The 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz begins a special season for the Jewish faith (Israel) to which we, as believers in Christ, have been grafted in (Romans 11). The fast of the 17th of Tammuz, (Shivah Asar B’Tammuz), is the beginning of a three-week season of mourning that commemorates the destruction of Jerusalem and the First and Second Temples.
A 21-day period of teshuvah (repentance) is called Bein haMetzarim. This is translated “between the straits” (between the days of distress), or The Three Weeks. This twenty-one day period of mourning and fasting begins with the 17th of Tammuz and ends with the 9th of Av.
During this period, the Orthodox will limit celebrations and enter into a more solemn season of prayer. This solemn rite is not without hope. Zechariah 8:19 prophesied an outbreak of joy and hope…
“Thus says the Lord of hosts:
The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’
This season is especially remembered because of the destruction of the First Jewish Temple (Solomon’s Temple) in 586 BC by the Babylonians, and the destruction of the Second Temple (built by Ezra and Nehemiah) by Titus and the Romans in 70 AD. Both events occurred on the 9th of Av, nearly 655 years apart. But the 9th of Av holds other significance in the life of the Jewish people. Other historic events of significance are associated with this day…
Rabbinic tradition says (Mishnah Taanit 4:6) that ten of the twelve spies sent into the Promised Land (all but Joshua and Caleb) brought back a negative report on the Promised Land (Numbers 13), and the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness ensued . The night the people cried out in unbelief marks the first 9th of Av becoming a day of mourning for all time.
Following the destruction of the Second Temple, the Romans subsequently crushed Bar Kokhba’s revolt, destroying the city of Betar and killing over half-a-million Jewish civilians (approximately 580,000). This took place on 9th of Av, 135 AD. Following the revolt, Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Temple in Jerusalem, along with the surrounding area.
In 1096, at the decree of Pope Urban II, the First Crusade commenced, unleashing anti-Semitic fever across Europe resulting in 10,000 Jews killed the first month in France and the Rhineland.
Jews expelled from England… 1290.
Jews expelled from France… 1306.
Jews expelled from Spain… 1492.
Germany entered World War I… 1914. Most historians also believe that the events surrounding the end of World War I led directly to World War II and the Holocaust, wiping out nearly 1/3 of the earth’s Jewish population.
Nazi SS Commander Heinrich Himmler received approval from Adolph Hitler for “The Final Solution” resulting in the Holocaust… 1941.
The deportation of Polish Jews by Hitler… 1942.
… and I could go on.
Yet it was this season when they expected
the coming of Sar Shalom… the Prince of Peace!
I am praying in these days, as we move toward the 9th of Av (sunset July 31st through nightfall August 1st) that Jesus the Prince of Peace would protect Israel and His Church, and that soon He would come.
A few weeks ago, there was a segment on the news where a dozen people were offered – for free – a Hershey chocolate bar or a ten ounce bar of silver. All of them took the candy. The candy bar was worth a dollar or two. The silver bar was worth $142.00 at spot prices on that day. People did not know the value of what was before them. There is a segment on the TV show The O’Reilly Factor (with Bill O’Reilly) called Watters’ World. In this segment, Jesse Watters asks people on the street simple questions about current events, history, and politics. Although often humorous, it is sad that people are so ill informed about this great country in which they live, and — not just our history — but current events as well.
I have just finished extensive research on a number of issues affecting the future of our civilization and culture…issues like abortion, homosexual lifestyle and marriage, global warming, freedom of religion, governmental cover ups , hidden political agendas, the influence of secret societies , the threat of Islamic terror, and Israel’s right to exist. What has blown me away is that even when presented with irrefutable facts and credible evidence, people STILL believe propaganda, Internet hoaxes, and deceptive talking points. As Isaiah has said, “Truth has fallen in the streets“.
Now we have a socialist being supported by the majority of college students and young adults in the presidential election. We have people worried about transgender bathrooms and the news media making it a big story, while ignoring the slaughter of 250 Christian women and girls in Mosul, a 16 year old beaten to death in an American high school, wild and godless gangs making our cities killing fields, the influx of Islamic radicals, the silencing of a middle school choir singing our National Anthem near the 9/11 memorial, and the continued murder of the unborn through abortion.
As darkness falls on our nation, we are choosing the temporary over the eternal, the trivial over the important, and evil over good. Even ministers and church folk are drinking the “Kool-aid” of ignorance.
