The Old Testament is a history and record of God revealing himself to mankind. Sometimes one prophet will interpret an event to be a command from God and another will have a different take on the situation as shown with Elisha and Hosea.
In 2 Kings 9 Elisha through a young member of the prophetic guild commands Jehu to destroy the evil King Ahab’s son, King Joram, and to become the new king of Israel. (842 BC)
Then the prophet poured the olive oil on his head and said to him, “This is what the Lord God of Israel has said, ‘I have designated you as king over the Lord’s people Israel. 7 You will destroy the family of your master Ahab. I will get revenge against Jezebel for the shed blood of my servants the prophets and for the shed blood of all the Lord’s servants]8 Ahab’s entire family will die. I will cut off every last male belonging to Ahab in Israel, including even the weak and incapacitated. 9 I will make Ahab’s dynasty like those of Jeroboam son of Nebat and Baasha son of Ahijah. 10 Dogs will devour Jezebel on the plot of ground in Jezreel; she will not be buried.’” Then he opened the door and ran away. 2 Kings 9:7-10 NET
Jezebel with the help of King Ahab had stolen the vineyard of Naboth of Jezreel.
Jehu kills King Joram, kills Jezebel, and becomes Israel’s new King.
A short time later (755 BC?) the prophet Hosea predicts punishment to the dynasty of Jehu for his murders.
3 So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. Then she conceived and gave birth to a son for him. 4 Then the Lord said to Hosea “Name him ‘Jezreel,’ because in a little while I will punish the dynasty of Jehu on account of the bloodshed in the valley of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. 5 At that time, I will destroy the military power of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” Hosea 1:3-5 NET.
Changes in how circumstances are viewed as coming from God can be seen in the differences between how the 2 Samuel author and the 1 Chronicles author interpret the census of David.
In 2 Samuel 24 (written about 960 BC) the LORD incites David to take a census. In 1 Chronicles 21 (written about 450 BC), Satan incites David to take a census. Early authors of the Old Testament seem more likely to attribute events to God. Later authors begin to attribute evil events to Satan.
In earlier books of the New Testament violence is more acceptable than it is shown to be in later books of the Old Testament as God continues to reveal his true nature.
Moses was a man of God. Jesus changed the teaching of Moses.
Moses:23 But if there is serious injury, then you will give a life for a life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. Exodus 21: 23-25. NET
Jesus:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Matthew 5:38,39 NIV
Did God really order Joshua to kill women and children? Or did the people attribute their war-making to God in a similar way as American Christians 1. often claim that God is on our side in war? If Joshua killed and wiped out everyone, why did these same people’s descendants show up later in the Old Testament?
At the time of Joshua, it was common for military rulers to claim to have wiped out every man, woman, and child of their enemy to show their greatness. Often, in fact, the battle could have been a narrow victory where many soldiers escaped and no noncombatant men, women, and children were killed, and yet the military leader claimed a great victory. This was especially prevalent among the Egyptian pharaohs.
According to the film “Patterns of Evidence, The Exodus,” in 1208 BC, the Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah had a stele built to commorate his military victories. One of peoples Merneptah claims to have conquered is Israel. The Stele says “Israel is laid waste, His seed is no more.” Pharoah Merneptah claims to have totally destroyed Isreal, but obviously Israel is still very much alive today. 2.
Perhaps cultures changed greatly between the time of Moses and the time of Jesus and people were much more open to the nonviolent teaching of Jesus at the time Jesus lived as compared to the time of Moses.
God sent Jesus at exactly the right time when people could accept his teaching. Rome created an Empire with roads and shipping routes that gave Christianity a chance to spread quickly over the Middle East and Europe.
In conclusion, 2 Kings 9 does not justify violence on the part of Christians today.
I have heard and read several arguments from the new atheists about why it does not make sense to be a Christian. But, based on the evidence, I have found their reasons to be unconvincing.
I think it is always important to keep an open mind and look at the evidence.
Reasons New Atheists give:
Science proves God is unnecessary.
. Genesis creation story contradicts our scientific knowledge, therefor Christianity is invalid.
The archeological evidence does not match the Exodus story in the Bible, therefor the Bible is a fraud.
Moses could not have written the Torah, therefor the Bible is a fraud.
The Resurrection did not happen.
David Hume has shown that Miracles do not occur.
The physical world is all that exists.
Christianity is too violent.
REASON # 1, SCIENCE PROVES GOD IS UNNECESSARY.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. What if as scientists say, the beginning of creation (Big Bang) happened 13.7 billion years ago?
