Sunday, August 23, 2009

From Blood-thirsty Vampires to the Blood of Jesus?

Vampires. Otherworldly beings. The occult. A plunge into the world of evil. Growing up, that’s how I had always heard Anne Rice depicted by Christians. She was someone whose writings I should avoid. Then in 2005, Anne Rice surprised the world. A renowned atheist for years, she returned to her Catholic faith. And her newly changed heart for Jesus burst upon the scene not just in name only. Since that time, Rice has devoted her writing gift to God, intensely researching and writing two Christ the Lord novels.

This past week, I was compelled to read her 2008 memoir, Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession in which she maps her transition from a child growing up in the Catholic faith to an adult claiming atheism and intellectual humanis to a life now as a born-again Christian.

I was curious. What caused this woman who had abandoned her faith for years to finally return to Jesus?

Her answer surprised me.

Rice writes, “The more I read of history—any history—the more my atheism became shaky…In particular, the survival of the Jews…was talking to me about God. I was seeing patterns in history that I could not account for according to the theories of history I’d inherited in school. I was seeing something in the survival of the Jews in particular for which there was no convincing sociological or economic explanation at all. A great love of the Jewish people began to burn in me, a love of this tribe that had survived since the most ancient times into the present day…If any one ‘thing’ in all my studies led me back to Christ, it was His people, the Jews” (148).

And the history of the Jews’ survival throughout the centuries does defy logic?

It is a history filled with capture, deportation, wars, and a 70-year exile. It is a history rich with national leaders intent on eradicating the Jews. And it is a history of God keeping His covenant promise to Abraham.

Consider just these three examples:

1. After 70 years in Babylonian captivity, many Jews still retained a national consciousness. Then, Cyrus the Great captured Babylon and initiated a profoundly different attitude towards captured nations. As had been prophesied 150 years earlier in Isaiah 44:28, Cyrus allowed the captive Jews to return to Jerusalem and reinstitute temple worship: “It is I who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire' And he declares of Jerusalem, 'She will be built,' And of the temple, 'Your foundation will be laid.” God was at work.

2. Our history books speak of Hitler and his genocide of the Jews, so most of us know that part of the Jews’ struggle to survive. But what those books don’t speak of is an earlier Hitler named Antiochus IV Epiphanes, nicknamed “the Madman. He began persecuting the Jews in 170 BC, reportedly slaughtering “eighty thousand men, women, boys, girls, even infants” during his attack upon Jerusalem. He assassinated the high priest Onias III, looted the Temple, “cruelly persecuted the pious Jews who wished to observe their religious laws and customs” and erected an altar to Zeus in the temple. (Miller, New American Commentary, 226). Antiochus IV meted out this torture for eleven years in an attempt to transform the Jews into Greeks. And still, the Jews and their culture, their God survived.

3. Later, in the book of Esther, the Jews were in danger of being eradicated again, this time because the evil Haman convinced King Xerxes to sign a law making Jewish genocide legal: “to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to seize their possessions as plunder” (3:13). And yet, God saved His people.

Time and time again, Anne Rice saw in Jewish history what I see, too—proof of God. There can be no other explanation.

The prophet Ezekiel explained why God has protected and will continue to protect the Jewish nation: “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name….Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land…You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God" (Ez. 36:22-24).

It’s all about His name. God is speaking through a Jewish history that defies explanation. Listen.


  1. Thanks for the post. See you there!

  2. Jennifer, you have written such a beautiful, inspiring post (as always).

    I have been interested in Anne Rice's conversion experience. So, thank you for sharing about her.

    And what an amazing testimony. Yes, God is real!!! So real!!!

    And you are right. Everything is about His name!

    Blessings to you and your family today. I love and appreciate you.