This could be the most heartfelt thing I've ever shared on Facebook.
My "Credentials" and reasoning for standing with Palestinians, while loving EVERYONE:
As someone who has traveled the world and had the privilege of spending much quality time with Palestinian Christians and Muslims, in-person and through video and audio conversations, along with thousands of hours of combined theological and historical studies (to include much Palestinian Liberation Theology and History), I can say the following without reservation:
1. Palestinian people are among the most loving, caring, hospitable, friendly, intelligent, beautiful, articulate, educated, talented, accomplished, and family-oriented people I have ever met in my 57+ years. They are truly an amazing asset to society!
2. Palestinian Christians and Muslims (along with those with other beliefs) have a deep, brotherly love for each other, and extend that Love boundlessly beyond their own ethnicity and religions.
3. The pseudo-Palestinian ("monster/boogie man") persona is nothing more than a creation of "Israel" and the West to justify 75+ years of genocide, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and other heinous crimes against the Palestinian people, in perpetuity. Many have gone so far as to deny their very existence and humanity! So much of this world's evil is swept under the rug while "Israel", Western governments, and the media, along with large swathes of academia, and Western Evangelicals continue to paint precious Palestinians, who desire true peace with equality, freedom, and justice as sub-human. Have you heard of the Rohingyas in Myanmar? Probably not. When you watch the news, do you hear much about the persecution of Christians and Muslims in India? The genocide in Yemen? Why not? I'll tell you why! The West has little to no political or economic interests in vilifying any of those oppressed groups. However, when a very small minority of extremely overmatched Palestinians, in terms of weapons, tactical training, and finance, show the least bit of resistance against their occupiers and oppressors, it's headline news!
4. American Christians who know Palestinian Christians and those who have spent much time with them in Palestine have a much different story to tell than what we see on "the news". The same holds true for those who have firsthand accounts from friends who have spent quality time in the Holy Land with our precious Muslim Sisters and Brothers. I made the "Christian" distinction solely to appeal to my large Christian following, many of whom have yet to overcome tragically inaccurate stereotypes of Muslims.
5. MANY of my Jewish Sisters and Brothers agree with my conclusions wholeheartedly, with the exception of obvious theological differences, and came to them long before I did.
6. Palestinian Christians can trace their heritage back to the very first Jewish followers of Jesus in the FIRST CENTURY, and have a MUCH better Biblical hermeneutic than Western Christians whose Zionist theology originated in 16th century England- an overlooked convenience for the Brits who were the protagonists of the establishment of "Israel" in 1948.
7. This world is filled with a beautiful majority who long to be Loved and Love in Peace!
8. I stand in solidarity with every human being who desires to dwell in true PEACE, with equal justice for ALL.
I could type much more, but I digress for now.
I'm willing to talk or video chat with anyone who is open-minded and can't reconcile the Love of Jesus with the genocide in Gaza.
Much Love to All, and let's do all we can to demand a #ceasefire and end the mindless genocide in Gaza! ALL lives are precious!
PART OF THE U.S. MILITARY OATH BELOW...
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC; that I will bear true faith (???) and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed ...
"TRUE FAITH"? "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Constitution of the United States"??? I digress.
In short, Joe Biden (or the next president- who may or may not be in serious cognitive decline) could declare your family "enemies", and you're bound by oath to kill them on command, if "necessary". You're also bound to murder precious "foreign" people, created in God's Image, at the whim of the military-industrial complex, big banks, foreign entities who greatly influence U.S. politics, lobbyists, presidents, and congress.
Wait! It gets worse. You're also a puppet under the command of anyone who is serving as an "appointed officer" OVER you. That includes bloodthirsty, young people with less than fully developed brains.
Please don't sign a blank check to be any warmongering psychopath's young hitperson or a cannon fodder puppet.
Plenty of politicians are already painting 50% of the country as ENEMIES. Think about that.
The game is OVER when enough truly brave heroes say, "NO"!
