These are sad days we are living in. You have ISIS (The Islamic State) torturing people in some of the sickest ways. This group is responsible for the rape and ownership of girls as young as ten years old. They even buy, sell, and give these young girls and women away as gifts.
ISIS has cut off people’s heads in public with – what looks like – dull knives. I have seen many of these videos and I’ll never get the screams out of my head. I didn’t watch these videos for some morbid curiosity. I did it to understand what we are up against. I would encourage you to do the same. Do this and you’ll never trivialize it as something happening “over there” in another country again. You need a true frame of reference. This group has contests on Twitter asking for creative ways to torture and kill people.
Just recently they executed several teen boys for the grave crime of watching a soccer match on television. ISIS has outlawed all sports, singing, and music. Anyone caught participating in things, such as these, are summarily executed in public.
Even with all this happening, there are so many people saying things like, “Violence is not the answer” and “We shouldn’t get involved”. Sadly, many of these people try to use Jesus Christ with sayings like, “Who would Jesus bomb?’. These are red herrings. Some of these individuals are just ignorant, but others are complete charlatans. Some have asked how a Christian could be a soldier. I’ve had fellow Christians on social media claim Jesus preached non-violence at all times and they paint a picture that actually sounds more like Mahatma Gandhi, than Jesus Christ.
Have you ever read the story in the Bible where Jesus wandered through the Israeli dessert holding up a “peace” sign while singing, “All we are saying is give peace a chance!”?
But so many people, these days, proclaim this Jesus, A Jesus that never existed by the way. They use phrases like “peace on earth, good will towards men”, and “blessed are the peacemakers” to support the idea that Jesus was a pacifist. They’ll also quote Jesus’ own words like, “Turn the other cheek’ to support this “version” of Christ.
Aren’t all of those actual quotes from the Bible?
Yes they are.
So then, wouldn’t Jesus be a pacifist and hate violence in any case? After all, one of his names in scripture is “The Prince of Peace”.
Well, Jesus is the most perfect blend of personality that has ever existed and He has many names. To understand these quotes from the Bible (and His names) you need context. You’ll need the context of all these quotes to understand who Jesus really was, and claimed to be. The easiest way to slander someone is to take their actual words, give partial quotes, and leave out crucial context. You can do this to make things (or people) mean almost anything you want.
Politicians do it all the time.
I also have to admit that there are those on the other extreme that seem to make the case that Jesus loves violence. They use other quotes from scripture like, “an eye for an eye”, which were legal terms and not meant to justify some blood-thirsty doctrine of revenge. They also make these assertions by ignoring the actual context of the quotes in scripture.
How can you spot a counterfeit? You study and understand the real thing so well that you can then spot the counterfeit immediately; you don’t study the counterfeit. This is true with currency (dollar bills) and it’s also true with people, including Jesus. If you want to know the real Jesus it is essential that you go to the source for yourself and see what the Bible says about Him. This is true about many aspects of Christ, but in this article, I’m going to specifically address the idea that Jesus was a “non-violent pacifist.” Does scripture support this idea?
So then, the first thing we need to look at is who scripture claims Jesus was and who He claimed to be, Himself. This is the starting point for any discussion about Christ. We need to understand if He claimed to merely be a peace activist, a philosopher, a martyr, a revolutionary, a religious leader, a guru, or something else. All of these titles have been attributed to him, for sure. But what did He claim about himself?
Anytime I talk to someone who wants to read, study, and explore the Bible and Jesus Christ, I always have them start in the Gospel of John. I love this book for many reasons, but chapter one sets some crucial ground rules. You should read the whole first chapter (right now, if possible) but let’s look at a few verses. The first verse in John says, “1- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So this “Word” was God according to this verse. We learn in verses two and three that the Word is a “He” (person) and he created everything. Finally, let’s look at verse fourteen, “14 -And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”.
So we can clearly see that the book of John clearly claims that Jesus was God in the flesh – a bold claim to be sure! Furthermore, He was with God and he was God. Scripture tells us he was part of a triune God that we call the Trinity – The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
So what did Jesus claim about Himself? Well, He said that He existed before Abraham in John 8:58. He claimed to be equal with the Father in John 5:17-18. Jesus also claimed the ability to forgive sins in Mark 2:5–11. Understand that the Bible teaches only God could forgive sins (Isaiah 43:25). The Jews understood this was His claim and wanted to kill Him for it (John 10:33). So, Either He was God as He claimed or He was a complete liar and we shouldn’t care about anything He ever said. There is no in-between.
Now if Jesus is God and was here from the beginning as part of the Trinity you CANNOT divorce him from the Old Testament.
Too many people say Jesus changed the Old Testament laws. They use this to dismiss the entire Old Testament. This could not be further from the truth! He, Himself, claimed in that He did not come to destroy it but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Furthermore the Bible says in Hebrews 3:8 that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Since Jesus is God you can’t marginalize or ignore His character expressed throughout the entire Bible, including the Old Testament.
According to John 2:13-17 Jesus looked at what was going on in the temple and got angry. He then took time to make a whip- He made it! This would have taken a little time, as he observed the shenanigans that were going on. He didn’t just turn over a couple tables, as is often portrayed, he drove them from the temple. He forced the money changers, the cattle, the flocks forward in a scene that would have been complete pandemonium. He was not weak; Jesus was a freight train. Also consider, as part of the Trinity, he was there when fire rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis19:24-25), the flood waters drown most of the creatures he made (Genesis 6:5-8), and the plagues were unleashed on Egypt (Exodus 7:14-12:32). Understand, he was in complete agreement with these decisions and many more all throughout scripture. Jesus was no pacifist.
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