Goodwhytes in the West whine about guys like Rodrigo Duterte and Bolsinaro failing to understand that the government’s main job is to keep order. In fact, most of a government’s legitimacy hinges on its ability to keep order. Dictators may be bad, but they’re better than anarchy. In Brazil, they have anarchy decades after the end of their military dictatorship. Leftists have been running the country for the last two decades. They’ve banned guns. They’ve enriched themselves. Now the country has a higher murder rate than Syria and gun violence everywhere. Leftists fail to understand that people don’t care about arms restriction laws in places like Mexico and Brazil because they care more about living.
John Robb coined the term “Global Guerrillas” at least 12 years ago as a way of describing trans-national 4th generation forces. These are groups of people motivated by a common cause that isn’t subordinate to a national government. The causes are economic, religious and ideological and are as diverse as man. This phenomenon is expanding from the Global South (the Third World) where states are weak and corrupt to the developed world through immigration, trans-national crime and a supra-national elite.
One recent example of this spread of 4th generation forces is the “Economic Freedom Fighters” in South Africa. They are a Marxist black nationalist group that still blames white Dutch settlers for all their problems. I won’t bother refuting this since the usual source of a man’s problems can be found in the mirror. The EFF is a lot like the Marxist revolutionary groups that operated in Latin America and Africa in the 60s and 70s during the period following the collapse of European colonialism, so we can say that this wave of Marxist 4th generation insurgency is in its 6th decade with no improvement in sight for the people it’s claiming to help. The EFF doesn’t care. Marxism is really about power. To expand their power, they are employing a basic strategy: sow discontent and covetousness among more people. In this case, they’re expanding their franchise to Liberia. Strategy is connecting to as many centers of gravity as possible while disconnecting your enemy from as many as possible. On a basic level, all they’re doing is connecting centers of gravity.
The Suidlanders should learn from the EFF. So far, they’ve been an exclusively white Christian group. There’s nothing wrong with this but half of their problem is other whites: the liberals. Their own race by itself cannot be a center of gravity. They need to look around Africa for like-minded people in a similar situation. Are there such people? There are: Nigerian Christian farmers. “Boer” means “Farmer,” doesn’t it? The Nigerian Christians have lost 100,000 people to Muslim jihadists over the past decade. The Boer has lost roughly the same number of people to black Marxists. Why not work together? The Boers could help the Nigerians with firearms, radio techniques, and publicity. The Nigerian farmers could speak the truth about the EFF and ANC to other South African blacks to sap support for these Marxist black groups. The Nigerians could also provide manpower. At a minimum, both groups could pray for one-another.
This type of cooperation would be mostly based on one of the oldest forms of primary loyalty: religion. I agree with Bill Lind that the emerging era is looking like the 14th century described by Barbara Tuchman in “A Distant Mirror.” Back then, your primary loyalties were broadly religious to Christendom in opposition to Islamdom. They were also regional rather than national. There’s a lesson here for the Globalist Daviosie. They are not aware that in undermining national borders and culture, they are creating a world in which they are in extreme danger. These globalist elites were not raised in the slums of Calcutta or in the opium farming region of Sinaloa like El Chapo. They are not hard men who can defend themselves with their wits and their guns. They need to be defended by the apparatus of individual nation-states. They can hire mercenaries, but over time, these men tend to follow other men who are good with guns like Erik Prince. Men won’t die for Zuckerberg, though they might work for him if they’re paid well and the risks are low. The pay is always much better in the service of El Chapo, though the risks are much higher. Either way, these hothouse flowers of the global Davos-set are in for a rough future.
Last time, we studied the Olivet Discourse and learned that it is the way of seeing not only the destruction of the temple in AD 70 and the Day of Judgment, but a recurring, intensifying pattern throughout these last days between his first and second coming. This is called a telescopic prophecy: for a prediction that comes true repeatedly at increasing scale and intensity. This is obvious because the Earth’s population is larger, more wicked, and has more technology to engage in destructive and sinful acts than ever before. Two modern examples of widespread destruction are WWI and II which were possible because of technologies that enabled wars that circled the earth.
