Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
February 24, 2018
Last Updated :
February 25, 2018
Introduction: Parkland, Florida School Shooting, Purpose Of This Article, First Century Disciples Were Never Instructed To Take Up Weapons, God's Divine Protection, Spiritual Armor For Spiritual Warfare, Christians Do Not Engage In Physical Warfare, Live Peaceably With All Men, Dangerous And Violent Times Of The First Century, Persecution Of The First Century Church, Apostle And Disciples Never Fought Back Physically, Render To Caesar What Is Caesar's, Be Subject Unto The Higher Powers, Responsibility Of Government To Bear Arms And Protect Its Citizens, Sword Incident In The Garden Of Gethsemane, Was Jesus Condoning His Followers Taking Up Weapons For Defense?
This current article is the result of the ongoing heated debate which has been raging online -- and elsewhere -- as a result of the tragic school shooting which took place only ten days ago on February 14, 2018 -- Valentine's Day of all days -- at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The young shooter -- nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz -- killed seventeen individuals before he was apprehended by the authorities. As I explain in my related article entitled "School Shootings: The Second Amendment Controversy", the main part of the debate centers around the right of American citizens to keep and bear arms, while simultaneously finding a way to put an end to these horrible school massacres, but without infringing on that same right.
While the aforementioned article deals with the failures of the U.S. government -- such as the FBI and other agencies and individuals -- exposes the tactics of the gun lobby and their followers, and offers what I believe to be sensible solutions to this problem, this current article is directed more to Bible-believing Christians, and delves into the Bible in order to determine exactly how we should view the right to keep and bear arms. So without any further delay, let's get into it.
It is an undeniable fact that nowhere in the New Testament do Jesus or the Apostles instruct their followers to take up weapons for the purpose of self-protection, or for fighting against their enemies. Quite to the contrary, they taught the exact opposite.
Throughout the Bible -- such as in Psalm 91, for example -- we are constantly taught to trust solely in the Lord for our protection. There are so many verses which confirm this point that I cannot possibly list them all here. However, consider the following:
"The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence . . . As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him."
2 Samuel 22:3, 31, KJV
"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
Psalms 18:2, KJV
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
Psalms 20:7, KJV
"The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
Psalms 34:7, KJV
"Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
Psalms 55:22, KJV
"I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust . . . A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee."
Psalms 91:2, 7, KJV
"Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield."
Psalms 115:11, KJV
"The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?"
Psalms 118:6, KJV
"[A Song of degrees.] I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore."
Psalms 121:1-8, KJV
"The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe."
Proverbs 29:25, KJV
"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him."
Proverbs 30:5, KJV
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
Isaiah 41:10, KJV
"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Romans 8:31, KJV
As many of you will already know, in Ephesians chapter six, the Apostle Paul also advises us to put on the spiritual Armor of God. That is the only weaponry we are supposed to use, besides prayer, of course. Other verses in the New Testament also inform us that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. We are NOT engaged in physical warfare like the children of the world. Consider the following verses:
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Ephesians 6:10-18, KJV
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12, KJV
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:3-4, KJV
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"
2 Timothy 4:7, KJV
"Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin."
Hebrews 12:4, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
To reiterate our main point, according to the Scriptures, we Christians are not supposed to own weapons of any kind -- such as firearms -- and we are not supposed to engage in the physical warfare of the world. After all, we are not of this present world. We are not the Children of Darkness. We are in reality the Children of Light who belong to the Kingdom of God. As such, we are to be peacemakers and not warmongers. We find further evidence of these solid Biblical truths in the following verses:
"Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."
Matthew 26:52, KJV
"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
John 18:36, KJV
"For though we walk in the flesh, WE DO NOT WAR AFTER THE FLESH: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, KJV
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
Psalms 20:7, KJV
In short, as the Apostle Paul also advises us, we should strive to live peaceably with all men, as we can determine by the following verse:
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
Romans 12:18, KJV
Sadly, despite the truth which is revealed in the previous verses, some American Christians still insist that they ought to be able to keep and bear arms -- a right which is granted to all Americans by the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights -- because we are living in dangerous and evil times. However, do you honestly believe that times were less dangerous, or less evil, during the time of Jesus and the Apostles?
The fact of the matter is that during the First Century, Roman corruption and violence, as well as Jewish corruption and violence, was terrible. Israel was an oppressed nation, and the Apostles and Disciples were heavily persecuted by both the Jews and the Romans. Despite the harsh reality in which they all lived, the followers of Christ were never instructed to take up weapons in their defense. To the contrary, they endured constant harassment and persecution, they were beaten, they were thrown in jail, and they were murdered by their wicked enemies. I discuss this topic in other articles such as "Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution". For the time being, consider the following verses:
"But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls."
Luke 21:12-19, KJV
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."
John 15:18-21, KJV
"Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison."
Acts 5:17-18, KJV
"When they [the Jews] heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him [Stephen] with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison."
Acts 7:54-8:1-3, KJV
"Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."
Acts 12:1-4, KJV
"And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks."
Acts 16:19-24, KJV
"For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:"
Acts 24:5, KJV
"I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities."
Acts 26:9-11, KJV
"For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day."
1 Corinthians 4:9-13, KJV
"But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;"
2 Corinthians 6:4-5, KJV
"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."
2 Corinthians 11:23-27, KJV
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
2 Timothy 3:12, KJV
"I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth."
Revelation 2:13, KJV
"And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."
Revelation 6:9-11, KJV
"And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."
Revelation 18:24, KJV
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
Revelation 20:4, KJV
Clearly then, despite everything which they were forced to endure, the Apostles and Disciples of the First Century did not take up arms of any kind, and they did not fight back. They in fact went as lambs to the slaughter, in the same manner as Jesus had done before them.
Furthermore, Jesus, and the Apostles Peter and Paul, clearly inform us that not only are we Christians supposed to submit ourselves to the ruling authorities of this present world, but they also tell us that it is the government in authority which is supposed to bear arms, keep the peace, and punish the evil doers. That of course includes dealing with these mentally unstable, maniacal people who commit these horrific mass shootings. These tasks are not the responsibility of the normal citizenry, and they are most certainly not the responsibility of we Christians. Consider the following set of verses as evidence of these points:
"Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."
Matthew 5:25-26, KJV
"They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
Matthew 22:21, KJV
"And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him."
Mark 12:17, KJV
"And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."
Luke 20:25, KJV
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."
Romans 13:1-5, KJV
"These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men."
Titus 2:15-3:2, KJV
"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king."
1 Peter 2:11-17, KJV
Before concluding this article, there is one more set of verses which I need to share with you. I have purposely saved them for last, because certain people -- including some of my Christian friends -- have not properly grasped their meaning, or the primary message which I believe the Lord was trying to convey through this particular incident. These verses are the following:
"Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough . . . And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him."
Luke 22:36-38, 50-51, KJV
"Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
John 18:10-11, KJV
"And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"
Matthew 26:51-54, KJV
As you can see, following the Last Supper, Jesus instructed His Disciples to sell their garment, and to purchase a sword in its place. In response, we are told that the Disciples then presented Jesus with two swords, to which the Lord said "It is enough". Sometime later, the above-noted incident in the Garden of Gethsemane occurred, and Jesus was betrayed.
The reason why we need to discuss these verses is because in our recent online discussions regarding the tragic Parkland, Florida school shooting, a number of gun-owning Christians have pointed to this incident in the Gospels, and used it as their justification for owning and using firearms. So the big question is this: Was the Lord condoning His followers taking up weapons against their enemies, or to use for their own self-defense? This is a question which I will answer as we continue this discussion in part two.
Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.
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