The Destruction of Herod’s Temple

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bar_kochba_coin1

The picture of the coin is from a historical\archaeological blog I subscribe too. The coin is called a Bar Kockhba coin.

Bar Kockhba led a Jewish revolt against the Romans (reign of Hadrian) in 132-136 A.D. The Romans won and the result was many Jews were disbursed throughout the Roman Empire to lessen the chances of another revolt. The coin is interesting for its messianic and eschatological symbols that include a Star of David and a rebuilt [third] Temple.

The first Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians and he Second Temple also known as Herod’s temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 A.D. during the first Jewish revolt. Thus, by 132 A.D. the Jews were hoping for a messiah to rescue them from the Romans and rebuild what would have been the Third Temple.

In Matthew 24 Jesus foretells the destruction of the Second Temple:

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1-2 ESV)

Model of the Second Temple from wiki

Model of the Second Temple from wiki

It seems that the disciples were curious and possibly distressed a bit by Jesus’ comment. They approach him privately and ask two questions although the second question is of two parts, “what will be the sign of your coming” and “of the end of the age” suggesting that the disciples were making a connection between all three events.

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 ESV)

Scholars have argued about those connections ever since. D.A. Carson, noted New Testament scholar said this in his commentary about Matthew 24:

“Few chapters of the Bible have called forth more disagreement among interpreters than Matthew 24 and its parallels in Mark 13 and Luke 21. The history of the interpretation of this chapter is immensely complex.” D.A. Carson (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, volume 8, page 488).

To render an opinion on all that would require much more space than a blog would allow so I’ll keep my commentary to Jesus’ remarkable prophecy regarding what most scholars do agree on, the destruction of the Second Temple by Titus in 70 A.D.

Herod, also known as Herod the Great because of his architectural achievements began work on the Second Temple in 20 B.C. or so. Work was not totally completed until 64 A.D. Therefore, the temple only stood completed for 6 years before being destroyed by the Romans.

When the disciples asked Jesus about the temple’s destruction it would be approximately 40 years in the future although the main buildings would have been finished when they asked the question.

The occasion for the temple’s destruction was the first major or great Jewish revolt against the Romans (66-73 A.D.). The Bar Kockhba revolt or war was the third major confrontation between Jew and Roman (132-135 A.D.). The second war was known as the Kotis War of 115-117 A.D. although this war has received much less attention than the other two.

Judea was a powder keg prior to the first war. There had always been religious tensions between the occupiers (Seleucid Greeks and the later Romans) and the occupied. These tensions were often exacerbated by the occupiers such as when the Romans hung Caesar’s image in the temple as was attempted by the mad emperor Caligula (37 A.D to 41 A.D.) who really believed he was a god.

Some Romans on the spot knew better than needlessly offend the Jews and the Caligula crisis was averted but the area still simmered in discontent.

Heavy taxation contributed to the grievances against the Romans.  In fact, the writer of Matthew’s gospel was a tax-collector. Jesus was thought of as being the friend of sinners meaning prostitutes and tax-collectors. Matthew would have been one unpopular fellow for collaborating with the Romans!

Attacks on Roman citizens and their Jewish collaborators like tax collectors were made by Jewish zealots called sicarii because of the knife they used. The zealots took every opportunity to fan the flames of revolt. Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ twelve and the one who famously betrayed him was a zealot. His name “Iscariot” is a corruption of the Latin word “sicarius” meaning assassin or murderer.

By 66 A.D. the Romans were fed up with zealots and assassins and plundered Herod’s Temple in retaliation. In the process they killed over 6000 Jews in typical Roman fashion. That led to full scale rebellion and the Romans had to send a full legion plus auxiliaries from Syria to stamp the revolt out. This force was soundly defeated by an aroused population led by the zealots. The legion’s eagle was lost and thus a major disgrace for the Romans.

Sicarii knife. Sicarri means "dagger men," Jewish zealots or dagger men engaged in the assassination of Roman citizens and Jewish collaborators.

Sicarii knife. Sicarri means “dagger men,” Jewish zealots or dagger men engaged in the assassination of Roman citizens and Jewish collaborators.

