DISTINGUISH HOLY WARFARE FROM CARNAL WARFARE
few years ago the late Chris Kyle authored a book entitled AMERICAN SNIPER.
It has sold millions of copies since the first edition
in 2012. In 2014 a movie by the same name was produced which was a box
office smash with sales of over 300 million dollars.
Chris was an Iraq war veteran who served 4 tours of
duty from 2003 to 2009. Some people believe that Chris was a hero, a
Christian and a patriot and some believe he was something less than that.
We will lay that discussion aside for a moment and
address the questions that few people will ask. What were US troops
doing in Iraq in the first place? Was Operation Iraqi
Freedom for the benefit and welfare of the Iraqi people, and/or to displace
Saddam Hussein, or because of a threat of weapons of mass destruction?1 Did we achieve our
objectives? Was Chris Kyle’s mission justified or was Chris a victim who
was deceived by the people that he worked for? 2
do we determine a just war, or a holy war? Is there a biblical
method of answering these questions? Does being a
conscientious objector automatically make you a pacifist?
look at some biblical precedents.
victory over the four Gentile kings in Gen. 14
and Caleb’s victory over the city of Jericho
victory over the Philistines, as well as the judgment for his sin
victory over the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites
battle over the Midianites
Asa’s victory and loss
and Nehemiah’s defensive position as they rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem
– When Sodom and Gomorrah were attacked by 4 enemy nations,
Lot and his family were taken captive, so Abraham gathered his 318 trained
servants and went to rescue them. He attacked by night and
recovered not only the people but their possessions as well. We have no
record that he suffered any casualties. Now we don’t know how he
was able to accomplish this feat but it is safe to assume that is was not won
by sheer might or power. Most likely it was won in a miraculous way
by the power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t read of Abraham
being involved in other military operations, but he arose to this occasion to
rescue his nephew. If he had 318 trained servants he may well have
had a thousand people in his rural community that were under the umbrella of
his prosperity. If that is true then they had to have some
method of keeping order and protecting themselves from villains and wild
beasts, etc. However the victory over the four Gentile kings seems to be
way out of the ordinary. It would have been out of character for
Abraham to take an action like this without being led of the Holy Spirit.
There is no mention of Abraham receiving any worldly influence or
financial assistance to conduct his attack.
and Caleb - Some people say that the only war that Yahvah will bless is
one of self defense as the case of Abraham and Lot. However most of the
biblical holy wars were offensive wars. The city of
Jericho was not a threat to anyone at the time that Israel crossed the Jordan
River. Again, this battle was not won by might nor by power but by
Yahvah’s spirit. Another distinctive quality of this war was how it
was planned and financed. There was no outside influence, or assistance
of a third party.
and the Philistines - When David first came on the scene he made it clear
that he did not come with a spear and a sword. He came in the name of
Yahvah. His power over the Philistines was miraculous. He was
known for killing tens of thousands of the enemy. Keep
in mind that whenever he went into battle he didn’t just pray, he prayed until
he got an answer. So he knew for sure that he was going into battle
with Yahvah behind him. Later in his life after he committed
adultery, he was told that the sword would never depart from his house as a
judgment for his sin.
- This man was being threatened by enemy forces so he called a fast and a
prophetic word was received. What was their weapon of warfare?
They went into battle with songs of praise and the enemy was
defeated. 2 Chron. 20
Starting out with a huge army of warriors he was told to reduce his troops down
to 300. (Judges 7) Why? So that man would not get the
glory for what Yahvah was about to do. Again this battle was not
won my might nor power but by the Holy Spirit.
This king of Judah was being attacked by a million troops with 300
chariots when he cried out to Yahvah. Because of his dependence on
the living Elohim , Yahvah smote the Ethiopians and they fled. 2
a few years later when Asa was being threatened by Baasha, king of Israel he
called upon Ben-hadad king of Syria for help. This was King Asa’s
downfall and he was told “Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from
henceforth thou shalt have wars. “ 2 Chron. 16
Nehemiah – These men along with many others had the assistance and protection
of King Cyrus of Persia, as they rebuilt the city of Jerusalem under the threat
of enemy attack. This is somewhat different than most justifiable
military engagements of the bible, in that it was aided by a foreign kingdom.
However this foreign ruler had the leading of the Holy Spirit to
encourage this work, which came at the end of 70 years of captivity. King
Cyrus was referred to as Yahvah’s “anointed” and the net result of this effort
was the restoration of true worship. Isaiah 45:1-4
let’s compare some more recent wars to the biblical criteria.
