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Intimacy with God

NON-RESISTANCE

What the Bible Teaches on the Christian's Right to
Self-Defense and Warfare

John Aziza

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What is non-resistance? Non-resistance is the biblical doctrine that teaches abstention from violence and retaliation toward evil. Similar to pacifism, it derives its name from Matthew 5:39—"resist not evil". This doctrine encourages Believers to exercise non-participation in military or civil justice (policing), which require the use of lethal force and violence. While largely rejected by the mainstream church, non-resistance was the predominant practice of the early Church and became a defining feature of many Reformation era Christians, such as the Anabaptists, Waldenses, and Huguenots.

 

The opposite of non-resistance is just war theory, which makes an allowance for warfare and physical aggression under certain conditions. This is the view favored by most Christians today. The Old Testament's mandate to conquer and subdue Israel's enemies and take over the Promised Land, which applied to the ancient Israelites, is interpreted as justification for violence and fighting. Because of this, many within the Church have taken the position that God approves of certain types of war and political action. This is especially true of the Roman Catholic church, which has carried out bloody conquests and "holy" crusades in the name of Christianity, leaving an indelible mark on the image of the church. This fact alone should give us pause to reconsider the tenants of just war theory and bring into question its principles and claims. Moreover, we may want to explore whether the Bible affirms and supports the doctrine of non-resistance, and if so, what verses can be shown to demonstrate it. These are the issues we will pursue in the following study.

 

BIBLICAL PROOF TEXTS FOR NON-RESISTANCE

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 (Mat 5:39).

 

And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also (Lk 6:29).

 

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Mat 5:44).

 

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Mat 10:16).

 

Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you (Jas 5:6).

 

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (2Co 10:3).

 

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2Co 10:4).

 

But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. ...because as he is, so are we in this world (Lk 9:55-56; 1Jn 4:17).

 

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 (Mat 26:52).

But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another (Mat 10:23).

 

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence (Jn 18:36).

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).

A SLAP ON THE FACE

In Matthew 5:39 and Luke 6:29, Christians are instructed to avoid retaliating when insulted or abused by others. A slap on the face is both insulting and injurious, yet we are commanded not to fight back but endure it. But Jesus goes even further by also requiring His followers not to retaliate when sued at law or mugged for their "cloke". Instead, we are called to suffer the loss of our possessions and if necessary, relinquish even more of our goods in order to trouble the conscience of our offenders and put them to shame (Luke 6:29). This teaching can also be found in the book of Proverbs and elsewhere in the New Testament:

 

If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee (Pro 25:21-22).

 

Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? (1Co 6:7) 

 

…Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ (1Co 9:12).

 

DEFENSELESS SHEEP & HARMLESS DOVES (MATTHEW 10:16)

In Matthew 10, we find the same principle of non-violence reiterated. Here, Christians are depicted as defenseless sheep sent out among wolves. While sheep are not known for their ability to fight back or defend themselves, they nonetheless have the protection of a capable shepherd. Similarly, Christians have an all-powerful “Shepherd” at their disposal with the means to protect them in every situation.

 

So it's clear that Christ was preparing His followers for a vulnerable lifestyle. He wanted His disciples to embrace the virtues of a new and better “Way”. Even though He knew that His teachings would deeply conflict with our natural human tendencies and challenge our ability to fully trust Him, He instructs us “be harmless as doves” (v. 16). If Jesus had any intention of endorsing the use of physical force in self-defense or encouraging His followers to fight back when attacked, He would have said something like this: “I’m sending you out like scouts into enemy territory, be crafty as serpents and swift with the sword!”

 

The well respected Church father, Augustine, once said that the blood of martyrs wastheseed of the Church. It was because the Church was willing to suffer death whenfacedwith persecution that so many converts were made. Notice how the writer James qualifies the non-resistant attitude of true Saints: Ye have condemned and killedthejust;and he doth not resist you (Jas 5:6). Now why were so many converts made onaccount of dead Christians—ever wonder? I believe it is because many people are naturally predisposed to align themselves with the weak, helpless, and vulnerableinsociety—the underdogs. And such provoke their sympathies far more thanadying warrior.

