This article is part 5 of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series. Please read my “disclaimer”, which explains my intentions behind writing this article: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?
Anti-Muslim demagoguery relies on the demonization of the Prophet Muhammad, who is characterized as being especially violent and warlike. This idea has certainly gained currency in the “Judeo-Christian West”. When it is pointed out that the Biblical prophets–including Moses, Joshua,Samson, Saul, David, among many others–were far more violent and warlike (and even engaged inreligiously sanctioned genocide), anti-Muslim pro-Christian ideologues will respond by disregarding or downplaying the Old Testament and will instead focus on the personality of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.
Didn’t Jesus preach nonviolence and “loving one’s enemies”? The anti-Muslim ideologues use this idea to assault the religion of Islam with. For example, the Catholic apologist Robert Spencer compares Islam to Christianity by juxtaposing carefully selected quotes from Jesus to Islamic texts. In his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), Spencer includes a “Muhammad vs Jesus” section. He cites the following sayings of Jesus in the Bible:
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”
“If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”
“Blessed are the peacemakers”
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy”
“But love your enemies, and do good”
These “peaceful” verses of the Bible are compared to select violent-sounding Quranic verses. The violent verses of the Bible “don’t count” and are craftily excluded from the comparison (“that’s just the Old Testament!”). To tighten the noose, peaceful verses of the Quran are also excluded from the heavily biased analysis: these “don’t count” since they are supposedly from when Muhammad was still in Mecca.
To understand the last point, one needs to have a basic understanding of the Prophet Muhammad’s biography: he first declared his prophethood in the city of Mecca. Only a very small segment of society accepted him (mostly the weak and poor), whereas the masses–especially the powerful leaders of the city–not only rejected him but actively persecuted him. The chapters of the Quran that were revealed during this period are known as the Meccan chapters. Eventually, Muhammad fled to the city of Medina, whose people accepted him as their ruler. He went from persecuted prophet to ruler and commander-in-chief of a fledgling city-state.
The anti-Muslim ideologues claim that the peaceful and tolerant verses of the Quran come from when Muhammad was weak and persecuted in Mecca. These verses are “canceled”, they argue, by the violent-sounding verses in the Medinan chapters. Robert Spencer writes in his book:
Islamic theology divides the Qur’an into “Meccan” and “Medinan” suras [chapters]. The Meccan ones come from the first segment of Muhammad’s career as a prophet, when he simply called the Meccans to Islam. Later, after he fled to Medina, his positions hardened. The Medinan suras [are]…filled with matters of law and ritual–and exhortations to jihad warfare against unbelievers. The relatively tolerant verses quoted above and others like them generally date from the Meccan period, while those with a more violent and intolerant edge are mostly from Medina. 
The Islamophobes portray Muhammad as opportunistic: when he was weak and under the rule of the pagans, he called for peace. Without being in a position of authority, Muhammad was hardly in a position to do otherwise. As soon as he came to power, however, he waged “jihad warfare” (what a strange phrase!) against them. This is why, they argue, the peaceful verses of the Quran simply “don’t count”.
The merits of Spencer’s claims about the Prophet Muhammad will be critiqued in a future article of this Series. For now, however, we will demonstrate that, using such logic, it is equally possible to invalidate the “peaceful” sayings of Jesus Christ. While he was a persecuted prophet, Jesus advocated nonviolence and peaceful resistance. He was hardly in a position to do otherwise, right? Once in power, however, this changes dramatically and violent warfare becomes the new modus operandi.
Just as Muhammad’s biography can be divided into a Meccan and Medinan period, so too can Jesus’s lifestory be divided into a First and Second Coming. (Likewise can Moses’ lifestory be divided into pre- and post-Exodus: prior to Exodus, Moses was largely peaceful, but after Exodus, Moses became the leader of the emerging Jewish state–and subsequently engaged in holy wars and even genocide against other nations.) In the First Coming of Christ, only a small segment of society (mostly from the weak and poor) accepted Jesus, whereas the leaders and authorities persecuted him. During this time period, Jesus advised his followers to engage in nonviolent resistance only, perhaps even pacifism. Jesus advised his followers to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” According to the Bible, this didn’t stop his Jewish and Roman persecutors from crucifying him.
