I wanted take you behind the curtain of leading a healthy, active lifestyle. But then I thought, “Where did that phrase even come from?” (You see, I’m fascinated by obscure origins of common phrases. The more obscure, the better.) My initial guess was: Ruby-slippered Dorothy and her ironic meeting with The Great & Powerful Oz. But I was wrong. “Behind the curtain” goes back further. Much further. And if we’re using a phrase in the 21st Century that has pre-Biblical roots, there’s likely a good story there.
So picture a battle. A big one. Actually, worse. Try to picture 63BC and Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus is laying siege to the entire kingdom of Judea. In order to expand Roman’s empire, The Mighty Pompey, as he likes to be called, has spent three months ceaselessly marching through quiet, mostly-defenseless villages where they practice a peculiar devotion to an unfamiliar god which they worship to the exclusion of all others. With little organized resistance, Pompey and his men have forced hundreds of thousands of people to either submit willingly to Roman rule, or fall to the Roman sword. And finally, the last scraps of resistance have all fallen back to one final temple in the sacred city of (you guessed it) Jerusalem.
It is here, where twelve thousand faithful men of Judea have fortified one last temple, that Pompey hears tale of the Kodesh Hakodashim (the Holiest Of Holies.) He learns that these men are willing to give up their lives to protect the physical embodiment of their god, who dwells in this temple, concealed in a secret chamber, only speaking to the high priest, from behind an elaborate curtain.
Historians from the times wrote that Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus did not care about the jewels and relics and treasures that had been gathered from the kingdom and was guarded in the temple. Instead, Pompey was interested in standing face to face with the magnificent deity that held such awe over its faithful that they would refuse to abandon it and they would sacrifice their own lives to defend it.
Which brings me back to the 21st century. Where two thirds of our population struggles with their weight. Seventy percent of us are on daily medications. One in ten of us are on antidepressants. And we spend more each on healthcare per person than we spend on groceries.
What if there was a Kodesh Hakodashim for good health? What if just behind a hidden curtain was your ultimate solution? Thinner waistlines. Lower blood pressures. Better nights of sleep. Less aches. Less pains. More happiness. More smiling and laughter.
Would you bypass everything else and go straight to that curtain and discover the secret for yourself?
Pompey and his soldiers killed all twelve thousand men guarding that temple. He knew the tales of curses that would befall anyone other than a high priest who entered its halls. He knew that the god inside had leveled the world with a flood. He know the god inside had drowned cities in fire. And freed the people of Judea from the tyranny of the Egyptian empire. But Pompey did not care, or did not believe those things. Instead, he marched to the inner part of the temple, to the foot of the Kodesh Hakodashim and pulled back the ornate curtain that concealed it from the world.
What do you expect to find on the other side of the curtain, today? What is standing between you and your own healthy, active lifestyle? What magnificent product or secret diet would you spend all your time and money to have for yourself?
According to the ancient historian Tacitus, when Pompey pulled back the curtain and beheld the secret of unfiltered glory of the Kodesh Hakodashim, “it contained no representation of a deity – the sanctuary was empty and the Holiest of Holies was untenanted.” It was an empty room. He did not die from any curses. Meet a god. Or receive any secrets. Pompey found nothing.
And fifteen years later, he was stabbed to death on the shores of the Nile, after being defeated in the Roman civil war, by Julias Caesar.
Behind your own curtain, is only you. And your choices.
No secret diets. No special products.
If you want to live a healthy, active lifestyle, you have to eat healthy, make positive choices, and lead an active lifestyle. Diet Coke isn’t a health food. Sitting on the sofa with Facebook in one hand and a Double Stuffed Chalupa in the other is probably not a positive choice. And binging on Netflix all weekend is not an active lifestyle.
These aren’t obscure concepts. You probably already know them.
Eat right. Choose right. Move right. Make that your Kodesh Hakodashim.
You are something worth fighting for.