“Where do wars and fights come from among you?” – James 4:1a

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend. For many this marks the beginning of summer. It’s a three-day weekend! But Memorial Day weekend is much more than that. Memorial Day is a time to remember those who paid the ultimate price in the circumstances of war. War is a terrible thing. No one should ever want war. But sometimes war is necessary. There are tyrants and oppressive nations that seek to impose their will on their own people, as well as other surrounding nations. There are regimes who would by conquest seek to enslave people. War can be the product of greed and power-lust. But war can also be just. There is a time to take a stand and fight against oppression.

A number of years ago, a group of academics and historians compiled some startling information: Since 3600 B.C., (more than 5600 years) the world has known only 292 years of peace! During this time there have been 14,351 wars large and small, in which 3.64 billion people have been killed. The value of the property destroyed is equal to a golden belt around the world 97.2 miles wide and 33 feet thick. Since 650 B.C., there have also been 1,656 arms races, only 16 of which have not ended in war. The remainder ended in the economic collapse of the countries involved. [1] War causes a lot of carnage.

War is expensive, it costs the lives of soldiers as well as innocent victims. The most current statistics on the loss of life in war indicate:

Civil War – Approximately 620,000 Americans died. The Union lost almost 365,000 troops and the Confederacy about 260,000. More than half of these deaths were caused by disease.

World War I – 116,516 Americans died, more than half from disease.

World War II – 405,399 Americans died.

Korean War – 36,574 Americans died.

Vietnam Conflict – 58,220 Americans died.

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm – 382 service members died.

Operation Iraqi Freedom – 4,418 service members died.

Operation New Dawn – 74 service members died.

Operation Enduring Freedom – 2,349 service members died.

Operation Freedom’s Sentinel – 107 service members died.

Operation Inherent Resolve – 107 service members have died as of May 2023.[2]

War has been prevalent in the history of humanity. But what does the Bible have to say about war? Is war ever just? Is it ever right? What causes war? What does God say and do about war? The Bible is our source of truth. What it says is really all that matters. So to the word of God we turn to seek guidance, understanding, and truth regarding this terrible world reality which causes so much memorialization.

There are Three Causes of War Given in the Bible

The Bible attributes the cause of wars to the following three things.

First, war is the result of a sinful fallen world. James states in his epistle:

  • James 4:1-2 – “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”

Whether “wars and fights” are among those in the body of Christ who should know better, or between the ungodly, whether it be amongst individuals, small groups, or nations or kingdoms, we can be sure of one thing, wars flow from a lust for murder and more. Where there is war and fighting, we will find the sin of seeking personal gain at the expense of others. And when James says, “you do not have because you do not ask” we see that wars and fighting takes place when one or more of the warring parties is not seeking God.

Secondly, wars are the result of God’s judgment. In 2 Samuel it states:

  • 2 Samuel 12:10 – “‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’”

This verse of course was pronounced by God through the prophet Nathan to King David because of his sin of adultery with Bethsheba and premeditated murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. (See 2 Samuel 11 and 12).  Because of David’s sin, God brought judgment in the form of war upon him. It was a short time later that his own son Absalom and others rebelled against David and waged war on him (2 Samuel 14-20). Wars can be the result of God’s judgment.

Third, wars can be the result of God’s decree or decision. When the Israelites were liberated from Egypt and on their way to the Promised Land by way of the wilderness, Amelek victimized the stragglers who lagged behind the traveling group of God’s people (Deuteronomy 25:17-19). For this God decreed that war would be waged against Amelek saying:

  • Exodus 17:14-16 – “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”15 And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner;16 for he said, “Because the Lord has sworn: the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

War is sometimes a necessary tool of God against sinful people.

“War” In the Old Testament

In the New King James version of the Bible the word “war” occurs 232 times in 227 verses. The plural word “wars” occurs 14 times in twelve verses in the NKJV Bible. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for “war” is MILCHAMAH (Strong’s # 4421 mil-khaw-maw’) which means, “a battle (i.e. the engagement); war (i.e. warfare); battle, fight (-ing), war ([-rior]).” [3]

The First War

The war occurred when Lucifer rose up in rebellion against God in heaven and was consequently cast down to earth (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Revelation 12:3-4). Here we see the heart of war in the proud rebellion of Satan. It was the desire for self-rule and self-exaltation and the desire to rule over others that led to the first war. Wherever war is found today these same sinful desires exist.

The first mention of war in the Bible is found in the book of Genesis 14. This first mention of war on earth gives us great insight into war itself in general. In Genesis 14 we see the following.