 

SPIRITUAL WARFARE

It’s important that we also address the aspect of spiritual warfare as mentionedinPaul’swritings (2 Cor 10). If our world view is one in which we acknowledge the influenceof darkness behind the facade of human expression, then we will not get defensive whenconfronted with human violence. We will understand it to be a spiritual manifestation provoked by demonic agents. So how in the world do we disarmsuch forces? Can we use a gun on Satan? Can we stab the demon of violence? We aretold that, “our fight is not against flesh and blood”. So what are the rules that apply?Thebest way I can answer this question is by recounting the following story. You see, while Page 4 of 16 still living in Israel during my early childhood, we became aware of a missionary familywho felt called to serve the Jewish people in order to win them to Christ. Whentheir sonwas leaving school one day, he came to be surrounded by a group of Jewish Orthodoxboys who were aware of his Christian faith. One of them was brandishing a crude weapon and was ready to deliver a blow to his head. The missionary boy was outnumbered and all he could do was resort to a unique principle he had learnedfrom his parents. He was taught that the most powerful remedy for all physical or spiritual problems was to name the name of Jesus and the blood of the cross. Andsoraising his voice and pointing his finger, as I imagine it, he took authority over thesatanic agent of violence manifesting through the boy with the weapon, and immediatelythe boy dropped to his knees right there before him and slumped into a crying heap. Hewas effectively disarmed and the demon left him. The power of the bloodandthename of Jesus are well recognized in hell, and even Satan cannot resist theauthority of a child when faith and spiritual warfare are pitted against hispowers.

 

This true story illustrates a very important point. One may or may not be effectiveagainst an open display of violence when resorting to physical force. Many variablesareat work which can lower or raise our efficacy with a weapon or our physical abilitytocombat an attacker seeking to harm us. How come the boy didn’t simply rely onagoodkarate chop to disarm the other boy? Why didn’t he just employ a well placed “kicktothe groin” to do the job? Couldn’t he have done these and taught those young thugs agood lesson? Friends, what for impression would this have left on the Jews that thisfamily was called to evangelize if their son was practicing karate or meeting brutalitywith even more brutality? Do you see my point? Do you remember Christ’s attitudewithHis disciples when called upon to display His might and wipe out the villagers whowereopposing His message? Did He not say, For the Son of man is not come todestroy men's lives, but to save them (Luk 9:55-56)? Christ’s attitude was loving. He did not desire any type of physical harm to befall the rebel villagers. Yet Christianstoday have forgotten about this and are quick to resort to physical force and retaliationwhen confronted with violence.

 

I wonder how we can take the words of Jesus literally in respect to loving and blessingour enemies, if we have no compunction with shooting them in the face whentheyturnon us. Is this truly a display of love??? If a Christian’s entire soul is aflame withapassion to save the lost and see them transformed into beautiful people of faith, howcan Page 5 of 16 he muster the self-will to harm a single one of God’s created “potentials”. Don’t webelieve in the redemptive power of the Gospel? Don’t we see people as potential childrenof God—even those who are evil?? For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendethhis love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ diedforus (Rom 5:7-8).

 

