Jihad Jesus


Jerry Jenkins and Tim Lahaye write as their picture of the end times:

”Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow all of them. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again.”

There is, as an interpretation of apocalyptic texts in Scripture, a common view that the Jesus of the gospels is different from the Jesus who comes at the end of the world.  The ‘end times’ Jesus is, as Brian McLaren says, is the ‘Jihad Jesus,’ who ‘holds mankind like a spider over the mouth of hell’ to paraphrase Jonathan Edwards, and the Jesus of the gospels is kind of a meek, incomplete picture of God.

I think our discussion below has marks of this supposed dichotomy.  So, is the ‘sermon on the mount’ Jesus different from the book of Revelation Jesus?

14 thoughts on “Jihad Jesus

  1. Absolutely not. BUT, some people’s IDEA of what Jesus is (as based upon the book of Revelation) is a different Jesus than is portrayed in the Gospels sometimes.

  2. I can see that I am not going to be welcomed here. And since in a week and for the next 3 months, I am going to be in S. Korea and then Japan, giving whatever I can to be a witness for Christ, then there is no point in me establishing any presence on this blog. Therefore this will be my last comment here.

    Now to the question. I’m supposing (and I have to again because no one wants to come out with what they truly mean) that since this post is based on the one below, that both Dan and I are being classified as different types of followers: Dan is a “sermon on the mount Jesus” follower and I am a “book of Revelation Jesus” follower.

    Dan has already spoken for himself. I guess he is saying that, for the most part, those whose belief is made up of truth revealed in Apokalypsis (as well as the rest of the Scriptures) end up getting a twisted view of Christ.

    This is only possible in two ways.

    First, if their understanding and/or interpretation of Apokalypsis goes askew. For example, do we take the gospels for their plain meaning? What of the book of Acts and the letters of the apostles? Then why is the book of Revelation stumbled over? Why not take it for its plain meaning?

    The second is, if you see Christ now, presently, still only as a Rabbi wondering the lands of Judea, preaching and presenting the kingdom to Am Yisrael. Another question: Was the book Apokalypsis known then? No. In fact, what does that word mean–Apokalypsis? It means an unveiling; something that was hidden and is now made known.

    So the full “unveiling” of Christ was not completely made known until after the apostles were all martyred and Yochanan was the only one left. And it was given to him to give to the servants of the Lord.

    And since this is my last comment, I will keep going.

    Next. Those in Christendom seem to neglect or forget that the original coming of Mashiach (Christ) was for Am Yisrael. People need to keep this in mind, otherwise the history of the gospels become only a story to be fit into our times. Did not Christ say that He only came for the lost sheep of Israel? But then what happened. In chapter 13 of Matisyahu the leaders and elders of Am Yisrael end up rejecting Christ. They attribute all He does to Beelzebub.

    This is when His ministry changes. Now He begins revealing the mystirion of the kingdom; to the crowds as parables, but to His disciples He interprets them. This “interlude” is prolonged until the rejection of the Son of Man is made complete in His death. Yet, this was all a part of God’s hidden plan. Even if Am Yisrael accepted Him, the Romans would have come put Him to death, because as we know, there was no king but Caesar at that time. And so Christ still would have died for the people, accept after His death, the kingdom would have been immediately established after His resurrection because the people as a whole believed in Him. This of course is a conjecture, but it had to be possible for the free-will of Am Yisrael.

    So don’t forget, the only reason why the church, as we know it now exists, is because Am Yisrael nationally rejected their King. Because the Jews, as a nation, do not believe in Him, you can! This then is the year of the LORD’s favor.

    That is the difference between Israel and all the other nations, the Gentiles. Each Jew not only has to accept Him individually, but they must also accept Him nationally one day. This will be what brings Christ to earth again physically. So, now we know why Paul was so adamant about proclaiming the gospel to the Jew first! First, it is theirs’ to begin with. Second, the more Jews that believe, the closer the chance of having Christ return to save His people nationally.

