I wonder these days what the 4th of July means to the average American. For many it for sure is a welcomed holiday from work, and a wonderful excuse to pig out at picnics and watch fireworks with the kids at night. All good clean American stuff.
But that is not the true and glorious celebration of the 4th of July. The 4th of July, if it is anything meaningful, is a festival of freedom and a celebration of national identity. It marks that time in blood when “One Nation Under God” threw off the yoke of religious bondage and embarked on the perilous pilgrimage of religious freedom. The 4th of July marks an adventure in faith, and not just a mere gesture of rebellion. The new nation then raised as its standard not just a flag, but the Declaration of Independence which is rooted in Scripture.
For others, and this would be perhaps the majority, the 4th of July has become over the years more and more a generalized patriotic event. It is an opportunity to demonstrate that we are good Americans, proud of our country and our flag. That is all good and loyal stuff too, but it falls far short of what this American holiday is all about.
If we are to celebrate it meaningfully and correctly, we must attach it to a very specific war, and to all of the American wars that followed over the years. The Revolutionary War was waged based on a decision that was painfully, reluctantly and agonizingly reached – to break loose from paternalistic and religious bondage. It was more than simply the tyranny of British taxation. It was all about protecting the promised land of religious freedom and self-determination. The cry for freedom became a battle cry against the foreign invasion of an enemy state that was no longer their home. They were now home, and protect and preserve their new homeland they must, even if meant dying by the terrible swift sword of war.
We celebrate their victory elaborately, and all the bloody victories that followed, each and every hallowed “Fourth of July.” The cry for freedom in this world always includes a war cry, and the American flag, our emblem of freedom, waves in the breeze and is proudly declaring if you listen to it closely:
“FREEDOM! THERE IS NOTHING LIKE IT! GIVE IT TO ME! I MUST HAVE IT.THERE
IS NO COST TOO HIGH TO PRESERVE IT, EVEN IF MEANS THE FLASH
OF THE TERRIBLE SWIFT SWORD AGAIN AND AGAIN!”
Sadly and tragically, for many this is now merely ancient history, safely embalmed in the ever dimmer and only slightly respected past. Just like the ever-fading Declaration of Independence which is no longer allowed to be taught in America’s public schools and is no longer a document for daily use and reflection. Rather it has become over the decades a less and less revered showpiece. It is now a relic of the undefined, mistaught and now untaught past in which soldiers dead and alive were freedom’s heroes, but who are now being viewed as victims and not victors of needless wars.
This one nation under God is divided if not fragmented into opposing factions when it comes to fighting for freedom’s cause at home and in the world community.
Someone once said that all nations grow selfish in prosperity. So true! They become spoiled, self-satisfying and presumptuous, unwilling to pay the bloody price of freedom across the earth. They lose their sense of responsibility to those in the global human family who are being butchered, raped and massacred at the hands of freedom’s fiendish enemies.
1. A NONE-WAR WORLD IS IMPOSSIBLE
Very desirable to be sure, but not very realistic! Or is it? The cries for world peace echo in most human hearts throughout the ages. Here are some of them – Peace brother, spread the word! Spread that love and say war no more. Let’s come together! Smores not wars! Wage peace not war! Everybody around the world just take a deep breath and play nice. Let’s try preemptive peace! Will work for peace! War is expensive, but peace is priceless! O say can you cease! Anything war can do, non-violence can do better! T-shirts and bumper stickers trumpet the peace cause to this very moment.
However, the best laid peace plans and peace treaties of men are so often beat up by gangs of ugly facts and people. King David was thinking about that too when he in frustration and futility bemoaned that reality in Psalm 120:6-7,
“TOO LONG HAS MY SOUL HAD ITS DWELLING WITH THOSE WHO HATE PEACE.
I AM FOR PEACE, BUT WHEN I SPEAK, THEY ARE FOR WAR.”
It staggers the mind but it is true nonetheless. Never have David’s words been truer than in our world in our day! There are not only those who are for war, but they are warlike! That is, they are the essence of a warring mentality and spirit. Hamas! Hezbollah! Al-Qaeda! Terrorists groups who drink human blood around the world for no other reason than that they love the taste. Their thirst for man’s blood only increases as they drink it. Bloodaholics! Demonized maniacs whose only purpose in life is death! Murderers not by choice but by an inner fiendish compulsion! They are unable even to speak the word peace. It doesn’t exist in their vocabulary. Hear that! Welcome to the 21st century world. I look at this world, and I pray for my children and my grandchildren.
And so the Al-Qaedites slaked their blood-thirst from 3000 fellow humans who had done absolutely nothing to be considered their enemies! And so the Nazis slaked their blood-thirst from 6,000,000 Jews who had done them no hurt or harm whatsoever. It doesn’t make any sense. It boggles the mind, staggers the imagination and haunts the heart. But facts are facts! New York City law enforcement agencies process between 15 and 20 terrorist threats, not a year, not a month, not a week, but a day!
In the film The Bridges At Toko-Ri, Admiral Tarrant concludes the film by remarking about the incredible courage and bravery of those under his command with these now famous words, “Where do we get such men?” Today, we are forced to wonder in horror at the terrorists and ask, “Where do we get such fiends?” Well, where do we?
The Devil is called some telling things in the Bible which should send up a bright blood-red flare. In John 8:44 Jesus says about His archenemy and ours:
“…HE WAS A MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING….”
Murder is not only what Satan does, but who Satan is! Murder is both his mind and his masterpiece. And as we recall, the first trophy that he won in his murdering madness was Cain’s slaying of his brother Abel. From then on he has painted history blood-red. If sin had not entered the world, it would have never known murder or killing.
Now you know where we get such fiends. Mass murderers such as Adolph Hitler! Bloodthirsty terrorists such as Osama bin Laden! Serial killers such as Ted Bundy! Now there are the classroom killers, the family annihilators, the paramilitary sociopaths, and the disgruntled workers. Satan has many faces, but all of them are blood spattered and stained.
