Biblical Look At Gun Control
Elder David Green
(revised on 11/13/2010)
"When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils." (Luke 11:21-22).
Debates are raging across the country in congressional halls and even in churches about the role of guns in our society. Some would have more gun control while others will have less.
We live in a time when, perhaps more than ever the right to keep and bear arms is very important to us. Let’s face it, we are living in very dangerous times. Our country is at war with an enemy that is not bound with one country…a faceless enemy that could fight an endless war. And this war could get personal at any given moment. If and when that does happen, I do not expect my local police department or even the military to protect my wife and child. When seconds count, even your local police are “only” minutes away! I am thankful today for the right to keep and bear arms in order to protect my family.
Now I know there will be some who read this and think to themselves that they do not need a gun because God is sovereign and in control. Yes, I believe that God is sovereign but I also lock my doors at night. I have health insurance, car insurance and house insurance. Why? Because I also believe in man’s total depravity and human responsibility. Even David, when he met Goliath, told him “…the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hands” (I Samuel 17:47). Yet when David went out there, he did not go without his stones and his sling. God did deliver Goliath, but David had his part too.
Many today feel that Christians ought to be pacifists. They think that the Bible teaches this. And by using a few verses taken out of context, they make it seem that we ought to never defend ourselves. But let us look at some things from the Word of God.
Back into our text, our Lord and Saviour illustrated the importance of being armed. It has been said “An armed society is a polite society.” Studies have shown time and time again that criminals prefer unarmed victims.
Let’s look at some examples from the Bible.
"And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus." (Genesis 14:14-15).
Abram armed himself and 318 of his servants to free his nephew who had been captured. Can you imagine the horror if a Christian man did that today? Did Abram get rebuked for such actions? Some might assume so, but notice:
"And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all." (Genesis 14:19-20).
"Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies." (Numbers 1:2-3).
God commanded Israel to raise and train an army for national defense. Notice how God told them to do it – every man 20 years and older. In other words, every man was responsible for their defense.
The USA has a volunteer army, but every individual is responsible for defending their own homes and firesides. Notice the text of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Ohio’s constitution says “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.” Notice, I have a right to keep and bear arms for my defense and security. The liberals say that should be left to the local law enforcement. While they are good and I am thankful for them, what good are they when they are a few minutes away? In New Mexico, we lived four miles down a dirt road in a canyon. We needed the police there for a non-emergency and the 911 dispatcher asked for directions! That sure didn't make me sleep easy at night!
"And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them?" (Numbers 32:6-7).
were some who did not want to fight. Pacifists have been around for
thousands of years. Moses rebuked them for shirking their duty and
not being prepared for war.
"And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the LORD to war, And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the LORD, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him, And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD. But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out." (Numbers 32:20-23).
In fact, a refusal to fight was labeled as sin!
"And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi. And he was sore athirst, and called on the LORD, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof Enhakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day." (Judges 15:14-19).
Here we read of Samson, who slew 3000 Philistines. No, he was no pacifist. Some would say how “sinful” it is to pick up a weapon to use against another person. Not only did Samson do this, he did it when the Spirit of the Lord was upon him and God gave him much needed water afterwards.
"Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:" (Psalm 144:1).
The Psalmist, David, here thanks the Lord for teaching his hands to war. There are those who think that all violence is bad, and all war is bad. They definitely think all fighting is bad. But David thanked God for teaching his hands to war and his fingers to fight.
"Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me." (2 Samuel 22:41).
Here we find David thanking the Lord for giving him the necks of his enemies...Not so he could kiss them or hug them, but he was thankful that he could destroy them.
"Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." (Hebrews 11:34).
In this, the chapter of faith, we read of those who “waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” No pacifist is included here! These were folks who were not afraid to take a stand and fight when necessary for their God, homes, families and their countries.
"Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses." (Nehemiah 4:13-14).
Like the people of God back then, we can (and should be) armed and ready to defend our families, our homes, and our country!
"And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon." (Nehemiah 4:15-17).
Being heavily armed in no way hindered the work of the Lord. And neither does it hinder God’s work today.
"If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him." (Exodus 22:2).
Just two chapters past Exodus 20:13, we read this passage. If a thief is found “breaking up” – doing the things that thieves do, if he dies there will be no blood shed for his life.
New Testament Examples
"For I am the LORD, I change not..." (Malachi 3:6).
God does not change. The God of the Old Testament is the same God we serve!
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." (Matthew 5:17).
Jesus made it clear that He did NOT come to destroy the law or the prophets. By His coming the Old Testament was fulfilled but not destroyed.
"I and my Father are one." (John 10:30).
Some people forget this and they seem to think of the Father as being the wrathful God of the New Testament and Jesus as the pacifist of the New Testament.
The question is, was Jesus a pacifist like so many claim?
"And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." (Luke 22:35-36).
Note the importance our Lord placed in sword-ownership: If they did not have a sword, sell their garment to buy one! Now, three things about this –
He was talking to His apostles.
The commandment is still there, and I believe He would say the same about guns as He did about swords. If you do not have one, sell your garment and get one!
The pacifist will either ignore this passage or explain it away. Many of them will say the reference to sword here is totally figurative and what is meant here is the "sword of the Spirit." This makes no sense to me and actually causes more questions that it gives answers. For instance:
"Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:10-11).
Peter learned that it was not the time for violence at that moment. Note that our Lord did not rebuke him for having a sword. He did not tell him to get rid of it, he simply told him to put it in its sheath….ready for another time and another place. In modern days, Peter might have had a handgun and he would have been told to put it in its holster. Some may run to Matthew 26:52-53, where Christ says to Peter, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” But then these people neglect to also read verse 53, where He says, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” He did not teach the pacifist doctrine that we hear of in our modern age!
In fact, we can look to the Lord’s life and find he was no pacifist:
"And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise." (John 2:13-16).
Jesus Himself used violent force to drive out the money-changers from the temple. Can you imagine the outcry of the pacifists? Would they accuse our Lord of sin? The fact that He used such an instrument as a scourge tells me that yes, there are times to use weapons against other people. And in fact, we have here a clear example of Jesus Himself bringing a weapon into the Lord's house!
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." (Romans 12:18).
What we find in the pages of the Bible is that, yes we ought to live peaceably with all men. That implies what there may be times when it is not possible to live peaceably. Our first choice should always be to go the other way…to avoid trouble if possible.
"But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1 Timothy 5:8).
Many will quote this verse and talk about financial provisions. Certainly the man who refuses to provide for his family their material NEEDS is worth than an infidel. But this providing goes way beyond the money. What about insurance? What about love? How about protection?
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Colossians 2:8).
No, this is not popular among many in the religious world. Some even go so far as to say that a Christian is not a true Christian if they have a gun.
The point of this message is to point out that guns are not bad. They are inanimate objects and cannot be either good or bad. A gun is a tool that can be used for good or bad. A knife can be used as a murder weapon or as a tool for surgery. And a gun can be used to protect the innocent or kill the innocent.
The right to keep and bear arms is a Christian duty given to us by our Creator!
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