Chapter 11:

Loyalty to the Kingdom— Part 2:

Self-defense

Military leaders admit: war is a poor way to solve problems.* Those familiar with the devastation it leaves behind are usually reluctant to take that route; nevertheless, they give in to the political or social pressure to respond in kind or to mount a preemptive attack. Sometimes it seems as if an invisible hand pulls groups of people into a disastrous confrontation, and no one has the moral power to resist it, to find a better way. Would that invisible hand be God? No. Rather, it is the "god of this world", Satan.— 2 Cor 4:3, 4.

But what if we are attacked? Does God put an invisible shield around his loyal ones? Within limits, yes, he does. Pilate said to Jesus: “Do you not know that I have authority to release you and I have authority to execute you?” Jesus answered him: “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been granted to you from above.” (John 19:10, 11) Earlier, when Peter had valiantly tried to use a sword to protect Jesus from an armed mob, Jesus told him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father to supply me at this moment more than 12 legions of angels?” (Matt 26:51-53) Jesus felt quite secure, very well protected indeed. Yet he died very painfully just a few hours later. Was he a fool?

No, he was the Son of God. He knew exactly what he faced*. Likewise, we are well protected. On his last night with his disciples, Jesus asked of his Father: "Watch over them because of the wicked one. . . the world has hated them, because they are no part of the world." (John 17:11-16) We do not know if God will always intervene to deliver us from death, but we know He can, and will, if it should be. If he chooses to let us be martyred for our faith, we have to accept that. We trust his promise to raise us up, as he did his Son. —recall Daniel 3:17, 18; see also 1 Pet 2:21-23, 2 Kings 6:15-23, Psalm 37:39, 40, 27.3, and 34.7, 15-19, and Psalm 91. (There are in fact dozens of scriptures that reassure faithful ones of God's protective care.)

Of course, not all danger comes because we are Christians. We may be attacked by an animal, or by a criminal or mentally disturbed person. Can we forcefully defend ourselves? Yes. Jesus himself instructed his disciples to prepare for the Christian ministry: “Let the one who has a money bag take it, likewise a food pouch, and let the one who has no sword sell his outer garment and buy one. Then they said: ‘Lord, look! here are two swords.’ He said to them: ‘It is enough.’” (Luke 22:36-38) It was later that very night that Peter tried to use one of those swords to defend Jesus against the mob of fanatics. Yet Jesus sharply rebuked him for doing that, saying "all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword." So why did he tell them to have one? Was it just to teach this lesson, and lesson learned, they should now get rid of them and go on unarmed?

No, the advice to carry a sword was clearly for their future work*. And having one does imply a reason may exist to use it. We see that God does not authorize us to fight the government or an overwhelming mob of religious fanatics (and any such attempt would likely end bady anyway.) On the other hand, defending oneself, one’s family, or an immediate neighbor from a smaller threat, perhaps a lone attacker, may be valid cause to use a weapon. Whether to fight or flee or call for authorized force is a judgment God leaves to us. We do have to remember that we will have to account to him either if we misuse our "sword" by overreacting with rash violence, or, on the other hand, if we were to do nothing to defend an innocent one being attacked when we had the means to do so. So our conscience should not paralyze us with uncertainty from undertaking vigorous and effective physical defensive action where it is permissible.

The modern equivalent of the sword is the firearm. People who know guns well admit that they have limited usefulness in close defense situations. Most attackers don’t phone ahead; they usually have the drop on their victim. The best defense is a calm heart (faith gives us that) and a smooth tongue (being a Christian is supposed to help us speak well: Col 4:6, also see Prov 15:1 and 25:15). These "spiritual weapons" often defuse anger, preventing an attack altogether. By far the greater number of fights in this world are due to belligerence on both sides; since Christians are peaceable "as far as it depends upon them", they miss a lot of action. They aren’t complaining. —see Rom 12:18, 1 Pet 3:13-17.