Blessed are the Peacemakers!
I'm encouraged to be witnessing widespread, corporate metanoia (A change of mind that's causing many to think, speak, and act more and more like Jesus) like never before.
Regardless of how often the message of Apokatastasis is repeated, no one else can live or share it exactly where you can, how you can, or with whom you can.
It may seem like lots of people incessantly rubbing the same two sticks together, but I believe that it's the beginning of Love's Fire setting the earth ablaze with beauty, glory, and peace!
Truth is burning away the lies of a "savior" with a worse saving percentage than any NHL goalie in history, an abusive, unfit, vindictive, deadbeat, Ares and Molech-like "dad", and a fickle "comforter" who shows up when the conditions are perfect, gives special folks a superiority complex, and spends much of his time shaming the majority of Earth's population- constantly reminding them that they are unfit, unworthy "worms" who are crawling on thin ice.
Just sharing it as I see it.
Love & Peace!
There are famous "Christian" preachers who adhere to the twisted doctrine that all babies are born "totally depraved".
They major on "Original Sin" while ignoring "Original, Image-Bearing Beauty"!
God help us all if we fail to see His beauty, goodness, and Love functioning through every Atheist mother nursing her newborn, every Muslim brother providing for his family, every Jewish father tossing a ball with his son, every Hindu daughter caring for her elderly mother, every Buddhist mom preparing a meal for her family, every dog snuggling with his/her human, every living creature, and nature itself.
That's not Pantheism. That's Panentheism.
The former is the belief that everything is God.
The latter is the belief that God is in all things, but also transcends them.
He either "upholds all things by the Word of His Power" (Heb. 1:3), and "by Him all things consist" (Col. 1:17) or He doesn't, and they don't.
I said what I said.
Peace & Love!
I have recently viewed an abundance of social media posts regarding men's opinions of women in various states of dress or undress. Here are my two cents.
I've seen everything from Burqas in Bahrain to full nudity in a remote Ugandan village, and everything in between. In both extremes of the cultural pendulum, I was at the mercy of the societal norm but didn't find myself in a state of anger or lust.
While men can be triggered by what a woman is or isn't wearing, it ultimately boils down to what's in his heart. I can tell you this much. When you humanize people instead of objectifying them, lust quickly finds the exit door.
I have a happily married, heterosexual male friend who is a gynecologist. He laughs when people ask if he gets aroused by his patients. It's just not a common occurrence.
We're in a sad place when scantily clad bodies bother us more than oppressed bodies and dead bodies. It's also sad that nudity and sex are automatically conflated with intimacy in a technologically saavy generation that seriously lacks real-life, interpersonal communications skills.
I've met women in churches who behaved provocatively, and ladies in bikinis (and less) who didn't. I've also encountered more promiscuity among males and females in extremely puritanical Christian cultures than their freer counterparts.
I'm against men dictating how women dress, but I'm all for maintaining love and respect for people and honoring their cultural norms, regardless of how they're dressed.
This is simply THIS married Christian male's perspective.
I speak for no one else, but I do speak from experience.
Peace & Love!
Why do you read the Quran?
I read the Quran to connect, but never to argue, with my Muslim friends. I look for common threads in our beliefs which build bridges, promote peace, and provide opportunities to love and serve humanity.
Aren't you afraid that it will shake your faith?
Any faith that's afraid to be shaken isn't worth having.
One can be secure in Jesus, unapologetically Christian, and learn some wonderful things from books that others hold sacred.
How do you read the Quran?
I read it with extreme caution and humility!
After years of formal theological training and over three decades of intensive study of Christian Scriptures, my theological understanding continues to grow. The more I learn, the more I realize that there's so much more to know about Jesus and the history, culture, literary styles, and linguistics of the Bible. l'm a life-long learner who continues to discover the unfathomable depths of God's Love and my part in "fleshing it out". That process has most certainly involved embracing newly discovered Truths while "unlearning" things I once tightly embraced as sacrosanct.