Yet, the Second Coming of Christ is a central theological belief of Christianity. When Jesus returns to earth, the gloves will be off: no longer will he practice nonviolence or pacifism. Enemies will be mercilessly killed, not loved. In this manner, Jesus will fulfill the messianic prophecies found in the Bible–both in the Old and New Testaments. To Christians, Jesus is the Messiah (the Greek word “Christ” has the same meaning as the Hebrew word “Messiah”)–the same Messiah that the Jews had been in anticipation of.
It is important to understand how the concept of Messiah developed. According to the Bible, Moses and his followers fled persecution in Egypt to find refuge in the land of Canaan. They believed that God had bequeathed this land to them, which would come to be known as Israel. Unfortunately, there were already peoples who lived in Canaan, a problem that Moses and his followers rectified via military might. The native Canaanites were subsequently occupied, exterminated, or run off their ancestral lands. When the natives fought back, the Israelites attributed this to their innate and infernal hatred of the Jewish people.
After ruling the “promised land” for a time, the Israelites were themselves conquered by outsiders. The Babylonian Empire captured the Kingdom of Judah and expelled the Jews. Though the Israelites felt no remorse over occupying, slaughtering, and running off the native inhabitants of Canaan, they were mortified when they received similar (albeit milder) treatment. In exile, the Jews prayed for vengeance, as recorded in a divine prayer in the Bible:
Psalm 137:8 O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us.
137:9 Blessed is the one who grabs your babies and smashes them against a rock.
(We can hardly imagine the glee that an Islamophobe would feel had such a violent passage, one that blesses those who smash infidel babies against rocks, been found in the Quran instead of the Bible.)
It was during the time of exile that the Jewish concept of Messiah was first born. Dutch historianJona Lendering writes:
The word Messiah renders the Aramaic word mešîhâ’, which in turn renders the Hebrew mâšîah. In Antiquity, these words were usually translated into Greek asChristos and into Latin as Christus, hence the English word Christ. All these words mean simply ‘anointed one’, anointment being a way to show that a Jewish leader had received God’s personal help.
It was believed that the Messiah (the Anointed One) would receive God’s personal help against the enemies of Israel; the Messiah would defeat the Babylonians and reestablish the Jewish state of Israel. Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, fulfilled this role by conquering Babylon and releasing the Jews from exile. Israel Smith Clare writes:
After Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, had conquered Babylon, he issued an edict permitting the Jews to return to their own country and to rebuild the city and Temple of Jerusalem. 
Prof. Martin Bernal of Cornell University writes:
The first Messiah in the Bible was Cyrus, the king of Persia who released the Jews–at least those who wanted to leave–from Exile in Babylon. 
As for this passage in the Bible:
Psalm 137:8 O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us.
137:9 Blessed is the one who grabs your babies and smashes them against a rock.
Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible comments on this verse:
This was Cyrus, who was chosen of God to do this work, and is therefore called happy, as being God’s agent in its destruction.
The Jews thereby returned to the promised land and rebuilt their nation. According to Jewish tradition, however, this did not last long: the Roman Empire conquered the land, destroyed the Temple, and exiled the Jews once again. As a result, as Lendering puts it, “the old prophecies [about Messiah] became relevant again.” Although in Jewish tradition there is a messiah for each generation, there is also the Messiah, which is what is commonly thought of when we hear the word. The Messiah would fulfill the task of destroying all of Israel’s enemies.
JewFaq.org says of the Messiah, which they spell as mashiach (emphasis is ours):
The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The mashiach is often referred to as “mashiach ben David” (mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15).
The Messiah will defeat and conquer the enemies surrounding Israel.
The Second Coming of Christ
Around 4 B.C., a prophet by the name of Jesus was born. He claimed to be the Messiah, and some Jews followed him. The followers of Christ eventually split into numerous sects, and eventually one triumphed over all others. These became what are today known as Christians. As for the majority of Jews, they rejected Jesus. Why? The Jews rejected (and continue to reject) Jesus because he did not fulfill the prophecies pertaining to the Messiah. How could Jesus be the Messiah when he not only did not defeat or conquer Israel’s enemies, but he never even led an army into a single war? On the contrary, didn’t Jesus preach nonviolence and “loving one’s enemies”?