If we choose to carry any weapon or to have some awareness of defensive techniques, we have to guard against the natural tendency to feel too confident, to put our trust in arms rather than in God. Further, sad experience shows that easy access to a lethal weapon greatly increases the chance of it being used inappropriately, such as in a moment of anger or despair, or by curious children. Finally, owning a weapon may prove more provocative than protective. Some antagonists regard such preparedness as a challenge to be confronted, not respected. On balance, we find we get more respect as a peaceful, confident Christian. In effect, we meet carnal warfare with spiritual weapons. Yes, it works. Yes, it takes serious faith. —Revelation 13:7-10, Isaiah 30:15.

As for facing a mugger who wants no more than valuables, Christians estimate material things as highly disposable. We are cautioned not to get emotionally attached to any material property, since we will probably lose it all in the chaos of the Great Tribulation anyway. Our eyes are on the wonderful things of the new world to come. —Heb 10:34.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us what is the most important self-defense by far: “Above all the things that you guard, safeguard your heart, for out of it are the sources of life.” How do we do that? Science says, by diet and exercise. Quality food, and avoiding unhealthy things such as excess sugar, also worry, and keeping the rest of the body in tone, are proven good habits for heart health. But in scripture, "heart" usually means your inner self, your spirit, your attitude and motivations. What is a healthy "diet" and "exercise" for that heart? Proverbs 2:10-15 answers: “When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge becomes pleasant to your soul, thinking ability will keep watch over you, and discernment will safeguard you, to save you from the bad course, from the man speaking perverse things, from those leaving the upright paths to walk in the ways of darkness, from those who rejoice in wrongdoing, who enjoy the perverseness of evil.” Verses 2-6 tell us how to find this wisdom: “Accept my sayings and treasure up my commandments, by making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to discernment ... if you call out for understanding and raise your voice for discernment, if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and you keep searching for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the knowledge of God. For Jehovah himself gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and discernment.” (See also Prov 9:10.) Simply put, you live a lot longer being smart than being violent. In fact, God’s wisdom gives us life forever.

Justice and Revenge

Some misunderstand Jesus’ words at Matthew 5:38, 39: “You heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ However, I say to you: Do not resist the one who is wicked, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other also to him.” "Eye for eye" was God’s Law, and Jesus was not telling us to disrespect that. (see Deut 19:16-21) But this law of talion, as it is called, was meant to be applied by the established judicial system. It did not sanction personal retaliation, it did not excuse personal revenge. Unfortunately that misuse of the law did arise, so Jesus spoke.

Some believe Jesus here forbids self defense, but protecting oneself from injury is not the issue. We may do that quite vigorously, as noted above. Rather, he is teaching us to have a peaceable frame of mind: we are not to be "macho", easily goaded into a fight by every minor provocation. A slap is meant to injure our pride, to get a fight started. Some have said, ‘if your enemy slaps your cheek, turn the other; when he slaps that one, deck him.’ And it is true, patience does have its limits. Unfortunately, a provocateur often is bold because he has an edge we do not see; once the fight begins, we may fare badly. God gives us a more effective way of dealing with a belligerent: by an unexpectedly calm reaction (thereby showing strength, not fear) we may defuse a volatile situation and even "conquer evil."

At Romans 12:17-21 we find one of the most difficult passages of scripture to obey: "Return evil for evil to no one. . . do not avenge yourselves. . . if your enemy is hungry, feed him." If we exercise this self-restraint, what effect may we have? "By doing this you will heap fiery coals on his head." Ah, that sounds like sweet revenge. But it is not. Paul here is alluding to the way metal ore was refined: coals were heaped over the ore to intensify the heat, and the desired metal would come flowing out. So, if we respond to provocation as God instructs, we ‘pour the heat on’ our enemy’s conscience, if he has any trace of one left, and reduce or eliminate the conflict.

But as God’s law of talion clearly states, there can be a time for vengeance. While God forbids us from taking revenge personally, he says, "Vengeance is mine, I shall repay." He may do that himself, and "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Heb 10:30, 31) God may also choose to use authorized agents to punish wrongdoing, as Paul goes on to explain at Romans 13:1-4. There ungodly governments of the world are called "God’s minister [servant], an avenger to express wrath upon the one practicing what is bad." In fact, for this purpose it "bears the sword." So, although they may disregard and offend God in many ways and will meet their own destruction in due time, worldly powers do serve God’s purpose when they maintain order by punishing wrongdoing, even when that includes capital punishment. With that sword it may kill with God’s approval. Of course, they sometimes do it unjustly, even against God’s innocent people, and for that they will have to answer. But God does not condemn them when they do it correctly.