First, war is rooted in rebellion. In Genesis 14 it states:

  • Genesis 14:1-4 – “And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations,2 that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).3 All these joined together in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea).4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.”

Here we see that the first earthly war began when one group rebelled against another. It should be no surprise that rebellion is at the root of war since the first war was the result of Satan’s proud rebellion against God in heaven. It is certain that when war results, it is due in part to the satanic influence to get people to rebel.

Second, war always affects innocent victims. It goes on to say in Genesis 14:

  • Genesis 14:5-12 – “In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him came and attacked the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim,6 and the Horites in their mountain of Seir, as far as El Paran, which is by the wilderness.7 Then they turned back and came to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and attacked all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazezon Tamar.8 And the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five.10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled; some fell there, and the remainder fled to the mountains.11 Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way.12 They also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

War spreads and war always engulfs innocent victims such as Lot. This is what makes war so terrible and sorrowful. War causes hurt and harm brought to innocent victims. Granted, Lot chose to live in a decadent and immoral city, but he had nothing to do with the war here. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time but a victim, nonetheless.

Three, war is sometimes just. In Genesis 14 it continues:

  • Genesis 14:13-16 – “Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram.14 Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.15 He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus.16 So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people.” 

When Abram heard of the capture of his nephew Lot, he was right and just to take up arms and go to his helpless nephew’s defense. War is sometimes just and necessary.

There are those who say they will not fight for any reason, who refuse to fight for any reason, they are pacifists. But I challenge the rightness of such a stance. Let me illustrate.

If one day you find yourself walking down the street and across the street you see a little child skipping along playfully with a lollipop in their hand. Suddenly a huge hulking man jumps out, grabs the child, and begins to abuse the child. What would you do? Would you start yelling from your side of the street, (from a safe distance), for the man to stop? Would you bravely cross over and as the bully beats the child, try to enter into a diplomatic conversation with him to get him to stop beating the child? Or would the best, kindest, most loving, and reasonable thing to do be for you to run as fast as you could to the aid of the child? And once there, physically restrain the man with whatever force is necessary, in order to stop the beating and free the child? I vote for the later response. And I believe to do anything less than that would be cowardly.

The same holds true on the broader international scale. If a people are hopelessly and helplessly oppressed, don’t you think they would want a stronger power to intervene on their behalf? Don’t you think they would pray to God to do something, to send someone to help them? They would and God would hear that prayer and send an army to help them. War is sometimes justified. It is justified when it is right in the sight of God.

Fourth, those with a right view of war know that victory comes from the Lord. Genesis 14 ends by stating:

  • Genesis 14:17-24 – “And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him.18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.19 And he blessed him and said: 1 “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.”

Abram knew Who it was that delivered his enemies into his hand; it was God Most High. His paying a tithe to Melchizedek was an act of worship of God Most High.

The Bible shows that God fights for His people. The Exodus and conquest of Canaan were made with the understanding that God would fight on behalf of His people:

  • Exodus 14:13-14 – “And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.14 “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
  • Deuteronomy 20:1-4 – “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.2 “So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people.3 “And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them;4 ‘for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’”   (See also Deuteronomy 1:26-31)

God fights for His people. He fights on behalf of the innocent and oppressed. And those who take up arms in a righteous and just conflict should trust in God to lead and protect them.

Fifth, those with the right view of war do not enter into it with the ambition to enrich themselves. In Genesis it states:

  • Genesis 14:21-24 – “Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.”22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth,23 “that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’—24 “except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”

Notice very importantly that Abram was not interested in personally profiting but was interested only in securing the freedom of Lot. He refused to accept any reward offered to him. Abram didn’t go to war to make himself rich, He trusted in God Most High to enrich him. Abram went to war with pure motives to do what was right. Those in a just war are not looking to pillage and profit but are looking to be instruments of God to establish His justice and truth.

Lastly, those who take up arms in just honorable conflict trusting in God are rewarded by God. If we look at the context of this Genesis passage we see that in Genesis 15 it goes on to say:

  • Genesis 15:1-6 – “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.”5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

Notice here the words of God to Abram encouraging him. God tells him to not be afraid and that He is “your shield and exceedingly great reward.” God Himself is the reward linked to the previous events of Abram entering into a just conflict. Those “things” which precede God’s expression of blessing involved the courageous and right taking up of arms by Abram to free his nephew Lot. God honored that righteous act by Abram and promised him blessing of descendents. When it says, “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness,” Abram not only believed the LORD would bless him with numerous descendants but had believed God would be with him as a shield and protector in the previous just battle to free Lot. Abram, man of faith, had trusted God in a very difficult predicament and God honored that. God’s blessings were connected to the just war Abram launched out in by faith.

