Combat Protection, Lawful Order, and Revolution


It is a self-evident fact that right information is basically important and necessary to every endeavor of life. Nowhere is this more true than in the Christian life. Unfortunately, most Christians are in the position of trying in their spiritual lives somehow to muddle through. We are here to deliver, in accordance with the commandment of the Word of God, right information to God's people. For many Christians, the experience has been so prolonged in lacking information, or in being given wrong information, concerning what God thinks and what God wants of them, that they have gone to a point of almost no return. They have gone so far down the negative path that it is very difficult for them to turn around and come back to God's way of thinking.

Yet, God has provided for you and me everything that's necessary, by the technique of grace, for us to do something more than just muddle through day by day in our Christian experience. He has given a salvation, which we did not deserve and which we could not earn, and He simply offered it to us and we simply accept it. He has given us a written guide book in the Word of God, and He took care that it was written in such a way that there were no errors incorporated into the Bible. Furthermore, He exercised divine providence over the books which were inspired, and saw to it that they were brought together within the sacred Scriptures. There was not a book lost, and not an extraneous book added.

He saw to it that He provided us with a system, again by grace, whereby we could learn God's viewpoint. It doesn't depend on how good we are or how bad we are, what our intentions are or anything else. It's a system which is open to everybody whereby any Christian can develop a high level of spiritual intelligence. He has provided the local church as a teaching and training agency, and He has provided the pastor-teacher (and He placed one in each local congregation) with authoritative direction for instructing in the Word of God. But it is up to you to see to it that you are available for being taught. It is up to you to see that you come prepared as one who is in fellowship with the Spirit of God. This means that you have confessed sin, and that there is nothing that you need to name to God because He has also provided that means so that there will be no barrier for your receiving the Word of God.

This is the Bible Doctrine of Warfare, number eight, the final segment in this series. Thus far, we have said this:

  1. War will always exist in human history.

  2. Just war is from God--war for the preservation of a national entity.

  3. Peace is established through the annihilation and the decisive defeat of the enemy.

  4. Refusal to go to war is sometimes a sin.

  5. War is for adults.

  6. War demands battle courage and moral strength.

  7. War requires a system of military training.

  8. War requires military leadership.

  9. Peace propaganda is a technique of warfare.

  10. War is used by God for national discipline.
Rejection or ignorance of these particular Biblical guidelines in respect to war is placing the United States in a very hazardous position today. Russia is promoting, in the minds of all the nations of the world, the theory of international friendships, of pacifism, and of disarmament. Yet, communism never relaxes its own military preparations and buildup, toward the goal of peace--a peace under the domination of world communism. The Christian Anti-Communism newsletter this week quotes John S. Foster Jr. who has been the Director of Defense and Research Engineering for the past five years for both President Johnson and President Nixon. He's the chief advisor on weapons development. In a report recently published in the U.S. News and World Report last November, he wrote:

"First, surprising as it may seem to Americans who are used to our technological superiority in defense, the United States will lose technological superiority to the Soviets in the next several years if present trends continue. It's a struggle that largely goes on in secret, but already we can see some of the things to come in new top-quality Soviet weapons. In the total usable payload on top of a missile, the Soviets have a capacity about twice that of the United States. They also surpass us in total megatonnage, which is a rough measure of total destructive power, but not in total number of warheads. The Russians have more land-based missiles operational today. They have over 1,300 launchers compared with our 1,054. We have more submarine-based ballistic missile launchers operational today than they have. We have 656 compared with two or three hundred. If you include all the Soviet missiles completed and under construction that we know about for land- and sea-based, their total is larger than ours.

"But we stopped adding numbers to both our land-based and submarine missile force four to five years ago, and the Soviets are continuing their missile production. The Soviets have continued building up their already larger land-based" strategic missile force at an impressive rate, an average of about 250 per year for the last four years. They are deploying sea-based ballistic missiles in Polaris-type submarines at the rate of about 130 a year. By 1974, we can expect a Soviet submarine-launched ballistic missile force also comparable in size or larger than our own. Our bombers would have to penetrate a Soviet air defense system which is modern, dense, and sophisticated. Their bombers, under present condition, would go against an American Air Defense System which is thin, obsolescent, and shrinking.

