Acquire and fill your lamps with the oil of virtue

Photo: guns.ru Photo: guns.ru
    

The president's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital was a blast from the past for me. In my years of exploring different strands of Christianity before finding the ancient Orthodox Church, one of many communities I attended was a Messianic synagogue -- where U.S. recognition of Jerusalem's de facto status was a key article of faith.

Though not all Messianic communities are identical in doctrine or worship (they're a loose confederation of independent congregations), most generally adhere to what you might call a "Christian Zionist End-Times" rubric.

The idea is that the establishment of Israel in 1948 was a key element in the fulfillment of biblical prophecies about the Second Coming of Christ, with more components still needed before the Lord can return.

America's recognition of exclusive Israeli title to the City of David is an important precursor to what comes next: the rebuilding of the Temple (on the current site of the Al Aqsa Mosque, something Muslims may not take kindly to); the successful breeding of a red heifer to offer as a sacrifice therein; and the final showdown between God's chosen Israel and the diabolical armies of Gog and Magog (aka Russia and the Arabs, with China also a contender).

In this conflagration, American recognition of Israel's sole right to Jerusalem indicates our country will stand beside God's chosen nation through Armageddon. After all, that's the reason God created America in the first place: to defend Israel.

This I learned during my brief tenure as a Messianic Jew. For those ascribing to such theology, the president's announcement was an answer to prayer (showing that Trump may also be the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy about King Cyrus, who didn't know the Lord but served Him).

I learned a lot about geo-politics and the End Times in those days, but eventually recognized that this supposed re-creation of the early Church was actually a form of anachronism.

For example, I never heard a word about sacraments or asceticism, or the spiritual formation that was key to early Christianity. It was all about being prepared to recognize the End, and making sure you were part of the right group, whom God would deliver from destruction: namely, fervent supporters of Israel.

Later, I discovered that the Church is the Israel of God, and Christ the Living Temple, made without hands; that He is the red heifer, who was sacrificed once and for all.

Most importantly, I learned a proper preparation for the eschaton. It has nothing to do with reading Bible prophecies in conjunction with the news, let alone stocking up on flashlights and bottled water.

It has to do with repentance, struggling against passions and acquiring the oil of virtue to light our lamps.

No one, not even Christ, knows the day or hour when He'll come. Our task is to be ready spiritually, which apparently takes more work than many "End Timers" are prepared to do.

Fr. Barnabas Powell

12/21/2017

See also
How Should We Live? How Should We Live?
Igumen Nektary (Morozov)
How Should We Live? How Should We Live?
When there is nothing left to hope for…
Igumen Nektary (Morozov)
Igumen Nektary (Morozov) talks about “how long we have left”, and what spiritual mistakes cause this panic in us over the destruction of everything and everyone.
The Antichrist: an Orthodox Perspective from the Church Fathers The Antichrist: an Orthodox Perspective from the Church Fathers
Fr. Andrew J. Anderson
The Antichrist: an Orthodox Perspective from the Church Fathers The Antichrist: an Orthodox Perspective from the Church Fathers
Fr. Andrew J. Anderson
Today’s sermon is about the Antichrist, as I continue my sermon series on the Orthodox Christian perspective on the awaited Second Coming of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. The purpose of this sermon is to provide a Patristic understanding of the Scriptures on this timely and important topic.
Why We Need a God of Wrath Why We Need a God of Wrath
Fr. Lawrence Farley
Why We Need a God of Wrath Why We Need a God of Wrath
Fr. Lawrence Farley
The real question therefore is not “Is the biblical God a God of wrath?”, but rather “Why is the wrath of God celebrated so widely and so emphatically in the Bible?”
Why we should not fear the end of the world, or What in actual fact brings us closer to destruction Why we should not fear the end of the world, or What in actual fact brings us closer to destruction
Priest Roman Savchuk
Why we should not fear the end of the world, or What in actual fact brings us closer to destruction Why we should not fear the end of the world, or What in actual fact brings us closer to destruction
Priest Roman Savchuk
And so we see the patristic understanding of the prophecy of our Savior on the ultimate fate of the world is essentially opposed to that myth about the Apocalypse which is actively propagandized in the mass consciousness.
On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World
St. Ephraim the Syrian
On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World
St. Ephraim the Syrian
We have already told you that the end of the world is near, the consummation remains. Has not faith withered away among mankind?
On the Second Coming of Christ On the Second Coming of Christ
St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
On the Second Coming of Christ On the Second Coming of Christ
St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
Mercy will present to Christ also those who were only able to show mercy to themselves, who visited themselves with self-criticism and freed themselves from the poverty, sickness, and prison of sin through repentance. Repentance is impossible for the hardened heart: the heart must be softened, filled with sympathy and mercy toward its catastrophic state of sinfulness.
Comments
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 700 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 700

Subscribe
to our mailing list

* indicates required
×