Friday, 2nd June 2023

Jerusalem and evident-truths

By Afam Nkemdiche
23 May 2018   |   3:50 am
It would seem the Creator of the universe purposefully presented humanity with a paradoxically configured planet to perpetually engage it in mental exercises.

It would seem the Creator of the universe purposefully presented humanity with a paradoxically configured planet to perpetually engage it in mental exercises. For example, the most priceless things on earth are at once the most affordable(?) Water, sand, and air, to mention few that readily come to mind. We could come up a long list of these, but there is one that rarely comes to mind: truth. The truth in every situation is so cheap that it is often rejected as too simplistic, or nonsensical. But God reminds us in more ways than one that His ways are converse to our own. If humanity took the universal maxim that God’s ways are easy, and see worldly issues with the eyes of an innocent child, as the Creator admonishes, I should like to submit that the world would be a far peaceful and blissful place, approximating Heavenly paradise.

My in-depth study of both history and religion confirms to me that the seeming paradox alluded to in the opening sentence is another measure of God’s all-sufficiency. But the “intelligent creature” – man, would rather see the world from another prism, the complex binoculars. He does this primarily to clothe his permutations and achievements with the dignity of genius. And so even though it is obvious to him that his relatively minuscule brain and “discoveries” are God’s creation and revelations respectively, man still foolishly seldom gives God the only thing He asks of us; glorify Him by simply acknowledging His creative genius. In His characteristically simply ways, God said He created man for His glory; this for me is the most invaluable revelation of God to man. It is, therefore, a big irony that man, a primary vector of glory, should spend all his days seeking self-glory.

First evident-truth: man for the most part works at cross-purposes with his Creator. Little wonder his existence is full of torments. I should like to further submit that the only antidote to these torments is to be found in self-evident truths. Let us use the recent relocation of the capital city of Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to demonstrate the power of these self-evident truths. History affirms that Palestine is the original homestead of the Jews – the people of God, from antiquity. At some point, following countless wars, hundreds of Jews ended up as war captives (slaves) in Egypt. The slaves in Egypt religiously held fast to their Judaic faith even after 400 years in captivity. At some point, again history shows, God raised a liberator to free His people from captivity in Egypt. That liberator’s name was Moses. Moses was to take the liberated Jews back to Palestine, their roots. The Jewish slaves were successfully liberated, but the job of reuniting them with their roots has remained a work-in-progress ever since. The great trek suffered many a resistance, so much so that it took 40 years before the returnees reached the motherland. The original liberator couldn’t complete the mission; other liberators had to succeed him.

On account of their 40 years wilderness ordeals, the returning Jews’ faith in God was stretched beyond its elastic limit. It eventually snapped. They thus invented new gods and started worshipping all manner of images that were created after man’s fancy. Consequently, God visited countless pestilences on them; and had actually verged on exterminating His chosen people from the surface of the earth, but for the persistent intersections of His supremely loyal servant-messiah, Moses. News of these unusual developments carried to the Jewish homestead, much to the disbelief of the global Jewish community. These were some of the reasons the envisaged re-integration of the liberated Jews became the new challenge when the returnees eventually reached Jerusalem. The returnees were now counted among the Gentiles(!)

Again, in evident continuation of His work, God promised to send another liberator – the last, to finish the work Moses had started. The name of this liberator was Yeshua (corrupted to Jesus). At this time in history, Roman emperors bestrode the earth as colossi. The Jews therefore saw the imminent last liberator in the light of Moses’ messianic mission in Egypt. In their understanding, this Yeshua would do to their present oppressors what Moses did to the old Pharaohs of Egypt. As was foretold, Yeshua emerged from a branch of the returnee Jews. His three-year long liberation mission was dominated by sermons on reconciliation between good and evil. It was completely unprecedented in Palestine history. Multitudes, among them royalties, revered scholars, religious scribes, wealthy men, and all always gathered to listen to his disconcerting new gospel. He had come to reconcile the Jews with the Gentiles, he would emphasize to them, much to the alarm of the smug Jewish scribes and other Jewish nobles. The latter had for generations held the belief that the Gentiles are “untouchable”, much less closely associate, eat and drink with them. These were the very acts that the revolutionary prophet preached and practised.

When the Jewish nobles confronted him with the glaring contradictions in his teachings and practices against the extant Jewish Canons, Yeshua would say to them, “I came not for the healthy, but for the sick.” Later he would give a global vision to his reconciliation mission; by reconciling the Jews with the Gentiles, he told his multitudes of curious audiences, he was by extension reconciling mankind with God, since God already abided with the Jews – he had come to save the entire human race. But in spite of his best endeavours, his core message failed to carry through, partly because of the fundamental misconception that had preceded his mission. No sooner did his mission come to an end when a new religion, Christianity, came into being(?) Judaism and Christianity have since been in contention over Jerusalem. Centuries following, Islam would join in that contention.

Second evident-truth: The genesis of Christianity is worthy of close interrogation because Jesus practised unalloyed Judaism – he wasn’t a Christian.

Third evident-truth: Judaism and Christianity that is, the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Hebrew Holy Writ are what the global religious leadership needs to creatively reconcile for sustainable world peace.

Fourth evident-truth: The emergence of Islam, five centuries after the exit of God’s widely acknowledged last prophet, is worthy of forensic interrogation, more so because there was no foretelling of it author???

Fifth evident-truth: All the conflicts in the Middle East – the centre of global instability, are traceable to religion.

Last evident-truth: Jerusalem, “the city of God,” is God’s alternate name for the Jews – Israel; Isaiah 40:1 “Comfort ye my people, comfort ye my people. Jerusalem,” saith the Lord God…

Hopefully, the world’s sophisticates would see reason enough to quickly reconcile themselves with the recent epochal relocation and the aforesaid evident-truths.

• Nkemdiche is an engineering consultant, lives in Abuja.