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Monday, August 22, 2011

Empty Gestures

To what end?

If you talk to me for any length of time, eventually you will hear me ask that question. I don’t ask it to be flippant or dismissive—I just hold empty gestures in low regard. To what end? This is a question too few of us ask; we are often too swept away by our passions, our fervor and emotions to pause and reflect...To what end?

Hence, so many were willing to overlook the obvious inadequacies, questionable associations and murky background to elect a certain junior Senator from Illinois President of the United States of America.

Some who did ask the question “To what end?” regarding then Senator Obama, still made the decision to vote for him despite his political shortcomings, because he represented something for them. Perhaps it was racial pride, a historical benchmark quelling the guilt of the past, or perchance simply an ideological fellow traveler.

The question can be asked and a person may understand what they are about to do is risky and potentially disastrous, yet emotional people will regularly ignore the latent danger of their choices and “hope” for the best, if the short term emotional pay off is substantial enough to make an empty gesture at least appear grand!

After all, as illustrated by his erstwhile political rival for President and future running mate: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," Joe Biden continued, "I mean, that's a storybook, man." Considering our current circumstances, Mr. Obama’s subsequent election to the highest office in the land seems more a “Grimm” fairytale.

Those most swept away in the grandeur of America’s empty gesture in electing an unprepared Barrack Obama are even now beginning to feel like they are sitting in the witch’s cauldron. The fire gets hotter and hotter and suddenly they feel duped. Unfortunately, those of us who recognized Mr. Obama for what he was, now find ourselves beside them in the soup.

We on the right are not immune; we, too, engage in our own brand of vacuous shenanigans! We, too, chase what we consider noble ideas without asking, “To what end?” The difference is, we tend to cloak our empty gestures in what the Holy Bible calls a “form of godliness.” Such a gesture is being offered now in Israel, brought to you by Glenn Beck.

“He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?” Luke 6:39

Glenn Beck, as he stood in a theater built by Herod (Herod, who in an effort to kill Christ as a child, killed all the male children in Israel below the age of 2) in the city of Caesarea, making opening remarks at his “Restoring Courage” rally in Israel, informed his audience there were “Senators and Representatives from eleven of the United States.”

Beck told his enthusiastic crowd that among them were “religious leaders from 26 of the largest congregations in the U.S. alone”. No less than “four dignitaries from the E.U.” “Six members of Parliament from the E.U.” [sic] “eleven representatives of the largest ‘Tea Party’ groups”, the latter elicited a resounding yelp and thunderous applause.

Beck continued, “We have members from the 9/12 Project, we have 1400 viewing parties all around the world tonight” Beck told the audience: “People are watching this event tonight in Pakistan and in Egypt and in Brazil, in South Africa and 80 other countries around the globe.”

Beck informed the crowd: “tonight is going to concentrate on the ‘courage to love’. Tomorrow is the ‘courage to remember’ and it all ends at the throne of God on Wednesday, the ‘courage to stand’.”  But Beck never gets around to explaining to what end are they gathered in Israel to love, remember and stand?

Beck says: “We welcome you no matter what denomination or what faith you belong to tonight.” He then introduces a Rabbi to give an opening prayer, exclaiming at his ecumenical gathering, “People are not neutral here and neither is God”. Quite so, God is not neutral. Nor is He ecumenical, at least not the God revealed in the Holy Bible.

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:4-6

Not a very ecumenical statement. Man quite often, in a misguided attempt to unite all men by being all things to all people, will try to drag God along for the ride through gestures like Beck’s rally in support of Israel.

My blog, Digital Publius, is very political, but it is also very Christian. I make an effort to distinguish my political and social views from my directive to spread the Gospel of Christ. It is my intent to always honor God by submitting my will to His, allowing my faith to inform my views on politics and society.

Honestly, it is impossible to operate in a spirit of ecumenicism and maintain a commitment to God—if He is your first priority—if you stand with Israel for temporal reasons like her being our only true and strategic American ally in the Middle East; or you just don’t want your supply of Israeli couscous to dry up. I can stand with Beck on that, I like Israeli couscous as much as the next guy.

But, as I explained in my article “Sweet or Bitter”, when he ventures into the spiritual, Beck and I have to part ways. Beck declares his faith as he introduces historian David Barton: “As many of you know, if you watch or listen to me, I have chosen a path that isn’t always the most popular with Christians. I am a member of the LDS faith.”

He goes on to state David Barton loves him for who he is, demonstrating his love for Beck “in every way at all times.” “David is one of the finest examples of Christians, I think, and he has helped me put this event together so we could all be here for this historic night.” Again I ask, to what end? Why this historic night?

This was not a night about Israel and it certainly was not a night to honor God. You honor God the way He says He should be honored, first by offering Him Praise and Thanksgiving, before doing anything else. I don’t love Israel, I love God. I support Israel because God in His Word told me to. Any other reason to support Israel in the temporal sense may be expedient, but it is so because God arranged it that way.

“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.” Amos 9;11,12

The very existence of Israel as a modern state is a testament to the sovereignty of God! Before 1948, the fact that the Holy Bible made statements like the one above, saying Israel would again be a nation after an almost two millennia long diaspora, was the number one reason people doubted the Bible was God’s Word.

Though the Romans finally succeeded in casting Israel out of their land, they were not able to destroy the Israeli Identity. It was utter madness to suggest Israel would ever rise again. Yet here we are. God declares, in the last days:

“The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.  Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. ”  Zechariah 12: 1-3

A “burdensome stone” is there a more accurate description of Israel as seen in the world today by her enemies? In Psalms 83:2-8, we find this prophetic portrait of Israel’s plight in our time:

“For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them...”

All those names at the end of these passages are the modern day Islamic and Arab states surrounding and arrayed against Israel today, constantly threatening and plotting to destroy her. Yet returning to Zechariah 12 verses 8-10, God promises Israel:

“In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. ”

The LORD is here saying that Christ, “me whom they have pierced” will destroy Israel’s enemies and “they” (the Jews) will finally look upon and recognize Christ for who He is. I like the great theologian Adam Clarke’s commentary on verse 10 describing the Jewish reaction to this:

“This shall produce deep and sincere repentance; they shall mourn, and be in bitterness of soul, to think that they had crucified the Lord of life and glory, and so long continued to contradict and blaspheme, since that time.”

This Christ is not the created being described by LDS ontological teachings on Christ. This is Christ the Creator as portrayed in the Holy Bible! His appearance will be a rude awakening for those who teach they themselves can become gods.

Belief in false gods or ill-formed messiahs always ends badly. Whether they be political ones calling for “hope and change”, or theological ones obscured by man’s desire to be accepting of everyone’s idea of “faith”. As I have said many times, we can all be wrong, but we cannot all be right.

This rally in Israel is unseemly, it seems more a device to drive the Glenn Beck machine helping to launch his new online network. When you read the comments of so many people on the Blaze articles depicting last night’s events, there is a cacophony of folks either praising the quality of the transmission from Israel or complaining that they can’t sign up for whatever reason.

To what end? If you are there in Israel, or zealously watching on the world wide web for any purpose other than praising the God who is that nation’s author, deliverer and sustainer, you may want to give some thought to believing what that God says.

Ironically, on the Blaze we find a link reading: “Slideshow: 19 Cool & Amazing Pictures From Night One of ‘Restoring Courage’” The photo used to illustrate this article is the one used to advertise the link. It is number 18 in the slideshow, In light of God’s injunction:

"Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD." Leviticus 19:28

The photo perfectly demonstrates how in ones zealousness to support an idea, one can lose track of the source of that idea. And in so doing, offer up yet another empty gesture!

Digital Publius