Instead of rejecting these militaristic aspects of the Messiah, Christians attribute them to Jesus during his Second Coming. No longer will Jesus be a weak and persecuted prophet. Instead, he will hold governmental authority, and is depicted as powerful and mighty. This Jesus will certainly not love his enemies or turn the other cheek to them. In fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus will wage violent warfare against his enemies, and he will mercilessly kill them all.
Many Christians talk about how Jesus Christ will bring peace to the world, once and for all. But they often neglect to mention how this world “peace” is obtained. It is only after slaughtering his opponents and subduing “the nations” (the entire world?) under the foot of the global Christian empire that the world will have “peace”. Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains:
There shall be no more war; horses and chariots shall be no more used in a hostile way; but there shall be perfect peace, all enemies being destroyed, which agrees with Micah 2:3 Zechariah 9:10.
In other words, there will be peace for the simple reason that there will be nobody left to fight, all opponents having been slaughtered or subdued. This world “peace” is the same “peace” that any conqueror dreams of: after utterly defeating and conquering all of one’s neighbors and enemies, what is there left but “peace”, insofar as the non-existence of violence? In the accidentally insightful words of the Evangelist Wayne Blank: “Put another way, humans aren’t going to have anything left to fight about.” Following conquest, a foreign occupier would obviously want the occupied peoples to be peaceful, as this would eliminate the nuisance of having to fight off freedom-fighters. The absence of violence would allow the conquering force to effortlessly sustain its occupation.
The events of the Second Coming of Christ are found in the Bible, including the Book of Revelation–which is the last book in the New Testament. Jesus will “judge and wage war” (Rev. 19:11), his robe will be “dipped in blood” (19:13), and he will be accompanied by “armies” (19:14) with which he will “strike down the nations” (19:15), including “the Gentiles” in general and “the nations that were opposed to him” in specific. This will result in the “utter destruction of all his enemies”. Furthermore: “in his second coming[,] he will complete their destruction, when he shall put down all opposing rule, principality, and power.”
Once he conquers the infidels, Jesus “will rule them with an iron rod” (19:15). Wayne Blank writes:
The good news is that The Return Of Jesus Christ is going to happen. The even better news is that this time He’s not coming to be sacrificed by the world, but to rule it, along with those who have been faithful and obedient to Him. The world is going to know true peace, and genuine justice, in a way that it has never known before…
How Will World Peace Happen?
…[This will] not [be] by pleading and debate, but with a rod of iron. Those who choose to love and obey Him will be loved, while those who choose to rebel and hate Him will know His wrath.
Jesus will “will release the fierce wrath of God” (19:15) on them, and “he shall execute the severest judgment on the opposers of his truth”. Because of this, “every tribe on earth will mourn because of him” (Rev. 1:7), and they will “express the inward terror and horror of their minds, at his appearing; they will fear his resentment”. Just as the people of Canaan were terrified by the Israelite war machine, so too would the unbelievers “look with trembling upon [Jesus]”. This is repeated in the Gospels, that “the Son of man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn” (Matthew 24:30). “All the nations of the world shall wail when he comes to judgment” and the enemies of Jesus “shall mourn at the great calamities coming upon them”.
Far from the meek prophet of the First Coming, Jesus on his return will command a very strong military force that will “destroy every ruler, authority, and power”. Not only is this consistent with the legacy of conquests by the Biblical prophets, it is actually a fulfillment or completion of the task that Moses initiated: holy war and conquest in the name of God. In First Corinthians (part of the New Testament) it is prophesied that instead of loving his enemies, Christ will subdue and humble them under his feet:
1 Corinthians 15:24 [Jesus] will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power.
15:25 For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet.
Pastor and Biblical scholar Ron Teed explains that Jesus Christ brought “comfort and salvation at His first coming” but will bring “vengeance on God’s enemies” during his Second Coming. There are thus “two comings of Christ, the first to save, the second to judge”–yet in debates with Muslims it seems that Christians play up the First Coming and completely ignore the Second. The popular Teed Commentaries explains how “vengeance” is for Christ’s enemies (the “unbelievers”) and “comfort” only for his followers (the believers):
The Messiah will bring both comfort and vengeance. He will take vengeance on God’s enemies and bring comfort to His people. This is a summary of the mission of Christ. He brought comfort and salvation at His first coming during His earthly ministry according to Luke…
However, He said nothing of taking vengeance on God’s enemies at that time, for that part of his mission will not be fulfilled till He returns triumphant…
[There are] two comings of Christ, the first to save, the second to judge.
