Biblical View of Self-Defense

December 15, 2020 at 10:53 AM 2 comments

Note: This article is reprinted here in part (roughly the first third of it), with the express written permission of the original author. The remainder of the article can be found at the link at the end of the reprint. This is one of the best articles I’ve read on the biblical view of self-defense. I know that many Christians believe self-defense should not be employed in any situation. Others believe it can be in certain situations. The author breaks things down from both the Old and New Testaments and provides clear biblical guidelines on what we Christians can do in the form of self-defense of ourselves or our families. It is long but very well worth the read.

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This study examines the Biblical view of self-defense. We’re looking at questions such as, Is it right to employ lethal force to protect the life of yourself and others? Is it right to take measures that might kill an attacker who is wrongfully threatening your life or the life of another?

Self-defense here is defined as “protecting oneself from injury at the hand of others.” Self-defense is not about taking vengeance. Self-defense is not about punishing criminals. Self-defense involves preserving one’s own health and life when it is threatened by the actions of others. When we speak about using potentially lethal force in self-defense, we’re talking about using weapons to protect ourselves and others, even if the weapons used could kill the attacker.

Now why in the world would we take time to look at this subject? First, as Christians, we want to know how to apply the Bible to current issues in society. We live in a country with approximately 250 million guns and approximately 300 million people. Furthermore, in our country, it is estimated that law abiding citizens defend themselves using guns approximately one million to two million times a year. Almost 200,000 people in this state alone have a legal permit to carry a concealed handgun. What does the Bible have to say about that many guns actively being used for self-protection?

We live in a time where the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, current possibilities of economic and societal collapse, and crime have people buying guns and ammunition in large quantities for self protection. What does the Bible say about that? What does the Bible say about so-called “assault weapons”?

As always, we want our hearts and minds to be ruled and informed by Scripture–not by our emotions, not by our experiences, and certainly not by the World. And because the Scriptures have much to say about this topic, it is relevant and worth examining in the Church.

The focus of this study is specific. I am not dealing with whether lethal force can legitimately be used in wartime. I am not dealing with capital punishment. I am not dealing with Biblical principles involved in the American Revolution or the War Between the States.

This study is organized in five sections. First, we will look at the Biblical obligation to preserve life. Secondly, we will look at the Biblical view of bloodshed. Thirdly, we will look at passages dealing with the application of lethal force in self-defense. Fourth, we will look at what the Bible says about possession of weapons and skill in using weapons. Finally, we look at limitations and warnings about self-defense.

The Biblical Obligation to Preserve Life
We begin by first looking at the Biblical obligation to preserve life. The Bible clearly teaches that we must preserve life–our own lives and the lives of other people. 1 Corinthians 6:19f teaches that our bodies are not our own. Rather, our bodies belong to God. Our bodies are His property and so we are not permitted to treat or destroy them as we please:

19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;  20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body. (1Co 6:19-20 ASV)

Not only are we to take care of our bodies and the life contained. We have an obligation to preserve the body and life of other people. Psalm 82:4 even cites an obligation to protect those who are in danger:

Psalm 82:4 Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. 

Consider also Proverbs 24:11, which indicates we have a duty to preserve the lives of those who are harming themselves:

Proverbs 24:11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.

Ezekiel 33 is a well-known passage:

Ezekiel 33 “… 6 ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’

If you know danger is coming to others, and you deliberately fail to warn the others of the danger, you are guilty of harming the victims. This is not to say that you can make people heed your warning. The surrounding verses also say that if the people refuse to heed the warning of the watchmen, the watchman is not guilty if they are harmed.

We also see principles in Mosaic law teaching that if we fail to guard the lives of others, we are guilty. In Deuteronomy 22:8, if someone falls from your roof, and you failed to install a safety fence around the edge, you would be held liable for the death of that person. Likewise, in Exodus 21:29-31, if a man has an ox which is prone to harm people, the owner is held liable if he fails to confine it and the ox harms or kills others. If the ox harms someone, the negligent owner is fined. If the ox kills someone, the negligent owner is to be put to death.

The principle could hardly be stated more forcefully: you must protect your life and the lives of others.

The Biblical View of Bloodshed
So we see we have a Biblical obligation to protect life. Now let’s look at the Biblical view of bloodshed. When we come to this topic, we enter an area that requires cultural re-calibration. As you read through the Old and New Testaments, it’s very clear that real blood, from animals as well as humans, has a significance not recognized in modern American culture. We must adjust our perception of blood to fit God’s view of blood.

Let’s look at some relevant passages and contrast them with what our culture thinks about bloodshed.

Genesis 9:5-6  

Genesis 9:5-6   5 And surely your blood, the blood of your lives, will I require; At the hand of every beast will I require it. And at the hand of man, even at the hand of every man’s brother, will I require the life of man.  6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: For in the image of God made he man.

These words come in the days of Noah. This is pre-Mosaic law. Don’t think this is obsolete thinking from the Mosaic law.

If a man was killed, the man or beast who caused the death must pay with his/its own life. God says here, “I will require the life of man.” Killing or bloodshed was not always wrong. But when it was wrong, the penalty was ultimate.

We learn here that there is sanctity to spilled blood. Why? Two reasons:

1) Life is precious, and the life is in the blood. When blood is shed, something precious is lost. You might not think blood is precious. We tend to consider blood to be just a “bodily fluid”. It is, however, precious to God.

2) An attack on man is an attack on the image of God. At a trivial level, you’re messing with sculptures in God’s art studio. In God’s view of bloodshed, it is not merely a physiological event, but it is an assault on the divine image. Why is murder punishable by death? It says, “For in the image of God made He man.”