Revolutionary War - What were the influences that impacted the war effort?
Many Presbyterian ministers were preaching about resisting the English
crown, while Anglican ministers were praying for the King of England.
Ironically in a country founded upon religious freedom, starting
July 4, 1776, Congress and several states passed laws making prayers for the
king and British Parliament acts of treason.3
religious view varied. However, one of the largest factors in the beginning of
the war was the writing of Thomas Paine. He first anonymously wrote a booklet
of 47 pages, which was a runaway best seller. Compared to today’s
statistics it would be comparable to a book selling 50 million copies. Almost
everyone who could read had access to a copy of that book. His book was
entitled COMMON SENSE. In it, he spoke of unalienable rights of life,
liberty and property. A close reading of COMMON SENSE and the Declaration
of Independence will reveal that it was largely Paine’s ideology that Thomas
Jefferson recorded. Many phrases are very similar in the two documents,
such as the idea of “self evident truths”. In the garden of Eden, Eve’s
self evident truth was that the fruit of the tree of knowledge was good for
food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise. The
problem with that is that there is a difference between “self event truth” and
“divinely revealed truth”.
Adams said, "Without the pen of Paine the sword of Washington would have
been wielded in vain."
Franklin said, "Others can rule, many can fight, but only Thomas Paine can
write for us the English Tongue"?
COMMON SENSE, he used a lot of scripture verses to question the idea of a
monarchical form of government and he boldly suggested that America fight for
her independence from England. This book brought him to the spotlight of
national attention and he became the first secretary of state for the new
republic. During the war when things got really tough, George Washington
ordered his officers to read Paine’s writings (THE AMERICAN CRISIS) to the
troops to encourage them. Of course we know that George Washington prayed
and read the bible privately and possibly in public as well but it seems that
he relied heavily on Thomas Paine’s interpretation of scripture. After
the war was over Thomas Paine had fallen out with some of the leaders of the
new republic, and he went to France where he was active in the French
Revolution, which was known for its murderous anarchy. Paine was opposed
to unnecessary violence but his writings were used to encourage that
Revolution. It was in France that Paine wrote THE AGE OF REASON in which
he let it be known that his objective was to help people get free from the
“superstition” of religious beliefs. He revealed that he did not believe in the
inspiration of the bible that he often quoted. Eventually he came back to
America where he was considered “anti-Christian”and died a poor man with only 6
people attending his funeral. 4
the assumption that the research above is factual, it could be argued that the
Revolutionary War got off to a carnal start. As the war continued it
seemed that the British would eventually win because of their military might,
however just when things looked bleak, the colonies were aided by the country
of France. France was not happy with Britain at the time so it was easy
for them to side with the Americans. They spent the equivalent of a few
billion dollars in modern currency to help the American’s gain the victory.
This money was never returned to France and this huge financial burden
greatly helped precipitate the French Revolution.
concern is that America received ideological, financial, and military aid from
infidels to conduct the Revolutionary War, and without this assistance the war
would not have been won.
would argue that George Washington was specially gifted as a military leader
and there are remarkable incidents recorded of his bravery and his narrow
escapes, etc., but the same could be said of Alexander the Great. He was
leading armies into battle when he was 18 years old and soon after that went on
to establish the Greek empire. Of course Alexander the Great was not a
Christian or Bible believer but the Roman emperor Constantine was a Christian,
or a least he was a pseudo Christian, or a quasi Christian. He conquered
nations in the name of Christ and took a cross with him into battle when he
fought. A similar case is that of Charlemagne who led the Holy Roman Empire. He
was natural born leader and was known as great defender of traditional
Christianity, which led to his being crowned by the Pope as Emperor of the
Romans. Joan of Arc was another pious person who was unusually gifted
with military leadership ability. As a young girl she had spiritual experiences
that led up to her becoming a captain of the French army, which she
successfully led to victory over the English, but I would hesitate to assume
that she was truly led of the Holy Spirit, because of many inconsistencies in
her life. Marquette Lafayette was commissioned as an officer in the
French army at age 13, he was married at 17 and came to America when he was 19
to help with the revolutionary war. He was made a major
general and was instrumental in helping turn the tide of the war.
Some say that part of his motive may have been revenge against the
British who were responsible for his father’s death.
