The topic of violence has been on my mind for a few weeks. I wonder if violence is ever acceptable for Christians. Are there times when Christians should take up arms and fight for a just cause?
It seems that Christians should defend those who are weaker than us or dependent on us. It seems that we should fight for the future of our children. If brave men did not fight against injustice, then we would not have the freedoms that we have (I speak of the United States).
However, do we love violence in any measure? Do we love to destroy people with our words? Do we feel a sense of gratification when we make other people look foolish? Do we love the idea of physical violence towards those who oppress ourselves and others? Are we over-eager for God to swoop down and exact His vengeance? It should not be so for a Christian.
If violent actions of any kind cause us to feel proud or if we feel empowered by our wrath towards others, then we might be in a state of spiritual drunkenness. We are not thinking about the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus teaches us to love our enemies, bless them that curse us, and repay evil with good. I do believe that we can pray that the Lord turn our enemies away from us or convert them, and I cannot imagine a man of God who would stand by and watch the wicked murder the feeble.
Maybe defending the weak against attack is not violence, but justice. That is a dangerous area though depending on how we define the weak and the attackers. Today we see many who are killing in the name of justice, supposedly.
In Revelation 17 we read about a woman who is “drunken with the blood of saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” This is Mystery Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. This post is not about her, but I notice that she is drunken with blood. She loves violence.
I am also reminded of these scriptures:
1 Thessalonians 5:14-23
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1: 4-12
4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
What about the two witnesses in Revelation (the two churches who were not removed from their place)? How can their violence be justified? I have wrestled with that question, and I considered a nonviolent interpretation.
I considered that maybe they did not use the power of plagues they were given as a show of restraint in a blood-thirsty world. I considered that maybe the fire that proceeds out of their mouths and devours enemies is the word of God. Simply speaking the truth of God in that time would result in the death of many because they hated the truth and continued killing the people of God.
Maybe this is a large-scale case that resembles Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Ananias and Sapphira were Christians, or so the claimed. I believe that Mystery Babylon is a group that also claims to be Christian, but they have “committed fornication” with the beast and false prophet, thinking that they do God’s service. If this is the case, then I can see how a word of God out of the mouth of His true church would be used to kill.
We are also told that they spoke these words, “if any man would hurt them.” Maybe it is a defensive thing.
In any case, these are just thoughts. I do not speak with authority. I do think we should consider ourselves. Do we love violence in any measure? There is a time for all things, but for now at least, I think we should grow in faith, patience, and waiting on the Lord. Let His word do the fighting for us. I think that is right in this time, as a general rule at least.