THOSE WHO TAKE THE SWORD SHALL PERISH THEREBY

Another passage I find to be pertinent to this issue is located in Matthew26. What didJesus mean when admonishing Peter to put up his sword, for all those that takethesword, shall die by the sword. Peter was only trying to defend Jesus fromanunwarranted death. His action was altogether justified according to the Mosaic Law. Hewas doing the right thing! Nonetheless, Jesus recognized that Peter’s problemwas that he tended to rely upon physical means to accomplish his objective. And Christ was strong enough not only to protect Himself in this situation, but also all who were withHim. Peter didn’t see that Christ wasn’t in need of a squadron of soldiers to protect HisKingdom (Joh 18:36). Christ’s Kingdom could easily exist on its own without any humanaid or intervention. This was already guaranteed. So Jesus was at peace, resolvedtocommit His protection to the ONE who is altogether powerful. Yes, Jesus truly believedthat everything was under God’s control. However, there are those today who wouldrather take matters into their own hands. They wouldn’t dare trust anyone else withtheir security and protection, and therefore they “live by the sword”. In their owneyes, they believe themselves capable against the potential attacker or randomshooter. But sadly, all those who have more confidence in their own weapons rather than the divineprotection of God may be unable to resist the power of a deployed weapon onsuchadayas they are unprepared, for all those who live by the sword, shall die bythesword. If you live thinking the sword will protect you, one day it may be turned against youtoyour own detriment. Jesus made it clear that whoever tries to protect his life wouldultimately lose it (Mat 16:25). May we take this warning seriously.

 

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the nameof the LORD our God (Psa 20:7).

 

PROOF TEXTS IN "SUPPORT" OF JUST WAR THEORY

While it’s impossible to locate Scriptures directly denouncing non resistance, therearesome, however, that appear to justify the use of lethal force or violence. Some of theseare as follows which we will examine more closely:

 

Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewisehisscrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buyone. Andthey said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough(Luk 22:36-38).

 

Comments: Luke 22:36 is probably the most popular scripture with those who try to disprove non-resistance. It is also highly misunderstood. What exactly did Jesus mean wheninstructing His disciples to sell their garment and go buy a sword? To solve this, wemust examine the context of this verse. Notice the surrounding passages andthesubject being discussed: And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, andshoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now(v.36)… For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me (Luk 22:35-37). By studying the preceding passages, specifically verse 36 and following, we begintorealize that Jesus is speaking in symbolic terms. Two other such examples exist inwhichthe word “sword” is used figuratively, not literally—Mat 10:34 and Luk 2:35. Christ doesthis quiet often and always seems to catch His disciples off guard. Like the time He Page 7 of 16 warned them to avoid the “leaven” of the Pharisees but really meant hypocrisy (Mat 16:6). So this is another one of those examples where Christ is using symbolic languageto convey an important message. He reminds them that the last time they were sent onan assignment they were instructed not to take anything extra along—neither“purse, scrip, nor shoes”. And even so, lacked they anything (v.35)? No. This wastodemonstrate that Jesus Christ, being physically present, was backing their endeavors. They had His full support behind them. He was still on earth. He could be countedonatanytime to troubleshoot them in the event they ran a muck or found themselves inasnag. So they could afford to go “light”and not hassle with too much “baggage”. BUTNOW, things were about to change. They were at the point of needing to graduatefromboot camp and learn how to get on independently. Jesus was leaving the scene, andin His absence they would have to fend for themselves like real soldiers. Christ would no longer be around (physically) to rescue themas He didinthepast. So they would have to practice their own spiritual strategies and learn to use the real sword--the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12). Why? For (because) I sayunto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished inme. Nowwhile this interpretation may seem simple enough, many Christians simply don’t get it. And just like Peter, they try to use the sword in a violent gesture, forgetting Christ’s piercing rebuke: all they that live by the sword, shall die by the sword!

And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do?Andhe said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; andbe content with your wages (Luk 3:14).

Comments: The next text we come to is located in Luke 3 and involves the instruction givenbyJohnthe Baptist to the Jewish soldiers. I would agree with those who argue that he wasn’t advocating non-violence when commanding them to “do violence to no man”. It’s commonly understood that this instruction was in connection to the extortionpracticedby the military at the expense of their subjects. A frequent habit of many underpaidsoldiers was to use brutality in order to rob civilians and levy unnecessary fines against them. This is what John was referring to when telling them to cease being violent withothers. And while I agree with the common interpretation of this passage, I still don’t believe this verse in any way invalidates non-resistance.

And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto hima centurion, beseeching him (Mat 8:5).

 

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the bandcalled the Italian band (Act 10:1).

