Hot Potatoes

War and Peace (Is Pacifism Biblical?)

What should our attitude as Christians be towards terrorism?  Does the Bible teach pacifism?  Should we use force to defend ourselves in the face of aggression?

Matthew 24:6,7: 'You will hear of wars and rumours of wars.
See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.'
Jesus says we should see to it that we are not troubled.
If we get traumatised by something there is a process of recovery
but the Holy Spirit will lead guide us every step of the way into peace.

Other translations say, 'Be not disturbed in mind.'  'Beware of panic!'
Williams: 'Take care not to be scared out of your wits.'
Philips: 'don't be alarmed.'
The Message: 'Keep your head and don't panic.'
The heart of every believer needs to receive this.  Remember Jesus is still on the throne. When those around us are fearful because life in this world (upon which they have put all their hopes) is being shaken, part of our WITNESS is our peaceful mental attitude. They should see that our faith in Christ gives us peace and assurance because we have a wonderful hope for the future and eternity. Be careful not to watch the news so much that you become disturbed.

Meditate on these Scriptures:
'These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world' (John 16:33).

'Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you' (John 14:1-2).

'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus' (Phil 4:6,7).

How did Jesus personally respond to tragedy and to terrorism when it was close to His own life? Acts of terror touched His life personally.  He was born right in the middle of terror! The evil tyrant Herod sent his forces, not only to Bethlehem, but to all the surrounding regions to kill every child of two and under.  Jesus was the intended target. He escaped that death.  If you've struggled with survivor guilt know that you have a Saviour who understands!   Jesus lived while others died because later He was to die so that others could live.

That wasn't the last time that terror affected Him. John the Baptist was His relative, friend and fellow-minister, the one who baptised and introduced Him to the world.  One day Jesus got word that His loved one John had his head cut off and presented on a platter to a wicked king.  He knew what terror was and he felt it as a Man.  He understands. He didn't grow up in an ivory tower unaffected by the terrors and the tragedies of life.

How did he respond?
'When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself' (Matthew 14:13).

He didn't want to be around crowds. When you hear horrible news you don't feel like hanging out with a bunch of people.  Jesus was the Son of God but also He's a Man, made like unto us in all ways. When Jesus got this news He just wanted to be alone.  Jesus understands us!

'But when the multitudes heard it [that He'd taken off], they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude [did He decide to quit loving and helping people because of that tragedy being so great?  No!  He went out; 'and was moved with compassion and healed their sick.'  He stepped back into doing the Father's Will. He continued to be moved with compassion. He did not allow His heart to grow cold or hard. He continued to meet human needs with the power of God. He felt very deeply the pain but refused to allow it to make Him bitter and to build walls to protect Himself from people.  After the healing service, He fed the 5000. Why? Because He was not going to allow a tragedy, or act of terror to stop Him fulfilling His mission.

Should we be pacifists or can a nation have the right to wage war and under what conditions?
We have to decide as Christians:
Can we pray for the success of our government and armed forces when we know that they have to take some unpleasant actions?  Can it be right for the armed forces to kill and wage war? Shouldn't we just all forgive? Some Christians think it's wrong to take military action. Doesn't the Bible tells us not to take vengeance into our own hands? Some say Jesus was a Pacifist and taught us to be that way also.  Should we join in the peace demonstrations? Should evil in the world be resisted and how should it be done? To see God's viewpoint we must study the whole Bible, not just a few verses out of context. The truth must agree with the whole teaching of Scripture.

The first reality we have to face is the FALL of man (Genesis 3).
THE FALL IS REAL. We all agree in an ideal world, there would be no war. War is an evil caused by man's sin and selfishness. And yet we must face the reality that we live in a fallen world where evil is rampant and aggressors use violence to achieve their ends.   World peace is impossible before Jesus returns and brings peace upon the earth.

Jesus said in Matthew 24 that wars must continue until the end of the Age
(an impressive prophecy because it was made during the Roman peace).

Man is deceived if he thinks he can achieve peace on earth:
'For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them' (1Thess 5:3).

'To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, a time to die ... a time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance...a time to keep silence, a time to speak ... a time of war, and a time of peace' (Eccles 3:1-8).

The Pacifist motto (on the U.N building) is Micah 4:3:
'They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.'
But v2 shows that this world peace is only achieved when the Lord Christ returns and rules the earth (cf. Joel 3:9,10)

The question faced by moral men and nations is how to respond to evil.
To get the Biblical Viewpoint we need to go back to Genesis, to see what God will do about it and what He has authorised and expects man to do.

In Genesis God created four classes of Delegated Authorities also called Divine Institutions.

Three were established before the Fall:
(1) Free-Will (Genesis 1),
(2) Marriage,
and (3) Family (Gen 2).

Then in Genesis 3 the FALL happened which changed everything.  We now live in a fallen world. Before the Flood there was no Human Government, resulting in evil and violence spreading rapidly leading to the Flood.

After the Flood God tells Noah: 'Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning ....from the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man' (Gen 9:5,6).

Here God establishes the Divine Institution of Human Government to protect the other Divine Institutions from the results of the Fall (especially human freedom, which is destroyed when evil is unrestrained). It is to protect us from evil. God gave the State the right to punish evil, in particular the right to use the power of the sword (Capital Punishment).

This is confirmed in the New Testament:
'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. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves. 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. 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' (Romans 13:1-4).

The positions of authority are established by God. This doesn't mean that every individual in Government is there by the will of God, but we are to respect and submit to their authority and obey them as much as possible as long as it does not involving disobeying higher authority (God).

See Acts 5:28,29 for an example: 'Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.'

Acknowledging the authority of the State, Jesus said:
'Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.'

Peter confirms this: 'Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, [the top leader] or to governors [leaders under him], as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good' (1 Peter 2:13,14).

God has set authorities in the nation for the punishment of evil doers.
It is God's will that evil doers be punished by man.
This restrains evil in society: 'Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil' (Ecclesiastes 8:11).

1Timothy2:1-4 also teaches that authorities are established by God to bring peace and stability in society so that the Gospel can spread without hindrance. Thus we pray for those in authority so that we have good government.  Bad Government leads to lawlessness, loss of freedom and the hindering of the Gospel.

After the Flood, man soon tried to establish a single Government over all - 'the Tower of Babel'. But it was uniting in rebellion to God under Nimrod and an apostate religion, so God divided man into separate nations by language, again in order to restrain and slow the spread of evil in the world (Genesis 11), for if the leader of a World-Government is corrupted the whole world comes under evil. This way if one nation goes bad it does not spread to all. The present moves to establish a One-World Order at this time are not of God, for only Jesus Christ is able and worthy to rule over it.   Satan is working for a One World Order so that by controlling the leader he can control everything. So God ordained the independent nation states of the world and their governments (Acts 17:26). After dividing the nations, God made Abraham a nation (Israel) through whom He would bring the knowledge of God and the Gospel to all nations (Genesis 12).

So, now there are two ways evil can work:
(1) from within a nation (crime), and (2) from the outside.
There is the danger of wicked nations spreading their evil throughout the world especially by attacking others. God has authorised Human Government to deal with evildoers. Thus, the key purposes for any national Government are Law and Order to deal with first threat and the Armed Forces to protect from the second.

So a State must be able to protect its freedom by having an armed military. In history the weak and unprepared nations get overrun.  Strength and a balance of power brings peace.

We will see that throughout the Bible, God endorses and even requires nations to use military force as part of the system God has in place to restrain sin and lawlessness in the earth.  These are called JUST WARS.

War is evil but often it is the lesser of two evils - the alternative of letting evil triumph is far worse. This is the reality of life under the Fall. Pacifism underestimates the Fall.

There is much in the Bible about War.
There is such a thing as a Just War - of which there are many examples in the Old and New Testaments.  God expects a nation to fight these and He will fight with them if they call upon Him.

There are two kinds of JUST WAR.

1.  Self-Defence against an aggressor or defence of an ally (e.g: W.W.2).
Peace is purchased through war.   Freedom is purchased through blood.

2.  God's Judgement against an evil-nation to prevent the spread of evil world-wide. (Tibet was the world's occult centre and as a result it is possible that the Chinese occupation was of God). The judgement often is due to evil treatment of God's people (the Church or Israel). However if the instrument of judgement acts cruelly and unjustly God will also judge that nation. Often a WAR involves both of these issues.

Examples
1.  The FIRST BIBLE WAR was fought by Abraham (Genesis 14:14) and was a JUST WAR. An aggressive nation had invaded the area and captured Lot. Abraham to protect his family and prevent further slaughter attacked and defeated a larger army. In Genesis 15 God did not rebuke him but blessed him and affirmed that He had given him the victory. God will fight with you in a Just War. God gave a State the right to fight any evil nation that threatens its peace and security.

