In the Bible, we see God telling King David he can’t build the Temple because he was a man of war, and He wanted His Temple to be built by a man of peace (1st Chronicles 22:8). Yet, whenever the Jews thought about the Messiah, they expected a Warrior King to come and liberate them from Rome (by force).
However, when Jesus showed up (a peace-loving, nomadic hippie; the illegitimate son of a carpenter), He told them, “Repent! The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” He didn’t just mean “turn from sin,” He was literally saying, “Change your mind. I’m not what you expected, but I am and I have what you need.” He had to get them out of the mindset of a Kingdom established through war.
We are the Temple, built by a peaceful King.
What sort of warlord has the motto, “turn the other cheek,” or maybe “love your enemies”? The King God had in mind was not a king that would come in to destroy, but rather a king that came in to build a kingdom with clean hands and pure hearts, not building off the backs of men. A Kingdom “not of this world” is not built by killing, it’s built on love, on peace. This is the only kind of Kingdom that could last for eternity, the only way a King could sit on a Throne without ceasing (fulfilling God’s promise to David).
Any kind of government that’s built on war, that’s built on division, that’s built on tearing apart, will fall. It will be torn apart and it will fall. It will not stand, it will not last – it will implode.
So now we have to stop and ask ourselves: Do we believe that Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, our King, our Lord, our Savior, is coming the same way that the Jews thought He was? Do we believe He’s coming as a warlord? As a murderer? As one who would slaughter women, children and the elderly? All those who would stand against Him? That He’s going to draw sword out of his mouth? That He’s going to slit the throats of everyone would stand in His way?
Do we really think that our Jesus (the one who told the Jews that they had Him wrong) is coming as we think He is? The way we’ve been told He is?
First of all, He’s going to pull everyone (on His side) up into the cloud with him. Next, He’s going to come and kill everyone that’s left. (So much for turning the other cheek and loving your enemies!) Then, and only then, He will cleanse the Earth and build a New Jerusalem, a New Kingdom, a New Temple.
That’s antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and the Heart of God!
Expand the Kingdom. How? Everyone’s dead.
Leave the gates of the Kingdom open. Why not? Everyone’s dead.
In case you didn’t get the subtlety of what I was saying, I’m not a huge fan of “everybody else dies” theology.
How did we get there? What could have led us to this idea of what God will be like in the future? Bill Johnson says, “Jesus is perfect theology.” Paul (in the Bible) says, “Jesus is the express image of God.” The Bible also says that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Why would we think He’s going to change in the future? He’s established a pattern, given directives, and has went as far as become human and die for us. I have been taught it for the majority of my life, but I just can’t see how it all fits together that God is out for our blood!
Imagine Jesus running for President of the United States. Basing on His campaign on the declarations He made as Messiah and the teachings He passed down to his Disciples… Imagine Jesus trying to win an election saying, “We’re not going to retaliate against ISIS. We’re going to love them. We’re going to try to show them the way of peace and love and lead them into the proper mindset. We’re going to lead them into repentance because we’re going to set a better example. We’re going to take the high road and we’re going to show them the right way of doing things.” He wouldn’t make it! I mean, no one will ever become the President of the United States by saying we’re not going to retaliate against ISIS because Americans, even Christians, are bloodthirsty.
Jesus’ first message was the hardest for us to follow: Repent! (Change your mind!) The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! It was so big, so important, and so hard to grasp that He spent the rest of His time on Earth telling us what the King was like, showing us what the Kingdom was all about, showing us the Heart of God through His actions and teachings, and, finally, in laying down His Life for us as the Ultimate Sacrifice… Saying, “This is how much I love you. Go and do likewise.”
That’s the Heart of God.