Here is the sixteenth in a series of Bible studies that present the Bible as being on the side of pacifism. This essay, “Israel’s Fall and Its Hope,” looks at two of the voices of understanding and hope in Israel following the destruction wreaked on their political and religious worlds by the Babylonian Empire–the prophet Jeremiah and the prophet who words are contained in the book of Isaiah, chapters 40–66.
These two prophets reinforce the critique of Israel’s corrupt power politics, underscoring the dictum that those who live by the sword will also die by the sword–a dictum certainly applying to political entities. However, beyond the critique, these prophets offer words of hope–God’s mercy nonetheless endures.
Their message is that the God of Israel remains a God of healing love whose call to Israel to bless all the families of the earth remains in effect. However, as the story will emphasize as it continues beyond the destruction and exile, this promise will never again be centered around a nation state–but rather around countercultural faith communities whose hope rests on the word of God, not on weapons of war.