All of this must be seen clearly against the backdrop of Satan’s venomous hatred for man! Man was created in the image of God, and when Satan sees man, he is reminded of the God Who he could not dethrone and Who threw him out of Heaven. That’s the long and the short of it. The Devil’s hatred of us dates back to our very creation.
It didn’t take him long to unleash his murderous rage against man. That is his rap sheet, a murderer from the beginning! It is his business, and he works hard at it. It is his recreation, and he takes great delight and finds great pleasure in it. Every human is an eyesore to him, and every holy human begins his hell before his time. The Devil hates us passionately as men, but much more as redeemed men.
So then, as long as Satan is roaming loose to and for over the earth (I Peter 5:8), there will be those bloody wars, those bloodthirsty terrorists, and those blood-spilling gangs in the inner cities. It is Satan’s modus operandi, as he sinks the poison of his venomous hatred into the minds and souls of mankind who he wants dead, buried, and in Hell with him one day to suffer like he suffers. That is why a no-war world is impossible in this life.
Speaking therefore of sinful and Satanically-driven mankind over the centuries, the Apostle Paul pretty well sums it up in Romans 3:15-17,
“THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN
THEIR PATHS, AND THE PATH OF PEACE HAVE THEY NOT KNOWN.”
There will be incessant wars on earth as long as the Devil is at war with God and man. While we can have peace with God and peace in our consciences through Jesus Christ, universal peace on the horizontal level must wait for the next world.
As the real clincher, add to all of this the foreboding prophecy of our Lord in Matthew 24:6,
“AND YOU WILL BE HEARING OF WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS….”
Allow me to quote from my book Is God With America? On page 35 we read, “First of all, the proliferation of wars – wars in the plural. There has never been a time in the history of the world like today. Since World War II, planet earth has not known one 24 hour period of peace. There had not been one day, but that there has been a war being waged somewhere. Jesus quickly adds in the same verse, ‘see that you are not frightened, for these things must take place….’ Why not be frightened? Because the Lord commands us to be unafraid! More than that, it is all controlled within the plan of God. Otherwise He could never say, ‘These things must come to pass.’ The warmongers cannot strike a blow unless permitted by the arm of God. The ‘Divine Ought’ leaves nothing to chance.”
And finally on this point, add to all of this the relentless conflict between Isaac and Ishmael – the Jewish people and the Palestinian people. Here not only do we have the hateful dispositions of men, but added to it the contrary religions and “Gods” of men, Jahweh and Allah!
Quoting again from Is God With America?, this time from page 34, “This reminds me of the story of three great world leaders – Golda Meir, John F. Kennedy, and Nikita Khrushchev. These three world leaders decided to request a meeting with God in which each of the leaders could ask God one question, any question that they wanted to ask. Khrushchev was first, and he asked God, ‘God, will there ever be peace between the United States and Russia?’ God answered, ‘Yes, but not in your lifetime.’ Next, John Kennedy asked God. ‘God, do you think that there will ever be peace between white and black people in the world?’ God answered, ‘Yes, but not in your lifetime.’ Finally Golda Meir got the chance to speak. She asked God, ‘God, do you ever envision peace between the Jews and the Arabs?’ God replied, ‘Yes, but not in my lifetime.’”
2. SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT
That is God’s command to us in Psalm 34:14,
“DEPART FROM EVIL, AND DO GOOD; SEEK PEACE, AND PURSUE IT.”
We must pay diligent heed to those words which are stated in different ways throughout Scripture. Even though there have always been and always will be in this world people who when they breathe, fire shoots of out of their nostrils and mouths. If they didn’t release the built up acid and rancor in their systems from time to time on others, they would have to have constant enemas.
But that does not give us the right to avoid or ignore the paramount principle in the Bible that peace must be our priority pursuit at all times. The Scriptures affirming this are overwhelming, and we must allow them to be inscribed upon our minds, as well as burned deep in our hearts. We hear God’s command down through the ages in Romans 12:18,
“IF POSSIBLE, SO FAR AS IT DEPENDS UPON YOU, BE AT PEACE WITH ALL MEN.”
Listen America, seek and pursue peace not just with Jordan, Pakistan, and Egypt etc., but with Iran, North Korea, and Syria etc. With all men! “Seek global peace,” commands the Lord. And pursue it, which means taking the initiative of peace-seeking diplomacy with our enemies. Otherwise, pursuing peace has absolutely no meaning. I am afraid that peace-seeking and diplomacy have become nice sounding clichés in our day, but no more than that!
Surely, it may appear that the diplomatic pursuit of peace with some of the mad-dog snarling leaders in the present world is a futile proposition. However, there are no exceptions to God’s peaceful diplomatic imperative! All men! Granted it is not in our power to create peace with all men, but it is our duty to pursue it with all men. We are not in the long run responsible for their behavior toward us, but we are totally responsible from the get-go for our peaceful behavior and overtures toward them. That is the meaning of the words, “So far as it depends upon you.” No matter how nut-cake they might appear to be!
If our first effort and priority is not peace, then we are in effect war-makers and not peacemakers. And the peacemakers are the ones who receive the greatest blessing of all, for they and only they are the sons of God. God’s kids by nature are peacemakers and not war-makers. So we read in Matthew 5:9,
“BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS, FOR THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF GOD.”
If we are not first of all peacemakers, we will be in fact war-makers and sons of the Devil. This is the either-or choice and not a multiple choice issue with God. It may surprise some in this regard, but I feel that Senator Barack Obama, though I strongly disagree with him on many vital issues, sounds and looks more like God’s son than does President George Bush or Senator Hillary Clinton when it comes to pursuing peace diplomatically with America’s and the world’s enemies. Yes, that includes Kim Jung Il of North Korea and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. Senator Obama pledges to reach out to them personally and sit down with them in the pursuit of peace in the world. Is that a stretch? Of course it is! Huge! But we are commanded to stretch out our arms to them as far as we can! So far as it depends on you! In other words, by all means!