2. Exodus 14 is a clear example of God fighting with Israel against an aggressor nation (Egypt) bent on annihilating Israel.  God masterminded the final victory happened at Red Sea.

'The Lord is my strength and song - He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him; My fatherís God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war (He is a God of war, Numbers 21:24). The LORD is His name. Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea' (15:2,3).

 God has an army - He is the Lord of Hosts. God not pacifist in His war with the devil. The Bible's constant use military metaphors (2Cor 10:4, Eph 6:13-17) would be inconsistent if God disapproved of all war.

3. Joshua's invasion of the Promised Land was a judgement of God on an evil nation. God had given the land to Abraham but told him that the inhabitants could not righteously be evicted because their evil was not yet complete (Gen 15:16).  400 years later they were ripe for judgement.
The land had become the world-centre of idolatry, immorality and evil.
God's instrument of judgement was Israel who were told to fight a Just War. Moreover at the start of the Campaign Jesus appeared to Joshua as the Commander of the Army:

'When Joshua was by Jericho  behold, a Man stood opposite  with His sword drawn in His hand. Joshua said, 'Are You for us or for our adversaries?' He said, 'No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.' Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped.' (Josh 5:13,14).

Thus Jesus is not pacifist but He even led this invasion. Israel had to fight this Just War but God fought with them while they believed and obeyed Him.

4.  Many times afterwards God fought for Israel:
'Reuben, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had 44,760 valiant men able to bear shield and sword, to shoot with the bow, skilful in war. They made war with the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. And they were helped against them, and theys were all delivered into their hand, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him because the war was God's' (1Chronicles 5:18-22).

5. At the Second Coming, Jesus Christ comes to fight at the Battle of Armageddon (a Just War to deliver Israel from evil aggressors and establish His Kingdom).

'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' (Rev 19:11).

 This shows that you can wage a Just War. Jesus is Love but definitely not a Pacifist. He will bring peace to earth and end war - through war.

'Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle ... His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives (in victory)' (Zech 14:3). He will kill many (Rev 19:15,16) even more than in Isaiah 37:36 as the Angel of the Lord.

Another Just War (the last war) is in Revelation 20:7-9.

Killing in warfare is not murder. God does not rebuke armies and soldiers (except when they abuse their position). The Centurion was told he had great faith, not that he was a murderer. When repentant soldiers came to John asking: 'what shall we do?', John did not tell them to resign but:
'Do not intimidate or take money by force, or abuse your authority' (Luke 3:14).

Among the heroes of faith were warriors:
'The time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, also of David and Samuel ... who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness ... escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle,
turned to flight the armies of the aliens' (Hebrews 11:32-34).

God was with them in war to defeat the enemy. God changed fearful Gideon into a courageous warrior. David wanted peace but when aggressive nations came against him he became a man of war and called upon God's help (Psa.120:1,5-7). David and his mighty men were anointed to fight. God trained their hands for war (Psa 18:34; 2Sam 22:35).

'The LORD my Rock, trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle
- my loving-kindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, He subdues my people under me' (Psalm 144:1,2).

 Here David is talking about blood and guts war, although we apply it spiritually. Solomon's peace was built on David's wars. David could not built the Temple because of the blood he shed but that referred to Uriah's murder.

Often God gave the victory (Joshua 10:10,11; Judges 7:19-22; 1Samuel 3 0:16,17). God's protection is available in war (Psa 91:7).

Just War Rules.
1. The motive and cause must be just.  
Is it against evil, to preserve freedom or is it just for profit?
2. War should be waged only as a last resort.
3. There should be a formal declaration of war
4. The Objectives should be limited.
6. Proportional means should be used
- only use as much force as necessary.
7.  Minimise civilian casualties.
A war might be generally just although that does not mean everything done in a just war is justified. Nuclear weapons pose a special problem. They are evil yet they exist in the hands of potential aggressors.  To disarm unilaterally would achieve nothing.  We must keep them as a deterrent if other nations possess them also.

Other Biblical Principles Of War:
1. All nations should be trained and ready for war (Judges 3:1,2) for evil is always present (Psa140:1,2). Destruction usually comes to a nation through military defeat.  Freedom is protected by strength. Military preparedness keeps a nation from being attacked and enables it to defend its people. 'How can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house' (Matt 12:29). This shows that if someone wants to take your house (land) they first make sure they can defeat you. A well defended country stops others attacking it.

