” This apparently refers to the capacity of humans to exercise free will; to have moral sensitivity; to manage rational behavior. The point, however, is that humankind only, of all of God’s creation, has intrinsic value.
An extension of this value is liberty—freedom of movement and choice. This is man’s endowment from God because man cannot sustain himself without labor or work. Man is to utilize (subdue, have dominion over, Gen. 1:28) the creation to that end. The original order from the Creator was to work or labor in order to eat (Gen. 2:15-16). God’s design therefore implies liberty in order to accomplish this.
At the same time, private property is an extension of my labor, an extension of myself. “Thou shalt not steal” implies private ownership of property. Even the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the same in 1972 in Lynch v. Household Finance. Property rights are “fundamental civil rights.” Further, the right to property is inseparable from the right to liberty. One cannot exist without the other.
What is Law?
“Law” is simply “rule of action.” Frederic Bastiat, in his classic essay The Law, wrote it best. “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” Are Christians banned from crafting laws by which to protect their God-endowed rights? Surely not.
Law then, as Bastiat breaks it down, is defined as “the common force that protects this collective right [and it] cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute.” That is to say, law is the common force of a number of people and only has the authority of those individuals in defense of life, liberty, and property.
We ask: Is it right to defend my life with force? If yes, then, I may do it collectively as well with a “common force.” Is it right to defend my liberty with force? My property? “Thou shalt not steal” is again, good law—but it is meaningless without an enforcement mechanism. Empty words without teeth. Remember, even the apostles carried swords (Luke 22:38).
If the answer to any of these questions is “no” then we might ask how was it that God Himself so provided for those things in the Old Testament? Defense of any of these is certainly not inherently wrong. The “common force” is nothing less than government. If a Christian may engage in defense of life, liberty or property as an individual, he or she may do so as part of government.
Is it possible that a “common force” (government) can be used for nefarious ends? Of course. But it is also possible for the collective force or governing authority to do right. This is the basis of Romans 13:1-7.
The New Testament
Let’s check our answer with the New Testament. The apostle Paul was arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 23). Kept in a Roman prison, he discovered that a plot had been laid for his life by the Jews. This conspiracy (23:12) was made known to Paul by his nephew while visiting the apostle. Paul instructed the young lad to take the information to the commandant. The commandant considered the news credible and prepared almost 500 armed soldiers—acting as a police force and deterrent to the murderous plot of the Jews—to transport Paul to Caesarea.
Here is a case of an apostle, utilizing the lethal force of government to protect his life and ensure a miscarriage of justice did not occur. It is certainly right to use violence for self-preservation. If it is right for Paul to use it, it is right for another Christian to participate in the governing authority that Paul used.
It seems less than satisfactory for one to respond, “Well, the Roman soldiers and governing authorities are going to hell anyway, so let them to the killing.” By that lack of rationale one would hope that conversions among the military or police or state officials would not occur so that we may protect ourselves with the devil’s population!
It seems clear that a Christian may engage in statecraft—organizing laws and regulations for a community based upon Christian standards, including enforcement mechanisms. The only issue therefore, is: What kind of governance is it by which we can best maintain the liberties granted to us by God? The perfect answer is provided succinctly by the one and only Thomas Jefferson.
In a letter to Gideon Granger in 1800 Jefferson explained how centralization of government would lead to despotism and loss of freedom.
Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens, and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder and waste. And I do verily believe, that if the principle were to prevail, of a common law being force in the United States, … it would become the most corrupt government on the earth.
If you wish to maintain your liberties, keep the governing powers local. With words that are so accurate they ring prophetic, he continued,
What an augmentation of the field for jobbing, speculating, plundering, office-building and office-hunting would be produced by an assumption of all the State powers into the hands of the General Government. The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign nations. Let the General Government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our General Government may be reduced to a very simple organization and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants.
