Kennedy's 'Postcards from
God, gays, Gaza, gambling, or George W...?
Jonal entry 914 | Friday, September 9, 2005
I don't believe any of the above are "to blame" for the destruction of New Orleans and many other, smaller cities, towns, and rural areas in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana by last week's Hurricane Katrina and I'll explain why. Since Wednesday's Jonal entry, where I introduced most of the above named "suspects," I received quotes and a link to a WorldNetDaily article that cites "many rabbis" as connecting the destruction by Katrina in our Southeast to the destruction in Southern Israel (referred to above as "Gaza") by the Israeli government the week before, under urging of the Bush Administration. These rabbis called the worst-ever hurricane God's retribution for our "smiting" of Israel.
I don't give that much credance, mainly because modern Israel is not the Israel of the Old Testament. It is the relatively new homeland of the Jews, who are descendants of Abraham (as are, also, the Arabs). The writer said that God gave the land to Abraham as an eternal inheritance, but fails to consider that ancient Israel fell to Assyria (700s B.C.) and never rose again, and the remaining tribes, Judah, were taken into Babylon about two centuried later. By the close of the Old Testament, all that remained was Judea, homeland of only two of the twelve tribes that descended directly from Abraham's covenant-bearing son, Isaac. And Judea (also called Palestine) was a Roman province at the time of Christ, its Jewish population destroyed and scattered by Caesar in the century that followed the establishment of the church. The same small province changed hands between Christian and Muslim rulers throughout the next two millenia. It became a Jewish state again in 1948 only through the aegis of the British, the United Nations, and the United States. In doing so, the new State of Israel provided a homeland for the Jews scattered throughout the world, but displaced thousands of Christian and Muslim families whose roots were in that land for hundreds of years and which is the reason President Bush and many others say there must be a Palestinian state adjacent to modern Israel (in preparation for which Gaza had to be given up by its Israeli residents).
Even more important to me than these reasons for not taking the disaffected rabbis' side on this issue is that the church, from the earliest generations of its existence, has held that it is we, the church, who are the new and true spiritual Israel. Our Pascha (Easter) is the true passover. Our communion service is the true worship that has displaced the long-gone temple worship based on animal sacrifices of ancient Jerusalem. Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and most Protestants have accepted this from the beginning, and it has only been since the early 1800s that a Protestant movement began to see latter-day Jewry as the inheritors of biblical prophecies referring to Israel and the church. But if Christ is the Lamb of God and God come in the flesh as all Christians hold and confess, there is no way that the reopening of "temple worship," with its sacrificing of unblemished lambs, has a place after the True Lamb has been sacrificed once and for all. Jerusalem's temple mount may have a role to play with Armageddon (which the church catholic has always believed to be a future reality signalling the end of time), but the restoration of Old Testament Israel as God's chosen people does not compute. We love them, support them, and believe them to be our predecessors in the faith, but we have to be realistic about their place under God's New Covenant.
Others have said God was wreaking vengeance on the Southeastern states for their recent opening of gambling casinos and, especially in New Orleans, for its revelling in the decadence of its homosexual minority. Though these are under God's judgment, we have to say "God doesn't work that way." Remember Noah's rainbow. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, which God destroyed only after lengthy negotiations between His angel and Abraham, and which He offered to spare destruction if only a handful of believers could be found there. New Orleans is a decadent city, but there is still a believing remnant there, or at least there was the week before last. God's general judgments are reserved till the Judgment Day.
If America's "Southeast" was judged because of our support of Israel's giving up some of its conquered territory, why was Germany not visited by God's wrath during the holocaust? Why was Hitler allowed to live until he chose his own time and method of dying? I can imagine that because the Gulf states are in the "Bible belt" God may be more "jealous" on their behalf than, say, Nevada, but if gambling is part of the equation, why hasn't each state that has inaugurated a lottery in the past 30 years not been judged? Amsterdam was, 100 years ago, the most orthodox Protestant city in Europe, but today it is beyond New Orleans in its approving the gay lifestyle, legal prostitution, drug use and sales, and gambling. Why would a just God be more tolerant of this apostasy than that of New Orleans? Amsterdam, too, could be flooded by knocking over a levee (they call them dykes) or two, as well.
Webmaster Jon Kennedy