What does God say about a soldier taking a life in war, or a policeman on the job?

In the new covenant that God made with Noah, God tells us that life is in the blood and all blood belongs to him. He also says in verse 6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image."  

My question is what about soldiers that have killed in war? Or policemen on the job? Or murder out of self-defense? 

How does God view these instances?  

Genesis 9:5 - 6

ESV - 5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6 Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

Clarify Share Report Asked January 10 2014 Mini Kip Edwards

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Mini Lyle Darnell Retired Businessman - Former President/CEO of my own company
There are Biblical reasons to believe that murder and self defense are viewed differently. 

In John 18:10 we see Simon Peter drawing a sword and using it, in the presence of Jesus. Upon closer examination of this verse we see that it must have been common practice for Simon Peter to carry a sword, as Jesus told him to put it back in its sheath. He did not just find one laying about. Simon Peter must have also been quite adept at using it, as he sliced off an ear. It is safe to assume that he was prepared to defend Christ to the death. After all, you would not draw a weapon against a band of armed men, if you were not intending to use it. Christ told him to "put up his sword", and explained why. He said: "The cup which the Father has given me, I shall drink". 

Further, it is nonsense to think that anyone would be expected to passively look on as your child was being butchered by a maniac. 

Cain's killing of Able was "murder". Using a deadly weapon against a band of "thugs" clearly would not have been. 

The scriptures are also repeat with instances of God assisting his people in killing entire armies, in times of war. If we are to be able to live in a country without anarchy, we must be able to defend ourselves. This we do with police and soldiers. 

To imply that our brave police officers and soldiers are murderers, when they must kill to protect our right to worship our Lord and live in peace, is ludicrous.

January 12 2014 15 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Vin Smith Concert Pianist. Piano Tuner. Talk Show Host. Novelist.
Unfortunately, in this evil and corrupt world, such a question occupies center stage for untold numbers of God's people--be it in war torn places, large and dangerous cities run amok, or even in peaceful family communities...

First, read these verses: (1Co 6:19-20), (Psalm 82:4), (Proverbs 24:11), (Ezekiel 33), (Genesis 9:5-6), (1 Chronicles 28:3), 
(1 Chronicles 22:8), There are many other verses for you to peruse while grappling with this most important reality: What Do We Do For the Occasional Need to Resist Violence, Either on the Homefront or in Wartime?

Now, a bit of commentary: 

There is nothing more taxing to the soul than when our faithful servants working in law enforcement find themselves in the terrible circumstance of defending life in violent situations. There are very few law enforcement officers--in such a circumstance--who will not need counseling in officer involved shootings. It is excruciatingly painful to the soul to have to be involved with this; yet, someone has to! Always remember our police officers! Always pray for them--both generically, and specifically; help any one of them when you are called to.

Second, the work of peacekeepers--because that's what our country's soldiers are--is absolutely vital. Yet, they suffer incredible hardships. So did David when he prosecuted the wars he was involved in. That's why God worked so beautifully with David in His counseling described in the above verses (1 Chronicles 28:3) (1 Chronicles 22:8). This was in a very real sense the very first recorded example of post traumatic stress counseling. 

Violence instigated by evil forces is always a tool of Satan. Necessary violence in defense of that which belongs to God (us, our family, our communities, our nation), is a gut-wrenching necessity. No one who loves our Lord ever wishes to be involved in those situations--unless it is unmistakably necessary.

Proverbs 3:31-32 "Do not envy a man of violence, And do not choose any of his ways. For the crooked man is an abomination to the LORD; But He is intimate with the upright."

January 11 2014 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Outdoor cropped headshot Mary Yarborough
Having posed the same question to various Christian leaders, the responses varied depending on the denomination. 

While I was searching for a church, (I am Protestant) I spent time with the Catholic Church and had engaged in the early conversion process, which I vacated due logistics. But I enjoyed the frankness of this Myrtle Beach Catholic Church leadership that welcomed such questions as the one we're addressing.

The priest leading the conversion class explained that the taking of life during war or for purposes of self-family-and community defense is allowed by God. I sensed a vagueness, however, as to whether it is forgiven or permitted. The Catholic priest suggested that it is permitted, but I believe that likely, it is forgiven as are all of our so-called sins, if such would be considered a sin.

Since a soldier, police officer or anyone presented with a duty to protect life, families and communities, life-or-death scenario would be expected to result in swift and effective force equal to or exceeding the assaulting, evil force. The result may be to kill, but without premeditation, it would not be murder.