Elle magazine seems somewhat embarrassed by its list, published last week, of “20 Women of Color in Politics to Watch in 2020.” The article now carries this prominent disclaimer: “The below list was compiled by She the People, a national non profit network of women of color committed to social justice and voter mobilization. A previous version of this story did not make clear that the list was compiled by She the People and not ELLE magazine.” This was added because Elle faced a backlash for including the vehemently anti-Semitic Leftist activist Linda Sarsour on the list. But no one seems to have noticed another problem: the list is of “women of color,” and Sarsour is white.
Such minor quibbles will fall on deaf ears among Leftists. For the Left is at war not just with conservatives, but with reality itself. This has been clear for quite some time. Instead of trying to achieve some reconciliation with the nature of things as they are, the Left is growing ever more divorced from truth, reason, and ineluctable facts. For example, witness the hijab-wearing feminist (an oxymoron just as much as a white “woman of color,” as white is not a color in the Left’s world) Linda Sarsour’s magical race transformation.
It has been absurd enough to see Sarsour, a hijab-wearing defender of that most misogynistic of legal codes, Sharia, emerge as a champion of women’s rights and a feminist leader. But that was rational compared to the weapons-grade absurdity that Elle, or She The People, is now serving up regarding this palest of “women of color.”
The stage was set for Elle to anoint Sarsour as a “woman of color in politics to watch in 2020” several years ago, when the blogger Elder of Ziyon made an amazing discovery: Linda Sarsour claimed she “magically changed from white to a ‘woman of color’ in an instant,” just by putting on a hijab.
It’s true: in a Vox video published in January 2017, Sarsour said: When I wasn’t wearing hijab I was just some ordinary white girl from New York City.
But in an April 2017 interview of this hero of feminism, there is this: After watching Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in Dangerous Minds, Sarsour decided to become a high school teacher, “inspiring young people of color like me, to show them their potential.” She graduated a year early, gave birth to her eldest son, and enrolled in community college.
In the ensuing controversy, Linda Sarsour doubled down, saying: I’m Palestinian. If I want to say “I’m black,” I’m black!
What did being Palestinian have to do in Linda Sarsour’s crowded mind with her spurious claim of blackness? Well, it’s a fictional nationality, so Sarsour might as well take on a fictional race to go along with it. Maybe she was saying that since she had already made one fantasy a cornerstone of her public identity, adding another couldn’t hurt. As The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process demonstrates, the “Palestinians” as a people were indistinguishable from the neighboring Arabs. The “Palestinian” ethnicity or nationality was never known or mentioned throughout human history until the 1960s, when Yasser Arafat and the KGB invented it as a stick to beat the Israelis with. Tiny Israel arrayed against 22 hostile Arab countries looked like the plucky, heroic underdog; but the tinier “Palestinian” people facing the massive Israeli war machine reversed the narrative.
PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein said this in 1977: The Palestinian people does not exist.
The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.
For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a “Palestinian,” I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem.
However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.
If Islamic jihadis (with considerable help from Marxist strategists) can invent an entire ethnic group, why can’t Linda Sarsour, a proud member of this invented ethnic group, change races? For “tactical reasons,” in order to identify with the fashionable victim classes instead of with the universally designated oppressor, white people?
Elle’s article shows that Sarsour’s tactic has worked wonderfully, and reality can take the hindmost. The Left left it behind long ago, and if you still pay attention to it, you’re just not woke.
Not presuming to speak for all Christians, I do, however, wish to offer a few observations regarding the general support of Donald J. Trump by Christians and Constitutionalists. This is timely seeing that so many on the socialistic/Democratic side of the political spectrum love to harangue Trump-supporting Christians about the past personal behavior of Trump. They seem to delight in pointing out his multiple marriages, his infidelities, his foul language, or other personal indiscretions, always with a view to shaming Christians for their support.
What Shall We Say to These Things?
First, no Christian of which I am aware excuses Trump’s personal sins. But this is a far cry from an elected official such as Bill Clinton using his powerful position as the chief executive to assault women in the oval office. On a broader scale, if an angry press would devote itself to scouring all public officials with the scrutiny they have applied to Donald Trump, I doubt there would be many officials to escape unscathed. So, what does this mean? Stop participating in the election process because those whom we elect have soiled lives? I suspect that is what the left really desires.
