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Of swords and ploughshares ::

MICHAEL FISCHER reflects on the events of September 11th 2001
Source: Perspective Vo9 No2 © Perspective 2001

Who remembers the Gulf War? Sure we do. It was only about ten years ago that we watched images on television of anti-aircraft fire blazing uselessly into the night sky as American bombs rained down onto Iraqi cities and installations; images of ‘smart’ laser-guided bombs blowing buildings apart from top to bottom; images of the smoking shells of tanks in the desert, as oil wells blazed in the background.
The images were one thing; then there was the rhetoric. George Bush (father of the current President) proclaimed confidently to the world, that the American and Allied military operations in the region would bring in a “new world order”.

Ten years later, where is our “new world order”? It’s nowhere to be seen. As American forces move into Afghanistan, what we see is more of the same old thing. And no doubt we’ll see more of the same old images – images of burning tanks and buildings reduced to rubble.

But already we’re hearing more of the same old rhetoric. The American operation was initially known as “Infinite Justice”. But according to ABC News Online (Wednesday 26 September.), “that name was dropped after officials realised it could offend Muslims who believe only Allah can provide such boundless justice.”

Sorry, but as a Christian it offended me too. I mean, America might be the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth, but does that give it a right to claim that it can deliver a level of justice that goes beyond flawed and limited human justice?

So, when I heard that the operation had a new code name, I heaved a sigh of relief. What might that new code name be? I hoped it was something perhaps a little less ambitious, a little less arrogant. Well, the new name is “Operation Enduring Freedom”.

Not much of an improvement, is it? I cannot believe that a nation which prides itself on its Christian heritage and foundations, can be so woefully blind when it comes to realising where true justice and enduring freedom are to be found. It’s typical of human blindness and arrogance that we can think that our achievements and efforts will bring about an eternal kingdom.

The Bible is clear: final justice and enduring freedom cannot be achieved through our military activities or any other human activity, for that matter. They will appear when God establishes the kingdom of Christ, judges the dead, rewards those who love Jesus, and destroys the destroyers (Rev 11:15-19). On that day, the pain and trouble of this world will be a thing of the past, and enduring peace and justice will take hold (Rev 21:4). On that day, we will have a ‘new world order’ but not before that Day.

So, let’s never look to any earthly power to deliver what God has promised. We must look to God, who will one day make “everything new” (Rev 21:5). That is why in the meantime we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20).

Michael Fischer is the pastor of the Australind Baptist Church, Western Australia.

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