#0034 Isaiah Two: 2-4—the coming of the Kingdom v
2In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
3Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
Isaiah 2: 2-4 (NIV)
- Isaiah is foretelling the coming of the Kingdom in the last days (the time we’re living in). Jesus said it like this: “Thy Kingdom come…”
- Focus on Verse 4
- Contrast this against the conservative Christian rapture myth. Can both of these narratives be describing the same period?
- Maybe Christian evangelicals better rethink the whole Donald Trump ploy.
- Is it time to start promoting a new Isaiah/Jesus kind of end of the world narrative? Yes it is.
Considering the time in which we live, the Evangelical Christians might want to rethink this whole Donald Trump alliance ploy. Why? Because of the very things we’ve been discussing throughout the series. In light of this scripture in Isaiah and its vision of a time of reconciliation and peace—maybe the conservative Christians might want to think again before they bank their myth-based convictions on a loose-cannonading, warmongering bully-boy like The Donald and instead begin working on a new direction for what God has in store for all humans—one that is more rational and Christ-like in its design. The only way something like this, or any other vestige of them coming back to reason, is they must find a way to see God as truly one who loves unconditionally. It’s only then that they will be able to imagine God as working a win-win agenda rather than the old win-lose agenda.
One of the biggest roadblocks for them is the doctrine of salvation. This doctrine supposes that God’s main objective for us (His children) while we are upon this earth is to work out our salvation. In the new win-win perspective—salvation isn’t an issue for humans. In this perspective it’s a given due to the fact that this new perspective dwells long and hard on the premise that God IS love. In the traditional view God is love gets lost amidst the maze of other involved and much wordier and more important-sounding doctrines and conditions. The full collection of these are referred to as the tenets of the Christian faith and what they do for us, as believers, is to create a “where’s Waldo” situation as it applies to the love of God. In the end these other doctrines do little other than blur this simple yet powerful concept of God’s unconditional love. In this traditional paradigm—the one that says: Jesus died for our sins—what happens is that because divine truth is included on the Christian roster of tenets and beliefs, it continues to remain in orbit—like a sputnik around planet religion. As its orbit brings it close to the citizens of that planet, other forces come into play repelling and pushing this truth out and away from itself. These forces are derived from the culmination of doctrines which have their roots in and get sustenance from the Mosaic Law. In this we citizens of this planet (i.e. members or parishioners of the congregation) get really close in proximity to the truth; but then when it is right there in front of us…so close we can almost touch it…it gets pushed back out into space by the repelling forces that are perhaps well-intentioned, but nevertheless, incongruous with the concept of unconditional love and the win-win imperative. These repelling forces are made up of a continuum of win-lose doctrines such as original sin; animal sacrifices(from where Christ’s need to die for our sins is derived); baptism and alter calls; personal salvation and the rapture myth to name a few. With a whole parade of conservative Christians lining up behind such notions and doing so with gusto—you only have to throw in some seemingly parallel political points about birth control and the war on Christmas and what will result is The Donald getting into bed with the Evangelicals.
As a point of clarification and to begin the last point: the reason I (along with other liberals) have a problem with the idea of salvation doesn’t lie in the actual salvation part; it’s in the salvation-for-some-and-not-others part of the equation. So the question must get put forth sooner or later: Is it time to start promoting a new Isaiah/Jesus kind of end of the world narrative? The answer comes: Yes it is. So going back to one of the biggest roadblocks keeping Christians from being able to even entertain a new Christian narrative is the doctrine of salvation. This doctrine in a nutshell claims that the mission of every person’s life while on earth is to come to know Jesus and accept Him as their personal savior. If they can manage this they will obtain salvation and avoid damnation. Churches and religions are designed to help persons pull this off. One of the major sticking points for the overall salvation narrative is the individual denominations fail to agree on the finer points or the details. One of these is the question concerning whether or not salvation is gotten through Jesus’s death and resurrection—offered to humanity as a free gift alone—or if we as recipients of this gift are expected to repay God or earn our salvation through specific actions/behaviors on our part. In religious vernacular this is referred to as salvation by grace or works. Being outside of religious circles for some years now, I have been able to get a better and more of a big picture view of things than I was unable to while still running in those circles. One example of this is I’ve noticed that even though the ones who are on the salvation by grace (salvation as a free gift) side of the argument, they don’t actually believe that at all. Another dilemma they are burdened with is the God IS love (aka: God’s love is unconditional) belief, which they freely bandy about to each other and to those they are trying to lure inside. These sound great as campaign slogans, but they can’t deliver on either of them because they are self-defeating to the whole role of religion. For them as denominational religions were to promote the concept of an unconditionally-loving God, they’d promote themselves right out of business; because if their God was really unconditional with His love there wouldn’t be any conditions for them to build their religion upon. But if God IS love why would there even need to be a church—what would be going on for them if they weren’t about the business of saving souls and all matters related to it? Enter the concept of the Kingdom and the task of Kingdom-building. This concept embodies all the teachings of Jesus; the win-win scenario Isaiah was foretelling and pretty much covers the gamut of the liberal (democratic) presidential political platform.
Next Post: (Sunday Nov 1, 2015) new series: Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone; but who are the other foundation stones lined up next to Him upon whom the Kingdom will build?
Coming soon: Sale price on The Jesus Clone book (just in time for the holidays). Links to other related posts and materials.