David
We learn more about God’s view of bloodshed from David. David is a man who loved God and who was loved by God. God raised him up to defend Israel. God sent David to physically fight to defend Israel. When David killed Goliath and Philistines in battles, it was at God’s command. They were righteous killings. Now, with that understanding, let’s look at a few passages:

1 Chronicles 28:3 “But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.’

1 Chronicles 22:8 But the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.

David wants to build a house for the Lord. This is a good desire. But God says, “David, you are disqualified from doing this.” Why? Not because of the murder of Uriah. Not because of his adultery with Bathsheba. It is because of the wars, and because David had
“shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.” David had killed men in the sight of God, and that disqualified him from this spiritual service.

But wasn’t David obeying God in engaging in these wars? Yes. Did David sin in shedding this blood? No. But shedding blood is so significant to God that David was unfit to for certain “ministries”.

Killing someone is not a light thing. Our culture casually depicts killing. In television, movies, and video games, killing, whether it is legitimate or illegitimate killing, is portrayed with such a frequency that most people are relatively desensitized to it.

Here is the bottom line: Shedding blood, taking the life of another, is a big deal. Your life is forfeit if you wrongfully take the life of another. Even if you take life in a permitted manner, it is serious enough that it can disqualify you from certain types of spiritual service. Even if you are the “good guy”, you are “marked” in the eyes of God. I didn’t say you are guilty. I am merely showing that God viewed Godly David differently because David had killed men (though righteously).

Bloodshed must have the same significance to us. It is never a light thing, even if you are in the right, even if you do it righteously.

As we move on, I want to ask this question: Does the believer have an obligation to resist evil and to protect life? Think about it.

Having looked at the obligation to preserve life, and the Biblical view of bloodshed, let’s now look at passages dealing with self-defense and the use of lethal force…

 

(The remainder of this article can be found at its original source here: The Biblical View of Self-Defense)

Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, Gun Control, israel, Judaism, Life in America, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, salvation, Shadow Government.

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2 Comments

  • 1. Maranatha Today  |  December 15, 2020 at 11:41 AM

    Thanks Modres,

    “Our culture casually depicts killing. In television, movies, and video games, killing, whether it is legitimate or illegitimate killing, is portrayed with such a frequency that most people are relatively desensitized to it.”

    This is such an indictment of USA because as a nation we export all this worldwide too! The number of killings since we came out of lockdown has increased and people just don’t seem to flinch! Truly saddening.

    This article really has got me thinking and praying! I am also holding my fretting at bay as I think about Biden possibly being the leader of this nation!

    After 8 years of Obamination, I don’t think the nation can take another round of rebellion, iniquity, and sin like he unleashed on it! I do hope we get out of here soon as it’s becoming quite unbearable…when I think of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted in despot countries, and how the world is in such chaos and it makes me even more “desperate”. Then I think of the lost – some family members in that group – and I’m torn!

    Thanks for the article…I don’t own a gun and I pray I am never in the crosshairs to have to defend myself or anyone else to the death as I really can’t say how I would act.

    I remember there was a time I lived alone in a very secluded area and I dispatched my guardian angels around the parameter and grounds of the property nightly and felt safe when I did. May they never leave our sides.

    Thanks and greetings to you and your wife. Blessings and Maranatha.

    PS. They finally released what’s in their vaccine…I’ll keep you posted
    if I see any peer reviews about it.

    https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-ingredient-list

    Like

    • 2. modres  |  December 15, 2020 at 12:03 PM

      When my wife and I lived in California, we both had concealed permits. The process was long and costly and today, we would likely be denied there. As I told the Sheriff Deputy who interviewed me, the LAST thing I would ever want to do is kill someone. In fact, I would do all I could to NOT kill them. However, if it came to that, I would choose them in defense of myself or my wife.

      I know folks who (in this state), were able to simply show evidence that they were carrying (without brandishing), when they were accosted and the situation quickly turned in their favor without having to unholster the weapon or shoot. I firmly believe now that Christians must take the path of least resistance. However, when someone is coming at you with a gun or knife (and knives can actually be worse if they’re close), split-second decisions need to be made. Self-defense should never be done in anger or with a spirit of vengeance or retribution.

      You’re right. Society has become hugely desensitized to graphic violence. I recall vividly growing up that TV shows were never allowed to show blood even after a person was shot onscreen. Violence was limited. Today, anything goes. The first few “slasher” films were actually rated “X” for the level of violence. Now? PG-13 or R is the normal rating and the R rating usually happens with swear words and/or sexual content, not necessarily just violence.

      Video games have been purveyors of violence for quite some time. Some games are specifically and only geared to depict violent acts by the gamer with blood spattering across the monitors. It becomes a “game” and sport really.

      Let me make one suggestion or recommendation if I may: you need to decide HOW you will react before it happens. If you don’t, you’ll likely become a victim. My wife and I have spent good money being trained in pistol usage. But it’s more than that. It’s being as aware of your surroundings as you possibly can be to avoid situations BEFORE they happen.

      I believe God will protect us, yet there are many unfortunate examples of Christians being victims of violence. Much of the time, it is being in the wrong place at the wrong time and not even being aware of it because of distractions.

      Regarding the vaccine, I see that they began giving it to people who volunteered for it yesterday. One good thing I noticed is that several vaccine producers have created the CV-19 vax WITHOUT use of aborted fetal cells as per Mercola:
      https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/12/15/aborted-fetal-cells-in-coronavirus-vaccines.aspx

      I am interested to hear about any side effects from the one from Pfizer that is being used in the USA now.

      Thanks Maranatha!

      Like


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