Jesus says there are visible signs that foretell these events just like approaching skies threaten rain:
Matthew 16:23 The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 But He replied to them, “[bWhen it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a [dsign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.
In Matthew 24, he uses the analogy of the fig tree predicting seasons:
32 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near;33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.
This is confusing because it also says, “Recognize that He is near, right at the door,” which suggests that the Day of Judgment is imminent when you see such signs, but Jesus also reminds that this is a recurring pattern. It’s like you’re walking through a series of valleys: in the bottom of one, you don’t know that there are others until you walk to the top of the next mountain though the next mountain could always be the last. The signs portend coming judgments which are consequences of acts of iniquity by peoples on the earth. Matthew Henry perfectly explains this in his commentary on Matthew 24
24:4-28 The disciples had asked concerning the times, When these things should be? Christ gave them no answer to that; but they had also asked, What shall be the sign? This question he answers fully. The prophecy first respects events near at hand, the destruction of Jerusalem, the end of the Jewish church and state, the calling of the Gentiles, and the setting up of Christ’s kingdom in the world; but it also looks to the general judgment; and toward the close, points more particularly to the latter. What Christ here said to his disciples, tended more to promote caution than to satisfy their curiosity; more to prepare them for the events that should happen, than to give a distinct idea of the events. This is that good understanding of the times which all should covet, thence to infer what Israel ought to do.
Our Saviour cautions his disciples to stand on their guard against false teachers. And he foretells wars and great commotions among nations. From the time that the Jews rejected Christ, and he left their house desolate, the sword never departed from them. See what comes of refusing the gospel. Those who will not hear the messengers of peace, shall be made to hear the messengers of war. But where the heart is fixed, trusting in God, it is kept in peace, and is not afraid. It is against the mind of Christ, that his people should have troubled hearts, even in troublous times. When we looked forward to the eternity of misery that is before the obstinate refusers of Christ and his gospel, we may truly say, The greatest earthly judgments are but the beginning of sorrows. It is comforting that some shall endure even to the end. Our Lord foretells the preaching of the gospel in all the world. The end of the world shall not be till the gospel has done its work. Christ foretells the ruin coming upon the people of the Jews; and what he said here, would be of use to his disciples, for their conduct and for their comfort. If God opens a door of escape, we ought to make our escape, otherwise we do not trust God, but tempt him. It becomes Christ’s disciples, in times of public trouble, to be much in prayer: that is never out of season, but in a special manner seasonable when we are distressed on every side. Though we must take what God sends, yet we may pray against sufferings; and it is very trying to a good man, to be taken by any work of necessity from the solemn service and worship of God on the sabbath day. But here is one word of comfort, that for the elect’s sake these days shall be made shorter than their enemies designed, who would have cut all off, if God, who used these foes to serve his own purpose, had not set bounds to their wrath.
Christ foretells the rapid spreading of the gospel in the world. It is plainly seen as the lightning. Christ preached his gospel openly. The Romans were like an eagle, and the ensign of their armies was an eagle. When a people, by their sin, make themselves as loathsome carcasses, nothing can be expected but that God should send enemies to destroy them. It is very applicable to the day of judgment, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in that day, 2Th 2:1. Let us give diligence to make our calling and election sure; then may we know that no enemy or deceiver shall ever prevail against us.
Emphasis mine. What are the signs of the times for our own civilization? The most pressing things for our elites are infanticide, normalizing homosexuality and transgenderism even among small children, disarming the population, and starting more wars. This seems to be what much of the upper middle class and lower class wants also. The push for these things is as much from the bottom up as the top-down. Abortion is a form of birth control for the poor and a form of virtue signalling for aspiring-elites. I think it’s fair to say, as do most Christian ministers these days, that the American people have made themselves “loathsome carcasses.” Many will object that only half the population engages in these acts but this fails to appreciate the decadent state of the Protestant Christian church in the US. Protestant Christianity is the marrow of our civilization. The red-state areas I’ve visited, and I’ve been to many, that are still “Christian” are largely only culturally-Christian. This is a great thing since it restrains evil, but it’s not a lasting thing. I estimate that there are fewer than 30 million Bible-believing Protestants who regularly attend church in the US despite the statistics that the country is overwhelmingly Christian. There is simply no proof that we are a Christian country.
