Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Prince of Peace

As Christians, we know that there is a Prince of Peace who came to set right what humanity continues to destroy through oppression, injustice, and violence.
It's striking how often pacifists mouth this messianic title out of context. They imagine that "Prince of Peace" means Jesus is a peacenik. But consider the title in its original setting:

3 You have multiplied the nation;    you have increased its joy;they rejoice before you    as with joy at the harvest,    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.4 For the yoke of his burden,    and the staff for his shoulder,    the rod of his oppressor,    you have broken as on the day of Midian.5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult    and every garment rolled in blood    will be burned as fuel for the fire.6 For to us a child is born,    to us a son is given;and the government shall be upon his shoulder,    and his name shall be calledWonderful Counselor, Mighty God,    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.(Isa 9:3-6) 

In this passage, the messiah is a divine warrior. He's a "prince of peace" in the sense that peace is the end-result of defeating the enemy by military means. V3 refers to plundering the vanquished enemy. The proverbial spoils of war. The "day of Midian" alludes to battles in Judges 6-8. The bloodstained garments reflect hand-to-hand combat. Burning the military hardware was part and parcel of holy war. Dedicating to God a portion of the plunder (cf. Josh 11:6,9). The imagery is thoroughly militaristic. 

1 comment:

  1. Or they could consider Jesus' own testimony: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword."