36 Arguments Against Christian Pacifism

Matt. 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

Primary Thesis: Messianics may use violence to defend themselves and their Religion against Tyrannical Governments or private persons. (Gen.14,1 Sam. 14:44-45, Prov. 24:11-12, Luke 22:36).

Psa 149: 5 Let the godly ones exult in glory; Let them sing for joy on their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand, 7 To execute vengeance on the nations And punishment on the peoples, 8 To bind their kings with chains And their nobles with fetters of iron, 9 To execute on them the judgment written; This is an honor for all His godly ones. Praise the Lord!

“for we may defend ourselves against many whom we must not pray against, to wit, our private enemies, for whom we are commanded to pray: yet nobody will deny but we may resist their violence: and likewise, we are commanded to pray for kings, when invested with God’s authority; but when their degeneration looses us from that obligation to pray for them, and allows us to pray against them when they turn enemies to God (as we see in the prayers of the psalmist) then also we may more warrantably resist them by defensive arms.”

Alexander Shields, A Hind Let Loose, 715

The following is based on A Hind Let Loose Head V by Alexander Shields.

First, I would like to say that our view of defensive arms condemns rising in arms over private injuries as David’s killing of Saul would have been. (1 Sam. 24:10, 12, 13; 1 Sam. 26:9-10). We condemn rising in arms to force the government to be of our religion if that government has not already covenanted. But, if a government has apostatized from a religious covenant, that government may be assaulted by whatever means necessary to bring it back under that lawful covenant. If a government has deliberately defiled religion by force of arms, the covenanted people of God may defend their religion and their rights against force by whatever means necessary, even violence proved from Scripture:

1. Abraham violently resisted the King of Sodom; and may I remind the reader that this was before the Jewish theocracy. Gen. 14:12-16.

2. Violent resisting of a King by Othniel, which said King was brought as judgment upon Israel, thus the people of God may resist God’s judgments. Judges 3:10-11.

3. Another King violently resisted, and assassinated by Ehud, which said King also was Yah’s judgment on Israel. Judges 3:12-23.

4. A group of men, aligned with violent rebellion, rebuked the followers of Jephthah for not conducting rebellion without leadership and are routed for it. Thus, Yah blesses rebellions who have no noble or government leadership if it is done according to his word. Judges 12:1-6.

Kiel & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament states,

“Jephthah’s War with the Ephraimites, and Office of Judge. – Judges12:1. The jealousy of the tribe of Ephraim, which was striving after the leadership, had already shown itself in the time of Gideon in such a way that nothing but the moderation of that judge averted open hostilities. And now that the tribes on the east of the Jordan had conquered the Ammonites under the command of Jephthah without the co-operation of the Ephraimites, Ephraim thought it necessary to assert its claim to take the lead in Israel in a very forcible manner.”

5. Sampson who recognized the occupation by the Philistines took upon himself to terrorize the Philistines even though his own countrymen had sold out to the rule of the Philistines, thus the will of God over rules the will of the people. Judges 15:4-20.

6. Some traitors to their race, their nation and their ancestors say that we may resist when the government makes us sin but that is all. On the contrary, the people of God resisted their King Saul’s tyrannical legislation because he had no authority to oblige an oath on his people. To abstain from honey is not a sin yet the people lawfully resisted him. It was their right and moreover their duty to use force in preserving life. Thus, the popular idea that Messianics should submit to authority and rebel only if the government forces them to sin is inaccurate. 1 Sam. 14:24-46.

7. David took Goliath’s Sword to defend himself against Saul. 1 Sam. 21:9. Rutherford complains,“Royalists make David’s act of not putting hands on the Lord’s anointed an ordinary moral reason against resistance, but his putting on of armour they will have extraordinary”. (Lex Rex, 169) David’s coup is mentioned in 1 Chron. 12:23-40.

8. The prophet Elisha commanded violent resistance to the messenger of a King come to oppress the people of Yah. 2 Kings 6:32

9. Abstinence from violent rebellion against tyranny is cursed. Judges 5:16-23

10. Yah promises deliverance from absolute oppression by violence. Gen. 49:19, Deut. 33:20.

11. Yah blesses overthrowing wicked tyrant rulers. Isa. 14:1-6.

12. Defensive violence is defended by precept in the Torah. If some tribe is violently hostile toward our tribe, we can return the favor. Num. 25:16-18.

