Sunday, June 10, 2007

Preston Eby on War......

Preston Eby has thoroughly pissed me off at times. He is Keith's favorite writer and all of his writings are focused around the processing of God's sons....cutting away the flesh, turning them into the image and likeness of their heavenly father usually by means of great pain and suffering. He believes in total determinism which is a major hot button topic for me. So today when yet another discussion between Keith and I turned into an argument (the topic was living peacefully....imagine that.....and yes, I realize I have a LONG way to go) and somehow it came up that Preston Eby was a pacifist. I googled it and came up with a few paragraphs out of his series The Kingdom of God (part 19 no less) It is an amazing few paragraphs and I doubt I will ever see Preston Eby quite the same after reading these paragraphs on his views about war.

"And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man..." (Lk. 3:14). Love will affect every attitude and action toward men on both the personal and corporate level. I have no hesitation in telling you that I have been a conscientious objector" to war all my life because from a small child I could never believe that the spirit of warfare with its hatred, killing, and violence is compatible with the love of God or the spirit of sonship.
Oh, yes, we have our excuses and a thousand reasons are given to go forth and kill and maim and destroy by warfare. "The government requires me to do it," we say. That's reminiscent of that other time-honored cop-out, "The devil made me do it!" "I must defend my country and our liberties," we explain, "we have an obligation to our families, our communities, and our nation to defend ourselves." So we wield the sword, fire machine guns, and bomb villages and cities into oblivion, blasting thousands, yea, millions of innocent men, women and children out of this world, and call on God to bless! What strange beings we Christians are who profess to follow in the footsteps of Him who said, "For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Lk. 9 56). I tell you today that no son of God is sent into this world to destroy men's lives, but every son of God is sent into the world to save them. No son of (god, no brother of Jesus, is sent into this world to destroy even one life, but to become a saviour for all men.
War is not a matter of one soldier against one soldier. It is now a war of guns and bombs and germs and chemicals and land-mines against soldiers and mothers and children and babes. Any way to intimidate the foe! Scare and blast loved ones out of the fox holes into hell or heaven-that is the way to win. We little realize the awful depths into which the spirit of warfare carries us. As one wrote of a certain war: "I had to aim carefully at the straw roof and only succeeded at the third shot. The wretches who were inside, seeing their roof burning, jumped out and ran off like mad...surrounded by a circle of fire about five thousand people came to a sticky end. It was like hell, the smoke rose to incredible heights, and the flames reddened the setting sun."
War is still ruling our world and it is not spiritual; it is carnal, political, and devilish. As ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven we pledge allegiance to a higher Kingdom than any of the kingdoms of this world. We cannot fight carnal warfare because we are ambassadors for Christ. An ambassador is a representative of another country or person and he is not subject to the political laws of the country where he abides. The King whom we represent has commissioned us to "love our enemies," to "bless and curse not," and "see that none render evil for evil to any man." We are to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering." "Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering." How directly opposed are these to the rules of war! Under the Old Covenant Yahweh required that His people Israel should go to war and fight and kill, but that covenant has been done away and we are under the New Covenant whereby the law (nature) of God is written upon our hearts, and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God.
Well has Philip Mauro written, "War is an instrument of the god of this world. War stems from greed and political intrigue. Preparing the soldier for war is a godless procedure. Hate is drilled into him. He is taught every trick there is to kill. This must be so for war is a dirty business. War differs from ordinary murders only in that it is on an enormous scale. Every invention and contrivance that men can devise, every deception and stratagem to which they can resort, every cruelty and atrocity which they can perpetuate, are elements of warfare. Hence it is not merely a questionable proceeding-not merely a thing which it is perhaps better to avoid-war is the thing of all things that is farthest removed from the spirit and work of Christ. It is the work of the devil to destroy. War is the great all-inclusive, sum total of everything that is devilish. When General Sherman tersely said, 'War is hell,' he uttered a truth. Heaven is peace. Hell is war. Let us look the ugly fact squarely in the face, that the man who enlists (or is drafted) commits himself in advance to the perpetration of every unnamable atrocity that war is held to justify. He repudiates his individual responsibility to God and man, and pledges himself blindly, by an oath and under penalty of death, to obey the commands of his officers, whatever they may be and to whatever work they may send him. If we then are to go forth and kill our fellowmen, whose lives shall we take? Shall we slay the unsaved, to whom we owe the gospel of Christ? If not those, then are we to slay our fellow saints to whom we owe our love and service? War and the gospel are as far apart as the east is from the west, as far as hell is from heaven..." -end quote.
