God's Laws on Military Service--Part 2
Apr 29, 2008
It is plain from Scripture that God understands our weaknesses as human beings. He does not condone sin, of course, but knowing our imperfections and weaknesses, He has given certain laws (commands and rules) to govern those weaknesses. In fact, if it were not for our imperfections, no law would have been necessary, for all men would do what is right by nature. Paul says in 1 Tim. 1:9, 10,
" (9) realizing the fact that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murders, (10) and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching."
After Adam and Eve brought sin and death into the world, God also recognized that it would take time to re-create the new creation man through the last Adam (Christ). It took 6 days to create Adam. It takes 6,000 years to re-create this new man.
This re-creation takes place in a progressive manner. Man is not perfected all at once. Neither can man evolve into perfection by his own works, self-discipline, or knowledge. It requires the Spirit of God in him to bring him into perfection. This takes place in three stages, prophesied by the three feast days, and applied in their historical context. The Passover Age extended from Moses to Christ. The Pentecostal Age took us through 40 Jubilees of time to the year 1993. And now we are finally coming into the Tabernacles Age at the end of the sixth "day."
The point to be made here is that during this progression, God found it necessary to take into account our weaknesses. So He gave us laws to restrain the flesh until such time as the New Covenant could be fully manifested, where no man would have to teach his neighbor, because all would know God perfectly. As long as there exist "those who are lawless and rebellious," the law will remain in effect to restrain the evil tendencies in the hearts of men.
In the progression of the Kingdom, God instituted an Old Covenant, requiring men to vow obedience to God and His law as a precondition for blessing (i.e., salvation). The Old Covenant was designed to fail, of course, but it was designed to make it clear to mankind that he could not be saved by his own will or his own ability to fulfill his vows before God. God always seems to let the flesh fail first, in order to make this point. Only then are our hearts prepared to let God work.
Within this context, we see the divine laws regulating warfare. Fleshly warfare is necessary only because there is lawlessness in the world. Secondly, as I have shown, it is necessary only because men do not yet understand spiritual warfare. Fleshly warfare is never truly successful, because victory merely suppresses evil by fear of death and does little or nothing to change men's hearts.
Look at the American Civil War. The result of this war, after killing a half million men (many of them Christians on both sides), the South was forced to set free all black slaves. The law was enforced, but the hearts of men remained largely unchanged. Slavery was replaced by racism, hatred, and resentment. This condition prevailed, even though the South was known as the Bible Belt.
The only real change comes when men's hearts are changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. This comes, not by fleshly warfare, but by spiritual warfare.
When Israel at Sinai refused to hear the law and have it written on their hearts, they received the law on tablets of stone. It was an external law imposed upon their flesh. It had no ability to change the hearts of the people, because the carnal mind remained at enmity with God. In essence, the imposition of righteousness by external force was an exercise of carnal warfare against the flesh. It could restrain evil by fear, but it lacked the power to change the hearts of men.
Only those who availed themselves of the measure of the Holy Spirit that was given in those days were able to progress beyond their fellow men. This was a Passover Age, and God had made available the first measure of the Spirit to them. God did many marvelous things with that small measure of the Spirit, and the men of faith listed in Hebrews 11 showed the effects of the Spirit's influence and inspiration.
Israel was offered more, but rejected it nationally when they refused to hear His voice (Ex. 20:18-21). For this reason, they were left with carnal swords by which to conquer Canaan. The Passover Age was characterized by an Old Covenant fleshly method of restraining evil and imposing righteousness externally by force and fear. It also meant that God's help in overcoming the Canaanites took the form of divine help as they used the physical sword.
But in no way should we be satisfied with that measure of the Spirit. The Pentecostal anointing in Acts 2 gave us an increase in the measure of the Spirit, and it again offered the Church the sword of the Spirit. At first, they accepted it gladly, and by this sword, the Church conquered kingdoms and subdued unrighteousness by changing the hearts of men. Gradually, however, the Church as a whole lost its true sword and then replaced it with the same carnal sword that Israel had desired under Moses and Joshua.
God did not bless the Church's carnal sword as much as He blessed Israel's sword under Moses. The Church under Pentecost had more responsibility than did "the church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38). They had a greater anointing available to them, so they were more accountable to God. No doubt there were times when men prayed that God would bless their swords, and God heard their prayers. But this should in no way be taken as divine approval. It was a mere accommodation by the mercy of God.
We are today faced with a clash of civilizations and religions (Christianity and Islam), and many have been quick to grab their carnal weapons of warfare to resolve this issue. Yes, there is a clash, and yes, it is a problem. But most people do not understand the situation, because they have not studied the history of the Kingdom of God. They do not realize that God raised up Islam to judge the Church.
Gregory I, bishop of Rome from 590-602 A.D., warned that if any Roman bishop were to lay claim to the title of "Universal Bishop," and assume authority over the other bishops, he should be called "antichrist." He saw the trend and was the last Roman bishop to denounce it. But shortly afterward (606), Boniface III was ordained Bishop of Rome. Cormenin tells us in his History of the Popes, Vol. 1, p. 134,
"This proud pope was the first who dared to bear the title of universal bishop, so long refused by the Roman pontiffs to the Greek patriarchs. . . . and the popes raised themselves from obedience to despotism."
This is about the time that Mohammed began to get his "revelation," and he began preaching Islam in 612 A.D. just six years after the presumptuous declaration of Boniface III. When man's flesh rises up, God will raise up fleshly opposition to judge it. This situation has evolved into the present conflict. The solution is not to develop better weapons of war, but to stop using the fleshly sword, seek the face of God, and ask Him where WE went wrong.
This is the true repentance that God is seeking. I pray that He will have mercy upon us and give us what He never gave Israel--"a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear" (Deut. 29:4). When that day comes--and it will surely come--Muslims will see the power of the Spirit, and will lay down their carnal swords and join with us as brothers in Christ.
This is the final part of a series titled "God's Laws on Military Service." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones