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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Warfare under the Command of the King of Kings

It has been a long time since I’ve made a new post to this blog! But, during the last year, my wife Judy and I have watched a number of war movies and have been deeply impressed with the futility of war, its horrible waste of human life and the deeply entrenched lies which compel so many young people to enlist for active duty in armed conflicts! When men seek to settle disputes by fighting and when national leaders “declare war” on other nations they are deceived by the utterly false notion that “might is right”! Nothing could be further from the truth! The “winning “of a war never means that the winning side was right! In reality, no nation ever “wins” a war for it is a losing proposition for all involved. The only ones which “win” in armed conflict are the corporations and the very wealthy which make huge profits by doing business with both sides of the conflict!

I have long been convinced that New Covenant believers have no right to take up arms. But I have been compelled in recent weeks to search out the scriptures again regarding this subject. Two concerns have loomed large in my thinking:
(1) The mindset of most Christians on the subject of warfare has been determined for far too long by principles of nationalism and patriotism rather than by what the Lord Jesus and the scriptures clearly teach.
(2) Current events in our world and the Bible’s clear teaching about end–times events both indicate that very difficult days are about to engulf us when all those who name the name of Christ and seek to live to please Him will be hated, despised and hunted down. Our response to those who hate us will be governed by what we truly believe, and woe be to us if what we believe about warfare has not been derived Biblical instructions to New Covenant people!

The following then are a few thoughts I’ve gleaned from scripture in recent weeks. I know that the things I write below will not “sit well” with many who think that “national defence” or “going to war to defend one’s homeland” are high ideals. So I welcome comments, challenges and questions from many who will disagree as well as from the tiny minority who may happen to share my convictions! I have been deeply encouraged in recent months by the expressed convictions of a number of young Christian men who have allowed the teachings of the Lord Jesus, rather than their cultural norms, to guide their thoughts relative to warfare.

The Lord Jesus, His forerunner John the Baptizer, and the apostles all spoke and taught concerning the kingdom of which the Lord Jesus is the King.

His kingdom is at cross purposes with all the kingdoms of this world.

So, as soldiers in His kingdom, our actions and responses must be consistent with His desires and not follow the pattern of kingdoms of this world!

Prohibitions upon soldiers in His kingdom which are contrary to military principles of kingdoms of this world:

(1) No hierarchy in leadership. (Our “Commander in Chief” was the first to humbly serve his “troops” and first to lay down His life for them!) So too, leaders among His troops will be recognized, not by positions of honour, but by humble service to and self-sacrifice for others.
Mark 10:42) But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43) But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44) And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45) For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
1 John 3:16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (Our allegiance will be tested by whether we yield to a commander who exercises authority over us or to the One who humbly gave Himself for us!)

(2) No violence to any man or false accusations against any.
Luke 3:14) And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. (Our true allegiance will be demonstrated by our response to this command. We cannot serve two masters. Any soldier on active duty in armed combat for his country would soon be court-martialled if he purposed to obey this command!)

(3) No destruction of men’s lives.
Luke 9:54) And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55) But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 6) For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. (The manner of spirit we are of will be demonstrated by our willingness or unwillingness to destroy the lives of others. We cannot serve two masters.)

(4) No fighting allowed, even to deliver our King from the hand of those who would kill him! (How much less is fighting permitted to deliver his servants, our brothers or sisters, from death at the hand of those who oppose us!)
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. (A Chruistian’s willingness or unwillingness to fight to protect his own comrades from death will demonstrate which commander and which kingdom has his true allegiance. We cannot serve two masters.)

(5) No paying back evil for evil (no taking of vengeance). Romans 12:17) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18) If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Every soldier of Jesus Christ will have his true allegiance tested by his response to this command. We cannot serve two masters.)

(6) No evil means may be used to seek victory over evil. Romans 12:21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. (Our true allegiance will be demonstrated by our response to this command. We cannot serve two masters.)

(7) None who are ministers of grace have any right to give offence resulting in the ministry being blamed. (All New Covenant believers are part of that ministry! IICorinthians 6:1) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 3) Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4) But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5) In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6) By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7) By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8) By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9) As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10) As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. (Our true allegiance will be demonstrated by our response to these instructions. We cannot serve two masters.)

(8) No fighting against flesh and blood and no warfare using physical weapons! II Corinthians 10:3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6) And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Ephesians 6:10) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
(We will have our true allegiance demonstrated by the kind of armour we take up and by the kind of enemies we fight. We cannot serve two masters.)

(9) No entanglement with affairs of this life for soldiers of the King! II Timothy 2:3) Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4) No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (Our true allegiance will be demonstrated by our “entanglements” in life! Who are we determined to please? With whom or with what are we willing to be entangled, entwined or mixed up? )

(10) No surrender to fleshly lusts, which war against the soul and purposing to glorify God by good works! 1 Peter 2:11) Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12) Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (Our true allegiance will be demonstrated by the desires to which we surrender and by the works which we do.)

Thomas Mann wrote, “War is only the cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”

The apostle James wrote, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

Thus we see that the “problems of peace” are the following responsibilities which men of peace must be courageous enough to bear:
(1)The responsibility to be unselfish,(ye lust, ye kill, ye desire to have)
(2)The responsibility to be dependent upon God and to let our requests be made known to Him, (Ye have not because ye ask not.) and
(3)The responsibility to be submissive to His will, rather than demanding our own. (Ye ask amiss that ye may consume it upon your lusts.)

The greatest victory that was ever won, which destroyed the greatest adversary, openly spoiled his principalities and powers and brought the greatest deliverance to the greatest number was accomplished on a lonely hill by the sacrifice of one humble and unselfish man who was dependent upon His God and submissive to His will!

But whenever we will not obey our King (that humble, unselfish, dependent and submissive man) and will not accept the “problems of peace”, i.e…
- the responsibility to demonstrate unselfishness toward our fellow men,
- the responsibility to demonstrate dependence upon our Creator, and
- the responsibility to demonstrate submissiveness to His
revealed will….

-we will make our escape to earthly battlefields…
- to defend our own supposed “rights”…
- by destroying men’s lives …
- as we take up carnal weapons against flesh and blood!

In response to the above, feel free to make comments below or contact me personally at