A good revolution

The people of Egypt are engaged in a revolution to make some major changes in their government, that is in how the business of their civic lives is managed. But is it a good revolution?It is a noble cause to seek to be free from oppressive forms of government. We here in the United States understand that perfectly well. We engaged in a violent war to secure our independence from the colonial empire of Great Britain, so we understand the value of such freedom.

But we also understand that the benefits of such freedom are not easy to achieve or to maintain. Rules of law and order, even those written into a Constitution and established in a republican or representative form of government, are not always perfect or effective in meeting the changing needs of citizens. We know about this challenge, because our people got engaged in another war to remove the oppression of slavery from our society, but even then there were later riots in our streets with people being killed and property being destroyed to remove some of the causes and effects of prejudice from our society. And these problems are still not completely solved. So we are currently engaged in a “war” of words and political strategies to determine how to make our freely established form of government more responsive to the needs of our citizens and their role in the world.

Personal freedom is nice, but its real value is determined by how well free individuals get along with other free individuals, how they manage their corporate processes when they all have to work together, and how well they are able to get along with their neighbors.  And many individuals in the “free” world are concerned about the end  results of this revolution in Egypt, and others like it, because it is not always clear what form of government is going to be in “power” after the change is made and how effective it will be in enabling the citizens of Egypt to meet their personal needs and to live in peace with their neighbors in the other nations of the world. These concerns are always important, because our world is composed of a lot of “different” people who have a lot of different needs and wants and levels of personal and corporate resources to meet those needs and wants .

There is a very interesting conversation reported in the gospel of John (chapter 3:1-21) in the Bible that touches on this matter of “kingdoms” and civic “saviors”. The conversation took place between Nicodemus, a legal expert from the ruling body of the Jews in ancient Jerusalem, and Jesus whom he recognized as “a teacher” who had “come from God”. So Jesus was someone whom Nicodemus would respect as being wiser than some other consultant or expert in such matters. Jesus makes it clear to Nicodemus in this conversation that Nicodemus is really not able to recognize who it is who comes from “heaven”;  and he really can’t mentally grasp the difference between what is “true” and what is “evil”, that is between what is “light” or illuminating and what is a matter of “darkness” or worldly, in accord with the “heavenly” system of operating a “kingdom”. Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to understand these matters he would have to be “born again”, which means that he would have to start all over with a basic change in the way he thinks. Jesus was telling Nicodemus that in order to understand the nature of a good “kingdom” or who might establish such a one on earth he would have to have his life and the disposition of his mind changed by “the Spirit” that is from “heaven”, that is from God.

The path to a good revolution

I really think that these revolutions and political discussions,  like those in which the people of Egypt are engaged and even those in which we citizens of the United States are currently having,  are going to be basically futile and ineffective until people are basically changed into individuals who can recognize wise leaders who can lead them away from what is “evil” and help them to establish civic forms of government that are basically loving.

One of the basic difficulties in achieving such basic changes is that they can’t be accomplished through laws, that is through legislative political processes. There is no law that has ever been written or even conceived that can make free individuals love others or love those who “rule” over their civic businesses. In religious terminology we don’t need more revolutions, we need a good revival of human transformation in order to become “children” of our “Father” who is in “heaven” who know how to live in peace with their “brothers” and “sisters” in this world.

What do you think of these revolutions that are taking place around the world and the current discussions that are taking place among the citizens and politicians in the United States? What do you really expect them to accomplish? What constitutes a good revolution? Let’s talk about this.

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A good revolution — 8 Comments

  1. What do you think of these revolutions that are taking place around the world and the current discussions that are taking place among the citizens and politicans in the United States? What do you really expect them to accomplish? Let’s talk about this.

    I think the Egyptian people want a better life. They are protesting poverty, high food prices, rampant unemployment (which I’ve heard is as high as 50%), government corruption and the autocratic governance of President Mubarak. It is my belief that personal freedom and freedom of fear from one’s government is a basic human right. But, there are so many forces working against that freedom for all of the people in the Middle East.