The Romans of this time period never accepted defeat and they soon brought in more legions. The new force was  commanded by Roman General Vespasian. Vespasian would become the emperor who would build the famous coliseum partly financed with the treasures taken from the destruction of the temple.

Vespasian fought a thoughtful, costly and slow campaign to subdue the rebels but by 69 A.D. he had been called away from the campaign to fight in yet another Roman Civil War in what became known as the year of four emperors. He would emerge victorious and become emperor. His son Titus was left in command of the legions and he would begin to besiege the center of resistance in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Stone relief celebrating Titus's Triumph in taking Jerusalem. A Menorah can clearly be seen among the treasures looted.

Stone relief celebrating Titus’s Triumph in taking Jerusalem. A Menorah can clearly be seen among the treasures looted.

The siege took a full seven months. The temple was torn down (the stones being thrown down that Jesus referred to) as well as Jerusalem’s walls. Most of the survivors were sold into slavery. The war went on until 73 A.D. when the Fortress of Masada fell, it’s defenders choosing suicide over slavery.

Roman denarius with Titus on one side and the commemoration of his triumph over Jerusalem on the other.

Roman denarius with Titus on one side and the commemoration of his triumph over Jerusalem on the other.

As noted above with the Bar Kockhba coin by 132 A.D. the Jews were expecting yet another political messiah to drive out the Romans and rebuild the temple. Some Christians today believe that a rebuilt temple is necessary before Jesus returns. They believe that modern Israel will accomplish the task even though a Moslem mosque sits on the temple mount. For many Christians a third temple holds much significance just as it would for many religious Jews. The region is no less volatile than it was in the days of Jesus and Titus.

It seems to me from a reading of Matthew 24 that the disciple’s expectations were that all three events would be fulfilled in relatively short order believing that Jesus was the political messiah that everyone thought would throw off the Roman yoke.

Jesus’ answers which are long indicate otherwise. Instead Jesus predicts a near present fulfillment (the destruction of the temple) and a future fulfillment of the end of an age and a reference to his second coming. Jesus’ answer was no doubt confusing to the disciples who maintained preconceived notions like many of their countrymen.

John 2:13-22 sheds some additional light on the issue.

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:13-22 ESV)

In this rather straight forward account Jesus makes reference to the temple as his Father’s house. He is angry about the money changers and turns over their tables.. His disciples viewing the incident do some remembering that Jesus is consumed by zeal for his Father’s house.

The Jews react to Jesus’ actions and words and ask for a sign (of authority). Jesus answers, “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews misunderstand the “this” and assume he means Herod’s Temple. He does not mean Herod’s Temple.

At the time the disciples don’t understand but in verses 21-22 John says the “this” was Jesus’ body and that when Jesus was raised from the dead they believed the Scripture having remembered what Jesus had said. In other words the disciples do not totally get the prophecy until Jesus rises from the dead. They then remember what he has said about temples and himself being The Temple that would save people from their sins.

Today many professing Christians do not look at the Bible as being reliable or they think it is outdated. Yet, fulfilled prophecy is hard to explain away when taken seriously by an objective person.

Matthew 24 is a fascinating study in fulfilled prophecy and the fulfillment of later prophecies.

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Christmas Thoughts on Aging and Future Glory

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I remember my 40th birthday some 20 years ago. I was moping to be honest.

It was my last full year of playing\managing a soft ball team that I loved to do. The league we played in disbanded because the grounds were being turned over to soccer of all things. It was time to disband I guess.

But the other issue was my declining physical condition. I had always had trouble with both feet do to a congenital condition which even by 1993 had limited my abilities to play ball.

Had to hang up the spikes a long time ago.

Had to hang up the spikes a long time ago.

I remember turning 40 and being somewhat down realizing that the “writing on the wall” was in evidence and I was no longer a young man and having  some physical limitations was becoming an increasing reality.

Fast forward 20 years.