"If the technological developments which are underway in the Soviet Union are completed and the resulting weapons are deployed, that will constitute a severe threat to our land-based strategic deterrent missiles. Their ICBMs would be able to take out almost all of our Minuteman force. Their submarine missiles could catch much of our bomber force on the ground, and also those Polaris boats which are in port. The surviving Minuteman missiles, bombers, and Polaris Poseidon missiles would face much-improved Soviet missile and air defenses. Those are the consequences of the improvements that we think we understand in Soviet weapons. In effect, that is their no-surprise force of four to five years from now.

"As you know, the Soviets long believed in defense and depth. Today they have an operational ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) complex around Moscow as well as about 10,000 surface-to-air (SAM) missiles already deployed. We think this SAM force is largely for defense against aircraft. However, some of these interceptors may have ABM capabilities.

"The first way for our intercontinental ballistic missiles to survive is by active missile defense in an anti-ballistic-missile system, the safeguard system deployed at four Minuteman-based areas that would provide for the survival of a number of Minutemen. As the threat increases, however, more ABM defenses are needed or fewer Minutemen will survive."

If you have your ear attuned to what's going on in Congress and on the national debate scene, you are aware of the fact that people are marching and protesting against the fact that the United States is putting up an anti-ballistic missile system. The president barely squeaked through Congress by a few votes to institute this defense system, and we're barely able to keep it operational, let alone to expand it. I've been on the streets of Dallas and seen crowds of people marching down with placards opposing the Anti-Ballistic Missile System, the one essential defense to hope for any kind of national survival.

A nation which has forgotten these principles of warfare is a nation that brings itself into the position where it is at the mercy of the enemy because it is confused as to the techniques of operation that should conduct its military establishment. The thing that is behind the opposition is the idea that if we don't set up an anti-ballistic missile system, then the communists won't feel intimidated. Then they won't increase their military establishment to oppose us. All of this is exactly the kind of gobbledygook thinking that has brought this nation, as we read in the report of Mendel Rivers in the last session, to the brink of a very hazardous situation militarily in this nation.

The issue was well stated by Dmitry Manuilsky in 1931, quite a long time ago, when he summed up that here is what the Soviets are planning to do. This has never been changed. This is exactly what they're planning to do. One of our principles of warfare is that peace propaganda is a technique of warfare. This was a speech Manuilsky made at the Lenin School of Political Warfare. This is what Manuilsky said:

"War to the hilt between communism and capitalism is inevitable. That's a basic doctrine of communism. Any time coexistence is spoken of, it's only a temporary position until the communist is in a position to move to conquest. Today of course we are not strong enough to attack. Our time will come in 20 or 30 years. To win, we shall need the element of surprise. The middle class (the business class) must be put to sleep. So we shall begin by launching the most spectacular peace movement on record. There will be electrifying overtures and unheard-of concessions. Capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction. They will leap at another chance to be our friends, and as soon as their guard is down, we will smash them with our clenched fist."

It was Lenin himself who advocated a mental barrage against the minds of a nation destined for communist conquest, so that that youth would be unable to be organized into a force to resist communist aggression. Lenin hit upon a biblical principle of the relationship of thinking and the conscience. Just to remind you once more, there is a perceptive and understanding side to your mind, and there is a conscience side to your mind. The values and the standards in your conscience feed information over to your thinking side, and that controls your actions. The word conscience in the Greek language means co-knowledge. It's the result of information fed up to it, and that information comes either from the world, which will be defective, or it comes from divine viewpoint such as these principles that we're looking at.

