Should Christians Go to War? (Part 2)
The World to Come. The Restored Church of
God presents David C. Pack. Answering life’s greatest questions straight from the Bible,
and announcing the wonderful good news of the World to Come. We have been examining whether Christians
should go to war and serve in the military. So far we looked at the brutality of war and
how religionists justify war thru human reasoning. We also saw that Satan the devil is the real
reason civilization is in an almost constant state of war. But there is much more to learn.
No one else is explaining what you will now learn—and you will find it fascinating!
This is Part 2 examining what God tells His servants about participating in the wars of
men and nations. We can now ask: What does God’s Word say about
why nations continually go to war? You will be shocked at its simplicity! But will you
accept it? Recognize that no war can be fought unless
there is an aggressor! Someone has to initiate or begin it. Like a football game, one team
has to be on offense while the other plays defense. Yet all nations speak in terms of
their “Department of Defense” or their “Defense Budget.” Theoretically, if all nations merely
defended themselves, there would be no wars because there would be no aggressors. While
someone must “start it,” combatants invariably see themselves as defending their interests,
territory or rights. The Bible reveals the true cause of war. Notice:
“From where come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts
that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot
obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not.”
God says war is caused by humans lusting for what belongs to others. When all else fails,
men scheme to obtain what they want by brute force.
Speaking from the physical, worldly approach, military preparedness is an absolute prerequisite
for existence in today’s hostile world. The citizens of all nations pay a huge price to
maintain their sovereignty. Without a ready military, there is constant threat from plundering,
destructive and invading forces, seeking land, wealth or power.
Are Christians obligated to respond when their nation needs them and calls upon them to serve?
We must address one more question before answering this one.
A Christian is one who follows—who copies—Jesus Christ. He obeys God. Jesus continually spoke
about God’s government being established on Earth. Christians yield to and obey—and
submit themselves to—that government! But must Christians also obey the governments
of men? What is your responsibility to the civil government that rules your country?
What does God teach about submitting to government authority?
Notice: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of
God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists
the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation [judgment].”
Does this verse instruct Christians to fight, bear arms and kill, if their government so
directs? The apostle Peter recorded what God expects:
“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the
king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment
of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with
well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men…Honor all men. Love the brotherhood.
Fear God. Honor the king.” It says, “Submit yourselves.” This is what
Christians do. The phrase “for the Lord’s sake” amplifies that it is God who expects
us to submit to “every ordinance” of men’s governments.
But Peter did not say, “OBEY every ordinance.” Why? Because there are ordinances that are
contrary to God’s direct instructions—they cannot be obeyed without disobeying God. The
following account illustrates this. In Acts 4:16-18, the apostles had been commanded by
the authorities to no longer preach about Christ—or invoke His authority. Here is
how they responded: “But Peter and John answered…Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken
unto you more than unto God, judge you [or you judge].” The account continues in chapter
5, after the disciples had been arrested, imprisoned and called to account for disregarding
the command to cease preaching Christ’s Name. Acts 5:29 states, “Then Peter and the other
apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Sometimes, obeying God instead of the contrary instructions of human governments can mean
submitting to punishment. For such circumstances, the apostle Paul wrote, “We may boldly say,
The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Should you ever
be faced with the decision to obey God rather than men, remember this encouraging verse.
The question of whether Christians should participate in war speaks to the heart of
what a Christian is. Just what is a real Christian? Is he one who
“attends Church”—“professes Jesus”—“knows Christ”—has been “baptized”? Is there one
verse that gives the Bible definition of a Christian and eliminates all confusion?
Paul wrote, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” A Christian
is one who has the Holy Spirit leading him. Now, is having God’s Spirit absolutely essential
to being a Christian? Paul added, “You are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so
be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ [Get
this!], he is none of His”! It is that simple! One either has God’s Spirit,
and is a Christian, or one does not have it and is not a Christian—is “none of His.”
The truly converted have the Holy Spirit. But what does this mean? Is this all there
is to Christianity and conversion or is there more to it?
Jesus, thru prayer, explained vital understanding to His disciples: “I pray not that You should
take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil. They are not of the
world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth.”
