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The blind pulpit

The Holy Book lies open upon the altar, wrapped in a dense fog of dogma and doctrine, of mere speculations on matters not given unto men to know, neither doctrines of death and its detailed aftermath, nor the means and devices by which the Creation occurred.

As created beings not of our own doing, we are limited in our capacity to embrace the thoughts and ways of One so infinitely higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the Earth. We indeed ‘see as in a glass darkly.’ Therefore the Creator has given us eyes to behold his wondrous works in space and time- also being his purposed creation. But far easier is it to banter about speculated ideas and opinions on these unknowable ultimates derived by interpretations of the Book, and create divisions over doctrine among God’s children.

Upon the altar is the Book within which God lies asleep as the preacher presents his limited and vague arguments in defense of his doctrine, while the living YHVH proceeds to act his marvels in the time and history spread before the preacher’s eyes. Though the teacher has adopted the inherited doctrine that passionately denies that which is displayed before his eyes, an ancient nation has nevertheless been raised from the ashes after two thousand years of dispersion, as prophesied, among the nations of the world. Immediately after the unspeakable destruction of the Jewish people in the Holocaust, a remnant of those dry bones assembled to skeletons without hope to then return again to their long-abandoned Land of Israel, and there sing their anthem, The Hope (Hatikva). Then, outnumbered and outgunned by a destroyer who would abort the nascent Jewish nation, they prevailed against the odds, but left the long-dreamed-of Old City of Jerusalem yet beyond their reach. And that occurred immediately after the ancient scroll of Isaiah, awaiting in a dry cave by the Dead Sea for two millennia, was discovered declaring, “Can a nation be born in a day?”  That day was May 14, 1948.

Then just nineteen years later in 1967, another wave of destroyers, declaring their intended purpose of liquidating the Jewish state, raced against the tiny nation, sending fear of a second holocaust through the Jewish population. Against the odds the completely outnumbered people of Israel once again prevailed, not only driving off the destroyers, but gathering what had now been delivered into their hands after two millennia: Jerusalem. After just six days of battle, quiet came again over the ancient Holy City on the seventh day, but for the sound of the ram’s horn declaring victory.

And yet the blind pulpit persists. While avidly pointing to a literal six-day creation in the Book, they deny that imprint of the Monarch’s signet ring upon the events of reality in his ongoing history there in the very city where their Lord was crucified and raised in resurrection. Locked away in the stagnancy of frozen dogma formed by a long anti-Jewish church history, God is kept in a sleep of ancient history in the pages of his own book, like a graven image. But the living YHVH, who ‘removes kings and establishes kings’ (Daniel 2:21), is not contained behind the hard walls of doctrine, but continues his wonders unhindered before the eyes of all nations to this very day (Ezekiel 36), for those looking for a sign.

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Elhanan ben-Avraham
Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published two illustrated books of poetry, and painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.

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