I have read a few books concerning the history of the universe and the history of life, including “Evolution, The Whole Story” by Steve Parker, “Saving Darwin, How to be a Christian and Believe in Darwin,” by Karl W. Giberson, “Darwin’s Doubt,” by Stephen Meyer, “Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism,” Edited by Andrew Petto, “Undeniable,” by Douglas Axe and “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME BY STEPHEN HAWKING
About 25 years ago I read “A Brief History of Time,” by Stephen Hawking. As I read, I kept thinking that the universe God created was so amazing. Then Hawking began discussing the theory he had developed to avoid the Big Bang and a beginning of the universe. He claimed his theory proved that there was no need for God, I was amazed. I thought to myself, how could Hawking know what he knows and not be amazed with the universe and see God?
I’ve read other scientists who claim that Hawking’s theory fails to prove that the universe does not have a beginning.
Perhaps Hawking developed his theory to avoid a beginning for the universe because he thought the Kalam Cosmological argument is valid if the universe has a beginning?
“EVOLUTION, THE WHOLE STORY” BY STEVE PARKER
In the book “Evolution,” as I read, I saw the history of God creating life. I had feelings similar feelings as I felt when I read Stephen Hawking. How could someone know all these wonderful things about nature and the history of life on earth and not be amazed by God.
Alice Roberts wrote the forward for “Evolution”. She said, “The concept of humans as a special creation made by an intelligent designer, stands in direct opposition to the idea we are a product of unthinking natural selection.” In this statement Roberts is making untenable claims.
Roberts untenable claims:
“Unthinking natural selection:”
Roberts claims unthinking natural selection. I did not see anywhere in the book where Parker claims to be demonstrating unthinking natural selection. Parker’s book in no way proves unthinking natural selection. God can use natural selection to create animals if he so desires. He could guide each step of evolution and we would not be able to prove scientifically that he did or did not.
“Creation by an intelligent designer is in opposition to natural selection.”
If God is God, he can create however he wants even if he uses natural selection to create. God could use natural selection to create animals if he so desires. If God guided natural selection, then natural selection is not unthinking. Perhaps God planned each step and each step is a miracle. Humans could very easily be very special to God.
What if all animals ever created are special to God?
What if we will find all animals that ever lived in heaven when we get there because God wants to enjoy his wonderful creation forever?
As I read the book, I felt Parker was simply showing the history of life. He was not attempting to make a statement about God. If as Roberts contended, Parker was attempting to prove that God is unnecessary, Parker failed miserably.
SCIENTISTS CONFRONT INTELLIGENT DESIGN AND CREATIONISM, EDITED BY ANDREW PETTO
The authors of the book made many excellent points. They helped me understand better the science behind paleontology. I felt they did demonstrate the great age of the earth, (4.5 billion years) and age of the universe, (13.7 billion years) by using current standards for measuring time. I felt they did demonstrate that young earth creationism is questionable. However, many young earth creationists claim that God created the earth 6,000 years ago but made it appear to be much older. They are not arguing from a scientific point view at that point.
The authors of Petto’s book failed to deliver on their promise to Confront Intelligent Design as a failed theory. These authors failed to prove that life was not created by God and they failed to prove that natural selection is not guided by God.
The authors of Petto’s book try to demonstrate that Meyer and Axe are not defending a valid scientific theory of “Intelligent Design” and they failed.
This book was extremely interesting, and I learned a great amount about paleontology.
“DARWIN’S DOUBT,” BY STEPHEN MEYER AND “UNDENIABLE,” BY DOUGLAS AXE
In these books Meyer and Axe argue for the theory of Intelligent Design.
Meyer successfully shows some of the problems of current theories in paleontology concerning the Cambrian Explosion.
These certainly made a good case demonstrating problems of evolution creating life without a God. I think they demonstrated that it is quite reasonable to study the history of life and believe in God.
It appears to me that Intelligent Design is a logical and valid, but still unproven theory.
Atheists are incorrect, science has not proven that God is unnecessary.
REASON #2, GENESIS CREATION STORY CONTRADICTS OUR SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE, THEREFOR CHRISTIANITY IS INVALID
Genesis was written by Moses in about 1450 BC. Paleo-Hebrew written alphabet was developed at about the time of Joseph 400 years earlier. Any scientific claims made by Moses would align with the scientific knowledge of his time. He was raised and educated in the palace of the Pharaoh of Egypt therefor his scientific knowledge would come from Egyptian science.
Moses may have had written sources from the time of Joseph to include in Genesis.
However, stories before Joseph are word of mouth stories.
Some of these stories are based on fact. The Stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob appear to be based on stories of those who lived the experiences.
We can see in the story of Adam and Eve that man turned to sin and violence. In the story Noah we see that God hates evil. We also see God began revealing himself to man before Abraham.
Genesis is about the history God reaching out to man and is not a scientific text.
If Genesis does not conform to scientific knowledge today, that does not make Christianity invalid.
REASON #3, MOSES AND THE EXODUS
We have archeological evidence in Egypt, the Saini Peninsula, Midian and Israel which show that the exodus, the wandering of the Israelites in the desert, and the conquest of Canaan occurred as recorded in the Bible.
Many archeologists claim that the exodus took place about 1250 BC. In the “Patterns of Evidence, The Exodus” documentary by Tim Mahoney, Mahoney demonstrates that the archeological evidence shows that the exodus place about 1450 BC. When the timeline is corrected, the evidence in Egypt and Palestine line up perfectly with the Bible stories. Mohoney’s Documentary Series includes “The Exodus,” The Moses Controversy’,” “The Red Sea Miracle,” Part 1, and “The Red Sea Miracle,” Part 2.
Archeologist David Rohl studied Egyptian history timeline extensively and has shown how Egyptian archeological evidence relates to the Biblical story. See David Rohl’s book “Exodus, Myth or History.”
Atheist’s such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have used the lack of evidence for the Exodus as part of the foundation for their atheism. We can see from the Mahoney films and Rohl’s book that this is no longer a valid argument supporting their position.
REASON #4, JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD
Many authors have demonstrated very convincingly that Jesus has risen from the dead. If he has risen from the dead, then it is reasonable to believe that Jesus is God. Several authors that have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt from the evidence that Jesus is risen from the dead. Books include “Evidence that Demands a Verdict,” by Josh MacDowell, The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel.
In reading these and other similar books, I conclude that the new atheists have a lot of work to do to defend their position against this evidence.
REASON #5, DAVID HUME AND MIRACLES
Some atheists base their position on the writings of David Hume. Lee Strobel in “A Case for Miracles,” discusses David Hume’s arguments. Mr. Strobel conducted a survey about miracles in the US. About 94,000,000 Americans believe they have experienced miracles. This contradicts the claims of Hume. Strobel demonstrates that Hume’s arguments are based on presuppositions and circular reasoning.
REASON #6, SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE OF A NON-MATERIAL WORLD.
Probably the argument I have heard the most often in favor of atheism is the lack of scientific evidence for a non-material world. I recently read John Burke’s “Imagine Heaven.”
Many blind people when they have near death experience describe colors they have never seen before.
One girl during a near death experience observed a tennis shoe on the outside windowsill of a hospital window. The girl had no previous knowledge of the tennis shoe. Later the doctor who heard her story, went from window to window around the hospital until he found the tennis shoe.
Many other stories include facts verifiable by a third party, that cannot be explained by physical knowledge of the person experiencing the near-death experience.
Burke’s book does not scientifically prove the existence of heaven or hell described in near death experiences, but it does convincingly demonstrate a spiritual world or parallel spiritual universe to our material world.
Once again, atheists have some explaining to do to defend their position.
REASON #8, CHRISTIANITY IS TOO VIOLENT
Many Atheists claim Christianity is invalid because Christians are too violent.
In a discussion with one atheist, I mentioned that Lenin, and Mao as atheists killed more people than any two Christians ever killed. He rightly pointed out it is against his own personal standards to kill people.
Many of the people killed by these regimes died of unnecessary starvation, caused by Socialist central planners following the guidelines of atheist Karl Marx. “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism.” By Kevin D. Williamson.
Today atheist leaders still impoverish and use violence against their own people in such places as North Korea, China and Cuba.
My friend’s claim that Christians are the most violent and pro-war people in the USA may be true. However, Jesus taught and demonstrated non-violence as the best way to live as a Christian. It is impossible for my atheist friend to claim that because many Christians are violent, then Christianity is invalid.
Many Christians fail to follow the teachings of Jesus concerning violence. That does not prove that God does not exist.
My friend’s case that Lenin and Mao do not represent atheist philosophy is very weak. The violence of Lenin and Mao certainly show one valid possible outcome for following atheism where it logically leads.
Atheists also appear to be more prone to violent suicide than people with a religious affiliation.