President George Bush’s arms have been far too short, and his international diplomacy, except most recently with Israeli-Palestinian relationships, has been for all points and purposes non-existent. That is why former Secretary of State General Colin Powell had such a pathetically understated role in the Bush Administration, and eventually quit. It is the major failure of George Bush’s presidency.
Why more particularly are the peacemakers called the sons of God? Frankly it is because the peacemaker alone is looked upon by history as a gift from Heaven and not a curse from Hell. Peace is Heavenly, and war is Hellish! Everyone looks upon the peacemaker as a Heaven-sent national and international blessing. Only the demented and deranged prefer war-making to peacemaking. If the peacemaker is a son of God, then he who belligerently incites war is a son of the Devil.
Yes I know, you have heard it before many times, but hear it again, “War is Hell.” John Worth, a Lutheran pastor, tells of watching a one-act play when he was a child. The plot of this play was centered around a submarine crew in World War II trapped in their submarine at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Desperate, they decided that if there was a body floating on the sea, with a note in its pocket describing the desperate situation, it might be found and they might be rescued.
Lots were drawn as to who would be chosen to be ejected through the torpedo tube. This would bring certain death to the individual, but the slimmest possible hope to the crew. A young sailor was chosen, but in his fear he refused the assignment. Finally, another older soldier volunteered for the mission. The play ended with the young sailor abandoned by his crew mates, and all of them sitting in leaking compartments, while you could hear the sound of the torpedo tube being ejected. The horror of war encapsulated in a submarine.
Is anyone besides God all for diplomacy by all means first? Of course, only God would purely and primarily want to carry out peacemaking diplomatic efforts with His enemies. That is why He sends out missionaries to the world calling it to peace with Himself through the blood of Jesus Christ. It starts with a heart of love, and God is love! (I John 4:8,16) That is why Jesus commands us in Matthew 5:44,
“BUT I SAY TO YOU, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, AND PRAY FOR THOSE
WHO PERSECUTE YOU.”
And in this connection we must hear the following diplomatic principle loud and clear, read it closely, and let it sink in deeply, and pray for its fulfillment:
“ALL TRUE PEACEMAKING IN THE WORLD ALWAYS BEGINS WITH THE LOVE OF
THOSE WHO ARE BEING HATED, AND NOT WITH THOSE
WHO ARE BEING HATEFUL.”
Get it wrong here, and we will get it wrong everywhere. Our tendency is to repay in kind, i.e. to hate the haters, tit for tat. God is not that way! He is not first of all a tit for tat God! He is a love for hate God! Romans 8:7 tells us that by nature every man is hostile toward God! If you will, every man by nature has enmity in his heart against God. In short, man hates God! And it is that very world that God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son to die that mankind might have everlasting life.
It is really crazy when you let yourself think about it. Many times hatred from the enemy is groundless and causeless. It fact, it is downright senseless. Sometimes they just don’t like your demeanor, how you carry yourself, your looks, your tones, or even your gestures. Who knows? Also, fear of the unknown! That is why national leaders should and must present themselves compassionately and lovingly person to person to take away that fear of the unknown. God made himself known in a tender and lovable child named Jesus. Love is God in baby skin! He did everything possible to take away the fear factor. So must we if we are to be His sons.
Even when war is necessary and just, which it often is, that spirit of love must prevail throughout, which of course is not easy by any means. King Ahab of Israel committed horrible crimes against his people during his reign of idolatry and terror. Included in them was that he killed all of the prophets of God under the instigation of his wicked wife Queen Jezebel. God therefore raised up King Jehu to wage a just war against the entire house of Ahab. He commanded King Jehu to kill the whole lot of them. Jehu killed Ahab’s son Jehoram with bow and arrow. He killed Jezebel, Ahab’s heathen and wicked wife/queen, by throwing her from an upper story window. He killed the 70 princes of the royal house, and had their heads piled in two heaps at the gate of Jezreel. He killed all of Ahab’s acquaintances, his great men, and his priests until there were no survivors.
However, though Jehu did it all in obedience to God, and brought down Ahab’s entire murderous regime, Jehu’s spirit along the way became rancid. A lawful action may become hideous in spirit and motive, and that is when justifiable killing in war can become murder. Such was the case with the execution of Saddam Hussein, in that while the execution was just, it became more an exhibition of seething hatred and anger than carrying out the sentence of the law. Jehu’s heart did not remain single toward God (II Kings 10:31), and therefore he wasn’t acting from a sense of duty to God, and for the honor of Jehovah. His actions were not devotedly unto God, but venomously against man! Not for the Lord, but ad hominem! That explains the brutality and exhibitionism with which he carried out his orders.
President Abraham Lincoln embodied the very best of what we have been speaking about. He hated war, but he chose war to preserve the Union. Civil War has to be one of the worst forms of war, for it sets family against family, brother against brother, and dries up the springs of familial affection in the human heart.
But Lincoln, addressing the North, gave strong evidence that he never allowed such a scorched-heart policy to destroy his human decency and compassion. He said, “I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not always exist among them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist among us, we would not instantly give it up. We know that some Southern men do free their slaves and go north to become tip-top abolitionists, while some Northern ones go south and become the most cruel slave masters.”
Not a way to win votes, but it was in that spirit that he carried out one of the most just wars ever fought on earth’s soil. Even as he carried out the Civil War, he was a true peacemaker.
One other thing we know for certain about the principles of diplomacy from the Word of God in Proverbs 15:1,
“A GENTLE ANSWER TURNS AWAY WRATH, BUT A HARSH WORD STIRS UP ANGER.”
In other words, let the quarrelsome enemy be as nasty as he can be, yet the quarrel has a far better chance of dying out if the other party will not wage the “War of Words.” Fire must at last go out if there is no fuel to feed it. But as long as our words are hateful and bellicose, the trumpet for war will only be blown louder and louder.
