Christmas and the Plow - Revelation Movement

Christmas and the Plow
Did Christmas Make America the World’s Bread Basket?
-Vishal Mangalwadi
“They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
Everyone will sit under their own vine
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the LORD Almighty has spoken.”
Micah 4:3-4
Until recently America was the world’s leading Protestant nation. Now post-Christian America is leading the world towards an economic Armageddon. Corruption of America’s original Protestant theology and education is the primary reason for America’s dangerous decline.
3_wisemen_2Let me illustrate: most Americans who hear about the Magi and the shepherds will be reminded that, seven hundred years before Jesus was born, Micah (5:2) prophesied that the coming world Ruler will be born in Bethlehem. No preacher, however, is likely to teach that one of Messiah’s missions was to transform the curse upon their agriculture into a blessing.
However, if an American church invited George Washington, the first President of the United States of America, as the Chief Guest of their Christmas function, he would celebrate the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9: 6), the “Savior” (Matthew 1:21) using texts such as Micah 3:3-4 or Zachariah 3:  9-10, “‘I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”
In his published speeches, prayers, and letters, George Washington quoted these prophesies from Micah and Zachariah at least four dozen times. No doubt, someone in your church would ask him, “How can you as a devout Christian take up guns, especially against your own emperor?”
General Washington would invite his critic to sit down in his farm house with a mug of hot drink and re-read Christmas-related passages in Isaiah, Zachariah, and Luke. Devastation of Agriculture due to war is the context of these prophesies. Wars, in turns, are depicted as divine judgment upon sin.
An intimidating international conflict between arrogant Aram and Israel on one side and a terrified Judah on the other is the immediate context of Isaiah’s prophecy that a virgin shall conceive and deliver Immanuel. Worse wars between petty but monstrous kings will follow. They will devastate agriculture. Human folly will make incarnation of a David-like shepherd both necessary as well as good news:
“Then Isaiah said [to Ahaz, Jerusalem’s king], ‘Hear now, you house of David! . . . the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, . . . the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.
‘In that day the LORD will whistle for flies [armies]from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thorn bushes and at all the water holes. In that day the Lord will use a razor [sword] hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave your head and private parts, and to cut off your beard also. In that day, a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats. And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.” (Isaiah 7:13-25)
Why will people live off milk and curd? Why won’t they have bread to offer as Thank Offering?
PlowOx_pict1_In Micah chapters 3-5, the context of the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem is exactly the same as in Isaiah. Due to Judah’s sin, Zion – God’s (un)holy city – will be destroyed completely. It will become a field that can be plowed. Yet, the survivors will be so few and so insecure that they won’t be able to actually plow, sow, or harvest. Why?
Harvesting and saving grain is a big mistake when there is no king, political organization, or justice. Storing food is an invitation to gangs of robbers. It is wiser to graze your cattle among thorns and briars and live off milk products, supplemented by what can be gathered from the wilderness – honey.
That is why the wise men from the East were seeking a king. Isaiah had predicted in Chapter 9 that the government will be upon Messiah’s shoulders:
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
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.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
Giving accurate, historical interpretation of Christmas prophesies, General Washington will tell you that he was leading a revolutionary war against an exploitative empire, because Isaiah’s Prince of Peace was not peace-lover. He was Peace-Maker: one who gets into the line of fire; who baptizes his followers with fire to establish just peace upon the earth (Isaiah 42:3-5). Washington refused to even consider becoming the king of the new nation because, back then, the American pulpit knew that Jesus was already King.
Macro-historian Nial Ferguson concludes his popular book, Civilization with the remark that “Today…the biggest threat to Western Civilization is our own pusillanimity . . . and . . . the historical ignorance that feeds it”.
Washington will remind you what the old saint, Simeon, told Mary: her son, the Messiah, was going to be a trouble maker, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34-35)
Luke, the evangelist, tells us that Mary stored these weighty matters in her heart and pondered over them (Luke 2:19). Unfortunately, Christmas is no longer a season for serious meditation. Therefore, it will be prudent for me to cut short this discourse. Yet, may I tell you that these reflections are a fraction of my December lectures on “Christmas and the Birth of Modern Science,” “Christmas and Agricultural Engineering”, “Christmas Tree and the Healing of the Nations” etc. These meditations were given in the Postgraduate School of Biological Sciences, Jacob School of Bio-Technology and Bio-Engineering, Yeshu Darbar School of the Bible and as daily morning devotions in the chamber of Prof. Dr. R. B. Lal, the Vice Chancellor (President) of Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology, and Sciences (SHIATS) – Deemed-to-be-University at Allahabad, UP, in Northern India. These doors were opened because at November end, I was appointed Honorary Professor of Applied Theology in the Gospel and Plough Faculty of Theology.
An American Presbyterian missionary, Sam Higginbottom, founded the university as Agriculture Institute, 103 years ago. One of his initial donors was Nancy McCormick – the widow of Cyrus McCormick, who invented the horse-driven reaper, and began fulfilling George Washington’s dream of America as a bread basket.
SHIATS has birthed a movement called Yeshu Darbar (the Royal Court of Jesus). The Darbar has baptized over 100,000 people during the previous decade. They are now being organized into 500 churches and centers of discipleship, education and community transformation. The plan is to use both face-to-face and internet based mentoring. In the light of India’s massive need, this mission is miniscule. Yet, it can serve as model to establish powerful churches in every village in India and beyond.
Needless to say, we need many volunteers and much money. The university is giving me a beautiful house facing the ‘holy’ river Yamuna, but I can’t invite you home, unless the Lord provides the money to furnish the house and buy a car. I am not taking a salary from the university because the Revelation Movement’s Board has asked me to globalize church-and-internet-based-education, especially help the group in Minnesota (USA) that has resolved to start it in 2014.
What does this mission have to do with the theme “Christmas and the Plow?”
Well, one of India’s best cows is Kankrej from Gujarat. In India this cow yields about 9-12 kgs of milk. The same breed yields 40 kgs of milk in Brazil!
Why?
Obviously, there are many factors: one of them is that those who study agriculture in India, including in our university, do not even intend to practice agriculture or animal husbandry. This socio-cultural problem can be tackled ‘First’ if our village pulpits impart a vision of the Kingdom (Darbar) that is informed by the prophecies of Isaiah, Micah, Zachariah and the way these were understood by George Washington, Cyrus McCormick, and Sam Higginbottom. And ‘Second’ if high quality and affordable agricultural education becomes available in villages.
You are invited to participate in this education-as-discipleship revolution that will transform India bottom up. To receive regular updates please meet me onwww.facebook/Vishal Mangalwadi and subscribe to www.RevelationMovement.com
Wishing You a Wonderful Christmas
Vishal Mangalwadi

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