What Does The Bible Say About War?

Many people make the mistake of applying the commandment, “Thou shalt not murder” (Exodus 20:13) to war. In fact, the Hebrew term literally means: “to kill intentionally, premeditatedly, and with malice.” God often commanded the Israelites to go to war against other nations (1 Samuel 15:3, Joshua 4:13). He implemented the death penalty for many crimes (Exodus 21:12, 15, 22:19, Leviticus 20:11).

He is not opposed to killing in all circumstances, but only to murder. War is never a good thing, but sometimes it is necessary. In a world full of sinners (Romans 3:10-18), it is inevitable. Sometimes this is the only way to prevent sinners from doing great harm to innocent people. In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to “execute the vengeance of the Lord against Midian” (Numbers 31:2). Deuteronomy 20:16-17 states:

But in the cities of the peoples whose land the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall not allow anything that breathes to live. Yes, you will destroy these people […], as the LORD your God has commanded you. » 1 Samuel 15.18 also says:

Go and dedicate these sinners, the Amalekites, to destruction. You will wage war against them until you have exterminated them. »

It is therefore obvious that God is not against war. Jesus is always in perfect agreement with the Father (John 10:30), so we cannot say that war was only his will in the Old Testament. God does not change (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17). The return of Jesus will be extremely violent. Revelation 19:11-21 describes the final battle between Christ, the conquering leader who judges and fights “in righteousness” (v. 11). It will be bloody (v. 13). The birds will eat the flesh of those who oppose him (vv. 17-18). He will have no compassion on his enemies, every last one of whom he will defeat and throw into a “lake burning with fire and brimstone” (v. 20).

It is a mistake to say that God never approves of war. Jesus is not a pacifist. In a world full of evil men, war is sometimes necessary to prevent even greater evil. If Hitler had not been defeated in World War II, how many more people would have been killed? Without the Civil War, how much longer would African Americans have suffered as slaves? War is a terrible thing. Some wars are more “righteous” than others, but they are all a consequence of sin (Romans 3:10-18).

At the same time, Ecclesiastes 3:8 states: “There is… a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. » In a world filled with sin, hatred and evil, war is inevitable. Christians should not desire it, but neither should they oppose the government that God has placed over them (Romans 13:1-4, 1 Peter 2:17). The most important thing we can do in times of war is to pray that God will give wisdom to our leaders, that He will protect our troops, that the conflict will be resolved quickly, and that there will be as few civilian casualties as possible in the war. two camps (Philippians 4.6-7).

This text is an extract from the book “Why This Tumult Among the Nations ?” written by Jérémie TCHINDEBE.

We invite you to read the following article “WHEN WAR IS JUSTIFIABLE ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE“.

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