Of all the trees and bushes in my front yard, there was a spiked thorn bush that was nasty. Just to brush up against it was to draw blood. I cut it down! I don’t miss it at all. It was not a peacemaker, for all of its words were thorny! Peacemakers cannot be bramble bushes with their words. All they do is prick and perturb.
The King James Version translates Proverbs 15:1,
“A soft answer turneth away wrath.”
Hawkish people don’t like that text. It is just too, well, too soft! They like hard words, for they think that they carry more power. But when it comes to diplomacy, they actually don’t. It is the soft word that carries the greatest clout and persuasiveness. The soft answer actually turns away wrath. Wrath is by its very nature a run-away freight train. And according to God, there is only one thing that can stop it on its tracks. Soft, gentle words can turn it away. Amazing! When God promises us this and states it as fact, you can chisel that soft-word counsel in granite! Our problem is that while we know what He says, we really don’t believe it.
This is the very genius and nature of Christ, and it is the very nature and genius of Christianity. In short, if we are asked as Christians whether we are Hawks or Doves when it comes to war, there should be no hesitancy in our answer, no matter how much our hearts and lives do not always measure up to it. We are doves, other cheek-turners, and 7 times 70 forgivers. When it comes to war, we are always first passive and not active. We are for peace always, but that does not mean we are pacifists. As we shall see, we can and must be hawks when needed, but always with a dove’s heart. Hawkness never essentially defines who we really are.
In summary, it is true not only in our personal lives, but in civic and national life as well, that it is not enough or even a top priority to be conquerors. Nations that have overcome their enemies have only done just that, overcome their enemies. The bigger and broader thing is always calling to us first, and that is not to conquer but to convert our enemies into allies, and transform them from hostility into cooperation. God help us to carry out this Divine mandate in this volatile hour. When the raging shoot out their fiery words, we must not respond in kind. We must not fight firey words with fiery words. Rather, listen to the plain counsel of God in Romans 12:21,
“DO NOT BE OVERCOME BY EVIL, BUT OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.”
3. OFFENSIVE WARS OF JUSTICE
There are essentially two kinds of just warfare carried out in history – offensive and defensive wars of justice. The line of distinction between the two legitimate and mandatory kinds of war may at times be thin and difficult to distinguish. But what is not difficult to determine is that neither of these kinds of just war is encompassed within the species of war that has so often savaged humanity throughout history. That kind of unjust war is described in James 4:1 in the KJV,
“FROM WHENCE COME WARS AND FIGHTINGS AMONG YOU? COME THEY NOT
HENCE, EVEN OF YOUR LUSTS THAT WAR IN YOUR MEMBERS?”
Lust for power and control that drives warmongers to bloody the earth like Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich! Abysmal cruelties and outrages against humanity are always the atrocities that follow this kind of lustful and unjust war. It is exactly this lust for world dominance that has bloodied the pages of history again and again with unjust war. The power-lust for a world empire, for that is what Reich means – Empire.
The Roman Caesars and their delusional Pax Romana, the German Keisers of the 10th century, and the Third Reich of modern history all sought world dominance. Hitler once remarked, “When National Socialism has ruled long enough, it will no longer be possible to conceive a form of life different from our own.” It was once again the promise of assured universal peace through imposed and enforced bloodied unity. It was but an echo of the failed Pax Romana. While history has illustrated again and again that lawful and just war proves both the high worth and cost of peace, a false coerced peace always proves the worthlessness and hideousness of unlawful and unjust war.
Now to the first kind of just and lawful war – OFFENSIVE WAR! By just-offensive war, we do not mean that all war is offensive or distasteful, though in many ways every war is. By just-offensive war we mean going on the offense against a rebel nation and army that has wronged, harmed and murdered other nations or peoples of the world. It is a simple but profound rule of international law and civil society that:
“HUMAN SOCIETY COULD NOT EXIST WITHOUT THE JUST RETRIBUTION OF
PUNISHMENT FOR THE PUBLIC HURT, KILLING, OR ENSLAVEMENT DONE
BY ONE NATION UPON ANOTHER NATION OR NATIONS.”
Now then, if it wasn’t for this kind of just and lawful war, then it would be that national murders, national pillaging, national robberies and national enslavement would be looked upon merely as the survival of the fittest. That then would become the universal law of humanity. Then like Adolph Hitler, the warmonger would be allowed to think that his despicable actions are indeed virtues, and that he is above the common rules that govern lawful and decent societies and nations.
You remember Abraham don’t you? He burst onto the Biblical stage when he was about 75 years old. His name was first Abram, and he lived in a region of a country that today is known as Iraq. How coincidental! So it was that the “Father of Believers – Abraham” with his armed family went on the offense against a bunch of tyrant kings who had captured his nephew Lot and family, and killed all of those rogue rulers. A just war principle set early on in Biblical history! We read in Genesis 14:14-16,
“AND WHEN ABRAM HEARD THAT HIS RELATIVE HAD BEEN TAKEN CAPTIVE, HE LED OUT
HIS TRAINED MEN, BORN IN HIS HOUSE, THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN, AND WENT
IN PURSUIT AS FAR AS DAN. AND HE DIVIDED HIS FORCES AGAINST THEM BY NIGHT,
HE AND HIS SERVANTS, AND DEFEATED THEM, AND PURSUED THEM AS FAR AS
HOBAH, WHICH IS NORTH OF DAMASCUS. AND HE BROUGHT BACK ALL THE
GOODS,AND ALSO BROUGHT BACK HIS RELATIVE LOT WITH HIS
POSSESSIONS, AND ALSO THE WOMEN, AND THE PEOPLE.”
Abraham was then greeted by Melchizedek who was king of Salem (Peace). Melchizedek was also a priest of God Most High! He spoke these words to Abraham after his victorious battle in Genesis 14:19-29,
“BLESSED BE ABRAM OF GOD MOST HIGH, POSSESSOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH;
AND BLESSED BE GOD MOST HIGH, WHO HAS DELIVERED YOUR
ENEMIES INTO YOUR HAND.”