Does that include war? The evidence from scripture says yes, although very few of the many, many wars fought have served God’s will. And even those that did, also usually went on to inflict suffering for which the perpetrators were condemned. A case in point is Assyria when it devastated Israel. Jehovah calls Assyria "the rod for my anger" against the "apostate nation" (Israel). (Isa 10:5-7) Yet in the same context Isaiah continues, "when Jehovah finishes all his work on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, He will punish the king of Assyria for his insolent heart and his proud, arrogant gaze." (vs 12.) In our time the day will soon come when Satan will maneuver all the militaries on earth to fight against God. Which side of that fight do you want to be on? —Rev 19:19.

National service and taxes

So then, should Christians join national defense organizations? Christians consider Psalms 33:16-19: “No king is saved by a large army; a mighty man is not saved by his great power. The horse is a false hope for salvation; its great strength does not ensure escape. Look! The eye of Jehovah watches over those fearing him, those waiting for his loyal love, to rescue them from death, and to keep them alive.” And Isaiah 31:1: Woe to those who go down to Egypt for assistance, who rely on horses, who trust in war chariots because they are numerous, and in warhorses because they are mighty. But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, and they do not search for Jehovah. Israel was at that time turning away from Jehovah, looking instead to Egypt, a pagan nation, as a savior because of its military strength. Nations today may say, "In God we trust", but do they really? What does their behavior prove? We learn from the mistake that the Israelites made, and do not put our faith in the military might of ungodly governments. —Compare Micah 3:9-11, Jer 17:5.

Syrians cry for help

Despite its limits noted earlier, in this world sometimes violence is the only way to suppress determined evil or to rescue innocents from oppression. Christians benefit along with everyone else from such police or military force.* Even so, when we look closer we invariably find that the use of force was a belated response made necessary by neglect, or worse, by years of selling arms into local conflicts. Witness the mass slaughters in Rwanda, the Balkans, Cambodia, Iraq, and Sudan: all tolerated, winked at, ignored, allowed to drag on and milked for profit until there is almost no one left to save, and then someone has the bright idea to go in with guns blazing, spending billions of dollars destroying infrastructure and lives to bring "peace." After a few episodes of this, one would think the world would learn something about prevention, but no; how could they make money off that?

Christians should not join this "necessary violence," even if it may accomplish a good end or two amidst the destruction. We stick to the better path God has given us. We do far more to defend any country and serve mankind by rooting out of men's hearts the evils of ignorance, pride, deceit, selfishness, and indifference to morality, than could ever be accomplished by killing people and blowing up buildings. Such evils cannot be fought with heavy artillery. "Smart" bombs are useless against the stupidity of Godlessness.

What if the government conscripts us for work it considers necessary for national defense? Jesus gave us this guidance: "if someone under authority impresses you into service for a mile, go with him two miles." (Matt 5:41) In those days Roman soldiers moved from posting to posting by walking, and they had the authority to commandeer any handy bystander to carry their load for a mile. It is not likely he would entrust the civilian with his weapons; rather, such one would carry the provisions and personal gear. So Christians do not balk at obligatory service, even if it has a peripheral connection to government activities they disapprove. Of course, that does not mean we ask no questions and accept any assignment! Our response depends on the purpose of the work requested of us. We may be able to serve in good conscience if the road, bridge, hospital or whatever being built, has legitimate civilian or humanitarian use and does not directly enable violence or oppression. If others so misuse it later, they will be the ones to bear judgment.

Of course, we feel no need to volunteer for such service. We already have a most honorable assignment, the Christian ministry. Our ministry serves the security of all nations, as already mentioned, by teaching things fundamental to good citizenship— morality, diligence, active concern for one’s neighbor. Unfortunately, no nation as a whole will take the position of real security, on God’s side. We do not labor under the illusion that our work will reverse the tide of godlessness overtaking mankind.

