Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

On War

I suppose from God’s viewpoint, the whole question would be simply answered. We do not have that answer laid out for us in the Bible in any one place. Consequently, our different systematic theologies on war are not simple; they are either complicated or simplistic. The following, I am fairly sure, is not God’s simple answer, but if I thought it was far off, I would not write this.

“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven” (Revelation 12:7, 8). Here was a war between absolute good and absolute evil. I am going to make a deduction. It may seem obvious, but it is still deduced. Evil is a required participant in order to have war. Michael would not fight against Gabriel. Good would not war against Good, nor will Evil fight against Evil: “and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” (Jesus in Matthew 12:26).

There is a great spiritual war going on. It started in Heaven and will end on Earth in the very short conflict described in Revelation 20:7-10. In the meantime, people are in this spiritual war; in fact, we are the objects over which this conflict is raging.

To get back to my deduction, it takes evil in order to have spiritual war. The spiritual war has been going on for a long time. Satan is in it; his angels are in it. Everyone born on this earth is in it. The rest of creation is in it. God and His angels are in it. There is no discharge until we go to be with the Lord. There is no such thing as a conscientious objector. There is no place to go. As in the Vietnam War of the mid-20th century, there is no Canada or Sweden. There are no neutral nations.

Physical war on this earth is part, a major part, of this spiritual war. Physical war, therefore, also requires evil (James 4:1, 2).

Although Satan will not fight against himself, evil nations will war against evil nations because evil nations are made up of people, and this is part of Satan’s war against the Lord. Also, Satan will have evil nations fight against relatively righteous nations or absolutely righteous nations as in that last great conflict. “And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Revelation 20:9).

We have several instances in biblical history where God did all of the fighting and God’s people were passive. The first is that wonderful Exodus from Egypt where Moses promised the people, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still” (Exodus 14:14), and later in the chapter, “The Lord routed the Egyptians in the midst of the sea” (Exodus 14:28). And in Moses’ song of victory, he sang, “The Lord is a man of war.”

The second is Jehoshaphat’s victory in II Chronicles 20:20-23. The third is Hezekiah’s victory in II Kings 19:35, 36.

And, of course, there is that final one yet to come, where “fire came down from Heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire.”

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