    Now, the sermon on the mount. What was Christ proclaiming? Obviously it was something new, because Am Yisrael was amazed at His words. That is because the law of the land was the traditions and interpretations of the elders and sages at that time. This wasn’t just a religious law–this was the law, by which their whole nation ran on. So, no wonder Christ was marked as a rebel. But, they knew, and it is even a teaching today in Judaism, that Mashiach is supposed to bring a Law that supercedes Moshe’s.

    Well, this is what Christ did, but not in the way that the Torah-teachers and Perushim expected. They assumed that Messiah would uphold their traditions which had hedged the Torah. Christ did the opposite. He presented freedom from the traditions, yet a stricter form of the Torah, which is what we have in the synoptic gospels up until He is rejected.

    So historical context and understanding matter. This is what is lacking I think.

    What of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins? Well, have you all read any of their books? Or did you just grab a quote from one of them. I believe the one above is from “Glorious Appearing”. Personally, I have read the first 12 books in the Left Behind series. Did I agree with every single thing they presented? NO! Actually I disagreed with alot of things, but these were for the most part small details. But, they were true to a plain understanding of the book Apokalypsis and the other prophesies in the Hebrew Scriptures. That is what matters.

    Remember, it is still just a fictional account–a ‘What If?’ understanding of Apokalypsis. So to be fair, it is no different than McLaren’s fictional books like “A New Kind of Christian”.

    So to sum up, I would say the difference lies in whether one takes a broad view of all the Scriptures, factoring in everything so that it is all reconcilable, or if one just takes a specific view of one aspect, and ignoring a lot of historical fact and truth.

    And remember, Apokalypsis is the only book that contains a blessing for reading it (and in the original Greek, it is for reading it “outloud”) and for taking to heart what is written in it. No other book has this blessing attached.

    “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Apo. 1:3

    Grace and peace…

  3. Reading the bible can be like reading tea leaves, to those not acquainted with tea or leaves. More exhaustive study is required to interpret dependably. That is to take nothing away from the inspiration given in a single verse. It is just to note that a depth of understanding needs comprehensive knowledge, the power of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of the saints to plumb. This is an argument for the role of the magesterium: a correcting, guiding hand to gently nudge our culture-bound blindness back toward the light. To think we can each discern the fullness of biblical wisdom requires ego blindness. Help our unbelief, but help us with the humility needed to sit at our Saviour’s feet and learn all he has to teach us.

  4. True, Morpheus, this IS an argument for the role of the magisterium, but its members, no less than us the laity, can be subject to serious error, and in their case, the effect can have disastrous results far beyond those arising from the same errors among the laity. This was foreseen early on, when Vincent of Lerins wrote,

    What then will a catholic Christian do, if a small portion of the Church have cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the soundness of a pestilent and corrupt member? What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty…

    And from the same Church father, what is antiquity?

    …antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers…

    I need not quote anymore from Vincent’s Commonitory for you or for Fr Neo. I’m sure you are both just as familiar with it as I am. But the fact is, that the churches of today (in North America at least, but very possibly everywhere, except in martyr lands), which can be considered “the whole” are infected in large part by novelties from subtle to grandiose, forcing in many places the true followers of Christ and true members of His Church out into the wilderness, sometimes isolated, sometimes in small groups. Whether they remain inside the visible structures of the Church or whether they have removed themselves from them, or been expelled, they seek to believe and live out that faith “once for all delivered to the saints” which was “notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers.”

    Notice where our discussions have led us? Now, we examine the great divide that cuts between not philosophy and politics only, but the substance of things unseen, for those who have eyes but do not see, ears but do not hear. Let’s hope to find ourselves among those whom Christ Himself addresses in His letters to the seven churches, and whom John the Revelator announces as “those who have ears to hear,” that we may listen to what the Spirit IS saying to the churches.

  5. “The ‘end times’ Jesus is, as Brian McLaren says, is the ‘Jihad Jesus,’ who ‘holds mankind like a spider over the mouth of hell’ to paraphrase Jonathan Edwards, and the Jesus of the gospels is kind of a meek, incomplete picture of God.”

    There are few things which I find reprehensible in print, but this is one of them—to link the Name of Jesus to anything as ugly, as false, as condemnable, as “Jihad”.

