Approximately 2,700 years ago God sent a message to humanity, a message calling for the peaceful unity of men and women. It was also, incidentally, the first recorded call for mankind to start recycling the old into the new, the violent into the sublime. God spoke through his Prophet Isaiah, and his/her comments, though largely ignored by the governments of man, still resonate in our world:
“And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: Nation shall not take up sword against nation; they shall never again know war.”
The Great Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest copies of portions of the Hebrew Bible, often termed the “Old Testament,” and were discovered in the caves of Qumran near the Dead Sea. The Great Isaiah Scroll is one of the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947. It is the largest and best preserved of all the biblical scrolls, and the only one that is almost complete. It contains all 66 chapters of the Hebrew version of the biblical Book of Isaiah. Dating from ca. 125 BCE, it is also one of the oldest of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some one thousand years older than the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible known to us before the scrolls’ discovery.
A new complete digital version of the Dead Sea Scrolls is now available online at: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah
Here’s what it looks like in the original: (click to enlarge)
In recent years some warmongers have taken issue with the advice God sent us through Isaiah, insisting that “those who turn their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don’t.” That reworking of the Biblical quote is variously attributed to Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Dwight Eisenhower, or a variety of others – none of whom in fact ever said it. This tragically reworked quote has actually been cobbled together from a statement made by Adolph Hitler in Mein Kampf: “Their sword will become our plow, and from the tears of war the daily bread of future generations will grow.”
So the choice is clear: trust God or Adolph Hitler. I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll stick with God on this one. At From War to Peace we’ve decided to take God’s advice literally, and every day we transform weapons of war into works of peace. And if we have to do a little plowing now and again, we’ll do it with a smile on our face, tilted towards a sky full of sunshine.
Founder of www.FromWarToPeace.com