The War Song of David The Warrior King

One of the most prominent figures in the Old Testament was a man of war. I am referring to King David. Now there are some disadvantages to being a warrior. David was not permitted to build the Temple of God (2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17). But nevertheless, David is described in the Bible as, “a man after His [the LORD’s] own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). David was a warrior king.

David testifies to being trained for war by God when he is inspired to write:

  • Psalm 18:34 – “He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”
  • Psalm 144:1 – “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle”

After David had fought against the Philistines he was inspired to compose a song of deliverance. This song of David shows us how God trains and directs His leaders to at times wage war. As you read this song of David notice not only how David relies upon God for strength and direction in times of war, but also how David attributes victory to God fighting for him:

  • 2 Samuel 22:1-51 – “Then David spoke to the Lord the words of this song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.2 And he said: 1 “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;3 The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence.4 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.5 ‘When the waves of death surrounded me, The floods of ungodliness made me afraid.6 The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.7 In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry entered His ears.8 “Then the earth shook and trembled; The foundations of heaven quaked and were shaken, Because He was angry.9 Smoke went up from His nostrils, And devouring fire from His mouth; Coals were kindled by it.10 He bowed the heavens also, and came down With darkness under His feet.11 He rode upon a cherub, and flew; And He was seen upon the wings of the wind.12 He made darkness canopies around Him, Dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.13 From the brightness before Him Coals of fire were kindled.14 “The Lord thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice.15 He sent out arrows and scattered them; Lightning bolts, and He vanquished them.16 Then the channels of the sea were seen, The foundations of the world were uncovered, At the rebuke of the Lord, At the blast of the breath of His nostrils.17 “He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters.18 He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me; For they were too strong for me.19 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the Lord was my support.20 He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.21 “The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, And have not wickedly departed from my God.23 For all His judgments were before me; And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them.24 I was also blameless before Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity.25 Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to my cleanness in His eyes.26 “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;27 With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.28 You will save the humble people; But Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down.29 “For You are my lamp, O Lord; The Lord shall enlighten my darkness.30 For by You I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall.31 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.32 “For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?33 God is my strength and power, And He makes my way perfect.34 He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.35 He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.36 “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your gentleness has made me great.37 You enlarged my path under me; So my feet did not slip.38 “I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them; Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed.39 And I have destroyed them and wounded them, So that they could not rise; They have fallen under my feet.40 For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose against me.41 You have also given me the necks of my enemies, So that I destroyed those who hated me.42 They looked, but there was none to save; Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them.43 Then I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I trod them like dirt in the streets, And I spread them out.44 “You have also delivered me from the strivings of my people; You have kept me as the head of the nations. A people I have not known shall serve me.45 The foreigners submit to me; As soon as they hear, they obey me.46 The foreigners fade away, And come frightened from their hideouts.47 “The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let God be exalted, The Rock of my salvation!48 It is God who avenges me, And subdues the peoples under me;49 He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man.50 Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.51 He is the tower of salvation to His king, And shows mercy to His anointed, To David and his descendants forevermore.”

What can we glean about war from this song of David? The following points can be seen here.

  1. Stability, deliverance, strength, protection and salvation from one’s enemies come from the LORD (22:1-4).
  2. The fear of death in war drives a person to cry out to God and God hears that cry (22:5-7)
  3. God is powerful and brings all the forces of nature to bear in achieving His purposes (22:8-16).
  4. Even though an enemy is too strong for us, no enemy of God’s is too strong for Him to gain victory over (22:17-20). God brings victory over enemies (Psalm 3:7; 9:3; 18; 21:8-13; 25:2; 27; 56:9-11; 59; 60:12; 108:13; 143:9). God’s word gives light in how to defeat enemies (Psalm 119:98,139,157).
  5. The LORD rewards the warrior according to the righteousness of the war. A person involved in a just war with pure motives and goals will be rewarded by God (22:21-25).
  6. The one who wants God’s support in battle must enter into it with humility for God will bring down the haughty (22:26-28).
  7. Righteous war is entered into in the light of God’s word (22:29-31)
  8. Righteous war requires we are led by the LORD, not our own lusts (22:32-35)
  9. The war directed by God will be complete and through (22:36-46)
  10. When righteous war is entered into and won, thanks and worship ought to be offered to God (22:47-51).

