Beliefnet
Is it the End of the World?

Television is still good for something, and recently I watched an offering from Netflix: “The Eichmann Show.” Based on a true story—the trial of the SS beast Adolf Eichmann, tasked with a key role in implementing the Nazis’ “final solution” to murder Europe’s Jews—the 2015 movie was exactly like the trial itself: you couldn’t stop watching.

Martin Freeman (British version of “The Office” and Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit film trilogy) delivers a bravura performance as American television producer Milton Fruchtman. Anthony LaPaglia, as blacklisted film director Leo Hurwitz, is equally brilliant. Vaidotas Martinaitis, as Eichmann, is as chilling as one would expect from such a role.

Eichmann in Jerusalem (courtesy of Israel Government)

Eichmann in Jerusalem (courtesy of Israel Government)

The real Eichmann, a lieutenant colonel in the SS, was responsible for the deportation of Jews to extermination camps. He fled Germany at the end of World War 2, like many top-ranked Nazis, and found his way to Austria, and then South America. In Argentina in 1960, a famous Mossad operation ended his freedom and Eichmann was taken to Israel. His subsequent trial and 1962 execution by hanging brought the horrors of the Holocaust to global consciousness. Fruchtman’s hiring of Hurwitz to film the Eichmann trial forced viewers not to look away.

Behind bulletproof glass, Eichmann sat impassively day after day, with his lips slightly twisted. Hannah Arendt, who wrote Eichmann in Jerusalem, coined the famous phrase, “the banality of evil,” in describing Eichmann’s demeanor during the trial, which included footage of the camps.

A fascinating subplot of “The Eichmann Show” was the inability of Hurwitz to understand Eichmann. His near-obsession with turning the cameras on the SS beast led to clashes with Fruchtman. Hurwitz, as many people do, seemed not to understand that humans choose evil and practice it as the devil intended. Eichmann was a fiend, and it’s as simple as that.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inspects items related to Eichmann's trial (courtesy of Israel Government)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inspects items related to Eichmann’s trial (courtesy of the Israel Government)

A 1938 letter from Eichmann to a colleague reveals some of his loathing of Jews. In the letter, he is discussing issues related to his recent role in taking control of Jewish life in Austria:

Tomorrow I will again check on the offices of the Jewish Community and the Zionists. I do that at least once every week. They are completely in my hands here, they dare not take a step without checking with me first. That is the way it should be, because it gives better possibilities of control. We can save ourselves the creation of a fourth Jewish roof-organization similar to the Hilfsverein. I have instructed the Jewish Community to establish a central emigration office within the Community for all countries apart from Palestine. The preparatory work for this has already been set in motion. Just in quite basic lines the situation is now as follows: according to the Decree, Gauleiter Buerckel will deal with Aryanization, Jews in the economy, etc. The far more difficult business of getting the Jews to emigrate is the task of the SD. Now that the Jewish Community and the Jewish Association in Austria have been reorganized, their work is also aimed at emigration. I hope that with this I have put you in the picture again briefly….

Regards to all the comrades on II 112, your old Adolf.

The letter was sent to Herbert Hagen, Eichmann’s colleague in the Gestapo Department of Jewish Affairs.

That Eichmann was tried and convicted and sentenced in Jerusalem, by an Israeli court, is sublime and reveals, I think, God at work in the world. We often cannot understand how and why evil operates, but it seems hardly coincidental that a character like Eichmann would attempt to destroy whole communities of Jews, but end up being hanged in Israel! It is an echo from the Bible’s book of Esther, with Haman playing the Eichmann role, as it were.

In any event, director Paul Andrew Williams and his terrific cast make “The Eichmann Show” a must-see. They depict an important worldview: humans can be evil, and we are responsible for our actions.

Sometimes we think we have problems. But we don’t have problems.

Of late, I am reflecting over things in my life. Some feel like large obstacles, and some are God’s pure joy showing up in unexpected moments. And if you watch and listen in life, you see things from a better perspective.

As I focused on myself this week, in the evenings, where I sit on my secluded, quiet, peaceful five acres in the country, it occurred to me that thousands of people in south Texas have lost everything. Many will never recover their homes.

I do not live in an area that is flooded from killer hurricanes. For God’s own purposes, I am blessed beyond measure.

God teaches us things.
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Today, I watched Oklahoma play its opening game at Norman. The announcers made an interesting observation about OU quarterback Baker Mayfield. They said that he creates order out of chaos. In other words, if a play is beginning badly, he makes something good from it. He chooses to fight through the challenge. He wills himself and his teammates through the adversity of the moment.

And he is successful.

So tonight is a quiet evening. And I am thinking of the people in Texas who have real problems, but are fighting through the adversity, creating order out of chaos. Thinking of others. Coming together.

Check yourself. If you don’t have real problems at the moment, realize that and think of others. Find a way to help others. Pray for them. Help with disaster relief. Or you might have a next-door neighbor, not besieged by an historic hurricane, but who needs to hear a friendly voice. Being aware of others is the key.

Create order out of chaos.

Thinking on a quiet evening.

Today marks the Jewish day commemorating the destruction of the two Jewish temples in antiquity; the first by the Babylonians in the sixth-century B.C. The Romans repeated this destruction in Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Tisha B’Av (“The 9th of Av”) is a solemn day for Jews, especially in Israel.

Evidence of the Babylonian destruction, Jerusalem's Old City

Evidence of the Babylonian destruction, Jerusalem’s Old City

The recent violence unleashed by the Palestinians on the Temple Mount makes this year perhaps even more poignant.

In antiquity, the so-called Solomon’s Temple (built during the reign of King Solomon) was ornate in the extreme. Later, “Herod’s Temple” restored the holy site as one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Roman-era ruins in the Jewish Quarter

Roman-era ruins in the Jewish Quarter

Today, visitors can see the destruction from both events.

And we look ahead to the day when Jerusalem will be a place of blessing for the whole world.

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I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. (Joel 3:2)

I disagree with Ed Stetzer about many things, but to list them here, now, would take away from the power of what he tweeted last night.

Stetzer, senior fellow at Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center, is a leading voice among evangelicals today. Few have networked as extensively as Stetzer.
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As the death cult in Palestinian society continues to slaughter Jews in Israel, the silence from American evangelical leaders grows. Granted, their first priority should be shepherding their flocks and advancing the Gospel. Yet in bygone days, their voices in support of Israel were important.

Today, the most famous Christian celebrities sanitize Israel from their conversations and proclamations. At best. Often, they criticize the Jewish state, and in so doing join the Spirit of the Age.

Stetzer, however, tweeted last night that the terrorism being unleashed in connection with the Temple Mount is not acceptable. It’s an important statement, and one he should be commended for making.

The anti-Semitic UN monitors Israeli activity from Jerusalem's Old City.

The anti-Semitic UN monitors Israeli activity from Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Bible says that God will judge the gentiles for the way they treated His people, the Jews.

I’m not at all sure today’s evangelical leadership believes that.