The fact is that God went before Abram and carried out this war with Abraham against the tyrant heathen kings. God led the way to victory! Now then, upon this Biblical foundation laid out for us in countless other places of Scripture, we must learn that there is not only legitimate and just offensive war, but that it is mandated by the God of Abraham in the Word of God.
So it was that President Abraham Lincoln went on the offense to free his fellow man from the intolerable and dehumanizing crime of slavery. He said in Springfield, Illinois in 1857:
“I THINK THE AUTHORS OF THIS NOTABLE INSTRUMENT (THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE) INTENDED TO INCLUDE ALL MEN…THEY DID CONSIDER ALL MEN CREATED EQUAL: EQUAL IN CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS, AMONG WHICH ARE LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.
OUR PROGRESS IN DEGENERACY APPEARS TO ME TO BE PRETTY RAPID. AS A NATION WE BEGAN BY DECLARING THAT ‘ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.’ WE NOW PRACTICALLY READ IT ‘ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL EXCEPT NEGROES.’ WHEN IT COMES TO THIS, I SHALL PREFER EMIGRATING TO SOME COUNTRY WHERE THEY MAKE NO PRETENSE OF LOVING LIBERTY – TO RUSSIA FOR INSTANCE, WHERE DESPOTISM CAN BE TAKEN PURE, WITHOUT THE BASE ALLOY OF HYPOCRISY.
FELLOW CITIZENS, WE CANNOT ESCAPE HISTORY… THE FIERY TRIAL THROUGH WHICH WE PASS WILL LIGHT US DOWN IN HONOR OR DISHONOR TO THE LAST GENERATION…IN GIVING FREEDOM …WE SHALL NOBLY SAVE OR MEANLY LOSE THE LAST BEST HOPE OF EARTH. DESTROY THIS SPIRIT (OF LIBERTY) AND YOU HAVE PLANTED THE SEEDS OF DESPOTISM AT YOUR DOORS…TRAMPLE ON THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS…AND YOU BECOME THE FIT SUBJECTS FOR THE FIRST TYRANT WHO RULES AMONG YOU.”
At least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War. Some experts put the number at 700,000. Some of the most costly but lesser known battles have names like The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Drewry’s Bluff, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. Some of the better known battles were Appomattox, Antietom and Vicksburg. The Union Army had between 2,500,000 and 2,750,000 men. The Confederate Army had between 750,000 and 1,250,000 men. A just war fought with the terrible swift sword of justice. We as a nation must credit our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to Abraham Lincoln whose magnanimous heart and resolute spirit refused to make beasts of burden out of human beings.
We must understand a critically important Biblical principle in all of this discussion of just offensive warfare. It is found mind you, and has always been in Matthew 22:39,
“…YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
Yes, we must and shall, and the implications of Jesus’ command to us are vast! If we in America were in dire straights and our nation was being brutalized and held captive by a hostile power, would we not all hope and pray that a loving and conscientious ally would come to do battle on or behalf, rescue us and free us?
I know that this sounds so remote and even out of the realm of possibility for mighty America to ever be brought to her knees in defeat. But many mighty nations and empires before us in history have lived through exactly that! The point being that we must by the same token consider our moral obligation to come to the rescue of others who are in like terrible circumstances. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you! That includes just-offensive warfare as each case dictates.
If you will, the man, people or nation that can see others plundered, enslaved, massacred, raped, stripped, and hacked in pieces by a rogue power, and not at all concern himself or themselves with the plight of their world-neighbor, is a traitor to the laws of humanity and a violator of the law of God! That nation commits murder by its indifference and passivity, and sheds blood by not striking a blow. Hear that real good! One day such nations and peoples shall give account to God for the guilt of their inaction, for it was as criminally permitted by them as it was criminally perpetrated by others. If you will:
“THAT NATION THAT DOESN’T COME TO THE RESCUE OF ANOTHER NATION THAT
IS BEING MURDERED, BECOMES A MURDERER ITSELF BY PASSIVELY
ALLOWING ANOTHER NATION OR POWER TO MURDER.”
These are the bold and once collectively understood Biblical principles of just-offensive warfare that have guided America since her birth. This is also why it has always been down through the years:
“AMERICA TO THE RESCUE”
That was true in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the Iraq War. Why? Because America was once a Christian nation which, from her very inception, was founded upon the Biblical principles that we have just laid out! Those principles were nationally embraced and faithfully implemented. Those principles have not changed one iota over the centuries.
But now that America has forsaken her Christian heritage and her Biblical foundations, America has changed. She no longer has that instinctive deep love for and immediate sense of responsibility to her neighbor nations in the world community. Her inner springs of natural human sympathy and empathy are more and more drying up, and now as with all godless people, she only lives for self. IGM — I got mine! WGM — we got ours! Look out for good ole numero uno!
America’s capacity for justified and mandatory offensive war is disappearing in her own self-absorption, which has gutted her of Biblical principles of love and responsibility. God said that would happen in the last days, as we read in II Timothy 3:1-2,
“BUT REALIZE THIS, THAT IN THE LAST DAYS DIFFICULT TIMES WILL COME. FOR
MEN WILL BE LOVERS OF SELF….”
Now as a result, instead of willingness to force the claws and teeth of the savage beast off from our neighbor’s throats, we now clear our own throats as we cough up excuse after excuse as to why we should not go to war. Financial and social needs back home now are used by the self-centered anti-war protesters to excuse America from war. Let other nations do it for a change, for we have more than paid our dues to humanity.
Now instead of responding from the heart of God, we have entered the dry and barren land of partisan bickering on the floors of the U.S. Congress. In so doing we then not only become like all other godless nations who leave the way open and free for the stronger to crush and devour the weaker, but we show contempt for the Divine law of love. It is becoming a most sad time in American history.