These verses show that God trained David for war and if so then it seems to indicate that sometimes war is a viable option for God’s will to be done. David was a warrior king to some extent and David, the warrior king, was also a man after Gods’ own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). When war is inevitable and the only means to establish God’s justice and will, it should be entered into by God’s guidance and resources with total reliance upon Him.

An Overview of God and War in the Old Testament

Let’s review a bit here. Of war the Old Testament says the following:

    1. God on occasion ordered His people to go to war (Exodus 17:16; Numbers 31:1,2; Deuteronomy 7:1,2; 1Sa 15:1-3).
    2. He instructed His people in how to make war (2 Samuel 22:35).
    3. God strengthened His people for war (Leviticus 26:7,8).
    4. The Bible says it is God who gives victory in war (Numbers 21:3; Deuteronomy 2:33; 3:3; 2 Samuel 23:10; Proverbs 21:31).
    5. It is God who brings an end to war (Psalm 46:9).
    6. Wars are often a punishment for sin (Numbers 21:14; Judges 5:8).
    7. It is God who scatters those who have a bloodlust and delight in war (Psalm 68:30).
    8. Wars can be long, protracted and bloody (1 Samuel 14:22; 1 Chronicles 5:22; 2 Chronicles 14:13; 28:6; 2 Samuel 3:1).
    9. Wars lead to other hardships such as famine (Isaiah 51:19; Jeremiah 14:15; Lamentations 5:10), pestilence (Jeremiah 27:13; 28:8), cruelty (Jeremiah 18:21; La 5:11-14), and devastation (Isaiah 1:7).


Now that we have seen what the Old Testament says about war, let’s turn to the New Testament

for more details on war.

War in the New Testament

The word “war” in the New Testament is translated from the Greek term POLEMOS which is derived from another Greek word PELOMAI “(to bustle); warfare (lit. or fig.; a single encounter or a series); battle, fight, war.” [4]

Jesus and Physical Force

There are those who present a picture of Jesus as a mild mannered, emotionless, pacifist. But I believe a serious reading of the gospels paint a much different picture. First of all, Jesus was raised in a carpenter’s home (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3). As such Jesus probably worked with Joseph in physical work which would have produced muscle. Jesus was no wimp or wilting Willy. Jesus was highly likely physically strong and vibrant.

When we look at the life of Jesus we see He is brave and courageous, not willing to ever compromise truth or His redemptive mission. He boldly and strongly confronted the religious leaders of His day (Matthew 23). On one occasion He drove out with a whip those who were defiling the Temple of His Father. John was inspired to describe the incident in the following way:

  • John 2:13-17 – “Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business.15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”

While Jesus was strong and brave, He was not so fierce that children feared Him. In fact we find children very willing to be around Him (Matthew 18:1-2). And Jesus was a protector of children. He said:

  • Matthew 18:6-14 – “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.7 “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.9 “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire. 10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.11 “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?13 “And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.14 “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

Now we mentioned an illustration earlier of a little child being accosted and abused by a big brute in the street. Given that situation, if Jesus were walking in the street when such a thing occurred, and given His words from the above passage, is there any doubt in your mind that He would leap to the aid of the child being beaten? And is there any doubt that Jesus would use physical force if necessary to save the child? No, I can see Jesus running to the aid of any child or any oppressed person and if necessary using force to protect them.

Jesus The Coming King

Some might point to the crucifixion of Jesus and say, “Well, if Jesus supported physical force at times why didn’t He beat back His accusers at the crucifixion?” It’s funny, (really not) but that is exactly what some of His opponents said to Him. Jesus explained in the Garden of Gethsemane why He did not call His heavenly army to His side at that time:

  • Matthew 26:51-56 – “And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.53 “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?54 “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.56 “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.”

The first time Jesus came He came as a servant King to redeem the lost of the world by paying the just penalty for sin on the cross. On the cross Jesus satisfied the justice of Holy God (Mark 10:45). Jesus showed the utmost restraint and meekness (i.e. meekness is strength under control, not weakness), by allowing Himself to be taken into custody, mocked, tortured, spit upon, beaten, scourged, and crucified in order to fulfill scripture. But the next time Jesus comes, He’s coming as the KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS.

The 2nd Coming of Jesus

The next time Jesus comes to earth (remember, He comes in the clouds for the saints in the rapture first – 1 Thessalonians 13-18, and then at His Second Coming), He will come to make war! John was inspired by the Spirit to tell us this when he wrote:

  • Revelation 19:11-16 – “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Jesus is not afraid of war and will come to establish His kingdom on earth by making war against those who oppose Him at the 2nd Coming.