Recently a study of “Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt “was undertaken. The study was published December 1, 2004 in “The American Journal of Psychiatry.” RESULT: “Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation.”CONCLUSION:“Religious affiliation is associated with less suicidal behavior in depressed inpatients.”
Based on the facts, with violence as a criterion for a valid belief system, atheism fails.
I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHEIST
Faith is belief that something is true based on the best evidence we have. With that definition of faith, then I would say in agreement with Frank Turek, “I don’t have enough Faith to be an Atheist.”
JESUS CAME TO SAVE
One atheist asked sarcastically, “What did Jesus save us from?” He does have an excellent question. Who did Jesus come to save?
“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17
Who are these healthy people who do not need the healing of Jesus?
Anyone who is righteous and is not a sinner.
Anyone who can avoid illness and death.
Anyone who can feed all the hungry.
Anyone who can prevent all homelessness.
Anyone who can cause human flourishing without damaging the environment.
Anyone who can prevent all alcoholism and drug addiction.
Anyone who can change the heart of a human so that he no longer kills and steals but loves his neighbor and turns the other check.
Anyone who does not need to experience the rebirth as explained in John 3.
Anyone who can prevent all child abuse.
Anyone who can prevent all spousal abuse.
Anyone who can prevent all child slavery.
Anyone who can prevent all child sexual abuse.
Anyone who can take away the fear of death.
Anyone who can prevent all wars and conflicts.
Anyone who can bring friendship between God and man.
Anyone who can heal the death and violence in the environment so that Lions eat grass and wolves lie down with the lambs.
Anyone who can heal the universe, so it never dies.
Jesus has promised to heal people and the earth. If he can raise himself from the dead, I think he can fulfill his other promises also.
19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Romans 8:19-21
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10
To us humans, this healing that Jesus is giving us seems to be taking a long time. But if the universe is 13.7 billion years old and God is eternal, then the healing Jesus is giving us is taking only the blink of an eye.
Christians disagree strongly about whether or not Christians should join the United States military.
Many pacifists and just war advocates think Christians should not join the US military. Some feel it is OK to join the military if for example they are in a position that does not carry weapons. Other Christians feel any position in the military is OK if a person is obeying the commands of those in authority over them.
I think this post gives us good reasons why Christians should never join the US Military.
To Join the military Christians must disobey the Teachings of Jesus.
I am not aware of any teachings of Jesus or early church leaders up until Ambrose that would allow Christians to use violence.
Jesus taught and the early Church writers wrote many statements claiming that violence by Christians is wrong. They also demonstrated that they believed this by their actions.
If we are true followers of Jesus, living for Jesus will be our number one goal.
Does the Government have the Responsibility to Control Violence?
Some Christians claim that if the government asks us to participate in actions that are contrary to the teachings of Jesus we must obey because the government has the right to ask us to do so.
These Christians sometimes claim that the government has the responsibility to control violent people. Normally Romans 13 is used to back up this claim. However, Romans 13 does not say that we as Christians can participate in this violence. The passage actually asserts that since governments participate in violence, God will use those evil governments to control evil people. Romans 13 does not even claim that governments have the right to use violence. Only that God uses them as agents.
Using violence is wrong even for those who are not Christians. Jesus wants everyone to become his follower and live a life of nonviolence.
Perhaps Christians can find ways to control violence without using violence?
The early Christians refused to worship the emperor and they refused to participate in violence. Should we as Christians ignore the teaching of Jesus and the example of the early church only because the government or the military tells us we should.
How Do Government Officials Know they are Doing What is Right?
The next paragraph in Romans, verses 13:8-10 tells us.
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another,for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10 NIV
If we are in the military or government when we become Christians, it seems obvious that Paul expects us to follow the teaching of Jesus and “Love your Neighbor as yourself.” While serving in a government or military position.
The United States military is concerned only with crushing and destroying the enemy as defined by US foreign policy.
The Jews considered people such as the Samaritan woman and the Roman Centurion to be enemies. Jesus taught and demonstrated that he considered them to be neighbors and he loved them. How can we do less?
Isis and Boko Haram soldiers are our neighbors. As Christians, our job is to love them into the Kingdom of God, not to kill them. Chinese, Iraq and Iranian Christians are our brothers and sisters. Our job as Christians is to protect them and lay down our lives for them, not to kill them. Jesus said, Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends.
We are like the Roman Soldier when we join the military, we kill people that Jesus loves. Our enemies are like the Jews and other conquered people in the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus.
We live in the United States. The country with a crushing and violent military, like Rome. Like Rome, the US has a mighty empire and countries all over the world contribute to the wealth of the US empire.