A Christian believes and follows the truth, knowing it is this that sets him apart from
all those around him—that sanctifies him. He is not of the world and its ways, customs,
and traditions. But what does this mean? It means Christians obey the laws of God.
Jesus never taught that people should just “believe on Him” to receive salvation. When
a young rich man asked what he must do to have eternal life—to receive salvation—Jesus
answered, “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments.” He added, “With men this
is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
Jesus also explained, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments
of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men.”
War is a long-held tradition of men practiced by hundreds of millions of traditional, professing
Christians. Now notice: “Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into
the kingdom of heaven [that’s “of” not “in” heaven]; but he that does the will of My Father,”
and “the doers of [God’s] law shall be justified.” The book of Acts speaks of “the Holy Spirit,
which God has given to them that OBEY Him.” But what about “having love”? Aren’t Christians
merely those who “show love”? If so, what is love? Let’s clear up all confusion!
The apostle Paul wrote, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit
which is given unto us.” When a Christian receives God’s Spirit, he receives some of
the love of God. Over time, thru actively exercising that love, the depth and amount
of love grows. With this in mind, what is the Bible definition
of love? The apostle John wrote, “This is the love
of God [here we go], that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” Many
who claim to have love believe the commandments are grievous. God says they are not, and calls
His Law “holy, just and good.” The Bible explains that the commandments and
the law are the same, and that “love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is
the fulfilling of the law.” God defines love as “fulfilling the law.” Keeping the commandments
is fulfilling the law—and doing this “works no ill to his neighbor.”
Killing and maiming for any reason cannot possibly fit God’s definition of love.
A far more detailed explanation of love is found in I Cor. 13. Take time to carefully
consider each phrase of this chapter! You will have no doubt love is incompatible with
war, fighting and killing. God has defined love in His Word. But what
about sin? Here is His definition: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for
[get this!] sin is the transgression of the law.” We do not concern ourselves with what
men say, but with what the Bible says. God’s Word reveals the truth.
Sin is the opposite of obedience—it is the transgression of the law. If Christians are
to obey God, then what are they to obey? The Ten Commandments. By doing this, they work
“no ill” toward their neighbor. Most societies have laws paralleling several
of the Ten Commandments. There are laws against killing, stealing and bearing false witness
under oath. Some even outlaw adultery. Violators of men’s laws are considered guilty of a “crime.”
God calls these same violations sin! In the Sixth Commandment, He thunders, “Thou shalt
not kill!”—and His servants obey Him! Since Christians follow and copy Jesus Christ
(read I Peter 2:21 and Phil. 2:5), we must ask, what would Jesus do if He were here today?
Would Jesus bear arms and kill His fellow man? Did He teach contrary to the Ten Commandments?
Did the apostles Paul and John merely record their own opinions about love, the law and
sin? What did Jesus actually teach about fighting,
hating and killing? Jesus was foretold in Isaiah to come and “magnify
the law.” Is there evidence He did this? Begin with Matthew 5: “You have heard [Jesus
said] that it was said by them of old time, you shall not kill; and whosoever shall kill
shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with
his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to
his brother, Raca [or you’re worthless], shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever
shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” This is serious instruction! It
obviously does expand, or magnify, the Sixth Commandment.
The same chapter adds, “You have heard that it has been said, an eye for an eye, and a
tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that you resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite
you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Where is room for physical or military
retaliation in this verse? The continuation of this instruction, a few
verses later, removes all doubt: “You have heard that it has been said, you shall love
your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say unto you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, bless them
that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully
use you, and persecute you.” Three times Jesus said, “You have heard,”
followed by, “But I say.” Each time, He proceeded to make a particular command more binding.
Those who truly seek to please God will be unable to explain away the truth of these
verses. I might add, you have almost certainly also
heard ministers and churchmen say, “You can fight and kill to defend your country or make
the world safe for democracy.” But Jesus Christ says you cannot!!!
How important are these things to God? Verse 45 answers: “That you may be the children
of your Father…in heaven.” Like any parent, God expects His children to obey Him. Jesus’
command is so important that it qualifies who God considers to be His children.
Let’s leave absolutely no doubt about what God requires and what is at stake for those
who ignore and disobey Him: “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because
we love the brethren. He that loves not his brother abides in death. Whosoever hates his
brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
Ultimately, all violence, and the spirit of aggression, come from hate and anger. Jesus
was most specific about the need to control these attitudes.