The reference to the Roman centurion and Cornelius. Just because we find Johngivingthe soldiers special instructions regarding how to behave, but we don’t see himtellingthem to step down from soldiering doesn’t constitute a valid argument. Or just becauseJesus meets up with the Roman centurion and Peter with Cornelius, but neither requirethese individuals to abandon their posts, isn’t substantial enough proof to make any Page 8 of 16 definitive claims pro or against anything. This is nothing more than an argument fromsilence. But let me point out several reasons why I believe John, Christ, and Peter didn’t compel soldiers to leave their posts of duty as a pre-qualifier. First, it should be notedthat Goddoesn’t expect you to understand every doctrine of Scripture prior to communionandbaptism. There are some issues of faith that we learn as we mature in our walk withtheLord. This is God’s gracious way of keeping us from becoming overwhelmed—“His yokeis easy, His burden light” (Mat 11:30). Second, the New Testament period didn’t officially begin until Pentecost. It would have been counterintuitive for Jesus andJohnto ask men to abandon the military if the Old Testament dispensation had not yet concluded. The Law was still in function and continued to remain relevant until thedayof Pentecost. Regarding Cornelius, Peter and the other Apostles were not fully aware of doctrineyet. How would they have possibly known to instruct him against military service if theyhadn’t hammered out their own issues of doctrine as of this period, let alone a matterlike non-resistance? The book of Acts is simply a chronicle of the birth and growthof thefirst century Church. Not until Peter was directed to evangelize Cornelius andhis familywas he even aware that the Gospel was just as valid for a Gentile as for the Jew. Andnotuntil the first council of Jerusalem did any of them even grasp that circumcisionwasnota salvific prerequisite for Gentile converts. Once again, the book of Acts simply chronicles the early Church’s process of maturity. While it’s possible to maintainandsupport certain doctrines by it, we should be careful how we read into the accounts provided therein. Otherwise, we could end up deciding to make a Nazarene vowandoffer up sacrifices at the temple like the Apostle Paul in Acts 18:18 and 21:26. Sadly, there are some un-discerning Christians who use this book inappropriately inthis manner.

 

