A Voice in the
As this is being written (5/31/03) the government is happy today. They've finally nabbed their man... Eric Rudolph, charged with the bombing at the 1996 Olympics and others of abortion clinic/s and gay bars, killing two and injuring 100. Been on-the-run, hiding out in the forests of the eastern states. Self-proclaimed member of the "Army of God" that is of the "Christian Identity" persuasion: anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-semitic (denying the Nazi holocaust of Jews during WW2 ever took place), anti-foreigner, white supremacist, etc.
Somebody else from this "Army of God" e-mailed me a few weeks ago, raking me over the proverbial 'coals' for the VW January,95 commentary labelling Paul Hill, the self-proclaimed 'executioner' of baby-murdering doctors, as a "criminal", not a "martyr".
It's been awhile. Let's address this subject again. While the daily murder of babies by the thousands is a holocaust in its own right, how do Christians address the matter? While sodomy, lesbianism, sex-change and cross-dressing is reprehensibly contrary to everything in nature, and is an "abomination" (Lev20:13, Deu22:5) before God, is it the Christian 'mission' to take up arms and set explosives to their hideouts to kill them?
For all the time he spent travelling throughout the Roman empire on his missionary journeys, seeing its perversities and idolary, which also included the killing of newborn babies by the thousands, Paul did not go around killing the heathen. When Demetrius stirred up a mob against Paul because the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ was having an economic impact on their trade in crafting idols, the (unsaved) town clerk expresses, "..these men here...are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess." (Ac19:37) While his "spirit was provoked within him" (Ac17:16) as he observed the world around him, he practiced what he preached: to be "subject to the higher authorities" because he understood that "there is no authority except from God". (Rom13:1)
When Israel was conquering the land of Canaan, notice that they utterly destroyed only those within their immediate vicinity, for the purpose that they not serve their gods, that idolatry might thus not become a "snare" to them. (De7:16) Cities at a distance away (De20:15) they could take captives and plunder, but the ones 'where' Israel was to settle, they were to leave "nothing that breathes remain alive". (vs16) Israel's function was supposed to be, to create a "holy nation" (Ex19:6) in the midst of the earth "to proclaim the praises" of God to the world. (1Pt2:9)
This so-called "Army of God" calls themselves the "Church of Israel". But they are NOT. Apparently they have presumed for themselves (while under the authority of "Rome") what God had commanded Israel to do (when they were a theocracy under God). Remember: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesarís, and to God the things that are Godís." (Mk12:17) But also again, like we observe and repeat regularly: The nation of Israel is over there in the middle-east, visible every evening on the news. Isn't it mind-boggling how an entity like this, that hates Jews so much, can take on the name "Israel" for itself!
God desires for all to come to repentance. (2Pt3:9) How can they repent before God and receive Jesus for salvation, if they've been killed? Certainly mankind is sinful; but they need saving...not killing (at our hands). Jesus said of the "sinner" woman who anointed His feet that she "loved much" because her sins which were "many" were forgiven when she repented. (Lk7:47) According to Jewish Law, when Israel was not under Roman domination, such a woman should have been taken out and stoned to death. But Jesus did not condemn her. In another case where a woman was brought to Him, having been caught in sin, Jesus replies, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." (Jn8:11)
As Christians we are "lights" in this world. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world..." (Mt5:14) He did not say that we are judge-and-executioners. That is God's domain. "Jehovah kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and brings up." (1Sa2:6)
Certainly, those who murder babies should receive God's justice, "whoever sheds man's blood (including the unborn Ex21:22-23)...by man his blood shall be shed..." (Gen9:6) Certainly, sodomy is detestable to God; He calls it an "abomination" (Lev20:13, De22:5) But God did not charge Lot with Sodom's destruction....He brought Lot out of Sodom, so that -God- could destroy it. Yes, a murder was to be avenged by the next-of-kin avenger (Num35:19), but God's law also provided for the case to first be heard by a judge and jury ("congregation" Num35:24-25)
This nation is presently so skewed around backwards that it infringes on personal choice regarding things like seatbelts and helmets, but takes away the choice of the unborn by allowing their brutal, barbaric slaughter; thus, the judge and jury need cleansing. But that is God's jurisdiction, because the powers that exist are ordained by God. Even heathen Nebuchadnezzar came to understand that "the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of men, and that He gives it to whomever He desires." (Dan4:32) God is not "slack" concerning His judgment (2Pet3:9), and proclaims, "Vengeance is Mine, and recompense..." (Deu32:35, Rom12:19)
But God also has His own 'schedule' by which He will bring everything about. Like the glorious work, one of the Bach cantatas, "God's time is best, yea is best of all" because "in Him live we, move and have our being" (Ac17:28) "...yea, as long as He wills". Job observed: "For the wicked are reserved for the day of calamity; they shall be brought out on the day of wrath." (Job21:30) And as God is chiding Job, He proclaims, "Have you entered the storehouses of snow, or have you seen the storehouses of hail, which I have reserved for the time of distress, for the day of battle and war?" (Job38:22-23) God has it all planned, and will take care of this world's evil, and repay sinners for their perversity...in His 'own' good time.