In Jesus’ day, Rome dominated Palestine with a sometimes heavy hand. So Jews asked Jesus: ‘Should we pay taxes to Rome or not?’ Although some of that tax money went to maintain infrastructure useful for commerce, for the most part it supported the Roman military and political machine. And of course, a considerable amount slipped into corrupt pockets, just like today. The Jews hated being forced to give up their hard-earned income to pay for such things. Did Jesus therefore say it was immoral to underwrite such works, that this was a moral point on which to take a stand? No, he pointed out that the money was minted by Caesar, and said "pay Caesar’s things to Caesar, and God’s things to God." (Luke 20:22-25.) In effect, that money was never really theirs, despite all the work they went to to get it. Jesus tells us to "work, not for the food that perishes, but for the food that remains for life everlasting." Our focus should not be on acquiring wealth in this unjust world. It is better to keep our material affairs simple and modest. This also tends to minimize taxes, although some are demanded for simply existing. See Matt 6:19-21, 31-33, John 6:27.

What if taxes are excessive and oppressive? Christians do not foment revolt, but that does not mean we have to accept mistreatment quietly. There are legal ways to protest injustice. And if "Caesar" targets taxes specifically at Christians to destroy them, he will find he has a higher power to reckon with. God may allow us to be oppressed for a time, but he does not allow us to be crushed out of existence. See 2 Cor 4:7-9, Isaiah 41:10-13.

So we do not cheat; if we can, we pay whatever tax the government imposes. We know they use some of it well and much of it quite badly. But we are not authorized to check their books and pay only the part we approve of. They face their judgment for what they do with it. We are free of that. (As mentioned earlier, one useful service paid for by taxes is a degree of law and order. See Romans 13:3-6.)

Of course, if the tax laws are so byzantine that not even a tax lawyer can understand them, a Christian cannot be morally faulted for not complying perfectly (although you can be sure the government will.) A good faith effort is sufficient. Jesus is not asking us to make tax obedience our religion.

The situation is a bit different if the government says a tax is specifically for one purpose, and it officially considers those who pay the tax as approving supporters of that purpose. In that case, as with national service, we have to conscientiously consider what that work is, and decline to directly underwrite any evil end. In telling us to pay taxes, God is not asking us to bow before evil, meekly submitting and serving it. If they challenge us to take a stand, we must do so. As an example of this, some years ago in Malawi (Africa) the one-party dictatorship required all to pay 25¢ for a "party membership card." We would have readily given them 25¢ to spend as they saw fit, but because they officially declared it as signifying an allegiance that we did not hold, we had to refuse. "Why make an issue over a few words?" some might say. "Just mumble your ‘Heil Hitler’ and be done with it, they don’t have to know you don’t really mean it." But words mean a lot to God. Matthew 10:32-39, quoted earlier, tells us that God will not excuse us: we must openly declare our loyalty to God and his Kingdom regardless of the pressure to compromise.* (See also Matt 12:37.)

Jehovah does not accept divided loyalty. The first two of the Ten Commandments show how important this to Him: (1) "You must not have any other gods before my face. (2) You must not bow down to [any form of creation]. . . I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion."

Jesus says knowing God means everlasting life. (John 17:3) Knowing God means knowing this: a Christian cannot pledge fealty to ungodly men, saying ‘I will do anything you command.’ Or as it is sometimes put, "My country, right or wrong." This is another reason Christians have always refused to belong to the organized militaries of this world: the very first thing new soldiers are taught is reflexive obedience to orders. Any tendency to ask questions before obeying, such as might be caused by having independent moral judgment, is drilled out of them in boot camp. Submission and conformity is established and enforced by fear, team loyalty, and other psychological manipulation.* A Christian cannot allow his conscience to be subverted, or yield it to a worldly government; that would be a direct denial of God’s superior authority. (Of course, the military does not suppress all intelligent thinking ability, since such is useful to them. But try resisting an order, and you will quickly find out how much freedom you really have.)

