Nuance. It’s not something that our “global” culture seems to appreciate much anymore. If it indeed ever did. A person has to either be one thing or another, left or right, black or white, red or blue, pro-this or anti-that. To lie somewhere in the middle on a particular spectrum is to invite rejection, ridicule and ravaging from both sides. You essentially have made the world your enemy. I guess I need not remind the readers here what James has to say on the matter: “You adulterers! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is enmity with Yahuah? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself and enemy of Yah.”
Easy enough, right? We are to reject the world. Maybe reject is too strong. Be in, but not of the world. Better. Our Messiah tells us to take heart because He has overcome the world. But most often we find similar or worse conditions among fellow believers. Believe this doctrine or that and you’re hated. You might take comfort in some particular writings, deemed “apocrypha” or “pseudepigrapha” to which you will be scorned by some. But if you simultaneously question or – heaven forbid – reject other writings or officially sanctioned “canonical” books then you are also deemed a Heretic First Class. There can never be any nuance it seems. Black. White. This. That.
One such subject that seems to cause much strife in circles of believers is just what the Book of Revelation is all about and what Yeshua was going on about in the Olivet Discourse. The mere mention that perhaps our Messiah was warning about the impending calamity in 70AD is considered heresy. Preterist! They will spit. Apply the label. You are now an “other”.
The fact that he was making one of the grandest prophecies of all time does not enter the mind of a modern Christian or believer of any stripe. The Deuteronomy 18 test is held in little regard, even amongst many Torah-observant believers. “To the future!” is what is proclaimed. And the future is always now. Your social security number is the Mark of the Beast! Barcode labels are the Mark of the beast! Nano infused tattoo vaccine chips are the Mark of the Beast!
Hearing the arguments for “what must soon take place” and “do not shut up the words of prophecy of this book, for the time is near” and their far future meaning often remind me of Bill Clinton asking what the definition of “is” is during his impeachment hearing.
Wikipedia informs me that on June 8, 2020 protesters set up what is known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone or “CHAZ” in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle. The goal of this zone, supposedly, is to have a decentralized area free of police, rent, community funding of pretty much everything along with releasing all prisoners – especially of color – that have been arrested on drug offenses and for resisting arrest.
After a few days of grandstanding and arguing between their leaders-yet-not-leaders-because-its-a-voluntary-thing, the constituents or citizens(?) of this newly created section of utopia decided wholeheartedly that their endeavor was definitely not to be considered secession. No no no…they were definitely not seceding and therefore not autonomous at all. So the prevailing wisdom has now named the area “CHOP” or Capitol Hill Occupied Protest. Ah. So much better.
This, after not only being denounced by their decidedly communist comrades who are busy pulling down statues of Confederate generals, but also being called “ugly anarchists” by the POTUS and any other sort of name by the cacophony on social media. Apparently secession is the ONE thing you cannot do. The American Civil War decided that once and for all we’re told. Oh the irony of denouncing secession whilst pulling down statues of men who were in favor of secession and breaking from the empire – but that is subject of another paper, I guess.
But speaking of breaking with the empire…
Another quick Wikipedia search reveals that the Jews of the 1st century were decidedly not happy about being part of the Roman Empire. No sir, they were not having it. From roughly 66 to 135 AD or CE or whatever we’re calling it now there were all sorts of revolts and rebellions.
You see, Rome was a different kind of empire. Even though we know they are made of iron, there was also a softer side to that iron in that they allowed their conquered subjects to pretty much continue on with their own culture and religion as long as they got with the program and also allowed Roman culture to fuse with it. Everyone could just be one big, happy, pagan “global” Roman family. This, of course, also meant that Roman legions and garrisons had to set up shop in every major locale and Roman law was layered on top of whatever local law and custom was being observed.
Similarly, in the United States of America Empire Corporation (all rights reserved) post-Civil War, we have a soupy stew of local cultures, laws and customs. Mixed into all this is a blanket “American as apple pie” culture, or at least we told there is. It’s noted. Maybe with a wistful remembrance of the ‘good old days’ or with gritted teeth and little reminders of the micro and macro aggressions that have compounded over 200 plus years. In a land as large and diverse as our empire the propaganda has to be thick and hearty to keep the contracts moving. In this land we have local ordinances to be observed in cities, county rules and ordinances, state statutes and finally federal law straight outta DC. (I purposefully left out HOAs – those are actually THE WORST.)