If I'm still learning the Bible, through the lens of Jesus Christ (The Perfect Logos), after all these years, what would make me think I could master the Quran and use it as a "GOTCHA!" tool to debate my Muslim friends?
I have virtually zero understanding of Arabic, and English most always finds a way to dumb down any language! If that holds true with Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, what would possess me to feign expertise in an English text that was translated from a highly sophisticated language as Arabic?
It's not just the Arabic language that I don't understand. My knowledge of Arab culture, history, original audience relevance, literary styles, metaphors, hyperbole, and so many other factors are severely lacking.
Do I have any business cherry picking passages from the Quran to use as "Gotcha" arguments against my Muslim friends? NO! That would be the height of stupidity and arrogance. Enough with the Sean Hannity hermeneutics!
What's the bottom line?
I'm glad you asked! The wisest counsel that I can offer would be to approach writings that others consider sacred with extreme humility, caution, and LOVE. Asking questions in the right spirit is fine, and building bridges through common beliefs is commendable. It is possible to share what we believe without attacking other people's texts or foolishly attempting to use their own sacred writings as cudgels against them.
Every one of us brings our own level of reading comprehension, understanding, beliefs, and prejudices to any text we read- from The Wall Street Journal to the most sacred of texts.
For all the aforementioned reasons and more, I find it much better to ask someone who believes a text what it means to them instead of being quick to give them "a piece of my mind" regarding something I know so little about.
Too many professing Christians beat each other up with the Bible.
If we have different beliefs about our own Sacred Text, LOTS of us must be wrong about AN ABUNDANCE of things. If we're at least partially wrong in our knowledge of the Bible, what makes us think we can wield the Quran with the slightest bit of precision?
Regardless of how much we might know about someone's beliefs, attacking them with texts that they deem holy most likely won't result in a new friendship or a brother or sister who is converted to our way of thinking.
What would happen if we showed people what we believe through our lives, used words when necessary, and stopped telling them what they believe based on our extremely poor understanding, judgments, parroted talking points, and stereotypes?
Are we asking in order to learn, or are we simply crafting questions to gain points on the scoreboards of our religious pride?
What would happen if we crafted our questions like friends instead of prosecuting attorneys? What if we could walk away from a disagreement, loving the other person more than we did before the conversation began? It's my firm belief that more true friendships would be formed, resulting in a better world.
Love & Peace!
What is Theology?
Here's the basic definition- The study of God, the nature of God, and God's relation to the world.
Why does it matter?
What we believe about our Creator determines what we believe about ourselves and mankind as God's Image-bearers. If we believe our Father is a spiteful, schizophrenic, hothead Who is out to get us and punish most of us in eternal, conscious torment for trillions of years times INFINITY for 13-120 years of sins, it's no wonder that plenty of people really don't like Him and each other; and actually revel in the notion of their neighbors suffering indescribable horrors for eternity.
Genocidal people quite often believe in a genocidal deity. Religious Misogynists believe in a god who thinks little of women. Warmongers so often believe in a god of war, death, and destruction. Throughout history, racism has reared its ugly head as the fruit of belief in a god who practices extreme favoritism and created one group of people greater than some or all others. A belief in that sort of "god" is an evil catalyst for ethnic cleansing, slavery, apartheid, and all manner of wickedness. If we believe horrible things about God while believing that we bear His Image, it's no wonder that "Lady Gaga" theology has swept the earth and multitudes are singing, "I was born this way!". Pseudo-gods make great scapegoats for all manner of twisted human behavior.
Conversely, if we truly believe that God is Love, and infinitely more caring, merciful, kind, compassionate, and perfect than us, we'll think much more of Him, ourselves, and our neighbors; regardless of how much His Image may be marred through us and them.
"I don't need Theology. All I need is the Holy Spirit and a Bible!"
Well, congratulations! You've just made a theological statement, declaring that you believe in the third Person of the Trinity and your relationship with Him, along with having a strong respect for your understanding of all things "Bible".
