I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God. (Revelation 19:11-13)
I have a problem with war. I do want harsher penalties for parole violators AND world peace. Men might find battle exciting, but I find it degrading, grim, brutal and horrific, even when the stakes are too high to not participate. Just watching “The Two Towers” reminds me of all the things I hate about war. All those men who had other dreams for their lives. All those families at home who had dreams involving their men. All the innocents killed or changed forever by circumstances that are outside their control.
Or are they?
I read the above passage and wonder why the returning Son of God would need to wage war. His very presence is powerful enough to flatten opposition into “instant peace”, I would think. (I like to imagine the withering stare he would give certain insurance companies as they fumble to explain why, after receiving years of premiums and CEO bonuses, they are not obligated to pay a cent to flood victims.) “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” this is not! So why “with justice He judges and wages war”? Just maybe, the second clause might be contingent on the first. Perhaps if our nations judged with justice – and righteousness – there would be no need for Him to wage war on those who will continue to defy what is right to His very face. My guess is that He’ll be waging war on those who continue to do evil things (such as killing/changing forever innocents). It’s a paradox – waging war against warmongers – but at least God is qualified to be on the dishing-out end.
So what are humans qualified for, then? Easy. To speak up. To take sensible action. To move our own nation toward justice. Are the circumstances really outside our control? There will be some that are – but there will be some that aren’t. Everyone who takes a stand can have a hand in bringing in the kind of just society that needs no large-scale uprooting. If the Kingdom of God is within us, what does that look like, extrapolated? Pick a cause and make a difference! We serve Him who is called Faithful and True – so use the tools of truth and faithfulness! Write respectfully to your local member. Petition the ombudsmen. How can it possibly cost $1800 to get a tooth crown, when $35 feeds and educates a World Vision child for a month? Why do we PAY the banks to make themselves squillions investing OUR money? Why is the government telling us who can and can’t serve in our churches? And so on. Even in private life, we can manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit in all that we do – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. It’s another method of bringing the Kingdom forward in this world. All of these are the kinds of wars we could win ahead of time without the need for drastic measures.
Finally, perhaps, like me, you’re a little disturbed by the image of the Rider wearing a robe dipped in blood. But it may not be the blood of the nations. It’s far more likely to be His own – with which He purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. Whatever He needs to do to finally bring justice to the nations where their humans have not, He is still, at heart, the Prince of Peace.