Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations;
and then shall the end come.
When ye therefore shall see the
abomination of desolation,
(τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως), spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do,
That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.
if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments
my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:
Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them;
and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight;
and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:
And at this house,
is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss;
and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?
And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.
Contemporary religion represents a very pitiful thing
Contemporary religion represents a very pitiful thing: properly speaking, religion as the dominating principle, as the center of spiritual attraction, does not exist today…
Some people like music and others do not.
… I say that those who at the present time refuse religion are right, because religion appears in reality not what it ought to be.
Religion, speaking generally and abstractly, is the connection of man and the world with the unconditional beginning, which is the focus of all that exists. … If we admit the existence of such an unconditional centre, then all points on the circle of life must be linked to that centre, then all points on the circle of life must be linked to that centre with equal radii. It is only then that unity, wholeness, and accord appear in the life and consciousness of man. It is only then that all his deeds and sufferings in life, great or small, are transmitted into intelligent, inwardly necessary
from a state of aimless and senseless
It is quite certain that such all-embracing,
must belong to
once it is admitted at all;
and it is equally indubitable that in reality, for the contemporary civilized humanity, even for that part of it which recognizes the religious principle, religion does not posess this all-embracing and central importance. Instead of being all in all, it hides in a very small and remote corner of our inner world, and appears as one of a multitude of the different interesta which divide our attention.
Contemporary religion represents a very pitiful thing:
properly speaking, religion as the
center of spiritual attraction,
does not exist today;
instead, the is the so-called religiosity as a personal mood, a personal taste: some people have this taste, others do not, just as some people like music and others do not.
In the absence of the unconditional centring
[of all interests in religion]
we have as many relative, temporary centers of life and consciousness as we have different requirements and interests, tasts and inclinations, opinions and points of view.
It would be superfluous to dwell upon the mental and moral discord and the lack of principle, at prevailent in the realm of society as well as in the minds and hearts of the individuals, for that fact is too well known to anyone at all introspective or observant.
Pagan beginnings of life under a Christian name
Under Constantine the Great and under Constance, an unprecedented type of feigned Christians, hypocrites, appeared before.
Late paganism was forbidden by law and, apart from a scattered handful of semi-tolerant Jews, every subject of the Greco-Roman Empire was forced to be a Christian under pain of severe criminal penalties.
From this point of view, the cessation of persecution and the official recognition of the new religion, first as a full-fledged, and then as the dominant religion, actually produced an important change for the worse. Under Constantine the Great and under Constantius, the pagan masses were brought to Christianity not out of conviction, but out of slavish imitation or selfish calculation. An unprecedented type of feigned Christians, hypocrites, has appeared. It multiplied even more when, under Theodosius, and finally under Justinian, paganism was prohibited by law and, except for a scattered handful of semi-tolerant Jews, every subject of the Greco-Roman Empire was forcibly obliged to be a Christian under pain of severe criminal penalties. Of course, between the type of Christians formed in this way, unwillingly, under pressure, and the remaining type of true Christians, many transitional shades of superficial and indifferent Christianity were formed, according to deep conviction. But all this, without any distinction, was covered up by the general organization of the external church, in which all categories of internal dignity were erased and mixed up. The former really Christian society blurred and dissolved into
a Christian community in name, but in fact — a pagan
community. The overwhelming majority of superficial Christians not only actually preserved the pagan beginnings of life under a Christian name, but tried in every possible way - partly instinctively, and partly consciously — to establish alongside Christianity, to legitimize and perpetuate the old pagan order, excluding in principle the task of its internal renewal in the spirit of Christ. It was here that the first foundation was laid for that
which determined the medieval world outlook and life.
The Christian-pagan compromise is when life remains as before pagan, the worldly kingdom remains worldly, and the Kingdom of God, being not of this world, remains outside the world, as a mere appendage to the worldly kingdom.
But when the pagan world accepted Christianity, it was not a matter of actual compromise, which was already there, but of principle. Most of the new converts wanted things to stay the same. They recognized the truth of Christianity as an external fact and entered into some external formal relations with it, but only so that their life remained as before pagan, so that the worldly kingdom remained worldly, and the Kingdom of God, being not of this world, would remain outside the world, without any vital influence on it, i.e. would have remained as a useless adornment, as a mere appendage to the worldly kingdom.
There were more theologians in Byzantium than Christians.
There were more theologians in Byzantium than Christians. True Christians, for whom the anti-Christian life of society was unbearable, who could not be Christians in the church and pagans in the circus — such whole people had to leave society, flee from the world to monasteries and deserts. These were the best people of that time, and monasticism was the heyday of Eastern Christianity.
Prophecy falls silent and prophets are replaced by scribes
With the help of the Persian king, the law of Moses becomes the state law in Jerusalem: its violation is not only a sin, but also a crime that entails criminal punishment
(1 Ezra 7:26).
After Ezra and Nehemiah, prophecy soon falls silent;
prophets are succeeded by scribes, and the ideal of a national kingdom temporarily gives way to the ideal of a theocratic order that disciplines the religious life of Israel. The law that Ezra brought from Babylon, the law that was already partially presented to the spiritual eyes of Ezekiel, the Torah of the priests and Levites, replaces the living judge, the national prince, the anointed one from the line of David.
[Ezekiel, as we saw above (p. 225), also speaks of a
from the house of David (the definition of his religious functions in the theocratic state
The “anointed one,” clad in purple and tiara, is the high priest, along with whom there is no place for a national king. The high priest represents the people and wears stones with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel on his shoulders.
Artaxerxes gives his sanction to the law of Moses;
thus, with the help of the Persian king, the law of Moses, brought by the scribes, becomes the state law in Jerusalem: its violation is not only a sin, but also a crime that entails criminal punishment
(1 Ezra 7:26).
In this law and in the hierocracy with which it is associated, there is no longer any place for a messianic king in the former political sense. The ideal of a national kingdom lies not in the future, but in the past. In the present kingdom of the God of Israel among His people is a spiritual kingdom, realized through the organization of the priesthood and through the law of that priesthood. The supreme secular power for a long time passes to the pagans, and as the people achieve relative autonomy, this power is concentrated in the hands of priests and scribes.