    With the freedom of self rule the Egyptian people will take on the great responsibility of demonstrating civility in dealing with her neighbors. When decisions on public matters are made by a broad group of people it is the virtues that characterize those people that determine the types of decisions that are made. This is why it is paramount that the people of Egypt have qualified and peace seeking individuals willing to preside over the country.

    With the Muslim Brotherhood looming in the background, there is a recipe for disaster in the Middle East. For the last several years Egyptian politics have been marked by an unprecedented crackdown on political groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, the nonviolent Islamist proto-party that, with 88 seats, forms the largest opposition bloc in parliament Since 2006, the Egyptian regime has worked to erase the Brotherhood from the political map, in what many consider the worst period of anti-Islamist repression since the so-called mihna, or inquisition, of the 1950s and ‘60s. I believe we need to look closely at the agenda of the “brotherhood”.

    Both the Muslim faith and the Christian faith are watching for the advent of a person who will mark the end of times. In Islam he is the Mahdi, and he will destroy oppression, defeat the enemies of religion, and re-establish peace and justice on earth. His rule will be followed by the return of Christ. Muslim end times, or Eschotological reality, appear to be something they WANT to move toward; on the other hand, as a Christian I await the appearance of a Great Deceiver to emerge prior to the arrival of the Anti-Christ.

  2. I think that is it is a common practice for protestors to publish their protests as movements for freedom from oppressive systems of government and an effort to gain some basic human resources for food, jobs, personal safety, and justice. And it is a common practice for people who are in power and who have direct access to forces of power to try to keep it as long as possible. The conflict between these two systems of civic life is clearly being demonstrated daily in Egypt. And the “end” of the conflict is somewhat uncertain.

    I don’t think that the factor of “faith”, either that of Muslims or Christians, has a very clear position in any of these revolutions. I don’t see many established political leaders and commentators making any references to matters of “end times” prophecies from either of these religions. Some Christian preachers and writers have published various statements about this matter, but basically the daily affairs of these people and their followers and those of other current religious communities are being conducted in accord with a practice that is in keeping with “business as usual”, unless something really global changes the “landscape”.

    I think that most of the revolutions that we see around us today are really about power and who is going to be in charge and not about basic human welfare. Thanks for you comment. Let’s keep talking about this.

  3. I agree that the masses of people we’re seeing in the streets right now were motivated to the point of public protests and rioting because their basic needs are not being met under President Mubarak. The Egyptian people are showing a lot of courage in doing this. Religion is most definitely not a motivating factor on this level. The corruptible nature of the human being is disgraceful. Considering the US gives foreign aid to Egypt in the amount of 1.5 billion dollars a year, and they have been the second largest recipient of foreign aid since 1979, you have to wonder at her people going hungry, or do you?

    Now that I said that, I have to admit I believe there are radical elements in this world that would like nothing more than to create a global jihad. We may not hear leaders and commentators talking about the “End Times” as Christians are familiar with, but we certainly listen to their frequent and numerous interviews with Radical Islamists and Imams who openly and proudly declare jihad and spiritual warfare against Christians and the Western Civilizations. They seek validation of the Muslim faith as the only true word of God. It’s a point of contention they have with Christians that dates back to roughly 33 BC; and let’s not forget their resentment toward the Jewish people, which dates back to the time of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael.

    The Bible states that the Jewish people will be scattered to the four corners of the world and they will be homeless once again. If the largely secular Egyptian government should turn to Radical Islam and Shir’ah Law, they most definitely would attack Israel. Egypt has been key in Israel’s relative safety up to this point. The Muslim Brotherhood has been repressed for over 30 years. It’s unforeseeable what will happen at this point, but all the elements for disaster are present.

    What do you think?

    • I’m not familiar with any biblical prophecy that states that the Jewish people in Israel will be scattered again throughout the world as “homeless”. I think that the biblical prophecy is that the nation of Israel will be the target of a joint effort of several nations to wipe them from the face of the earth. This military assault (see Ezekiel 38-39) is the prelude to the battle of Armageddon (see Rev. 16:16) and a battle in the “Valley of Jehoshaphat” where the Lord will judge those “nations” that have “scattered” “his people” and “divided up” the land of Israel (see Joel 3:1-2, 9-17).