13. Violence may be pursued when a city of one’s own covenanted nation has lapsed into apostasy. Deut. 13:12-16.

14. Violence may be pursued to rescue those being oppressed unjustly. Prov. 24:11-12, Isa. 1:17-23.

15. Yah gave a command to his people to deliver themselves from tyranny. Zech. 2:7. This runs contradictory to those who say that we must wait for God to deliver us supernaturally.

16. Messiah commanded his disciples to provide themselves with a sword for defense. Luke 22:35-36. Notice how the context includes literal, physical objects needed for everyday life. This is no spiritual metaphor.

17. To wish for violence to be done to belligerent enemies of Yah is encouraged in the imprecatory Psalms and these imprecations are continued in the New Covenant. Gal. 1:8, 5:12, Acts 8:20, 23:3.

18. Yeshua command to love our enemies, Matt. 5:43-47, is operating off of Lev. 19: 17-18, Exo. 23:4, Prov. 24:17, and 25:21-22, which commands love, patience and long-suffering towards a fellow countrymen who has personal strife with you. This is not a commandment to love someone who has inter-tribal strife with you and wants to genocide your religion and your race.

19. Yeshua’s command in Luke 6:27-36, and Matt. 5:38-39 to not resist evil or a man smiting us on the cheek cannot be used to justify narcissistic martyrdom. A slap on the cheek is not a fatal blow. It is an insult. Yeshua is teaching us to overlook minor insults. In Matt. 5:38 Yeshua is correcting the Rabbinic abuse of Exo 21:23-24, which denoted the right of the Civil Magistrate to punish crime. The Rabbinic use was to use this passage to justify personal vengeance for inter-personal wrong-doing. When in fact, the Torah was not justifying vigilante violence, but establishing the rule for Civil justice by the hands of Magistrates. There is no passage in the Torah that states “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” It isn’t there. The pacifist must interpret this chapter as Yeshua’s condemnation of the Torah when in fact it is Yeshua’s condemnation of Rabbinic Theology.

20. Yeshua’s command to his disciple to hold back his sword in Matt. 26:51-52 was due to his special mission to die for the elect. It was not a rule for regular human life for he states, “53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” clearly denoting that violence is warranted in justified circumstances, but, “54 How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” Thus when Yeshua says “for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword”, this cannot be an absolute condemnation of violence but a condemnation on unjustified violence.

21. Paul’s statements in Rom. 12:14-21 cannot be used to justify pacifism. How do we know this? Because in verses 19-20 he justifies his teachings on the Torah and the Tanach. In verse 19 he quotes Deut. 32:35, but we all know Yah did command vengeance on the Midianites in Numbers 31! In verse 20 he quotes Proverbs 25:21-22. Clearly Paul is rooting his teaching in the Tanach and not inventing a new rule. The Torah commands an individual man, to love countrymen even if he hates you, and to look over personal injuries. It does not command self-martyrdom, or the allowing of the genocide of one’s race and religion.

22. The life of Yeshua cannot be said absolutely to be a rule for our lives because only he was commissioned to die for the sins of the elect. It was his special mission. We do not have authority to forgive sins or practice bringing the dead back to life. Obviously, there are portions of his life we do not have the commission or ability to perform. Thus, when Yeshua asks the Father to forgive those who killed him, Luke 23:34, this is not a regular rule for human life. Do these people seriously suggest we remove the crime of murder from our law books and courts? Some will say, yes, we oppose the death penalty! But is that what Yeshua meant by forgive? Did he mean, “Father do not put these people to death for they know not what they are doing?” No. He said forgive them. According to the Pacifist position, there is therefore no grounds to punish crime at all.

23. The adulterous woman account in John 8:1-11 cannot be used to justify pacifism. First, the Pharisees presented to Christ a straw man example. The law required both the adulterer and the adulteress to be put to death and the conviction required at least two witnesses.

“Lev 20:10 ‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Deu 19:15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

Deu 22:22 “If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.”

