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The rainbow millstone and the Bible verse at a local bar


Last year, on February 28, 2023, a concrete replica of a millstone was left in front of the CRU Wine Bar and Coffee Shop on Turner Street in Beaufort, NC. Not just any millstone, but cast into its face was the Scripture reference Luke 17:2 and it's inner and outer rims were painted in rainbow colors. 

Previous to this, CRU Wine Bar and Coffee Shop had been sponsoring a "Youth Queer Night," and openly admitted as such in the midst of the incident. But right out of the leftist playbook, they immediately shifted over to victim status, pleading the millstone was a threat to them and the LGBTQ community. Following their lead, the media joined right in, but the Beaufort Police would have no part of it. 

Taking the millstone into custody, the police claimed it was political speech, at worse, littering, and had Public Works carry it down to their facility on Hendrick Street. There it remains to this day, waiting for the owner(s) to come down and retrieve.

Direct action by Christians is rare. Obviously somebody went to a great deal of effort to plan, build and deliver this object. The impact of the message was unmistakable and it appears effort was made by the LGBTQ community to try and keep a lid on it. But what exactly did it all mean?

Rotary millstones are not mentioned much in the scriptures, however, they may be as old as agriculture itself, possibly even pre-dating the wheel! Millstones are essential for breaking down inedible grain kernels into an edible powder, flour, for making bread and cakes. In ancient times, they were so essential to the survival of a household that in Deuteronomy 24:6 the taking of a millstone pledged for a debt was prohibited. This verse indicates that taking a millstone was regarded the same as taking a human life! 

With this status, and with the relationship with human survival, one can only imagine it was a very short jump for the culture to associate the operation of a rotary millstone set with the activity that produces life itself, sex. There are more than several verses in the Bible that imply strong sexual overtones. One example is Isaiah 47:2. Here we find the operation of millstones is used as a reference to prostitution! Boy, would Mrs. Johnson blush explaining that verse to a group of Sunday morning preschoolers! 

Another reference is in 2 Samuel 11. This is a complex story, but the part we are interested in involves Joab, the commander of the Israelite army, instructing a messenger to report to King David the death of Uriah the Hittite. For those who aren't familiar, King David ordered Uriah the Hittite, a faithful warrior, killed, by placing him in a precarious position in battle. King David did this to cover up his affair with Bathsheba, Uriah's wife, who had become pregnant with David's child.

In sending the report of Uriah's death back to the king, Joab played a "what if" game with the messenger. In it, he referred to a famous incident in Israel's history, where another warrior king, King Abimelech, was mortally wounded in battle by a woman. The woman threw a millstone from the wall of a city, possibly from a hand quern, that crushed Abimelech's skull. The actual event is outlined in Judges 9. 

Joab was known for his cleverness and used this incident to instruct the messenger. He seized onto the millstone reference, tongue-in-cheek, to imply that King David's sexual escapades (the millstone) had destroyed his ability to reason (crushed his skull)!

We have to believe Jesus also understood this cultural nuance surrounding the millstone. Being a blue collar carpenter in his pre-ministry days, Jesus was likely involved with the construction, installation and commissioning of millstone facilities. The experience of helping man-handle large, unwieldy millstones into place, some of which weighed thousands of pounds, obviously left a real impression.

Jesus only had one millstone story, and it is recorded in three of the four Gospels; Matthew (18:6), Mark (9:42) and Luke (17:2). Each reference puts a slightly different twist on the exact dialog, but essentially the story is captured in Luke 17:2:
"It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble."

This one verse contains a lot of information with which we can only speculate. The actual back story is lost to the ages. However, one can't but help wonder if Jesus was referring to an actual industrial accident He either witnessed or heard about. Could it be a large millstone got away from some workers while it was being moved?

Maybe on one of the steep hills adjacent to the Sea of Galilee, the millstone entered into an uncontrolled slide! Maybe the horror of the accident was compounded further by someone suffering a desperate, hopeless, drowning death, wrapped up tow ropes and subsequently pinned to the bottom of the sea! Stranger still, the Gospel accounts present Jesus' reaction to the event as being uncharacteristically callous.

Because all three Gospels include the “drowning by millstone” story in the same context as harming children, this is strong implication the victim could have been a known child sex abuser. After all, the incident didn't have to include a millstone; tying someone to an ordinary medium-sized to small rock is more than sufficient to drown someone. 

And not unlike many of us, the idea of innocent children being abused, injured or killed, moved Jesus greatly. And for a brief moment in this passage we have a preview of the coming "Jesus the Judge." Jesus said the repugnance and abhorrence of that accidental death was "better" than what awaits such a person in eternity! 

Far from being a threat to the LGBTQ community, the Rainbow Stone is actually a loving warning that, like everyone else, they need to repent of sin, receive the work of Jesus on the Cross, and be saved from a certain fiery judgment.  

Take heed that you may be tempted to embrace the errors of this age that could be fatal to your faith!

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Nelson Paul is a full-Gospel Bible Believer, Father, Grandfather, NC Real Estate Agent, Realtor, former surfer, former environmental regulator, and a former professional wetland scientist.

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