If fighting and killing on carnal battlefields is right for the sons of God, then the Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek, the priesthood of grace, mercy, love and salvation is wrong; if the gospel of love, even for our enemies, is right, then war is wrong. Jesus showed us clearly that the life of sonship is completely independent of every earthly tradition, custom, and requirement. The life of sonship belongs to the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven which we are to seek first of all. Jesus came to preach the Kingdom. That was His gospel. That was His one and only purpose. There lay His one and only allegiance. All the things that were spoken in the sermon on the mount pertain to the Kingdom which we are entering. Just as the law of Moses given at Sinai was the Constitution of the government and nation of Israel, so the sermon on the mount is the Constitution of the Kingdom of God. All the blessed truths set forth in the sermon on the mount are to be fulfilled in us "that ye may be the sons of your Father which is in heaven" (Mat. 5:45). These are the principles that govern the lives of God's sons and all who live and walk in the Kingdom, just as surely as the law of Moses governed the dispensation of the law. The Kingdom is the realm of sonship. It is the realm of the will of God. It is the realm of the nature of God. It is the realm of the mind of Christ.
The principles of the Kingdom of God are set forth with divine clarity in the sermon on the mount, where the spirit of sonship is revealed. While living here on earth, our Lord was extremely kind. He picked up little children and blessed them. He healed all who were suffering with pain. While relatives were weeping over dead loved ones, he raised four of them to life again. The Saviour of ALL men said to the woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more." His KINDNESS made an evangelist out of that immoral woman at Jacob's well. Because Jesus really loved the weak, helpless creatures whom He had created, He wept over them, prayed for them and taught them continually. Can you imagine for one moment that Jesus, even if commanded by the government of Israel, would have taken up the sword and slain thousands of Romans to liberate His people from the cruel, pagan yoke of Rome? Think of it! Even when Peter cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, in defense of the Son of God, Jesus stooped and picked up the severed ear and healed it back on the man. He then turned to Peter and reproachfully said, "Put up thy sword into the sheath: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." If you can believe for one moment that Jesus, drafted or not, would have gone out to slay men in defense of His country, then you may also justify the sons of God in this hour fighting and killing in defense of their homeland. The issue is really just that simple. "What would Jesus do?"
Except for those religious Pharisees, Jesus never spoke one cross word to the unconverted masses, Israelite, Roman, or otherwise. He was very tender and kind in all His dealings with men. His approach to them was very gentle, delicate, and considerate. Surely, then, we are safer in His hands than anywhere else! The things He has in store for every one of us are far greater than we could plan for ourselves. He will do us only good, and never evil. Does God expect His other sons to be different than His Firstborn? Jesus has taught us, "But love your enemies, and do good...and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be THE SONS OF THE HIGHEST; for HE IS KIND UNTO THE UNTHANKFUL AND TO THE EVIL, BE YE THEREFORE MERCIFUL, AS YOUR FATHER also is merciful." In this instance Jesus plainly says that if we desire to be the SONS OF THE HIGHEST, we must be merciful as He is merciful. THE HIGHEST IS MERCIFUL TO ALL.
The question follows: Why should the Highest be merciful to the evil and the unthankful? The answer is clear-that the evil one and the unthankful one may come to know the mercy and goodness of God! They would never know that mercy in any other way. If Jesus teaches us we are to be kind to those who mis-use us, reproach us, attack us, curse us, and make themselves our enemies, then what kind of a God and Father would He be, whose words Jesus taught us, who would HATE HIS ENEMIES and cast them into merciless eternal hell to burn forever? If such a thing were to be, then God would require us to be better than Himself! Jesus teaches us that we are to be merciful and kind, to bless and do good to all who are enemies. Do we then have a Father whose nature is entirely opposite to ours? Impossible! The sons of God are sent, as was the Son, to reveal the nature of our Father to all. If we see a God that loves only those that love Him, or who defends Himself, and attacks His enemies, banishing them to eternal damnation, torturing endlessly those that curse Him, meting out eternal vengeance upon those that hate Him, and shutting up all mercy from those who persecute Him, then we have a God who establishes His Kingdom in the same spirit, and along the same lines, and by the same methods as the kingdoms of this world. But we are commanded to love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to those that hate us, and pray for them that despitefully use us, and persecute us-THAT WE MAY BE THE SONS OF OUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust...BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT AS YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT (Mat. 5:38-48).
