Preparation for War and Peace
[Disclaimer: The quote below is taken from the Dictionary of Doctrine website. When I originally posted the excerpt below I purposely did not include a link to the source. The reason for this is that I recognized the materials to be taken from the work of R.B. Thieme, Jr. The Dictionary of Doctrine site provides no attribution that I know of and, knowing that R.B. Thieme, Jr., Bible Ministries is very vigilant in protecting their copyrights, I didn’t want the site to “go away.” I ended out discovering that the owner of the Dictionary of Doctrine site had modified some of Colonel Thieme’s teaching in a way that would have made him apoplectic. I notified some people who are associated with R. B. Thieme, Jr., Bible Ministries of the existence of the Dictionary of Doctrine site. The site is still there and I have no idea if any action will ever be taken by R. B. Thieme, Jr., Bible Ministries against it.]
This week’s post is another in a series about the Laws of Divine Establishment and deals with a believer’s responsibility in a time of war. I have heard R.B. Thieme, Jr. (a.k.a. Colonel Thieme) teach this subject many times and it is one that makes Christians of a pacifist bent angry. I don’t think that other people’s irritation proves a point one way or another. However, whether people agree or disagree with what is said here they do need to grapple with the scriptures regarding war.
Two points come to mind here. First, notice that many of the scriptures in this excerpt are from the Old Testament. I have read many Christians who claim that everything changed with Christ’s first advent and that such warlike rhetoric is not appropriate for the Christian. I agree that some things changed with the first advent but I won’t agree that everything did. We are no longer bound by the Law of Moses but by the Law of Christ. I don’t see where the passages quoted are part and parcel of the Mosaic Law.
No nation on the earth today has a purpose like that of ancient Israel. When I think about it I can’t help but conclude that Israel was commanded to follow commands from a perfect God who is perfectly righteous. How can a proper, biblical, approach to war and peace change without God’s righteousness also changing? I just cannot see that happening.
The other thing that comes to mind is I have read a lot of chatter about Roman Catholic “Just War Theory” in the last ten years. From what little I know of it I believe that it is very different from what I am providing below. Without knowing the premises that Just War Theory is built on I cannot make a definitive statement about it but I believe that it does not take much of the Old Testament into account or somehow says that it isn’t relevant. This is a question I have thought about reading up on but I have finally decided that it isn’t worth my time if it takes me away from studying the scripture directly.
Here is this week’s lesson:
Preparation for War and Peace
To insure peace, you must be prepared for war! Instead of disarmament, the objective of any intelligent nation is to be well prepared and well armed. Only those individuals living in a fool’s paradise encourage disarmament, antiwar demonstrations and the burning of draft cards! They have misapplied certain Scriptures and completely distorted others. In any generation, righteous violence is absolutely essential for the preservation of national freedom.
In another period of Jewish history, when Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, the nation was only a small group of people, disarmed and surrounded by enemies. Threatened from the north by the Samaritans, from the southwest by the Philistines, from the east by the Moabites and from the south by the Edomites and Arabs, the Jews were in desperate straits. Nehemiah, an administrator under the King of Persia and a brilliant military genius, had been granted leave to aid his stricken people. He immediately organized a Jewish Army for the defense of Jerusalem while the reconstruction of the crumbling walls was in progress. When the army was assembled, he addressed the troops in order to inspire battlefield courage.
When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, (Nation) your sons, your daughters, (Family) your wives (Marriage) and your houses.” (Freedom — volition)(Neh 4:14)
Though physically outnumbered by the enemy forces, the Jews had a vastly superior strength on their side the Lord of the Armies, Jesus Christ. “…If (Since) God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31) Was Nehemiah’s battle cry! If Jesus Christ did not hesitate to kill the enemy, neither should they! Then Nehemiah reminded them of the Divine institutions, which are the ONLY motivation for justified warfare: their nation — Divine Institution Number Four; their families Number Three; their wives — Number Two; their homes — Number One — the Divine Concept of freedom and privacy and the right, (Volition) to follow a course of life as Law-abiding citizens.
Many of you men, as believers in Jesus Christ and as members of an authorized military unit, will engage in combat with Communists. At that time, I want you to remember this Precept: when you, filled with the Spirit, kill the enemy, you are fulfilling your Christian responsibility! You are protecting your wives, your sweethearts and your country, and both you and they should thank God for every one you kill. Never return home with a guilt complex. The profession of arms is an ancient and honorable calling.
When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had frustrated their plan, then all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work. (Neh 4:15)
A prepared national military heads off enemy aggression. The only way to avoid war is to be adequately equipped in advance! Understandably, man desires peace, and his freedom is best expressed in times of peace; but the manner of achieving and maintaining that peace has been the subject of much debate throughout history. Disoriented, unrealistic and demonic individuals advocate peace through capitulation to the enemy; they assume they can usher in world peace by good will. Yet, despite man’s efforts for peace, warfare will continue until the Millennium; (Matt 24:6; Mar 13:7; Luk 21:9) therefore, for the preservation of nationalism, war is an inevitable, indeed, an essential part of history.(Num 21:14; Eccles 3:8)
No nation ever achieved a more impressive record for maintaining national peace than the Romans, who enjoyed several periods of over one hundred years without war. Why? Because of their total military preparedness! Tacitus, a Roman historian, explained the power and strength of SPQR: “The tranquility of a nation is not preserved without arms. The troops cannot be maintained without pay, and their pay cannot be made good without taxes.” Taxation, a bona fide function of government, is the source of support for a military organization. “Pax Romana” (The peace of Rome) meant not only peace for Rome but for all its client states and provinces as well. As a result, the Augustan Age sponsored the second great cultural surge of Western European civilization.
