“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” Matthew 5:30-48:
Even if you’re not a religious person or a believer in Jesus Christ, its hard to live in Western society without hearing some reference to the above passage. Forgiveness is stressed, and in most cases, the nonviolent path is the road most traveled, not the least.
As a result, Christianity, the religion which has had the greatest influence on Western society, is often equated with pacivisim. When asked how many times a man should forgive someone, Christ responds “Seventy times seven” Matthew 18:21-22 (King James Version). He also tells His followers to “turn the other cheek” Matthew 5:38-40(King James Version) when someone strikes them, supposedly so the other cheek can receive a blow as well.
The entire passion can be construed as passive. Even in the face of torture, abject humiliation, and death, Christ did not fight back against the onslaught of the religious elite or the foreign rulers who decided and then executed His fate in a manner most bloody and horrific.
Through the political Muslim’s eye, the passivism is not seen as grace, but as weakness and the posturing of classic Dhimmitude (a state of being a second class citizen in Islamic societies). According to Durie (2002) “From the Islamic side, forgiving one’s enemy looks like submission, that is , the program of Islam itself is working. Islam interprets such submissiveness as its rightful due, not an expression fo grace.”
How then do we embody compassion without seeming weak? How do we reconcile the emphasis on forgiveness with the need for defense, self preservation, and the health of the Great Commission while offering due opportunity for repentance ?
I believe our ancestors struggled immensely to answer this question. The first attack on Christendom occurred in 636 AD in what is known at the Battle of Yarmk. Mohammed’s successor Abu Bakr led Muslim armies into Palestine (modern day Isreal) and forced the Christian and Jewish population to live as second class citizens or “Dhimmis. “ The Muslim armies continued through Northern Africa and up onto the Eastern Roman Empire’s doorstep, creating what is known in the military as a “pincer movement” in which you wall in an enemy to cut off their supply lines. The map below, courtesy of Dr. Bill Warner, provides a good view of the pincer movement on Europe by Islam during the Dark Ages.
There were many defensive actions and battles during the several centuries that followed, but it wasn’t until 1096, nearly four hundred years and five hundred and fourty eight battles after the first Muslim onslaught, that the Christians started the first Crusade.
But what happened in between the advent of Islam and 1098? No doubt an immense struggle to answer the question I have just presented to you.
I can almost imagine the mid evil European looking about, seeing the shrinking of the Christian empire as the Muslim armies swept through. Spain fell, the ships that used to take papyrus ( paper at the time) stopped coming from Egypt as the ancient capital of Alexandria was ransacked, learning ceased, and the European economy was at a standstill….
It was at some point they realized, if they didn’t fight back, if they didn’t defend and attempt to capture what once was theirs, there would be no Christianity. There would be nothing left of what Messiah came and died for.
The Crusades can often be controversial, although this Infidel doesn’t feel that they should be. I promise to delve fully into them later, but for now I will just say that the first crusade was the first time the Christians actually left their homes to seek out and destroy this enemy. It was the Mid evil version of the Afghanistan War and OIF after the World Trade Center came down. It was also the first time the church found its spine (Warner, 2012).
This is where another verse comes in. It’s eclipsed by the heaviness of the passover meal, the betrayal of Christ and his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, but it’s there, and it’s important:
Luke 22:35-38(King James Version):
And He said to them, When I sent you without money bag, sack and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.”
Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a sack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garmet and buy one.
“For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’ For the things concerining me have an end.”
Then they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords. And He said to them, “It is enough.”
Notice how Christ approves of them owning swords. He doesn’t tell them to go out and buy ten more: He also is not so passive that He tells the disciples to get rid of them. In fact, He alludes to a sword being so important that one should soon need to sell their cloak in exchange for more in the future. A weapon is more important than staying warm!
The number of the swords also strikes me as interesting: 2. Turn the other cheek is also a famous line, but how many cheeks does the human body have? Two. Most Christians will also say that Christ is to have two advents, or two times that He is to appear on this earth. The first was for sin atonement and it was the portrait of a suffering sacrifice, the spotless and passive lamb to the slaughter on the cross. The second coming is detailed with such violence that Christ will literally have a sword coming from His mouth as He sweeps down conquering and destroying the enemy,
Two swords. Two cheeks. Two very different advents.
This is not a coincidence. Numbers have long been significant in Judaism, the religion which Christ Himself practiced.
The number two in Judaism speaks to the fundamental duality which is a part of life, in other words Man versus Woman, Day Verses Night, Good Verses Evil. Most of the time, as human beings we live somewhere in between these two anchors along the spectrum that flows in between them, but at times life demands we approach from the anchors themselves, from the extremes (Killian). I believe the Rabbi Jesus was getting at the duality that we were to encounter In life. He spoke of turning the other cheek, forgiving the offenders, but he also spoke of swords.
Somewhere in the spectrum is where we need to practice, we cannot be fixed in at any side, we must react accordingly to the world around us, not just in the interest of those who need redemption but in the interest of ourselves. We must find balance.
What political Islam wants to do to us goes much further than slapping us around a couple of times. It doesn’t want to negotiate with us or befriend us. It wants to annihilate us, enforce its will upon us, and destroy any mark of freedom we have. It is relentless in its pursuit of world domination.
While Christ understood His fate, He also seemed to understand that the fate of his apostles needed to be different, at least for a while. They needed to survive. They would be the tools through which the Gentile world was to be converted to the One True God. They couldn’t do this if they were dead. Thus, the two swords “It is enough.”
Yes compassion is important, forgiveness is important, but not at the expense of your own life or at the downfall of Western Civilization. Self sacrifice is for Christ, not us, at least not now. As for us Infidels, we still have work to do on this earth. I think God wants us to survive, Christ wants us to survive, and sometimes that involves making sure you have the means to do so. For Ancient Jews, it meant carrying the sword. For most Americans it means the gun, and there is nothing wrong with self defense, or even reactionary offense when truly necessary.
I believe the prime Minister Mariusz Blaszczak of Poland said it best when she commanded Europe to “Rise from your knees and your lethargy, or you will be crying over your children everyday.”
It is time for us to rise.
Cslapar, Richard C. (2017) 1400 Years of Christian Islamic Struggle. Retrieved from URL: http://www1.cbn.com/churchandministry/1400-years-of-christian-islamic-struggle
Duncan, A (2015) The Truth About Easter. Retrieved from URL: https://www.adventtruth.org/contemplating-calvary-the-truth-about-easter/
Durie, M (2002) The Dhimmitude of the West (Islam and Others). Newsletter for the center of Islamic Studies. London Bible College Retrieved from URL: http://www.jmm.org.au/articles/1442.htm)
Edmunds, D. R (2017) Polish PM Eviscerates European Elite. Retrieved from URL: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/05/26/polish-pm-eviscerates-european-elite-attack-european-culture/
Fletcher, E (2006) Women of the Bible Old and New Testaments. Retrieved from URL: http://www.womeninthebible.net/women-bible-old-new-testaments/bible-women-dinah/
Gallagher, K. (2015) Hebrew Numbers 1-10. Retrieved from URL: https://graceintorah.net/2015/06/15/hebrew-numbers-1-10/.
Killian, G. The Significance of the Number Two. Retrieved from URL: http://www.betemunah.org/two.html
New Testament: King James Version. (1999). New York: American Bible Society.
Warner, B (2012) Why we are afraid. Retrieved from URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_Qpy0mXg8Y