I’m now in ministry and as a job it’s a blessing for a lot of reasons but one is it’s fairly easy on my legs and feet. But having said that I am more aware than ever that all things being equal I’ve got maybe another 20 years before eternity.

That’s another 20 years of declining health. In fact as I write this I’m laid up with a bad knee that has osteo arthritis and probably a ligament tear. To top it off we’re in the middle of a major snowstorm and I have to reply on my son to come over and dig us out. It’s discouraging and it hurts my pride  to reply on others to do what I usually do when it snows.

We've seen worse but visibility was terrible near the lake.

We’ve seen worse but visibility was terrible near the lake.

I’m not whining mind you and I’m perfectly aware we have friends much worse off than we. Some have cancer and others have multiple problems that seem to be stacking up. Aging it seems is an equal opportunity employer and sooner or  later it catches us with everyone.

How is a Christian to view these things? What prevents the dark cloud of discouragement when one’s body no longer obeys?

I think there are many scriptural truths that apply, way too many for a blog post, but one that comes to mind is this one:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. [19] For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. [20] For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope [21] that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. [23] And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. [24] For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? [25] But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:18-25 ESV)

I can identify with the groaning because I am groaning as part of the creation. But the question that comes to mind is what am I groaning about?

The easy answer is I’m groaning about my limitations and the associated pain. It’s not whining, just groaning because it hurts and it hurts to have to rely on others to do things I used to be able to do. And that’s fine and normal as far as it goes. It really only becomes a problem when we drift into self-pity because that’s like telling God “how could you let this happen to me” or ” “I don’t deserve this so my bitterness is justified.”

While I may be tempted toward those attitudes I have to consider what the Scripture says instead. Note what Paul says in verse 23.

He says we groan inwardly as we await the completion of Christ’s redemptive work in our bodies!

Now this is something quite different from just sitting around and groaning about aches and pains and limitations and slipping into bitterness and self-pity. This is a groaning of a different sort. It’s groaning because it seems the wait for the redemption of our bodies is just a bit too long and we are eager for it to happen.

This is a supernatural thought. On the surface it seems to be wishing for death and a release from the physical pains and while death does bring that release the verse promises much more than a release. It promises an actual redemption of the body, that is, a new body, that is free from corruption and decay.

In verse 24 Paul says “for in this hope we were saved” and in verse 25 he exhorts us to patience.

My problem is that I think too little on future glory and the redemption of a failing body and too much on present afflictions. That’s easy to do because I’m in the middle of that now and the tendency is to think “well, it’s not going to get any better” and it’s not, even though the doctors might “fix it” a little bit or at least reduce the pain but in the end the body will fall apart-guaranteed!

And that’s why Scripture exhorts us to make a decision to change focus because changing focus gives hope in the midst of suffering. It’s having faith in God’s promise that he will reverse the effects of the fall for those that trust Christ and eagerly await the redemption of our pitiful bodies. It also helps us live one day at a time worrying about today’s troubles today and just doing the best we can with whatever limitations that have been assigned by God.

jesus-birth

The baby born in a manger came to make things right. Yes, he came to redeem those that belong to him but he also came to restore a fallen creation to it’s former state of glory. And that includes a body that is increasingly aware of its limitations.

Thank God for the promise and thank God for Jesus and the hope he provides!

Embarrassed by Noah no More

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English: An etching by Jan Luyken illustrating...

English: An etching by Jan Luyken illustrating Matthew 24:41 in the Bowyer Bible, Bolton, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past Sunday our pastor asked the church if we were embarrassed by the Bible.

He didn’t mean embarrassed by the Bible itself but embarrassed by some of the content.

He cited a talking snake in Genesis, a staff turned into a snake in Exodus and a bush on fire that was not consumed by the fire.

He could have gone on and on citing content from both Testaments that could potentially embarrass a Christian if challenged by someone who did not think the Bible accurate or authoritative.

His question reminded me of a place where I once was.

A Bible-believing Christian had befriended me when I was agnostic. My friend would talk to me about the Bible and my attitude was “certainly you can’t believe all that weird stuff in the Bible.” In particular I would pick on good old Noah and ask my friend how in the world did Noah get all those animals on that boat?

