Archive for category Jerusalem

Lk 19:41-44 The Lament of Jerusalem

Jesus’ earthly ministry centers and culminates in Jerusalem, the holy city, dwelling and throne of God (Jeremiah 3:17ff.); the place which God chose for his name to dwell there (1Kings 11:13); and the holy mountain upon which God has set his king (Psalm 2).  Jerusalem derives its name from the word “salem” which mean “peace”.  The temple in Jerusalem was a constant reminder to the people of God’s presence with them. Why does Jesus weep and lament for this city?  

All this moved Jesus to tears because he saw something which others did not see. He saw the coming destruction of the city. He knew that all of his efforts to avert the tragedy had been repulsed and rejected (Charles L. Childers, op. cit., p. 588). As prophesied by Jesus, it did happen. William Barclay describes the tragic event: 

“Jerusalem fell to the Roman armies in A.D. 70 after a desperate siege in which the inhabitants were actually reduced to cannibalism and in which the city had to be taken literally stone by stone. Josephus says that an incredible number of 1,100,000 people perished in the siege and 97,000 were carried away into captivity. The Jewish nation was obliterated; and the Temple was fired and became a desolation.” 

It was indeed a tragic moments of destruction, loss, and shame to the chosen people and nation of God. Only Jewish Christians who remembered and heeded God’s warning were spared on that unforgettable event in the life of the Jews and Israel. As James E. Talmage vividly writes: 

“The warning to all to flee from Jerusalem and Judea to the mountains when the armies would begin to surround the city was so generally heeded by members of the Church, that according to the early Church writers not one Christian perished in the awful siege (see Eusebius, Eccles. Hist., book iii, ch. 5)…As to the unprecedented horrors of the siege, which culminated in the utter destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, see Josephus, Wars vi, chaps. 3 and 4. That historian estimates the number slain in Jerusalem alone as 1,100,000 and in other cities and rural parts a third as many more. For details see Josephus, Wars ii, chaps. 18, 20; iii, 2, 7, 8, 9; iv, 1, 2, 7, 8, 9; vii, 6, 9, 11. Many tens of thousands were taken captive, to be afterward sold into slavery, or to be slain by wild beasts, or in gladiatorial combat in the arena for the amusement of Roman spectators. 

“In the course of the siege, a wall was constructed about the entire city, thus fulfilling the Lord’s prediction (Luke 19:43), ‘thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee,’ in which, by the admittedly better translation, ‘bank,’ or ‘palisade’ should appear instead of ‘trench.’ In September A.D. 70 the city fell into the hands of the Romans; and its destruction was afterward made so thorough that its site was plowed up. Jerusalem was ‘trodden down of the Gentiles,’ and ever since has been under Gentile dominion, and so shall continue to be ‘until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled’ (Luke 21:24) (Jesus the Christ, 545).

Why did this tragedy happen to the chosen people of God even in Jerusalem considered to be a holy city, a dwelling and throne of God? Because the Jews remain in their stubbornness of heart and in their unbelief. These great destruction, misery and humiliation would have been avoided if, and only if, the Jews had received the Son of God, hailed him as Lord and Savior of mankind, and led the campaign for all nations to accept his authority. If, and only if, the Jews had recognized the time and the visitation of your God in Christ Jesus they would have been converted, believed and followed Jesus who is Prince of peace and  the source and model of that renewed humanity, imbued with brotherly love, sincerity, and a peaceful spirit…” (Vatican II). 

What is the main message for all of us? If and when we also persist in our stubbornness of heart, arrogance, unbelief, sinfulness and wickedness we will also suffer the same fate. Let us, therefore, heed God’s call to repentance, conversion, and new life in Christ. Today, if we hear the voice of God harden not our hearts. Let us repent and believe in Jesus and his Gospel while it is not too late! Ask God for a new heart and a new mind. Ask God that He will take away our stubborn heart of stone and give us an obedient heart (see Ez 36:26).

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Lk 21:20-28 The Great Tribulation

When Jesus tells us about the end of the Jewish nation, He tells us not to worry. And when He tells us about the end of the world, He tells us that we are to stand erect and raise our heads because our redemption is at hand. Why this is so? It because of the following reasons:

The first is due to our faithfulness to God until the end. In the end, there is only one glory that lasts forever. All human honors will pass. All human glories will pass. The laurels will all wither. The only glory that lasts forever is our fidelity to Christ.

