The Human Enemy Is Not My Enemy

I was born in China in 1948 to missionary parents. My family was forced to leave China in 1950. The Lisu Chinese pastor who dedicated me to Jesus was later commanded to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. He said that he must obey God rather than men, so they cut out his tongue and said, “Now preach”. He bled to death for his faith.

Pastors, evangelists and teachers were executed or imprisoned. It became illegal to own a Bible or assemble for worship, but the number of believers in Christ grew more than 100 fold over the next 50 years. The testimony of those who are martyred for their faith only serves to strengthen and increase the victory of Jesus in the world. The recent testimonies of Coptic martyrs and their family members in Syria, were filled with expressions of forgiveness from those suffering and grieving.  It is not surprising to discover that the number of Jesus followers is growing faster in the Middle East in the places of greatest persecution, than anywhere else on earth.

This is not just about non-violent resistance, which is a powerful political strategy demonstrated by the wonderful examples of Gandhi, Dr Martin Luther King,  the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. It is about the testimony of Jesus and His kingdom which “are not of this world” (not about human politics or government). The battle of Christ and His followers is not against evil persons (flesh and blood).  The human “enemy” is not my enemy.

Jesus refused to engage Pilate by resisting the authority of Rome. The Lisu pastor was not resisting Mao or the Peoples Republic.  Jesus’ battlefield is not even between religious systems (such as Islam and Christianity) but against cosmic spiritual wickedness and deception.

As for people, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing”.  Here… let me put that ear back on.

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For the Royal Family

I bow my knee before the Father, from whom every family  (or all fatherhood)
in heaven and earth derives its name” (or finds its identity).  Eph 3:14-15 (parentheses mine)
Apparently family and fatherhood are at the center of the universe and fundamental to the administration and government of both heaven and earth. We are not so much governed “by” as governing “with” the Family. Not so much “subjects” of the universal Government as we are heirs and therefore co-administrators.  ​We are  to reign with Him.

The government of the planet is upon our shoulders, (with and in the Name of the Divine Family).   Every name, title and authority has become subject to Him and placed under His feet (and therefore under our feet), who are the fullness of Him who fills everything.  (Eph. 1:22-23).  Where are His shoulders and feet, if not in His Body?   It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.

 

Re-incarnation

A Tibetan disciple reacted when I introduced myself as a follower of Jesus. He broke into a big smile, “Yes Jesus, the Savior. You know, the Dali Llama has the same Spirit, but in a different body.”  I returned his smile and said, “Me too!”.

Christ in us, is the hope of glory. That God is present with us, that we can know Him and walk with him, know his voice, That Glory is not just about a future glory some day in heaven, but is a revealing of the glory of the incarnation in us and through us.  Not the old humanity fixed but reborn, a new creation (or race) mirroring the likeness of Christ, templing the Shekinah.  As Christ was, so are we to be in the world.

John Cooke – jfcooke.com

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What Good Is Hell

George MacDonald (1824-1905)

I recommend the wonderful fairy tales and fantasies by George MacDonald (1824-1905) written not just for children but for the childlike. If you haven’t read The Princess and the Goblins, The Back of the Northwind or The Light Princess, you should start by reading them to your children or to your “inner child”.

George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, E. Nesbit and Madeleine L’Engle, GK Chesterton and Lewis Caroll.

C.S. Lewis wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his “master”: “Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later,” said Lewis, “I knew that I had crossed a great frontier.”

MacDonald rejected the doctrine that Christ has taken the place of sinners and is punished by God in their place, believing that it raised serious questions about the character and nature of God. Instead, he taught that Christ had come to save people from their sins, not from a Divine penalty for their sins. The problem is not the need to appease a wrathful God but the disease of cosmic evil itself. “Did he not foil and slay evil by letting all the waves and billows of its horrid sea break upon him, go over him, and die without rebound—spend their rage, fall defeated, and cease? Verily, he made atonement!”

MacDonald was convinced that God does not punish except to amend, and that the sole end of His greatest anger is the amelioration of the guilty. As the doctor uses fire and steel in certain deep-seated diseases, so God may use hell-fire if necessary to heal the hardened sinner. MacDonald declared, “I believe that no hell will be lacking which would help the just mercy of God to redeem his children.” MacDonald posed the rhetorical question, “When we say that God is Love, do we teach men that their fear of Him is groundless?” He replied, “No. As much as they fear will come upon them, possibly far more. … The wrath will consume what they call themselves; so that the selves God made shall appear.”

~ John Cooke  (with thanks to Wikipedia)

Three views of Hell: I recommend Steve Gregg’s careful treatment of the subject.  Be prepared to have your thinking challenged  .http://theos.org/media/category/12/

Apocalypse Now ~ The Beginning is Near

The word “apocalypse” does not necessarily mean the end of the world.  It means “the unveiling” or “the revealing”.  If anything, it is more about beginnings than endings (although some things must end).

In the Apostle John’s prophecy entitled The Apocalypse (or the Revelation) there are a number of revealings or unveilings.  A door is opened in heaven and we get a look behind the door at the spiritual government of planet earth.  We are granted a “heaven’s eye view” of events happening in seven first century cities.   We are allowed to glimpse how things were to unfold in the near future of John’s day, things which were soon to happen on earth.  Most of what was revealed could be shown to have happened within the next few years.  Towards the end of the Apocalypse, the massive scope of Christ’s dream is revealed.  The sons and daughters of God are unveiled as a glorious Bride, a huge City, and as a great multitude that cannot be counted from every nation, tribe, language and clan.    As a result, the planet is also healed and made new.  “On earth becomes as it is in heaven.”