Second, I readily confess that the ideal is as stated by John Adams. “He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries the most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.”
Thomas Jefferson agreed. “For promoting the public happiness, those persons whom nature has endowed with genius and virtue … should be able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens …” But where are we as a society?
It is needless to point out here that our entire culture for the past 75 years has been more reflective of Sodom and Gomorrah than the “shining city on a hill” that John Winthrop paraphrased from the words of our Savior. There is without question a deep-dyed wickedness in the populace that is corroding the nation’s soul. Finding a virtuous and godly person that will fill the position of a “natural aristocracy,” as Jefferson worded it, and willing to put themselves into the grinding mill of the political arena, is nearly an impossible task.
Third, with the above in mind, many Christians primarily have relied upon the simple principle of how best to secure our God-given liberties? Since the entire history of civilization is nothing but the story of suffering peoples at the hands of their own governments, which candidate will support the kinds of Constitutional principles that more positively reflect that? Or, more pointedly, do Donald Trump’s policies lessen the vice-grip of government, or do the Democratic policies? To ask the question is to answer it.
One must recognize that political power always, without fail, gravitates toward centralization and that this movement always erodes and destroys the liberty of people by removing the decision-making processes and transferring them to that central government. Christians therefore, have wisely resisted the growth of government. And it is only Donald J. Trump, even with his brass-knuckle less-than-genteel approach, who can drain the swamp that threatens to drown us all.
The Jews in the time of Christ did not enjoy even a modicum of the liberty that we now have as Christians in America. As a matter of fact, Israel’s sovereignty had been removed from the period of the Assyrian Empire in the Old Testament (8th century B.C.) and was never regained. The mighty Roman empire controlled Palestine during the birth of our Lord, and the Jewish people suffered beneath the local rule of one wicked Procurator after another.
So, when a Quirinius, the Legate of Syria (Luke 2:1-3), would order a census in Palestine with a view to taxation, the Jews submitted even though despising it. So also other governors of Syria such as Coponius, Marcus Ambivius, and Valerius Gratus, who followed Quirinius. Other various fiscal oppressions of a grievous sort were practiced by Romans against the Jewish people. All of these the Jews loathed, but tolerated.
This was because these governors generally respected the religious feelings of the Jews and gave wide latitude to Jewish practices and scruples. We know, for example, that they removed the image of the Emperor from the standards of Roman soldiers before marching them into Jerusalem, so as to avoid the appearance of a cultus of the Caesars (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. I, p. 242).
But all of that was far different from a Pontius Pilate who forced the hated emblem on the Jews and defied all of their most sacred feelings.
This is not unlike the political scene today. A secular society continues to dominate our culture, which Christians decry. Christians tolerate, probably too much, the unconstitutional and ungodly measures in our country. But this is completely different from a Democratic leader such as Barack Obama who publicly mocks the Bible, engineers the redefinition of marriage, rubs Christian noses in the murder of the unborn, and parades to the world that we are not a Christian nation.
Added to that is the fact that in the end, not only has President Trump boldly stood for a more biblical stance in public policy, but has sought to massively de-regulate the unconstitutional super-state in which we live. A report by the Council of Economic Advisors in June, 2019 estimates that after 5-10 years of the new de-regulatory approach of the Federal Government household incomes will have been raised by $3,100 per household per year.
Casey Mulligan, the chief economist for the CEA, explained that “The deregulatory efforts of the Trump Administration have … removed mandates from employers, especially smaller businesses, and have removed burdens that would have eliminated many small bank lenders from the marketplace. These deregulatory actions are raising real incomes by increasing competition, productivity, and wages.”
In the end, however, it is not merely economic prosperity that many Christians desire. It is to secure our God-given liberties by rolling back the unconstitutional government in which we live. Donald J. Trump seems to be the only person with enough back-bone to attempt this daunting task. I suspect that the radical left realizes this fact which explains their mindless hatred and opposition.