In His First coming He did the things mentioned in Isaiah 61:1-2; in His Second Coming He will do the things in verses 2-3. When He returns He will bring judgment on unbelievers. This will be the day of God’s “vengeance.”
The ever popular Evangelical site GotQuestions.org sums it up nicely:
Jesus’ second coming will be exceedingly violent. Revelation 19:11-21 describes the ultimate war with Christ, the conquering commander who judges and makes war “with justice” (v. 11). It’s going to be bloody (v. 13) and gory. The birds will eat the flesh of all those who oppose Him (v. 17-18). He has no compassion upon His enemies, whom He will conquer completely and consign to a “fiery lake of burning sulfur” (v. 20).
It is an error to say that God never supports a war. Jesus is not a pacifist.
Will the Real Messiah Please Stand Up?
Whereas the Second Coming of Christ is curiously forgotten in debates with Muslims, it is conveniently remembered during debates with Jews. One of the primary (if not the primary) functions of the promised messiah in the Judeo-Christian tradition is, after all, vengeance against Israel’s enemies and global dominance. Indeed, the entire concept of Messiah emerged following the conquest of Jewish lands with the subjugation and exile of its inhabitants. The Messiah stood as hope for the redemption of Israel as well as revenge against her enemies.
Jewish polemical tracts against Christians reveal to us how militarism is a fundamental characteristic of the Messiah. The Christian response in turn reveal how Jesus Christ will indeed be militaristic (during his Second Coming). David Klinghoffer, an Orthodox Jewish author, writes in his book Why the Jews Rejected Jesus:
There were certainly those among [Jesus'] followers who saw him as the promised Messiah. This was natural. The first century produced messiahs the way our own time produces movie stars. There was always a hot new candidate for the role emerging from obscurity, whose glory faded either as he was slaughtered by the Romans or as his followers lost interest when he failed to produce the goods promised by the prophets. 
“The goods” refer to the military conquest of Israel’s enemies and world domination. The fact that Jesus failed to produce these “goods” proves that he is not the promised messiah. Klinghoffer continues:
Let him do what the “son of man,” the promised Messiah, had been advertised as being destined to do from Daniel back through Ezekiel and Isaiah and the rest of the prophets. Let him rule as a monarch, his kingship extending over “all peoples, nations, and languages.” Let him return the exiles and build the Temple and defeat the oppressors and establish universal peace, as the prophets also said…
Let Jesus come up with the real messianic goods–visible to all rather than requiring us to accept someone’s assurance that, for example, he was born in Bethlehem–and then we’ll take him seriously. 
This point is reiterated in his book numerous times:
Hearing Jesus preach, a Jew might reasonably have crossed his arms upon his chest and muttered, “Hm, intriguing, but let’s see what happens.” After all, the scriptures themselves common-sensically defined a false prophet as someone whose prophecies fail to come true. According to Deuteronomy, this was the chief test of a prophet. 
Klinghoffer writes elsewhere:
The Hebrew prophets describe the elements of a messianic scenario that could not easily be overlooked: an ingathering of the Jewish exiles, the reign of a messianic king, a new covenant with the Jews based on a restored commitment to observance of the commandments, a new Temple, the recognition of God by the world’s peoples. The future Davidic king was expected to radically change the world. 
The “radical change” involves the “subjugation” of the nations:
The Messiah would be a military and political leader. Philo, whose views have sometimes been taken as foreshadowing Christian teachings, is clear on this: “For ‘there shall come forth a man’ (Num. 24:7), says the oracle, and leading his host of war he will subdue great and populous nations.”
The Gospel writers thus faced the challenge that Jesus never raised an army, fought the Romans, returned any Jewish exiles, ruled over any population, or did anything else a king messiah would do. 
