If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.
There was a point where I remember expressing to another Christian that I was for Christian non-violence (i.e., what some term “pacifism”), but the individual responded with his view of the book of Revelation where Christ makes war with the Beast. He posed the question somewhat like, “How could non-violence be Christian if Christ goes to war in the future apocalypse?” I responded, “Well, I guess that’s would be the case if you read Revelation that way.” I’m a firm believer that our views about the future affect what we do as God’s people now. And this is no different.
After that conversation, I went a bit deeper in thought. I began to think about how the Antichrist is supposed to come a bring peace to the world, but, as I was told in Sunday School, it would be a “false” peace. It was often concluded that anyone who attempts to bring about peace in this world should be looked upon with suspicion, perhaps, he is the Antichrist? Thus, we spent way too much time pointing out who is the Antichrist (right now, a popular target is Obama, in case you didn’t know).
American evangelicals have often been skeptical of anyone (even other evangelicals!) who speaks about bringing peace to the world. You’ve probably heard, “Well…world peace will never happen until Jesus comes back.” True, but such statements have implied, “So…instead, I’ll do nothing. Maybe I’ll support war, but, mainly, I’ll do nothing to bring about peace to this world.”
Now, if we look back to our last post, the Bible speaks of the spirit of antichrist–a principle, mindset, personality of antichrist that can be embodied in anyone or anything. I have to say, such statements as the above embody the spirit of antichrist. Here’s why I say that: the problem is not world peace, but it is world peace brought about by a counter-kingdom or counter-king. In Revelation, the counter-kingdom is the Antichrist’s kingdom–it is an anti-kingdom! The true kingdom is brought about by the kingdom of God and its King–Jesus the Christ.
Everytime he said, “Jesus is Lord,” the apostle Paul was attacking the counter-king (or antichrist), Caesar, by implying, “Caesar is not [Lord].” The New Testament apocalyptic passages are doing the same. They aren’t saying, “Peace is bad. Non-violence is bad, and be skeptical of it.” They are saying, “Anyone who brings about peace and non-violence in a counter-kingdom-way is antichrist. Be skeptical of that.” Jesus and his kingdom bring peace, and no one or nothing else does. It’s not peace that’s bad, but it’s spirit-of-antichrist peace that Christians must oppose.
I understand Jesus said, “I didn’t come to bring peace but a sword,” but I think we all can understand that to be metaphorical and not a trivial argument against Christian non-violence. I understand Christian non-violence doesn’t make sense, but neither did the cross, and we believe in that. And yes, I’ve read the Old Testament. But I am convinced that Jesus’ people are asked to bear the burden of peace and justice until he returns.
Jesus’ birth was “peace on earth” and anyone or anything that is against his kingdom of peace is anti-King, anti-kingdom…Antichrist.
Mother Teresa once said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Peace starts when we bring it to our local contexts. What are ways we as Christians can work for peace in our local contexts?
[both the Chinese proverb and Mother Teresa's quote come from Sojourner's Verse and Voice emails. Sign up yourself here.]