Judgment and Discernment in Application:
A Christian Nation Readies for War

By Del Stewart

The denominations I have been a member of believe strongly in having a strong Scriptural foundation for teaching. This is as it should be. Please turn with me to Luke, chapter 4. This chapter begins with Satan's temptation of Christ in the wilderness. In verses 9 - 11, "And he (Satan) brought him (Jesus) to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." See now verse 12: "And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

Even the devil can quote Scripture. Scripture shows us this. So what shall we do? Do what Jesus did: Know your Scripture well enough to be able to stand firm in the truth.

Turn with me, please, to 2 Timothy, 2:15: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." There are many good people in our nation today who are urging "restraint," who point to the example of what is happening in Israel as how violence only begets further violence.

These people are fond of quoting Exodus 20:13, "Thou shalt not kill," as well as Matthew 26:51-2, "And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then Jesus said unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."

How, then, shall we, a believing people, prepare ourselves and our nation for what awaits us? Simple: With truth, and study, and proper discernment.

Let us begin with the example from Exodus. God spoke with Moses a long time, and gave many instructions. Indeed, the ordinances and instructions last for several chapters - all the way from chapter 20 to chapter 32.

In Chapter 32, the people lost faith, because Moses had not yet come down from Mt. Sinai. Moses descends from the mount, with the tablets of law in his hands, and finds the people engaged in idolatry.

In verse 26, "Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men."

And then, in verse 30, "And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; perhaps I can make an atonement for your sin."

Was the death and destruction that Moses ordered a sin, something that was held against him? No. In fact, Moses made intercession on behalf of the people of Israel for their sin of idolatry. Because the commandment does not say, "Thou shalt not kill." It says, "Thou shalt not commit murder."

Let us go to the example in Matthew. Notice that at least one disciple was armed. Note that Jesus did not chastise him for being armed. Jesus merely said to put it away. Why? Because, in Matthew 26:53-54: "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"

So much for apologetics. An old Baptist lay minister once taught me, "A text without a context is a pretext." Once you take the citations of the pacifists and put them into perspective, their arguments are invalid.

Now, to take the offensive. Defend in place by taking the Scripture the opposition is using, put it in perspective, and then counterattack.

Psalms 144:1: "Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight." Is there anything ambiguous here? "Oh," pacifists say, "but that's the Old Testament."

Let's now turn to the New Testament, Romans 13. This is about the powers of the government and the role of the individual in submission to the will of the government. I find it amazing that, in context, the Roman empire held Israel as a conquered nation, yet the believers were told that this is all ordained.

And when it comes to war and justice, see verse 4: "For he (the ruler) is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." Again, I find no ambiguity.

The Centurions were among the elite of Rome's soldiers. They were a combination of soldier and policeman. Turn with me again to the book of Matthew, chapter 8. Jesus has come down from the sermon on the mount. And in verse 5, a Centurion (a member of the warrior class of the nation who is oppressing Israel) approaches Jesus and asks Jesus to heal his servant.

Verse 8: "The centurion answered and said Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but just speak the word, and my servant shall be healed."

Verse 9: "For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it."

Verse 10: "When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great a faith, no, not in Israel."

And in Verse 13, "And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."

In my research, I can find no other instance of a Gentile receiving such grace from Christ Himself, while he was alive and walking the earth, prior to the Resurrection. And that grace was extended to a soldier.

One more example: In Acts, Chapter 10, it begins: "There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion in the band called the Italian Regiment. A devout man and one that feared God, as did all his family; who gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always."

And the story unfolds about Peter's vision of the clean and the unclean, and how Peter is summoned to Cornelius' house. And this was the beginning of the ministry to the gentiles. And that ministry began with a soldier.

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, verses 1-8, tells us that there is a time for all things under heaven, including a time to kill, a time to war, and a time to speak. My burden has been to speak out on this topic.

God Himself has taught us that there is a time for nations, and individuals within those nations, to do justice, to be the executioner of God's vengeance. What we do, we do with knowledge, we do with an understanding of God's will for ourselves and this nation.

God be with us.

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Copyright 2001 by Del Stewart. All rights reserved.