Jerusalem Journal # 188
More than nine months have passed since the Israeli gatekeepers at the Ministry of Interior put the kibosh (or kabash) on our application to become residents of this land we’ve called home for the past thirteen years. It has been a journey of faith and, I must say, a humbling one, as our stack of stellar recommendation letters from ambassadors, U.S. Congressmen, Israeli Knesset members, and even a member of the new Jewish Sanhedrin appeared to go unread–– ignored.
The character references, our efforts to expose filmmakers and writers to the stories of this Land of the Bible, and our longterm financial/relational investments in this nation were brushed aside with the words, “We see no reason you should receive residency in Israel.” It felt as though a heavy foot had tread upon our necks and we had been vanquished.
Living in the epicenter of the Fertile Crescent, my mind often scurries to images of life here and to the historical panorama of cultural richness which has fermented like aged wine as nation vanquished nation, rebuilding on the ruins of its foes, only to be conquered by another rising star; however, there is a promise that an inheritance is awaiting which no earthly army can subdue. Therein lies my hope!
Etymologists, those word archaeologists who excavate the hidden origins of modern language, seem stymied in their efforts to definitively unlock the mysterious origin for the English word kibosh or kabash, as in “putting the kibosh on something, squelching, or bringing to a halt.” Suggestions range from the Arabic qurbash or French courbache (a rawhide whip), to Irish caip bhais (a candle-snuffer or black cap of death worn by a hangman), and others. Of all the conjectures, my vote goes to an origin birthed at the beginning of time. Sound intriguing?
The Hebrew Scriptures record that the word kabash was first spoken by God to the primordial residents of the earth, Adam and Eve, when He said, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue (kabash) it; and rule over…every living thing that moves on the earth.” Coming from the root of kabash is the word kebesh, mentioned as a footstool of gold at the base of King Solomon’s throne in the First Temple (2 Chron. 9:18). Today the ruins of Solomon’s temple lie beneath the Golden Dome of the Rock at “Ground Zero” in Jerusalem.
Ancient cultures often displayed visual reminders of conquests on coins, wall reliefs, and funerary monuments. Today, Islamic State uses explosives and sledgehammers to bulldoze its way through historic sites in Iraq and Syria, displaying on the internet its destruction and subjugation of all who fail to submit.
Our ancestral parents were given the task of stewarding this world to reflect The Creator’s purposes of life and recognition that He is the giver of that life with heaven as His throne and earth as His footstool. Generations later, how are we fulfilling those purposes? Are we contributing to order or chaos––light or darkness––life or death?
As the world watches Islamic State multiply across the continents in a calculating apocalyptic rush to fulfill its prophecies of subduing the nations for Allah, ushering in its Mahdi messiah, and establishing sharia law in its new Islamic Caliphate, this scenario stands in stark contradiction to The Creator’s concept of kabash. Using fear, intimidation, global spoils, chaos, rape, murder, and slavery, Radical Islam is on the move, intent on bringing its horror videos “to a theater near you.”
Being a resident of the Middle East, I have learned Radical Islamists will fight to the death to ensure you know they mean what they say. Waves of non-Muslims (and even some Muslims) have drawn a line in the sand––refusing to submit. Amidst the brutality, stories of hope emerge inspiring me to keep my focus on the highest authority, The One who also means what He says. Order will triumph over chaos; light will triumph over darkness; life will triumph over death.
Gary and I hit another bump in the road two weeks ago as we were preparing to fly to the U.S. to visit family and friends. A trip to the hospital emergency room to determine why Gary’s legs had dramatically swollen led to a four-day stay. With many scans and follow-up doctor appointments it put the kabash on our pre-holiday departure.
Cancer’s attempt to multiply and conquer Gary’s body is daily meeting with the resistance movement of prayer, faith, fasting, and declaring God’s Word. Just as the stone building was numbered for re-purposing, so too, the hairs of his silvery grey head. Although he is feeling a bit “dismantled” right now, we recall the words, “I will build you up again, and you will be rebuilt…and go out to dance with the joyful.” “I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
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