We are called upon to forgive those committing sin, cardinal murder or otherwise, so we cannot assume that God would be any less forgiving. 

The goal would be forgiveness by society and for ourselves. God already would have as long as we are Christian no matter what the circumstances.

The power of compassion and forgiveness seems elusive for many churches and Christians, and such judgment against soldiers and responsible police officers who may have to kill to protect the righteous and innocent is discompassionate, irresponsible, rigid and naive.

Whether one would agree that killing is permitted is not as important as whether one believes and trusts in God's grace, promise and authority to forgive.

Worse would be that we witness someone under attack and do nothing. Indifference or avoiding action or responsibility for our fellow man is the greatest sin at play in the world.

Doing nothing because we fear the consequences, the commitment or don't care is far more unforgivable.Yet, God forgives cowards, too.

January 12 2014 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Walt Pryor Retired man, seventy three.
I believe God made us men. Killing and murdering are different. It depends on the circumstances, and time. Would God look favorably on a man who refused to protect his wife a children? This happens all the time in our world. Our world is a violent place. God expects men to be men! But men cannot use that as a license to be violent. We cannot kill unless it is immediately necessary to save ourselves, family, or innocents. If we could do something to save people, but did not, that could be construed as allowing death. All life is Sacred. That includes our life. I think God understands what is evil and what is not evil. 
I was discharged just before the big build up in Vietnam. I always regretted not going with fellow soldiers, I trained three years with. But now I am happy I did not have to take a life. But if someone tried to kill me, or my family, I would not hesitate. That is what God expects men to do. 
I think the Old Testament proves God is no stranger to killing and death.

January 12 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Steven Scott Grader for the Ontario Jail Ministry
The Youth Pastor at my church sent me this:

Soldiers or Policeman are agents of the government (and also of God) which are designed to protect people and uphold justice in the world for the benefit of the people they lead (see Romans 13:1-7). I certainly believe that God endorses using force to protect people against evil. However, this is why it so important to have leaders who governed by justice and integrity, and why we should pray for them, they have a huge responsibility. There are certainly times when governments and leaders are corrupt and that they use force for an evil end. There are also times when Christians must be willing to not be involved with injustice and corruption even if there are serious consequences. That is a fairly short answer with my thoughts, but obviously this is a very complex issue.

January 12 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Mike Morgan
First, let me say I know I am taking an unpopular and minority position, but please at least consider what I have to say.

I don't understand why most agree that killing for the purposes of war against a foreign country is acceptable. We are all evil. The founding fathers did not want a standing army due to the fact that its to tempting for a sinful man to use it. 

What happens when a non believer is in charge of our army? For some reason we think God is on our armies side. I can't find it anywhere that God is on our armies side. We take the arrogant stance that if its our army we must be right, so the killings by our soldiers is acceptable because, we are quote "the good guys." I don't believe in killing in an offensive war. 

Killing in war while defending a nation is completely different, but we have created a whole industry out of war and try to justify it by saying we are "the good guys." "The good guys" are sinners just like the sinners we are killing. 

I see know where in the New Covenant where killing, because we think we are on the right side is justified. I do see much more about love and prayer and spreading the gospel. 

300,000 people praying to the God in heaven would go much further than our army in foreign countries killing the ones we are supposed to be trying to reach.

January 13 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Williams Cranston Williams
The Bible say you "shall not murder", not thou shall not "kill".
There is a time to kill (Ecc 3:3).

January 12 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Data Bruce Lyon Elder: Restoration Fellowship Assembly
For soldiers or policeman that have to take a life or lives as part of their job is part of the civil governmental duties that God instituted at the time of Noah. However, a christian, a follower of the lord messiah Jesus cannot be a member of the armed service as a soldier, or a policeman where they might be called upon to kill someone.

It is impossible for a follower of Jesus to kill anyone for any reason. He commands us to love our enemies, not kill them, and to pray for those who persecute us, not do them any harm. You can't love your enemy with an M-16 or a hand-gun, or any weapon with the intent of killing that enemy.

We are in this world, but not of it and our citizenship is in heaven. If we as followers of Jesus are to truly follow him, we will never do a violent act towards anyone, as he did not, ever do so. We have to place our confidence in our God and the Messiah Jesus to have our back, to guide and protects us through any and all circumstances.

To-day there are many Christians who are being persecuted or put in prison or being killed and I have not heard of any fighting back. If some do so, it is because they have not realized that they are not of this world; that they are in it but not of it; in the anointed one Jesus. That being a fact; we are to act accordingly, as he acted during his entire life, giving us an example to follow.