Armies can defend freedom with righteous violence or destroy it with unrighteous violence. National sovereignty, freedom and integrity inevitably depend on the winning army and, as a rule, the superior force! In (Jer 12:12) the Chaldean Army was destroying the freedom of the Jews; in, (Jer 34:7) the Jewish Army was struggling to defend their liberty. When the Chaldean Army emerged victorious, Jewish freedom became a page in history. (Jer 40:1-3)
A portion of Divine judgment against a nation is military defeat, which accompanies the fifth cycle of discipline and the enslavement of the people. There is always a decline in the military establishment before this judgment occurs. The fifth cycle of discipline was administered to Assyria in 612 B.C., but the Assyrian military had been deteriorating for thirty years. The Chaldean military, was in the process of decay since the death of Nebuchadnezzar in 562 B.C., and was easily subdued by the Persians in 539 B.C. The same was true for both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Thus, when a nation’s armed forces are demoralized and unprepared, the nation is in grave danger of losing in war and forfeiting the freedom of its people.
Since freedom is secured on the battlefield, universal military training is a vital factor in national survival. (Num 31:3-5; Neh 4:1-23; Luk 14:31) Initially, the Jewish nation subscribed to universal military training; but with the passing years, the reduction in forces (RIF) gradually depleted the army until it virtually ceased to exist!
How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance. (Psa 89:15)
There is double happiness to the nation which continues to respond to the call to military preparedness. The plural of the Hebrew noun ASHERE, “happinesses,” has a two-fold meaning. First, the security derived from universal military training raises the quality of young men in any generation. The service regimen can take a “wimp” and transform him into a real man! Why? It teaches him the self-discipline, team-discipline, respect for authority, polish and poise so necessary in life. Second, if the quality of the men is improved, the women are blessed by association. Military training is futile if the men in the nation are degenerate, apostate and antiestablishment, full of emotional revolt and scar tissue. Under these conditions of the soul, self-discipline and respect for authority are nonexistent; consequently, the idea of a volunteer army becomes ludicrous. Although there are many fine people serving in VOLAR, it cannot meet the communist threat of the present hour. Every able-bodied American man, from eighteen years on, should spend a portion of his life learning the military skills. This is the only answer to our military problems today.
There are two ways by which a nation is preserved in a crisis: the victorious action of the military and or the existence of Spiritually mature believers. When the military is unable to function because of the evil policy of national rulers or because of general apostasy from reversionism, the only hope for the nation lies in a maximum number of Spiritually mature believers. Jesus Christ controls history, and His direct intervention preserves mature believers who have been faithful in taking in the Word, as expressed by the last half of, (Psa 89:15). If the nucleus of mature believers is large enough, the entire nation is delivered. (Psa 46:8-10; Eccles 9:13-15; Isa 28:4-6; Isa 37:31)
“…Walk in the light of Your countenance” in (Psa 89:15) is a transition from the military Concept of universal military training to the Spiritual factor in preserving a nation. There is a relationship between the military establishment and Spiritual progress. Enlistment in the service is analogous to entrance into the Plan of God through Salvation. Once you enlist, you are in full-time Christian service! Advance in the military is achieved by learning to respect authority — first, from the drill instructor. In the Spiritual life, advance is accomplished through concentration on the message of your Spiritual authority, the pastor-teacher. Both require self-discipline which — in the Spiritual realm, is the assimilation of the Mind of Christ — Divine Thinking — Truth. Each generation must learn discipline and authority to perpetuate both national and Spiritual greatness.
Military defeat on the battlefield is an indication of the lack of self-discipline, Spiritual incentive, motivation for courage and respect for authority, which are the essential components in the perpetuation of freedom. Failure of the military can also be an index of the character and stability of the population of that national entity. In fact, God often uses the military in action to demonstrate the Spiritual and moral degeneracy of a nation, as in the conquest of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. Sometimes defeat will come to the nation which fails to correctly interpret history as well as current events. This factor, coupled with the overruling will of God, explains the decline of certain military forces throughout history that otherwise had superb leadership.
In his last words, Nathan Hale, symbolizing the spirit of patriotism, left a noble heritage for all Americans when he courageously declared, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country!” Those who understand the Laws of Divine establishment know it is better to die with honor on the field of battle than to be a slave — or worse!
 Just so no one gets the wrong idea I would like to mention once again that this is not my original work. I believe that it is based at least in part on the work of R.B. Thieme, Jr who did excellent work on the laws of divine establishment (I link to his site in the sidebar). I am providing the information here because I firmly believe it is important for it to reach a wider audience.