Wars Are A Sign

The first mention of “war” in the New Testament is found in the Olivet Discourse of Jesus where He states:

  • Matthew 24:3-14 – “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.6 “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.7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.8 “All these are the beginning of sorrows.9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.10 “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.11 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.12 “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.13 “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Jesus said that wars would be a sign of the latter days leading up to His rapture of the church (1 Thessalonians 4 and 5), the Tribulation and His 2nd Coming (Revelation 6-19). He was very clear that such “wars and rumors of wars” were not the end “yet” but were merely the beginning of signs of the latter days. Jesus instructs us not to be “troubled” when world conflicts arise for they are only a sign of the beginning of the end (24:6,9). After the wars and rumors of wars will come famines, pestilences and earthquakes, in other words natural upheaval (24:7). Then will follow persecution of believers (24:9a). The world will hate the followers of Jesus Christ (24:9b-10). False prophets will flourish (24:11). Those who reject Jesus will become cold and calloused in their considerations of others (24:12). Be ready to endure such hard times and look for every opportunity to share the gospel (24:13-14).

The Olivet Discourse of Jesus is directed primarily to Israel which will go through the Tribulation (Revelation 6-19). Before the Tribulation takes place, all true believers in Jesus will be raptured to Him (1 Thessalonians 4 and 5). The rapture could occur at any time and so we should all be ready and alert to the times in which we live. Jesus used war to illustrate this need for readiness.

War Illustrates a Call to Readiness

In the New Testament the word “war” also appears in the gospel of Luke where Jesus uses it to illustrate the importance of counting the cost of following Him by setting right priorities:

  • Luke 14:25-35 – “Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.27 “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.28 “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—29 “lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,30 “saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’31 “Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?32 “Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.33 “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. 34 “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?35 “It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Just as a king must plan and assess forces and resources before going to war else he risks embarrassment, we too are called by Jesus to count the cost of following Him. We are to put Him first and above all other earthly relationships (Luke 14:25-26). We are to bear our cross or follow in the purpose for which God has created and called us (Luke 14:27). We need to forsake all and follow Jesus (Luke 14:33). Jesus is telling us here that we need to give Him all our heart. This is especially the case in the days in which we live.

We live in perilous times when the threat of terror attack in our neighborhoods is a very real thing. Our children, the most vulnerable among us, are being accosted and attempts to use and abuse them are being made every day and laws are being made justified by our government. People are godless and therefore confused. But they are belligerent in their defense of their illusionary world views. We need to have the right priorities and a pure heart totally dedicated to the Lord and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. If ever there was a time to be alerted to be used by God, it is now. We need to be ready to fight against the darkness.

God’s Instrument for Just Wars – Governments

In the book of Romans it states that governments are the means by which God maintains justice:

  • Romans 13:1-7 – “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

Governments are in place by the sovereign will of God. This is true of even the most evil governments. Evil governments are a product of, and sign of, the evil nature of humanity. God allows such evil to rise up as a testimony against the evil sinful nature of humanity. God says citizens are to submit to governments (13:1-3). It is governments and their forces that God uses to bring down those who practice evil (13:4). We should be very thankful that we live in a country that is still relatively free. America is sinful and immoral and going in the wrong direction in many ways, but there is still great freedom to minister and live as compared to other parts of the world. God in His sovereignty has chosen to use this nation to assert His will, to defeat evil. America is not Israel and America is not God’s country, but America has a history of those who founded it on Christian truth and the foundation of those truths still stand so that God can use this nation in various ways. How long that remains true is yet to be seen.

This verse contradicts those who would discount the use of war at anytime on the basis that the Law of God states, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Individuals are not to murder as a means to get their way, but governments are given the right to take lives in the case of a just cause and defense of those who are vulnerable.

A Time for War

The Bible states that there is a time for war:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:1,8 – “To everything there is a season, 1 A time for every purpose under heaven:8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.”

When is it time for war? When the innocent is being oppressed. The Bible states:

  • Ezekiel 22:23-31 – “And the word of the Lord came to me, saying,24 “Son of man, say to her: ‘You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation.’25 “The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst.26 “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.27 “Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.28 “Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken.29 “The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.30 “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.31 “Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God.” 

God used Assyria to judge the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Babylon to judge the Southern kingdom of Judah. These instruments were by no means “good” or even “godly”, but God used them nonetheless. God looks out for the innocent, for the oppressed. And God looks for someone to stand in the gap, to pronounce and share His truth in an effort to bring to repentance those who are living in sin. Sometimes God looks for a nation to assert His will. Sometimes God uses nation to bring down another nation.

