What does the Bible say about war?

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2Many assume the Bible is against war. However, God often ordered his people, the Israelites, to go to war with other nations (1 Samuel 15:3; Joshua 4:13). War is never a good thing, but sometimes it is a necessary thing. In a world filled with sinful people (Romans 3:10-18), war sometimes cannot be avoided. Sometimes the only way to keep sinful people from doing great harm to the innocent is by going to war.

In the Old Testament, God ordered the Israelites to “take revenge on the Midianites for [the Israelites]” (Numbers 31:2). Also, 1 Samuel 15:18 says, “Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites until they are all dead.” Obviously God is not against all war.

Some people say, “Surely Jesus is against war?” Jesus, as God himself, is always in perfect agreement with the Father (John 10:30). God didn’t change his mind in the New Testament. God does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). In fact Jesus’ return will be very violent. Revelation 19:11-21 describes the ultimate war with Christ, the conquering commander who judges and makes “righteous” war (v.11). It’s going to be bloody (v.13) and gory. The birds will eat the flesh of all those who oppose Him (vv.17-18). He has no compassion upon His enemies, who He will completely defeat and send to a “fiery lake of burning sulphur” (v. 20).

It is clearly incorrect to say that God never supports a war. In a world filled with evil people, sometimes war is necessary to protect our country, homes and families; and to prevent even greater evil. If Hitler had not been defeated during World War II, how many more millions would have been killed?

War is a terrible thing. But it can also be necessary. Christians should not desire war, but neither are Christians to oppose the government God has placed in authority over them (Romans 13:1-4; 1 Peter 2:17). The most important thing we can be doing in a time of war is to be praying for godly wisdom for our leaders, praying for safety when we’re in a contact zone, praying for quick resolution to conflicts and praying for a minimum of casualties among civilians on both sides.

— Chris, an Our Daily Bread reader

 2 people have responded to this question.
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