Lafayette was a Freemason, as were 33 of Washington’s other
concern is that George Washington’s Christianity was a blend of Freemasonry,
deism, and biblical teachings. George Washington quoted the bible
from time to time, but so do Tom Daschle and John Edwards, but they don’t
always have the correct interpretation.
were the heroes of the Revolutionary War? On page 1208 of Vol. 2 of
THE HISTORY OF THE SEVENTH DAY BAPTISTS IN EUROPE AND AMERICA I found this
about the effect of the Revolutionary War. “ The close
of the Revolutionary War found the several congregations of Seventh Day Baptists
in Pennsylvania depleted in numbers, and as an organization more or less
demoralized. This state of affairs was partly owing to the fact that the
tide of war has swept in its fury over the fertile fields of south-eastern
Pennsylvania, subjecting the peaceful Seventh Day Baptists to the crush of the
iron heel of the invader, and before a recovery could take place, to the no
less emphatic requisitions of the quartermaster sergeants of the patriot army.
To comply with these enforced demands from friend and foe, brought ruin
to many, while to all it proved a serious loss. Then again some of the younger
scions took sides with one or the other of the conflicting parties, thereby
estranging family and social ties; others who entered the military service, by
strange and rude associations were alienated from the faith of their fathers;
while the older generation, who by age, or for their faith and principle’s
sake, refused to take an active part in the struggle for independence, were
looked upon with suspicion, as harbouring sentiments favoring the enemy, and
consequently suffering, thereby, more or less persecution from their patriotic
neighbors.” Then on page 1211 we read this. “After the struggle was
over, the years intervening until the adoption of the Federal Constitution and
an organized system of government, proved another period of unrest and doubt;
all religious societies were more or less under a cloud, congregations had been
scattered and churches closed. The Seventh Day Baptists, however, depleted as
they were, held together and found encouragement in the hope that under the new
order of affairs they would be permitted to exercise their faith to the fullest
extent; in this fondly cherished hope they were doomed to disappointment,
notwithstanding the much vaunted clause in the Constitution assuring liberty of
conscience.” 5 The author then goes on to describe the suppression and
persecution of Sabbath – keepers who during the war had worked tirelessly to
care for the wounded. George Washington sent about 500 wounded and
dying soldiers from the battle in Brandywine to the Seventh Day Baptist
community called Ephrata where they were cared for or buried.
Those caring for the wounded may have been the heroes.
there were differences of opinion about the Revolution among Seventh Day
Baptists. Samuel Ward, a Seventh Day Baptist from Rhode Island was
part of the Continental Congress and actually nominated George Washington for
the role of leading the colonial troops. Ward almost assuredly would
have been one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence if he had not
died of smallpox just prior to that event. I am
convinced that there have been studies, debates and controversies concerning
these issues in every generation.
about World War 2? Wasn’t it necessary for the Allies to stop the
Holocaust, and put an end to Hitler’s Nazi war machine? It could be
argued that one problem with that mindset is that the Holocaust never really
ended; it just changed hands, shifted gears and kept on going. Here
is one example of that. At the end of WW 2 when the Nazi’s were being
defeated, the Allied troops raped an estimated 1 – 2 million women as they took
over Germany.6 Many women committed suicide to avoid being raped.
Many committed suicide after being raped. Some women died as
a result of being raped multiple times. Mostly it was the Russian
troops who were the perpetrators but some French and American troops were
involved as well.7 One of the heroes of the Second World War was a man by
the name of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He was an officer in the Russian army
who witnessed the mass rape of the German women and spoke out against Joseph
Stalin who had been informed about the travesty and basically gave his consent.
Solzhenitsyn was a Marxist at the time, but was imprisoned in a labor
camp for 10 years for criticizing Stalin. While in prison he became a
Christian. He was introduced to the Eastern Orthodox branch of
Christianity so that is what he embraced, but I gathered by his writings that
he had a genuine experience with the Holy Spirit. Here was a
man with the moral fiber to speak up even if it had cost him his life.
It appears that many of the Allied troops saw what was going
on but said or did nothing about it.
people agree that Stalin was comparable to Adolf Hitler. Our president
Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill joined with
Stalin to accomplish this victory over Hitler. Birds of a
feather flock together, and Yahvah sets up the basest of men to rule in the
kingdoms of men.
would ask the question, “What if we had done nothing to stop Hitler’s
aggression?” I prefer to ask the question, “What if Hitler had not
been funded by J.P. Morgan, T.W. Lamont, the
General Electric Company, Standard Oil, National City Bank,
Chase and Manhattan banks, Kuhn, Loeb and Company, General Motors, and the Ford
Motor Company in the first place?”