The subjugated nations would then “prostrate” themselves to the Messiah and “serve” him (perpetual servitude?):
The promised royal scion of David, the Messiah, would surely inspire veneration and awe beyond that accorded even to David himself…The nations will “prostrate” themselves before God, says one psalm; but so will they “prostrate” themselves (same Hebrew verb) before the Davidic king, says another psalm…As Daniel puts it…“[The Messiah] was given dominion, honor, kingship, so that all peoples, nations, and languages would serve him.” 
Klinghoffer defines the Messiah as he “who conquers and rules the nations and liberates the Jews” and describes him as “a mighty warrior”. He rhetorically asks:
Was there in Jewish tradition any room for a dead Messiah? Didn’t Jesus’s death tend to cast doubt on his ability to accomplish all the world-transforming things the Messiah was supposed to do? 
Again, the “world-transforming things” include violent holy war against the heathen nations and their subjugation under his rule. Klinghoffer answers his own question:
But was Jesus a ruler over Israel? On the contrary, the younger Kimchi pointed out, “He did not govern Israel but they governed him.” 
Christians reply by arguing that Jesus will fulfill these prophecies, just during his Second Coming. The Good News, a Christian magazine with a readership of nearly half a million subscribers, responds to the Jewish criticism by arguing that Jesus returns “a second time” as a “conquering King” who will “slay the great armies of those who opposed Him”. Jesus will be “the promised Messiah whom the prophets claimed would rule all nations ‘with a rod of iron’” and “all nations would come under His rule”.
Klinghoffer, our Orthodox Jewish interlocutor, cries foul:
Christians respond by saying that “the famously unfulfilled prophecies (for instance, that the messianic era will be one of peace) apply to the second and final act in Jesus’s career, when he returns to earth. This is a convenient and necessary dodge: The Bible itself never speaks of a two-act messianic drama. 
The interesting dynamic is thus established: Jews accuse Jesus of not being militaristic enough, and Christian apologists respond by eagerly proving the militaristic nature of Jesus during his Second Coming.
Christians Affirm Militant Old Testament Prophecies
Far from saying “it’s just the Old Testament!”, Christians routinely–and as a matter of accepted fundamental theology–use the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah to validate their belief in Jesus–prophecies that have militaristic overtones. The Book of Isaiah, for example, has numerous prophecies in it that Christians routinely attribute to Jesus Christ. For example:
Isaiah 35:4 Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Matthew Henry’s commentary of this verse says:
Assurance is given of the approach of Messiah, to take vengeance on the powers of darkness, to recompense with abundant comforts those that mourn in Zion; He will come and save. He will come again at the end of time, to punish those who have troubled his people; and to give those who were troubled such rest as will be a full reward for all their troubles.
This will be “a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause” (34:8) against the “nations at enmity with the church” and “those found opposing the church of Christ”, which will result in “the destruction of [the church's] enemies.” Likewise do Christians claim that the Book of Micah foretells the Second Coming of Christ:
Micah 15:5 I will execute vengeance in anger and fury on the heathen, such as they have not heard.
One Biblical commentary helpfully explains this verse:
Christ will give his Son either the hearts or necks of his enemies, and make them either his friends or his footstool.
[NassirH, a reader of our website, astutely commented: I suppose this is what JihadWatch writer Roland Shirk meant when he said “Islam is a religion of fear and force, and its adherents can only be at your feet or at your throat.”]
Another Biblical commentary notes: “Here no mention is made of Mercy, but only of executing vengeance; and that, with wrath and fury.” Yet another states that this is “a prophecy of the final overthrow of all the enemies of pure and undefiled religion” and that this is “a threatening of vengeance to the Heathens”.
When we published articles comparing the Judeo-Christian prophets of the Hebrew Bible to the Prophet Muhammad, an anti-Muslim bigot by the name of Percey (formerly known as Cassidy) claimed that the genocides of the Old Testament were “not supported by Christ’s teachings.” This hardly seems the case, however, when we consider that Jesus will bring to a climax the holy war first initiated by Moses against the enemies of Israel. Jesus will fulfill, not repudiate, Old Testament holy wars against Israel’s foes. In fact, the war will be expanded to heathen nations in general, or at least those that reject Jesus.
