I’m getting correspondence suggesting I’m “anti-Israel” cuz I think Evangelicals are rather over-confident about “third Temples”

As I say, I think Jews are entitled to a homeland–not unlike Palestinians. Catholic tradition is rather friendly toward the idea that nations have a right to live someplace. That said, I am highly skeptical of Christian eschatological schemes which claim to read out of the Old or New Testaments some sort of prognostication about rebuilt Temples, red heifers and all the rest of it. It’s as dangerous to imply that everything Israel does has the Divine Kiss of Approval Because they Are Chosen as it is to be uncritical of Palestinian suicide bombers. The notion that to criticize wacky Evangelical scenarios for Third Temples is tantamount to saying “Let the Jews be slaughtered!” is opaque to me. My tendency is to view the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians as I view peace negotiations between Serbs and Croats: God is no less or more involved.

Oh, and by the way, in New Testament thought, the third temple is already here: it’s the Body of Christ. That is why some of the Fathers speculated that the mark of anti-christ would be the promise to rebuild the temple. Dunno if the Fathers will turn out to be right or not. But from a Catholic perspective, the re-establishment of the Temple would be rather pointless since the Sacrifice which temple worship prefigured–the Paschal offering of Christ as priest and victim–makes the levitical sacrificial system obsolete. That’s what the whole letter to the Hebrews is about. It’s supremely weird to me to see Evangelicals–who routinely fret about Catholics trying to be justified by works–striving to re-establish precisely the system of works that Paul insists are powerless to save. It’s even weirder to hear myself saying, as a Catholic to Bible-believin’ Evangelicals, “Oh, if you would only read your Bibles!”

Oh, the times they are a changin’. ;)


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