As any combat veteran knows, the battlefield is no place for naunced moral assessments. It is shoot first or die. That is why there is so much "collateral damage" from "friendly fire." During World War II it was found that only about 20% of new soldiers would shoot to kill when ordered to do so. Their upbringing gave them a psychological barrier against taking another person's life. This caused considerable casualties when the enemy had no such inhibitions, so the military now have soldiers practice wanton slaughter with violent computer "games" similar to the popular Grand Theft Auto. Now they can boast an initial "willingness to fire," as they call it, of near 90%. A Christian sees this as a ruining of the heart and want no part of it.* Rather, they want to be part of the prophecy (mentioned earlier) ‘In the final part of the days [which is right now], God will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths. He will render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares; nation will not lift up sword against nation, they will not learn war anymore.’ (Isaiah 2.2-4) Are you letting God teach you now? Who would the opposite instructor be?

Another point: The world admits openly, "the first casualty of war is the truth." Or as Sun Tzu put it in The Art of War, "All warfare is based on deception." That of course should never be true of the Christian's spiritual warfare, but it is a practical fact for literal war. National leaders lie to the enemy of course. They also lie about the enemy, to their own soldiers and citizens. They lie to their own people about how the war is going and what cruel excesses they are committing in their pursuit of victory. The very purpose of the war may be a lie. "The glorious liberation of the Fatherland" may actually be a grab for a weaker neighbor's oil fields. How could a true Christian, who "conducts himself honestly in all things," have any part of that?* (Heb 13:18) Consider this quote from a letter of an American soldier in North Africa during WWII: "It is a very, very horrible war, dirty and dishonest, not at all that glamour war that we read about in the hometown papers. [As] for myself and the other men here, we will show no mercy. We have seen too much for that." His feelings were no doubt a response to the viciousness and duplicity of the enemy he faced, but note that this changed him to become very much like that himself.

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2 Cor 4:3, 4
If, in fact, the good news we declare is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.

Matt 26:51-53
But, look! one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest and took off his ear! Then Jesus said to him: "Return your sword to its place! for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father to supply me at this moment more than twelve legions of angels?" [Luke's account then adds that Jesus restored the severed ear. Lu 22:51]

John 17:11-16
I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name, which you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them, I used to watch over them on account of your own name, which you have given me; and I have protected them, and not one of them is destroyed except the son of destruction, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given your word to them, but the world has hated them, because they are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world. I do not request that you take them out of the world, but that you watch over them because of the wicked one. They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.

Daniel 3:17, 18
If it must be, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the burning fiery furnace, O king, and to rescue us from your hand. But even if he does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold that you have set up.

1 Pet 2:21-23
In fact, to this course you were called, for just as Christ suffered for you, he left a model for you to follow closely in his steps. He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth. When he was being insulted, he did not insult in return. When he was suffering, he did not respond with threats, but he entrusted himself to the One who judges righteously.

2 Kings 6:15-23
When the attendant of the man of the true God rose early and went outside, he saw that an army with horses and war chariots was surrounding the city. At once the attendant said to him: "Alas, my master! What are we to do?" But he said: "Do not be afraid! For there are more who are with us than those who are with them." Then Elisha began to pray and say: "O Jehovah, open his eyes, please, that he may see." Immediately Jehovah opened the attendant's eyes and he saw, and look! the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha. When the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to Jehovah and said: "Please, strike this nation with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, just as Elisha had requested. Elisha now said to them: "This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and let me lead you to the man you are looking for." However, he led them to Samaria. When they arrived in Samaria, Elisha said: "O Jehovah, open their eyes so that they may see." So Jehovah opened their eyes, and they saw that they were in the middle of Samaria. When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha: "Should I strike them down, should I strike them down, my father?" But he said: "You must not strike them down. Do you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Give them bread and water so they may eat and drink and return to their lord." So he spread a great feast for them, and they ate and drank, after which he sent them away to return to their lord. And not once did the marauder bands of the Syrians come again into the land of Israel.

Psalm 37:39, 40
The salvation of the righteous is from Jehovah;
He is their fortress in the time of distress.
Jehovah will help them and rescue them.
He will rescue them from the wicked and save them,
Because they take refuge in him.