Extremely popular is the so-called “Blood Moon” theory taught by numerous so-called prophecy teachers, not the least of which is John Hagee of San Antonio. Astronomical charts show that four lunar eclipses will occur between 2014 to 2015. Sometimes the full lunar eclipse takes on a red or orange appearance. This is what Hagee calls “the blood moon.”
Hagee explains in a chart that the four “blood moons” include 1) Passover, April 15, 2014; 2) Feast of Tabernacles, Oct.8, 2014; 3) Passover, April 4, 2015; 4) Feast of Tabernacles, Sep. 28, 2015. (Four Blood Moons, 224-25). Hagee insists that “something is about to occur” in favor of the Jewish people at the fourth blood moon—the end of September, 2015. “These occurrences are not coincidental! This is the hand of God orchestrating the signs in the heavens. The final Four Blood Moons are signaling that something big is coming … something that will change the world forever” (p. 237).
What Shall We Say to These Things?
Those casting these ominous horoscopes for the world are afflicted by a particular theory which is responsible for their preachments. That theory is known as Premillennialism. Though there are minor variations given by different promoters, the scheme runs something like this. (1) The OT predicted that Jesus would establish an earthly kingdom in which the Messiah would reign from Jerusalem. (2) When the Jews rejected Jesus he postponed those prophetic forecasts until He comes a second time. (3) Current conditions in the world show that that time is near upon us. (4) That saints are to be “raptured” to heaven at the beginning of a “Tribulation” period in which unprecedented wars upon the earth will occur. (5) At the height of this period Jesus will return and fight the “Battle of Armageddon.” (6) At the conclusion of these events Jesus will reign in Jerusalem during the Millennium.
In reality the entire fabric of Millennialism is entirely unscriptural. The theory is the same Jewish system of infidelity which interprets the entire corpus of Scripture after the manner of those who crucified Christ (1 Thess.2:14-16). Premillennialism is Jewish Doctrine. The ancient Jews rejected the Messiah of OT prophecy because they had interpreted its predictions in a naturalistic, literal manner. When Christ did not promise to be a military leader, making headquarters in Jerusalem, bringing Gentiles into their service, re-vitalizing their temple worship, and re-instituting David’s throne, they nationally repudiated him. He did not meet their expectations.
Judaism’s unbelief, throughout the centuries, has influenced Christianity to an astounding degree. This is particularly the case here. First, millennial doctrines themselves are Jewish misinterpretations. Eminent German church historian, August Neander, writes, “The idea of a millennial reign proceeded from Judaism. For among the Jews the representation was current, that the Messiah would reign a thousand years on earth, and then bring to a close the present terrestrial system. This calculation was arrived at, by a literal interpretation of Psalm 110:4 ‘a thousand years are in thy sight as one day.’ It was further argued that the World was created in six days, so it would last six thousand years, the seventh would e a period of repose, a Sabbath on earth to be followed by the destruction of the world” (History of Christian Dogmas, vol. 1, p. 248).
The classic work on Systematic Theology by the Presbyterian scholar Charles Hodge, substantiates this further. He offered the following as the number one objection to Premillennialism: “It is a JEWISH DOCTRINE. The principles adopted by its advocates in the interpretation of prophecy are the SAME as those adopted by the Jews at the time of Christ; and they have led substantially to the same conclusions.” Christ “disappointed these expectations: and the principles of prophetic interpretation on which those expectations were founded were proved to be incorrect” (Vol. 3, p. 862).
Ernest F. Kevan in Baker’s Dictionary of Theology (p. 532), argues the same point. “It is held that the OT prophets predicted the re-establishment of David’s kingdom and that Christ himself intended to bring this about. It is alleged, however, that because the Jews refused his person and work he postponed the establishment of his kingdom until the time of his return. Meanwhile, it is argued, the Lord gathered together ‘the church’ as a kind of interim measure.”
This basic fallacy of a materialistic view of the Christ’s kingdom is shared by Hagee and others of his premillennial tribe. The entire premise of the Blood Moon Theology is that past and future eclipses of the moon somehow coincide with the OT Jewish calendar and will be aligned with Jewish feast days and that “something big” will transpire in human history when this occurs.