So therefore, notice that the so-called "Great Commission" does not include words similar to: Go ye into the perverted world and kill off all the fag queens and baby killers. (Mk16:15) Jesus came, not to condemn, but to give life; to "save the world". (Jn12:47) And as His messengers and representatives, that is our commission also. As Paul sums it up: "to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me." (Ac26:18) If we are busy bombing and shooting them to death, how does that fulfill Jesus' order to "disciple them" and "teach" them? (Mt28:19-20)
Now... just in case anybody wonders about the Scriptures this so-called "Army of God" uses, if you've read any of their publishings... When one goes to their website, the opening Scripture proclaims, "Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?" (Ps94:16) Is that not a call-to-arms against this world's evil? Is that not God's call to believers to "fight"?
Let's take a quick look at that passage, and see how they have "twisted" (2Pt3:16) the Scriptures. If we look at the context, -who- (exactly) is saying those words? Is it God? No! It's the psalmist. Notice that in the next verse, the one speaking references "Unless Jehovah had been my help, my soul would shortly have dwelt in silence. If I had said, My foot slips, Your mercy, O Jehovah, holds me up." (vs17-18) The -call- is for 'who' to help 'whom'? For Jehovah to help man. It is -NOT- God's call for man to take up arms. In that, the so-called "Army of God" is -NOT- "rightly dividing the Word of Truth". (2Tim2:15)
Further down their web-page they quote: "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." (Is6:8) This is the passage where God calls Isaiah to be a prophet. And notice what Isaiah's mission is: to "Go and -TELL- this people..." (vs9) There is not one single thing to Isaiah for him to take up sword and spear, raise an army, and start killing people.
Why? Because God's desire to unregenerate man is: "Come now and let us reason together, says Jehovah: Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Is1:18)
No...! Christians are not to be, "Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war..." as Rome did (and later, the Reformation), with the sign of the cross, going forth to conquer. (What an utterly horrendous song, that should be ripped out of all hymnals!) Our citizenship is "in Heaven" (Php3:20), and the weapons of our warfare against the powers in the "heavenlies" (Eph6:12) are "not carnal" (of this earth) but spiritual through God. (2Cor10:4)
The world is doing that which comes to its sin nature, in its depravity. They are like swine behaving as such, "wallowing in the mire". (2Pt2:22) When they murder unborn babies, they are doing what their pagan depravity drives them to do, to fulfill their natural lusts. When they pervert their lustful activities to do contrary to God's design for the "male and female" (Gen1:27), they are doing as their empty hearts drive them. When they are "without hope and without God in the world" (Eph2:12), having that empty void in themselves, and when they do not recognize or accept the fact that God through Christ can fill that void; they branch out and 'experiment' in their attempts to find contentment. Always out seeking "new things", because they do not possess "Godliness with contentment" (1Tim6:6) What they need is a "new nature" in Christ (2Cor5:17); and how could that possibly happen if Christians were out killing those for whom Christ died?
The Christian responsibility at present is to proclaim "Jesus Christ and Him crucified". Paul would not get embroiled in "anything..except" that. (1Cor2:2) He proclaimed, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who is believing, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Rom1:16)
And leave the vengeance and "army" stuff to the One coming on the white horse... "And I saw Heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war" (Rev19:11)... ourselves... keeping busy about the task He gave us to do, not presuming upon ourselves to do Christ's job....
"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts." (1Cor4:5)