So, a person today can find themselves completely lawful doing this or that or possessing this or that, but enter a certain city and POW! now you can find yourself inside the local klink because you can’t do or have things in those parts. Smoke marijuana all you want Boulder but don’t even think of driving across I-80 through Nebraska on your way to share with your friends in Illinois. You’ll be sure to find an eager Nebraska State Trooper happy to make your acquaintance and get his 15 minutes of fame on the local news. Likewise, if you find yourself wanting to carry two pounds of polymer and steel you call a Glock on your hip, either under your shirt or out for the world to see, you’re A-OK in Vermont but if you set foot into New York or Massachusetts, look out, cuz you’re about to be in a world of hurt for exercising what is called “Constitutional Carry”.
And speaking of the might-as-well-be-toilet-paper-for-all-the-good-it-does Constitution, that pesky thing says that certain freedom shall not be infringed. But yet, in all 50 States and surrounding Territories of the empire, if you happen to have an unregistered piece of pipe commonly called a “muffler” or “suppressor” then you’d better really watch out because even though States like Kansas have said “come and take it” in their best Gerard Butler 300 Leonidas voice, the friendly boys and girls at the alphabet agency known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and really big fires) or “BATFE” will come and do just that. Sparta! be damned. And you’ll find yourself owing the FedGov 250,000 smackers or spending ten years in Club Fed – or both! The joys. You can almost taste the apple pie it’s so American. And you can almost smell the fuse being lit on the powder keg.
Heading back to the Roman Empire, let’s see what the Roman Propagandist Josephus (as Noel so affectionately coins him) had to say about the “JAZ” or the Jerusalem Autonomous Zone. Or maybe it was the “JOP”, the Jerusalem Occupied Protest. Yeah, let’s go with that.
The Jerusalem Riots of 66 preceded the official start of the war. The seeds of the revolt were actually sown in Caesarea. Interestingly and ironically, some Jews there got mad at some Greeks who were sacrificing birds in front of their synagogue. Rome let it slide and didn’t intervene in any way. In retaliation for their non-action against the Greek sleight, the Jewish Temple Clerks ceased – get this – prayers and sacrifices for the Roman emperor at the Temple. Does any of this sound familiar? Replace “Jew” with “white” and “Greek” with “black” and “Rome” with “the cops”…get the idea?
In Chapter 17 of Book II of “Wars of the Jews” we’re informed that the war against the Romans officially begins. We’re told along the way that the people were in many different sects, there were people from all different nations, social castes ranged from the very poor to the opulently wealthy. There was the natural divide between being a Roman citizen or not. The melting pot of the Empire. And people ready to stir up trouble. Soros’s ancestor was probably funding them:
“And when they had joined to themselves many of the Sicarii…[that was the name for such robbers as had under their bosoms swords called Sicae,] they grew bolder, and carried their undertaking further; insomuch that the king’s soldiers were overpowered by their multitude and boldness; and so they gave way, and were driven out of the upper city by force. The others then set fire to the house of Ananias the high priest, and to the palaces of Agrippa and Bernice; after which they carried the fire to the place where the archives were reposited, and made haste to burn the contracts belonging to their creditors, and thereby to dissolve their obligations for paying their debts; and this was done in order to gain the multitude of those who had been debtors, and that they might persuade the poorer sort to join in their insurrection with safety against the more wealthy…And when they had thus burnt down the nerves of the city, they fell upon their enemies; at which time some of the men of power, and of the high priests, went into the vaults under ground, and concealed themselves, while others fled with the king’s soldiers to the upper palace, and shut the gates immediately; among whom were Ananias the high priest, and the ambassadors that had been sent to Agrippa…But on the next day, which was the fifteenth of the month Lous, [Ab,] they made an assault upon Antonia, and besieged the garrison which was in it two days, and then took the garrison, and slew them, and set the citadel on fire…”
It seems that the quickest way to create an autonomous zone within a city hasn’t changed in almost 2000 years.
We’re informed that The Seattle Police Department East Precinct building was assaulted and abandoned, left to the fledgling CHAZ turned CHOPpers. Meanwhile, Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan declared that the zone is “more like a block party atmosphere…we have block parties and the like in this part of Seattle all the time…there is no threat right now to the public.” Some in the media have likened it to a mini Burning Man festival.
Meanwhile in besieged Jerusalem as the war waged on, and various cities were taken back by the empire in retaliations and counter-retaliations, Jerusalem itself descended into madness and civil strife. Various mobs and gangs controlled the city. They didn’t have to put up fences and barricades of course, the walls of the city already provided them protection from the encroaching Roman legions – and it simultaneously doomed all who were inside.