If there were ever two just and mandatory offensive wars in very recent American history, they are the most vivid Gulf and Iraq Wars. Both of them carried on by a President Bush. The Gulf War (Desert Storm), under the courageous leadership of America’s Commander-in-chief President George Herbert Walker Bush and America’s valiant armed forces, was a most proper and necessary act of revenging the invasion and hostile takeover by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Forces of the sovereign nation of Kuwait. America justly went on the offense, meted out the retribution of punishment against Hussein’s vaunted “Right Guard,” and freed an entire nation.
All men, societies and nations have their lives based upon the elementary and easily understood distinction of meum and tuum, which are Latin for what is mine and what it thine! And upon that universally understood distinction of ownership and property, protection has been created for us and them in honoring and preserving meum and tuum. Without the strict observance of that distinction, there would be the dissolution of all societies, nations and governments.
Saddam Hussein and his forces violated that distinction by invading Kuwait and attempting to seize its very productive and wealth producing oil resources. They received the just punishment for violating the universal and sacred principle of meum and tuum.
Frankly, the execution of such a justified offensive war is the supreme responsibility of every civilized and law abiding nation. Once again, it was America to the rescue, leading a coalition of 34 nations into Desert Storm. In the U.S. Military, 467 were wounded in action, 148 were killed in battle, and another 145 were killed in accident related incidents. It was perhaps the most efficient battle in American war history, and was carried out between August 2, 1990 and February 28, 1991. Victory was achieved in six months. It was quick and decisive, and therefore met with little opposition back home.
We honor the fallen and injured heroes and salute them for their courage and their commitment to duty and freedom in America, Kuwait and around the world.
The Iraq War, under the courageous leadership of America’s Commander-in-chief President George W. Bush and America’s valiant armed forces, was and is a most proper and necessary act of revenging mass, brutal crimes against humanity carried out by the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein against Israel, most savagely against his own countrymen, and against Iran.
It was commonly known that Hussein was carrying out the murder of Israelites by paying Palestinian suicide bombers to do so for $25,000. Whenever there have been acts of aggression and murder of His chosen people the Jews, God throughout history has always raised up a leader to execute just offensive war against the aggressors of Israel. When it was King Pharaoh and the Egyptians, God raised up Moses to bring them down. When it was King Sennacherib and the Assyrians, God raised up righteous and praying Hezekiah to bring them down. When it was wicked Haman, God raised up Mordecai to bring him down. When it was King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, God raised up King Cyrus of Persia to bring him and them down. When it was Adolf Hitler, God raised up President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill to bring him down. When it was Saddam Hussein, God raised up President George Bush to bring him down.
Hussein ruled Iraq from 1979 until his removal and capture in 2003 by a U.S. led invasion. Hussein murdered over a hundred thousand of ethnic Kurds and Shiite Muslims in several barbaric incidents. The infamous “Anfal” campaign in the late 1980s against Iraqi Kurds included the dropping of poisonous chemical bombs on Kurdish cities. In one of the worse single mass killings in recent history, Saddam’s Air Force dropped chemical weapons on Halabja in which 5000 civilian men, women and children were killed.
In addition, there were his war crimes which included the use of poison gas against Iran and the Iranian people during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. Hussein summarily executed thousands of Iranian prisoners of war as a matter of policy.
The American-led coalition against the Hussein Regime in Iraq is one of the classic examples in history of the just-offensive retribution of punishment of a brutal dictator and his fellow butchers. How the war was fought and is being fought, efficiently or inefficiently, I will leave to war experts. That the battle was and is being fought is in the best tradition of just offensive war and Biblical principle.
Hussein and his Baath Party were brought to trial and charged with murder, forced expulsion, imprisonment, torture and the failure to comply with international law relating to the murders of at least 140 men, women and children in the village of Dujail. One young Kurd on the Link Television Network recently expressed his deep sadness and disappointment that Saddam’s trial, conviction and subsequent hanging took place too quickly, and he grieved that his fellow tens of thousands massacred Kurds were not properly honored and avenged because of such hasty justice. The charges according to him should have been much broader and tried on an individual and case by case basis. I felt deeply where he was coming from.
In the Iraq War, there have been 4,391 coalition deaths to date, including 4,079 Americans. This is as of May 22, 2008. Thousands more have been seriously injured. 78,000 Americans were killed or lost in action during the pivotal Battle Of The Bulge in Belgium during World War II. We salute all of the brave heroes and heroines for embodying the best of American tradition in its crusade for freedom for all peoples of the world.
For this President George W. Bush is being disgraced and maligned. Nothing new really! President George Washington, called by many affectionately the father of our country, was mocked and vilified as a baboon, a traitor, and his death hailed by many with relief. President Abraham Lincoln was called even worse names that we cannot mention on the air. Today the tempers have not cooled. However, let it be said about the just offensive Gulf and Iraq Wars, that either they were and are pure Americana in the best of American tradition, or we are no longer Americans. Perhaps it is now in fact the latter case!
4. DEFENSIVE WARS OF JUSTICE
Now to the second kind of just and lawful war – DEFENSIVE WAR. This sort of war is to stave off or repel the present or eminent attacks of hostile forces for the purpose of the most noble and universally recognized principle of self-preservation. And in this sinful and savage world, that self-preservation cannot be secured without the legitimacy of defensive war is too evident to have to prove.
Allow me to share here one of my most favorite stories in the Bible. I deal with it at length in my book Is God With America? (Pages 290, 291, 295, 296) from which I shall soon be quoting. The simple and up-front fact is stated in Exodus 17:8,
“THEN AMALEK CAME AND FOUGHT AGAINST ISRAEL….”