Psalm 27:3
Though an army should set up camp against me,
My heart will not fear.
Though war should break out against me,
Even then I will remain confident.

Psalm 34:7
The angel of Jehovah camps all around those fearing him
And he rescues them.

Psalm 34:15-19
The eyes of Jehovah are on the righteous,
And his ears listen to their cry for help.
But the face of Jehovah is against those doing what is bad,
To erase all memory of them from the earth.
They cried out, and Jehovah heard;
He rescued them from all their distresses.
Jehovah is close to the brokenhearted;
He saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Many are the hardships of the righteous one,
But Jehovah rescues him from them all.

Psalm 91
Anyone dwelling in the secret place of the Most High
Will lodge under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to Jehovah: “You are my refuge and my stronghold,
My God in whom I trust.”
For he will rescue you from the trap of the birdcatcher,
From the destructive pestilence.
With his pinions he will cover you,
And under his wings you will take refuge.
His faithfulness will be a large shield and a protective wall.
You will not fear the terrors of the night,
Nor the arrow that flies by day,
Nor the pestilence that stalks in the gloom,
Nor the destruction that ravages at midday.
A thousand will fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But to you it will not come near.
You will only see it with your eyes
As you witness the punishment of the wicked.
Because you said: “Jehovah is my refuge,”
You have made the Most High your dwelling;
No disaster will befall you,
And no plague will come near your tent.
For he will give his angels a command concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will carry you on their hands,
So that you may not strike your foot against a stone.
On the young lion and the cobra you will tread;
You will trample underfoot the maned lion and the big snake.
God said: “Because he has affection for me, I will rescue him.
I will protect him because he knows my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him in distress. I will rescue him and glorify him.
I will satisfy him with long life,
And I will cause him to see my acts of salvation.”

Col 4:6
Let your words always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should answer each person. [Note: seasoned with salt, pleasant to the taste, not salty.]

Prov 15:1
A mild answer turns away even rage, but just one word that causes pain provokes anger.
Prov 25:15
By patience a commander is won over, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

Rom 12:18
If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men.

1 Pet 3:13-17
Indeed, who will harm you if you become zealous for what is good? But even if you do suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are happy. Do not fear what they fear, nor be disturbed. But sanctify the Christ as Lord in your heart, and always be ready to make a defense before everyone who demands of you a reason for the hope you have, but doing so with mildness and deference. Maintain a good conscience, so that in whatever way you are criticized, those who speak against you may be put to shame because of your good conduct as followers of Christ . For it is better to suffer for doing good, if it is God's will to allow it, than for doing evil.

Revelation 13:7-10
It [the beast that rules the world; see chapter 8 of this book] was permitted to wage war with the holy ones and conquer them, and it was given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. And all those who dwell on the earth will worship it. From the establishment of the world [of men], not one of their names has been written in the scroll of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is meant for captivity, he will go into captivity. If anyone will kill with the sword, he must be killed with the sword. These things will require endurance and faith on the part of the holy ones.

Isaiah 30:15
For this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, says: "By returning to me and resting, you people will be saved. Your strength will be in staying calm and showing trust." But you were unwilling.

Heb 10:34
For you expressed sympathy for those in prison and you accepted joyfully the plundering of your belongings, knowing that you yourselves have a better and an enduring possession.

Prov 9:10
The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Most Holy One is understanding.

Deut 19:16-21
If a malicious witness testifies against a man and charges him with some transgression, the two men who have the dispute will stand before Jehovah, before the priests and the judges who will be serving in those days. The judges will thoroughly investigate, and if the man who testified is a false witness and has brought a false charge against his brother, you should do to him just as he had schemed to do to his brother, and you must remove what is bad from your midst. Those who remain will hear and be afraid, and they will never again do anything bad like this among you. You should not feel sorry: Life will be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Romans 12:17-21
Return evil for evil to no one. Take into consideration what is fine from the viewpoint of all men. If possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but move out of the way of the wrath [of God]; for it is written: "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah." But "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this you will heap fiery coals on his head." Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.