God has power over war – GOD IS IN CONTROL

How should we face the prospects of war? The Bible states that it is God who has power to end wars:

  • Psalm 46:9 – “He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.”

No matter what happens, the believer always has this comforting truth, GOD IS IN CONTROL. God allows wars and can stop wars. No matter how badly things seem to be going or how out of control the world seems to be, God is in control.


12 Biblical Rules of Engagement in The Just War

Sin in the world and the unwillingness of evil people to live peaceably with those around them oftentimes oppressing and victimizing vulnerable people, makes a just war to stop them a necessity and only alternative at times. Such was the case in World War II. There are those (inspired I believe by Satan himself) who seek to dominate and subjugate the world for their own proud personal sinful pleasures. War is a horrible thing (see Psalm 79:3; Jeremiah 7:33; 15:3; 16:4; 34:20). But if peace and justice cannot be established by peaceful means, a just war is the alternative.

There is such a thing as a just war. But what makes a just war just? The Bible does give guidelines for a just war. Below are twelve Biblical guidelines that make war just or that characterize a just war.

First, pray for guidance in a just war. Prayer is a declaration of dependence upon God and in the tension between attempting to avoid war as much as possible and also not appeasing foolishly an aggressor to try and maintain peace, God’s wisdom and direction is indispensable. God’s wisdom is obtained through prayer. When the Philistines attacked David, the first thing he did was go before the Lord to seek God’s guidance. In Second Samuel it states:

  • 2 Samuel 5:17-21 – “Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold.18 The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim.19 So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” And the Lord said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.21 And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away.”

The name David gave to this place, “Baal Peraziim” where God gave him victory, literally means, “LORD [or Master] of breakthroughs.” God is the one who enables the just to break through and defeat the enemy. Because of this, to seek God’s guidance in prayer is the first and priority step of one entering a just war situation.

Second, those fighting a just war should depend on God’s resources, not just their own earthly resources. The resources of God are far more important than any earthly resources. For instance, God’s angels are far mightier than any human soldier and He will send them to help when we fight in a just war (2 Chronicles 32:8; Psalm 3; 4:8; 35:1-7; Isaiah 37:36).

On one occasion in the Old Testament the Assyrians came up against Judah and king Hezekiah. The Assyrians were a terrorist nation who were known for their atrocities against anyone who might resist them. This created great fear in the hearts of those they came up against. When Hezekiah was confronted with this enemy, he went to the Lord through Isaiah the prophet to find help. The Lord assured him that he was not alone, and Hezekiah conveyed this to the people saying:

  • 2 Chronicles 32:6-8 – “Then he set military captains over the people, gathered them together to him in the open square of the city gate, and gave them encouragement, saying,7 “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him.8 “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”

The result of the ensuing battle (if you can call it that) was the defeat of the Assyrians by the Lord. Isaiah gives the details when he is inspired to say:

  • Isaiah 37:36 – “Then the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead.”

When you are led by God in prayer and rely on Him for help, no enemy can prosper before you (Isaiah 54:17).

Third, always keep in mind that earthly wars have spiritual elements. Paul was inspired to write that our primary battle is not against flesh and blood people but against Satan and his minions and we should fight it as such. The Lord provides us with weapons to fight the spiritual aspects of wars. Paul wrote in Ephesians:

  • Ephesians 6:10-18 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”

Note the main points here. Depend on God’s might and power not your own (6:10). Put on the “whole” or entire “armor of God (6:11). If a soldier forgets their helmet or gun or flak jacket, they make themselves very vulnerable to enemy attack and that is not because they can’t be protected, but because they are unprotected because of their own neglect. The battle is not primarily against flesh and blood people; it is against the evil spiritual forces of Satan who manipulate people who are living in their sin (6:12). Wickedness and every sort of atrocity are instigated by Satan, (which by no means excuses the human perpetrating such atrocities). The only way you will be able to stand in the evil day of spiritual conflict is to put on all the armor God provides you (6:13). Truth, like a belt, holds all your equipment in place. Never sacrifice truth to gain a perceived advantage (6:14). Many have lied and relied on their own deception only to suffer later when the truth inevitably comes out. Let righteousness cover your heart like a breastplate (6:14). Going into battle with a pure heart inspires courage and is greatly supported by the Lord. Wherever you walk look to take steps to further the gospel (6:15). Without the proper footing and footwear, your feet (one of the most sensitive parts of your body) will be injured, and you won’t be able to make progress. Unless the gospel is brought with you, you may advance outwardly, but no hearts will be won for the Lord. “Above all take the shield of faith” (6:16). Wear your flak jacket of faith that will stop the bullets of doubt and falsehoods that are thrown at you. Be certain of your salvation in your mind; wear it like a helmet that protects your thoughts through faith in Jesus in the power of the Spirit (6:17). And by all means don’t forget the word of God, the sword of the Spirit, that can be used to defend as well as attack (6:17). God’s word will guide the one in a just war in a righteous path that is pleasing to God. The final part of this armor is to pray always in the Spirit for guidance, strength, sensitivity and alertness to what is happening around you so that you won’t be taken by surprise or caught off guard (6:18). This is the equipment God has provided to fight the spiritual war raging since Adam and Eve disobeyed Him in the Garden of Eden.