In Nehemiah 4, Israel looked vulnerable so the surrounding nations planned to attack but they made themselves ready to fight  and when their enemies heard about this they backed off (v15). Nehemiah's words in v14 show that God calls a nation to: 'fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.'

v16 shows that Nehemiah had learnt the lesson of readiness:
'So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armour.'
Enemies think twice before attacking a well-armed nation.

2. War should be fought until the evil cause has been removed (Psalm 46:8-11, 68:30). War cannot be fought half-heartedly.  A nation must fight to win. Throughout God's Word we see Israel gained peace by winning war (Josh 11:23). This is the reality in a fallen world.

3. The enemy should be given every chance to surrender (Deuteronomy 20:10-12).

4. God ordained the military to protect a nation.
In Numbers 1, God instituted Israel's army, showing that conscription is valid in time of stress. We have the right and duty to fight for our country, to preserve freedom, especially to worship God. To refuse to fight in a Just War is a sin against God (Numbers 32:6-14) and He warns 'be sure your sin (of not fighting) will find you out.' It is serious because it discourages the rest of the nation, especially those fighting (v9). In this they were repeating the sin of their fathers (the 10 spies) in Numbers 13,14. This is similar to the sin of peace protesters during a Just War.

Jesus said: '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).
At that time Jesus was not planning to establish His kingdom as a national entity on earth so fighting for it would be wrong.  At His Second Coming the situation is different and we will be part of an invading army (Rev 19). Notice that Jesus' words show that it is right to fight for a national entity in a just cause.

5. Good military leadership and organised armies are vital (Luke 14:31, Prov 20:18, 24:5,6).

6. All soldiers must have an aggressive, determined, courageous mental attitude (Deut 20:1-4) and fight in a spirit of faith (Ps 27:1-3). The newly-weds and others who could not focus on the fight were excused (Deut 20:5-8, 24:5).

7. Soldiers must not act in hate but duty
for otherwise they commit murder in their heart (Matt 5:21,22).
 
We have seen (mostly from the Old Testament) that God calls nations to wage Just Wars, and we know that Jesus accepted the teaching of the Old Testament. However, based on some words of Jesus, there is a strong Christian pacifist tradition. We will look at the passages used by pacifists and see what the Bible teaches about responding to evil.

Perhaps the basic text is the 6th Commandment: 'You shall not kill' (Exodus 20:13). But this should be translated: 'You shall do no murder' (RV). The very next chapter prescribes Capital Punishment for murder (21:12) so that form of killing is justified! Elsewhere we find that killing in Just War is not murder - as long as it is not done out of personal hatred, but to protect his country.  Also killing another in self-defence can be valid (Ex 22:2,3) In fact, just before he died Jesus told His disciples to buy a sword for self-defence to deter attackers, knowing they will be the target when he is gone: 'But now, he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one' (Luke 22:36). Soon after we see Peter with a sword which he used against those who came to arrest Jesus (Matthew 26:52). He took a man's ear off - if he had aimed better he would have been guilty of murder, because those arresting Jesus were acting under the legal authority of the State. Jesus rebuked Peter saying: 'those who live by the sword (murderers) will die by the sword (Capital Punishment).'

The Sermon of the Mount (Matthew 5) seems to teach pacifism.  It opens with the Beatitudes. In Matthew 5:9 - it is the Peacemakers not the Peace-mongers who are blessed. Sometimes peace is achieved through negotiation but sometimes it can only be made through strength and conflict. Today's peace is because of the sacrifice of others in war.  Those who fought in W.W.2 against oppression were the true peacemakers not the conscientious objectors. Likewise Jesus won our eternal peace and security through violent conflict with the powers of darkness in his death and resurrection.

Jesus went on to say that He did not come to undermine or contradict the Old Testament but came to fulfil it (Matt 5:17-20).  He was making it clear that His teaching was built upon the revelation in the Law, and He was bringing out its full meaning.  At the same time He contrasts it with the teaching of the Pharisees, showing how their teaching fell short.  The Sermon relates to personal righteousness and heart attitudes - He shows how the Righteousness of God exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees (v20).

Thus He sets up a number of contrasts of the form:
'You have heard that it was said...but I say to you.'
Here, Jesus was not contradicting the WRITINGS of the Old Testament but the SAYINGS of the Pharisees which they (falsely) claimed were based on what Moses SAID and which were then handed down by mouth (the Oral Law) rather than what he wrote (the Torah).