Next time, we will think more about the character and quality of judgment and what Bible-believing Christians ought to do in light of it. God has promised to cut the days of destruction short for the sake of the elect as he did in AD 70 and often provides an escape like he did for Lot, the first century Christians, and so many others for the past 2000 years.
My sons go to public school where the parents of most children are liberal white suburban yuppies with disordered private lives. We take turns taking each-other’s children to school. One of the mothers post pictures of herself at the recent Women’s March wearing a vagina hat laced with obscenities about our president. My son will come home talking about what his classmates said about Trump, which is what their parents say about Trump. This is a hopelessly awful thing to burden children with. Nevertheless, it provides an opportunity to explain Romans 13 which says that we must honor and obey all lawful authorities appointed over us unless it means disobeying God. I get to remind my sons that we prayed for President Obama when he was president and I didn’t utter a word against him though I thought he was an enemy of most of what I believe in. I get to remind them that first century Christians prayed for Nero who threw them to the lions and burned them at the stake. I ask them, “How much worse would our rulers be if we didn’t pray for them?” I try to be a sharply-contrasting example for my children compared to these unbelieving parents who exemplify only the palace politics of an empire in its twilight and the mores of a decadent civilization.
In the fray of these politics is Evangelical midwit Ben Sasse. When he was first elected as Nebraska senator, I heard praise from him in even Reformed circles. As he emerged as a leading Never Trumper, I noted that he had done little real work in his life. His resume is a laughable example of bureaucratic non-work – of someone who prefers to be rather than do. Now that Donald Trump is president, Ben Sasse takes often to Twitter to rail against Trump. (You’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong about this since I don’t have a Twitter account). How does Senator Sasse obey Romans 13 if he’s constantly failing to honor the elected president?
Sasse does not forthrightly address any of the serious problems facing America’s youth with any proposed solutions that might get him into the slightest bit of hot water. (He did give family breakdown a mention, but did nothing with it). The kids growing up in white working class communities with rampant family breakdown, unstable employment, drugs, etc. have much bigger problems in life than learning how to travel well. Drug addicted parents are injecting babies with opioids to make them stop crying (true story). There’s one woman I know personally who had four kids by three
different fathers, two of whom were brothers. And who went though a significant stretch to drug addiction where she was completely out of the picture while her kids where raised by grandparents. Those kids face serious problems. (Two of them have already had out of wedlock children of their own, one of them already with multiple partners). Similarly, a black teenager in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood faces much bigger problems than his summer reading list.
Sasse, despite all of his pretention to moral superiority, despite his constant anti-Trump preening, despite all of his Evangelical faith, despite being a US senator, is unwilling to stand up in the public square and say unpopular things to confront the serious problems in America, ones not amenable to uncontroversial feel-good solutions like “consume less.”
Now to the meat of his post:
I was speaking with one pastor who is a national council member of the Gospel Coalition. He’s a classic neutral worlder who strongly disapproves of Trump. But he notes that the Millennials in his congregation are in effect Biblically illiterate and have a definition of God’s justice that is taken from secular leftist politics. They did not, for example, see anything at all problematic about Hillary Clinton and her views. A generation or so from now when these people are the leaders, they won’t be people keeping unpopular positions to themselves. They won’t have any unpopular positions to hide. They will be completely assimilated to the world. Only their ethics will no longer be Hillary’s, but the new fashion du jour.
Rather than a mass blowout then, Evangelicalism would thus die from a slow bleed, much as the mainlines and the Church of England did before them. Indeed, today’s Evangelicals are retracing the steps of the mainlines. The parallels with the late 19th/early 20th centuries are there and should be studied. Back then, for example, virtually all of the sophisticated intellectual and cultural types – the cultural engagers of their day – sided with the world and became today’s liberal mainlines. Many of the ones who remained orthodox, like Gresham Machen, paid a huge price for doing
so – largely inflicted by their erstwhile brethren who assimilated. As it turns out, intellectuals are very easy to co-opt with a few trinkets. It looks like it’s happening again. Almost every Evangelical institution I know is explicitly
reformulating itself around secular social gospel principles, even if they wouldn’t use those words to describe it. There will be residual beliefs in place, but over time they could dissipate to nothing. (Remember, the liberal mainlines didn’t go from A to B overnight. It was a long process. For example, earlier this year I read a book by famed early 20th century liberal preacher Henry Emerson Fosdick that contained things so reactionary that even many “conservative” pastors today would be unwilling to write them).
