God avenged himself on Babylon for destroying the Temple Jeremiah 50:28, 51:11. Indeed, Ezekiel 25:1-7, Obadiah 11-12 and Zephaniah 2:8-11 condemned the nations bordering Israel for delighting in Jerusalem’s fall to Babylon, its vaunted Temple reduced to rubble. God also avenged himself on Imperial Rome for shedding the blood of Christians Revelation 17:6, 18:1-24. For no reason except they believed so strongly that Jesus Alone was Lord that they wouldn’t pinch incense before a bust of Caesar as lord. That refusal made Christians an illegal religion and subject to the animosity of an Empire that tolerated all religions—even Judaism—BUT the ONE that defied Caesar’s deification!
Because later Israelites trusted in the Temple, Jeremiah 7:4-8, as earlier Israelites trusted in the Ark, I Samuel 4:3, God let both be removed. However, since he directed the construction of both Ark and Temple as SYMBOLS of his Presence, HE remained sovereign even when the symbols vanished. That’s why we need to understand both judgments as God’s attack on Satan, not merely on the powers he inspired to attack God’s possessions. Satan arrogated to himself the right to remove God’s Presence from humanity and his sovereignty over all human history.
As the ultimate con man, who fools himself first, Satan thought to eliminate God’s memory in his people by removing symbols that represented him. Instead, back from exile Israel returned to the Holy Land and re-built the Temple—more modestly than Solomon’s to be sure, but just as meaningful to the people. In addition, with prayer to replace animal sacrifice, the synagogue to replace the Temple and rabbis to teach God’s word as the personal possession of each believer.
Satan also knew that he couldn’t deny the efficacy of Christ’s forgiveness of sin on Calvary, and verification of it on Resurrection Sunday. He couldn’t eliminate Christianity in the first century, but hoped to punish believers so harshly it would deter unbelievers from confessing Christ. He persevered in his hatred of God, knowing the multitudes in Heaven, Revelation 19:1-10, applauded God’s presence empowering his people through every trial, every bloodshed, every loss to achieve the greater gain of eternal life. For knowing he’s damned, and can ever be redeemed, Satan settles on any soul, or combination of souls, stupid enough to believe his claim that God is no longer relevant. Make no mistake, every effort by humanity to harm, limit or erase God’s Presence in society is a wind from Satan that reaps God’s whirlwind sweeping away the devil and all his allies.
The warning should terrify those in American culture who presently denigrate Christ’s Singularity and Christianity’s claims. Who say God isn’t needed and Christ is but one of a number of equally-gifted world religious leaders. That it hasn’t surfaced the fear of God in our society YET simply proves we have made such deities of our minds, our education, our technology, our politics that we’re spiritually blind.
Which is now, and has increasingly been since the 1960’s, the opinion of “shakers and movers” from academia, business and politics. But take heart, Christians. God in Christ, and no one else, certainly not the human ego, with all its egotists, determines truth. End Part II