11. God is Able to Protects Believers in War

God is able to protect believers in war. We will look at Job 5:20. The context of this particular passage speaks about the chastening of God. Let's begin at Job 5:17: "Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects. Therefore, despise not the chastening of the Almighty." It is a good thing and it is a blessing to be corrected by God for wrongdoing. It is shortsighted to despise divine chastening because it may be uncomfortable at the moment. Discipline hurts, but notice what verse 18 says: "For He inflicts pain, and He gives relief. He wounds, and His hands make whole." The same God who disciplines is also the God who comforts and heals as soon as we respond to His discipline.

Verse 19 says that God delivers believers from specific trials: "He shall deliver you in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch you." Then he goes on to mention them. In verse 20: "In famine he shall redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword." The power of the sword is death in combat.

God is omnipotent. Therefore, He is fully capable of preserving you under the most severe trial and the most adverse condition. What this passage is saying is that if God is not finished with your life, He will protect you in battle just as well as He will out on the Stemmons Expressway or anyplace else. If God is not through with your life, He will protect you in the midst of battle. When a young man faces combat, if he's a Christian, here is a very powerful and a very important element for him to be oriented to in that conscience part of his thinking--to know that if God is not through with his life, he is immortal, and he will be preserved.

12. Soldiers are to Obey All Lawful Orders

Soldiers must obey all lawful orders. We're having a great deal of discussion in the news today about the My Lai incident, and about who is responsible for the atrocities which may have been committed there. This brings up the whole subject of: "I'm a soldier. I'm trained to respond to respond to orders. What is my place? What is my relationship scripturally to my superior officers, and to what comes down the line of the chain of command?" Well, the Word of God says that soldiers are to obey all lawful orders.

We begin with the authority to wage war. God has established civil governments to maintain law and order. Romans 13:1: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. (These are civil authorities.) For there is no power but of God." The powers that be are ordained of God. Any government on the face of the earth which is permitted to exist is there by divine permission. Civil authority is responsible for preserving a nation's sovereignty and a nation's independence. Deuteronomy 32:8, which we already looked at, indicates that God has ordained people to live in national entities. Therefore, civil authority is responsible for preserving a nation's sovereignty and independence. In order to do this, it is sometimes necessary for government to wage war in order to fulfill its divine mission.

So there is a lawful order of these governments which god has established. For this reason, the Bible is consistent in its declaration that these lawfully constituted governments, ruling by providence and permission of God, are to be obeyed. Titus 3:1: "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers; to obey magistrates; to be ready to do every good work." 1 Peter 2:13 is a companion passage that backs up the same thought: "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man (that is, to civil authority) for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the king as supreme or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well." Governments are to be obeyed.

Romans 13 tells us that we are not to obey just because of the fear of the wrath of the law in punishment, but because this is a matter of conscience--that you have been oriented in your conscience to understand that it is the will of God for you to obey civil authority. Civil disobedience is contrary to the will of God. Whatever good you think you can accomplish, and whatever justification you may think there is for it, you're out of line with divine viewpoint when you promote civil disobedience. Romans 13:2 says, "Whoever therefore resists the power (of civil authority, that is) resists the ordinance of God (resistance is covered by a divine principle). And they that resist shall receive to themselves judgment."

Now this being the case, when a national entity declares war, then a citizen is obliged to respond to the call of military service. One of the problems that has been brought up to me is: While this is true, that we are obliged to obey the civil authorities, and we are to respond to military service, what about the problem that bothers some young people that the nation itself is failing to obey the principles of warfare. And you have a very good point because we are violating a basic principle in Vietnam. The Word of God says that peace is established by the total annihilation and the decisive defeat of the enemy. And we are not seeking the total annihilation and decisive defeat of the enemy. We are not going out to win. This is a grave violation of the Word of God, and an infinite number of problems have descended upon this nation because of what we started in the Korean War. In that war, after we did obey Scripture, and we moved in and took all of North Korea, we turned right around and submitted it to be taken back by the communists. Soldiers are to obey in military service. You are to serve even if the nation is failing in living up to the principles that the Bible lays down for the conduct of warfare.