ETHICAL QUALMS WITH NON-RESISTANCE

Theoretical Situations It’s amazing just how many “theoretical” situations can be averted by the mere act of preemptive prayer. Oh, what a powerful weapon this is!! I hear Christians submittingall kinds of possible scenarios in the event of “this or that”—usually involving your wifegetting raped and your children shot at, etc. However, I don’t find myself easily shakenby these foolish “theories” loaded with potential “what ifs”. Friends, I don’t knowof a Page 9 of 16 single Christian family that has had to endure such things. Any family whois livingin the perfect will of God and completely submissive to God’s Wordwill nothave to avail themselves with the carnal “sword”. God’s angels of protectionwill follow them wherever they go. Let me quote to you this promise as found in the Scriptures: But there shall not an hair of your head perish (Luk 21:18). Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear noevil: forthou art with me; thy rod and thy staf they comfort me (Psa 23:4). He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadowof the Almighty (Psa 91:1). Unfortunately, the Christians who are proposing such theories are motivated by fear andstruggle to acquire the faith necessary to entrust God with their security. They arenot abiding in the peace that “surpasseth” all understanding (Php 4:7). Jesus taught us topray asking God to keep us from temptation and deliver us out of evil (Mat 6:13). If Christians don’t heed this advice and fail to erect a “spiritual hedge of protection” around their families and households every day, just like Job, then there is muchtofear. If they haven’t studied the principles of spiritual warfare, as mentioned earlier, thenyes, they should begin insulating themselves against every imaginable risk and liability. Theyshould arm themselves to the teeth and construct a well fortified castle in order toconceal themselves from all forms of danger. But it’s far better to trust God withour future and let Him defend and protect us. A Damsel in Distress Now many raise a practical objection to the thought of leaving another humanbeingdefenseless to criminal attack, and rightly so. They quote Proverbs 24 and the instruction given about rescuing someone in grave danger in order to validate their concern: If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are readytobe slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he renderto every man according to his works? (Prov. 24:11-12). Page 10 of 16 I’m one who completely agrees with the notion of rescuing a damsel in distress fromasexual assault. I believe the instruction in Proverbs 24 is clear enough and doesn’t require any special decoding. By God’s grace, if I should ever witness anyone inasituation as described in the above passage, I hope to be brave enough to risk my lifeontheir behalf. To throw myself in between them and their attacker. Or even employtheuse of physical and non-lethal force in the event I had to pry the weapon, if possible, out of the attacker’s grasp. But before using physical force (non-lethal), I wouldsilently pray and exercise spiritual warfare by taking authority over the demonic entitypresent. I would then rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to show me howtoproceed. I may decide the situation is best left to an officer of the law and avail myself of thejustice described in Romans 13. Likewise if a woman is attacked by a man seeking to rape her, she should first prayandtake spiritual authority over the demonic presence at work. As a secondary measure, andif the attacker is too close to make an escape, she should cry for help and use physical force to repel him, otherwise her integrity would likely be questioned. But I say this doubtful that such a lady has been walking close to God and acting preemptively for such a situation to materialize. It could very well be that she had ignored all the warningsigns like Dina, Jacob’s daughter, and placed herself in a vulnerable situation(Gen34:7). Had she gone out unaccompanied? Dressed provocatively or immodestly, as manywomen today? Had she ventured into dangerous territory, at the wrong hour, etc?Asmentioned before, I’ve yet to find a godly and upright woman who’s been walkingcloseto the Lord testify of being raped. We must conclude, then, that the best self-defensea Christian can practice is preemptive action. And the best preemptiveaction we can take is to entrust ourselves fully into God’s care. Taking Jesus Literally An opponent of non-resistance has this to share about taking all of Christ’s words literally: If we were to take Jesus’ teachings “literal” in the way you speak of, I would onlyprayin my closet, I would never plan the next day, I would not work for my food, I wouldsell my shirt and buy a sword, I might cut of my hand or pluck out my eye, I wouldnever own two coats, I would only wear sandals, I would go the second mile withanycause where I was asked to help (good or bad), I would never resist any evil – Page 11 of 16 meaning I would never discipline myself or my children, I would yield to temptation, and would never fight against the devil, false doctrine, etc. And I would take Christ’sinstruction to mean that, “if a man take my daughter, give him my wife also.” This writer is spot on. Taking Jesus’ words to an unwarranted extreme is dangerous. Weshould be careful not to capitulate to everyone’s demands or lie down and roll over at people’s whim. This is not what Jesus commanded. Nor did He advocate a philosophyofabsolute pacifism. I think that any logical and well-discerning student of Scripturewill readily read between the lines of what Christ is saying in order to decipher His messageintelligibly. Jesus often employed metaphorical