It's my earnest conviction that we all need a personal theology which allows for spiritual and intellectual growth, experimentation, and "works in the dirt". Why does it have to be "personal"? I'm so glad you asked! Simply put, we can only live by what has been made real to us, not grandma, a "pastor", a Christian celebrity, or anyone else. I'm going to go out on an additional limb and dare to say that grandma, "the pastor", and Christian celebrities still have eons before they get beyond the surface of God's Love and Beauty, revealed through Jesus Christ, Who lives in our hearts, yet the universe can't contain. Here's something even more scandalous. Grandmas, pastors, and Christian celebrities can sometimes be WRONG. This is why we need a personal theology which is being formed through a personal relationship with ABBA. Human input is extremely important, because God reveals Himself through people. Nevertheless, if it isn't personal, it's not going to empower, sustain, and enlarge us from faith to faith and glory to glory. It's impossible to receive and give LOVE we don't believe we were created to personify.
Image? What's the big deal?
In Genesis 1:26-27, the Bible says,
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our IMAGE, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” And God created man in His own IMAGE, in the IMAGE of God He created him; male and female He created them.
As you've just read, IMAGE is very important to God. If we're not seeing Him right (with His perfect Male AND FEMALE ATTRIBUTES), we most certainly won't be viewing ourselves and our neighbors through the correct lens. The better we see Him, the better we'll see ourselves and our neighbors!
Why did God begin the Ten Commandments with a strong message about IMAGE?
Exodus 20:1-4 says,
Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
Here, the Perfect Image (Father, Son, & Spirit), in which we were created, issued a stark warning about other IMAGES/idols. Why? Because He doesn't want us beholding, becoming, and behaving like anything less than the Masterpieces He created us to be! Have you ever walked out of an action movie, ready to knock a bad guy's block off or walked out of a "Rom Com" ready to capture your "prince's" heart? Images are powerful! If you can relate, I'm going to suggest that there are much better things in store for us all, as we behold JESUS, Who, alone, is the Brightness of our Father's Glory and the express IMAGE of His Person! See Hebrews 1:1-3.
In John 14:9, Jesus said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father."
No one else could or can lay hold of that claim 100%! Not Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, or any other prophets. NO ONE! IMAGE is SO IMPORTANT, and JESUS ALONE is the Perfect Image and the Perfect Human- GOD INCARNATE! The more we see HIM, the more we see what ABBA looks like, along with the Image to which we are being, and shall be, conformed.
What do His image-bearers look like?
I submit that meditating on the following two passages would be a good start in answering that question.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
1 And when He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 And opening His mouth He began to teach them, saying, 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. 12 “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
That's sounds difficult! How in the world can that be achieved?
For starters, that's not about what you or I need to do in order to look like our indwelling, all-encompassing, ever-present Father Who is Love! That's what folks look like when they see their TRUE SELVES in JESUS, Who is God's Perfect Image and Logic (Logos), and simply yield to His Perfection within!
This present world can be likened to a mirror house at a carnival. If you don't know what that is, just picture a large room filled mirrors that purposely distort and disfigure who you truly are whenever you gaze into them.
Check out what the following passages have to say about the perfect Mirror.
"For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.
2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The "Word", "Mirror", and "Glass" described in these passage refer to Jesus, Who alone is the Perfect Logic/Logos of God, the Brightness of His Glory, and the express IMAGE of His Person. When we gaze upon Jesus, we behold our truest DNA, who we are in Him, and the endless Love available to ourselves and all mankind! The seeing reveals who we already are, through the finished work of Christ, and enables us to think, speak, act, and be experientially restored into the normal humans we were created to be.
In a way, we are like live motion picture cameras. What we focus on is what we project. That's why false images are such an abomination to God. Our Father, Who is LOVE, wants us to see ourselves as He sees us! His desire is for us to behold and become who we already are!
Ephesians 3:20-21 says,
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or IMAGINE, according to the power that works in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Imagining requires Imagination, which requires the perfect IMAGE/ICON.