Practically speaking, folks like Ben Sasse might obtain great sinecures for themselves, but they will never effect any real, positive change in the world. And their attractiveness to others will dwindle over time and their Christianity will fade into the background and ultimately disappear. On the conservative side, we already see this happening in the form of JD Vance, a younger guy in the Sasse mold, but one who holds to a curiously vague Christianity. All we really know about his beliefs is that he doesn’t like rural Pentecostalism. The more liberal types are already cultural
epigones. They have nothing to offer the world that I can’t already get in a better form direct from the secular source.
How does this relate to masculinity, you might ask? Again, because embracing a loss of status, saying unpopular things that will get you in trouble – these things take balls.
Sasse is just another example of the uselessness of evangelicalism and how it’s just trending into mainstream SJW liberalism as mainline Protestantism collapsed in the early 20th century into mainstream atheism. It’s good for nothing: salt that has lost its saltiness and must be thrown out. Unless there is an immediate work of extraordinary Providence such as a new Reformation, I wouldn’t expect improvements in the Western church and therefore the West in 100 years. Control and worry about what you can such as how you raise your family and where you go to church. You control very little else.
At church this morning, I talked to a former Marine this morning who said that the intel guys used to give arrested Afghans back their flip phones after releasing them because they could activate the flip phone remotely if they knew the serial number of the phone. There is apparently a backdoor even on flip-phones with no iOS or Android, hence the need for a faraday bag.
The response from one bystander was that I was paranoid and had no expectation of privacy. I asked, “What about the 4th and 5th amendments, and if those amendments were void, what about the 1st?” I got some non-response about how everything would be sorted out by God and I should get used to persecution. I replied, “Didn’t Paul use his Roman citizenship to affect the outcome of his own persecution?” Another poor response followed about how things would get worse and worse until the day of Judgment and there was nothing we could do.
The Augustinian and Protestant belief and the teaching of Scripture is that there are two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Man. The former is an invisible theocracy that is “not of this world” as Jesus said to Pilate with a visible component known as the Christian church. The latter – the kingdom of man – is common to all men. The rules in the common kingdom are governed by the light of nature and are also found in the second Table of the Law (Commandments 5-10). The governments of the common kingdom is as diverse as man though divinely-ordained as a matter of ordinary providence to restrain evil. As a Christian, you have obligations to both kingdoms. For this reason, you have a job working with your hands, pay taxes, and obey lawful authorities over you. The obligations of self-rule (democracy and representative republic) are greater because we’ve been given greater freedom to govern ourselves. The greater gifts comes greater responsibility. Under Nero, circumstances for first century Christians were different and Christians expected less from the government and participated less other than to obey the government as far as it meant also obeying God and paying taxes.
Thus the response of these evangelical brothers was hopelessly foolish. If the government or a big tech company is infringing on our Constitutional rights, we have obligations to work with our federal, state and local representatives in a respectful manner for change. Too many Evangelicals have a bunker mentality where they refuse to interact with government institutions other than voting or contributing to the Homeschool Legal Defense Fund. Mostly, their children do not grow up with a saving knowledge of their religion, so they aren’t keeping their obligations to God’s kingdom either. Obviously, this brand of Christianity is wholly unsuited for either God’s kingdom or man’s kingdom. Salt that has thus lost its saltiness must be thrown out.