language to express a profoundtruth. Up until now we have not been using reckless hermeneutics to interpret Scripture. Wehave accumulated pertinent passages relevant to our subject fromevery spectrumof Scripture, allowing God’s Word to interpret itself. Any who wish to use this pettyargument to demonize the doctrine of non-resistance should alignthemselves with the humanists and moralists of our times, who commonlyemploy such rhetoric in their own writings. PROBLEMS WITH SELF-DEFENSE Criminal Violence Vs. Christian Persecution Some Christians like to separate the use of self-defense into two categories. They claimself defense is appropriate when confronted by “criminal violence”, but not inthe context of Christian persecution. But upon what grounds can they make this distinction?If Scripture is supreme, we should be able to point people to a particular text insupportof this argument, but the problem is that none exist. Instead, the Scriptures instruct usto value men’s lives and to endeavor to bring them to salvation. Any who are willingtoharm others in order to save themselves are not influenced by the right spirit: …Yeknow not what manner of spirit ye are of, for the Son of Man is not cometodestroy men's lives, but to save them (Luk 9:56). Furthermore, I find it amusing when Christians suggest there’s a difference inthewaythey are called to die, whether through martyrdom or “thuggery”. Such a fine line is hardly distinguishable and can be easily exploited. This is best demonstrated inthefollowing story: Page 12 of 16 An eloquent preacher spent Sunday morning encouraging his church to upholdtheFifthAmendment and to support the “right to bear arms”. They had a duty to society. Andinthe event they had to protect themselves or others, they should be well armed, was hislogic. “However”, said he, “If you are challenged for your faith at the pain of death, suffer it like a noble martyr!” Now what if upon hearing such a teaching one of the congregants present got wiseanddecided to rob him under the pretext of religious persecution? He could easily disarmthe pastor while pretending to test his resolve to die for Christ. He could thenproceedtoloot his house quiet easily and the pastor would have to “suffer it like a noble martyr”, right?? Do you see the silliness of such thinking? Crossfire Victims Another reason why I wouldn’t dare use a gun to defend myself or anyone else is simplydue to the prospect of a full blown shootout between me and the criminal party. Manycivilians and innocents were unintentionally shot dead by police and military tryingtodisarm and control a mad shooter. The prospect of hazarding my loved ones by placingthem in the crossfire of a shootout is too much for me to bear. JUST WAR THEOLOGY Just war theology is commonly taught in many Churches today. Christians are encouraged to go off and fight foreign enemies in order to preserve their country’s security. But what do you do when two “Christian nations” must go to war witheachother? Both sides are fighting what they believe to be a “just war”. Both sides are servingtheir government militarily due to a wrong understanding of Romans 13. Andbothsidesare Christian in their own right, but are killing each other in the name of God. This isexactly what happened between the Allied forces and the Axis powers during WWII. What a miserable situation! Moreover, consider the fact that when Christians join the military they must learntohate and kill, not love and forgive. This is best illustrated in the following story: One young man who had been in the army during World War II, tells howone of hisbuddies in training was kind of softhearted. When they were training, they were to Page 13 of 16 drive their bayonets into the stomachs of a dummy victim. This fellowwas kindof slowand timid about the whole thing, and finally the of icer lost his patience, swore at theyoung fellow, and ordered him to get up in front of that dummy and "cut out his guts."He reminded him that this was war, and not a Sunday School picnic, and that everyman in the camp was there to learn how to kill Germans. The above example is the very reason why the Church is not commissioned to wagewarwith physical weapons (2 Cor. 10:4). Such deadly force will never accomplish anythinggood for God’s Kingdom. But when Christians employ spiritual powers, muchcanbedone to forward our cause. Take the weapon of prayer for example. When duringthepersecutions of the early church Peter was cast into prison, the Bible says, prayer wasmade without ceasing, of the Church, unto God for him. The people prayed. Herethepower of prayer was pitted against the power of the armed might of the RomanEmpire-and those who prayed won the battle! The iron gate opened and Peter was set free! Morethings are wrought through prayer than this world can imagine. THE LEVITES The Levites of the Old Testament were one of the twelve tribes of Israel and were dedicated to God in the service of the priesthood. They were considered to be sodevotedto the Lord that when Moses numbered the Israelites to determine howmany wereableto go to war (Num 1:3), the Levites were explicitly excluded (see verse 47). They werenot to fight in battle or have any bloodshed on their hands, as this would disqualifythemfrom service (Num 1:45-50; 31:19). Their full time occupation was to fulfill the “charge”of the Lord. But while they were forbidden from bearing the sword, they were permittedto take part in the battle procession by blowing the trumpets and carrying the holyrelicsinto war. What is so significant about this tribe is how they were taken by the Lord insteadof the“firstborn” of all the tribes of Israel. Thus the tribe of Levi became the typical “Churchofthe first-born.” Paul