Contemplations At The Crossroad
Luke 10:3. “... and greet no one along the road.”
Like the 70 sent (Luke 10:1-12), we’re sent out as lambs among wolves. Never has this been as obvious as now, during what is perceived by many as the culmination of all things. We may want to examine some of the less obvious disguises of such wolves, as Jesus points them out here, especially in this little phrase about greetings along the road, which we might tend to overlook or regard as unimportant. Actually there’s much to be seen in this small phrase.
Checking with numerous Bible commentaries reveals an interesting detail. In the ancient Middle East, one did not just ignore, nod at, or offer a quick hello to passers by along the road. Greetings involved somewhat elaborate rituals and there were expectations of proper conversation. There were all sorts of gestures, bowing depending on degree of social status, hand clasps, and kissing of hands and faces. Conversations involved much more than, “Hi, how are you?” There was a mutual discussion on one’s own and one’s family’s wellbeing, activity, and other news about everyone. A gab and gossip fest. This took a lot of time and may also have been a means of ascertaining the intentions of those one greeted.
When we see Jesus approaching the two who were headed for Emmaus, who began discussing with Him the events of the crucifixion, right after His resurrection, He was invited not only to share a meal but to stay the night, since it was getting late. These customs were common to the region. It was more or less the expectation. Care for the stranger was part of the Law and custom of hospitality, as they recalled being foreigners and sojourners in many lands.
Food for thought, as Jesus tells His disciples not to do this at this point. There goes Jesus, bucking Tradition again! But He had His reasons.
How great a distraction to the mission on which He sends them these friendly loiterings might have been! They were to be the heralds of His arrival whee He sent them, and He was quite specific about their approach and activity. They were to stay in the homes of the “sons of peace,” but not to go house to house.
But here we run up against the “tyranny” of custom, etiquette and tradition which could majorly slow down and bog down how, where, and why He sent them. Might it be worth considering what forms of tyranny of custom the days before us hold, which have the potential of dismantling that for which Christ sends us?
Other “wolves” can be concerns about money, more baggage than is necessary for the journey and the job, being fashionable, and the already mentioned enormous time waster (at least in this context) of ritualistic social expectations. Jesus was quite as specific in His instructions for those chosen for this as He had been with potential aspirants to the work (see Luke 9:57-62).
Could it be that the devil uses all of these to slow the process and progress of the Kingdom of God, as he knows that this means the end of his game?
Could it be that when the mission focus gets blurred by these “good” things that we are robbed of Christ’s authority over “serpents and scorpions,” (not literal, but representing Satanic powers in certain categories of demons) and there are no miracles and healings, although Jesus warns of gloating over them when they happen? (Not the Benny Hinn sort of tricks and deceptions.)
Distractions reign in this carnal, pleasure oriented, entertainment focused culture. Then this mentality makes itself at home in many churches offering yet another distraction in religious form. So the powerful Gospel of the Kingdom gets syphoned off by concerns about so called worship styles pandering to contemporary music and a rock concert ambience, where glorification rather than mortification of the flesh features! This is tragic and unacceptable - mere tinsel town religion, with the devil orchestrating it, the unholiest roller of all, laughing himself silly right in the church aisles!
Social media also provides its own sorts of greetings and greeters along the road. So this begs the question, is it necessary or desirable, in light of the times and the mission and the message of the Kingdom of God, as to how and how much one spends one’s time scrolling and interacting with strangers? In numerous cases it’s clear that some of these are predators - wolves in disguise - looking for someone to snarl at or devour conversationally. In normal life, one would not even approach such individuals. Yet this happens often in the virtual pathways where scrolling has replaced strolling!
So we still need to heed His directive to the 70 concerning greetings along the way. Jesus has His own ideas about some very dynamic “spiritual social distancing,” which reveal His authority bestowed through abiding in His Way of walking in the Holy Spirit.
“Savior, I follow on, Guided by thee, Seeing not yet the hand That leadeth me. Hushed be my heart and still; Fear I no further ill. Only to meet thy will My will shall be.” (From hymn by Charles S. Robinson. Mid 1800s.)
