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Doctrine of War


1.         War has three sources.  War occurs because

1.1           Man has a sinful nature (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 7:20, James 4:1-2).

1.2           Satan is the temporary ruler of this world (John 14:30, 16:11).

1.3           Satan has his own world system which he promotes (Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 2:16-17).

2.         War will be a continuing fact of life.  Wars will continue to be fought and rumors of wars will continue to spread throughout the world until Jesus Christ takes the personal rulership of the earth in the Millennial Kingdom (Matthew 24:4-7, 1 Thessalonians 5:3, Isaiah 2:4).

3.         Only spiritual peace is possible now.  There will be no world peace before Christ returns, but there can be spiritual peace:

3.1           Eternal relationship between God and man because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and man’s faith in Him (John 16:33; Ephesians 2:13-18).

3.2           Temporal fellowship between God and the believer and between believers based on Christ’s death and brought into the daily life through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 14:27; Galatians 5:22).

4.         Preparation for war reduces warfare.  War is an unwanted but real part of human history, and those who recognize this and prepare for war will have more freedom, more prosperity, and more peace than those who do not prepare and try to avoid war at any price (Ecclesiastes 3:8; Nehemiah 4:7-22; Psalm 144:1; Proverbs 20:18; 24:6).

5.         To kill in battle is not murder.  The killing of the enemy in war is not murder, nor a sin of any kind.  Exodus 20:13 refers to murder (Hebrew ratsach, used for murder or manslaughter).  This word is never used for killing in war.  There are other Hebrew words for “kill” in the Old Testament.  For example, the Hebrew word for “kill” in 1 Samuel 17:9, 18.7, and Isaiah 37:36 is “nakah,” which in these passages clearly refers to legitimate killing in battle.  The New Testament also has many words for “kill.”  The command against murder in Matthew 5:21 and Romans 13:9 uses the Greek verb foneuw (phoneuo) which means “to murder.”  The Greek noun for “murderer” is foneus (phoneus).

6.         Military service is necessary.   It is necessary to gain national freedom, then to preserve national freedom (Numbers 1:2-3; 31:1-5; Joshua 1:6-9; 11:23 Judges 8:1; 1 Chronicles 5:22; Psalm 18:34; Luke 14:31).

7.         Military service is honorable.  There is nothing in the New Testament prohibiting military service, training, or war.  In fact, Christ (Matthew 8:5-10; Luke 14:31), Luke (Acts 10:1-3, 22-25) and Paul (Acts 23:11-35; 1 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Timothy 2:3-4) assume that military service is an honorable profession; they accept the normal function of the military for national readiness, defense, and waging of legitimate war.

8.         Jesus Christ is a battlefield commander.  Jesus Christ has in the past and will in the future serve as a battlefield commander.  He is called “Lord of Hosts” or “Lord of the Armies” and a “warrior.”  He has killed thousands of enemy soldiers (Exodus 14:13-14, 25; 15:3; Isaiah 37:33-37; Zechariah 14:1-5; Revelation 19:11-15).

9.         Unjust aggression is wrong.  The Lord is against unjust aggression (Psalm 68:30; Jeremiah 50:17-18).

10.     Anti-war people misuse Scripture.  There are certain passages that are used to try to condemn all warfare (Exodus 20:13; Isaiah 2:4 with Joel 3:10; Matthew 5:9, 21, 43-44).  Each passage can be explained.  None says that military service, war, or killing the enemy in battle is wrong.