But there is not one passage in all of the Bible that validates the idea that the OT Jewish feasts should be used as a timetable to determine anything future. Blood Moon Theology is without one shred of scriptural support. Furthermore, the NT shows us clearly that the OT law system was nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ (Col. 2:14-16). And just so that no one is confused on the subject of the moon, inspired Paul even mentions “feast days, new moons and Sabbath days” as things of the past.
The “Blood Moon” theory taught by John Hagee and other self-proclaimed “prophecy experts” informs us that “something big” is about to occur in behalf of the Jewish people in September, 2015. This calculation is arrived at by studying the timing of the lunar eclipses during the past two years and noting their alignment with the Jewish Feasts of Tabernacles and Passover. The Blood Moon Theory, however, is totally without merit.
As an adjunct of Premillennial doctrine, the Blood Moon Fantasy is a “re-packaging” of the same old theories that have over and again been weighed in the balances and found wanting precisely because they lack biblical foundation. Premillennialism a Jewish doctrine and thereby shares the basic unbelief of the Jews. This fact alone should eliminate it from sober-minded Christians. For example, popular prophecy writer Hal Lindsey shows us that the entire millennial scheme boils down to whether the OT prophecies have been fulfilled.
“Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah. Had the people received Him, He would have fulfilled the kingly prophecies in their day … But when the Jewish nation rejected Christ, the fulfillment of His kingship was postponed until the final culmination of world history” (There’s a New World Coming, 30).
John Walvoord agrees. “As late as Acts 1:6, the disciples were still looking for a literal kingdom. While refused revelation concerning the ‘time’ of the kingdom, their hope is not denied, spiritualized, or transferred to the church. The kingdom hope is postponed and the new age of which they never dreamed was interposed, but the promises continued undimmed” (The Millennial Kingdom, 206-07).
Few writers have been so forthcoming. This basic tenet, however, is shared by premillennialists one and all. The prophesied kingdom of the OT was to be Jewish and promises relating to it have yet to be fulfilled.
Taking the cue from Walvoord [the kingdom hope was not ‘transferred’ to the church], the current assault against a NT fulfillment of OT prophecies is harangued as Replacement Theology. Dave Reagan of Lamb & Lion Ministries can hardly contain himself on this point. He equates this “theology” with “God invalidating His promises to the Jews” (The Jewish People: Rejected or Beloved?, 18).
So, per these writers, Jesus came “to fulfill the law and the prophets” (Matt. 5:17) but unexpectedly, the Jews rejected Him. The Lord’s intentions were thwarted and He “postponed” or pigeon-holed these plans until the future. Inspired testimony, however, shows us that the Jews never did properly understand their prophecies. Paul put it this way while in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia. “For they that dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them in condemning Him” (Acts 13:27).
Here the Jewish unbelief in Christ is shown to be grounded in the manner in which they misunderstood the voices of all of their prophets! They insisted that the terms of the OT predictions called for a physical revitalization of the Jewish state. It therefore comes with poor grace that the common thread of current prophecy writers like Lindsey, Walvoord, and Reagan is the adoption of Jewish, not apostolic, methods of interpretation.
The New Covenant
For instance, Reagan refuses the inspired explanation of Jeremiah’s New Covenant (31:31-34) which is given in Hebrews 8:6-13. “And the New Covenant, promised to the Jews in the Old Testament … and which went into effect at the death of Jesus, has been expanded to include believing Gentiles. But it remains as a promise to Israel and will not be fulfilled until the Jews turn their hearts to God and receive His Son as their Messiah” (Ibid., 17). Again, on p. 157-59 Reagan suggests that this New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 is “an unconditional eternal covenant between God and Israel…Although it was made specifically with Israel, it was extended at the Cross to be made available to any person who places is or her faith in Jesus …”
Reagan here wants it both ways. The New Covenant was made “specifically” with fleshly Israel. It will not be fulfilled until Christ comes back. But it is available from the Cross to Gentiles also who God apparently allows to horn in on Jewish promises. God did not intend Gentiles—only Jews. But God changed His mind at the Cross to allow non-Jews. But it will not be “fulfilled” until Christ returns! Who cannot see the blatant contradiction here?