Fourth, as much as is possible, overcome evil with good. Even though military force is sometimes needed, mercy and goodness are to be shown to enemies as much as possible (2 Samuel 9:1-8; Psalm 35:11-16; Proverbs 25:21-22; Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-36; Romans 14:14,20-21). In Romans it states:

  • Romans 12:14,20-21 – “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.20 Therefore 1 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

One of the things that was so evident in the Iraqi Freedom campaign was that even though Saddam Hussein was will to break the laws of the Geneva convention, was willing to use his own people as human shields for his soldiers, was willing to have his soldiers dress like coalition forces and execute his own men who were surrendering, even though he was willing to fake surrender in order to try and catch coalition forces off guard, and was even willing to use chemical and biological weapons, the coalition forces were unwilling to stoop to his level and presented a good example of overcoming evil with good. Instead the coalition forces went out of their way and even took a longer amount of time and effort to pursue the cause in a way that avoided damage to the Iraqi infrastructure and danger to civilians.

Fifth, don’t war vengefully but leave revenge in the hands of God. A heart of revenge can lead to atrocities in war. Those fighting a just war must release any thought of revenge to the Lord. Who better to dish out justice rightly than the Just One of the universe? (Romans 12:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7). Again in Romans it states:

  • Romans 12:19 – “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”

When satanically inspired enemies perform atrocities with fellow soldiers or civilians, it would be easy to allow anger to rule the day and respond in kind. But those fighting a just war leave revenge in the hands of the Lord and follow the rules of war righteously.

Sixth, don’t take pleasure in the demise or pain of your enemy. Even though the elimination of a ruthless enemy is sought, we should never take pleasure in the pain of another no matter how evil. Taking pleasure in the pain experienced by an enemy displeases God. In Proverbs it states:

  • Proverbs 24:17-18 – “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.”

It would be oh so easy and is oh so tempting to want to gloat gleefully over a fallen foe, but rather than do this, those in a just war cause should humbly thank God for the victory. Victors can get so full of themselves that they need to be knocked down a peg or humbled. Better to be humble than to be humbled.

Seventh, understand there are those who will refuse peaceful means of reconciliation or problem resolution. Some refuse diplomacy as David said in Psalms when he was inspired to write:

  • Psalm 120:6-7 – “My soul has dwelt too long With one who hates peace.7 I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war.”

David’s words here speak to us about the limitations of diplomacy. Appeasement does not work with evil powers. World War II and the appeasement of Hitler and what resulted is enough evidence to make this point. The over 50,000 dead American soldiers buried on the shores of Normandy shout out against appeasement.

Eighth, understand there are ruthless and evil entities in the world. These need to be dealt with for they destroy the peace and victimize the helpless at every turn (Psalm 41:5; 54:3; Ezekiel 36:5-7). The Bible says that there are evil people who do not respond to negotiation or peaceful diplomacy. The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel was inspired by God to write about such a situation when God pronounces judgment against Israel’s perennial enemy Edom saying:

  • Ezekiel 35:5-7 – “Because you have had an ancient hatred, and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, when their iniquity came to an end,6 “therefore, as I live,” says the Lord God, “I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you.7 “Thus I will make Mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it the one who leaves and the one who returns.”

There are evil people who exhaust the goodness of God and have to be righteously judged by God.

Ninth, those who persist in evil and refuse to live at peace are to be firmly dealt with in the Lord. We are not to sit back and do nothing or continually appease those who do evil. We are not to be naive or pacifistic. In Psalm 109 it states:

  • Psalm 109:4-5,15-20 – “In return for my love they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer.5 Thus they have rewarded me evil for good, And hatred for my love. . . .15 Let them be continually before the Lord, That He may cut off the memory of them from the earth;16 Because he did not remember to show mercy, But persecuted the poor and needy man, That he might even slay the broken in heart.17 As he loved cursing, so let it come to him; As he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him.18 As he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, So let it enter his body like water, And like oil into his bones.19 Let it be to him like the garment which covers him, And for a belt with which he girds himself continually.20 Let this be the Lord’s reward to my accusers, And to those who speak evil against my person.”