While Russia was falling to the Bolsheviks, the Russian church was discussing the trim on their vestments. While our society plunges deeper and deeper into depravity and destruction, the church is busy splitting hairs over worship styles, the color of hymnbooks, and any number of peripheral issues that matter not one iota in the grand scheme of eternity. This is a critical year for Western civilization and our Judeo-Christian heritage, and we in the church of Jesus Christ need to recognize these perilous times for exactly what they are.
Several years ago, I was in Germany where we visited the Dachau Concentration Camp. Our host was telling us the story of when the camp was liberated by the Allies in April of 1945. When the liberating force confronted the citizens in the surrounding area about the horrific camp, the people claimed ignorance. “We didn’t know” was their excuse.
The commander of the Allied company pointed to the ash in the air and the smell of burnt human corpses emanating from the ovens that had been burning the bodies of the deceased…
“How could you NOT know?” was his alleged response.
So, I ask the same question… How can we NOT know? How can we not see the truth in front of our eyes? How can we continue to ignore the desperation of the times in which we live? How can we not see the writing on the wall, holding us accountable for our silence while our society slips further into the abyss? We will one day stand before a Holy God and, when asked about all of the souls we allowed to pass into a godless eternity, “We didn’t know” will not be an adequate response.
To hold to the truth of scripture is to be called a bigot. To have a problem with a grown man sharing a bathroom with a young girl is being “intolerant”. To demand that our leaders protect our borders is being “racist”. We are living to see our culture “calling good evil and evil good…” God issued a warning of “woe” to come on such. The worst of it is the awful silence in the contemporary pulpit — the failure to warn the nation. I for one will inform the uninformed, call sin by its proper name, and declare that people need to be saved. I will stand by the truth that the church cannot embrace the lies of culture and remain authentic. We must bear the scandal of the cross and refuse to be silent in the face of evil. We must care enough to speak the truth regardless of how we may be labelled — bigot, homophobe, racist, intolerant. Satan and his forces are stalking our families and communities. It is time to stop letting a liberal culture and media define us for simply believing in something and Someone. It’s time to stop being afraid of “ugly names” and start fearing for the souls of lost men and women heading into a hopeless eternity.
It is PAST time for the Church to rise up with the Word of Truth and go to war against ”the lie”.
Recently at our church, our young people performed the great musical The Sound of Music. It is the classic story of the von Trapp family’s escape from Nazism in Austria after Germany usurped Austria into the German empire in 1938 — an event known as the Anschluss.
One of the by-products of doing this timeless musical was the opportunity to teach our children a little bit of history about World War II and the Nazi regime…
A history many in our nation have obviously forgotten.
The National Socialist German Worker’sParty (ie: the Nazi Party) rose to power following Germany’s defeat in World War I. The Nazis played upon the discontent of the people in attacking big business and capitalism, and used class-warfare as a tool to further its popularity by establishing a culture of entitlement and ideological superiority. Racism was also a key element in the spread of this toxic ideology, and resulted in the Holocaust… the death of six million Jews.
Socialist… Sound familiar?
For the first time in our nation’s history, we not only have candidates who are promoting socialist beliefs, but have an openly socialist candidate running for the highest office in the land.
Have we become so short-sighted that we won’t heed the hard-fought lessons we have learned in the last 80 years? Has our education system become such a cesspool of ideologues and history revisionists that our children are being brainwashed into believing that socialism is the answer to all of the problems that ail us as a nation? Oh sure… socialism has its appeal — after all, who doesn’t like FREE STUFF???
The problem is that nothing — N O T H I N G — is free. Even “free” stuff is costing someone, somewhere.
Take education for example. One of the mantras we are hearing is for “free education/free college”. Well, if college becomes free, one would have to assume that all of those things it takes to keep the doors open — lights, heat, electricity, etc. — are all going to be free as well.
And how about those salaries? If we are going to offer free college, would it not be reasonable to assume that all of the college faculties will be doing their jobs gratis? That means janitors, security, administration, and yes… professors. So, all of these (mostly highly) trained and educated people are going to put in their 40+ hours per week with no paycheck to show for it? Sure, there are those states where some college is being offered for “free” (TN being one that offers 2 years of community college for “free”). However, “free” is still not free… it ultimately comes at the expense of the taxpayer.
The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.
~ Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The Bible has a lot to say about work and a good work ethic. From Genesis to the writings of the apostles, hard work is considered admirable and Godly. Looks at what Solomon had to say in Proverbs…
All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty.
