God Said Man Said

QandA: Should a Christian Take Up Arms?

Many Christians continue to debate the legitimacy of capital punishment, but all should be aware that God endorses it. This is not a contradiction of "Thou shalt not kill."
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QandA: Should a Christian Take Up Arms?

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GodSaidManSaid recently received the following letter from a woman whose husband is in the military:

Hi. I’ve enjoyed reading your website, which was recommended by a friend. I especially appreciated what was written about the King James Bible.

I would really like answers to the following questions:

1. My husband is a soldier, a reservist, who is currently in Iraq until April. The church we attend doesn’t believe in joining the military ("bearing arms") and says that scripture backs this up. It almost seems that willfully joining the military is sin. Please answer this. It’s making me crazy.

2. What about killing in self-defense? Is this society’s rule or is there a precedent for this in the Bible?

When I asked the pastors at my church, they had answers and Scripture. So, how do I know what God really says? How can different churches and leaders read the Scripture differently? Most churches feel that the military is important. But mine says don’t kill and no weapons. I’m so confused. I tried to study on my own, but I can’t seem to find the right Scriptures and I haven’t found a good book about this topic in the bookstore. I know that when my husband joined, the "church" said he was young and made a mistake. They talked to him and his parents about the stance. This topic is not addressed over the pulpit, but seems more than a church stance. So I asked, "What about police men/women? What about prison guards? They carry guns. Are they, can they be, Christians?"

Thank you for your website. Please give me some wisdom.

Signed, A Military Wife

GodSaidManSaid’s response:

Governments bear the sword in defense of their people, and in the prosecution of offenders of the law. This is according to God’s commandment. Included would be law enforcement officers and military personnel standing in opposition to, in this case, those who would destroy the American people and our interests.

Romans 13:3-4:

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

I Timothy 1:5-10 reads:

5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

God’s Word says the law is not for the righteous man, but for those who reject righteousness. Many of the offenses listed in the passage we just read are punishable according to God’s law by death.

Many Christians continue to debate the legitimacy of capital punishment, but all should be aware that God endorses it and is not a contradiction of "Thou shalt not kill."

When John Baptist was asked by the soldiers who had come to be baptized what they ought to do in regard to an acceptable life before God, he did not tell them to quit their occupation—which was to defend their country. However, he did say, "Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. (Luke 3:14)" One of the definitions of violence in Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary is, "unjust force; ravishment; rape."

The first Gentile saved in the scriptures was a Roman Centurian by the came of Cornelius. Acts 10:1- 8 reads:

1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,

2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.

4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;

8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.

Cornelius was highly regarded by God. He was a military man of great honor, and was not instructed to leave his profession.

Many examples can be given of God’s generals and His armies engaged in battle against the forces of evil. Such examples would include Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Gideon, David, Hezekiah, Asa, and many more. To those who contend that these examples are from the Old Testament, the following New Testament verses, along with those already cited, should suffice.

Revelation 19:11-21:

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

Revelation 14:19-20:

19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

The Old Testament prophet Zechariah prophesies of the great battle of Armageddon in chapter 14, verses 1-14:

1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:

7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.

8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.

11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.

14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.

As individuals, we do not lift our hands against others. But as soldiers and policemen, we are members of the government, and the government does lift its hand against others. Again, Romans 13:3-4 and also verses 5, 6, and 7:

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Dear Military Wife:

Your husband is an American hero and he serves in defense of America and the seed of Abraham. He should be thanked and appreciated by all. I personally thank you and your family at home for the sacrifices you also have made. May the face of the Lord shine upon you and your house and bring your man home safely.


Brother Dave and the GodSaidManSaid Team

P.S. God willing, we’ll answer your second question in a future Weekly Webcast.




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