      I think that “all the elements for disaster” are being assembled. I don’t see many “elements” for peace among the nations “being assembled” in this revolution or much else that is happening within the “nations” of the world right now. The major “reforms” that are being proposed in the US and in other countries and the emerging “revolutions” or political changes that are evident elsewhere do not provide a picture of peace and the expansion of personal freedom and comfort for multitudes of people.

      This is a very important matter of great importance. Let us hear from others regarding what they think is “good” about this revolution in Egypt or the major changes that are taking place elsewhere in our world.

      • The people of Israel would be scattered worldwide.

        Prophecy: Old Testament: Deuteronomy 28:64 (Written: perhaps 1400 BC)
        ” Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. …”

        Fulfilled: 721 BC, 586 BC, 70 AD, 135 AD, modern times: In Deuteronomy 28:64, the Bible said the Jews would be scattered worldwide. This prophecy has been fulfilled in detail. Take a look at the explanation of the Jewish “Diaspora,” which means “scattering,” from the Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition: “… by 70 A.D. Jewish communities existed in Babylonia, Syria, Egypt, Cyrene, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome. Jews followed the Romans into Europe and from Persia and Babylonia spread as far east as China . In modern times, Jews have migrated to the Americas , South Africa , and Australia . The Jewish population of Central and Eastern Europe , until World War II the largest in the world, was decimated in the Holocaust. Despite the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, the vast majority of the Jewish people remains in the Diaspora, notably in North America, Russia , and Ukraine .”

        Deut 28:65-66 Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life.
        For nearly 2000 years following the destruction in 70AD, the ‘wandering Jew’ has lived without a homeland, subject to the strongest racial prejudice and torment suffered by any people group. From the day they were scattered to the day Hitler devised his ‘final solution to the Jewish problem’, this prophecy spoken by Moses has sadly been fulfilled.

        Disobedience would lead to the nation of Israel being scattered amongst all nations.

        See also Lev 26:33, Jer 9:16, Ezek 12:15. In all, 6 different books of the Bible predict the scattering of Israel amongst all the nations of the earth. History records this being fulfilled in 70 AD when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman Empire and the remaining Jews were scattered amongst the nations.

        Zech 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity,

        • Marlene,
          I think that most of the incidents that you have cited in your message refer to times in the past when “the people of Israel” were “scattered” among the nations. I recognize that these scatterings did take place and that the majority of the Jews, Israelites, are still living among the nations where they settled. Some have returned to the land of Israel, and others may return. The prophecy in Zechariah 14:1-11 apparently refers to part of the “end times” events that involve the nation of Israel and the particular residents of Jerusalem, but I don’t believe that there is a completely clear conclusion regarding the details and sequence of everything that is involved in Gods’ future deliverance of the Jews (see also Zechariah 12:1-9). When the final battles begin in that area, I’m sure that some of the residents will flee, but as the prophet indicates “Jerusalem will be secure”. So we are still trying to recognize what may be “good” about these revolutions among the people of the nations and how they may affect us, recognizing that not all of the “details” are clearly revealed.

  4. The Egyptian people have certainly demonstrated that freedom is a powerful revolutionary force. Their peaceful protests over the course of 18 days force a dictator of 30 years to surrender. The people of Egypt and many people around the world are celebrating their victory with them as they wait for the military council to implement free elections in the nation and a “democratic” form of government.

    Although freedom is a powerful revolutionary force, I want to suggest that there is even a more powerful force that needs to be implemented beneath it. That is the force of SERVICE in which free citizens of a nation use their personal and collective freedom to really serve the personal and collective needs of each other, guests in their nation, and their neighboring nations in the area inspite of the differences that they may have with them.

    Time will tell, perhaps sooner than later, whether or not these “free” citizens of Egypt will be able to implement a strategy for SERVICE within this nation. If they can do that, such a transformation of this nation could serve as a very powerful model for revolutionary change throughout the area and the world.

    Let’s talk about this. What should be included in a national strategy for Service in the nations of the world? How should such strategies be implemented? Who should pay for them?

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