writes, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven (Hebrews 12:23). The first-born in typological Israel werethe Levites because they were substituted for the literal first-borns. No scholar of Scripture will dispute the fact that the Levites typify the New testament Church. Theparallels between them are too stunningly similar. Both the Levites and the Churchhaveno physical inheritance in the land (Heb 11:13; 1 Pet 2:11). Both have been designatedunto a priestly role (1 Pet 2:9; Rev 5:10). Both have been charged with offering sacrifices Page 14 of 16 unto God, the one in physical kind, the other of a spiritual (Heb 13:15). Like the Levites, we have access to come into the holy of holies to appear before God with confidenceandboldness (Heb 4:16). And while the Levites had the duty of maintaining a continual firebefore God’s alter, the Church is tasked with keeping the flame of God’s love fromdyingout (2 Tim 1:6; Rev 2:4; 3:19). Yet just like the Levites were prohibitedfromengaging in any type of violence and bloodshed, the same prohibitionnowapplies to the “Church of the Firstborn”. One of the most significant facts, clearly corresponding to the Church, are the cities of refuge which were under the stewardship of the Levites. Six of the Levitical cities hadaspecial function: And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shallbe six cities for refuge (Num 35:6). By selecting these cities God arranged that thosewho were pursued by the “avenger of blood” because of accidental homicide wouldbekept safe as long as they abode in one of these refuge places. But where might a sinnerobtain refuge? The Bible tells us that God is our refuge and strength, a very present helpin trouble (Psalm 46:1). From the moment we recognize that we are sinners, we realizethat the avenger, Justice (the Law), is upon our trail, and that we will be overtakenanddestroyed unless we reach some place of refuge. Therefore we have fled for refugefromsin’s consequences to lay hold of the hope set before us (Hebrews 6:18). But Christ isouronly refuge, and only to Him may we flee. The Church, therefore, is to extendthesame ministry to the sinner seeking refuge. We have become the “aromaof salvation to them that are perishing” (2 Cor 2:15-16), not “death, unto death” (2Cor 2:16), as justice and law demand. It makes sense now why the work of Temple building and the duty of servicewas withheld from David and passed onto his son, Solomon. Notice what Godsays about this: But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood (1 Chronicles 28:3). The fact that David was a man of war and had bloodshed on his hands didn’t sit well with God. He couldn’t abide any form of human bloodshed in connection to the workof His temple. All these types and antitypes exist so that we could better understandthesupreme role of the New Testament Church. Lastly, we will look at Numbers 31. For while it is an important chapter for understanding the basic requirements of the Levites, it also gives us the full account of the war between Israel and Midian. After soundly defeating the Midianites, Moses Page 15 of 16 instructed the men of war to slay all the non-virgin women and “everymanchild” (boys). The only ones excluded from performing this gruesome task weretheLevites who were dedicated to God’s service. After this horrific bloodbath, these menwere instructed to purify themselves for seven days while abiding outside the camp: Anddo ye abide without the camp seven days: whosoever hath killed any person, andwhosoever hath touched any slain… (Num 31:19). It’s amazing that while Godsparedthe Levites from having to perform these killings, there are Christians today whowouldstill rather go to war and participate in all of these atrocities. How shameful!!! PRACTICAL NON-RESISTANCE So what are some practical steps we could take in relation to non-resistance andavoiding the use of violence? What are the actions that best fit with God’s Word? Thefollowing list may greatly benefit those endeavoring to live a non-resistant lifestyle: Note: Some of the portions below were copied from an online source (in blue). 1. Flee This would apply to Christians during times of persecution. Matthew 10:23 says, ...whenthey persecute you in this city, flee ye into another... Paul did this once when the cityof Damascus was kept with a garrison. The brethren let him down over the wall inabasketwith ropes, and he escaped. God broke Peter and others out of jail. To flee fromonecityto another or one government to another is the first and best mode of response whenthegovernment is behind the persecution or unable to stop it. Even Jesus used this onanumber of occasions. 2. Appeal to Authority This is what Paul did in Acts 25:11. He appealed to the Roman Supreme Court for protection against his persecutors. This includes calling the police, alerting proper authorities, etc. The Christian is not allowed to avenge himself by means of a lawsuit, but, just as Paul, he is allowed to defend himself through legal channels. Paul madeuseof his Roman citizenship to avoid injustice on a number of occasions. He appealedtoCaesar; his Roman citizenship; and reported the Jew’s evil plans to the authorities forprotection. 3. Suffer This is what we have already given sufficient Scripture for. We must commit our casetoGod and cry out for deliverance. We are not allowed to deny Christ or his doctrineinthe Page 16 of 16 face of death or torture. If we are faithful unto death, we will receive the crownof eternal life. In every instance love, not hate; Spirit, not flesh; and God’s will, not our own, must be the motivating factor. The man who has been habitually studying and followingtheprinciples of Scripture will receive the Spiritual guidance he needs at the crucial time.