Or, “What if IBM's technology had not helped facilitate Nazigenocide through generation and tabulation of punch cards based upon
national census data?”8
Who were the heroes of the Iraq war? Pat
Tillman was a professional football player with a multi-million dollar contract
with the Arizona Cardinals when the 9/11 terrorist attack took place.
Out of a sense of justice he walked away from his football
contract and joined the army to fight the war on terror. He went through
basic training and became a Ranger. When it was time
for him to be deployed he was surprised to be sent to Iraq instead of
Afghanistan where Al Qaeda was active. While in Iraq he
became suspicious of the motives of our engagement there. He
began to speak out about what he saw and even was set up for an appointment for
an interview with a reporter back in the States.
Shortly after that his family was told that he was
fatally shot in the head in a skirmish with the enemy, but within a few months
the army admitted under pressure that he was killed by “friendly fire”. 9 Here was a
man who laid down his life for the sake of justice, and the ironic part of the
story is that he was a die-hard atheist. How many able-bodied
Christian men honestly believed the official 9/11 account about Osama Bin
Laden’s “surprise” attack but never even considered joining the military to see
that justice was served? I am sure that some did attempt to do
that, but most people were content to allow young mercenaries to do the job
instead. But the question remains – has justice been served?
Dennis Prager made the following statement;
“No peace movement on earth and no peace studies program in the
world has done for peace what the American military has done for peace.” 10
I tend to disagree with that statement and I suspect the people
of Laos would disagree as well. About 18 months ago I found out
that the US bombed Laos from 1964 to 1973 at the rate of one planeload of bombs
on the average of every eight minutes, costing millions of dollars per day.
Today, 45 years later, there are Laotian refugees
living in Thailand, afraid to go home because of the bombs that are still
volatile, which claim the lives of about 50 people per year when they are
inadvertently detonated. 11 Since I heard about
this tragedy I have asked many people if they have heard of the 9 - year
bombing of Laos. So far only 3 people have responded affirmatively.
One of which was the daughter of a pilot that bombed Laos and Vietnam.
How can secrets like this be kept? Most
likely it’s because people don’t want to know. Truth is usually a
very large pill to swallow. Within a few months some of you will
forget we even had this conversation.
During the Vietnam War era, a few people evaded the draft
because they were afraid of combat, however many young men went to Vietnam and
killed people or lost their own lives, solely because they feared the rejection
of their peers. Then when the survivors came home they often faced
the rejection of their peers anyway.
Who were the heroes of the Vietnam War? John DeCamp served
as an officer in that conflict. In 1975 he initiated Operation Baby
which evacuated 2,800 orphaned Vietnamese children. Beginning
his campaign for election while still stationed in Vietnam, DeCamp was elected
and served four terms as a Nebraska state senator, from 1971 to 1987. He initially
ran on the platform that we should get out of Vietnam because the Federal
government would not let us win. In the 1990’s he stumbled into a
huge pedophile ring working out of the Boys Town orphanage there in his home
state, which he has tried to bring into the limelight but again very few people
have ears to hear. 12
What does it take to make a soldier? I recently talked to
a young man who had signed up to join the Army and as he began basic training
the first thing that happened was that the new recruits were given medication
to lower their testosterone which resulted in them being more docile during
their training. This young man said the medicine made the
troops very depressed, which he thought was the cause for one man’s suicide
attempt. Then as they were marching in formation they
were ordered to chant in cadence about mowing down children in malls and
schools. He was so disillusioned that he protested about these
issues and was allowed be released from the military. He may have
been one of the bravest men there.
I have heard people say that it’s not right for us to sit idly
by while ISIS is beheading Christians in foreign lands. I
agree with that statement but what’s odd is that we stood idly by while many
innocent civilians were murdered in Cambodia, not to mention the 500,000
Japanese civilians who were killed by B 29 carpet bombing and the atomic bombs.
There were plenty of military targets that we could have
chosen to attack instead of civilians.
