So this is of course quite a controversial subject, especially in an age where gun-ownership and “Christendom” have more or less become synonymous terms; most often under the guise of the “republican party,” etc. (I’ll have to address the issue of the illusion of a two-party system, in light of quotes from the founding fathers, etc. in another post.)
But can this principle of ‘reaching for our guns’ in times of trouble really hold up to scrutiny? Does it actually reflect sound doctrine, having it’s roots in the Bible? Most assuredly this is a rather complicated issue, and there are many angles which ought be considered.
First, I shall start off by explaining a little bit about myself and my experience with guns, lest I be accused of having some sort of bias because I’m “just not comfortable with guns,” “I have no experience with them,” or because I’m “intimidated by them,” etc.
I actually grew up handling/shooting guns and being taught gun safety from an early age. My father was a sheriff and owned many firearms. Not only would he often let us clean his guns for him, he also regularly took us to the range where we shot not only his guns but also many other interesting firearms from the collections of others. So I am most assuredly familiar, personally experienced, and comfortable with guns.
Furthermore, I myself in my adult years would become a gun owner when I had my awakening back in 2012. Realizing the extent of the tyranny, and the eventual inevitable market collapse and the subsequent lawlessness which will follow, I had purchased a CZ-75 .40 Caliber Pistol and a 5.56 Smith & Wesson AR-15 for my protection.
Now, this awakening to the state of affairs of this country, (etc.) corresponded with a spiritual awakening, whereby I was given revelation that Jesus was the Christ, the Bible the Word of God, conviction of personal sin, etc. unto salvation; albeit very much a ‘babe’ in the faith at this point (having not grown up in the Christian faith, having no idea what the Bible said, or otherwise growing up in the church; and my parents being totally secular/atheists/agnostics etc.) So, while around this time by circumstances of providence, facts were brought to my attention which led to my conversion, I had yet gotten a chance to actually really read it and thus was spiritually immature and more or less just reacting naturally to the situation in the most appropriate and responsible way I could conceive at the time.
Well suffice it to say, here is where things get interesting, even ‘stranger than fiction.’
During this period of time that my ‘eyes were opened’ all of the sudden I had ‘eyes to see’ another layer, a 4th dimension if you will; namely I could see the spiritual nature behind everything; even things going on in my immediate surroundings that would perhaps otherwise seem innocuous.
So as one could imagine this was a most intense and even somewhat frightening time, as it could be more or less be summarized as a season of ‘signs and wonders;’ Now I’m sure at this point some would be quick to suggest I must have been “suffering some sort of mental illness,” “mental breakdown,” “delusions grandeur,” “hallucinations,” etc. and I can understand why one may be inclined to think that, but I assure you that I very much retained all clarity, critical thinking, sound-mindedness, stability, self-control, reasoning, etc., rather I had acquired supernatural awareness. (I shall elaborate on my awakening and all that took place in a separate post in the future)
So thus began my own ‘exodus’ from spiritual bondage, as well as literally out of the city I was then living. Anyways, within the following weeks I was not only supernaturally led to certain scriptures from the Bible which illustrated that I was not to resort to ‘self-defense’ but I also suddenly had ‘eyes to see’ that the serpentine-dragon images used in the logos (click following links to view symbols) on my S&W AR-15, and Fobus holster for my CZ-75, were actually spiritual manifestations indicating that they were not of God (Revelation 12:9).
Now that spiritual revelation was so powerful it was perfectly evident to me, and I needed no more confirmation, I sold my guns, etc. but let us proceed to reason from the Bible and from history as a whole to really drive this point home.
So, before I reference the certain scriptures the Lord gave me at that time which further reinforced by decision, let me again emphasize that these scriptures came to my attention by divine revelation of God, through happenstance/providence, there was no “google’ing it,” researching the issue, etc. God just directed me to them in the Bible. I reiterate this, because in this day and age it’s so common that people take certain scriptures in order to suite their worldviews, but these was given to me, by God himself, thus I heeded and changed my worldview.