This is confirmed in v 43 which is clearly not an Old Testament teaching:
'You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour 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, 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' (v43-45).
We (like our Father) should not hate, but forgive and love our enemies.

Matthew 5:38-42: 'You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' (here Jesus is referring to a teaching of the Pharisees who used this phrase to justify personal revenge, when in context it is the basic principle of Justice for Government - that the punishment should fit the crime).

'But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.
And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.'

This tells us to not take revenge or be a passive doormat but to retaliate in love, which like turning the other cheek, can open us to further rejection.
This again is speaking to our personal attitude towards those who wrong us. Jesus is not contradicting the Old Testament teaching that the Government should take action against criminals, but He is rejecting the Pharisees teaching on personal revenge.

Romans 12:17:  'Repay no one evil for evil.'
Don't yield to ATTITUDES of HATE and REVENGE (Matt5:21,22).
'Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.'
Berkley: 'determine on the noblest ways in dealing with all people.'
As Christians we should take the high road.

'If it is possible, as much as depends on you (as much as you have anything to do with it), live peaceably with all men' (v18).  In other words, 'don't go looking for a fight'.   It says, 'If possible.' There are some we can't live peaceably with and other actions may be needed.

But revenge is not an option: 'Beloved, do not avenge yourselves' (v19). If someone speaks badly of us or ignores us, we should not respond by doing the same.

But what if they do something serious or criminal? What should we do?

Firstly, we are not called to be their judge and avenger.
Philips says: 'never take vengeance into your own hands my dear friends.' Let God judge them in His way: 'But rather give place to WRATH (God's Judgement); for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord.' Yes, God will judge all men after death but as we shall see in the next verses, He also has instruments of wrath against evil in this life - human authorities and He expects them to do their job.

But as far as our personal reaction to them is concerned: 'Therefore 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 (melting his heart). Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good' (v19-21).

There are two ways we can be overcome by evil:
(1) If we take revenge we become like the evildoer. We need to rise above and be better than that.
(2) If we just lay back and take it (doormat) we also submit to evil.
Rather we must overcome evil with good.

The key to understanding this whole passage of scripture is that it speaks to individual Christians, not to Governments.

On a personal level, we must not take vengeance into our own hands but overcome evil with good.  When others act in a sinful way we rise above that, walk in love, demonstrating goodness.

Now if we stopped reading here we might think that's all there is to it.

But read on in Romans 13:1-4 as if it were just a continuation, because it is! '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. (We must submit the matter to the relevant authorities who are appointed by God to judge the evil-doer). Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves. 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. 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.'

 So, the same passage that says we should not take revenge also says that the governing authorities stand as God's ministers to execute vengeance on those that do evil, and we should support them in their task whether it is the police or the army, otherwise we are opposing God.

Conclusions:
(1) On a personal level - forgive.  This does not deny the fact of wrong having been done or excuse the wrongdoer or mean he should not be punished.  Forgiveness is an internal change that releases us from the control of the offender.  Without it, our lives are dictated by those offences and we become like the person we hate. Martin Luther King said, 'When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.'

(2) At the same time realise that God has ordained authorities to punish evil. God established governments (which includes the military) to serve as His ministers, not of the Word but of the sword, to execute wrath on evil-doers. Hence we can pray with confidence, that they will be successful in doing the will of God. in bringing evil-men to justice.
 
Our Response to Terrorism.

(1) We have seen that we should SUPPORT and PRAY for the Government's actions against evil for it is authorised for that very purpose.

Is the war against terrorism a just war?  War is always the hardest of choices because it is not a choice of good verses evil, but of the lesser evil.   Some look at evil the civilian casualties and say that it can't be right.
War is evil but often it is the lesser of two evils (the war against Hitler is a classic example). I believe a line was crossed on September 11th with the attacks the centres of the economy and power. It was a declaration of war. We are dealing with a foe that cannot be placated and so I believe this war is justified on the grounds of self-defence. It seems clear that if decisive action is not taken there will be even worse attacks with weapons of mass-destruction.  Moreover this war may prove to be a judgement of God on the evil anti-Christian Taliban regime. However, in our Patriotism (our love for our nation - which is of God) we must also be aware that evil operates in our land to the extent we have removed ourselves from God's blessing through our godlessness and pride. If as a nation we respond in humility and prayer we will come under the Lord's protection, but if we just boast our superiority and pride we open ourselves up to more evil.