Second, I haven’t yet found a passage in the law that actually commands stoning for adultery. Stoning is mentioned in Duet 22 but it is for a different case. The death penalty was certainly commanded but stoning was not specifically commanded. And thirdly, this account isn’t even in the older manuscripts such as Codex Sinaiticus or the Peshitta.

24. 2 Cor. 10:3-4 also cannot be used to justify pacifism. All Paul’s meaning is that his apostleship is not to convert people through carnal means. We do not force or trick people into becoming believers. The Muslims and Charlemagne were wrong in this attempt to convert people by the edge of the sword. This does not mean that all uses of force are wrong.

25. Pacifists will try and use obscure examples of pacifism successfully manipulating weak minded men, yet for every example they give us we can give them ten to the contrary, such as,

“The Hurons were a Native American tribe who lived in the Great Lakes region. Their pacifism resulting from their conversion to Christianity by Jesuit priests rendered them defenseless against assaults by other tribes. In a series of attacks, their traditional enemies, the Iroquois, succeeded in massacring nearly every Huron. ‘The Last Huron Syndrome’ came to encapsulate French Canadian fears of cultural extinction.”

The Dynamic of Secession By Viva Ona Bartkus, (Cambridge University Press, 1999), pg. 88

Matt. 7:16 “You will know them by their fruits.”

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So far from Christian Pacifism the New Covenant establishes the contrary: Dominionism.

26. Yeshua’s Commission is Theocracy:

Mat. 6: 9 “Pray, then, in this way, ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

27. Yah’s warning to the nation that will not serve Yah’s Son:

Isa. 60:12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations

28. Yah’s prescription of Theocracy in his holy Torah was an example to Gentile nations and was not abrogated by Yeshua (Mat 5. 17-19).

Deut. 4:5 “See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. 6 So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? 8 Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?

29. The benefits of the New Covenant include social peace and political and religious liberty:

 

Luk. 1: 67 And his [John the Baptist] father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit,and prophesied, saying: 68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant—70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—71 Salvation from our enemies, And from the hand of all who hate us; 72 To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant, 73 The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, 74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.

30. This is applied in the times of the Messiah’s mediatorial reign, namely, from his resurrection to end of the age:

1 Cor. 15: 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?

31. Yah commands secular rulers as rulers to worship him, submit to his Son and serve his congregation or face judgement:

Psalm 2: 7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’” 10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the Lord with reverence And rejoice with trembling.12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Isa. 49: 23 “Kings will be your guardians, And their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth And lick the dust of your feet; 

Deu 18:12 “For whoever does these are an abomination to יהוה ,and because of these abominations יהוה your Elohim drives them out from before you.

Exo 12:12 ‘For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments–I am the LORD.

Jer 46:25 The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, says, “Behold, I am going to punish Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt along with her gods and her kings

Jer 51:47 Therefore behold, days are coming When I will punish the idols of Babylon;

32. The Messiah’s Kingdom rules with divine jurisdiction over the Kingdoms of men beginning with the flourishing of the gospel under the Roman Empire not in some future Jewish Theocracy:

Dan. 2: 44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

Luk. 22: 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Yeshua, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a stake. 31 He is the one whom God exalted [Past tense] to His right hand as a Prince 

Rev. 1:5 and from Yeshua Messiah, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth

Eph. 1: These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put [Past tense] all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the congregation, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

33. The Renewed Covenant declares that the Government is instituted to promote good and punish evil. Good and evil can only be defined by the Bible.

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who

34. The Messiah’s first coming was intended to destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:8 The Son of God appeared [Past tense] for this purpose, to destroy the works of the

35. The Scriptures describe wicked rulers as a curse to the people as a general principle not simply for the Jewish Commonwealth:

Prov. 29:2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan.

36. The New Testament condemns pluralism and religious toleration:

Eph. 5: 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.

The typical response to this passage is that we can live among the wicked without actually participating in what they are doing. This is incredibly naive. All one has to do is look at your paycheck and see where much of your money is going. It is going to wicked politicians and their constituency who hate your Elohim and your Messiah

Matt. 12: 30 He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Those who teach that men, and especially Messianic men do not have the right to defend themselves with violence should not be considered Messianics but traitors to their country and to Yah. They are doing little else than preparing us for invasion.

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