Hacksaw Ridge – Thou Shalt Not Kill

The recent movie “Hacksaw Ridge” is concerning a conscientious objector who refused to bear arms based on the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” from the Bible. He was allowed to train as a medic and was involved in saving many lives during one of the battles in Okinawa and subsequently became the first conscientious objector to ever win the Congressional Medal of Honor. This movie however, has brought into focus the question whether Christians who serve in the military should likewise observe this commandment not to kill and refuse to bear arms.

This commandment is one of the ten commandments given to the children of Israel by Moses.

Exodus 20:13: Thou shalt not kill.

Does this mean this commandment is applicable only to the children of Israel? Or should this commandment be extended only to Christians because this is in the Bible? If that be the case, non Christians are allowed to kill with impunity? Does this make sense?

The truth of the matter is, this commandment is a universal commandment applicable to all man on earth. Before even this commandment was given by Moses, centuries ago immediately after the flood, God has made known to Noah and his surviving family members the penalty of taking man’s life.

Genesis 9:6: Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

So this is the first clear cut law on capital punishment for taking another man’s life. It is not just meant for the Jews or the Church. Although no commandment was issued to forbid killing back then, the implication was obvious and the punishment explicitly established. What Moses did was to issue a preventive measure before anyone reached the stage where capital punishment was required to be meted out to those who kill.

The decree according to Genesis 9:6 is understandable where violence plagued the world before the flood and the entire human race had to be wiped out except Noah and his family members. So Exodus 20:13 is a continual affirmation of God’s plan for man to stay away from violence and taking of man’s life.

Just because Moses gave this commandment to the children of Israel, some might have the funny idea to romanticize this commandment and turn Christians into conscientious objectors refusing to kill when there is justifiable cause to do so. What about taking away the life of a murderer so dictated by Genesis 9:6 long before Moses showed up on earth to give this commandment not to kill? Is a Christian just before God for refusing to obey Genesis 9:6 by simply grabbing Exodus 20:13 and put himself on a pedestal to claim the title as a conscientious objector?

The same man Moses who gave this commandment not to kill also commanded the children of Israel to exterminate their enemies that God wanted to be removed from the land.

Deuteronomy 7:1: When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

Deuteronomy 7:2: And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

Deuteronomy 7:3: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

Doesn’t Moses contradict what he told the children of Israel much earlier not to kill and then sent them to slaughter everyone be they male or female, young or old? Those who hope to hide behind the notion of being a conscientious objector certainly look very silly indeed.

In fact when the children of Israel worshipped the golden calf while Moses was up on the mountain receiving the commandments from Jehovah God, Moses turned into a murderous rage when he saw what happened and ordered the slaughtering of three thousand sinning Israelites that day.

Exodus 32:25: And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)

Exodus 32:26: Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

Exodus 32:27: And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.

Exodus 32:28: And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.

So much killing in just one day for the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” notwithstanding.

The history of the nation of Israel was nothing short of bloody killing during times of war. When Gideon told his youthful son to kill the captured enemies, he was afraid to do so. Gideon personally killed those kings without blinking an eye. Did Gideon violate the law of Moses?

Judges 8:20: And he said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword: for he feared, because he was yet a youth.

Judges 8:21: Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels’ necks.

Samuel came along and commanded king Saul to slaughter the Amalekites, young and old, male and female including their animals, but the mission was only half completed. King Saul spared the animals and the king of Amalek.

1 Samuel 15:1: Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.

1 Samuel 15:2: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

1 Samuel 15:3: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

As such, Samuel personally hacked the king of Amalek to death. Did Samuel violate the law of Moses?

1 Samuel 15:32: Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.

1 Samuel 15:33: And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

So the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” does not mean God intends for everyone to die naturally of old age as some would want you to believe. This commandment is simply to prevent anyone having to be executed for violating Genesis 9:6 that requires the execution of the murderer. Cold blooded murder must be punished for those who failed to keep Exodus 20:13 “Thou shalt not kill”.

Numbers 35:16: And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

Numbers 35:17: And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

Numbers 35:18: Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

Numbers 35:19: The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him.

Numbers 35:21: Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him.

Numbers 35:30: Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.

Numbers 35:31: Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.

There will be justifiable cause to kill which is obvious living in this sin cursed fallen world. One such cause would be during times of war. Shedding blood in times of peace is forbidden. David before he died commanded his son Solomon to deal with Joab who murdered Abner and Amasa in times of peace.

1 Kings 2:5: Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet.

1 Kings 2:9: Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.

So should Christians refuse to bear arms especially those who are conscripted to serve in the military by the law of the land? Can such Christians claim Exodus 20:13 to be an excuse from combat service? What does the New Testament have to say about this matter? Are Christians expressly forbidden to bear arms, especially commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is yes and no.

When the Lord Jesus Christ first sent His disciples out to preach the gospel of the kingdom, they were sent only to the children of Israel and were not allowed to carry necessities including weapons.

Matthew 10:5: These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:

Matthew 10:6: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 10:7: And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 10:8: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Matthew 10:9: Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,

Matthew 10:10: Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Much later before the Lord was about to be betrayed and went to the cross, the operational requirements for His disciples changed.

Luke 22:35: And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.

Luke 22:36: Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Luke 22:37: For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

Luke 22:38: And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

This time, the disciples were required to be full battle order ready, including weapons at hand. The previous standing order to head out to mission empty handed was replaced.