Romans 13:1-4
Let everyone be in subjection to the superior authorities, for if not for God there would be no orderly authority, but they are set in order by God. Therefore he who sets himself against the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves. For those ruling are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you, then, want to have no fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear: for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword; for it is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath upon the one practicing what is bad.

Isa 10:5-7
Aha, the Assyrian, the rod to express my anger, and the stick that is in their hand for my denunciation! Against an apostate nation I will send him, against the people who enraged me. I will command him to take much spoil and much plunder, and to trample them like the mud in the streets. But he will not be inclined this way, and his heart will not scheme this way, for his intent will be to utterly annihilate, to cut off many nations not a few.
For he will say, “Are not my princes at the same time kings? . . . will it not be that just as I have done to Samaria and to her valueless gods, even so I shall do to Jerusalem and to her idols?” But when Jehovah finishes all his work on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, He will hold the king of Assyria to account for his insolent heart, for his proud, arrogant eyes. For he has said, “I will do this by the strength of my hand, and with my wisdom, for I am wise.”

Rev 19:19
I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage the war against the one seated on the horse and against his army.
verse 11-14 tells us which side the rider of the white horse is on: "I saw the heaven opened, and, look! a white horse. And the one seated upon it is called Faithful and True, and he judges and carries on war in righteousness. . . and the name he is called is The Word of God. Also, the armies in heaven were following him . . ."

Micah 3:9-11
Hear this, please, you heads of the house of Jacob and you commanders of the house of Israel, who detest justice and who make crooked all that is straight, who build Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with unrighteousness. Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests instruct for a price, and her prophets practice divination for money. And yet they lean on Jehovah, saying: “Is not Jehovah with us? No calamity will come upon us.”

Jer 17:5
This is what Jehovah says: “Cursed is the man who puts his trust in mere humans, who relies on human power, and whose heart turns away from Jehovah.”

Revelation 12:15, 16
And the serpent spewed out water like a river from its mouth after the woman, to cause her to be drowned by the river. But the earth came to the woman’s help, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon spewed out from its mouth.

Luke 20:22-25
They questioned him, saying, "Is it lawful for us to pay tax to Caesar or not?" But he detected their cunning and said to them: "Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?" They said: "Caesar’s." He said to them: "By all means, then, pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God."

Matt 6:19-21
Stop storing up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal. Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:31-33
So never be anxious and say, "What are we to eat?" or, "What are we to drink?" or, "What are we to put on?" For all these things the nations eagerly pursue. Your heavenly Father knows you need such things. Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these needed things will be added to you.

John 6:27
Work, not for the food that perishes, but for the food that remains for life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you; for on this one the Father, God himself, has put his seal of approval.

2 Cor 4:7-9
However, we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the power beyond what is normal may be of God and not of ourselves. We are hard-pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement; we are perplexed, but not absolutely with no way out; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed.
Isaiah 41:10-13
Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be anxious, for I am your God. I will fortify you. I will really help you. I will really hold on to you with my right hand of righteousness. Look! All those getting heated up against you will become ashamed and be humiliated. Those who fight against you will be brought to nothing and perish. You will search for them, but you will not find them, those men in a struggle with you. They will become as something nonexistent and as nothing, those men at war with you. For I, Jehovah your God, am grasping your right hand, the One saying to you, "Do not be afraid. I will help you."

Romans 13:3-6
For those rulers are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the bad. Do you want to be free of fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; for it is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear, for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword. It is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath against the one practicing what is bad. There is therefore compelling reason for you to be in subjection, not only on account of that wrath but also on account of your conscience. That is why you are also paying taxes; for they are God’s public servants constantly serving this very purpose.

Matt 10:32-39
Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father who is in the heavens; but whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens. Do not think I came to bring peace to the earth; I came to bring, not peace, but a sword. For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Indeed, a man's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and whoever has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not accept his execution post [Gr:stauron] and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his soul will lose it, and whoever loses his soul for my sake will find it.

stauron is also often translated "torture stake", a cruel and humiliating way to execute criminals in ancient times. Basically, Jesus meant we have to be ready to go to the limit for him, no what the enemy throws at us. We are his soldiers, so we cannot enlist with the opposition!