Sons of God are instructed to love their enemies and not to resist evil (Mat. 5:39). In so doing they proclaim the nature and principles of the Kingdom of God which is the nature of unconditional redemptive love. We are not to fight with our enemies, either personal or national-even if they attack us. God is not preparing His sons to be warriors carrying carnal weapons to establish His Kingdom on earth. The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God, for they are spiritual weapons of faith and power and love. There is abundant historical evidence that the early Christians considered themselves citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, ambassadors of the spirit of Jesus, and as such refused to be conscripted into the military service of the Roman government. They objected to war as carnal, political, and immoral.
God is raising up in the earth a Kingdom of Priests-as SAVIOURS shall they come up on mount Zion! It is impossible to love all men while hating some men. And in the "war machine" of the nations it is impossible to go into battle with the "right frame of mind" unless your superiors have instilled in you a sense of outrage, anger, hostility, and hatred toward the enemy. It is not possible to be in preparation to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption while going out in the world's war machine to savagely blow men to bits for whom Christ died. The irony of war is that there are in most cases soldiers who are Christians on both sides. These men, saved, perhaps baptized in the Holy Spirit, members of the body of Christ, who are to love and care for one another, and esteem one another, as Christ does us; and who supposedly are endued with a divine and heavenly love for all men, march out on the battlefield of carnal warfare at the command of their worldly governments and unregenerated politicians-and BLOW ONE ANOTHER'S BRAINS OUT! Brother shoots brother, and brother bombs brother-each sometimes in the name of Christ! Ponder the fact. In international wars over the past 2,000 years, professing Christians have killed professing Christians by the/- millions! I do not hesitate to tell you that it is one of the most ridiculous contradictions in the world.
In that blessed day when the mountain of the house of the Lord is established in the tops of the mountains it shall come to pass that "many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isa. 2:1-4). The spirit of that blessed day must first be perfected in those who are destined to rule with the Lamb from mount Zion; the swords and spears in our own hearts must be turned into acts of mercy and blessing to all men of all nations now.
When men come to mount Zion they turn their weapons of destruction into instruments of blessing for their neighbors. The characteristic of the holy mountain is the Lamb-sacrificial, redeeming love. The only sword carried by the Lamb is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Sons who stand with the Lamb on mount Zion have surrendered their right to be the aggressor, the destroyer with the sword. These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These have the mind of the Lamb, the spirit of the Lamb, the nature of the Lamb. They are rendered defenseless before their enemies, armed only with the power of redemptive love. They can no longer fight any man or any nation with words or attitudes or actions of murderous rage, let alone with weapons that maim, kill and destroy. They come under the rule of the spirit of the defenseless Lamb who is the Saviour of the world. The sons of God belong to a spiritual Constitution. Their foes are spiritual, for they wrestle not against flesh and blood. Their armor is the armor of God and their sword is the sword of the Spirit.
I am reminded of the story of a missionary who was trying to explain Christian living to the chief of a primitive and warlike tribe. The chief was very old, and he listened patiently. "I do not understand," the old man said at last. "You tell me that I must not take my neighbor's wife or his ivory or his oxen." "That's right," said the missionary. "And I must not dance the war dance and then ambush my enemy on the trail and kill him." "Absolutely right," replied the missionary. "But I cannot do any of these things anymore," the old chief said regretfully. "I am too old. To be old and to be Christian-they are the same thing!" We may be amused at the old chief's logic, but the solution is plain. He did not do those things because he could not- we do not do them because we will not!
It is time to evaluate our Kingdom walk. The ascended Christ stands at the doorway and bids us set our eyes toward the world above and listen for His voice. We came from that higher world, we are sent as ambassadors of that higher world; let us seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us think, listen and watch for those things of the higher world. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Do not fill your minds with the things of this dark and dying age. Conspiracies, government actions, politics, foreign policy, taxation, terrorism, all are topics of great interest and fleshly appeal, but they are all related to the world of darkness and not that of the higher world of the Kingdom. They are all earthly things that Barabbas would involve himself and others in.