Jesus was non-violent, and he said that if his Kingdom was of this age, his servant would fight, but it is not of this age; but of the age to come; when he will come in power and take up his rule over the nations and we with him rule over all at that time. In this age were are to show forth the lord Jesus; in following his example to provide a true witness; as to the character of the lord Jesus; to others.

In the 2nd War we had German Christians fighting against Christian of the allied armies. When the Atomic bomb his Hiroshima, it landed on a Baptist Church that was located in the center of that city. I'm sure President Truman, who was a baptist, was devastated when he found that out.

For a believer in the lord Jesus to take up a weapon and kill another human being for whatever reason is to deny his/her lord and savior Jesus; God's anointed one. He would never sanction such behavior. We need to realize who is in us and we in him, the lord Jesus.

January 11 2014 28 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Johnnatta Giles Spirit Filled Christian
The word says thou shalt not kill. I mean that is very clear. But murder to God is as equal to a lie when it comes down to sin. Repent and you are forgiven.

January 11 2014 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

Photo 0081 Deb Macleod PRAY FOR WORLD PEACE
Webster's 2013 Dictionary's definition of 'soldier' is "One who is engaged in military service; one who serves in an army, one of an organized body of combatants. Definition of 'Combat' - "Fighting between armed forces"
The soldiers and centurions in Jesus' time were Romans and pagans, they had the 'authority' to murder and kill, they weren't followers of Jesus, who taught non-violence. This 'authority' came from Rome, and I think we all agree that the Romans were blood-thirsty and violent to say the least.

Many use flawed arguments by picking out certain scripture which is foolish, it is wise to read the whole chapter to gain a better understanding. 

Acts 10:1-48 Cornelius was a Roman Centurion, ie a commander of a century in the ancient Roman Army. Cornelius fell down and worshipped Peter, who told him to stand up, explaining that normally Jews would not be with other 'nationalities' (like Cornelius, being a Roman pagan) but that God showed him that he was not to call any man common or unclean. Cornelius had been fasting four days and had a vision, Peter was called for and explained to Cornelius that God works righteousness within all nationalities. All that were present prayed to God and were baptised in the name of the Lord. OBVIOUSLY, therefore, Cornelius would not have picked up his sword and continued on being a Roman Soldier, he had received the spirit of God into his heart and therefore a righteous follower of Jesus our Lord. He had then been CONVERTED through baptism and became a follower of Jesus.

Luke 7: 8-9 
For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me, I tell this one "Go" and he goes; and that one "come" and he comes, I say to my servant "Do This" and he does it. When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him and turning to the crowd following him, he said "I tell you, I have found no such great faith even in Israel".
Jesus is talking here about FAITH, about a Roman Centurion's SERVANT who had great faith in God, it is used as an example of absolute, pure faith. Jesus never spoke in the negative so obviously would not have said "Tell Your Master To Stop Being A Soldier" he used parables and was a living example of christianity in action. He explained himself in simple stories so that people would understand. It is very sad how few do actually understand today along with in Jesus' time.

Peter did not need 'authority' to carry a sword nor did he need to be a soldier to carry one or even a policeman, to say so is absurd! He obviously was of the belief that it provided him protection and also to attack, however, Jesus taught him a valuable lesson, one that thousands of others would be wise to learn too, that being a true follower of Jesus means following through with "peace and love, goodwill to all men" and you simply can't do that holding onto a gun or sword.

I will not reply to any more emails directed at me after being accused of 'ranting on' which is unfair but only represents the heart and mind of anyone who carries weapons of destruction intended to end life.


October 06 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini william mcnair
We are all commanded...Not to Kill. Since the fall of Man, we come under the power of the Prince of this world (Satan). Once we accept Christ as our Savior, we follow His guidance and his will. The operative word here is intent...what is truly in your heart at the time of your action? And only God knows that.

January 15 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Leon Penny Minister, Retired medical practioner. Special interest in
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son God let his son to defend from the enemy. In Joshua 6..21, the army destroyed everyone and everything. God sometimes allow allows total destruction to ensure that there are no artifacts uor perpetrators left to carry on and no temptation too loot, There are numerous stories of God allowing wars to protect his people and help them reach the Promised land. If you will, read Judges 4.It is a good read and looks at war from God's perspective through Deborah, a Judge. Remember that it is written that there will be a defining war be between good and evil. ARMAGEDDON. Hope that this helps.