What is the problem? Reagan refuses to allow the NT to interpret the passage. The “Israel of God” is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:16) and the New Covenant was always intended to be inclusive of non-Jews (Heb. 8). When Jeremiah originally stated the NC would be with “the house of Israel and the house of Judah” he intended it to be in a spiritual sense.
This is why Walvoord explains the millennial belief as not merely a construct of what may occur in the future, but the ultimate determining factor in biblical interpretation. “It is not too much to say that millennialism is a determining factor in Biblical interpretation of comparable importance to the doctrines of verbal inspiration, the deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection” (Ibid., 16). The entire framework of the Premillennial structure, of which The Blood Moon Scheme functions as a room in the house, revamps the manner in which one looks at the Bible as a whole. As yesteryear scholar pointed out, the Premillennial edifice is the “offspring of rabbinical artifices” (Patrick Fairbairn, Typology of Scripture, I, 123). How strange that Blood Moons and Premillennialism should commend itself to Christian interpreters!
That the biblical book Revelation is set in the days of the first century and its symbols refer to contemporary events in John’s day is clearly attested by the book itself. Instead of clamoring for future fulfillment of the apocalyptic images, which requires more of a vivid imagination than sober exegesis, one would do well to heed the testimony of Scripture.
One solid line of evidence demonstrating that the entire message of Revelation was intended for a first century audience is to follow what Jay Adams (The Time is at Hand, Prophecy and the Book of Revelation, 49) called “The Martyr Trail” that runs throughout the Apocalypse. “Breathing threatening and slaughter” against the early church were the Jews (see the book of Acts) and later the Romans. “At bottom the book of Revelation is a message of encouragement and exhortation to the churches of Asia Minor in view of portending persecutions of great magnitude” (45). Consider the following flow of thought.
To the church at Smyrna John encourages: “I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty” (2:9); “Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer” (2:10). In 2:13, Antipas, the faithful witness who was killed for the faith, is mentioned when addressing the church at Pergamum. Chapter 6:9-11 gives a striking portrait of a martyr-band of “souls under the altar” who cry for vengeance upon those who murdered them on the earth. They were instructed that they were to “rest yet for a little time” (not thousands of years later) until their fellow-martyrs in persecution would be killed.
Moving to chapter 7:13-17 John sees a great multitude “that came out of the great tribulation” or persecution. The vengeance for which the martyrs had cried (6:9-11) was now ready to be meted out (10:6,7). “There shall be delay no longer” for the time of judgment has arrived which God had declared by His servants the prophets.
The two witnesses for God (11:3) who worked miracles (v. 6) were finally martyred and their dead bodies lie in the street of Jerusalem (v. 8). Finally, judgment was given in behalf of these saints against those “that destroy [or ‘ruining’] the land” (v. 18).
The promises of Revelation are bestowed upon the ones that overcome that first-century persecution. The “over-comer” is the “martyr.” From 12:11 one reads that “they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death.” This matches what John had written in 3:21. “He that overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in His throne.”
Martyrs are again mention in 13:7, 10 where saints are “overcome” and “killed with the sword.” John writes so that Christians might have “patience” [endurance] in these dark days (14:12). Some of them would “die in the Lord” for the faith (v. 13). A more dramatic picture cannot be drawn than that of 16:6. “They poured out the blood of the saints and the prophets,” speaking of the persecutors. So also 17:6 is colored bright red with the “blood of the saints” and “the blood of the martyrs” of Jesus. “And in her was found the flood of prophets and of saints and of all that have been slain upon the earth” (18:24).
The significance of the frequent reference to the martyrs in this trail through Revelation dates the predictions for the immediate future in John’s day. After all, John himself had been exiled at Patmos and writes to his “fellow-sufferers” as a “companion in tribulation.” The idea is “absurd” (Adams, 48) that John would write a letter to persons in such circumstances and ignore their difficulties while expounding on events that would not transpire for 20+ centuries.