We saw God gives His Spirit to them who obey Him—those who have repented of sin. Now
notice the following account involving John the Baptist: “Then came also publicans to
be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?…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.” When soldiers asked about
baptism, this was John’s answer! The Old Testament God who thundered from Sinai,
“You shall not kill,” is the same Christ who thunders this to you and me today, and further
commands, “Do violence to no man.” Yet Christ is often thought of as a rebellious
young man who came to do away with His Father’s law. Have you realized that Jesus Christ was
the God of the Old Testament? Speaking of ancient Israel, Paul wrote, “[Israel] did
all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed
them [This is ancient Israel. Ready?]: and that Rock was Christ.” Yet theologians and
religionists try to place Christ in conflict with—in opposition to—the God of the Old
Testament. This is absurd! Jesus Christ WAS the God of the Old Testament.
They were one and the same Person! When David called God “my Rock,” he meant
CHRIST! Moses was given the Ten Commandments by Christ, and Abraham dealt with Jesus Christ
face-to-face. (Read Ex. 3:14 and John 8:58.) What if everyone obeyed Jesus’ instruction
to keep the law? What if the whole world kept the Ten Commandments? Sadly, few do. In Matthew
24, Jesus described conditions that would precede His Second Coming. Verse 12 describes
how “iniquity [lawlessness] shall abound [it will be everywhere],” and will result in “the
love of many…wax[ing] cold.” But the time is coming when the whole world, under one
government, will keep God’s law. Soldiers and armies seek to annihilate one
another. Surely no one thinks they are acting out of love. The goal is to kill the enemy
before he kills you. Each defeat must be avenged in the next battle. Payback—vengeance—is
natural, even automatic, in war. God also believes in vengeance. He gave special
instructions in dealing with enemies. Here it is: “Avenge not yourselves, but rather
give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine; I [God] will repay, says
the Lord. Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for
in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome
evil with good.” God’s way of dealing with enemies is very
different from man’s. Men would “heap” mortar, tank or machine gun fire on their enemy’s
heads, while God instructs the use of food and drink to overcome their evil. If payback
or vengeance is necessary, God promises, for those who trust Him—individuals or nations—that
He will repay—vengeance is His. Naive? Understand that it does take real faith
for a Christian to believe God will keep His promise. But He always does. Remember, vengeance
is God’s. It belongs to Him. To exact it yourself is to steal from God!
Have you considered this? We must consider one more direct admonition
from Jesus about killing. There is an oft-quoted verse in the Bible,
which is rarely practiced. As Jesus’ accusers came to arrest Him, Peter defended Him by
attacking the high priest’s servant—cutting off his ear with a sword. Notice Jesus’
instruction: “Put up again your sword into his place: for all they that take the sword
shall perish with the sword.” Due to careless misreading, almost all have
misunderstood and misquoted this verse as “those who live by the sword shall die BY
the sword.” This is not what it says! Besides condemning violence, Christ said that those
who resort to physical weapons for self-defense, read it again, “shall perish WITH the sword.”
I repeat, reread the verse. In other words, as lethal as a sword is when used to attack
another, in the end, it is not sufficient to save the life of the person who puts his
trust in it. The point is, eventually, those who go to war will die with the sword in their
hand. Sooner or later, they will lose their life if they depend on their own ability to
use physical weapons for protection. Jesus instructed Peter about what he should
have understood. His words stand for us today: “Think you that I cannot now pray to my Father,
and He shall presently give Me more than 12 legions of angels?” A legion is up to 6,000.
This means up to 72,000 angels could have been immediately available to Christ—and
could be available to anyone today with the faith to believe God will protect His servants!
The world has heard much talk from Muslims about how extremists have hijacked their religion.
These hijackers are said to teach and believe things not found in their holy book. The one
and a half billion orthodox adherents in this religion have expressed outrage at the atrocities
and murder that a relatively small group has committed in the name of Islam. Civilization
has shouted in agreement! But the teachings of real Christianity—true
Christianity—have also been hijacked! Why have billions of Christians not expressed
similar outrage at the twisting and perverting of the Bible teaching about war, killing and
the military—or, for that matter, practically everything else Jesus taught? Why have they
not opposed this hijacking of belief? Where is the hue and cry about how God’s Word has
been completely ignored in favor of the opinions and traditions of men? The Bible states that
it is possible for people to “kill and think [they] do God service.”