    And as for describing Jesus as one who “holds mankind like a spider over the mouth of hell”, this is absurd and totally ignorant, regardless of who said it. Why? Because Jesus Himself says,

    If anyone hears My words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall condemn him, since I have come not to condemn the world, but to save the world: he who rejects Me and refuses My words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the Last Day. (John 12:47-48 JB)

  6. As to the word, Jihad, it is my understanding that it means “struggle” and is not necessarily tied to its more popular contemporary violence. The best jihad, it is my understanding, is the struggle of the soul to be faithful.

    But that’s an aside.

  7. Yes, brother Dan, let’s be sure to give Islam a fair shake, especially since one of our presidential candidates is of Islamic background.

    I am an Orthodox Christian, specifically Greek, but I also have a fair amount of experience of the spirituality of the Church of Antioch, an Orthodox church that uses Arabic, and yes, jihad means spiritual struggle. But since for most people, indeed for most Christians (who aren’t aware of Orthodox concepts, let alone Arabic Orthodox ones), jihad means only one thing, terrorism. And it is also in this frame of reference that somebody joined together the word jihad with the Name of Jesus. This I find highly objectionable.

  8. I don’t know that for “most people” jihad means terrorism. Perhaps most Americans, depending upon how informed most Americans are.

    But if most Americans WERE mistaken about the definition of jihad, that’s not a strike against the word, but rather a strike against most Americans (IF that were true, and I don’t know that it is). Still, it would seem that terrorism is the context in which McLaren is using the term, here.

    I don’t know why you find that objectionable, though.

    McLaren is suggesting that many Christians view the book of Revelation as representing a more brutal Jesus than the Gospels and that is often the case (that is, that many Christians DO view Revelation that way).

    I would suggest that they do so mistakenly.

  9. Brother Dan, I find it objectionable, coupling the Name of Jesus with any other degrading word, phrase or name, because of the commandment, “Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” And by the way, Jesus is my Lord and God. How about you?

    As for the rest, it’s obvious we are different in our attitudes and beliefs. Go in peace.

  10. A point of clarification: McLaren is not critiquing Revelation as much as various (false) interpretations of Revelation. Interpretations which lend themselves to misunderstandings of Jesus.

  11. I don’t know who McLaren is, but I do know who John the Revelator is, and I do read the book that contains the testimony of what he received from the Pantokrator. We don’t interpret the book, we just read it and believe it, not expecting anything according to our puny knowledge or fleshly imaginings, but only what it plainly reveals, and those things which are not clear to us, we believe them all the same without comment or argument. It’s not wrong or false interpretations that bother me personally, it’s the fact that anyone presumes to interpret it at all, usually making it conform to some so-called rational ideology they have come up with beforehand. I mean things like the preterists, and others who cannot be satisfied with the mystirion tou Theou, but must somehow have it all figured out on paper.

    What can this possibly mean?

    “This is My solemn warning to all who hear the prophecies in this book: if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him every plague mentioned in the book; if anyone cuts anything out of the prophecies in this book, God will cut off his share of the Tree of Life and tyhe Holy City, which are described in the book. The One who guarantees these revelations repeats His promise: I shall indeed be with you soon.”

  12. I agree with you, Neo. And yes, Jesus is my Lord and God, Romanos. I would have thought that obvious from my comments here that I am a follower of Jesus.

    I’ve been saved, born again, following Jesus or however you wish to phrase it for 33 years now.

    Why do you ask?

  13. D’oh! Make that 35 years, now. I’m not 43, I’m 45. I can’t remember how old I am, apparently, but I do remember when I became a follower of Christ, or at least began that journey.

  14. This question is addressed by Luke’s presentation of the “Sermon on the Plain”, in which Beatitudes are followed by “Woes” (Luke 6:20-26).

    Some resist the vision of the warrior Jesus in Revelation 19 because this gives the lie to tidy dismissals of the Bible’s last book. This is a Jesus without historical reference points – and this shows the limits of interepreting the Revelation as mere agitprop against Nero or some other past oppressor of the church.

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