|Bearing the Sword
©February 2006 by Asher Intrater
The Bible makes a distinction between "taking up arms" and "bearing arms." Understanding this difference has wide implications on the political situation in the Middle East.
Yeshua (Jesus) warned His disciples, "All who take up the sword will die by the sword" - Matthew 26:52. Armed rebellion is not the way to bring the kingdom of God.
The scriptural principle is that power must always be submitted to legitimate authority. Weapons are a kind of power and they must be submitted to a legal government.
In the time of the destruction of the Second Temple (the generation of Yeshua's disciples), bands of zealots rose in rebellion against the Roman Empire. Although those efforts seemed patriotic, Zionistic, and Messianic, they were not of God.
They can be compared to the rebels in the time of Jeremiah who rebelled against the Babylon Empire and even killed Gedaliah, the appointed governor of Judah (Jeremiah 41). Wrongly directed religious zeal can actually end up bringing the wrath of God.
On the other hand, legitimate police and military forces are part of the ministry of the kingdom. "For he is God's minister to you for good…he does not bear the sword in vain" - Romans 13:4. All of our children serve in the Israeli army, and we consider that as part of their service to God. One of the characteristics of terrorist groups is that they refuse to bring their weapons under authority, even the authority of their own government.
Police have guns and criminals have guns. However, there is no moral equivalency between them. This does not mean, of course, that governments cannot become reprobate. If the government is evil, so will their military be evil.
An evil government and its military may bring about a war, and be judged by that war. However, there is a difference between an evil government that needs to be overthrown and the need of a legitimate government to demand submission and control of weapons.
When Israel first became a State, Prime Minister Ben Gurion demanded that all the independent militias within Israel must surrender their weapons to the newly formed Israeli Army. At the famous Altalena incident, Ben Gurion even ordered a ship under the control of Menachim Begin to be bombed and sunk since they refused to submit their weapons to the government.
Danish Cartoons and Islamic Jihad
1. He has fought the two worst tyrants of our generation – Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.
As holding the most powerful political position in the world, I believe he should be an important focus of support in our prayers. If his support is undermined, what do evangelicals think the alternative would be?