Last Monday, I was writing from Jerusalem – just outside the walls of the Old City, about 200 yards from the Jaffa Gate.
Our contingent of collaborators – drawn from our national contacts in The Master’s Program and The Barnabas Group – were amazing. Three dozen Kingdom leaders – most were marketplace players whose Calling is now operative as their driving force, alongside their continuing career involvement – who had the chance of a lifetime. How so?
The reality of (eternal) life is a game changer. When you take the Bible at face value, your perspective undergoes a profound shift. People who live strategically – leaders – think in terms of a time horizon that is different than that assumed by the majority. Most people – managers and followers – live in short blasts that are inherently tactical; they never orchestrate their life to play beyond the visible short-term. Proof: most Americans have made no credible provision for life beyond their active years of employment (retirement). They live in a virtual day-to-day delusion, assuming that things in the future are beyond their conception or control. When the inevitable future arrives, they’ll be unprepared…
In Israel, we were exposed to the current circumstances, but we were viewing them against the backdrop of a rock-solid knowledge of a future that the Scriptures portray with certainty. What did we discover after 10 days on-the-ground on the front lines that are almost constantly in the headlines?
Some conflicts cannot be resolved. This week, hopeful people in America are asking what it would take for Capitalist Conservatives and Socialist Democrats to find common ground and work together. The same yearning is expressed by those who call for a Two State Solution that would bring the Palestinians and Jews into a peaceful coexistence. The clash has a 4000-year history; the origins are as old as Ishmael and Isaac – sons of Abraham, through whom 12 Arab tribes and 12 Jewish tribes were sired – and will never be reconciled at a bargaining table. Israel has accommodated Palestinians within their nation with significant rights and protections; the Muslim world has, for the most part, called for the eradication of the Jews and the Nation of Israel. Irreconcilable differences…
The Tomb is still empty. Last week, we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where tradition – and the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Roman Catholic institutions (along with some lesser Orthodox minor partners) – maintain an edifice said to be built on the sites of Jesus’ crucifixion and his brief burial. That building is a place of tribal warfare between those disparate sects, and a tourist target that makes the shops in the Arab Quarter of the City feel like a Christian Science Reading Room.
We finished our journey at the Garden Tomb. The site was unearthed 150 years ago, and it fits the biblical accounts (not the source document for the conflicted shrine in the City). Joseph of Arimathea was the 1st Century version of Air BNB: he allowed Jesus to crash for the weekend at his place in the cemetery. You’ve seen pictures; it’s a surreal experience to stand inside that hewn cave and to see the place where the body of the Savior was probably reanimated – from death to life – and from which the Victory over sin was declared in power and magnificence.
Contemporary scientists look to the future and prophesy the destruction of Earth’s ecosystem and the need to find a new home for humanity elsewhere in the solar system. Christian Bible teachers look to the future and accept the declaration of the Creator: His Son is coming back – landing on the Mount of Olives – to establish His everlasting Kingdom of Righteousness. When?
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” (Revelation 22:12).