Picking up in Book V, Chapter 1:
“And now, as the city was engaged in a war on all sides, from these treacherous crowds of wicked men, the people of the city, between them, were like a great body torn in pieces. The aged men and the women were in such distress by their internal calamities, that they wished for the Romans…The citizens themselves were under a terrible consternation and fear; nor had they any opportunity of taking counsel, and of changing their conduct; nor were there any hopes of coming to an agreement with their enemies; nor could such as had a mind flee away; for guards were set at all places, and the heads of the robbers, although they were seditious one against another in other respects, yet did they agree in killing those that were for peace with the Romans, or were suspected of an inclination to desert them, as their common enemies…The noise also of those that were fighting was incessant, both by day and by night; but the lamentations of those that mourned exceeded the other…but being constrained by their fear to conceal their inward passions, they were inwardly tormented, without daring to open their lips in groans. Nor was any regard paid to those that were still alive, by their relations; nor was there any care taken of burial for those that were dead…but for the seditious themselves, they fought against each other, while they trod upon the dead bodies as they lay heaped one upon another…and when they had resolved upon any thing, they executed it without mercy, and omitted no method of torment or of barbarity.”
The point of no return, having been crossed, meant that any who chose to flee could not. Yet if you were stuck in the city, you might meet a worse fate than death. Chapter 10 of Book V tells us that as the siege and internal strife continued, things got continually worse in the JOP.
“It was now a miserable case, and a sight that would justly bring tears into our eyes, how men stood as to their food, while the more powerful had more than enough, and the weaker were lamenting [for want of it.]…for what was otherwise worthy of reverence was in this case despised; insomuch that children pulled the very morsels that their fathers were eating out of their very mouths, and what was still more to be pitied, so did the mothers do as to their infants…but the seditious every where came upon them immediately, and snatched away from them what they had gotten from others; for when they saw any house shut up, this was to them a signal that the people within had gotten some food; whereupon they broke open the doors, and ran in, and took pieces of what they were eating almost up out of their very throats, and this by force: the old men, who held their food fast, were beaten; and if the women hid what they had within their hands, their hair was torn for so doing; nor was there any commiseration shown either to the aged or to the infants, but they lifted up children from the ground as they hung upon the morsels they had gotten, and shook them down upon the floor…They also invented terrible methods of torments to discover where any food was, and they were these to stop up the passages of the privy parts of the miserable wretches, and to drive sharp stakes up their fundaments; and a man was forced to bear what it is terrible even to hear, in order to make him confess that he had but one loaf of bread, or that he might discover a handful of barley-meal that was concealed; and this was done when these tormentors were not themselves hungry; for the thing had been less barbarous had necessity forced them to it; but this was done to keep their madness in exercise, and as making preparation of provisions for themselves for the following days. These men went also to meet those that had crept out of the city by night, as far as the Roman guards, to gather some plants and herbs that grew wild; and when those people thought they had got clear of the enemy, they snatched from them what they had brought with them, even while they had frequently entreated them, and that by calling upon the tremendous name of God, to give them back some part of what they had brought; though these would not give them the least crumb, and they were to be well contented that they were only spoiled, and not slain at the same time.”
Hopefully it won’t come to shoving stakes up peoples’ “fundaments” in order to rat out food in the CHOP. As of this writing the autonomous peoples of the Capitol Hill are satiated by reaching out on Twitter for “vegan meat alternatives” and soy-based food donations. The media proclaimed “warlords” who are now toting the guns abandoned at the East Precinct are fine at the moment with allowing things to continue on as they are. But who knows how long this will last. Maybe they will resort to putting things in places things ought not to be in order to sniff out their next soy milk Frappuccino. Already a “NAZ” is being set up in Nashville, the “CHAZ of the South”. I guess nobody told them yet they need to restyle as “NOP”. Oh well.
Maybe they should call up the aged residents of Freetown Christiana in Copenhagen, Denmark for advice on how this will work out. This slice of Danish autonomy was started way back in 1971 when a group of hippies squatted on an abandoned 19-acre military complex. The free love eventually ended on Pusher Street in 2016 after a 25-year-old man shot and injured three people, two of which were police officers (so much for that autonomy). After this unfortunate incident, the residents proceeded to tear down all the drug stalls. I’m sure that ended all drug trade in Christiana. Freetown continues to be mostly a tourist attraction today, the 2nd most popular in Copenhagen in fact. I’m sure the mayor of Seattle would be thrilled if Capitol Hill could become the 24/7 burning man hotspot tourist attraction of her town. Just as long as all those partaking of the revelries are wearing cloth masks of course.
