Tuesday, June 26, 2007

God to Apologize to Sodom?

Not according to Rabbi Daniel Lapin in the article excerpted below from LifeSite News.

The recent death of Mrs. Ruth Graham, the beloved wife of preacher Billy Graham, has caused renewed reflection on her oft quoted comment: "If God does not judge America soon, he'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." Indeed, with the culture war raging on abortion and same-sex 'marriage', many a Christian has wondered about a coming purgation - a cleansing as in the time of Noah and the flood.

It may come as a surprise to some, but Orthodox Jews too have a belief in a coming purgation. As the man popularly known as "America's Rabbi" told LifeSiteNews.com, we are "moving towards some kind of enormous, humanic and historic upheaval."

Nationally acclaimed speaker and best-selling author, Rabbi Daniel Lapin spoke with LifeSiteNews.com about his newly released audio series "The Gathering Storm: Decoding the Secrets of Noah", in which he looks at the similarities between the time of Noah and our present day.

Rabbi Lapin is the founder and leader of Toward Tradition - a ground-breaking coalition of Jews, Christians and other Americans united in fighting secular fundamentalism and promoting traditional, faith-based American principles of constitutional and limited government, the rule of law, representative democracy, free markets, a strong military, and a moral public culture.

Key to interpreting the Bible (the Old Testament) suggests the Rabbi, is the Hebrew language. In that language, he notes, the Bible tells that in the time just before the flood there were aborted babies. "Everyone is familiar with that section just before the flood, of giants," said Rabbi Lapin. "The King James translation refers to these people as giants - one thing, in the Hebrew, it becomes immediately very clear is that what we really are talking about is aborted people, aborted fetuses."

"In Hebrew," explained the Rabbi there is "one word for giants (and) aborted fetuses." Comparing the time of Noah to the current day, the Rabbi said, "Babies that are aborted eventually bring about a culture of death that destroys society."

Interesting, but I’m not sure I buy the claim, which is based on deriving the word “Nephilim” in Genesis 6:4 (usually translated either “giants” or “fallen ones”) from “nephel” (miscarriage). To the best of my admittedlymeager knowledge, that is not the traditional meaning historically ascribed to the text by the ancient Jewish scholars, who ought to know. I don’t think it effects the broader argument, however – the Egyptians certainly paid the price for male infanticide against the Hebrews (Ex 1:16) with the loss of their own firstborn.

Asked if Jews, like some Christians, feel a time of purgation is coming, Rabbi Lapin replied bluntly, "Yes, it is extremely intense."

The Rabbi stressed however that a Judeo-Christian view of the end of time is a hopeful one, in contrast to the secular view of the end of time which sees only doom and gloom. "There is a dichotomy here between a secular world view in which the end of time is hopeless," Rabbi Lapin told LifeSiteNews.com. "It is doomed. It ends in oblivion . . . Right now it is global warming, a few years ago it was nuclear winter. Before that it was that we were all going to starve and die naked and cold when Thomas Malthus at the end of the 18th century made his predictions."

"The secular world view will generate an end of time picture of hopelessness and doom and by contrast a Biblical world view of both Jews and Christians shows an end of time picture that, while it may have its turbulent threshold, is a time of some kind of unimaginable solution to all human problems."

[…] As for God having to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah for not acting on America for its sins, Rabbi Lapin suggests God is in fact acting on America. "God doesn't necessarily act towards every culture in the same way," he said. "Every culture that adopts abortion and homosexuality as normal is a culture that begins to decline and eventually vanish off the stage of world history - that is God acting."

"That is precisely the point. It is not that hard to see in many ways the fortunes of the US of A are simply not where they were before these twin scourges became prevalent. Yes, He is acting - He is not going to have to apologize to Sodom at all. He is being very consistent. He may not be burying us in thunderbolts and mountains of salt but the damage that the US of A is enduring is no less fatal."

Interesting. There seem to be times in history when everybody seems to know something is coming, even if they’re not sure what. The time of Christ seems to have been like that, with Messianic expectations, people looking for heavenly portents, and mystery religions flourishing throughout the Empire. This seems to be another, what with end-of the-world scenarios two or three times a week on the Discovery Channel (Comet? Gamma-ray burst? Alien invasion? Take your pick!), doomsday cults all over the map, and a billion Moslems waiting for the Mahdi to show up and lead them on the final Jihad.

That, of course, doesn’t necessarily imply the Apocalypse. Nations have fallen under judgment and vanished since time immemorial, causing little more than a ripple in history. Just ask the Trojans, or the Carthiginians. That is not to deny, of course, that it might have felt a lot like the Apocalypse if you had the misfortune to live in Carthage in 146 BC. We all have a tendency to inflate the significance of both our own times and our own misfortunes.