That IMAGE is JESUS!
Hebrews 12:1-2 says,
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, LOOKING UNTO JESUS the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
What's going to bring the great cloud of witnesses (all who have gone on before us) delight? A people who are laser-focused on JESUS! What stops sin (mistaken human identity and its corresponding actions) in its tracks? You guessed it! Focusing on JESUS.
Matthew 22:15-22 is a very interesting passage. Check this out!
Then the Pharisees went and counseled together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. “Tell us therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? “Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” And hearing this, they marveled, and leaving Him, they went away.
Here's the crux of the matter. Give Caesar the coin that bears his image, and give GOD what bears His Image- YOU, as seen in the magnificence of Christ!
Peace and Love!
As a fairly well decorated, honorably discharged, United States Marine Corps veteran who has studied history, seen the effects of war, and grown spiritually and intellectually throughout my fifty-six years on this planet, it is my strong belief that there are no greater heroes than conscientious objectors.
That’s right. I believe it takes far more spiritual backbone, intellectual acumen, and moral courage to say, “NO!” to military service than it does to enlist in the armed forces or submit to being drafted. If we want world peace, we must teach future generations to say, “No!” and “Hell No!”!
Read these words from the late Muhammad Ali. “My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America,” he had explained two years earlier. “And shoot them for what? They never called me (the “N” word), they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”
Ali’s words ring much truer and morally sound than the words of any commercial, movie, or military recruiter that I encountered in the early ‘80s. Why should these recruiters have unfettered access to young, extremely impressionable, under-developed, and often troubled, teen-aged minds?
From birth, boys and girls are perpetually bombarded with propaganda that glorifies war and violence. There are few televised sporting events where the military-industrial-complex isn’t strongly glorifying militarism. I find it ironic and laughable when I hear people say, “Keep politics out of sports!” while they feast on gluttonous portions of politically charged nationalism and militarism before, during, and after every single televised National Football League game. The fact of the matter is, I’d much rather watch a Black guy kneel for something he truly believes during the National Anthem than listen to young people being bombarded with messages encouraging them to kill children, women, and men overseas for the sake of big oil, the military-industrial-complex, and a bunch of Congressional beta-males who benefit greatly from the blood of our sisters and brothers, at home and abroad.
When I joined the USMC, knowledge of Marine Corps “History” was a non-negotiable imperative. One of the most highly venerated Marine Corps heroes we learned about was Major General Smedley D. Butler. There’s even a base named after him in Okinawa.
Here’s a sample of what they left out about Smedley D. Butler:
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.” ― Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket
You might say, “But, Joe, I can understand how you feel about wars like Vietnam and Iraq, but what about WWII?” That’s a great question. My answer is that those conflicts could have been avoided if greedy U.S. bankers and manufacturers hadn’t funded and supplied Hitler in the first place. As with most wars, if you follow the money and hunger for political power, you’ll see where the dam broke, allowing the forces of evil to flood the earth. You’ll also find plenty of opportunities, throughout history, where the masses could have peacefully risen in opposition and said, “NO!”. I’m deeply convinced that “NO!” is one of the most powerful words in the human vocabulary.
I’m also a follower of Jesus, not Ares, Rambo, Darth Vader, George W. Bush, Joe Biden, or Conan the Barbarian.
Vladamir Putin recently quoted John 15:13- “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Wow! Did that ever grind some people’s gears! How dare he twist the words of Jesus!
Are you angry with Putin? Sadly, Americans quoted the same passage while mourning the loss of their countrymen who slaughtered innocent Iraqis.
It’s not an Orthodox, Christian custom to attribute militarism, war, violence, apartheid, intimidation tactics, and oppression to Jesus, The PRINCE OF PEACE, but it is a mainstay of “American” culture which needs to be abolished!
If you have served in the armed forces, God Loves You, and so do I! I’m Pro-People, but Anti-War.