 

CONCLUSION

In today’s world common Christianity is rapidly lining-up behind militaristic preachers to voice their support of entering the fray of mortal-combat and self-defense. This sector of Christianity is ready and eager to show their patriotism and allegiance to a worldly master. Jesus has unmistakably given His opinion on the matter, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other,” Matthew 6:24. 

 

“And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites who lived in the land. The people responded, ‘We too will serve the LORD, because He is our God!’ But Joshua said to them, ‘You are not able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your continuing rebellion or your sins.…’” Joshua 24:18-19

 

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, ‘How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.’ And the people answered him not a word.” 1Kings 18:21 

 

Like the Israelites the Protestant Church has become hardened in its attitude toward self and national defense, that maintaining a posture of Biblical nonresistance is presented as weak and insane to the extreme. Yet, the Bible does not speak in coded language concerning this attitude. The Protestant Church’s way around having to deal with this issue is to simply ignore it. The commercial Church has firmly established its position for hundreds of years that not one in a thousand will acknowledge this serious and grave conflict, and the deadly consequences, of self-imposed ignorance on this issue. For the overwhelming majority, national patriotism and self-defense take precedence over Biblical obedience. These Christians will contort Scripture to conform to their ideology of defense that aligns them with the popular Protestant Christian political dynamic.

 

Today it is considered normal for Protestant Christians to be armed while attending a Church service. In Texas, a little while back, Christians were applauded for killing a person who had entered their service with the intention of doing harm. The question was never asked, “What would Jesus have done?” Christians, today, have no intention of becoming “Sheep for the slaughter,” “turning the other cheek,” “Loving their enemy,” or following “too” closely to the Lord they profess to serve and obey. 

 

These Christians have a master who still demands blood, other peoples. If they are not following Jesus, then who are they following? You will search in vain to hear a sermon, in the popular Church, on this New Testament topic of peace towards a sworn enemy. Very many Christians will be held accountable for the murder of their brother on the field of battle, and many more will be guilty due to evil hatred, even though they have never possessed a weapon for self-defense or killed anyone. But those with the most guilt will be those who have placed themselves as examples, leaders, and teachers, who encourage either by silence or by sermon the death of enemies either national or otherwise.

 

Jesus weeps as He questions whether He will “find faith on the earth” when He returns, and when I look at the vast numbers of Christians who deny Christ, by their embrace of the National Lie, I can understand why He weeps. Today, Christian military involvement and Christians in the police force are held to be the epitome of Christian character and understanding. Christians openly pride themselves, and applaud others, who have left the meek and lowly ranks of Christ likeness, to embrace the foul ranks of Satanic death squads. A close study of Christian history will reveal that it was the Reformers: Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli who linked arms with the State, i.e., the world, to promote and strengthen their movement, while persecuting and killing the very ones who fearlessly and with nonresistance to the evil person, bred new vitality into the weakened body birthed by Christ Himself 1500 years earlier. Protestant and Catholic Christianity, as a business, has succeeded and the world has accepted it; but it is a plastic facsimile of the real living, breathing, although smaller, life producing plant Jesus calls “My little flock.” We humans look for greatness in size and beauty, as did the Jews in the days of the Pharisees and their visible presence when Jesus advises us to seek greatness in smallness; great treasures are found in seeking and diligent digging, things of value are not found just lying around. Consequently, “very few” will be able to traverse the narrowness of that “gate.”

 

There are two ways a professing Christian can travel, one is easy, broad, and popular, the other will make demands that few will be able to suffer and a path that requires spiritual sight. Todays Christians will try to go both ways, but two ways is one too many.

 

“For Many Are Called but Few Are Chosen”

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