There is a time to act. There is a time for a just war.

Tenth, allow the enemy to undermine and defeat himself if possible. Dictators and tyrants are often destroyed from within. Wait for this and facilitate it if you can. The Bible states:

  • Psalm 57:6 – “They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down; They have dug a pit before me; Into the midst of it they themselves have fallen. Selah”
  • Proverbs 5:22-23 – “His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin.23 He shall die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.”

Those who live for lust and evil are often the victims of their own evil ways.

Eleventh, forgive enemies once they are defeated. Jesus said, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” Stephen said, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” We should treat enemies as God has treated us for we were enemies of God before coming to Christ and He forgave us (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). In Colossians it states:

  • Colossians 1:21-23 – “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

This is the mindset that one should carry into a just war. Paul also states in his letter to the Ephesians:

  • Ephesians 4:30-32 – “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

These verses tell us that just as we have an enemy, we were once God’s enemies. God loved us, even as enemies (Romans 5:8) and therefore we ought to love our enemies too.

Twelfth, fear God more than the enemy.  This should motivate those fighting a just war to fight it according to God’s rules and not their own. The most important element in a just war is to fear God. Don’t be caught up and solitarily focused on the immediate conflict. Understand that there are eternal consequences to that which occurs in war, even just wars. Jesus said:

  • Matthew 10:28 – “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
The understanding of God as Mighty, Holy, Just and Good and that He has everyone’s eternal destiny in His hand, is enough to direct those fighting a just
war to fight it justly according to God’s guidelines.

What To Do In Times of War

What should we do in times of war? If we can’t enlist or be involved directly we can write letters

to the military men and their families that we know. But the Bible gives us very clear

instructions, we are to pray for those in authority. Paul said this when he wrote the following to Timothy:

  • 1 Timothy 2:1-7 – “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

When there is a war, those not directly involved need to pray for those who are. In our time however, with wars sprouting up all over the world, and with the threat of domestic terrorism overflowing our borders, we need to pray for safety and for authorities that are at home to protect us as well. This includes, police, fire departments, and those involved in catching terrorists in this country.


There is such a thing as a righteous war, a just war. There are also unrighteous and unjust wars waged by those who in their sin of selfishness seek merely to profit personally at the expense of others no matter what the cost. Such war is abhorrent to God. When such things happen, God raises up those who will wage just war to right the wrong perpetrated by unjust warring.

This was seen in the 1930s and 40s when Germany led by Hitler along with Japan and Italy sought to conquer the world. God raises up allied powers to put down this evil effort and restore order and peace to the planet. In the early 1990s when Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded the small neighboring nation of Kuwait for oil prophets, an alliance came together to beat him back and liberate Kuwait.

There is a time when war is necessary, and war can be just. We can only hope that the motives for the present war are righteous. If in the future ulterior or sinful motives are exposed, then every disciple of the truth of God should denounce the actions. But if this war is just, and I personally believe that it is, then we should be on our knees seeking the Lord’s guidance and help in this time of need.

Early on when our nation was but a seed of a thought, a man by the name of Patrick Henry rose to speak in a continental congressional meeting concerning the injustices imposed upon the colonists by the British. Mr. Henry said in part:

“Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of the siren till she transforms us into beast. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.  . . . Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation, – the last arguments to which kings resort. . . . Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. . . . In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free . . . we must fight! I repeat it, sir, – we must fight! An appeal to arms, and to the God of hosts, is all that is left us. . . .  Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any forces which our enemy can send against us. . . . Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. . . . It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry peace, but there is no peace. The war is actually begun. The gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the field. Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? IS LIFE SO DEAR, OR PEACE SO SWEET, AS TO BE PURCHASED AT THE PRICE OF CHAINS AND SLAVERY? FORBID IT. ALMIGHTY GOD! I KNOW NOT WHAT COURSE OTHERS MAY TAKE, BUT AS FOR ME, GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!” [5]

There is such a thing as a just war, a time for war. May God lead us wisely and gracefully and may His truth reign and His justice flow (Amos 5:24).



[1] Today in the Word, June 19, 1992.

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2013/05/23/us/memorial-day-fast-facts/index.html

[3]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[4]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[5] David J. Vaughan, Give Me Liberty, (Elkton, MD: Highland Books, 1997) pages 80-85.

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