“The idea of the crusade corresponds to a political conception which was realized in Christendom only from the eleventh to the fifteenth century; this supposes a union of all peoples and sovereigns under the direction of the popes. All crusades were announced by preaching. After pronouncing a solemn vow, each warrior received a cross from the hands of the pope or his legates, and was thenceforth considered a soldier of the Church.” (Catholic Encyclopedia – http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm)
Ostensibly, the crusades dealt with freeing the Holy Land from occupation by Muslims. It also had to do with purging dissenting points of view from “Christendom”, such as the 1209 crusade against the Cathars in southern France. In general, a crusade was a military action taken in the name of the church unto subsequent blasphemy of the Lord.
The crusades were blasphemous because they falsely represented the will of God and Jesus Christ. Gross violence was done in His name. Their activity stood in plain disregard of Jesus’ words;
- Mt. 26:51 – And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.
- 52 – Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
- 53 – Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
The above teaching was not about the right of nations to police their internal affairs or boundaries. It had to do with direct action taken on behalf of the Messiah and His kingdom. There is no such thing as preaching the good news of redemption with a Bible in one hand and a sword in the other. The only sword in the name of the Lord is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Again, the words of Jesus;
- John 18:36 – Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Nowadays, the term ‘crusaders’ is used as a byword for Christianity. This is particularly true of many in Islam who view the West’s involvement in the Middle East as an extension of Christianity. Undoubtedly, there are those in the West who hold some kind of millennial vision, supposing the Lord will use His disciples to take up arms in His name. The idea is just as blasphemous as those things promulgated by the Papacy centuries ago.
However, the prayer and desire for Israel’s salvation is indeed of the Lord. It is a righteous thing to acknowledge the roots of their being and to hope for their fruition.
- Ro 11:15 – For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
- 16 – For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.