I first learned this beautiful truth from a good and holy man, my natural father. It was his earnest conviction that Jesus taught that a child of God and citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven is required by the Holy Spirit to walk out the principles of the Kingdom in the totality of life. He believed in what he termed "non-resistance" and saw the basis for this principle in the sermon of the mount and in the words of Paul: "Recompense to no man evil for evil. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath...therefore if shine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12: 17-21).
Under the law we have a right to harm someone who has harmed us. It is fair and just to retaliate when someone attacks us. The walking out of these Old Covenant principles range from sibling pinches to international war. If someone takes advantage of me, I have the right to take advantage of them. If someone files a lawsuit against me, I have the right to file a counter suit. If someone swindles me in an agreement, I have the right to swindle him back. In every case it is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If a nation launches missiles against us, we have a right to send missiles back. "You have heard that all of this has been said," Jesus declared, "BUT I SAY UNTO YOU!" Ah, now we are on Kingdom territory! And what is the higher law of the Kingdom that Jesus brought? "Resist not evil...don't retaliate...don't sue anyone...if they take your car let them have your truck also...if they force you into a bad situation, fulfill what they require and more! "
My father lived by these principles. On more than one occasion he was attacked by men who had sworn to kill him because of the gospel. They came at him with bricks and two-by-fours and brute physical strength, and my father was a small man. He fearlessly stood his ground and spoke only the words, "I love you!" Their arms stopped in mid air and they dropped their weapons. On one occasion the scene was less dramatic, but the Holy Ghost was on my mother. As she spoke in tongues and turned the car around, my father was able to jump in and make his escape. He would never resist evil, never retaliate, never manifest any fear, antagonism, anger or animosity. And he was never injured! God was powerfully with him at all times.
In the 1940's my father joined himself to one of the Pentecostal denominations. When he was being examined for ordination to the ministry in this denomination he told the brethren, "There is something I must let you know. I am a conscientious objector. I do not believe a Christian has any right in the spirit of Jesus to resist any evil or go to war to fight against any enemy of our country." He explained in detail his views on this matter. The brethren said to him, "But, brother Eby, what if a thief or rapist entered your house at night with the intent to rob you, or to molest your wife and children, or even to kill you-what would you-what would you do?" He answered, "I would call on God and God would congeal him in the doorway and he would be unable to do us any harm. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, they are mighty through God." "But," the brethren pressed, "what if everyone believed as you do? What if no one would join the armed forces to defend our country? What if our enemies attacked us-what would we do?" My father responded, "My dear brethren, if everyone in this country believed as I do, there would be so much of the power of God in this nation that our enemies would not be able to attack us!" "Well, brother Eby," the brethren said, "we don't agree, but we do admire your faith." They ordained him. My father was a small man, only five feet, one and a half inches tall, but he was a man of courage, fearlessness, conviction, and a man of faith and power with God. He lived, breathed, and walked out what he perceived as true in God. And it worked! God was with him. He was an example of the power of the grace and love of God to overcome all evil with good. That, precious friend of mine, is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God!
Lorain and I have two sons and one daughter. We are blessed that all of them are walking with the Lord and with us in this Kingdom word. I tell you today that we are willing to see any or all of them offered up for our Lord Jesus Christ. We are willing to see them suffer privation, ill health, persecution, pain, or even death for the cause of Christ and His Kingdom, should the Father lead them in such paths. Lorain and I have made great sacrifices (though we did not consider them as such!) through the years in order to fulfill the call of God in our lives. And we are now willing with joy to have our children suffer that and even greater things in the walk of this Kingdom. We would not hinder one of them from following the Lord to any of the far-flung mission fields of the world-even to give their lives there for the gospel. We would be willing to see them die for Jesus-but we are NOT willing to see them die on any battlefield of any nation of this world. We are not willing to see them carrying guns or driving tanks or flying bombers to take the lives of men for whom Christ died. We are not willing to see them blowing to bits men to whom we have been called to bring the Kingdom of Life and Light and Love. I am willing to see my sons and my daughter pay whatever price necessary to deliver creation from the bondage of sin, sorrow and death-but I am not willing to see them, at the whims of carnal politicians, blow men away into hell and judgment. The sons of God must be preeminently the SONS OF LOVE. You cannot love and maim and kill at the same time. The very thought is an absurdity, a horrible blasphemy. "For God so loved the world..." And so will all who are called to sonship! That is the power and the glory of the Kingdom of God!

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