These blogs are written a stone’s throw away from the shooting that took place in San Bernardino, CA. on December 2, 2015, just seven months ago. Since then, dear souls in Orlando, FL. have lost their lives, and the entire country has suffered the worst ideologically motivated carnage in USA since the events of September 11, 2001. Our hearts and condolences go out to the victims, their friends and families, and all people suffering persecutions, repression, and the denial of basic freedom around the world. No person’s life should ever be threatened because of culture, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation or ideology. Indeed, freedom is a fundamental human need, but it is under attack and threatened by religious and political ideologues overzealous to impose their beliefs on others.
The reference to religion and politics is not intended to target any specific entity, because there is plenty of guilt and bloodshed on all sides. The reason they are mentioned is simple; in their current state, none of them can provide lasting answers to the world’s woes. Considering that none of them teach the truth that has the power to set humans free (see John 8:32), their zeal and often fanatic struggle to impose flawed and self-serving solutions on others is all the more surprising. Why are so many of them arrogant to the point of imposing their ideologies by the sword, or, at the end of a gun barrel? The imposition of order in a self-serving society is intended to protect individual freedom, but the imposition on others of any ideology always destroys freedom.
In this regard, Jesus was the model. He shared the ideology of heaven, but never imposed it on anyone. He made stunning predictions while teaching a message that no other philosopher, religious leader, prophet or politician has ever offered to the world. While we can observe a growing repression of freedom in our world today, we must consider the claim of Jesus who told His disciples: “If you hold to my teachings, then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32, NIV, emphasis supplied). What is impressive is that Jesus makes the claim with remarkable assurance. As with all His predictions, this will happen with certainty.
During His lifetime on this earth Jesus predicted a political event that would usher the final events of our world’s history. It is during that period of time that the truth will be known and will set humans free. This author believes that this unique and universal Truth will be widely recognized and preached to the whole world, just as Jesus predicted. He spoke at length about the time of the end. He assured His listeners that the spirit of truth will guide humanity into a complete knowledge and understanding of the truth, and that it will set them free (see John 16:13). What is perhaps more amazing is that the beginning point of the period of which Jesus spoke of is marked by a political milestone so unique in history that it cannot be mistaken. Speaking of the Jews to whom He was preaching He said: They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations” (Luke 21:24). We know from history that Jews have not only been persecuted by the nations, but they have also been scattered throughout the world. The text goes on to say that “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Some versions of this statement replace the word Gentiles by the word nations, because the Greek word “ethnos” is translated both ways.
Jesus appears to say that when Jerusalem will cease to be “trampled on by nations, the time of nations will be over.” Indeed, we can all observe that borders of nations are porous and that nationalism is in sharp decline in our world. The national and ethnic lineage of people is increasingly less relevant, while ideologies have become badges of honor and distinctiveness – not to mention, divisive pride. The event of which Jesus spoke took place only once in the past two millennia. The Six-Day War of June 1967 marked the end of Gentile control over Jerusalem. Since that event nationalism and ethnic rivalry have surrendered to ideological differentiation. As a result ideological wars have become more prominent than wars between nations. Unfortunately in a way, the imposition of ideologies on others is far more dangerous and difficult to control than the supremacy of nations over one another. This is where we recognize the wisdom of God’s ideology as taught by Jesus. He respected all people regardless of their ideologies, but He taught them a new ideology that humanity as well as Christianity would do well to study attentively.
Jesus went so far as to predict the following events that came true: “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God” (John 16:2). “Out of the synagogue” implies a broader concept. It is the displacement of students who are learning the ideologies and cultures of their own people, and killing them in the name of God. A sincere search for God’s ideology of love will undoubtedly accomplish exactly what Jesus predicted: “When the spirit of truth will come, it will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13, my translation). In my view, the spirit of truth is the spirit of logic that has guided humanity toward incredible scientific and technological advancements in the past two centuries. This spirit of truth, which is logic, will someday guide humanity toward the discovery of the undeniable truth Jesus has brought to the world. It is the ideology of God that can be found in His message of truth we loosely call “the Gospel.” When that perfectly logical truth will finally be recognized, it will become widely evident that whenever a person, a group, a political ideology or a religion chooses to render evil for evil for any reason, it will only serve to perpetuate evil in the world. The message of Jesus condemned such attitudes of heart. He said in clear terms: You have heard it said, an eye for an eye, “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (see Matthew 5:39). The only way for sound ideology to take hold is to be respectful of all people, as did Jesus. He did not condemn the religious Jewish or Gentile ideologies of His day, He lamented the fact that none of them were listening to God.
Indeed, it is better to die loving others, even our enemies (see Matthew 5:44), than to die with any level of hatred in the heart. Such hatred can only perpetuate the spirit of evil equipped with evermore powerful weapons of destruction. God receives those who love, not those who refuse to love. It is better to live a short life of love on this planet than to perpetuate hatred that can only promote more hatred and destroy freedom for all people.
May the world realize that we must become more diligent in our study and understanding of the only true God. He has given us the only true definition of love and the only way to achieve its uncompromising ideology in our lives. “Eternal life is that they know you, the only true God,” Jesus said (John 17:3). Why? Because “God is love” (John 4:8,16). To resemble God by restoring His image in us and become His children, we must become evermore loving as He is the Father of uncompromising love.