Many of you will have very serious questions and objections. That's understandable.
I welcome them, as I most likely shared your points of view at an earlier time in life.
I'm at a place in life where I would prefer to be killed than to kill. I also believe that there's always a "third way" which is greater and more effective than militarism and passivist inaction. Perhaps, I'll touch on that soon.
For all who are interested, I highly recommend Walter Wink's masterpiece: "Jesus and Non-Violence, A Third Way".
I plan to write much more on this topic soon. I’m also compelled to Love those who hate this brief article as much as those who will praise it. That’s the Jesus Way!
Love & Peace!
Does that sound “Pie in the Sky” to you? It would have to me, decades ago, but my theology has changed and my heart screams a resounding, “Yes, it is possible and inevitable!”.
Am I pushing this belief on everyone? No, after fifty-six years of life and over three decades of Christian ministry in the United States and abroad, I’m past that. I truly believe that world peace is inevitable, and I’m not ashamed to share that.
Do I hope that expressing my beliefs will change hearts and minds, and make the world a better place? Yes, but I also understand that my voice is but a drop in the waterfall of those who share the same hope. It is my belief that, together, by God’s Grace, a river of Peace will indeed flood the whole earth. I may not witness it in this mortal body, but I trust that I’ll eventually see it with the “great cloud of witnesses” who are unseen, yet ever-present.
How have I come to such an insanely hopeful conclusion? Jesus! Yes, Jesus!
It is my earnest belief that Peace isn’t simply a feeling of calmness or the absence of conflict.
Peace is a Person. Peace is God Incarnate. Peace upholds all things by the Word of His Power.
Peace is Jesus!
Ephesians 2:14 tells us that “He (Jesus)is our Peace”! That Greek word used for “Peace” in that passage is “Eirene”, and it means “to set at one again”! Has He already made us all one with the triune Godhead and each other? Absolutely! Has the collective, human mindset received this Truth with a corresponding Love that changes the world? Obviously not, but He’s not through with us!
Isaiah 9:6-7 tell us, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and Peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
When did this Peace take root on Earth? When Jesus (God-Incarnate) was born in Bethlehem! Has His government and Peace been fully established? Obviously not.
Will there be an end to the INCREASE of His government and Peace? The prophet Isaiah obviously didn’t believe so, and I agree with him!
There are so many passages of Scripture telling us that His Kingdom (of Love and Peace) has come, is coming, and shall come. Isn’t Jesus the one Who taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth (the visible realm) as it is in heaven (the invisible realm).”?
I simply can’t buy into any theology where “The Earth is the Lords” but hatred, division, evil, and war win! If those things are greater than Him, the prince of darkness is greater than The Prince of Peace- but he’s not!
You might say, “But, Joe, Jesus said in Matthew 24:6 that there would be “wars and rumors of wars”! That’s right! He did! However, those who don’t understand the importance of context and original audience relevance have a terrible habit of superimposing their fatalistic “War Beliefs” onto current events and future prognostications. Jesus was prophesying about wars and rumors of wars that would take place in the First Century, prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and "THE END" of the Old Covenant System with its temple, Levitical priesthood, sacrifices, etc.. His Words in Matthew 24 were directed to that generation, and He proclaimed that they would be fulfilled in THAT GENERATION. See Matthew 24:34- “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” History and sane hermeneutics bear this out.
For in-depth teachings on “Matthew 24 Fulfilled”, you can access my YouTube channel and podcast on the homepage of internationalpeacenetwork.org.
I also plan to write MUCH more on this topic, because much of the church has had far too much involvement in perpetuating war, genocide, apartheid, and innumerable atrocities through their erroneous belief that “prophecy is being fulfilled” and they’ll be “raptured” before The Prince of Peace destroys the earth. I can understand such logic from disciples of Ares, but I expect much more from followers of The Prince of Peace, Who is restoring Earth for the meek to inherit.
Love & Peace!
Theologian, Peacemaker, & Lover of All God's Children