In part 1 of this series, I explained how many bishops in the West are sowing the seeds of the destruction of Christianity by supporting and electing politicians who seek to destroy Christianity. These bishops could be presiding over the annihilation of their own churches unless something turns around big time. I have no doubt that God is capable of great things. In fact, we can see some signs that the laity is rising up to fill the leadership role vacated by bishops. But there are no guarantees. The laity working without the clergy leaves the Church hobbling on one leg.
The corruption runs so deep that God may have to implement a clearcut with extra mulch to clean things up. Does such a notion strike you as un-Christian? Please remember that the Old Testament is replete with such cleansings and deportations. Should some of you retort that “the New Testament is different and God doesn’t act like that any more” you should re-read Matthew 10, where Christ speaks of such a destructive cleansing that he would enact himself a few years later. Let’s take a closer look at that passage and the historical evidence.
In Matthew 10, Jesus is giving the Twelve their marching orders as he sends them out to evangelize. He also warns them of the persecution they’ll face after Pentecost. One verse is particularly noteworthy:
When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matt 10:23)
Have you ever wondered about that last part, alluding to a speedy return of Christ? What was he taking about? Certainly not of his Resurrection or Ascension because the prophecy refers to persecutions to take place after that.
It’s common knowledge among many theologians that Jesus was referring to God’s return to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. For example, in the footnote to this passage in the New Jerusalem Bible, we read this:
The coming foretold here is not concerned with the world at large but with Israel: it took place at the moment when God “visited” his now unfaithful people and brought the Old Testament era to an end by the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in c. A.D. 70, see. 24:1a.
Even the great Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, who lived from 37 AD to 100 AD saw the destruction of Jerusalem as the work of God. Note that he was a Jew, not a Christian. Yet his historical account of the events left him with no doubt that God’s hand was at work:
Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend, nor give credit, to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation ; but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. (Source)
Among the supernatural signs he witnessed were:
- A star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year.
- A mysterious and very bright light shining around the altar in the Temple.
- A cow gave birth to a lamb in the Temple as it was about to be sacrificed.
- The eastern gate of the inner temple, which was made of solid brass, was extremely heavy and was bolted firmly into the ground, opened by itself in the middle of the night.
- A vision of chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running among the clouds.
- An earthquake, a great noise and then the voices of a multitude saying “Let us remove hence”. This is often interpreted as God and his angels saying that they were leaving the Temple and abandoning it.
- The warnings of a man, coincidentally named Jesus son of Ananus, who, four years before the war began, would scream warnings of doom throughout the city. No amount of whipping or torture would make him stop. He continued for more than seven years, his voice never growing hoarse, until the day when he was struck by a stone catapulted over the wall by the Romans as they besieged Jerusalem.
Kind of creepy, eh?
Even the Roman military leaders found it surprisingly easy to overtake Jerusalem and claimed that the Jewish God had delivered the city into their hands.
As this historical episode illustrates, let us not assume that God is incapable of allowing violence to serve as a cleansing for his Church. We shouldn’t have a childish or naive faith. Just as a surgeon has to inflict pain to heal, God may need to amputate some limbs of the Church so that the Body of Christ can survive. Let us not grow complacent about the state of our national branch of the Church, assuming that it will never fail. While the Church will always be present somewhere on Earth — for Christ himself promised it — there are no guarantees that it will survive in every location where it currently has a presence. We could be part of the amputation if we don’t shape up.