September 30 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Scotts face3 Scott Rees
I have had a struggle myself when I read bumper stickers that say, "Pray for our troops"...indicating that we do not pray for other countries' troops? And how do we pray for them? That they would be amazingly effective at killing the "bad" guys? And these "bad" guys are determined by the same government that we have learned to NOT trust because they lie at every turn (repub or democrat, btw). And then the cute addditional verbage: "...especially our snipers!" Now we know that sticker's owner's intention! And so when the bad guy is dead, he likely will be in hell. And that is our intention, right? "Thank you for your service, sir." Hmmm, that doesn't sound as good now. 

Obviously these "religious" people have no problem authorizing others to kill on their behalf. But some of us struggle with that fact. Our taxes, our nonprotest, our silence emboldens and authorizes others to be paid to do what we would be almost always UNwilling to do, with or without God's blessing. 

Personally, I do not "pray for our troops" beyond that they would know God. Praying for their physical safety and accurate gun shots above their salvation is creating a god in the image we want. In other words, our prayers show we worship their life more than God's glory in his grace and salvation available for all who repent and believe. 

Jesus' last command to His disciples in the upper room: "Do not lord it over others as the world does..." Most positions of power - cops, soldiers - do this primarily. And occasionally they serve us. 

I don't want this to be too political. In the end, if my life or family is threatened, I can defend with equal or greater force. Getting paid to taze and shoot someone who is high on pot doesn't justify me harming another. And opinions certainly vary! Our public schools have taught us submission to any authority is better than thinking. But we are to take our cues from His word, which you have quoted. Good job.

October 01 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Don Dixon
I will be brief. In such questions you have to remember the Fall. Genesis chapters 1-3 are so important to understanding our existence and our relationship with our Creator-Father-God. We live outside of paradise due to our exercising of our free will choice to obey or disobey(sin) God's teaching and will. 

Free will is absolutely necessary for humans to be made in God's own image and thus, capable of true love, for Him, ourselves and for others. That same free will necessarily makes murder, every kind of abuse and war no only possible but to be somewhat expected while living in an imperfect environment(outside the Garden of Eden with God), with billions of other sinners besides us making selfish, sinful decisions and acts with negative consequences for ourselves, those around us, and the world(i.e., butterfly effect). 

So, yes, it is completely normal in our God-given makeup and human society as part of God's plan to, in most instances, protect ourselves, our family and our society(country) when we come under attack whether militarily or by other destructive means. (This leads to political-sociological-moral debate as to defining and determining when we are under such an attack and what is the appropriate and necessary response - including when it is another people/country/neighbor being attacked.) When the people(Israel) God chose to work through in order to bring His plan's for His creation (the offer of forgiveness and salvation through the Messiah - Jesus Christ) to fruition, He did in fact command them to defend themselves and empowered them to do what was "necessary" for their survival, including partnering with other countries at times to defeat a common enemy. (Note Samson, David and Goliath, and all the scripture passages regarding the wars involving Israel, as well as New Testament passages that matter-of-factly speak of war, i.e.,Matthew 24:6, Mark 13:7). (Note: The people of Israel repeatedly became unfaithful and disobedient to God's teaching and call to the point He could/would no longer bless them and allowed them to be defeated, with many being killed, until they repented of their unfaithfulness and came back into a faithful relationship with Him.) 

All of this, and yet, Christians are often, individually called upon, in scripture, and in life ever since, to not defend themselves physically, when under personal physical threat or attack regarding their Christian faith. Many have gone, and currently are going to their deaths, instead of recanting their faith in Christ. This is for the sake of the witness to the truth of the Gospel and the love of God which we are blessed to also experience and share with others once we are reunited in loving relationship with the Father through faith in the Son, Jesus.

October 01 2014 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Garth Penglase
I see a lot of personal emotion and subjectivity in many of these answers. This is never good - read the bible and get knowledge - don't be led by your own heart (Matt 15:19) or thinking (Isaiah 55:8, Romans 12:2).

1) God sits in authority over all nations and he establishes authority (whether we feel it's good or bad) according to his plans. Remember Israel was sent into slavery and exile multiple times by God for their disobedience. The disobedience of God's people leads to poor rulers and poor rulers bring destruction on people - they are often Gods judgement upon a nation. (Romans 13:1-7)

2) Biblically, individual actions and state actions are two separate things. Don't confuse the two. Armies and polices forces are the two arms of the state to keep the peace and defend each nation. To say it is sin to kill someone in their employ is silliness and emotionalism. (see the Acts 10 and Luke 7 re godly people in the army) 

3) Within the army and police, there are 'rules of engagement' and godly people are called to abide by them. Even people within those offices are called to account for abusing their authority, in some cases being convicted of murder. Killing under authority in the line of duty to protect and serve, and murder, are two very different things.

