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Doc's last essay


They buried me here today.

More correctly, they inurned my ashes in a niche in this strikingly beautiful columbarium, Shiloh on the Heights, guarded by that venerable old Prayer Oak. Doc and The Fox soon to rejoin in Niche 10. Eight ounces of ashes–are these the seventy-two years of my life? It’s not a question for historians; rather, for philosophers and theologians.

Interesting word, “Shiloh.” First used as the place name for a tiny Israelite outlier, which in the days of Joshua, hosted the old desert Cathedral. And later in the most transparent charade of Israelite history, the “abduction” of four hundred virgins from Jabesh Gilead “eloping” from a community dance at Shiloh (Judges 21). Serious business but for its hilarious absurdity.

Around the globe the word “Shiloh” conjures mystical notions, but in biblical Genesis it translates as a simple, insignificant phrase, “to whom it belongs,” nothing more than a common acknowledgement of ownership. Genesis 49 poeticizes the blessings of Jacob for each of his sons, but reserves for Judah two cryptic messianic promises (Genesis 49:10). That largest of the twelve tribes would remain dominant until someone comes, whose very arrival would end Judah’s hegemony, a prophecy horrifically fulfilled in 70 AD. Within one generation of the Saviour’s deadly calvary coronation, Legionnaires ended Judah’s often troubled, anarchic existence. The prophecies were not only about the timing of Messiah’s arrival; they were prophecies of universal sovereignty, that the authority behind scepter and staff had been waiting, disguised in Judah, until he came “to whom it belongs,” Messiah Himself.

Prophesy aside, “Shiloh” has rightly become a popular name for cemeteries. Who has not passed under a wrought iron “Shiloh” arch bidding welcome to all Believers. True, especially for Believers who recognize themselves as scepters and staffs from every generation, waiting to be lifted by Messiah’s pierced hand.

All true Believers who rest on these Heights belong to Shiloh. Here is fealty. Jacob prayed regarding the Messiah, “to him belongs the obedience of the peoples.”

What is this remaining obedience? While in the world of time, the commands were two: “Love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind,” and the second was like unto it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And now only one commandment remains for the Shilohs all around the world, even as from this Shiloh on the Heights: “Sons and Daughters, Come forth!”

I’m glad they buried me here today.