In Beyond Hunger, Beals, Mark Hatfield tells of touring Calcutta with Mother Teresa and visiting the so-called “House of Dying,” where sick children are cared for in their last days and the dispensary, where the poor line up by the hundreds to receive medical attention. Watching Mother Teresa minister to these people, feeding and nursing those left by others to die, Hatfield was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the suffering she and her co-workers face daily. “How can you bear the load without being crushed by it?” he asked. Mother Teresa replied, “My dear Senator, I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful.” Are we faithful to what the Lord has called us to do?

Second, it is because we are grateful to Him. Do you still remember the ten lepers who asked Jesus to be healed? Only one of them came back to Jesus and gave thanks. The other nine might have been guilty of ingratitude and gross neglect of their Savior. Concretely, we are more than eighty eight million Filipinos and as one nation, these eighty eight million Filipinos will thank God for the gifts they have received in their lives. But looking at the Gospel statistics, only 1/10 will have truly thanked God.

What is gratitude? It is a deep and intense feeling of owing God for everything we have. But gratitude is more than feeling grateful, it is being grateful which connotes action as a response to God who gives us the gift. Just look at the gift we have received like our own life, have we ever dared think of what nonexistence would be that we might simply not have existed? This simple thought should inspire us to consider deeply and decide firmly what we can do for God and God’s cause in our short life.

And the third is that we are always hopeful. The Son of Man coming in glory and power was an image of hope for the early Christians and us. The Lord has promised us that He would return and reward our fidelity and love; would rise from the dead and He is faithful to His promise; will do it in our lives when we die to ourselves. He promised that we would undergo persecution and rejection for His name, and these have touched every Christian who has lived the faith authentically. But He also promised He would come again and bring the reward, peace and victory for which we yearn. How do we live our hope in our all-powerful King who is to come?

From an unknown source that a number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope!

Those animals somehow hoped that if they could stay afloat just a little longer, someone would reach down and rescue them. If hope holds such power for unthinking rodents, how much greater should is effect be on our lives.

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Luke 21:24 they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations

Ezra Taft Benson

“I think one of the saddest chapters in history is the account of the dispersion and suffering of Judah.

“I have before me a quotation of Will Durant in his book, The Story of Civilization, in which he states that ‘no people in history fought so tenaciously for liberty as the Jews, nor any other people against such odds.’ He says further, ‘No other people has ever known so long an exile, or so hard a fate.’

“Then referring to the siege of Jerusalem under Titus, lasting for 134 days, during which 1,110,000 Jews perished and 97,000 were taken captive; he states that the Romans destroyed 987 towns in Palestine and slew 580,000 men, and still larger number, we are told, perished through starvation, disease, and fire.

“Nearly all Judea was laid waste. So many Jews were sold as slaves that their price fell to that of a horse. Thousands hid in underground channels rather than be captured. Surrounded by Romans they died one by one of hunger while the living ate the bodies of the dead.

“Scarcely eight thousand Jews were left in all Palestine. And even their banishment and scattering didn’t end their persecution. Efforts were made to drive them from various countries. Some nations made an effort to banish them completely. They were accused of causing the ‘Black Death’ that spread through Europe in 1348, and many Jews were crucified therefore.

“I have said nothing regarding the Crusades and the dastardly deeds perpetrated in the name of Christianity upon the remaining Jews in Palestine. Yes, the prophecies regarding the dispersion and the suffering of Judah have been fulfilled. But the gathering and re-establishment of the Jews is also clearly predicted.” (So Shall Ye Reap, compiled by Reed A. Benson [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1960], 66-67.)

http://www.gospeldoctrine.com/NewTestament/ntindex.html

 

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Lk 19:41-44 Lament of Jerusalem

Jesus saw the city and wept over it. Jesus must love his country very much. He not only loves his Father and cares for people but also has a heart for his country. In fact, he will “die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish” (Jn 11:50). In a way, he is not only a religious figure but also a nationalist.

We should be nationalists, too. The downfall of a country starts when her citizens no longer care for her, when they can no longer be proud of her. I do not enjoy jokes that degrade our country and our people. I feel sorry for her because of the rape that corrupt politicians commit against her. I am enraged by the sorry state of many Filipinos languishing in poverty. And we can do more than weep for her.