As an aside, this got me wondering, have American Christians impeded the development of better governance throughout the world by exporting their half-baked version of Christianity which is evangelicalism? We look at Africa and wonder why so many of the peoples and governments are in such disorder, but then we’ve been shipping them the cult upon which they are building their culture for the past 100 years which, coincidentally, was period when the European colonial powers evacuated. There was a period of better evangelism in the 19th century when Anglican and Presbyterian missionaries went to Africa, but that was when it was the white man’s graveyard due to cholera other vector-borne illnesses thus it’s unclear how much high-church Anglicanism and Calvinism penetrated the Dark Continent. Prior to that, we were enslaving Africans and exporting their resources. Other parts of Africa have, of course, fallen increasingly under the Sword of Mohammed. This seems to have happened on the watch of the Western colonial powers also. It has been 60-70 years since the European powers left and I used to scoff at the idea that it was the Europeans’ fault that Africa was so chaotic, but now I think we share half the blame.
Coming back to the issue of digital privacy and a worsening world until the Parousia, I think we need MORE knowledge of digital privacy like the Chinese Christians, rather than less as the ostrich-like evangelical claimed. From what I’ve been reading about latest ChiCom persecution of Chinese Christians, Chinese Christians are are pretty tech-savvy. They used encrypted USB sticks, VPNs, and chats. They probably know when and where they can use cell phones. They probably have some way of storing cash. They might even know how to beat facial recognition by using certain types of face paint or clothing. I told my evangelical brother that we need to work with our representatives to make this type of surveillance illegal. He scoffed at this idea. I suppose that means he has a plan to deal with it if it’s ever used here? Wait, it already is. Amazon is selling facial recognition technology ubiquitously. I hope he’s prepared for persecution that the other brother claimed was inevitable, but he doesn’t even know his Bible.
If there’s any lesson to be learned from this disappointing conversation this morning, it’s that you need to surround yourself with like-minded, thinking Christians in a real church. People who can’t think critically or Biblically are not going to be much use if times get tough.
As I’ll explain later in the series on the Olivet Discourse, you can read the times just as you can read the weather and seasons and know what’s ahead with some degree of certainty. You can’t know the exact form it will take, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare. It’s obvious we’re in a cultural collapse that will take at least a generation to recover from if a new Reformation began today since the cult begets the culture. Western culture is based on Christianity and Rome. When Christianity is removed, only Rome remains. Many ministers have said that our culture looks more and more like the first century Roman empire each day but instead of the cult of emperor worship, our government holds to the ideology of cultural Marxism. Anyone who does not subscribe to this ideology is thrown into the outer darkness. Why be alone in the cultural outer darkness? Outside the camp (Hebrews 13:13) is the Christian church, which is the only place Western culture still exists. You can still find good churches in the United States.
If you don’t read Bill Lind, you should. He’s a conservative, a Christian, and, ironically, one of the only people who understands how to shore-up the nation-state system begun at the Peace of Westphalia. For ideological and monetary reasons, no one is taking his advice. Ultimately, the nation-state system was possible among European peoples only because of the disciplinary revolution caused by the Reformation. As Western people retreated from their colonies, they left nation-states among the people they once governed and these people have been unable to maintain them, particularly in Africa. India seems to be on a path of more partition. The Islamic states are a mixed-bag but are mostly held together with infusions of Western money for oil in the Arab states or offshoring in the Islamic states of the Indian Ocean. The Phillipines remains Asia’s sick man. China is a vast, highly unstable empire that Xi Xinping appears to be trying to with a velvet glove over an iron fist. His crackdown on Christians, Muslims, and Tibetans will require him to crackdown on everyone else which will backfire.
In the non-Western world, the nation-state is clearly in decline. It is clearly in decline in the Western world as well. The loss of homogenous, Protestant Christian polities in territories ruled as nation-states will cause Western people to assume alternative primary loyalties. The immigrants coming to the West never assumed the identities of their nation-state hosts in the first place.
In the following video, Bill Lind explains warfare in the future and the decline of the nation-state system. I believe it’s accelerating, especially as it runs out of money. Like Lind, I believe states are held-together by money (mammon) and very little else.
To gain perspective and wisdom about the death of the United States, we need to understand it in the larger context of history. In this post and following, we will see what the Bible says about historical patterns found throughout this present evil age (the age between Jesus’ first and second coming) and its culmination at the day of judgment. We will do this through the lens of the Olivet Discourse which was Jesus’ key eschatological (end times) teaching before his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
The Olivet Discourse is recorded in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. It is important to read all three versions of it since they all give a different perspective. It is also important to realize the Discourse relies on all the other parables Jesus told about the present evil age, the day of judgment, and the age to come.