We could reproduce violent Christian texts ad nauseum…What is clear is that the Christian conception of Jesus can very easily be characterized as violent. Prof. Melancthon W. Jacobus writes in A Standard Bible Dictionary:
[Jesus] excluded from the Messiah’s character the main elements of the popular ideal, i.e. that of a conquering hero, who would exalt Israel above the heathen, and through such exclusion He seemed to fail to realize the older Scriptural conception. The failure, however, was only apparent and temporary. For in the second coming in glory He was to achieve this work. Accordingly, His disciples recognized a twofoldness in His Messiahship: (1) They saw realized in His past life the ideal Servant of Jehovah, the spiritual Messiah, the Christ who teaches and suffers for the people, and (2) they looked forward to the realization of the Davidic and conquering Messiah in His second coming in power and glory to conquer the nations and reign over them. 
How then do we reconcile the seemingly peaceful and pacifist sayings of Jesus with the violent and warlike Second Coming of Christ? There are numerous ways to do this, but perhaps the most convincing is that Jesus’ peaceful and pacifist sayings were directed towards a resident’s personal and local enemies–usually (but not always) referring to fellow co-religionists. It did not refer to a government’s foreign adversaries, certainly not to heathen nations. Prof. Richard A. Horsley of the University of Michigan argues:
The cluster of sayings keynoted by “love your enemies” pertains neither to external, political enemies nor to the question of nonviolence or nonresistance…The content of nearly all the sayings indicates a context of local interaction with personal enemies, not of relations with foreign or political foes…
“Love your enemies” and the related sayings apparently were understood by [Jesus'] followers…to refer to local social-economic relations, largely within the village community, which was still probably coextensive with the religious community in most cases…[although sometimes referring] to persecutors outside the religious community but still in the local residential community—and certainly not the national or political enemies. 
This is consistent with the ruling given by the Evangelical site GotQuestions.org, which permits governments to wage war whilst forbidding individuals from “personal vendettas”:
God has allowed for just wars throughout the history of His people. From Abraham to Deborah to David, God’s people have fought as instruments of judgment from a righteous and holy God. Romans 13:1-4 tells us to submit ourselves to government authorities and that nations have the right to bear the sword against evildoers, both foreign and domestic.
Violence occurs, but we must recognize the difference between holy judgment on sin and our own personal vendettas against those we dislike, which is the inevitable outcome of pride (Psalm 73:6).
As for the “turning the other cheek” passage, it is known that the slap on the cheek that was being referred to here was in that particular culture understood as an insult, not as assault. The passage itself has to do with a person responding to a personal insult, and has nothing to do with pacifism. In any case, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary clarifies: “Of course, He applied this to personal insults, not to groups or nations.” 
Some Christians maintain that fighting the enemies on the battlefield does not exclude loving them. This begs the question: how absolutely irrelevant is this strange form of “love” for enemies that does not proscribe killing them?
Whatever the reason for the contradiction between loving enemies on the one hand and killing them on the other, the point is that the comparison between a supposedly peaceful Jesus and violent Muhammad is not just a vapid oversimplification but pure falsity. It is only through a very selective and biased analysis–a carefully crafted comparison between the most peaceful sounding verses of the New Testament (a handful of quotes from Jesus that constitute a small fraction of the Bible overall) with the most violent sounding verses of the Quran (those too out of context, as we shall see in future parts of this Series).
Anything that doesn’t fit this agenda simply “doesn’t count” (and indeed, the anti-Muslim pro-Christian readers will furiously rack their brains to figure out ways to make the violent Jesus verses “not count”). The Islamophobic logic is thus: If we exclude all violent verses from the Bible and all the peaceful verses from the Quran, then aha! See how much more violent the Quran is compared to the Bible! Anti-Muslim Christians scoff at Islam and exalt their religion by informing Muslims of how Jesus, unlike Muhammad, loved his enemies. Let the Muslims reply back ever so wryly: Jesus loved them so much that he kills them.
Anti-Muslim Christians often chant “Muhammad was a prophet of war, whereas Jesus was the Prince of Peace”. A few points about this are worthy of being mentioned: first, Muhammad never used the title “prophet of war” nor is this mentioned in the Quran or anywhere else. In fact, one of the most common epithets used for Muhammad, one found in the Quran no less, was “A Mercy to All Humanity”. (More on this in a later part of the Series.) Jesus, on the other hand, will be a “Warrior King” and a “Conquering King.” Should it then be “Muhammad is A Mercy to All Humanity, whereas Jesus is the Warrior King”?