Where is the voice of 2.2 billion “Christians”? Why are supposedly Christian nations and armies
freely permitted to slaughter opponents with near impunity? Non-Christians can recognize
when their religion has been hijacked. Why cannot Christians?
The answer lies in the fact that it is not just the few in the professing Christian world
who have participated in the hijacking. Instead, the ENTIRE so-called Christian world—“churchianity”—has
joined in suppressing and denying the plain truth of God’s Word! As a result, the history
of mankind has been filled with the horror of war. And it is prophesied to grow far worse
before it grows better. (Read our vital booklet The Red Horse – You Shall Hear of Wars to
learn more of how bad war will grow, and soon.) This broadcast expresses God’s outrage at
the hijacking of true Christianity—while the whole world turns a blind eye!
Let’s now review a series of additional, related biblical principles showing why Christians
cannot serve in the military. We saw Christians “are not of the world, even
as I am not of the world.” True Christians are set apart from this world by God’s truth.
This sets the stage for repetition and powerful new instruction from Christ.
In the next chapter in John, Jesus was on trial. Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King
of the Jews?” Of course, Christ had long since determined not to resist the fate He knew
that Pilate and the Jews would choose for Him. His response to Pilate was: “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 [here].”
Understand this! Jesus said His government (the New Testament term is kingdom) is not
of this society, this civilization—this world! His true followers are part of another
government—HIS government. They await the coming of this government to Earth. Also,
just based on this verse (and there are many others), Jesus explains that God’s servants
do not fight to defend His kingdom. How could they? It is not yet here. Since they do not
even fight to defend Christ’s (God’s) kingdom, they certainly would never fight to defend
any kingdom or nation governed by men—that are scheduled to be overthrown, I might add,
by Christ and His saints anyway. (Read Dan. 2:44 and Dan. 7:18, 22, 27).
Remember that Christ’s kingdom is not on Earth—it is from another place. It is not the job of
God’s servants to spread the kingdom of God, thru participating in men’s governments or
fighting in their wars. Since God’s kingdom comes from, and is headquartered in, heaven,
His servants neither vote in, nor fight for, men’s kingdoms or governments.
So, Christians do not bear arms, fight or kill—under any circumstances—because they
are part of another kingdom. Jesus told them to regularly pray, “Thy kingdom come,” because
His followers serve and await that kingdom. Speaking of the final, great revival of the
religious and political system of Babylon, Revelation 18:4 gives direct instruction to
God’s people. The apostle John recorded: “I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come
out of her, MY PEOPLE, that you be not partakers of her sins.” Babylon means confusion. The
true servants of God are to come out of the confusion of this world and its system of
religions, governments and wars! (Read I Cor. 14:33.)
Of course, a Christian can’t live on Mars or in a cave. He can’t leave the planet or
live as a hermit on a mountaintop to not be part of the world. Some religious zealots
misunderstand Christ’s words and live in monasteries or retreats to avoid contact with ordinary
people. Jesus did not mean for His servants to leave the physical world. He meant come
out of its system of governments, religions and wars. And they reject the false foundation
of its system of education. Christians believe and practice the truth—not the popular ideas
and traditions of men! For instance, what if true Christians are
serving in the military in Europe as the final Beast of Rev. 17 arises? This military, political,
religious power is foretold to come soon—and is already rising. By fighting, Christians
would literally be participating in establishing the final European counterfeit government
also foretold to deceive the world and fight Christ at His Return! Would God have His servants
assist the rise and ultimate revival of this Babylonish system? Of course not!
While out of time, we are only halfway thru the subject. Do not miss Parts 3 and 4.
Until next time, this is David C. Pack saying, “Goodbye, friends.” This program was made available by Restored
Church of God members and donors from around the globe. Explore our vast library of literature
and other World to Come programs which are all made available free of charge. To learn
more, or to find a local congregation, contact us to receive a personal response from a minister.