The Desolating Sacrilege

A Dictionary of the Bible includes a definition of the "desolating sacrilege" (NRSV; ‘abomination of desolation’, AV and REB in Mark 13: 14; ‘appalling abomination’, NJB).

"The phrase is used in Dan. 9: 27 to denote the pagan altar set up in the Jerusalem Temple by Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BCE; and in Mark 13: 14 it may refer to the failed attempt by the emperor Caligula to install his statue in the Temple (40 CE) or to an event such as the display of army emblems in the Temple in the war of 66–70 CE. Luke (21: 20) probably has the siege of the city in mind..." (A Dictionary of the Bible, Oxford Biblical Studies).

How strongly can you say it? How can you communicate the outrage when the life is crushed out of a man on a Minneapolis street, or the perverse claims righteousness is their property, as they bring devastation to a holy place?

Imperial power demands that all bow before it. Yet it is illegitimate. The emperor has never had any clothes. The Living God does not command obedience - it calls forth obedience, from a position of goodness, or righteousness, of love, and of justice.

Wanting to act like God is a human failing. We can never fulfill the role. The harder we try, the harder we fall. May God have mercy on our nation.

Photo, uncredited from my source, probably Associated Press.


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