How many of us know where to look for the truth? Who do we trust to tell us the truth, and why do we trust them? Probably a lot of us would rather not ask such questions of ourselves, but just go along with everyone else… at least until some bitter disappointment causes us to stop and think. Even then, we may end up conformed to society around us. This is dangerous if we are concerned about truth – about right and wrong – because the values of that society are constantly changing.
Sometimes our private thoughts lead us to to seek for truth, for something more objective than what seems right. What is right? Could anything be more objective than the Word of God? If we believe that, what will cause us to align our lives with the Word of God? After all, how many people have ever really done that? Oh, so many settle for much, much less…
Many writers and politicians commonly make Biblical allusions. This comforts “Bible believers” and helps them accept what is happening, or even just continue to go along with “the way things are.” That satisfies most worldly leaders nicely. If they pick their words well, such leaders can comfort Jews and Christians alike. Most people don’t want to look any deeper — to whether the lives of their leaders conform to that Word — because then they would also have to consider whether their own lives do.
Still, we’re drawn to the uncomfortably honest ones, aren’t we? Because if they are willing to face what we fear, then maybe they have an answer, or at least a hope that we don’t have about life… not really. One of the most famous singers of our times spoke the following somber words about life. It was Bob Dylan who wondered deeply about the “night of death” that… has come? will come? is coming?
A lot of the songs were written after the sun went down. And I like storms, I like to stay up during a storm. I get very meditative sometimes, and this one phrase was going through my head: “Work while the day lasts, because the night of death cometh when no man can work.” I don’t recall where I heard it. I like preaching, I hear a lot of preaching, and I probably just heard it somewhere. Maybe it’s in Psalms, it beats me. But it wouldn’t let me go. I was, like, what does that phrase mean? But it was at the forefront of my mind, for a long period of time, and I think a lot of that is instilled into this record.1 ~ Bob Dylan (1997)
Fifteen years later, the gloom hadn’t risen, as he noted in another interview: “Me, I was born in 1941 – that’s the year they bombed Pearl Harbor. Well, I been living in a world of darkness ever since.” (Rolling Stone, 2012)
What can we make of his words? Just more doom and gloom? Or is there hope somewhere (as Dylan spoke of another time) that, maybe, the night is over? That a real light is shining again on planet earth? If it were, that would be the place to find the hope that does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). So many hopes disappoint.
One thing no one has to wonder about, though, is where what he heard came from. It came from the Son of God Himself (Yahshua is His Hebrew name):
We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:4-5)
Yahshua’s words about nightfall were not warning of the end of the age, as the preachers words, “the night of death,” implied. No, Yahshua warned of the end of the Holy Spirit’s illumination on the earth. No man could work the works of God once night fell, once the churches had no light. They all abandoned their first love. Then Yahshua, the Savior, was no longer embodied in His people. Love had no home. His last act was to blow out the candles…
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:4-5)
It was about 1,900 years ago when Yahshua “was no longer in the world,” that is, no longer embodied by what continued to call itself “the church.” Then night fell.
The “light of the world” that shone in the first churches was their life of love. Because of love they obeyed the One they loved. (Read John 14:15,21,23 and see.) Because of love, He commanded them to give up all their possessions. His radical commands resulted in the radical life you can read about in Acts 2 and 4. That was how it was in the beginning, when the light first shone.
All who believed were together and had all things in common. (Acts 2:44)
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. (Acts 4:32)
You can read all about their story in the Book of Acts, and all about their decline through the epistles and the Book of Revelation. Alongside Yahshua’s prophecy of the night coming when no man can work, are His prophecies of the restoration of all things. They are in the parallel passages of Mark 9:11-12 and Matthew 17:11-13.
And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? (Mark 9:11-12)
What we want to tell you here is that those who are called out of the darkness of John 9:4-5 are a people set apart for His own possession. They live together and love one another as He loved them. They are outspoken in the their gatherings (having no professional clergy to do the speaking) and they live as He lived in this world.
But you are: a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
We hope the same desire to receive mercy that burned in us also burns in you. And what we discovered is that His Salvation is truly great — our entire lives changed. We started living as the early church lived. We now have a hope that hasn’t disappointed us. We invite you to come and see. The life that is the light of men is on the earth again.
Looking for the Peacemakers, Part 2
So if you are in the one of the cities hosting the Bob Dylan tour this April and May, look for our big maroon-and-cream-colored Peacemaker bus. We will be there. Beginning April 5 in Buffalo, New York, and ending May 5 in St. Augustine, Florida, you can meet the people behind the freepapers, the same ones who build our buses and run our Yellow Delis. We will be there to meet people like you!
April 5 ~ Buffalo, NY; April 6 ~ Amhearst, MA;
April 8 ~ Kingston, RI; April 9 ~ Lowell, MA;
April 10 ~ Lewiston, ME; April 12 ~ Newark, DE;
April 16 ~ Richmond, VA; April 18 ~ Bethlehem, PA;
April 19 ~ Akron, OH; April 20 ~ Kalamazoo, MI;
April 21 ~ Bowling Green, OH; April 23 ~ St. Louis, MO;
April 24 ~ Springfield, MO April 25 ~ Champaign, IL;
April 27 ~ Murray, KY; April 28 ~ Louisville, KY;
April 30 ~ Asheville, NC; May 1 ~ Charlotte, NC;
May 2 ~ Raleigh, NC; May 4 ~ Charleston, SC;
May 5 ~ St. Augustine, FL
Later, our bus will be joining our Peacemaker tall ship at each port of an epic tour of the Great Lakes, by land and by sea. For the itinerary, see:
For the Communities of the Twelve Tribes,
1Jon Pareles, “A Wiser Voice Blowin’ In the Autumn Wind” — interview of Bob Dylan in the New York Times, September 28, 1997.
First sent out as Newsletter #16 on April 5, 2013.