You do have this recourse: 1 Timothy 2:1-4: "I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications (prayers or intercessions) and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings and for all that are in authority. (You pray for civil authority to this end.) That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who will have all to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." God wants everybody to be saved and then to come to a knowledge of divine viewpoint. So He wants a nation to be preserved for the free dissemination of the Word of God. For that reason we pray that the government will perform its function, and when it doesn't perform in war properly, it endangers the national defense in such a way that the time may come when the Word of God may not be free to be propagated.

Now, a soldier is to obey all lawful orders. When you stand up and are sworn into the military service, this is part of what you swear to do. You swear that you will obey all lawful orders. It is surprising how many military men say those words and don't understand what it is that they have sworn to. They have sworn to defend the nation and its constitution without any mental reservations to evade, and they have sworn to obey all lawful orders. A soldier is never called upon to obey an unlawful order. It is possible that you will receive directives that are unlawful. It may be possible that some people in the My Lai situation received orders that should not have been obeyed.

The Nuremberg trials were based upon this principle following World War II. The war criminals were brought to trial on the fact that an individual is morally responsible for the unlawful orders that he obeys. He is responsible to refuse obedience to unlawful orders. When an officer tells you to murder somebody, which is what you do when you kill a prisoner who has surrendered, that's an unlawful order. If this was done at My Lai, then there are people who deserve to be punished.

In 1 Samuel 31, we have the case of King Saul who is on the field of battle. King Saul has now come to the end of his human viewpoint. He has completely destroyed himself with carnality. The battle has gone against him. 1 Samuel 31:3 says that the archers hit him. He is now severely wounded. So he turns to his armor bearer, a person of some authority, a very responsible position as the king's armor bearer. In verse 4, King Saul tells the armor bearer, "Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through and abuse me." The Philistines were fantastically cruel and vicious to the people that they conquered in battle. Saul knew that. So he orders his armor bearer, "I'm wounded, and the battle is lost. I want you to kill me here on the battlefield." This is an officer telling one of his men, "I want you to shoot me here." But his armor bearer would not. That was an unlawful order for King Saul to give, and the armor bearer refused to obey it. "For he was very much afraid. Therefore, Saul took a sword and fell upon it."

Note 2 Samuel 1:1: "Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David had returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; It came to pass on the third day that behold a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes torn." David has been in another area of the combat, "and earth was upon his head: so it was when he came to David that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance." Here comes this man straggling out of Saul's camp. "And David said to him, 'Where did you come from?' And he said unto him, "Out of the camp of Israel I am escaped.' And David said to him, 'How went the matter? I pray, tell me.' And he answered. 'That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.'"

So this was very sad news to David because David, for one thing, greatly respected Saul as God's anointed king. As far as Saul had fallen from God's way of doing things, nevertheless, he was God's appointed king. And Jonathan was a very very dear friend to David. He said that he loved him as his own soul. Here were two men who were very close. So this was a great blow to discover that both Saul and Jonathan were dead. "And David said unto the young man who told him, "How do you know that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead?" He wanted confirmation of the report. The young man who told him said, "As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, 'Here I am.' And he said to me, 'Who are you?' And I answered, ' I am an Amalekite.' He said to me again, 'Stand, I pray over me, upon me, and slay me: for my anguish has come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.'"

So apparently Saul tried to commit suicide, and didn't die in the process. He was wounded, both by the enemy and by his own hand, and yet alive. So he orders this Amalekites. And this is an order. When a king says, "I request." One of the things they teach you in the United States Marine Corps is that when an officer says, "I wish," that you will do this and this and this, that is tantamount to an order. He may phrase it as a wish, but it's an order. That's what Saul did. He's a king, and he said, "I would like (or I wish) that you would slay me."

So, the Amalekite received this unlawful order which the armor bearer refused to obey. And in verse 10, he says, "So I stood over him and I slew him because I was sure that he could not live after he was fallen. He justifies his unlawful war act (war crime) by saying he wasn't going to live anyhow. But this wasn't his option to decide that. That's God's option to decide whether he's going to live or not. It wasn't his right to decide he's going to die anyhow, so I'll finish him off. "And I took the crown that was upon his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them here unto my lord."

"Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them (the act of oriental expression of deep grief). And likewise all the men who were with him. And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until evening, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword. And David said unto the young man who told him, 'Who are you?' And he answered, 'I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite.' And David said unto him, 'How was it that you weren't afraid to stretch forth your hand?'" The armor bearer had been afraid because he knew that that was an illegal unlawful order. "How was it that you weren't afraid to destroy the Lord's anointed?

"And David called one of the young men and said, 'Go near and fall upon him.' And he smote him so that he died. And David said unto him, 'Your blood be upon yourself. For your mouth has testified against yourself saying I have slain the Lord's anointed.'" And David acted in justice in executing this man for obeying an unlawful order on the field of combat.

13. Violent Revolution is Condemned

There is one more principle. Violent revolution is condemned by the Word of God. You're hearing a lot about revolution today. The communist revolutionist, Angela Davis, who is now in prison in California for the death of some prison inmates and a judge, was recently praised in the visit by Mr. Jackson of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He told her that she was a saint in the highest traditions of the Christian faith, and that she had performed a very godly thing in the position that she had taken. She had provided the arms, allegedly, and was responsible for setting up a situation in a courtroom that ended in the deaths of the defendants as well as the judge who was presiding. You have to have something kooky in the conscience to come out with a conclusion like that.

You hear a lot of talk about revolution. How are people going to make something right when they have grievances? How are you going to fight the establishment and change something that really should be changed? I want to straighten you out in your thinking if you have any questions, any doubts, or any suspicions on this issue, that the Word of God condemns violent revolution. Numbers 16, which you may read at your leisure, gives you the story of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and of the revolution that they led against Moses, who divinely constituted civil authority over the people of Israel in their wilderness travels. God dealt summarily with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in having the earth open and swallow them up as divine judgment upon their revolutionary activities.

If you go through the book of Acts alone, you will find that the Word of God is constantly opposed to violent mob action. Stephen died, the first of the Christian martyrs, as the result of mob action against him by religious leaders. At Lystra, Paul was stoned to death and had to be brought back to life to finish his ministry. It was the result of mob action. It was the mob who swooped down upon Paul and beat him and Silas up, and put them into the prison at Philippi that ended in the dramatic conversion of the Philippian jailer. It was a riot of a mob in Thessalonica in Acts 17 that pursued Paul. In Acts 19, it was the famous mob of the silversmiths, a violent mob and riot of the silversmiths against Paul because they had healed the girl that was the source of their income. They gathered together and chanted praises to Diana of the Ephesians: "Great is Diana of the Ephesians. Great is Diana of the Ephesians," They built a big fire and threw sticks on it, and they got a lot of emotion and joy and enthusiasm over how great was Diana of the Ephesians. I don't know if they did that or not, but they probably did. That's in the same kind of tradition.

This is gimmickry that heathenism deals with and that you find appallingly among the people of God where you've got good church people who go to church and they sit in ignorance and permit people to lead them down these legalistic pathways that deny them their heritage under grace. And of course it was in Acts 21 that you have the story of Paul being taken by the mob in Jerusalem. All the way through the Bible, mob action is condemned. When you have a small group who monopolizes power and judgment, you create slaves of the victims, and no one has justice available. When you overthrow one tyranny with violent bloodshed, you inevitably place a greater tyranny in its place.

What we are saying is that whatever could be achieved by violent revolution can also be done without revolution, and this is confirmed again and again by history. Let's take a historical example. In 1775, the wheels were set into motion for what is called the American Revolution. Some of you are sitting there saying, "What about that beautiful American Revolution that produced this beautiful free country." Well, I think, for one thing, we have to understand that we didn't have a revolution. What we had was more precisely a war for independence. Our forefathers didn't overthrow anything that was in this country.

The mother country viewed the colonists as Englishman, with the full rights and standing of Englishman, and viewed the colonies as an extension of England itself. The problem was that the colonists were being denied those which were already their rights as Englishmen. Their liberties, their freedom, and their just procedures were being countered by the taxation, and by the Stamp Act, and by these other instruments of Parliament without their having a representative in Parliament to defend and to speak for them.