Here we go again! It is the worldwide reoccurring theme of history. Now quoting, “Suddenly, out of the hills of the Sinai come desert terrorists known as the Amalekites. If you will, “Amalek” and his “Ites!” Amalek was the Osama Bin Laden of the Sinai. The Amalekites were the first nation to attack Israel after they had come out of their long nightmare in Egypt. Like Al Qaeda, they were fierce people. It was not, humanly speaking, a positive outlook. Moses commissioned Joshua to choose men and to go and fight the Amalekites in just defensive warfare. Joshua did as he was commanded. (Exodus17:9-10)”
Continuing the quote, “It was a very grim prospect, for Joshua and his handpicked soldiers were not exactly a “Special Operations Unit” or a “Delta Force.” In fact, they were former slaves who had no fighting experience, and frankly, from a military standpoint, were bungling would-be warriors. They lacked every conceivable skill of warfare. After all, what could a company of former slaves and bricklayers do against these terrorists? They were more adept at holding trowels than they were at wielding swords. The inequality of the encounter could not be overstated.”
“The Amalekites came down upon the Israelites from the hills of the Sinai wilderness. The Al Qaedites came down upon America from the skies. Israel and America are the original and the copy, brother and sister, not only in peace, but now in war. Anti-terrorism has become their mutual and constant vigil, and prayer must be their armor against these deadly and unconventional enemies.”
“Moses had learned the lesson of the staff of the Lord over and over again. It was the staff that he had carried when the Nile River was bloodied, and the staff that he lifted over the Red Sea when it was split in two. It countermanded nature by opening up the Red Sea like a door to welcome them, while it was also a grave to swallow and drown the Egyptians. The staff of the Lord was not for show.”
“Now Moses was on a hill overlooking the Amalekites and Joshua’s fledgling soldiers. He lifted up his arms to the Lord with staff in hand. There he stood silhouetted against the sky. Then something awesome happened! Joshua and his men pulverized the Amalekites as long as Moses arms were lifted heavenward with the staff pointed to God. But when Moses arms became weary and dropped, the Amalekites made Joshua’s men look like the novices they really were. So Aaron and Hur realizing this, got under Moses’ arms, lifted them up, and the battle was miraculously in Israel’s favor though it was against impossible odds.”
Then we read in Exodus 17:15,
“AND MOSES BUILT AN ALTAR, AND NAMED IT, ‘THE LORD IS MY BANNER.’”
Moses gave God all the credit, for God their Banner had gone before them and overwhelmed the Amalekites in this great defensive battle and victory. Can America today expect rescues from Heaven as she defends herself against demonized Moslem fanatics and Al Qaeda terrorists? Will He work miracles for our defense and preservation today? Yes indeed, but only when once again America’s hearts and hands are lifted heavenward in prayer, and she turns back to God and away from sin and the ACLU and secular anti-God forces that are destroying her very soul.
True, God uses means as with Joshua and his men, but unless the heart of this nation is lifted upward to God, and the Lord our Banner goes before us, we shall battle in vain. Psalm 89:18 in the KJV says:
“FOR THE LORD IS OUR DEFENSE, AND THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL IS OUR KING.”
There is no other sure defense, and there is no other King.
On September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda inspired by Osama Bin Laden, and tactically planned and carried out by Mohamed Atta and his Islamic terrorists, flew four commercial jet airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and with a fourth plane crashing in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. There were 2,974 civilians murdered from 90 different countries.
The United States instituted The Patriot Act to strengthen its intelligence capabilities in its defense against the world-wide terrorist threat. There has never been a time like it in American history, when a color-coded warning system in the nation indicates the alert level of the terrorism threats on any and every given day.
In response to 9/11, a US and a UK led war coalition of 20 nations was launched against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. The stated purpose of the just defensive war against terrorism was to capture Osama Bin Laden, destroy Al Qaeda, and removed the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe haven to Al Qaeda. The war came to be known as Operation Enduring Freedom. There were 817 coalition fatalities, including 506 American servicemen who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the defense and securing of freedom.
The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America states:
“WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT, THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL,
THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS,
THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.”
Life! Life! Life! The first of the three great rights is the one upon which the latter two are totally dependent. Life is the foundation of all other enjoyments, for no man can enjoy liberty and the pursuit of happiness without it. Man may lose his friends and find new ones to replace them. He may lose his home and possessions, but he can rebuild and acquire news ones. But if he loses his life, it cannot be replaced with a new one. There is no repair of or replacement for murdered life, and when it is taken from man, he loses the right to life and all the other rights that are joined to it.
God has made it very plain in His Holy Word that any man or people that take away from other people the right to live forfeit their right to live as well. The exact words are found in Genesis 9:6,
“WHOEVER SHEDS MAN’S BLOOD, BY MAN HIS BLOOD SHALL BE SHED….”
Life is the most sacred of the human rights. Therefore:
“WHERE LIFE IS BEING THREATENED OR ATTACKED, IT IS NOT ONLY LAWFUL
BUT MANDATORY FOR A NATION TO DO ALL THINGS POSSIBLE TO
PROTECT AND DEFEND THE LIVES OF ITS CITIZENS.”
Yet somehow, now it has become the most taken for granted of human rights, unless of course your own life is being threatened! It is has been the cheapening and devaluing of life in the 20th and 21st centuries that has murdered millions, broken countless marriages and families, and victimized millions of slain babies. Walking through this life-degrading and devaluing world, I have come to the conclusion that the devaluing of life is the eighth deadly sin which lies at the bottom of all the other seven.
But there is something much deeper still. It is the deadly contagion spreading throughout American jurisprudence, legislation and education that we are self-made men, and we are indebted to no one for life. There it is:
“LIFE IN AMERICA IS NOW WITHOUT THEOLOGICAL CONTENT.”
That all by itself has cheapened and doomed human life! God and religion in America used to be the very core of her life, and life could not be thought about or enjoyed without its Creator, as the Bible and The Declaration of Independence makes so glaringly clear. We read in Job 12:10 about the Creator and Sustainer of life,
“IN WHOSE HAND IS THE LIFE OF EVERY LIVING THING, AND THE BREATH
OF ALL MANKIND.”
