So… if you have been following the leads down this internet rabbit hole, you surely know by now that a war is afoot in Jerusalem. The temple is only just complete. Herod’s temple. Solomon’s temple got destroyed when God moved out (ask Ezekiel), and there is a hope that one day he will really, finally, return.
The Roman General Pompey paid the Holy Site a visit a few generations back and actually entered the Holy of Holies as all of Israel watched hoping against hope that he would find YHWH, God Almighty, there and be struck dead. Even our priests don’t enter there except once a year and only after strict purification, and even then with a rope tied around the ankle in case God is displeased with him.
Just what would you expect God to do with this uppity, little pagan grown too big for his britches?
We don’t keep a dead idol in there. No statue or image of a god. No. And so the irony, the paradox, the conspiracy of it all comes home to roost when Pompey, who thought he would lay down Rome’s terms of surrender to Israel’s God, reemerges alive! Not only does he come out alive, but he proclaimes the place was empty – there was no god in there with whom he could make his silly little pax!
Every Jew there that day felt abandoned and defeated. It was our own sin to thank, of course, but today this is Herod’s new and glorious welcome mat for God! Today would be, like my favorite Mexican restaurant down on Roosevelt Blvd, in Phoenix, AZ, “the after-health-department-Grand-Reopening!” (Gotta try the Menudo! … let the reader understand.)
Titus is coming. Soon there will be six legions surrounding the temple. Poor Romans. They are gonna need to bring more body bags!
That is, of course, assuming YHWH shows us his favor and actually moves back in.
Hmmm… Better live right. This, of course, is right at the heart of Pharisaical teachings and emphasis on personal holiness. If we all live like we could enter the Holy of Holies in our daily lives, even the most mundane among us, then surely God will be pleased with us, and then when he gets here, we will kick some Roman ass! Oh… sure. You might not get EVERYTHING in your life worked out completely holy, but you certainly could observe the biggies like Sabbath, diet, and circumcision! Everyone had better get those basics right for sure.
And yes, there is risk. Faith involves risk. It’s inherent in the idea. But I easily imagine someone like Simon bar Giora hanging “Uncle Simon Wants You” posters around town and holding recruiter rallies down at the high school or the college. This isn’t some American thingy. No. Americans didn’t invent this stuff, and the recruiters aren’t outlining all the perks you get for college, for GI loans, or for training in a chosen career after your service is done (F’ing mercenaries!). No. Simon would have you recall the glory of the day YHWH repelled Sennacherib with something akin to the Death Angel of Egypt. The warriors got more success on the battlefield in prayer than in sword wielding. And the glory will be ours again, of course, if we have faith now too in the face of six legions!
So get your big boy pants on and have zeal in your prayers! YHWH is coming!
Simon is looking for a few good men! Come to the recruiter’s rally and hear all about it tonight at 7.
Let us PRAY
Now… YOU (let the reader understand), my XAnon friend, are going to take a role in this drama. You are about to sit down and read Mark’s Gospel through all in one sitting and stop at 16:8, like we discussed a couple of posts back.
I urge you to pray about that now. Pray like your life depends on it! Because this rabbit hole goes a lot deeper, and we are about to descend it fast, real soon now. Take your red pill, and pray this prayer with me:
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see Jesus.
Now…. (let the reader understand) … I ask you to imagine you are a young Jew (a male) of about fighin’ age. But you have come from a distant part of the empire (the Diaspora) to be here. You have traveled a long time, and come from a distant land. Your roots in the Jewish culture have been slipping for generations, but you feel the draw of God and the call of duty on your life, and you are here now seeking to get purified and find your place in the ranks of God’s Holy army.
(This shouldn’t be too hard for you to do (let the reader understand), since you logged on to this post as an American “Christian” sitting in your best easy chair with a cup of Starbux next to you and ready to go places in your mind.)
I want you to imagine yourself as this young eager boy come to fight. You could have been tending flocks when your daddy sent you to take lunch to your big brothers down at the lines at the valley’s edge. You want to fight! But when you arrive in Jerusalem – a city going into “lock down” – you are getting your bearings. You just attended Simon’s recruiter rally and almost signed on (You were “almost persuaded”), but one of the first things you did upon arrival last night was to stop in on your dear old Aunt Salome, and she urged you to be selective… to not just sign on with the first rebel leader you meet, but to pray on it and have an open mind. Simon is not the only game in town!
It so happens that dear old Aunt Salome has an old friend who is holding his own clandestine rally “after hours.” It’s not published down at the post office wall. There are spies infiltrating the city already, and so her old friend must be careful about over exposure.
His name is Mark. And Mark has a recruiter’s pamphlet he will share too. Check out his rally before you sign on with Simon or any of the others. Keep an open mind. (Let the reader understand.)
And so you slid Simon’s pamphlet back to him across the counter at the mom-n-pop record shop. You can always come back later for more of Simon’s call for “A FEW GOOD MEN,” but you can’t do that with Aunt Salome’s friend Mark.
And so you go looking for this Mark and his rally.
Salome tells you there will be a room made ready, an upper room. It’s down a narrow street and on the left. You will find it just past the colt tied up on which no one has ever sat. You can ask the people nearby about the colt, but they will point you to Mark’s rally.
You don’t know this yet, but you are going to listen to a somber tale of secrets, woes, treachery, and it will mostly come out in coded language involving Apocalyptic and parables. It is a strange story about a young prophet who came to this doomed city many years ago, who claimed to represent YHWH, God, prophetically in all his love and glory. He too placed a call on the lives of twelve friends and led a revolution of sorts which seemed doomed at that time, but which is now already underway.
This story, in this clandestine pamphlet, which will be shared in this clandestine way is full of the mystery of God which people long to see and hear but neither have the eyes nor the ears to really gel with, lest they repent and be forgiven.
And the story is filled with a certain content. A story about this special prophet, alright, but there is more to it than just narrative. It draws you into the very story (or conversely the story moves off the written page and invades the physical universe of history). Take your pick.
And as you read the pamphlet (or have it read to you), you won’t notice at first, but over time, along the way, and as you make your way through the twists and turns, you will begin to sense that you are drawn into it in a special way.
You are the 13th Apostle.
Like I say, this won’t be clear at first, and actually when you get to the “end” (for it doesn’t end on the parchment), you will find you are in HIS world living out his story (or not, as the case may be).
Mark is placing a call on your life. He never suggested otherwise. But the way he does it, as well as the content of the story he tells, you cannot bargain with or anticipate.
So, like I said (let the reader understand), pray. Ask God to open the eyes of your heart. You want to see Jesus.
This is a dark and fast paced, twisted story you are about to enter. You will be confronted, and you will make some deep choices. The battlefield is your heart and mind, and there will be carnage. Someone is going to die!
But depending on your answer to the call of Jesus, you will see either one more dead Jew, another wasted revolutionary hanging on a Roman cross, OR you will see God in all his glory, and you will find that LOVE and SACRIFICE and HUMILITY and SERVICE permeate every word, every paragraph, and penetrates your soul.
Go sit and read the Gospel of Mark in one sitting. Stop at 16:8. Pray some more.
And let’s see who is still in this army come next time.