~ Proverbs 14:23-24
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.
He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
~ Proverbs 10:4-5
The Apostle Paul was pretty direct in his instructions to the Thessalonians…
While we were with you, we gave you the order: “Whoever doesn’t want to work shouldn’t be allowed to eat.” We hear that some people in your group refuse to work. They are doing nothing except being busy in the lives of others. Our instruction to them is to stop bothering others, to start working and earn their own food. It is by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ that we are urging them to do this.
~ 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12
Yet in spite of these warnings, I hear candidates running on a platform that constantly blames the ills of the poor on the rich, and stirs up not just class warfare, but ties it to racial division as well. The idea that penalizing someone who has worked hard in order to subsidize the lazy completely takes away from the incentive to work hard and do well. Why would I want to work hard to be a success if someone is just going to take away my hard-earned income and give it to someone who has not worked for it? It is absurd to believe that when you rob from the rich it is going to somehow benefit the poor in the long term.
The further we run as a society from the teachings and statutes of the Bible, the further and faster we run toward our own destruction. Although seeming to tolerate Christianity initially, the Nazis moved rapidly to quell the voice of the Christian church, while at the same time forming an unholy alliance with Islam. Martin Bormann, Hitler’s personal secretary, once admitted, “National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable“. We are seeing the dark specters of this type of ideology taking hold in our nation, with Christians being put on trial for their beliefs and convictions, while Islam is given a pass and a warm embrace by those in the corridors of power.
In the end, however, it’s quite simple: One cannot forsake the teachings and statutes of the One who established human civilization without severe consequences.
“God has been very good to us. One of the reasons God has been
good to us is that we have done him honor. ~ Justice Antonin Scalia
Although we are a nation founded upon Christian principles, secularists in our society have been trying desperately to take America to the point that we are decidedly “post-Christian”. With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia last weekend, the political stakes for the soul of our nation have been raised to a perilous level. The wrong person being appointed to the Court would send us into an abyss of unconstitutional decisions and legislation from which we might never recover. For as Justice Scalia observed…
“That’s the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: ‘The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break.’
But you would have to be an idiot to believe that.
The Constitution is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn’t say other things… As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to ‘do what the people want,’ instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically.”
We need a transformation in our country. What is happening societally and politically right now should be driving us to our knees in prayer. The consequences of going further down the rabbit-hole of unGodliness, secularization, and socialism should drive every person who loves this country, and what it stands for, to the ballot box. We have come so far from the horrors of the socialism and subsequent fascism of Nazi Germany, as well as the fear of “The Evil Empire” of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) and the Cold War. I lived through it. I remember the rhetoric and threats. I remember climbing under our school desks during air-raid drills. I remember the nuclear saber-rattling. I remember the images that the words “nuclear holocaust” invoked.
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” ~ Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels was the Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda under Adolph Hitler. As head of the Nazi propaganda machine, Goebbels understood that words carry weight, and that if you keep a narrative in front of the public long enough — regardless of how flawed or seemingly absurd — eventually people will become desensitized to it, and believe the lie.
“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” ~ Joseph Goebbels
Still reeling from the economic hardship that was a result of German’s defeat in World War I, when the stock market crashed in 1929, Germany was one of the hardest-hit nations in the world. Hitler, who had already come to be known as a not terribly significant figure on the public stage, began to emerge as a more serious political contender. In March of 1932, he lost the national election. However, less than a year later, he was made Chancellor of Germany as the result of having a Nazi majority in the Reichstag (German parliament). About two weeks later, the Reichstag building burned, and the arson was blamed on the Communist Party. Through fear and manipulation, a month later, Hitler was given dictatorial power. Over the next two years, Hitler began to lay the groundwork of eliminating his enemies, and going after the Jewish population of Germany. At the Nuremberg rally in 1934, the movie Triumph of the Will was produced, showing a glorious and revived Germany — patriotic and unified. At the same rally a year later, Hitler addressed “the Jewish problem”, and anti-Semitic laws began to be enacted.
Yet, in spite of this, in the summer of 1936, the world showed up in Berlin for the Olympic games, and were enchanted by the glory and graciousness of the people of Germany.
“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” ~ Joseph Goebbels
So how could the rest of world be so duped by one nation? How could the world community be so fooled by the Nazis? How is it that, in January of 1939, Adolph Hitler was named Time Magazine’s Man-of-the-Year for 1938?