The carrying of sword wasn’t meant to embarrass Peter when he tried to use the sword to defend the Lord during Judas Iscariot’s betrayal who was leading the mob to arrest the Lord. The Lord’s commandment was for any disciples who may have to bear arms for self defence when necessary.

Furthermore initially when John the Baptist showed up to baptize converts, soldiers also came to enquire what they must do in order to be a qualified candidate for baptism.

Luke 3:14: And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

John the Baptist did not tell them to get out of the military. He told them not to abuse their power simply because they were armed and had the power to do violence. Soldiers are trained to fight wars and in times of battles, they have to kill or be killed. To impose a no arms bearing requirement on soldiers who are believers in the Lord is to send them to their death during times of war.

When the the Lord Jesus Christ came along to further reaffirm the commandments of Moses, the same commandment “Thou shalt not kill” was retained and clearly understood to be meant for potential murderers to take heed.

Matthew 19:18: He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

The apostle John went one step further than Moses when he issued this hard truth for Christians.

1 John 3:15: Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

This pronouncement dealt with the very heart of the matter. This warning is one step before Exodus 20:13, the preventive act of murder itself after which capital punishment takes its course to remove the murderer from the earth. So this Christian warning is even stricter than the commandment given by Moses. It starts with the heart. Hatred for his brother is considered murder even before the act of murder has taken place.

So the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” according to Exodus 20:13 does not even enter into the equation for Christians because the moment a child of God hates his brother, he is already crossing the line into the realm of murder, spiritually speaking.

Claiming to be a conscientious objector and avoiding military duties when required is inexcusable. Whether a Christian likes it or not, he is in a constant state of warfare and he is called to be a soldier to fight spiritual battles.

2 Timothy 2:3: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

2 Timothy 2:4: No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Those serving with the apostle Paul were fellow soldiers and soldiering is not an obscene occupation.

Philippians 2:25: Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.

The primary duty of a Christian is to fight spiritual war because we are in a constant state of tension with wars against the flesh, the world and the devil.

2 Corinthians 10:3: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

2 Corinthians 10:4: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

1 Timothy 1:18: This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

Christian soldiers are given weapons to engage in this constant spiritual battle and no one will be exempted. Refusing to bear arms and wrestle with the enemies are folly to the uttermost because one cannot imagine the conflict is fictitious and wishes the troubles away.

Ephesians 6:11: Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:12: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:13: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Ephesians 6:14: Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Ephesians 6:15: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Ephesians 6:16: Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Ephesians 6:17: And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Ephesians 6:13: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is not an excuse for a Christian to shirk duties when required to bear arms. Living in this fallen world, there might be times where the warfare could be translated from spiritual state to a literal physical war. A Christian cannot hide himself behind the fanciful notion as a conscientious objector not to take up arms to protect his loved ones from getting killed and raped during times of evil and expects others to risk their lives to protect him and his families.

In the context of today’s heightened state of tension with regards to terrorism worldwide, it is silly that observing the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” will keep one safe. Terrorists do not subscribe to such a law. These criminals are out to exact maximum casualty and damage in population centres to get a message out to the world in order to champion a political cause.

A Christian law enforcement officer is required to take down such criminals when necessary to prevent any or further loss of innocent lives. Refusing to eliminate that treat and allows criminals to harm and kill innocent people is tantamount to becoming accessory to crimes with these criminals and be found guilty of murder should the innocents needed to be protected get killed. This gross negligent of duty is unpardonable, especially naively using the Bible to aid criminals in taking away innocent lives. Such folly indeed causes the name of the Lord to be blasphemed where non believers look down on such believers using the Bible to cover up their own cowardice.

The funny thing is some Christians are so averse to warfare where the Bible is so full of examples to exhort Christians to be a good soldier of the Lord firstly to fight spiritual battles. The believers in the Old Testament had no qualms in obeying the Lord to put an end to lives when commanded to do so. The New Testament Christians seem to think that putting an end to life is a dirty job meant for non believers. They conveniently forget there are soldiers in the New Testament where they were not required to give up their occupation just because they became believers in the Lord. Cornelius is a good Roman solder who believed the Lord. He was never required to quit his post. It would be so silly to insist he surrendered his arms back to the Roman empire once he got converted to Christianity.

Moses commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is not only meant for the Jews, or the Church, but universally applicable to the world. It is a crime prevention measure not a panacea to obtaining eternal life.

The western world led by left wing bleeding heart liberals who object to capital punishment is causing chaos in societies where those who violated the commandment not to kill are spared from death penalty. Hence, as the scripture concludes, the land descends into lawlessness, just like in the days of Noah before the flood.

Ecclesiastes 8:11: Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Thou shalt not kill is not just a commandment but a warning after which the consequence of capital punishment follows.

Numbers 35:31: Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.

It is not meant to support misguided conscientious objectors in their attempt shirk duties or bask in vain glory for their own self righteousness.

Like it or not, one day all believers in Christ would fight a war with such a scale that will be earth-shattering. This will happen when the Lord returns with His saints to take possession of the earth to set up His Kingdom. Mass killing is assured.

Revelation 19:11: And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Revelation 19:12: His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

Revelation 19:13: And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Revelation 19:14: And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Revelation 19:15: And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Revelation 19:16: And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Revelation 19:17: And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

Revelation 19:18: That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

Revelation 19:19: And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

Revelation 19:20: And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Revelation 19:21: And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

If you are not part of the armies in heaven participating in this battle with the Lord, you are none of His. You may very well turn out to be cannon fodders on earth to be exterminated with the rest of the rebels when the Lord brings in His Kingdom with His saints.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Amen!


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