Two men were talking about their wives: Larry: “We had a tough quarrel yesterday but finally she came crawling to me on her hands and knees.” Ken: “What did she say?” Larry: “She said, ‘Larry, you come out from under that bed and fight like a man!'”
As a man was walking the streets of Belfast at night, he was grabbed from behind and a knife was forced to his throat. “Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?” his assailant asked. The man carefully considered his dilemma. He did not know if his assailant was Catholic or Protestant. If he said the one his assailant was not, he might be killed. He played it safe: “I am a Jew!” he said. His assailant jubilantly answered, “I must be the luckiest Arab terrorist in all the world!”
Isaiah writes that in the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
I believe that this time period is what we call the “Millennium” or “The 1000 Year Reign of Christ.” It is a special time in which Christ is present. Isaiah says of this time, The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. It is a time that follows the Great Tribulation in which the world has faced a great deal of pain, death, and confusion. The Tribulation is a time of great war in which millions of people die. Rev 14:20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia. That valley is 200 miles long!
The problem of pain, of war and the horror of war, of poverty and disease is always confronting us. But a God who allows no pain, no grief, also allows no choice.
There is little unfairness in a colony of ants, but also there is little freedom. All of which invites the question, “Where does God stand on the issue of war?” Is war morally acceptable or not?
The Washington Post once reported that the Department of Defense was testing two anti-vomiting drugs that it hoped would allow soldiers, for a short time after a nuclear attack, to continue to perform their mission before they would ultimately die of radiation. In a period of time when we have the ability to destroy the whole earth, it is a good question. The command, “You shall not murder.” Does it apply in all circumstances?
To answer all of these questions we must address three issues! The moral and ethical issue to the individual on violence. The moral and ethical issue of the government to wage war. The moral and ethical boundaries of all governments.
The moral and ethical issue to the individual on violence. Violence perpetrated by an individual was never acceptable! No individual has the right to take the life of another individual, it was strictly forbidden by God!
The moral and ethical issue of the government to wage war. The New Testament makes it clear that God not only allows governments to exist but even ordains them.
At no time did Jesus ever encourage the over throw of the Roman government (it was not important as to whether it was just or unjust). Peter writes, Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. Does this mean that the Bible gives permission to the government for capital punishment? Yes! Does this mean that the government has the right to press people into the armed forces and wage war? Yes!
The moral and ethical boundaries of all governments. A government is only ordained of God that seeks justice and peace. A government that seeks evil loses the blessing of God. A government that wages war to protect its territorial integrity is well within the governments god given rights. On the other hand, a government which wages war to advance it domain, is not within its rights.
The tragic situation in Yugoslavia invites the question of what is right and what is wrong. All of these people live so close to each other and yet they are all so different. Bosnia is mostly Muslim, but not very religious. Croatian are mostly Roman Catholic but not very religious. While Serbia is mostly Eastern Orthodox, the people are not very religious.
As long as it was a territorial issue then the United States should not have been involved. The problem, “ethic cleansing.” The inability of the minority to defend itself and the ability of the majority to try to wipe out a whole race or culture of people. Unfortunately, yes. The United States and all countries of any power must be an instrument of world justice. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Are we a nation of our brother’s keeper? Yes! The world has grown far to small for us not to be.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.