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he 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. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”-Romans 13:1-5
Now evidently there are those who claim to be Bible believing Christians, such as Eric Jon Phelps for one, who purport that Romans 13:1-5 doesn’t teach “unlimited submission to political tyranny” but rather teaches that if the “powers that be” aren’t fulfilling the above role then then that is the grounds of replacing them even by force if necessary. They most often base this premise on Jonathan Mayhew’s “A Discourse, Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers“. But for one thing, As protestants is not the Bible to be our final authority in faith and practice? And why does it take Mayhew a 54 page document to of reading into the simple and plainly stated inspired scriptures, what’s not written, in order to arrive at the “correct” conclusion? Why not just point to a few scriptures? One only has to look up Jonathan Mayhew’s name in google to see the historic paintings of him, where its observable he had long hair, which is certainly contrary to scripture (1 Cor. 11:14). Now is that too “judgmental” or too irrelevant to to make note of? I mean, Christ said “Ye shall know them by their fruits”. Does this not in itself lend credence to the fact that this man doesn’t obey the scriptures in spirit and truth? Furthermore what about when God is using a wicked government in judgement against a wicked people that as a whole has turned its back from God? As far as my knowledge of the scriptures are concerned, when one considers the whole of the Bible, there is only one conclusion that can be arrived at.
David and Saul
God said of David “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will”(Acts 13:22). Now what were David’s convictions when he could have killed the wicked king Saul in the cave, who was certainly not fulfilling his duties of Romans 13, even after only went as far as to cut off part of his robe?
“And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. And he said unto his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord‘s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord. So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul.“-1 Samuel 24:5-7
Now keep in mind, in Romans 15:4 it’s written of the old testament, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning”. So why didn’t David kill Saul when he had the chance? Because David knew to do so would be wicked (v.13) and knew that God would make him king by his sovereignty and providence, in his time, in his own way, without David having to perform it. David trusted God.
Likewise, Jeremiah the prophet was put in prison by his fellow country men, on account of “treason” specifically for advocating non-resistance to the invading wicked Babylonians because he knew God was judging his people. See Jeremiah 38.
More Scriptural Evidence
“Thou shalt not kill.“-Exodus 20:13
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)“-2 Corinthians 10:3-4
“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.“-Matthew 5:39
“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight…”-John 18:36
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good“-Romans 12:19-21
“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.“-Matthew 26:52 (this is the only time in scripture we read of a Christian (here, Apostle Peter) taking up arms and he get’s rebuked by Jesus Himself for it)
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.“-Romans 13:1-2 (and lest it be erroneously argued that this is a reference to government in the church, just see verse 4)
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.“-Genesis 9:6
“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not“-Romans 12:14
“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.“-Romans 8:36
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest… hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions…“-Galatians 5:19-20
“Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience“-James 5:10
So what about Luke 22:36 where Jesus says he who doesn’t have a sword buy one?
Here I shall refer you to the Baptist/Calvinist John Gill’s (1697-1771)“Exposition on the Entire Bible”:
“These words of Christ are not to be understood literally, that he would have his disciples furnish themselves with swords at any rate, since he would never have said, as he afterwards does, that two were sufficient; which could not be enough for eleven men; or have forbid Peter the use of one, as he did in a very little time after this: but his meaning is, that wherever they came, and a door was opened for the preaching of the Gospel, they would have many adversaries, and these powerful, and would be used with great violence, and be followed with rage and persecution; so that they might seem to stand in need of swords to defend them: the phrase is expressive of the danger they would be exposed to, and of their need of protection; and therefore it was wrong in them to be disputing and quarrelling about superiority, or looking out for, and expecting temporal pomp and grandeur, when this would be their forlorn, destitute, and afflicted condition; and they would quickly see the affliction and distress begin in himself.”
“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I...“-John 13:15
One of the most simple and sure ways when one is unsure about a particular doctrine or course of action is to resort to the old acronym famous when I was growing up in the 90’s, “What Would Jesus Do?” or “WWJD.” If Jesus were living on the earth today, can you picture him picking up a machine gun to mow down his enemies? Of course not. And obviously we know from recorded history, especially that of the Bible, Jesus never resisted or fought back. In fact he prayed for his enemies as they were killing him, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do“-Luke 23:34. If Jesus was 100% innocent and sinless and didn’t fight for his life/liberty, and we are all guilty sinners worthy of God’s wrath, what does that say?
We are in fact called to suffer as Christ and whether or not we do is a mark of our faith:
“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake“-Philippians 1:29
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.“-Luke 14:27
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”-Romans 8:17
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”-Philippians 3:10
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us“-2 Timothy 2:12
“And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation“-2 Corinthians 1:7
“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.“-Matthew 10:39
Besides, what’s worth fighting for in this fallen, broken, world anyways? No doubt we shall have joy and peace if we’re living according to the Word and spirit, but we should also be ready to get out of here, and thus lay our lives down (Philippians 1:21, 23) besides this is where the power of our testimony is. Think about what it would say to the world that we are so certain of our faith that we don’t even fight to preserve the temporal. It was also once said, I believe by Ghandi, something to this effect, I paraphrase: “when someone assaults you and you don’t fight back, it has a tendency to kindle a fire in their heart.”