If those people being beheaded in Iraq are faithful believers,
then the silver lining to this cloud is that those saints will have a better
resurrection. Now on the other hand if Christians are
killing muslim Iraqis who have no hope of eternal life, the silver lining is
more difficult to perceive. We are told that believers will
lose their lives for the sake of the Gospel, but I don’t remember reading that
believers will be killing non – believers. Malachi said that the wicked
will be ashes under our feet, but I think that is referring to the time of
Yahshua’s second coming. Currently the kingdom is not of this age, if it
were then we would fight.
Someone said, (it might have been me) that we have watched too
many John Wayne war movies, and we have put too much stock in Mel Gibson movies
like The Patriot, and Braveheart. Actually I have never seen
a Mel Gibson movie and I don’t remember seeing a John Wayne movie but I have
seen trailers or excerpts of them, and these types of movies tend to glamorize
or justify carnal warfare.
In 1949 our Department of War changed its name to Department of
Defense. George Orwell called that “Doublespeak”. The
American Indians said,”white man speak with forked tongue”. Today our
“defense” budget is around 500 billion per year, which is more than the next 7
or 8 countries combined, so it seems that we are “defending” ourselves far more
than any other nation in the world. Not only is our defense budget
the world’s greatest, but ironically we are also the world’s largest exporter
of military equipment and munitions. Here are a few of the countries that
we have bombed in the last 65 years – Korea, Libya, Cuba, Afghanistan, Grenada,
Indonesia, Peru, Guatemala, Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cambodia, Lebanon,
Somalia, Panama, Iran, Kuwait, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Sudan, and Laos. I have not
taken the time to investigate all of these engagements so I don’t have an
opinion about how many of these bombings were justified but it would be a
pretty good stretch to assume that these were all inspired by the Holy Spirit
especially when you think about things like President Reagan’s Iran Contra
deal. Another case is Kuwait. It is one of the wealthiest countries in
the world but when they were attacked by Iraq they asked the US for help
because we had the military capability to protect them. Why do we have a
superior military? Because we have a 17 trillion dollar debt to some
unknown entities. Some people would say that if we hadn’t been aiding
Iraq in the first place they would not have been in a position to attack
Actually there comes a time when we do have to fight.
I am convinced that some people have been fighting for a long time.
People like Leonard Ravenhill, and David Wilkerson to name a couple.
If we spend our time overcoming evil with good then our ways will
please Yahvah and our enemies will be at peace with us as it was with
Jehoshaphat in 2 Chron. 20
all the kingdoms of the lands around them heard how (YHVH) had fought Israel’s
enemies, they feared Elohim. 30 So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was not at war.
His Elohim gave him peace from all the countries around him.
If Chris Kyle was not a hero, a Christian and a
patriot, then a lot of people are living in deception. You might
say that Chris lived by the sword and he died by the sword.
America has lived by the sword from its inception
and it would break the pattern of history if it did not die by the sword as
America has been considered
exceptional for many obvious reasons, but our exceptionalism has been used as a
springboard to do many things that could be questionable.
Babylon was an exceptional kingdom, and Nebuchadnezzar had
great financial blessings, which benefitted much of the known world at the
time. Then after the reign of the Babylonian empire
came Medo Persia, which was instrumental in helping to facilitate the
rebuilding of Jerusalem. After them, Alexander the Great came along
and was another exceptional leader of an exceptional empire.
His empire had a great cultural, financial, and philosophical
impact on the known world of his day. Then
after the Greek empire the Romans came into power and they were just about
unstoppable. They enveloped the Greek empire and merged the philosophies of
Rome with the Classical mindset of Greece. Again they had great financial
prosperity and military success. I am sure that the average Roman citizen did
not have imperialistic aspirations, but most of the common people were like
snowflakes that made up the avalanche called the Roman Empire.
America could be described as a kinder, gentler version of the
Roman Empire, and sort of an amalgamation of the previous world kingdoms.
Yes we are a Christian nation, but I think it would be fair to say
a pseudo-Christian nation. The greatest deceptions are
usually accomplished by those wearing a cloak of decency or by those who truly
believe they are doing what is right Yes we have some of the
greatest people in the world here, and it pains me to see them being used and
abused by the powers that be. Much of the world has been
enchanted or enamored with the American dream, and some would even say that
trusting in the whims of Wall Street constitutes worship, but when the
superficial bubble bursts, the merchants of the world will be weeping, while
the prophets rejoice. Many people look to America as a beacon
of freedom and hope, but freedom and hope cannot be procured on a battlefield.
Freedom is a by - product of obedience to the Holy Spirit and no
tyrant can take that kind of freedom away.
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