Yes, I was pulling his chain and I thought myself quite clever trying to get him to defend what I saw as a rather silly myth.

The people mocking Noah as he predicts a flood.

The people mocking Noah as he predicts a flood.

Now, I had played this game with him before and he had purchased for me a book titled, “100 Questions Skeptics Ask” or something like that. But instead of referring me to the book (which I had not read at that point) he asked me this:

“Bruce, the more important question is what will you do with Jesus, not what do you think about Noah and the Ark?”

My friend’s statement forced me to consider C.S. Lewis’ three possibilities. Lewis said there were only three possibilities. Jesus is either Lord, a Liar or a Lunatic. Which is it?

2_cs_lewis_quotes_on_faith.S

While I claimed to be an agnostic I wasn’t quite prepared to call Jesus either a liar or a lunatic so I said nothing. Noting my silence my friend referred me to Matthew 24. The speaker is Jesus:

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
(Matthew 24:36-39 ESV)

Apparently Jesus thought Noah a real person with a real ark. He uses the conditions in Genesis to predict what it will look like when he returns at the end of the age.

I know something now that I didn’t know then. The fact that I could not call Jesus a lunatic or liar was not because “I was figuring it out.” I could not call him a liar or lunatic because the Lord was cultivating my heart to believe. My smart alecky question to my friend became the Lord’s vehicle to give me a glance into my heart-a heart that needed to consider the claims of Christ in a serious manner.

My friend had it right. Was there a talking snake, a bush on fire that would not burn or a staff that turned into a snake? Those are not unimportant questions but the real issue is what does a person do with Jesus?

For Traditional Marriage? You are “an enemy of the human race.”

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This is a link to my pastor’s thoughts on the DOMA decision that was handed down by SCOTUS today. I recommend the article and the blog.

I agree with him especially in regards to the comments that illustrate that this decision is no worse than other SCOTUS decisions (like Roe v Wade) or others decisions regarding immigration, the Marxist nanny state and so forth. We’re on a rocket sled of bad, anti-Constitution decisions with no end in sight!

I think of Jesus’ words that he said to Pilate when he said his kingdom was not of this world. For the Christian either is ours in the ultimate, eternal sense. But, on the other hand, we still have live in this kingdom. This link from the Gospel Coalition explains the good news and bad news affecting the church about the SCOTUS DOMA decision.

My pastor (and the Gospel Coalition) is further correct in saying the gospel will still go forth even if American Christians are persecuted, a likely eventuality in my opinion. Here’s why:

Here’s another link of interest from Fox News that details Judge Scalia’s dissenting opinion.

Scalia accuses the Supreme Court majority (the decision was 5-4) of high-handedness because the majority have accused proponents of straight marriage “enemies of the human race.”

So much for liberal/progressive diversity. If you disagree with a liberal/progressive about gay marriage and your own preference is a traditional marriage between one man and one woman you must be “an enemy of the human race.” It’s one thing for the ordinary, whacked out statist liberal\progressive to utter such nonsense and quite another for the SCOTUS to say so, either directly or indirectly. That is scary and it’s probably meant to be scary.

The next step will be ship all these “enemies of the human race” to the re-education camp or similar gulag where they will have the opportunity to see the light, or not.

If not, then maybe something more akin to Hitler’s Final Solution is in store for “enemies of the human race.”

Far-fetched? I think not. From time to time the ancient, pagan Romans declared Christians to be enemies of the state and bloody persecutions followed.

This is no surprise and Jesus said the world would hate Christians because the world hated him first. What is surprising to me at least, is that I never would have thought this country would slide that far down the rat hole and at the same time persecute those who do not want to go along for the ride.

Well done SCOTUS betrayers of the Constitution.

If you think elections don’t have consequences, think again.

The Legend of Longinus

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Longinus. Who was Longinus?

Tradition holds that the Roman Centurion who commanded the Roman soldiers at Christ’s crucifixion was named Longinus. Longinus is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

English: Centurion (Roman army) historical ree...