Is it possible to join the United States military and love your neighbor?
And what is the responsibility of Christians concerning violence? Romans 13 says that Christians should not participate in violent rebellion.
Some Christians claim that the colonies were justified in fighting Great Britain for independence. Before a single shot was fired in the Revolutionary War, nine of the colonies had already won de facto independence by nonviolent means. Page 6, “Nonviolent Action,” by Ronald J. Sider.
If the 13 colonies could have been freed with patience and nonviolent negotiations, why did they fight and kill? Is that like Jesus?
Our military perpetrated great injustice against Native Americans when our government stole their land.
Great Britain ended slavery through nonviolence. If it had already been demonstrated that slavery could end by nonviolent action, why did Americans use war to end slavery?
How different would our nation be if it had been brought about through nonviolence?
We Must Not Steal
Paul had a big thing against stealing.
In Romans 13, Paul quotes the 10 commandments saying, “You shall not steal.”
In Ephesians 4 Paul gives us instructions for Christian living: 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Ephesians 4:28 NIV
The US has sent the Marines to Honduras and Guatemala to protect US banana companies and ensure cheap bananas for the US on the backs of the poor in these countries. There are many more examples where the US has used the military to steal.
How can a Christian join the US military without participating in stealing? Perhaps Paul expects those Christians who are in the military to leave and take up work with their own hands?
Did the Doctrine of Discovery Justify Stealing the Land from the Native Americans?
We had the Doctrine of Discovery. The military conquests of the United States are based on the Doctrine of Discovery and Manifest Destiny.
“It started with the early explorers. They were accompanied by priests with the goal of bringing Christianity to the New World from Spain in 1492. The Papal Bull “Inter Caetera,” issued by Pope Alexander VI a year later, played a central role in the Spanish conquest of this New World. The document supported Spain’s strategy to ensure its exclusive right to the lands “discovered” by Columbus. This philosophy has become the primary world view of colonization, domination, exploitation, and Christianization of the world by people of Western European origins for the past 500 years. At its core is the claim that all land not settled by European Christians is available for their development and settlement, and that those people currently living on and using the land have no claim of ownership or rights of use.
Even as late as 1823, this “Papal Bull,” called the Doctrine of Discovery, was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in a series of decisions. Chief Justice John Marshall justified the way in which colonial powers laid claim to lands belonging to foreign sovereign nations. The doctrine has been primarily used to support decisions invalidating or ignoring indigenous and aboriginal possession of land in favor of colonial or post-colonial governmentsinto the present.” 1.
The Catholic Church affirmed the Doctrine of Discovery through a papal bull, the protestant churches affirmed the Doctrine of Discovery through their actions. Did this make it right?
Worshiping the Emperor
The early Christians refused to worship the Emperor. Today some Christians put the commands of the state above the teaching of Jesus. Are we worshiping the wealth, the security and the power the state gives when we without question follow orders? How are we different than Romans who worshiped the emperor?
Jesus is Above Every Power
Contrast the teaching of Jesus with the teaching of Moses.
Jesus taught us the way of nonviolence. Turn the other check.
Moses taught us a way of revenge. An eye for an eye.
Jesus demonstrated nonviolence. When he had the power to rescue himself, he died on the cross and when he has the power to rescue us, he tells us we must take up our cross and follow him.
Are we too weak and feeble to lose our wealth and comfort and suffer like Jesus by taking up our cross and following him?
Jesus has great power and rose from the dead. He does not need violence to rule the universe. Paul said:
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church. Ephesians 1:18-22 NIV.
If Jesus told us not to participate in violence, should we obey him? Why should we join the US Military? Isn’t Jesus God? As God, doesn’t he have the right to change the law of Moses concerning the way his people interact with their enemies?
Do I Need to Check out my Potential Employer?
I wrote “My Ethical Dilemma: Letter to Pope Francis.” I asked the question, Should I pay Taxes? Professor Ardell Caneday of the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, Professor of New Testament Studies and Greek replied with some excellent advice.
“You are not accountable for how governing officials use the tax dollars that you pay whether at a municipal level, a county level, a state level, or a federal level. Those who govern are accountable for their implementation of tax dollars.” Professor Ardell Caneday.
If Professor Caneday is correct when he says that those who govern are accountable. In the same way, I believe if we take a position that we know participates in injustice, we are acting contrary to the teaching of Jesus. We know that it is well documented that the military participates in injustice, murder and stealing. If we join the military with that knowledge, are we accountable for the injustice? Will Jesus be pleased?