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inAUGURation: Is It For The Birds?
These are some musings, ramblings, questions, and explorations all tossed into one. This isn’t real refined, but I thought that maybe you, dear reader, would like to explore the trail with me. It’s a longer one than usual…
Don’t you find it interesting that the word “inauguration” has in it the word “augur” as its central feature? We don’t hear the word “augur” much in the 21st century, so, what is an “augur”?
In ancient Rome there were officials - augurs - charged with observing and interpreting omens for guidance in public affairs. The word can also be used as a verb which means to divine and predict omens, to conjecture from signs.
This practice, was originally done by way of observing the flight, behavior, patterns, or sounds of birds. This religious / occult practice was called “taking the auspices”, and went back to Greece, Egypt, and probably earlier. King Alasia of Cyprus was said to have sought “eagle diviners” from Egypt. As time went on, this was augmented by sacrificial divination through examining the liver of the sacrifice. That was called hepatoscopy.
It was all about discerning the will of the “gods” as to what course of action should be taken at the highest levels of government, or how the gods might be pleased to insure good crops, adequate rainfall, fertility, etc. This was the basic m.o. of all ancient pagan “wisdom” and how they ran their governments and lives. It was a form of divination, of which there are many.
The Biblical Law and prophets - Isaiah, for example, (approximately 740-686 B.C.) warned about this sort of divination of the Philistines which had been first systematized by the Chaldeans. The Bible refers to this sorcery, but also all other forms of divination, including the sacrifice and burning of their children in honor of Moloch, the use of divination and enchantment, etc. Leviticus 19:26, Deuteronomy 18:10,14. Isaiah 2:6. There are many more…
Apparently this was rather widespread “priestcraft” throughout the ancient world, right up through Rome, which sought to please chiefly Jupiter’s will through the auger of birds, through “vitia,” or signs.
Words matter. So this begs the question about “inAUGURation,” a word still used to describe the event of the installation of high level government officials: Just how “elected” are they, or do we merely get a choice between 2 individuals who always seem to be the lesser of two evils, chosen by some still invoked method of augury - that seem to be more about the pleasing of the god of this world, the “prince of the power of the air.” (Deals with the devil?)
Air is where birds fly, so would not they carry the messages of the “gods” inhabiting the regions “above”? We know there has, traditionally always been plenty of occult activity related to secular governments. But how “secular” are they really? Or have “lesser gods“ often been a part of decision making in government circles? (What? Isn’t religion supposed to be separated from politics? But I digress. Yet perhaps not.)
Another fascinating similarity is that around 300 B.C. Rome required 9 augurs. The SCOTUS has 9 Justices who make decisions and rulings. Some of which have been wildly ungodly in the last 40 plus years. Are they deciding based on reasoning and Law, or are there other “factors” of augury at play? In fairness, after that number 9 became the standard in Rome, there were times when the number of augurs fluctuated. But 9 is a heavy duty occult number, and is often associated with Mars, the Roman god of war. War has to do with territories and control and real estate, etc. Perhaps (my conjecture) that is why they chose 9 augurs, in honor of Mars - making expansion of territories through war and conquest, in the name of a “god.”
Could there be an association between the eagle of Rome - the great bird - and its employment as the symbol of the USA? What’s going on here? So, specifically, “ornithromancy” - reading the signs through birds - was invoked for all undertakings: political, public, and private. Might the eagle be the channel of Mars, as he soars high above all the other birds? Interesting food for thought.
After a time in Roman government, expertise in augury (“aug” means to prosper, increase) was required of senior ranking magistrates, military and civilian. Therefore these state positions were also religious offices.
Here’s where it gets interesting, in my opinion. The founding of Rome was based on augury. In the later Republic, augury was supervised by a college of pontifices. Eventually there was one leading Pontifex Maximus. Caesar Augustus was one of these. The Pope sometimes is also referred to as well as the Pontifex Maximus. The pagan title sticks to the office to this day!
