But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT AND WAR (Part 2)
“Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13)
“For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Joshua 11:20)
The Sixth Commandment does NOT rule out ALL war. God commanded Moses to exterminate the Canaanites. Joshua fulfilled this command in battle. God is the giver of life. He has the right to say when life should be taken away.
Samson is another example. “And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and SLEW A THOUSAND MEN therewith.” (Judges 15:14-15) (Emphasis mine)
Note that when “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD came mightily upon Samson” he did the right thing. He waged a “just war” and killed ungodly Philistines. So did David, when he killed Goliath in battle. Killing can be necessary. In a world of hardened sinners, it often is.
WAR AND FREEDOM FIGHTERS
In the Book of Judges, we have a history of godly freedom fighters. God had raised up these Judges (Deliverers) to overthrow tyrants. These brave men used both guerilla warfare and open armed revolt -- with the full blessing of God.
The tyrants they overthrew were pagans who ruled and oppressed Israel by force of arms. The Judges did not view these foreign rulers as legitimate authority. Why? God does not sanction tyranny.
“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” (Romans 13:3)
When rulers become a terror to good works, they have transgressed God's Law. They lose their claim to authority. They have become tyrants.
What exactly is a tyrant? A tyrant is one who (by invasion or fraud) rules WITHOUT the consent of the people. A tyrant governs for his own benefit rather than the benefit of the people he rules. A tyrant rules by whim rather than by the Law of God.
He becomes a terror to good works and rewards evildoers. Thus, to rise up against a tyrant was not sin on the part of the Judges. In these cases it was not murder. It was obedience to God.
Thus, for some Christians to claim that ALL killing is wrong -- is to claim to have a higher and better way than God.
NEW TESTAMENT AND FREEDOM FIGHTERS
Many argue that killing was OK in the Old Testament, but not in the New. But those who make that claim should read the following New Testament verses more carefully:
“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” (Hebrews 11:32-34)
These men of God are being praised in the New Testament for their acts of faith -- such as KILLING IN WAR. Not all killing is murder.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss