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Plan to Display Digital Recreations of Palmyra Arch in London and New York Prompts End-Times Fears

From Charisma News:

A Gateway Could Be Opened When the Temple of Baal Is Erected in Times Square

In April, part of the Temple of Baal that stood in Palmyra, Syria, will be reconstructed in Times Square in New York City and in Trafalgar Square in London.

…The Institute of Digital Archaeology is the organization behind this effort, and the display of these two arches is intended to be the highlight of UNESCO’s World Heritage Week late next month.

…So could it be possible that we will be unknowingly setting up a gate or a portal of some sort in Times Square?

The author, a certain Michael Snyder, makes a link between Marduk – the deity worshipped at Palmyra as “Baal” – the Hebrew Bible’s Nimrod, and the New Testament’s Antichrist, and he suggests that the arch may be “opening up gateways and portals that are extremely dangerous and that we simply do not understand”. Snyder’s take on the arch owes more to science fiction than to evangelicalism (he even mentions Stargate), but, as I’ve noted before, there is a certain amount of overlap on the fringes.

Meanwhile, the project has been noted darkly by Jonathan Cahn, whose purported ability to discern signs of the “end times” has taken him to the top of the best-seller lists in the USA, and there is also a petition to “EVICT Baal from NYC“. Its author or authors (“Concerned Americans”) object on principle, rather than because of a specific belief that a supernatural irruption will follow:

We, the undersigned, appeal to the honorable Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City to immediately disallow the erection of the tower of Baal replica to be erected in Times Sqaure during the month of April, 2016 as part of “World Heritage Week”.

We recognize that this monument represents past a past culture of child sacrifice and sexual perversion and that creating a replica in our nation’s greatest city is in direct conflict with the values and morals of our great nation…

In fact, evidence of child sacrifice in ancient Ugaritic culture is scant (despite Biblical polemics), and it is doubtful that it ever occurred at the structure in Palmyra, which was built late during the classical period. Someone on Facebook has suggested a petition to send to Boris Johnson, but they don’t seem to got very far with it.

According to the Institute of Digital Archaeology, the project

…seeks to provide an optimistic and constructive response to the ongoing threats to history and heritage that have captured headlines over the past year  Our aim is to highlight the potential for the triumph of human ingenuity over violence by offering innovative, technology-driven options for the stewardship of objects and architecture from our shared past.

Nice sentiment – but apparently ISIS aren’t the only group to find cultural heritage an objectionable concept.

This reaction is not a big surprise, though: a few years ago an announcement of US funding to protect the archaeological site at Babylon prompted a similar hysteria, while evangelical antipathy to the existence of the seventh-century Dome of the Rock is well-documented.