As for Jesus being the Prince of Peace, this epithet comes from Isaiah 9:6:
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen.
One Christian website paraphrases this succinctly: “Israel’s enemies will be destroyed. Peace will flow to the four corners of the earth, as the Prince of Peace rules and reigns.” Again, this is the “peace” that conquerers dream of. Jesus is the Prince of Peace because he declares war, slaughters and subjugates all possible enemies to the point where nobody is left to fight, and voila!there is peace!
This brings us to the commonly quoted (and oft-debated) verse of the Bible, in which Jesus says:
Matthew 10:34 Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Most debates focus on whether or not the word “sword” here is metaphorical or not. Leaving aside the fact that even if this is a metaphor it is certainly a very violent sounding one, it would actually behoove us to focus on the word “peace” in this verse. Jesus told the Jews: “do not think I have come to bring peace on earth” as a way to explain his failure to produce “the goods”: “the Jews believed that when the Messiah comes, there would be a time of world peace.” Naturally, this world “peace” would be brought about through war. Of course, in his Second Coming will Jesus bring this “peace on earth” (and by “peace”, what is meant is war, slaughter, and subjugation). As we can see, this verse confirms the militant nature of the Messiah (and thus Jesus), regardless of if it is metaphorical or not.
Here is another hotly debated verse, in which Jesus says:
Luke 19:27 But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.
Robert Spencer dismisses this verse, saying: “These are the words of a king in a parable.” Yes, this was a parable that Jesus told his disciples. But what was his intention in narrating this parable? Gill’s Explanation to the Entire Bible explains that it was to explain what will happen to the Jews “when Christ shall come a second time”: Jesus will “destroy the Jewish nation” for rejecting him “and then all other enemies will be slain and destroyed” as well. Death and destruction will be the fate of whoever does not accept Jesus’ reign as Warrior King.
This was hardly an innocuous story. It reminds us of a scene in the movie Gladiator when the evil Roman emperor Commodus tells his nephew a story about an “emperor” who was betrayed by his sister (“his own blood”) and how he “struck down” her son as revenge. (Watch it here.) The story was a thinly veiled threat, as was Jesus’ parable.
One can only hardly imagine how Islamophobes like Robert Spencer would react had it been the Prophet Muhammad who had used such a violent parable, threatening to return to earth in order to “slay” anyone who “did not want me to reign over them”! This would certainly “count” since all violence in the Quran “counts” whereas whatever is peaceful in the Quran “doesn’t count”, and whatever is violent in the Bible “doesn’t count” and whatever is peaceful in the Bible “counts”. Heads I win, tails you lose.
refer back to article 1. Spencer, Robert. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). Washington, DC: Regnery Pub., 2005. 24. Print.
refer back to article 2. Clare, Israel S. The Centennial Universal History: A Clear and Concise History of All Nations. P. W. Ziegler, 1876. 33. Print.
refer back to article 3. Bernal, Martin. Black Athena. Vol. 1. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ., 1996. 125. Print.
refer back to article 4. Klinghoffer, David. Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: the Turning Point in Western History. New York: Three Leaves/Doubleday, 2006. 61. Print.
refer back to article 5. Ibid., p.71
refer back to article 6. Ibid., p.64
refer back to article 7. Ibid., p.62
refer back to article 8. Ibid., p.63
refer back to article 9. Ibid., p.69
refer back to article 10. Ibid., p.161
refer back to article 11. Ibid., p.204
refer back to article 12. Jacobus, Melancthon Williams., Edward E. Nourse, and Andrew C. Zenos. A Standard Bible Dictionary. New York & London, 1909. 543. Print.
refer back to article 13. Swartley, Willard M. “Ethics and Exegesis: ‘Love Your Enemies’ and the Doctrine of Nonviolence.” The Love of Enemy and Nonretaliation in the New Testament. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1992. Print.
refer back to article 14. Wiersbe, Warren W. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2007. 21. Print.