Most would agree that the Apocalypse has a victorious conclusion.  Cosmic evil is defeated and Good prevails.   The difference comes in how that is to happen.  Most Christians today would explain the Apocalypse as follows:

  • A small defensive remnant of faithful ones endures the furious attacks of a ruthless and powerful enemy.  Things continue to get worse and worse until, finally, when the last soul is saved.  The small faithful remnant is rescued and taken out of the world, while judgment falls upon an evil and rebellious planet.  Christ and the angels defeat the devil for us  and then set up God’s kingdom on earth.
  • Historically, however, most Christians have envisioned a much more positive and victorious apocalypse.   

The Nature of Prophecy

There is a “nowness” to prophecy.  Creative power is in the words.  The Creator began the process of re-creation when Christ rose from the dead.   The power to make dead things come to life is the most unique power in the universe.  That is the power that has been released in us.  The making of all things new is at work in us, and is designed to work through us.   In other words, the fulfillment of the prophecy is in our hands.  We have been given the responsibility for what happens on earth.  We are in charge in His name.  God has chosen to govern this planet through his sons and daughters, through our agreement with his dream.  We begin to dream what heaven dreams and say, “Yes”.

Prophecy is collaborative and interactive.  How much land and how many children do you want? How far can you see?  How much land can you place your feet on?  How many stars can you count?

The promises of God are ours if we believe them.  They are all “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ.  The resources to claim the promises are available to us (the same power that raised Christ from the dead).   If that is true, then why should any future devil, false prophet, anti-christ, or serpent, have even a pit to hiss in.  Why leave them even a square inch of the planet to scheme and deceive from?  Why should our eschatology leave us cowering in our churches,  hurling condemnation at the world, and waiting for the rapture to rescue us from a hopeless mess, that we were commissioned and empowered to clean up.

Dream the Creator’s dream with Him.   The glory of the Lord will be revealed.  It will cover the whole earth as the waters cover the oceans.   How will the glory be revealed?  Will he do it for us or through us?   Will not Satan be defeated by Him under your feet.  Will not the King return for a mature bride when she has “made herself ready”.  Perhaps we can offer to Him a redeemed planet.  Why not?

John Cooke – http://www.jfcooke.com

 

Apocalypse Dreaming

In my dream, a little girl was skipping along in a city square humming a few bars of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.  She stopped in front of a street musician and dropped a coin in his hat.  He began playing the tune as she danced and sang “…joyful, joyful we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of Love…” A violinist on his way to practice with a local orchestra stopped, opened his case and joined in.  Other members of the string section stopped and played along.  Violins, cellos, violas, base… then oboes, clarinets, saxophones. The brass came too: trumpets, trombones, French horns, baritones and tubas. A big kettle drum was rolled up and percussion was added.  Soon members of the choir began to arrive and sing “…hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the Son of Love…” The song grew to a crescendo with full orchestra and choir.  The gathered crowd cheered.

When it seemed like the “Happening” had happened and the music had died down, there was a slight shift in the atmosphere.  I saw in my dream, a group of eagle dancers in full regalia bring their great sacred drum forward, with a new rhythm which sounded like the heart beat of the earth. They danced with flute and rattles, chanting a different melody, but somehow it was the same.  The choir and orchestra joined in rather hesitantly.  Other singers also were joining the choir, but soon there were many languages being heard.  Gospel and other cultural harmonies and chords were added to the classical. Street dancers, hip hop and rappers, a ballerina, and groups of ethnic folk dancers joined in.  There were Celtic bag pipes, Andean pan flutes, country and western line dancers, banjos, fiddlers and steel guitars.  Heavy metal and rock bands began to fill the air with walls of sound.  (I couldn’t tell where they plugged in their amplifiers.)  The great pipe organ and bells from the cathedral on the square added their great notes which seemed to shake the ground, but somehow they added to the music.  There were steel barrel drums with Reggae and Caribbean flavors, African drums and dancers, graceful Hawaiian and Thai dancers, Maori Haka dancers, great banner dancers from Asia, and huge Japanese Taiko drums.  All were adding to the music, building and enhancing the sound.

One would think that all the variety and diversity (more than Beethoven himself could have envisioned) would only result in confusion and noise.  Somehow, though, as if lead by an unseen conductor there were melodies, descants, embellishments, and counter melodies which all contributed to the same wonderful song of Joy.  When one style of music would subside, another would come forward.  That there could be such cooperation and unity in the midst of so much diversity was overwhelming to me, and I wept with joy.

My dream then seemed to fill with new excitement.  Song birds were adding beautiful clear high notes to the song (right on pitch).  High above an eagle’s shrill cry joined in, then there were many voices of many different animals:  a wolf howled in the distance, an elephant trumpeted, a lion roared (probably from a nearby zoo), and it seemed I could even hear distant whale song joining in. Then there was a rumble of distant thunder.  The wind picked up and sang its way through the buildings awakening wind chimes, whispering notes of joy through the trees and causing the grass and flowers to dance.  The waves crashing on the beach and the murmur of a nearby stream were part of the music.  As the instruments played on and the dances continued, it was as though the earth itself was beginning to move to the dance.  The sky began to fill with the colors of a gorgeous sunset  and a meteor shower.  The other horizon erupted with lightning flashes and thunder in time to the music.  It seemed like the rocks themselves were ready to cry out and the even atomic particles, quarks, quantum and mitochondria were electrified and resonating to the song of Joy. And I thought of the words, “All creation waits eagerly for the unveiling of the children of the Creator.” 

By: John Cooke ~ jfcooke.com