Meanwhile in the JOP things had gotten so bad that women were taking to eating their babies. Writes Josephus in Book VI chapter 3:
“There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary…She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time…What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. This put the poor woman into a very great passion, and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she cast at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her; but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow…She then attempted a most unnatural thing; and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, “O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us…Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.” As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and eat the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them, and withal uncovered what was left of her son. Hereupon they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight, when she said to them, “This is mine own son, and what hath been done was mine own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself! Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also.” After which those men went out trembling, being never so much affrighted at any thing as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die, and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries.”
To save time and many more lengthy Josephus quotes, in the end, in 70AD or CE or whatever, Titus comes in and even though he wants to save and protect the Temple, in a stroke of what seems like irony but we know is Divine Will, some of his soldiers are enraged with a senseless blood-lust and set fire to the Temple and it burns to the ground. But it doesn’t end there. Later on in the book we are told that the ENTIRE CITY is razed to the ground only excepting 3 towers. Thus our Messiah is vindicated as a true Prophet via the Deuteronomy 18 test. This fact cannot be emphasized enough. Not one stone left upon another indeed.
It is at this point that you might be asking yourself how this all ties together or where is this leading? Good question. Remember we were talking about nuance. And the need for more of it. And when dealing with scripture as well as current events, we need to take the whole word into account. Ecclesiastes 1:9 famously states,
“What has been is what will be, and what has been done will be done again.”
Perhaps when Messiah Yeshua said, “…there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom”, he had a near-future fulfillment in mind as well as a final future fulfillment. When we read the words Messiah in some places and of the Revelation they can be hard to take in. And it makes it even worse when we’re trying to shove those words into a shoe box of pre-conceived notions that we’ve gotten taught by John Nelson Darby or try hard to not be called a Heretic! In the hopes that I don’t sound like Bill Clinton here, maybe it’s not a this is this and only this kind of thing. Maybe it can also mean that. And more than likely it means this and that. Some will call this “double fulfillment.” I use the much loftier sounding type/anti-type principle. We see this all throughout the story. The echoes ring throughout the entire thing. And prophecies usually ring the loudest. We see types and shadows that reveal the anti-type or the fullest example of said thing. Nimrod is anti-messiah. So is Pharaoh. So is Antiochus IV Epiphanes. So is Emperor Nero. And so were their systems and forms of government. They’re also all forms of the same beast. This is this and that.
John had much to say about this very thing:
“Children, it is the last hour. Just as you heard that the anti-messiah is coming, even now many anti-messiahs have come—by this we know that it is the last hour.”
Notice ‘many anti-messiahs have come’, already past tense in his time. It is the last hour.
“…but every spirit that does not acknowledge Yeshua is not from God. This is the spirit of the anti-messiah, which you have heard is coming and now is already in the world.”
Is coming and now already in the world. This and that.
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world—those who do not acknowledge Yeshua as Messiah coming in human flesh. This one is a deceiver and the anti-messiah.”
They have gone out into the world already – and yet – this one is the anti-messiah.
Do you understand? It’s nuanced, so please don’t miss it.
What we are witnessing today is the accelerated decline of the current empire. Or are we? Scripture says that we will experience “birth pangs” until the end. These contractions will get more and more painful and frequent until the Kingdom finally comes down. Then and only then will we have a real utopia. Only our King and High Priest can accomplish what the zealots were trying to do in Jerusalem and what every revolutionary has claimed to want in the past and present. Only He can free everyone from true oppression. But most people don’t want freedom from oppression, not really. They are on one side of the aisle or another and so they are only rooting for their home team. They could care less if one or another group gets oppressed, only so long as they are now the ones doing the oppressing or at the very least in the camp no longer being oppressed. And the Powers That Should Not Be love it that way.
So perhaps things will go better for the CHOP and the NAZ. Although history shows us that most times the new tyranny is worse than the old tyranny once statues start falling down. We should have been able to peacefully secede. It was a choice. But the time for that has long passed. My hope now is that anyone reading this will not be like the Mary who ended up eating her own baby in the JOP. Rather, we should heed the words of the Most High Yahuah always:
“Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you participate in her sins and receive her plagues!”