It used to be that some of the bravest and mightiest warriors have been men of faith. I am fairly sure that the first mention in the Bible of a mighty warrior with his own army is in Genesis (chapter 14). That man was Abraham. Abraham...the father of God's people, Israel. The father of Ishmael (progenitor of the Muslims). The spiritual father of the Christians (Gal. 3:8-9). His warfare was fought for freedom. There are other mighty warriors in Scripture. Joshua. Caleb. David. These men are portrayed as having been righteous men. David is described as a "man after God's own heart". These men didn't go to war for mercenary reasons. They fought for freedom and they fought against the forces of evil kings. Kings in those days were barbaric to their own people let alone to people they subjugated. Even the cruelest and most evil of Israel's kings were described as being better than the gentile kings.
Less well known are the Gospel flame carriers who were the precursor to the great Protestant leaders that eventually followed. The Huguenots and the Waldenses. They had some very brave and valiant fighting men too. Again, they were not mercenary. They fought for religious freedom against cruel and evil tyranny.
So, my question is: where have all the warriors gone? Why are Christians such wimps?? Why do we so easily succumb to the idea that we are being "mean" if we confront evil? Why do we capitulate our convictions to the "cult of nice"?
For you Christian readers I'd like to help you buy a vowel. Do you know what your Bible teaches you about where war first broke out? Where war originated? In the most unlikely place. Heaven.
Yeah. Please. Chew on that for a moment.
When evil broke out in the place where God lives, He suited up and fought. God is not a pacifist. He is a warrior. When He presented Himself before Joshua, the mighty warrior/leader of Israel, He was dressed as mighty warrior with drawn sword. (Joshua 5:13-15) How do we know it was God and not an angel? Because He accepted Joshua's worship and told Joshua he was standing on holy ground. No angel in Scripture speaks this way. Angels always refuse the worship of humans sometimes describing themselves as "fellow servants". Joshua thought it was God standing before him and he was not corrected. His thought was confirmed by the Holy Visitor-in-Arms. Put yourself in that moment with Joshua. God presenting Himself to a soldier as the "Captain of the Lord of Hosts". Our God, a noble and holy Warrior giving courage to His soldier Joshua. What a sight. Obviously, in God's eyes warfare can be necessary and righteous.
Back to the war in heaven. Revelation gives us an important snapshot of history. Chapter 12:7-9.
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.The reference to Satan (the name means "adversary" or "accuser") as "that ancient serpent" is what shows that this war in heaven happened before Adam and Eve were deceived. The Accuser had been cast out prior to the creation of this earth. He was the one who approached Eve in disguise as a serpent in her Eden home.
Okay, I'm not here to put a fine point on the theological discussions inherent in the above. I'll just hone in on the issue pertinent to the main point I'm trying to highlight. Whether or not you think this is a description of a symbolic war or a literal war I care not. If it was a war of arms or it if was a war of words the simple point is: God is not a pacifist. He confronts evil wherever it rears its ugly head. In this case, it first made an appearance in His own house. There is no Scripture reference which pinpoints an earlier date for the first appearance of warfare. War began in Heaven. Paradise. God did not spend an eternity issuing sternly worded memos. He didn't turn His head and hope it would get better. He didn't act like it was "beneath" Him to fight. God and His forces armed themselves, be it with swords or words (or both), and demonstrated they were stronger and were able to cast out evil from Heaven. I think that the war in heaven was primarily a war of principles. War of truth versus error. This chapter in Revelation encapsulates an large piece of history. The Accuser took war to the Almighty. The Almighty won that war and cast out the rebel. Unfortunately, our father Adam took the bait of the deceiver and here we are. Locked in a battle between good and evil to the present day.
Revelation 12 proceeds to illustrate that the Accuser has taken his battle from heaven to the "woman"...a symbol for God's people. (If we allow the Bible to interpret itself, we can learn this from Jeremiah 6:2 and 2 Cor. 11:2 as well as many other places where the Bible describes God's people as a woman. An impure woman symbolizes an impure church. Rev. 17 for example.) The Accuser, the devil, is a busy guy stirring up trouble everywhere. But, apparently, he saves his concentrated efforts and rage for those who are loyal to the service of God.