(2) We should use it as a reminder to people to warn them to repent.
Consider what Jesus said about incidents of terrorism and tragedy?

In Luke 13, there was an incident of terrorism that took place in Jesus' day: 'There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices' (v1).   The Galileans were in the temple offering sacrifices and Pilate had them killed. Listen to what Jesus says about it:
'Jesus answered, 'Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?  I tell you no! But unless you repent you will all likewise perish' (v2,3). Jesus is saying that if somebody dies in a tragedy it does not mean that he must have been an especially bad sinner and that it must have been a judgement of God.

Not all suffering is a direct response to sin. In John 9, when there was as man born blind, they said to Jesus, 'Who sinned - this man or his parents - that he was born blind?' Jesus again had to say, 'No!'

Some horrible things happen just because we live in a fallen world. He said to look beyond the immediate tragedy for it is a reminder of what will one day happen to all who do not repent and get their life right with God for all are guilty.  All mankind is headed toward certain destruction outside of Christ.

'Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them
- do you think that they were worse sinners than all [other] men who dwelt in Jerusalem?' I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish' (v4,5).
Here, Jesus not only addressed deliberate terrorism but also accidental tragedy. A tower had fallen, killing many. How did Jesus respond to this?  He stressed that a tragic death is not necessarily related to an especially sinful life. He used the dramatic events as warnings of future destruction and called for repentance.

The particular warning Jesus was giving was of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and dispersion of Israel in AD70, because Israel had rejected her Messiah. This is confirmed in a Parable (v6-9):
'He also spoke this parable: 'A certain man (JESUS) had a fig tree (ISRAEL) planted in his vineyard (the LAND), and he came seeking fruit (FAITH) on it and found none (ISRAEL DID NOT BELIEVE IN HIM).
Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard (GOD, the FATHER), 'Look, for three years (OF HIS MINISTRY) I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' (it was time for ISRAEL TO BE JUDGED). But He answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilise it, and if it bears fruit, well.  But if not, after that you can cut it down.' Thus the nation of Israel was given one more year of grace until she was judged for rejecting Christ, resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem and dispersal of Israel to the nations by the Romans in AD 70.

Likewise disasters are warnings that this life is short and that judgement awaits those who don't repent and accept the Lord Jesus Christ, Who alone offers eternal salvation. We focus on the sensational and dramatic because it grabs our attention. But the fact is that every day far more than 5,000 people die and go to hell.  And we don't think anything about it!   Jesus wanted us to see beyond sensational situations and see the reality that life is full of tragedy and death.

These things tell us we are in a fallen world where man is under sin and headed for judgement and he has a short time to repent before he dies and goes into eternity.  Those who died weren't worse than anybody else!
But the fact is that every single person at one point in time or another is going to pass from this life over into eternity. And if you're not right with Almighty God, you likewise will perish eternally. Jesus used the situation as an OPPORTUNITY FOR EVANGELISM, trying to get people to see the reality of eternity and the need to be right with God.

(3) Pray that these events help people realise the danger they are in and their need for God.
After the recent tragic events of the sudden mass-murder of healthy people going about their daily work, pray that this will be a wake-up call to everyone that they live on the edge of eternity which is just a breath away.
Pray that those who are delaying their search for God will do so no longer, that they have an urgency to find the truth concerning Jesus Christ.   Pray for a deep realisation in all people that they are not SAFE IN THIS WORLD, and that they can only find TRUE SAFETY by finding peace with the Living God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

(4) Be Heavenly-Minded.
These events remind us that this life is short and is just a preparation for eternity. They should help us not to trust in and live for the things of this world and this life - which are passing away, but instead to live with an eternal perspective, loving and trusting in God Who will protect and provide for us both in this life and for all eternity. 'Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world -the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever' (1John 2:15-17).

(5) These events don't change our Mission and Vision.
It is still God's Will that the Church be strong with a message of salvation, healing and deliverance, presenting Jesus as the Hope of the world, bringing people to the true and living God. Our mission hasn't changed one bit since that tragedy. Jesus is still Lord.  God did not panic when it happened.  He is still on His Throne.  Plans that He has for you are still good to prosper you, to bring you hope, to raise you up to be a light in a dark world, and to be full of the life of God.

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