Matthew 12:36, 37
I tell you that every careless* word that men speak, they will render an account concerning it on Judgment Day; for by your words you will be declared righteous, and by your words you will be condemned.

*The original word, argon, literally means "not working." That is, no effort or care put into it, or of no value in accomplishing anything worthwhile. So here it means thoughtless, reckless, inattentive, negligent, valueless, flippant, unguarded, and so on. We expose our deeper feelings (and flaws) when we speak impulsively, without thinking. We may even surprise ourselves by what comes out of our mouth. Under pressure, our words reveal whether we are loyal to God or self-serving. and we will be judged accordingly. Standing up courageously in the face of intimidation requires soul-searching preparation. If we have not thought this through we will crumble under pressure. So words do matter.

John 17:3
This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.

Matthew 7:6
Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine, that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open.

1 Sam 21:10-15
That day David rose up and continued his flight from Saul, and he eventually came to King Achish of Gath. The servants of Achish said to him: “Is this not David, the king of the land? Is he not the one they sang about when they danced, saying, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, And David his tens of thousands’?” David took these words to heart, and he became very much afraid of King Achish of Gath. So he disguised his sanity in their presence and acted insane while among them. He was making marks on the doors of the gate and letting his saliva run down his beard. Finally Achish said to his servants: “You see that this man is crazy! Why bring him to me? Do I have a shortage of crazy men that I need to have this one acting crazy before me? Should this man come into my house?”

2 Corinthians 4:2
We have renounced the shameful, underhanded things, not walking with cunning or adulterating the word of God, but by making the truth manifest we recommend ourselves to every human conscience in the sight of God.

2 Corinthians 6:3-8
In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, so that no fault may be found with our ministry; but in every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers, by the endurance of much, by tribulations, by times of need, by difficulties, by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by hard work, by sleepless nights, by times without food; by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by holy spirit, by love free from hypocrisy, by truthful speech, by God’s power; through the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left, through glory and dishonor, through bad report and good report. We are regarded as deceivers and yet we are truthful,

1 Thessalonians 2:3-5
For the exhortation we give does not arise from error or from uncleanness or with deceit, but, just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the good news, so we speak to please, not men, but God, who examines our hearts. In fact, you know that we never used flattering speech or put on any false front with greedy motives, God is witness!

The review questions are linked to the last section of multi-part chapters.

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Army Lt Gen Harold Moore writes: "Most wars are costly mistakes whose causes are rooted in the failure of diplomacy and poor judgment in national leaders. It is far easier to get into a war than it ever is to get out of one." See also this excellent commentary on the price of war. (The author has no affiliation with this site.)

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The reason he willingly submitted to this death is explained in Chapter 5.

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Deduced from the advice "sell [your] outer garment and buy one." If he meant it entirely for what happened that same night, that would not make sense. Of course, they couldn't buy a fancy sword for the price of an overcoat. It would be more like a cheap machete, good for cutting brush and killing snakes. And maybe causing a would-be mugger to look elsewhere for easier prey. They would only use it against an attacker as a last resort.

A specific instance of this was prophesied at Revelation 12:15, 16. It is possible that the defeat of Nazism in World War II fulfilled that prophecy.

Not to mention Satan will see to it that you are tested again and again until you finally have to say "No more!" If you have been compromising your conscience to get by up to that point, your opponents will see your weakness and push that much harder. That is not a happy place to be.

This link to Wikipedia on "basic training" is enlightening.

Here is a link with more information about the harmful effects of violent games: How Violent Video Games Are Exemplary Aggression Teachers.

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This is not to say that a Christian must never lie. The scriptures give examples that show it is permissible to deceive an enemy who has proven that he would only use the truth to do violence to the truth. It is not reasonable to "spill the beans" (pearls) before swine who will then turn around and rip you open. However, this is a tightly proscribed exception: we must be truthful even to our enemies, insofar as we can be sure that they will not misuse it. We can never deny God, even to protect ourselves. Nor could we lie to induce anyone to put faith in God's truth; that would be a self-defeating contradiction. —Matt 7:6 (see also 1 Sam 21:10-15; 2 Cor 4:2, 6:3-8 and 1 Thess 2:3-5).