4) Christians are not pacifists. We are called, at a personal and a civil level, to defend our own and those who cannot defend themselves. Jesus did not call for men to give up their weapons of defence and even suggested carrying a sword for protection. (Luke 22:36) John 18:10 is misused and misquoted - Jesus was angry with Peter for getting in the way of the Father's will.

October 08 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Image Rob VanStavern B.S, M.Ed, PhD, Retired & full time Christian
The reference to the conversion of the Centurian Corneilus has been mentioned, but no where does it say he laid down his weapons and quit being a soldier. No one could just quit without forfeiture of life. An example would be the jailer, who thought the prisoners had escaped, was about to fall on his own sword. They knew that failure to execute sworn duties would result in death. So, unless the jailer and Corneilus were released from service, they continued at their assignments until released or retired (usually 20 years)

October 08 2014 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Georg Kouz
Exodus 20:13
You shall not murder.
More clear could not be written. You shall not murder, without any open parenthesis for any exceptions.

2 Kings 19:35
That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning--there were all the dead bodies!

Exodus 21:20-21
Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result,
but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

September 30 2014 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Dscf1720 Myron Robertson Seeking God's heart
If you are seeking a simple answer from scripture I can assure you it cannot be found. You have people posting them here, but you find a simple answer proving both sides to be true which actually proves neither side to be true.

Yes, God says: do not kill (actually murder is the proper translation of the commandment) but then he commands killing in a number of situations. Clearly the simplistic answers are false, only looking at the side of this issue the answerer wishes to be truth. A complete and detailed answer, were I to give it would end up being a book, probably well over 100 pages, and even a thorough answer that is simple would run over 4000 characters. At best you can only be given some directions for study.

Scripture makes little distinction between soldiers and policemen (temple guards) so I will not either. Simply be aware that the distinction is minor but does exist. A more important distinction that must be made involves correction of the translation of your thesis verse. The Hebrew word for life is chai, which does not exist in that passage of scripture. The word translated life there is nephesh, the most mistranslated word in all of scripture. In the KJV this word is translated into 38 different words or phrases. That alone proves the invalidity of a number of these different translations. Where most Hebrew words have two or three different translations, usually helping us to understand the spiritual concept from the physical definition of the word (wind or breath for spirit in the case of ruach or breath or intellect for spirit in the case of neshamah) I have seen only one valid definition of nephesh and that is soul. 

Most modern Christian teaching follows the Greek concept and sees little or no difference between soul and spirit and equates both with life. Hebrew teaching, continued in the NT with Greek terminology makes a clear distinction between soul and spirit and life only exists when the soul and spirit both occupy the body. Abundant life only occurs when spirit is in the highest position and is fully mature and able to rule us. 

According to scripture damage to the soul is a much greater sin than damage to life, but because of this major misunderstanding of these terms by Christians and the mistranslation of scripture due to this misunderstanding most Christians cannot see this truth. The death of the body is of little consequence when compared to damage to the soul. The death of the soul by the second death (repentance and surrender to the spirit) is absolutely necessary to obtaining the abundant life. This brings us to the difference between physical things and spiritual things, especially as they relate to warfare. 

A physical war is never justified unless the spiritual war has been fought and won in God's courtroom first. If we have chosen to go to physical war first all the killing is murder. The answer is that simple, but don't take this simple answer and act simplistically.

Numbers 8 tells of the dedication of the Levites. These were set apart to be government and temple officials. The Priests are like our pastors today and the rest of the Levites would be the rest of the denominational and governmental officials. Numbers 8:25 in the KJV says they were to serve the service of the temple. The correct translation is to war the warfare. If these officials have not first won the war in God's courtroom no battle they order their armies to undertake is just. 

The laws of warfare in Deuteronomy 20 give the procedures for conducting a just war, whether you only see the physical application or can understand the spiritual symbolism and apply it. All soldiers spiritual and physical are to be volunteer, to be allowed to judge the righteousness of any given battle for themselves and bow out if they wish. Above all, diplomacy first. All of these mark most of our wars as unjust. Which sword are we using? Have we fought the battle with the sword of the spirit or do we go straight to the physical sword?

October 13 2014 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

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