Having won multiple film awards throughout Europe, by 1935, Triumph of the Will was required viewing in German schools. Through groups like the “Hitler Youth” and “Hitler Maidens“, young children and teenagers were being indoctrinated into an ideology that put loyalty to the Führer above all. No opposition would be tolerated.
“Intellectual activity is a danger to the building of character.” ~ Joseph Goebbels
We know from history the end result: World War II, the Holocaust, millions of lives lost, the eventual collapse and defeat of Germany.
However, what you may not know is that at no point did the Nazis ever capture more than 37% of the popular vote.
So why did the German people turn the leadership of their nation over to a madman like Adolph Hitler? In a documentary film shown in the UK Holocaust Centre, then-student Margret Breuer made this observation as to why people voted for Hitler…
“… Because he promised so much! If you are out of work and don’t know how to live, and then someone comes who wants to change everything that is going wrong — and people felt like things were going badly. Otherwise, they wouldn’t even have listened to him.”
The lie is big on promises. The lie feeds on physical, emotional, and economic starvation. Where there are “sheep” suffering, there is usually at least one “wolf” in the crowd, ready to prey on the weak and unsuspecting. Once Hitler had a few who would listen, the lie began. Once he had a group of followers who bought into the lie, he had a platform from which to proclaim his message, and gain influence and power. Once he had a seat of power, he could manipulate the media. Once Hitler had control of the media, the lie was blasted from the rooftops, and from every bullhorn, loudspeaker, and radio in Germany.
“So where are you going with this, Pastor?” you might ask.
Last week, I blogged about the spirit of Jezebel. I talked about the fact that, although Jezebel has been dead and gone for centuries, the demonic influence that bears her name is alive and well. Likewise, I believe that the spirit of deception that was operating in Nazi Germany is alive and well, and evident in our country and world today…
Why are we seeing a resurgence in open and overt anti-Semitism in the world today?
Why is it that American Millennials believe that 40% of the U.S. population is LGBT?
Why is it that a conservative’s character can be unjustly assassinated in the media, while a liberal who is caught dead-to-rights knee-deep in scandal is given a pass by the same media?
How can it be that a celebrity can be hailed as a hero for “coming out”, while true heroes who have sacrificed life and limb are passed over for recognition?
Why does our government trivialize the threat of radical Islam in our own country while we watch Christians being slaughtered en masse around the world by barbarians such as ISIS?
As I said at the beginning, this is part 1 of a 2-part blog. At this time next week, we’re going to dive into some tough questions, and find the answers that will help you and I cut through the propaganda, and walk in truth and freedom.
The old ’60’s television comedy Hogan’s Heroes takes on a very serious subject, World War II and the Nazi regime, but it puts a somewhat humorous face on it. One of the most ironic things about the show was the casting of the characters. Several of the prominent Nazi characters (as well as one Allied POW) were played by actors who were themselves, in fact, Jewish. Werner Klemperer (Colonel Klink), John Banner (Sgt. Schultz), and Howard Caine (Major Hochstetter) were among the Jewish cast members.
Robert Clary (Corporal Louis LeBeau) was a French Jew who survived the Buchenwald camp, but lost 12 of his immediate family members at Auschwitz. Although surviving the horrors of the Holocaust, he signed on to play Corporal LeBeau for the series’ entire run. He went on to travel throughout the U.S. and Canada, speaking on the subject of the Holocaust.
Leon Askin, who played General Burkhalter, was an Austrian Jew who was sent to an internment camp before leaving Europe for America, and actually lost both of his parents to the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Lublin. However, he didn’t allow his past to scare him away from his dreams. In spite of what he went through, he parlayed the hurt and pain from his past into a successful career as a character actor.
Mr. Askin once stated…
The journalists in Vienna and Austria and also in Germany call me a legend. I’m a man who lived through difficult times. I’m a man who survived the monster of all times, Adolf Hitler, and I’m still, at my high old age of 93, successful in my profession and that is the pride with which I live and survive.
Maybe you think your past is keeping you from your dreams.
Maybe the past has you so scared that you’ve lost the ability to see a bright future.
Your loving Heavenly Father can utilize the very things you see as negative to use you in a mighty way for His Kingdom.
Don’t spend your life doing “nnnnnnnnoooo-thing” because you think you are damaged goods in the eyes of God. We serve a God Who makes all things new. He can take those bad memories and awful experiences, and turn them for your good.
Rise up! Make yourself and your past available to Him today!