To War or Not To War

Friday, June 28, 2024

To war or not to war is a subject many professing Christian parents and churches avoid teaching their young people from a biblical perspective. And as a result many die young or suffer critical lifelong wounds citing honor of nation, educational opportunities or pursuit of family tradition. I will not force my biblical-based beliefs on anyone, but in being true to my calling teach truths of God’s word on this important subject because many believers simply ignore it which only injures the uninformed. Believers are called to be “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20), not our nation.

As true Christian believers we take our examples on matters of this life from the New Covenant. We don’t live under the Old Covenant where God’s people consisted only of the nation of Israel, (until He divorced Israel, Jer. 3:8) but under a New Covenant where people from all nations can by grace through faith believe the Son of God. Nor do we live under that Old Covenant where a sinful human high priest had to make sacrifices for his own sins before making sacrifices for the sins of other people. “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation” (Heb. 9:11). We’re heirs of the “more perfect tabernacle not made with hands”. We don’t live by that Old Covenant of a “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Exo. 21:23–24). Yet, many professing believers live with little regard for New Covenant teachings. But “if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second” (Heb. 8:7).

Whether to war or not to war is a critical issue, given these end-times which will be marked by Jesus’ saying, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:6). Note that “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars”, [my emphasis] with no mention of being involved in them! And in truth we must confess that wars have solved nothing, but serve only to exacerbate the hatred and strife between people not born again by the Holy Spirit of Christ. Yet wars figure prominently in these end-times which will culminate with the grand finale all-destroying Battle of Armageddon.

First, does Christ command about actions of believers as opposed to one fighting and killing an enemy in war? Yes, Jesus said to His followers “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, [why?] that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:43–45). And God’s Spirit commanded, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men … do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Rom. 12:17–19). We let God mete out vengeance. And, Christ said “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36).

It’s evident that to war or not to war was a very significant issue 2,000 years ago in the church at Corinth which caused Paul by the Holy Spirit to address. “Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor. 10:1–6). [My emphasis]

Secondly, here’s a secular, but stunningly accurate analysis of war. “War is a place where young people who don’t know each other and don’t hate each other, kill each other, based on decisions made by old people, who know each other and hate each other, but don’t kill each other.” (Hal Turner) [My emphasis] It’s beyond the pale that this horrible reality actually exists, but our wicked government leaders couldn’t care less! And what’s equally horrifying is that our young people who give themselves to war, to the destruction of other people made in the image of God, haven’t been taught enough God-truths to discern the horrors of war to which they give themselves. Might this be why so many military veterans continue to commit suicide? Will God judge those who killed people made in His image, people for whom Christ died? Does a true believer not preserve life rather than kill his fellowman because he’s told to? Did God give us warning about ignoring what Christ taught? Indeed! “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet [Christ] like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people(Acts 3:22–23).

Here’s another analysis of war. “Pursuit of power [utterly true!] is perhaps the most common explanation for war – particularly popular with political and social scientists. Power Transition Theory, pioneered at the height of the Cold War, sees a constant race between major hegemonic powers as one tries to exceed the power of the other. The race, so it is argued, might end in war as a declining power seeks to protect its position, or a rising power seeks to replace it. (Source) WWIII will soon engulf nations, and it will come at the behest of wicked-minded older people who mandate the horrors of their own creation upon the young, appointing them to suffer the misery of an apocalyptic holocaust, but God’s wrath will be unleashed upon their own heads.

I remind the reader that wars are one of Satan’s many tools to destroy God’s creation of people made in His image. How does killing one’s fellowman in war fit into the life of one who’s been redeemed by true faith in Jesus Christ? It doesn’t fit and that’s the point. The Holy Spirit further said to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph. 5:11). Wars and its much killing and wounding of people are “unfruitful works of darkness”.

Consider: wicked leaders of every nation under the sun, through propaganda, persuade citizens that their country is worth fighting and dying for, that they are the good guys and that some other nations are bad guys. Wars are about wicked leaders and their evil pursuits of power, control and their insatiable love of money and they will lie, manipulate and deceive to gain their desire. “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:11–12).

Marlin J. Yoder

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About the author

I'm a non-denominational ordained minister, and have written for many years and teach the truths of Jesus Christ with an emphasis on the end-times. This on-line and in-person ministry to which God called me helps many people to know the truths of Christ rather than traditions of men which make "the word of God of no effect" (Mark 7:13).

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