Once it was a magnificent temple. Solomon built it. After centuries Herode rebuilt it. So magnificent was the temple that the disciples exclaimed about it; ‘Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!’ (Mk 13:1). Later the buildings were gone, but the stones of its western walls still remain. Over the centuries, it has transformed into a wall of wailing where the Jews assemble to lament about the lost temple. The reason? They rejected Jesus the Savior, whom God sent to them.
Today Israel has everything; wealth, influence, military power and what not? But they lost their most precious possession, the temple where the presence of God (Shekinah) was available.
History repeats in all its shades. Straight to the western world that has now become a large expanse of land barren in faith, where wailing is the predominant tone and mourning is the prevailing feeling. Today the western world has everything; money, political power, technological superiority, and strategic assets. But they miss something very very important. The Shekinah or presence of God!
There are striking similarities between those who weep over the lost temple at the Western Wall and those in the western world who mourn the way they lost many things they held close to their hearts. A foreign invasion was what drove the Jews out of their homeland. But going a little deeper into history we will get the true reason. It was their rejection of the Lord. The rejection happened before Christ, happened at the time of Christ, and continues even after Christ ascended into heaven.
The decadence of western culture which had its roots once firmly embedded in Christianity, also started with foreign invasions. But it was not the result of a political or military campaign, but the result of an aggressive attack on their religious and cultural ethos. It was because of the folly of the Israelites that other empires could conquer them. In the case of Christian countries in the west, again it was their folly in inviting, welcoming, and supporting people from a strange culture, who oppose everything Christianity upholds. It was like the famous fable of the Arab and the camel. The Arab was a benevolent master who allowed first the head, then neck, then forelegs and finally the whole body of the camel to be inside his small tent during a cold night in the desert. At the beginning, it was a request from the camel that gradually turned into a demand. Since the tent was not made for both of them, the camel’s demand was that the Arab should get out of it so that the camel could be comfortable inside!
The mistake of the Arab was that he tried to accommodate a camel in a tent that was made for men. Magnanimity has its limits and help should have gone to a human being, not camel. Today the West is witnessing the strange phenomenon of camels kicking out their benevolent masters from the tent.
The free fall of western world started at the point when they started forgetting the Lord who bought them with his blood. ‘Claiming to be wise, they became fools’ (Rom 1:23).When they started ‘exchanging the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles’ (Rom 1:24) the downward fall gained more momentum. Seems ironic, but Paul the apostle wrote these lines in his letter to the Romans, whose culture was then the crown of western world.
It is sad that nation after nation is drifting away from Jesus Christ and his gospel. They welcome everything alien to Christianity. With an unimaginable vengeance they abhor Christianity. When the forts of their faith were left unprotected and open, enemies found their way into it. They came, plundered and destroyed everything that defined the western culture for centuries. Western civilization as we know it, is at its deathbed. But ‘God has no pleasure in the death of any one’ (Eze 18:32). He asks; ‘Why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Eze 18:31).
Before the destruction of their temple, and Jerusalem going into captivity the Lord had warned his people. “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace. But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Lk 19:41).
Jesus tells us too; ‘If you had only recognized this day……!’ To those who didn’t recognize it in the past, the future was reserved for weeping and wailing. If we do not answer the call of the Lord today our fate also will not be different. What we witness today are all harbingers of an unpleasant future and if we do not pay heed to the warnings of the Lord it will definitely be upon us. We, as a civilization, are fast moving towards the tragic end that has been the share of every nation forgetting the Lord. It is time to make amends and re-ignite whatever faith is left in us. We are proud of what we are. But the Lord knows us better. He says; “I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God’ (Rev. 3:2).
Listen to the words of the Lord. “ Turn then, and live” (Eze 18:32). After all, why should we die?