The Scriptures, both old and new testaments, frequently describe God's Word as a sword. Word pictures of deity, in the prophetic books especially, are sometimes portrayed as having a sword coming out of His mouth...i.e. His Word. Heb. 4:12 describes God's Word this way:
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.The fact that God and His loyal angel hosts were able to prevail against the Accuser and his hosts is because God's Word is powerful enough to defeat His enemies. Truth is more powerful than lies. Truth wins in the end. Which is what the book of Revelation is all about. Whether or a battle of arms was involved is less important than the reality that there was a clash of realities. A warfare of principles. This is the kind of war we're engaged in with malignant narcissists.
Christ used the language of warfare in this provocative statement:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. Matt. 10:34-36Um, Christians? Why do you so often act like you think you're exempt from this? Why are you surprised when the war crops up in your own homes? The warfare is spiritual. Which is the context in which we frame the concepts of good and evil. Why are you not willing to fight when evil lives in your family? Why is it suddenly un Christian to oppose evil when it is found in a family member? Christ went on to say that if you love "father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me..." You can not stand before the judgment of God and try to excuse your passivity based on your love for family. Christ has made it clear that no such excuse will stand. He's already pronounced judgment on this rationale as proving you "are not worthy" to take on His name. This is very strong and unequivocal language. I don't see a lot of wiggle room. God took war to the evil doers in His family and He expects the same from you.
Strong words and strong principles are necessary to make a stand. "...having done all, to stand." (Eph. 6:10-17). It is not a war that we picked. Evil has launched the first grenades in our families. Repeatedly. How many family members have to be blown to pieces before it is okay with you to confront evil in your family? Your God is no wimp. Your God does not excuse or pacify evil. Neither should you.
God's face looks different to people depending on which side of truth you're standing on. Isaiah describes the reaction God's people when He returns:
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. Is. 25:9The ones referred to as the "wicked" have a very different reaction to the same event:
And [they] said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Rev. 6:16,17Same face, different reaction. Same event, different reception. The same will be true in your house. If you take a principled stand against evil, evil will fear (and smear) you. You will also find there are those around you who will feel safe with you because of your stand against evil. Expect both reactions. Do not expect evil to love you. Don't expect those who are deceived by evil to love you, though there is hope they will someday. Like it or not, you're already in the war. Quit waving a white flag every time the malignant narcissist shoots one across the bow. Quit dressing up your refusal to fight the "good fight" by calling it "being nice" or "being forgiving" or "being a Christian". Blech. Evil can be temporarily placated but only at the cost to your integrity and to truth. Evil can never be truly pacified. So take up the arms of truth and take the battle to them.
Remember this when the accusing narcissist (a child of the Accuser himself) slings their arrows your way:
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Rom. 8:31-34
The "accuser of the brethren" (Rev. 12:10) is revealed by Scripture to be "that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world". That old Accuser is the original Malignant Narcissist. He tries to convince you that the Accuser is God Himself. His smear and fear campaign against God has been an attempt to separate you from your God and Saviour. The Accuser has worked to slime God with his own attributes (with great success). The passage above uses the proof of the cross to reassure the Christian that of all the beings in the universe, God is the last one to accuse you. He is the One who justifies us i.e. clears our name. It says above that Christ is "interceding for us". Do you automatically assume that Christ is interceding between God and you? Then you have not read with comprehension. God the Father is described as the One who "did not spare His own Son" in order to save you. Obviously, Christ doesn't need to intercede with God the Father. God the Father is already on your side. Who is the accuser of the brethren?? Yeah, you know the answer. Satan. That nasty creep trips you up and then runs off to present his case against you before God. Christ is interceding between you and the smears and accusation of the devil who is trying to prove his case against you. To the question Paul asks, "if God is for us, who can be against us?" he makes the answer clear. Nobody. The battle of truth has already been won...all that remains is to see which army you're signing up under.
You can not take a stand against evil and not end up being the recipient of accusations and smears. It is the M.O. of the devil...the father of all liars. (John 8:44) His minions follow his lead. Armor up and act like your God. Fight for the truth if you want to feel worthy to ever stand in the presence of Abraham and all the other great warriors for God.