Back in February of 2015, news agencies from around the world reported about how ISIS was destroying priceless statues and artifacts from the ancient, Assyrian world. Historians watched in horror as that era’s past was being reduced to crumbled piles of dust.
It’s not uncommon (historically) for warring parties to attempt to wipe out their enemy’s heritage by pillaging their treasures, and by destroying and tearing down their memorials. Similar things were described in the Old Testament when the King of the Chaldeans destroyed Jerusalem around 586 BC…
2 Chronicles 36:18-19 (HCSB)
“He took everything to Babylon — all the articles of God’s temple, large and small, the treasures of the Lord’s temple, and the treasures of the king and his officials. Then the Chaldeans burned God’s temple. They tore down Jerusalem’s wall, burned down all its palaces, and destroyed all its valuable articles.”
Usually, enemy combatants not only desire to completely obliterate their enemies, but they also usually want to make it as though their enemies had never even existed in the first place. Making your enemies disappear completely is the ultimate victory. Making their history go away is key in making that goal a reality.
Recently, we have seen a similar scenario happening right here in America. Statues and monuments are now either being scrutinized, removed, or vandalized due to the controversial nature of what they represent to certain people. To get rid of these things is an attempt to completely erase all that they represent. (The above photo of the dismantling of a statue of Confederate General, Robert E. Lee, in New Orleans is an example.) For those who oppose this movement, their concern is that history will not be preserved if these things do not remain.
I understand the concerns on both sides. It’s a sensitive issue.
Primary History vs Secondary History
Whichever side you (Christian) fall in this controversy, we must remember that our worldly legacies are secondary to the primary legacy we now have in Christ. In other words, as sensitive as we each may be with regards to our personal history and lineage, such is not as important as the history which is found in the pages of scripture. Biblical history, or what I would call primary history, transcends world history, or what I would call secondary history. Primary history is the only history which really matters.
Why do I say this?
Because this life is just a temporary existence.
Look at what the psalmist reminds us of (that this life is but a vapor)…
Psalms 39:5-6 (HCSB)
“You, indeed, have made my days short in length, and my life span as nothing in Your sight.
Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor. Selah
Certainly, man walks about like a mere shadow.
Indeed, they frantically rush around in vain,
without knowing who will get them.”
A little later, the reader is then again reminded that…
Psalms 39:11b (HCSB)
“…every man is only a vapor. Selah”
James also touches upon this reality in his epistle…
James 4:14b (HCSB)
“…For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.”
The point is not that we do not matter. No, the point here is that much of the things which we concern ourselves with or sometimes take to seriously… do not matter. In other words, what really matters is our Biblical heritage or primary history, not our secondary, worldly legacy.
We must remember that it is our heritage in Christ which matters most…
Psalms 61:5b (HCSB)
“…You have given a heritage
to those who fear Your name.”
Godspeed, to the brethren!