Therefore, life formerly in America could not ever be talked about apart from its Originator! Now, God and religion are looked upon as things that the fanatics are trying to impose upon life. When God is viewed as an imposition on life, no life is worth much or safe any longer. It has lost its true and only value.
When a nation no longer sees life as sacred, it will be unwilling to pay the price necessary to protect the lives of its citizens or any other people for that matter. A nation that invades the maternal wombs of life with instruments of destruction and murder, that same nation will devolve into a culture that is unwilling and opposed to the unsheathing of the terrible swift sword of war to preserve and defend the lives of others. Pro-choicers and war protesters are often bed partners. Mark my word! It is already happening in America. That is because he who weakens or destroys one link in the chain of life has rendered the entire chain vulnerable and unsafe. Then no man, woman or child is secure.
Someone might respond, “But there are so many nations that are war-torn and defenseless against tribal warfare and rebel marauding gangs and armies. Where do America’s defensive war responsibilities begin or end?” Good question! Each free nation must answer your question responsibly in the light of the principles of just offensive and defensive war laid out for us here. But to do nothing is to continue dancing around the issues while the house of humanity is being burned down to the ground.
In Nigeria over recent years, hundreds of villagers have been massacred by the army. In four ethnic-Tiv villages in Benue, soldiers rounded up and killed over 200 unarmed civilians. Zaki Biam, a town of about 20,000 people was burned to the ground and completely destroyed. According to eyewitnesses, the military came in eight armoured cars. They came to Anyiin first where they were said to have summoned all the villagers to Gbeji public square, claiming that they had an urgent message for them. As soon as the villagers were gathered, the troops commanded all of the women and children to leave and then opened fire on the men, instantly killing 100 of them. This one example only scratches the surface of the atrocities carried out in Nigeria.
Sudan has been repeatedly torn apart by civil war. The fighting between the largely pro-government Moslem North and the largely anti-government non-Moslem south has persisted without respite since 1983. Sudan has the longest uninterrupted Civil War in the world. According to the U.S. Committee for Refugees, the death toll in Sudan is higher than the combined fatalities of Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, and Algeria. Over 2 million Sudanese have died either directly from the war or from war-related causes. Sudan has the largest population of displaced persons in the world. The Sudanese government has a history of giving weapons to Arab militias known as the Janjaweed which means “Evil Horsemen.” They have gone after anti-government tribes with bloody efficiency.
Once in Rwanda, Hutus and Tutsis lived in harmony in Central Africa. Two countries then evolved in 1962 – Rwanda dominated by the Hutus, and Burundi by the Tutsis. The ethnic fighting flared on and off in the following decades. It all exploded in 1994 with the civil war in Rwanda in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. Tutsi rebels gained control, which sent a million Hutus, fearful of revenge, into Zaire and Tanzania.
Anna B. Warner, a missionary in Africa, recounts the story of how difficult it was to get their medical team into an area where they could help Rwandan refugees. So they went into the rebel-controlled areas just north of the Rwandan capital of Kigali. The rebel army gave them 62,000 people to care for, and within ten days that number swelled to more than 100,000. Many had gunshot and machete wounds. The missionaries set up a little field hospital. Then along came 900 children who had been orphaned.
One afternoon, when they were at the rebel army’s headquarters at Byumba, they noticed a little girl who was seven or eight years old. She was hugging a blanket and rocking back and forth, softly singing in French. Nearby there stood a rebel soldier smoking a cigarette. He had a Russian machine gun draped over his shoulder. The missionaries asked him who this little girl was. He replied, “She’s just like all the others – an orphan.” They then asked him, “What is she singing?” He said, “I don’t know, something about Jesus.” They asked him again, “What are the words that she is singing?” He listened for a moment and told them, “She’s saying something like, ‘Jesus loves me, this I know.’ And she keeps singing it over and over.”
They learned that this little girl had watched her entire family – her father, and everyone she loved dismembered by machetes. All that the little girl had left in her life was her simple, childlike faith in Jesus. Everyone who was dear to her was gone. All that she could cling to was a little rag of a blanket as she sang softly, “Jesus loves me, this I know!” Only nations that have God’s heart can hear her and millions like her, and respond from love and principles of justice.
A HOPEFUL CONCLUSION
The rest of the story is found in the first chapter of Revelation. John is greeting those to whom he is writing and here is his salutation:
“GRACE TO YOU AND PEACE, FROM HIM WHO IS AND WHO WAS AND WHO IS TO COME…AND FROM JESUS CHRIST THE FAITHFUL WITNESS, THE FIRST-BORN OF THE DEAD, AND THE RULER OF THE KINGS OF THE EARTH. TO HIM WHO LOVES US AND RELEASED US FROM OUR SINS BY HIS BLOOD, AND HE HAS MADE US TO BE A KINGDOM, PRIESTS TOHIS GOD AND FATHER; TO HIM BE THE GLORY AND THE DOMINION FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN. BEHOLD HEIS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS AND EVERYEYE WILL SEE HIM.”
John is saying to us that Jesus Who died in obscurity now reigns in glory. Jesus who was crushed by the power of the state now is the Ruler of all the kings of the earth. Jesus Who made the world and was rejected, now has dominion over His r ejectors. Do not despair if it appears that those whose hearts are cold and cruel seem to have their bloody way. There is the just God who reigns over all the earth, and one day, truth shall be vindicated, righteousness shall be rewarded, and every injustice shall be justly punished forever. One day God’s justice shall prevail. One day, all of God’s people shall live in freedom and justice and dignity under the Lordship of Christ where they shall learn war no more. That is the promise of both the Old and New Testament.
Abraham asked in Genesis 18:25,
“…SHALL NOT THE JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH DEAL JUSTLY?”
Jesus asked the rhetorical question in Luke 18:7,
“NOW SHALL NOT GOD BRING ABOUT JUSTICE FOR HIS ELECT, WHO CRY TO
HIM DAY AND NIGHT, AND WILL HE DELAY LONG OVER THEM?”