Is this why the Vatican, although the seat of the Roman Catholic religion, is also a city state of great influence, with ambassadors, and a seat at the UN? Has this “form" of doing things really ever left us, even in the 21st Century? This awakens some juicy questions. And directions down forbidden trails. Questions we’re not supposed to ask. Conclusions we are told we cannot draw… Oh?
In order for augury to be properly performed, there had to be sacred temple spaces that had to be square, with only one entrance, and purified according to certain rituals. The architecture was specific to the god being invoked.
And, lest we leave out the ladies, there was also in the Roman culture the College of Vestals, regarded as fundamental to the continuation and security of Rome and her interests. The Vestals - serving the goddess Vesta (or in Greek Hestia), goddess of hearths and homes - were usually selected by the Pontifex Maximus anywhere from the age of 6 to 10. They were under his authority and protection. They were celibate, virtuous, and virgin with a 30 year vow of chastity - after which they were free to leave the order and marry if they wished. They devoted themselves to study and correct observance of state rituals which were forbidden even to the colleges of male priests (and augurs). They were quite powerful and influential in the years prior to the Caesars. The College of the Vestals began early on about 717-673B.C. with King Pompillius.
Their influence continued on with the Caesars who included them in all major events. They were highly respected and protected. They were attributed with magical powers and it was thought that the gods listened to their prayers more readily than to others’. They were diviners and wise women who were as highly respected as the augurs, and their duty was to tend the sacred flame of Vesta in their temple which was never to be extinguished. The Vestalium Maxima, greatest of the Vestals, oversaw the order. They had unusual rights and privileges, including the writing and safe keeping of wills and testaments.
Vestal chastity was considered to have a direct bearing on the health and wellbeing of the Roman state, where if they engaged in sex, it was considered an act of treason punishable by being buried alive in an underground chamber with only a few days supply of food and water.
The Vestal order existed for over 1000 years! It was put out of existence by the Christian emperor Theodosius in about 394 A.D. This was after Emperor Constantine legitimized Christianity as the state religion and forbade all others (pagan, gnostic) in the Empire. This was also the time when the Scripture Canon came to be, a hard fought victory within the Church!
What a time of tumult that must have been! The augurs with their craft and the Vestals through their divination skills, obedience, and chastity supposedly kept order in the Empire, on behalf of the gods Jupiter, Mars, Vesta and the rest of the Pantheon. Paganism was being supplanted by Christianity - the Body of Christ, under Her Head Jesus Christ, to Whom was given all power in heaven and on earth.
But, I’m surmising here: What if the best form-ideas from the pagan world (specifically Roman forms, words, titles, ideas, and archetypes, etc) were “fused” into Christianity, and overtook the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a counter coup?
Followers of the Way, the Truth, and the Life do not need vestments, or Roman style pageantry, a Pontifex Maximus, a non-scriptural Mary/Vesta with supernatural powers who gets prayers answered faster than the humble penitent who believes he or she cannot approach God on his own. (This is not a denial of the Virgin Birth, or to call Mary blessed, which is clearly taught in Scripture.)
All of that came to an end, along with the Jewish Temple systems and sacrifices when our sin was put to death on the cross - through the body of the God Man Jesus Christ, the One Who carried the fullness of the Godhead bodily in His human form - and Who was raised from the dead for our justification. When Christ died, the Way was made to go directly to the throne of Grace to receive all we need from our Father, God Who is Love! He will give the Holy Spirit to all who truly continue to ask, seek, and knock. There is no need for any sort of divination!
He came to us through Jesus Christ and revealed Himself. “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father,” said Jesus. There is now no need for auguries or magical repetitive prayers and incantations, sacrifices, elaborate rituals, or the observance of days, and the like required to please Him, or to know His will or to receive His grace / His love! He has spoken to us by His Son Jesus, revealed to us through the Scriptures, and is revealed to our hearts by the Holy Spirit. He has come to redeem and to heal and to restore sinners, and by so doing to heal the world He gave to us from the beginning.
It is the meek - those surrendered to His transforming amazing grace - who will inherit the Earth.
It doesn’t belong to Mars or Jupiter. That too is for the birds!