You may rightly say, “but Brother Caleb that’s extreme, and makes no sense, fighting back seems reasonable.”
Well of course, but Christianity is supposed to be radical, it’s what makes us different than the ways of the world every other religion. The Bible also tells us there’s way that seems right in a man’s eyes but it’s end is death, and that the heart is deceitful above all things, and that the ways of God are foolishness to the natural man. (Proverbs 14:12, Jeremiah 17:9, 1 Corinthians 2:14)
Another may also object “well what about the founding fathers of America, Oliver Cromwell, and the others throughout history who fought back with arms against tyranny?”
Well first we must address that just because God allows something to happen, doesn’t mean it was necessarily done in accordance to his Word. Perhaps God decided it was more needful those things be allowed to happen because it would ultimately result in the bearing of more fruit, namely in getting the gospel to the ends of the earth, etc.
Secondly, we must consider that God uses wicked men to rule and oppress his people in judgement when they have turned from Him (Isaiah 45:7, Romans 9:17, 1 Samuel 8, etc.) Countries such as America were founded upon the Bible and the protestant reformation, having turned from these principles and embracing wickedness, lawlessness, and perversity of diverse kinds, we are under the judgment of God, and thus I would argue that interfering would actually be fighting against God himself, whereas the founding fathers had personal righteousness on their sides, and were seeking an environment in which they could worship him, and love him above all else.
Historically speaking we actually have such an example where a man of God, namely Dietrich Bonhoeffer (and others), decided physical action needed to be taken against the wicked Hitler, which God raised up to judge the apostate German Lutherans, which ultimately led to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was by profession a Pastor and Theologian, being taken a prisoner of war, and ultimately being put to death by execution for treason and conspiracy, only weeks before the end of the war. Furthermore we know directly from the testimony of Hitler’s secretary that this failed assassination attempt actually emboldened Hitler to boast and believe that God was most certainly on his side and that what he was doing must therefore be right. See following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iArD6xj2R7k.
Thirdly, we must consider the prophetic time in the history of man in which we are living. The signs of the end of the world are all around us if we compare them to the Word. Indeed Jesus said we shall be able to discern the season (Matthew 24, 2 Timothy 3:1-7). As it turns out the institution of the 7 day week by God, 6 days of work, 1 day of rest, was actually prophetic of 6,000 years of man’s self-rule, 1,000 year Rule of Christ. (2 Peter 3:8, Revelation 20:6, etc.) And it’s well documented that according to the Bible, the age of man’s rule on earth using the genealogies of the Bible it’s roughly 6000 years old. (How old is the earth?) Thus endtime prophecy must be fulfilled that Christ’s kingdom may finally be established, and no man shall prevail against it (Revelation 17:18, Revelation 13:4), and indeed this is where we find ourselves today. And this is okay because it means things are soon to be restored, and thus peace, love, goodness, and equity finally prevail and evil be done away with!
Besides when one really thinks about it”fighting back” against the tyranny and evil isn’t even a logical option, as the beast system has control over the entire military industrial complex with the armies of the world, all its fighter jets, tanks, and other advanced technologies. Not only outnumbered and outgunned, but neither are ‘the People’ organized/unified for such an opposition. Now if ‘the People’ had God on their side, and that was truly His will for us, God could still overcome these odds, but as already expounded on, this is not the case.
So in inclusion we must ask ourselves do we literally believe God? Do we literally believe in his providence, omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence? Do we believe that if we are personally right with God that he can protect us from evil if it’s in his will? Is it possible that those who put faith in their firearms are actually guilty of idolatry, and of consequence may be put in situations where they will ‘get what they wish for.’
Let us also consider the justifying of violence in the name of Christ and religion was the chief cause of inquisitions, crusades, etc. Jesus is Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)- and we are marked by his name (CHRISTian), how then can we ever justify violence as answer? Gun’s and fighting cannot produce peace, the only way is by the spirit and grace of God for man as a whole to refuse to any longer resort to such barbaric and unnecessary ends.
-“Let the minds clash – but keep the fists down!”-Martin Luther
“The pen is mightier than the sword“-Edward Bulwer-Lytton
“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.“-Mahatma Gandhi
“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.“-Martin Luther King Jr.
“Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.” -Mahatma Gandhi