Beginning with Matthew 24, Jesus tells a parable about the destruction of the temple and signs of the end. The parable is confusing because it is general and specific. It is general in the sense that it intermingles signs of the end with specific information about the destruction of the temple. The signs of the end are actually a description of the pattern of the period between Jesus’ first and second coming, which Peter describes as “these last days.” The destruction of the temple (v 1-2) is the end of not only the physical structure but also the culture of Second Temple Judaism which also serves as an example of wicked cultures reaching their full measure of iniquity (Luke 21:22) and being swept away between Jesus’ first and second coming. Beginning in verse 3, Jesus begins answering the question
“…when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
That Jesus concludes this first paragraph with an analogy to childbirth is significant. This is the main idea of the whole paragraph. What is childbirth like? It starts with mild contractions that get stronger and closer together until the baby is born. Thus Jesus is saying, “things are going to get worse and worse more frequently as the Day of Judgment draws near.” He continues in verses 9-14
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
There will be false teachers, persecution, betrayal and the love of most will grow cold because of the increase of wickedness. The “increase of wickedness” is an idea from Genesis 6: the world before the Flood where man had multiplied greatly, were doing whatever they wanted in marriage, and wickedness, frivolity and cynicism had increased to the point that it required God’s intervention. Wickedness has increased not only because there are a lot more people, but also because those people were more wicked. This is very similar to our day where the Earth’s population is now over 7 billion and projected to reach 10-12 billion sometime this century. More people will result in much more wickedness and men’s hearts will grow colder towards one-another, meaning that friendship will become increasingly rare. Jesus resumes the Flood motif later in verse 37. Peter gives another perspective on the days of Noah before the Flood in 2 Peter 3
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
The period before the flood was not only filled with frivolity and sexual immorality, but also cynicism and scoffing. In the days of Noah, unbelievers scoffed at the huge ark he was building when it had never rained. He warned them that a Flood was coming. In the same way, Jesus warned the cynics and scoffers of Second Temple Judaism. The Sadduccees cynically asking Jesus about a resurrection when they didn’t believe in it. He told them there was going to be a day of judgment. The Pharisees scoffed at Jesus’ observation of the Law when they failed to keep it themselves. He told them they were going to Hell. Herodians lived just for pleasure and in Acts we read about Herod being struck down by an angel and worms eating his guts. Pilate, the least guilty of them all, cynically asked, “What is truth?” But most egregious example of cynicism and scoffing was their rejection and crucifixion of the Son of God. Vengeance came upon them in AD 70 at the hands of Titus, son of Vespasian. Titus killed an estimated 1.5-2 million Jews in a time where the world’s population was estimated to be around 231 million people. Legend has it that the first century Christians escaped because they read the Olivet Discourse and understood the implications of Rome’s invasion.
Imagine yourself as first century Christian of Jewish descent in AD 70. Your entire cultural heritage is about to be wiped off the planet. Jews want to defend Jerusalem and part of you wants to join them but they persecuted you for your faith (read the book of Hebrews) and crucified the Son of God saying, “Give us Barabbas!” who was a murderer. The Jews defending Jerusalem end up dividing in three factions and killing one-another in AD 67 until a final unified stand in AD 70 when it was too late. This brings to mind Matthew 24:10-11: “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. ” Meanwhile, these Jewish factions won’t let noncombatants leave the city despite Titus’ entreaties for them to surrender for mercy. The Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, instead of picking up their ARs and joining their Jewish kinsmen to defend Jerusalem and ultimately their relatives and culture, wisely heed Jesus’ advice to “flee to the mountains” letting the “dead bury their own dead.” Had they not, they would’ve been trapped in the city first by their own ethnic kinsmen and later by the Romans. They would’ve been slaughtered and they would’ve deserved it because they failed to heed Jesus’ warnings about the destruction coming upon Jerusalem.
Does this incident and the Olivet Discourse have wider implications for Christians today? It does. Next time, we will unpack them.
We owe them a lot of money. Do we know who we’re borrowing from? What will this mean for the US West Coast where we import so many Chinese to work in tech?