What Jesus Says About War

What Jesus Says About War by Myra Kahn Adams for Town Hall

Author’s Note: Readers can find all previous volumes of this series here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible.”  Part Two with volumes 57-113 will be published later this year.

Thanks for joining us. Last week we studied the phrase “Peace be with you,” often associated with Jesus, and today we focus on the flip side.

As a history buff, I have studied various wars and hate them all — a sentiment also voiced by World War II General and later President Dwight D. Eisenhower:

“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

And from Machiavelli’s 1513 classic book “The Prince”:

“There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.”

The sad reality that war is part of the human condition is found throughout the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible:

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven… A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). (See Vol. 102 about this passage and the famous song it inspired.)

Old Testament critics often point to the excessive amount of war and bloodshed therein. Yes, God allowed the battles and savagery to occur and determined the outcome — both victory and defeat of His people, the Israelites.

For example, in the book of Exodus, while Moses’s men led by Joshua fought the Amalekites — the Israelites’ sworn enemy — Moses appealed to God by doing this:

“Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’s hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it.” (Exodus 17: 11-12).

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