If we take a position with a company that supplies military weapons, we know those weapons will very likely be used to perpetrate injustice. Are we accountable for that injustice? Will Jesus be pleased?
Protecting the Innocent.
Some positions in government protect the innocent. For example, EMTs, firemen and social workers are not required to kill people. Their job is to help people. It seems to me that these are positions that Christians can and should take as a line of work.
I am not sure how it is possible to follow the teaching of Jesus and join the US military.
In Chapter 34 Shechem rapes Dinah. Simeon and Levi use deceit and trickery to kill every male in Shechem’s city. The actions of his sons cause great concern to Jacob. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me obnoxious to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.” Genesis 35: 30 NIV
Jacob is worried that the residents of the land will kill him and his family because of the great injustice committed by his sons.
Then Jacob recognizes the protection God is giving him in spite of this great injustice: 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes.3 Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.”Genesis 35:2,3 NIV
In the time of Jacob, people living in his society resorted to great vengeance against their enemy.
God reveals himself.
The Bible is the story of God revealing himself to man. As we study history, we can see how God has been revealing himself to man as man is able to understand.
Jacobs sons took great vengeance against Shechem. Yet God shows Jacob that he wants to be our protector.
Moses and the Law
When Moses wrote down the law God gave him on Mount Sinai, he began to address the violence of revenge. God was no longer allowing the injustice of unlimited revenge. Moses taught that justice was an eye for an eye.
23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life,24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. Exodus 21:23. NIV
This quelled the violence and revenge that was common when someone was injured.
When the Children of Israel were fleeing Egypt, God opened the Red Sea and protected Israel. They were not required to kill a single Egyptian soldier. Many Christians have reported the protection of God in violent situations.
Solomon Teaches Nonviolence
Solomon taught the wisdom of living a nonviolent life:
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21 & 22 NIV
The Prophets Teach Nonviolence
And Isaiah told us that Jesus will bring about a time of nonviolence:
4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Isaiah 2: 4. NIV
Many early Christians quoted these passages and commented on them. They clearly thought that these this passage is for the current church age.
Justin Martyr: (100 AD – 165 AD)
“We ourselves were well conversant with war, murder and everything evil, but all of us throughout the whole wide earth have traded in our weapons of war. We have exchanged our swords for plowshares, our spears for farm tools…now we cultivate the fear of God, justice, kindness, faith, and the expectation of the future given us through the Crucified One….The more we are persecuted and martyred, the more do others in ever increasing numbers become believers.” Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 110.3.4
Jesus Teaches Nonviolence
Jesus came. He is the exact representation of the Father. In God’s greatest revelation of himself he was ready to reveal his mercy, his compassion and his love for his enemies.
He taught non-violence. Jesus said: 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew: 5: 38 & 39 NIV
Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. George Howard’s translation of the Hebrew directly to English Reads:
38 Again you have heard what is said in the Torah: An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I say to you, do not repay evil for evil; but he who smites your right cheek provide for him the left. Matthew: 5: 38 & 39 George Howard
On the way to the cross, Jesus refused to resist his enemies and while he was suffering on the cross Jesus said,“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:24 NIV.
Jesus said, “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27 NIV
Jesus teaches and demonstrates a new way to treat our enemies. We are to love them and deal with them nonviolently. We must now love our enemies and allow Jesus to bring justice.
The Old Testament is filled with great violence and war. Some say that the Old Testament teaches violence, surely Jesus would expect us to continue to protect ourselves through violence. Jesus is God, if he can change the teaching of Moses, he can allow the Old Testament saints to use violence and ask his followers to live nonviolent lives during the church age.
Jesus is our Protection.
Jesus asks that we follow his example. Jesus will protect us but he does not want us to use violence. If we are following Jesus and living lives of nonviolence, it is possible that we and our families will die for him.
But Jesus will often provide a way of escape for his followers. When Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. he told his followers to flee to the mountains and he gave them signs so that they would know when to flee.
The Jews rebelled against Rome. When Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, Josephus suggested that as many as a million Jews died at the hands of the Romans. Many of the Jews killed were peaceful citizens of Jerusalem. Many thousands were taken captive as slaves and taken to the mines in Egypt.
Most of followers of Jesus fled the city and survived.
Many of us like Jacob have lived lives that are less than ideal in God’s eyes. And yet God offers us mercy and forgiveness and protection through Jesus. In the long view, even if we and our families die for Jesus, we will live with Jesus forever.
Jesus offers forgiveness in the rebirth: Born Again