WATCHING A DISGRACED 81 YEAR-OLD BILL COSBY—holding his cane while handcuffed and led to prison for what may prove to be the remainder of his life—brought me absolutely no satisfaction. His crime is certainly not justifiable by any social or moral standard. The law rightly requires that he pay for what he has done. But for many of us this is a somber moment, and I think that is a good thing.
I READ OF A VERY SAD CASE,
In a dark aboriginal race,
Invaded by white men,
Who went there to fight them,
And “civilize” all in that place.
IN A WAY, JOB AND HIS THREE FRIENDS were severely handicapped intellectuals. When Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar heard of the evil that had befallen him, they made an appointment together to mourn at his side. We quickly read: “When they lifted up their eyes, afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept (Job 2:12).” Despite the universal application of their tears, they did not have the Major and the Minor Prophets at their disposal for theological guidance. Our blessed Savior would not arrive in the flesh for another thousand years and several added centuries to boot, which would immediately thereafter prompt the warmly welcomed Epistles from the Apostles. They did not even have Moses and the law to contend with. One might think they were fumbling around, slapping the walls while attempting to flip a light switch in the dark.
IF THERE WAS ANY QUESTION AS TO WHY the silent screen actor Rudolph Valentino had earned himself the nickname “Latin Lover,” the unbridled screams of 10,000 women, who invaded his funeral in 1926—having died at the pre-mature age of 31—should erase any doubt. After Frank Sinatra’s legendary opening at the New York Paramount Theater in 1947 some two decades later, the clean-up crew found that the seats were still wet from the bobby soxers in attendance. Sweaty, throbbing, mind-pulsating young girls, contaminated with an almost alien case of hormones, were simply unable to compose themselves among the shock-and-awe swooning from the man who was later referred to as Chairman of the Board. In America, something was happening. One might think Bacchus, yet another counterpart of Apollo, and the wild Bacchant women arising within the Dionysian Mysteries—housewives mainly—who would be whipped up into a drunken frenzy whenever their favorite god came around for a forest romp, had returned.
FOR THE MEDIEVAL COMMENTATOR, HE WAS A LEPER, while some modern scholars’ finger scurvy as the culprit. And it has been suggested that no less than fourteen diseases are attributed to him. Poor Job—as the disease laid hold of his body, eating away at his flesh, the elephantiasis twisting him almost unrecognizably into an object of repulsion, those whom he once called friend had clearly abandoned him. Perhaps he was simply too gruesome to behold, too offensive a misconstrued thought of moral depravity to wrestle with, and maybe they simply worried spread of its infection, or all of the above. Regardless, there is no evidence that anything was done to heal him or that any kindness was shown in light of this disease, whatever its final diagnosis.
HIS NAME MEANS “JEHOVAH LEADS” IN HEBREW. But for Judas Iscariot, there is a rich irony here, because no other individual was more clearly led by Satan than he. Supposing a man returned to our present day by way of Einsteinian equations and mind-bending bewitchments of science—basically, employing the use of a time machine—having successfully beheaded Judas Iscariot with the blade of a Saracen before he could fulfill the prophesy of the Prophet Zechariah, I believe he would have a surprise or two waiting for him. I am convinced there’s nothing especially unique about the son of perdition—nothing at all. He is as they say a dime a dozen. Regarding the “familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my own bread,” whom King David wrote of in Psalm 41:9; the time traveling assassin will no doubt have already discovered him replaced in the pages of history by another nobody as soon as he should return. And worse—after another successive roundtrip mission to the past and back, and yet another, and another, and still another, he will not only see Iscariot replaced again and again and again and then again, but will even begin to identify the many faces that make up Satan’s servant here in the present.
ACCEPTING CHRIST…HERE IS “THE HOLE IN THE BRIDGE where millions fall through,” warned A.W. Tozer. To the astonishment of a great many people, “accepting Christ” as a choice of wording cannot be found anywhere in the Bible—nor can the “heart invitation” which has captivated audiences. Those who wish to gamble their souls will not be bothered by this. Such a person treats the salvation prayer from decades past with the same air of assurance as a Catholic would his infant baptism. And yet it is this very doctrine—which asks us to invite Jesus into our heart—that has captured the evangelical’s attention over the last century and likewise has swept a great many untold and unsuspecting bystanders into the pit of eternal damnation. From this they happily conclude the Reformers cry of “sola fide!” or faith alone, grants the subscriber a license to sin without submitting to the Lordship of Christ as evidence of their salvation. The Reformers would most assuredly consider this a gruesome perversion. True faith in Christ will always lead to a changed life.