English: Centurion (Roman army) historical reenactment Boulogne sur mer (France). Français : Centurion (armée Romaine) Reconstitution historique à Boulogne sur Mer en France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No one knows for sure what the Centurion’s name was since the gospels do not name him. For my purposes I will refer to the unnamed Centurion as Longinus because I do not have a good reason not to!

What is known about Longinus is what he said at the crucifixion:

When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54 ESV) (Also Mark 15:39)

James_Tissot_The_Confession_of_Longinus_400

Luke’s Gospel says this about Longinus:

Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” (Luke 23:47 ESV)

Over the centuries there has been much debate, not so much about the Centurion’s name but about the meaning of his words.

Some believe that since Longinus was a gentile (anyone not a Jew) that his words did not mean what plainly has been recorded. What is argued is this; the Hebrews had the notion of one God while the Romans worshiped many. From this observation some conclude Longinus meant that Jesus was a son of one of the gods. They would further argue that the gospel writers (Matthew and Mark) spun Longinus’ words to fit within their own Hebrew culture to say “the Son of God.” I am not certain what they do with Longinus’ words in Luke that declare Jesus’ innocence.

Church tradition on the other hand accepts Longinus’ words at face value to mean what they say. The painting on the left illustrates the scene and titles it, “The Confession of Longinus” meaning that Longinus truly recognized Jesus as the Son of God and is confessing his belief.

It should be remembered that as a Roman Officer Longinus would have been in close proximity to Pilate and all the events leading up to Pilate ordering him to be in charge of the legionnaires who would crucify Jesus and the two thieves. I believe he would have understood why Jesus was being crucified just as he was aware that Pilate seemed reluctant to crucify Jesus since Jesus had committed no crime against Rome and simply went along with the crowd who were on the verge of rioting. (See Matthew 27)

There really is no reason to doubt that Longinus and the soldiers with him were struck with awe (or fear) and at the moment of Jesus’ death recognized him for exactly who he said he was, the Son of God.

This is not merely an academic exercise to determine who might be right or who might be wrong about the meaning of Longinus’ words. Longinus’ words have eternal consequences if one accepts them at face value or not.

If God can open the eyes of a hard-bitten Roman Centurion to truth the he certainly can open anyone’s eyes to the same truth.

“Buy a Sword” said Jesus

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In Rick Atkinson’s excellent work on the American Army titled An Army at Dawn-The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 he recounts how the newly arrived American soldiers had trouble hating their German and Italian enemies and thus shooting at them.

The American Army's baptism of fire in the North African Campaign began in February, 1943 when Rommel attacked at Kasserine Pass. The inexperienced Americans were routed but soon found out how to fight back. Here American soldiers inspect a knocked out German Pz. III tank.

The American Army’s baptism of fire in the North African Campaign began in February, 1943 when Rommel attacked at Kasserine Pass. The inexperienced Americans were routed but soon found out how to fight back. Here American soldiers inspect a knocked out German Pz. III tank.

The American soldiers collective attitude seemed to be one of “what did those guys ever do to me” along with the aversion to taking a life in general. Since the vast bulk of our soldiers came from a Christianized background they also would have been exposed to the commandment “thou shalt not kill” thus wondering how killing in a war could be reconciled with the apparent absoluteness of the commandment.

After the Americans began to take fire and suffer casualties their aversion to killing began to disappear as war became suddenly very personal and “kill or be killed” became the new normal.

Theologically speaking, men, all men, are natural-born sinners, but that does not mean all men are natural-born killers. Most of us have to have an obvious reason to kill. Self-defense and self-preservation quickly rise to the top of pretty good reasons.

I was reminded of the tension some soldiers might feel this morning as I read a column by Dennis Prager of Townhall.com.

In the column Prager makes reference to an opinion piece in the Washington Post by a former Marine Captain who titled the opinion piece “I killed people in Afghanistan. Was I right or wrong.”

Prager notes that the Marine Captain, now a student at New York University is morally confused having difficulty reconciling the notion that “killing is always wrong” but the exception seems to be “this is war, so it’s okay.” The Marine Captain concludes that he was wrong to kill in the Afghan War.