So what the colonists did was simply protect the national entity that already existed. There was no violent overthrow, and the substitution of something that wasn't before. It was not a revolutionary war. It was a war for independence, and it was a totally different situation than the type of thing that the communists pursue in the wars of national liberation. The colonists were forced to deal with a tyranny which was imposed on a free people rather than that they were trying to forcibly impose a new system as communism does.

Then you move a few years down through history and you come to the French Revolution in 1795, where you find a landowning aristocracy replaced by a money-controlling business class. And you find that there were grievances within the French society, and they were grievances that were dealt with by violent bloodshed. Lawlessness and violence took over in France, so that the nation descended to anarchy. And it continued. And it was the result of the action of young Napoleon Bonaparte that finally brought stability back to the French Republic, and stopped the result of the violent revolution that they had instigated.

Now whether that happens to be a mob surging through the streets of France in the eighteenth century, or whether it happens to be students on some college campus that are burning down ROTC buildings, or whether it happens to be people running up and down the street breaking store windows and looting businesses, the technique biblically is the same. A mob is to be stopped. When the incident took place at Kent State, I happened to be at Dallas Seminary up in the library, and two Christian Education department professors were speaking. One said, "Now what do you think about the situation at Kent State?" The other one said, "Well, it's sad but frankly that's the only thing those people understand. The mob actions will probably stop." And there hasn't been that much on that scale since. Once a few people were shot down, there came some concern and some reason and some restriction upon the mob action.

Now, communism works by the technique of mob action. It makes a great deal of anybody who suggests that you should stop mob action. Most of the mealy-mouthed pussy-footing preachers that fill our pulpits today have delusions of some kind of calling of love that they condone the action, such as was given to the National Guard, and attack the Guard for standing in a position of defense and from a position of no retreat. It was interesting what the official investigations have come up with that totally exonerated the National Guard in the Kent State incident. You can understand why the howl was so great from the libs.

Revolution always sets a cause back. It only seems profitable because it's not met with force. The Bible condemns violent revolution. It usually breaks with a nation's past, so it causes disorientation. Mobs are thoughtless. They are animal-motivated. They have no perspective. Revolution is wrong because it destroys a national entity rather than changing it by free choice and by respecting volition of people. The United States has ample means for the redress of grievances. These work all the time. The people who oppose our procedures for changing what the people don't like are the people who really want to impose a system of their own. The only real revolution is a revolution of the mind. Enlightenment, with right information in the conscious, emancipate an individual in such a way that revolutionary violence never can.

These are the principles of warfare. I'm sure there are probably others. There are details that we haven't covered that are very fascinating in the Scripture concerning the organization of camps, and the conduct of the troops, and so on. But here are some basic concepts that God said to His people, when you conduct war, this is how you will do it. This is what I bless. And these are the results that you will have. When you reject these principles, you reject them to your own destruction.

Shall we pray? Our heavenly Father, we ask thee to help us to recognize that man's ways are not Thy ways and that man's thinking is certainly not Thy thinking. And so we pray constantly that thou will help us to shake ourselves free from all of the inhibitions that have been placed upon us from our disoriented society, and from the satanic motivations that appeal to us from our old sin nature, and help us to look into the Word of God and recognize that here we see the answers which have worked historically, and that have made the United States of America the blessed place on the face of the earth that it is. We grieve to see it holding its heritage in such little esteem and playing the Esau role until we come to the time when it is too late to appreciate what has been our birthright. God, we ask Thee to raise up increasingly a larger number of Christians in this nation, who, one way or another, get in touch with expository preaching, who get in touch with explanations from the Word of God that bear the ring authority and the blessing of the Spirit of God upon them, so that the salt quality of the Christian may bear its good role in the preservation of this nation for Thy purposes and Thy goals for it, until we're taken him home to meet Thee in the air. For we pray in Jesus name. Amen

Dr. John E. Danish, 1970

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