I have met a number of foreigners who have made the Philippines their adopted home. They love this country. Maybe they see something in her that we take for granted.

Assignment: Read, pass, and do the book: 12 Little Things You Can Do For Your Country by Atty. Alex Lacson.

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Luke 19:41 when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it

“According to tradition, when these words (Luke 19:41-42) were spoken, Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives, opposite a point in the walls surrounding Jerusalem a few yards south of the Gate Beautiful. From this spot one may behold a beautiful view of that historic city.

“It is wonderfully picturesque, with its quaint, flat-roofed houses, church towers, and mosque domes covering the four hills on which Jerusalem is built. The view is impressive even now; it must have been inspiring when Jesus beheld it in all its Herodian splendor.

 “But it was the inhabitants of the city, not the beautiful buildings or the commanding view that the Savior saw through tear bedimmed eyes when he cried: ‘If thou hadst known . . . the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.’ (Luke 19:42.) He saw the people divided into conflicting and contending sects, each professing more holiness and righteousness than the other and all closing their eyes to the truth.” (David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1944, Afternoon Meeting 78.)

Luke 19:43 thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round 

“In the spring of 70 (A. D.)…Titus ordered a siege wall constructed around the city to starve out its defenders—a tactic that was particularly effective because many supplies had been destroyed in the previous months of fighting.” (Galbraith, Ogden, and Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City, 214-215)

“The warning to all to flee from Jerusalem and Judea to the mountains when the armies would begin to surround the city was so generally heeded by members of the Church, that according to the early Church writers not one Christian perished in the awful siege (see Eusebius, Eccles. Hist., book iii, ch. 5)…As to the unprecedented horrors of the siege, which culminated in the utter destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, see Josephus, Wars vi, chaps. 3 and 4. That historian estimates the number slain in Jerusalem alone as 1,100,000 and in other cities and rural parts a third as many more. For details see Josephus, Wars ii, chaps. 18, 20; iii, 2, 7, 8, 9; iv, 1, 2, 7, 8, 9; vii, 6, 9, 11. Many tens of thousands were taken captive, to be afterward sold into slavery, or to be slain by wild beasts, or in gladiatorial combat in the arena for the amusement of Roman spectators.

 “In the course of the siege, a wall was constructed about the entire city, thus fulfilling the Lord’s prediction (Luke 19:43), ‘thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee,’ in which, by the admittedly better translation, ‘bank,’ or ‘palisade’ should appear instead of ‘trench.’ In September A.D. 70 the city fell into the hands of the Romans; and its destruction was afterward made so thorough that its site was plowed up. Jerusalem was ‘trodden down of the Gentiles,’ and ever since has been under Gentile dominion, and so shall continue to be ‘until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.’ (Luke 21:24.)” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 545)

Luke 19:43-44 thine enemies…shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee

 “The Romans brought their machines against the wall…yet did the Romans overcome them by their number and by their strength; and, what was the principal thing of all, by going cheerfully about their work, while the Jews were quite dejected, and become weak. Now as soon as a part of the wall was battered down, and certain of the towers yielded to the impression of the battering rams, those that opposed themselves fled away…when those that came running before the rest told them that the western wall was entirely overthrown…they fell upon their face, and greatly lamented their own mad conduct; and their nerves were so terribly loosed, that they could not flee away…

 “So the Romans being now become masters of the walls, they both placed their ensigns upon the towers, and made joyful acclamations for the victory they had gained, as having found the end of this war much lighter than its beginning; for when they had gotten upon the last wall, without any bloodshed, they could hardly believe what they found to be true; but seeing nobody to oppose them, they stood in doubt what such an unusual solitude could mean. But when they went in numbers into the lanes of the city with their swords drawn, they slew those whom they overtook without and set fire to the houses whither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul in them, and laid waste a great many of the rest; and when they were come to the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses, that is, of such as died by the famine; they then stood in a horror at this sight, and went out without touching any thing. But although they had this commiseration for such as were destroyed in that manner, yet had they not the same for those that were still alive, but they ran every one through whom they met with, and obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men’s blood.” (Josephus as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels, by Pinegar, Bassett, and Earl, p. 285-286)

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