As a pastoral counselor I am keenly aware of the variety of factors that can influence a person’s thinking and contribute to their belief system.

For example, one of the best known examples is the idea that a child that who has a poor example of a father generally has a hard time relating to God the Father. The influence of what Scripture has to say about God the Father can change that but the transition can be difficult because the child carries baggage from his or her experiences with an earthly father.

The Marine Captain now firmly ensconced in the leftist university system is being influenced by a leftist, pacifistic mindset and agenda that is quite good at guilt manipulation just as it is fundamentally anti-military. One has to only think back to the sixties and seventies when it was quite common for our military to be branded as baby killers and murderers as they returned from the Vietnam War. The same people who hurled epithets like that then now control the bulk of our universities.

Prager points out, rightly in my opinion, that the Marine Captain’s thinking is counter-intuitive. Like our soldiers in WW2 who really did not want to kill they quickly learned there was a righteous self-defense aspect to fighting the Germans and Italians in North Africa as well as understanding that fascism had to be stopped and people would die to stop it.

Most children and their parents intuitively understand this and have to work hard to dismiss the notion that when you are attacked you must defend yourself (or die, or get beat up, or robbed.) Most also intuitively understand or understood there is a way of life worth defending and sometimes that means taking on modern-day Islamic-Fascists who blow themselves and others in suicide bombings up, maim women and children and in general behave in the most barbarous ways imaginable.

For the Christian we have to be more concerned with what the Scripture says about these things rather than what the leftist universities say. For example, I believe that Jesus supports the idea of self-defense in the following passage:

He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:36-38 ESV)

There is a spiritualized interpretation of the passage that turns the sword into a metaphorical sword to emphasize the spiritual warfare the disciples will be engaged in. Those that hold to this view cite the fact that when Jesus was arrested he told Peter to sheath his sword (after he loped off the ear of a guy named Malchus, John 18:10).

Others, including myself argue that the sword is as literal as the moneybag and knapsack and that when Jesus told Peter to put up his sword it was because the Scripture needed to be fulfilled and not because Jesus did not believe in self-defense. I mean really, if Jesus was against swords then why he didn’t tell the disciples to not even have one strapped on”

I am not certain if the Marine Captain was or is even aware of the passage or its correct interpretation. Prager though does believe that Marine Captain was aware of the above mentioned commandment (Ex. 20:13), “Thou shalt not kill.”

What the Marine Captain certainly does not know is that “thou shalt not kill” should have been rendered “thou shalt not commit murder.” Prager notes that in Hebrew there are two primary words for homicide, kill and murder. The translators of the King James Bible simply chose kill over murder. More modern translations such as English Standard Version render the verse like this:

“You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13 ESV)

The former Marine Captain, now a student and product of the leftist American University system may very well be typical of many soldiers. When a person goes to war against a monstrous enemy such as the Taliban it does require a certain recalibration of one’s moral values and if one does not have something solid like a sound theology to recalibrate upon one is at the mercy of other agenda driven influences.

Prager concludes that Marine Corps should explain to Marines (especially Marine officers) that the Bible does not prohibit the killing of Taliban monsters and that in fact it is a moral good to do so.

I have no idea what Marine Corps training consists of but can tell you that way back in 1971 during my brief stay in the Army I never once heard any reference to the Bible and the moral justification for war or self-defense. Back then it was probably assumed that like in WW2 American soldiers had something of a background that would suggest it is necessary to defend oneself and defeat the enemies of one’s country who were trying to kill you.

That the Marine Corps would have a need to state what was once so obvious is another indication of our far we have slid into moral confusion as a nation.

Now Secretary of Defense John Kerry in a picture with Jane Fonda. Kerry was and is among those who would characterize the American military as baby killers. Ironic given the left;s abortion at any time advocacy.

Now Secretary of Defense John Kerry in a picture with Jane Fonda. Kerry was and is among those who would characterize the American military as baby killers. Ironic given the left’s abortion at any time advocacy.

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