by Pastor Art Kohl

The Bible Speaks On The Military

When you study history, you study war. During the last 4,000 years of human history there has been less than 300 years of known peace on earth. There are over forty declared wars in parts of the world going on today. Man seems naturally bent towards fighting. There is a glorious promise in the Scriptures of a day when man will not learn war anymore.

Isaiah 2:4, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (See Micah 4:2.)

This is not an achievement of man but of Christ’s kingdom.

Until then man will continue to have skirmishes, contentions and all out wars. This history is a sad indictment on the depravity of man. Because man is this way, and only dreamers think he isn’t, we must have a military and a plan for the military. Let us consult the Bible for some military advice.

1. God Himself is a Man of war.

Exodus 15:3, “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” Isaiah 42:13, “The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.” Psalms 24:8, “Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.”

Before man was ever created God was in a war. A war between good and evil. Between Himself and Satan. This war continues to this day. Someday it will even affect Heaven.

Revelation 12:7-9, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

2. God has helped others fight their wars.

Deuteronomy 1:30, “The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;”

Deuteronomy 3:22, “Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you.”

Nehemiah 4:20, “In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.”

On our coins are written the words, “In God We Trust.” Do we mean this? Americans have often prayed during times of war. We believe God has helped us.

II Chronicles 32:8, “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 rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”

3. The battles we fight should be considered the Lord’s battles.

We must be familiar with the Lord’s Word and what He has said is right or wrong.

I Samuel 18:17b, “...fight the LORD’S battles.”

I Samuel 25:28 “ lord fighteth the battles of the LORD...”

Psalms 18:34, “He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.”

Our country should only go into a battle after consulting the Word of God and finding the mind and will of God in a matter. This has been our guide in the past. Consider the 4th stanza of our national anthem:

“O thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation
Blest with victory and peace
May the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made
And preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must,
When our cause it is just;
And this be our motto:
“In God is our trust!”
And the Star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”
-Francis Scott Key

4. Never fight against Israel.

Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Numbers 24:9, “He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.” Psalms 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”

5. Build up your armaments to insure peace.

Jesus said in Luke 11:21, “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:”

President Ronald Reagan said that he based his entire military philosophy upon this one verse of Scripture. We should build up our military and have the strongest military possible. Jesus said this insures peace. Another President said, “Speak softly but carry a big stick.”

6. Try to disarm your enemy.

Jesus again said in Luke 11:22, “But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.”

This is a common sense tactic in any war. President George Bush employed this in the war with Iraq. He did not try to oppress the people, just disarm them.

7. Do not oppress your defeated enemy.

Ecclesiastes 7:7, “Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.” II Kings 13:4, “And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.” Ecclesiastes 5:8, “If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.”

When the Civil War ended, many leaders in the North encouraged President Lincoln to go down and crush the South. Some believe our nation was saved by his rejection of their counsel and his response: “Charity towards all, malice towards none.”

A wonderful story of charity towards captives is given in II Chronicles 28:8-15. This story speaks volumes against oppression.

II Chronicles 28:8-15 “And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria. But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded: and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, because the LORD God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth up unto heaven. And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the LORD your God? Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you. Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war, And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the LORD already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel. So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation. And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria.”

As Americans helped Japanese people rebuild their country after World War II, the Japanese became friends of our land.

8. Some enemies are incorrigible.

Sad, but true, history is replete with examples of people so incorrigible, so chafed in their minds, so brutish that there is no reasoning with them.

In the 1900’s there have been dictators, fascists, communists and others whose regimes and policies were so violent, murderous and dangerous to the world that their elimination was generally agreed upon as the only solution to the problem. Such a philosophy for military government should only be entered into based on humane reasons and not religious. Separating the two is often very difficult.

Sadly, even in Bible history the extermination of an entire people was ordered by God. These were cases where there was no more talking, reasoning or consultation. It got so bad in a few cases it was either “they kill us or we kill them.”

Numbers 31:7, “And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.”

Deuteronomy 7:2, “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:”

Deuteronomy 13:15, “Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.”

Deuteronomy 20:17, “But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:”

I Samuel 15:3, “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”

God Himself once destroyed the whole world because it had become so filled with violence.

Genesis 6:5-8, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Genesis 6:11-13, “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

Unfortunately, in rare cases man has been required to do the same.

9. Never make war without consultation. Use Ambassadors to try to bring peace.

Proverbs 24:6, “For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

Luke 14:31-32, “Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.”

Try to make peace. Count the cost. No leader of the military should be selfserving. This is one area in leadership where he should get as much counsel as he can from experts before making his decisions.

10. Have an organized incremental military and government.

Deuteronomy 1:15, “So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes.”

Numbers 31:48-49, “And the officers which were over thousands of the host, the captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, came near unto Moses: And they said unto Moses, Thy servants have taken the sum of the men of war which are under our charge, and there lacketh not one man of us.”

There must be one head over the military. A Commander in Chief. Anything with more than one head is a monster. That man then needs able leaders under him. They were called captains in the Scriptures. King David’s great men are listed in II Samuel 23:8-39.

Captains are designated leaders over other men based on their leadership ability and accomplishments. Consider the following phrases in Scripture describing them and how many times they are used in the Bible:

“Captains of Thousands” - 18 times.
“Captains of Hundreds” - 21 times.
“Captains of Fifties” - 3 times.
“Captains of Tens” - 1 time.

A strong military is a necessity, not a luxury. The stronger the military, the greater deterrent to war. The Bible is unquestionably, among other things, a military book.

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