Biblical View of the Right of Self-Defense

The Bill of Rights is God given rights, it does not matter what government tries to limit them. This includes the Second Amendment, which includes the right of self-preservation, to defend yourself, your property, and your family. The Second Amendment states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This includes two things, the regulated Militia, and the right of people.

Let us focus on the second part, the right of the people. When the Second Amendment states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This means it is the people’s right to own and carry/use weapons and equipment relating to weapons, and it is not allowed to be limited or made obsolete (1). This includes any form of weaponry use by military forces, that means guns as well. God calls us to arm ourselves as children of God.

Luke 11:21-22 – “21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.”

This Scripture shows us that the need to defend your place is present, if you arm yourself and keep yourself strong your goods are in peace, otherwise known as your property. However, if a stronger man comes, which could mean someone better armed, or simply better trained, this stronger man overtakes the strong man and all the strong man’s goods are taken. This Scripture teaches us two things, one the need to protect yourself from evil man, and two the understanding that one should not trust in the riches or weapons of this world for they will perish. Instead we understand that we should rely on Christ, as we know it says in Psalm 20:7 – “7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” This does not negate from the original understanding of, if we make ourselves prepared by training with guns and weapons of this age, we become the strong man, who has armed themselves, and we are able to keep our property, ourselves and our family safe. However, that being said ultimately when stuff hits the fan we need to rely on Christ and believe God will get us through such grim times, and not to trust in weapons.

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

These next verses, Luke 22:35-39, 49-51, John 18:10 tell the account of Jesus being betrayed by Judas and taken captive. What’s interesting right before this occurs, Jesus tells His disciples to buy a sword, even to sell their garment to buy a sword. After it is known two swords are with them, Jesus and His disciples go to the Mount of Olives where Jesus prays before He is betrayed.

Luke 22:35-39 – “35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.

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.

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.

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

39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.”

Luke 22:49-51 – “49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?

50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.”

John 18:10-11 “10 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

So why would Jesus ask His disciples to purchase a sword, but at the same time denounce the use of them against the guard. Is this a contradiction? Let me answer that with an emphatic NO. Notice how the disciples needed a sword for safety, but Jesus did not take up a sword, as it was Jesus’s time to give His life. In fact, Jesus states in John 18:11 – “put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

The sword was not meant to be used to hinder the work of God that was Jesus being crucified. However, the alternative use for the sword, was the need for the disciples to defend themselves from being held captive, as well as self-defense for His followers as they travel throughout the land. The roads people travelled on were dangerous with robbers, and even today the world we live in is dangerous. A case in point showing the roads were dangerous then would be the account of the good Samaritan who stopped for the man who was robbed.

Luke 10:29-37“29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” 

So, John 18 doesn’t negate the prior verse of buying a sword but instead, narrows down the use of weapons, which includes the need for self-defense. That being understood, we are not meant to take the kingdom of God by force, neither by the sword, this is again explained in John 18:36.

John 18:36 – “36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

This verse does not discourage the use of weapons, just using weapons to take the kingdom of God also known as forced conversions. Instead we are called to understand the kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom but one that exists in Heaven and our citizenship is in Heaven. Another verse that is commonly used to discourage self-defense is Matthew 5:38-39.

Matthew 5:38-39 – “38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

However, let’s take this whole Scripture in context: In Matthew 5:1 – “1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him.” From this verse we know that Jesus is teaching the multitudes. Verse 38 is the beginning of a new subject, the subject before was that about making promises which lasted verses 33-37. The verses 38-47 include the subject about loving those that hate you. Please by all means, read these verses, for the sake of space I will not be including them. So, if these verses are about loving people, when the Scripture states if someone hits you turn the other cheek, it is speaking of vengeance. When the attacker smites the victim, the life of the victim and their family’s lives are not at risk. In this context if your enemy is to wish you harm, and does harm you, do no seek vengeance upon them. Instead love them, and show them your other cheek, which shows the offender that you are forgiving them of the first smite. This verse teaches us not to seek vengeance, but peace if possible, with all men. As the Scripture states Romans 12:18 – “18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” This Scripture to put it simply means do everything you can to be at peace with everyone, but understand it is not always possible. Part of keeping peace is loving our enemies who wish us harm, but if they overstep their bounds and start to abuse/kill us, we should protect ourselves accordingly, not out of vengeance, but love for ourselves and our people. This is because even if we try our absolute best to love and keep peace with all men, some will still hate us, and even try to kill us. Therefore, we should protect ourselves, our family, and our people from those that seek to end our lives.

