No, it does not apply to war, for as we shall see there were times that God commanded men to go to war and to kill their enemies and a time is coming when the Lord Jesus Christ shall war against His enemies and many of them will be killed. The first war recorded in Scripture is in Genesis chapter 14 where we read that certain kings “made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah” (verse 2) and other kings in that region. During one of the battles “they also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed” (verse 12). In verses 14-16 we read, “Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen TRAINED SERVANTS…and he and his servant ATTACKED THEM….and…brought back Lot and his goods.” We all know that Abraham was a JUST MAN who served God and yet we see that he had a “trained army” that was ready to go to battle if necessary. This was a JUST WAR and any killing that took place was NECESSARY AND JUST. In other words, killing in a just war is not a sin.

Throughout the Old Testament we read of countless wars and many of them were just wars where God commanded the Israelites to fight against their enemies. I would encourage you to read Joshua 8:1-2; 1st Samuel 15:3 and 2nd Samuel 5:23-24 as examples of this. In the New Testament book of Revelation we read of a future WAR IN HEAVEN: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought” (12:7). Later, in 19:11, 15, 21 we read, “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and Ture, and IN RIGHTEOUSNESS HE JUDGES AND MAKES WAR…Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations…And the rest were KILLED WITH THE SWORD which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse.” This makes it crystal-clear that war, and killing in war, is sometimes NECESSARY AND JUST.

Now we must face your question head on, for even though there were necessary wars throughout Old Testament times and there will be wars in the future involving angels and the Lord Jesus Christ, is it right for a Christian, who is living in the Day of Grace, to go to war and kill? There are two main views that we will look at, but before we do it should be said that whatever view you take, you should be guided by what “your conscience sees from Scripture” and “you shouldn’t judge those who take the other view.”

1) The PACIFIST VIEW is the belief that “war and killing in war is never justified for the Christian.” They will quickly point to Matthew 5:38-39 to support this view: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I (Jesus) tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” Later, in verses 43-44, Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and HATE YOUR ENEMY.’ But I say to you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” In this view they admit that war was justified during Old Testament times but during the present Day of Grace it would contradict the message of love and grace proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to “love our enemies” and killing them would contradict this command.

2) The JUST WAR VIEW takes into consideration what we saw earlier, that war is indeed NECESSARY AND JUST at times. When confronted with the PACIFIST VIEW, they respond by saying, “There is a distinction between the Christian’s PRIVATE AND PUBLIC VIEWS.” They would agree with the pacifist that in a believer’s private life he should obey the Lord’s words in Matthew chapter 5. But they would go on to cite Romans 13:1, 3-4 which says, “Let every soul to subject to the governing authorities…for rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil…for he is God’s minister to you for good…he does not BEAR THE SWORD IN VAIN.” In short, this view holds that as citizens of a country, we are to “obey our government which works for JUSTICE AGAINST EVIL” and if our country goes to war and a Christian is called into military service, he should be willing to join the military and kill their enemies as an act of justice.  (402.1)  (DO)