God chooses to use man and His wonders to protect people. Some would say God will protect us from all things, so we should never defend ourselves. Yes, God does in fact protect us, and saves us from life threatening situations, however we should not test God expecting Him to save us no matter what. To live is Christ, and although dying would be gain, God can and does use us to defend ourselves, and our family (Philippians 1:21). He may not always desire to save us from life threatening situations through His miracles but expects us to act in defense to save ourselves and stand up as fathers and mothers of the faith. Which includes taking up arms against those that wish us dead. For God made us to do His will, and is it not the Lord’s will to defend the sheep (Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 2:12-13, John 14:12, Acts 20:28, John 21:15-17)?

Christians are being slaughtered around the world for the Faith and have no weapons to defend themselves (2). Thank God that in America we have the right to defend ourselves with our God given right of the 2nd amendment. Let us pray for the countries that do not honor this right. For sadly, Christian churches are under attack, including America, and we need to be prepared and ready to defend ourselves and our churches from these attacks. Which included bringing our weapons, concealed carry guns and whatever the Lord may lead you to bring to church, keep in mind the Lord only leads people according to His word, the Bible (5). Now if you feel led by the Lord to be martyred for Christ, lay your life down accordingly. For martyrs are found throughout the scripture both the Old and New Testament. A case in point is Stephen the first martyr listed in the New testament, and all 10 of His disciples were martyred except John who wrote several books including Revelation. From the verses detailing the stoning of Stephen we know Christ, Who is omniscient, knew Stephen was to be a martyr for Christ. This is because verses 55 and 56 before the stoning of Stephen state, that as Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit, He spoke the truth of seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. The Lord knew this would cause the people to become angry and stone Stephen, yet the Lord still moved Stephen by giving him a vision that would lead to Stephen being martyred.

Acts 7: 52-60 – “52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

Some are called by God to defend themselves, and others are called to die for the faith. So, if the Lord wishes us to be killed for the faith, we should listen to the inner man, the still small voice, that is the Holy Spirit, and be willing to die for Christ, for He died for us, Matthew 24:9 – 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” This is relating to ourselves, if our family or church is being attacked, we are called to defend the people God has entrusted to us. In fact, the temple of God had Priestly Guards set up 24-hour rotation to protect the temple and the people.

“A strict watch over the Temple was maintained, the guard being composed of three priests and twenty-one Levites. The priests were stationed one at the Chamber of the Flame (“Bet ha-Niẓoẓ”), one at the Chamber of the Hearth (“Bet ha-Moḳed”), and one at the Chamber (attic) of Abṭinas (see diagram, page 95). The Levites kept guard as follows: one at each of the five gates of the mount entrances; one at each of the four corners within the mount enclosure; one at each of the five important gates of the courts; one at each of the four corners within the court; one at the Chamber of Sacrifice; one at the Chamber of Curtains; and one behind the “Kapporet” (Holy of Holies). The captain of the guard saw that every man was alert, chastising a priest if found asleep at his post, and sometimes even punishing him by burning his shirt upon him, as a warning to others (Mid. i. 1).” – Jacobs, Joseph, and Judah David Eisenstein (3)

God tells us in His word, that if we do not take care of our own, that means our family, and ourselves we have denied the faith. 1 Timothy 5:8 – “8 But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Notice how the Scripture focuses on the family, it is more important to take care of your family then yourself. Part of taking care of our family and ourselves involves protecting for does not a father protect his child from sticking a fork in the outlet or making sure the child is not alone in public where the child could be abducted. It is our duty to protect our family, that includes protecting them from those that wish to end the lives of our family whoever it may be.

In order to protect the church, it is our duty as Children of God, to pick up arms, which the modern-day equivalent to swords are guns, learn to shoot, learn self-defense, and defense of those you love, and become the strong man. Remember in the end the strongest man is God and surely, He will defend us, until it is our time to go. Pray; pray, pray, that we never have to use a gun, but be willing if any person seeks the lives of our people. Just as the hero did that defended the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Texas from the active shooter, he defended his church family when he picked up arms (4). If we do not, we have abandoned the faith, because we forgot that protection is love, and how can we love if we do not take care of our own.

(1) “Arm.” Dictionary.com, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, www.dictionary.com/browse/arms.

(2) “Christian Persecution in Focus.” Open Doors, Open Doors USA, www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/.

(3) Jacobs, Joseph, and Judah David Eisenstein. “TEMPLE, ADMINISTRATION AND SERVICE OF:” JewishEncyclopedia.com, JewishEncyclopedia.com, jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14303-temple-administration-and-service-of.

(4) O’Reilly, Andrew. “Texas Church Shooting Not the First Time a Good Guy with Gun Takes down Mass Shooter.” Fox News, FOX News Network, www.foxnews.com/us/texas-church-shooting-not-the-first-time-a-good-guy-with-gun-takes-down-mass-shooter.

(5) The Associated Press. “A List of Some U.S. House of Worship Shootings since 2012.” The Salt Lake Tribune, The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 Nov. 2017, http://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2017/11/06/a-list-of-some-us-house-of-worship-shootings-since-2012/.

All Scripture taken from the King James Version

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