You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  Matthew 5:43

Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.  Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
 2 John 1:9-11

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Isaiah 2:4

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.  Isaiah 11:9

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Hebrews 12:22


by Philip Mauro     (1859 - 1952)
Part 2
The late World War was a test of the christianized nations, of the church, and of individual “Christians.” It showed clearly what the advanced nations of the world really are underneath the thin veneering of so-called “Christian civilization.” It showed also the true condition of the professing church; and it showed how much (or how little) of the Spirit of Christ there is in those who claim to be His. For both the world and the church were taken by surprise. They had been lulled into a state of un-readiness by the pleasing and man-flattering doctrine that the human race had progressed so far from its primitive state of barbarism, and had so advanced in the promotion of good will and the brotherhood of man, that wars on a large scale were now a thing of the past. True there were some shrewd political observers who sounded the alarm from time to time, calling loudly for “preparedness”; and there were also a few who, in the light of the Word of God, predicted the imminence of such a “catastrophe as has now taken place. But their warnings were disregarded and they themselves derided as “pessimists.”

Thus it came to pass that, when the young men of England and America were confronted with the conscription laws, those among them who truly belonged to Christ were, for the most part, wholly unprepared by teaching from the Word of God, as to the stand they ought to take. This neglect of practical teaching is the cause of many of the evils which afflict the saints of God at the present time. Instead of being taught how they ought to walk and please God, how to fulfill the law of Christ, how to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age, and to adorn the teaching of God our Savior in all their actions, the people of God are mainly occupied, by those who assume to teach them, with guesses at unfulfilled prophecy, dispensational theories, and discussions of passages of Scripture which are without effect upon their conduct. Study of the Bible is mainly in order to increase knowledge which “puffeth up,” and very rarely indeed with a view to learning the will of God in order to do it.
The sad result of this neglect was that thousands of young men who truly belong to Christ—having been redeemed by His blood—and who owe their “service” to Him, took service in the armies of the nations, for the doing of the devil’s work of death and destruction. Our heart goes out to these; for surely they are rather to be pitied than blamed. The responsibility lies more with those who, being themselves safe by reason of age from enforced military service, failed to instruct the young men in the truth of the Word, and to encourage them to stand true to their Lord. But that is not all; for one of the saddest, and at the same time one of the most alarming features of the war period, is the fact that many leaders and teachers among the Lord’s people, including not a few who are sound and evangelical, actually lent themselves to the cause of Satan in counseling and urging Christ’s young men to accept military service under pressure of the conscription laws.

There are, however, bright spots in the dark picture; for there were a number of young men—all honor to them — who, against all pressure, all taunts, all persecutions, all deceitful advice of false teachers, refused to beat arms or to take any part whatever in the devilish business of war. I have talked with many of these, and have corresponded with others; and my heart has been thrilled and also warmed to thanksgiving and praise, for the grace given them to endure such cruel tortures and hardships for Christ’s sake, and for the faithfulness of the Lord in manifesting Himself to them and sustaining them through their time of trial. There is not one of them but would, if faced again by the
same alternative, gladly make the same choice. Their’s was the true courage; for it is far easier to run with the crowd of those whose feet are swift to shed blood, and who received the plaudits of the admiring world, than to face and endure the consequences of standing true to Christ.

And now that the war is over, and the excitement has died down, the people of the world are again going to sleep, and are dreaming dreams of an era of reconstruction and of true brotherliness among men, or of an all-powerful League of Nations which will promptly suppress any outbreak of war, and insure peace to the world henceforth and forever. But let none of God’s saints be deceived by such delusive notions. There will be war to the end of the age; and it is likely that it will take the more horrible form of class war, a war of the property-less class against the owners of wealth and property in
general.  And let it not be forgotten that, among “the lessons of the war,” the one which has been best learned by men is the development of methods and apparatus for destroying human beings —combatants and non-combatants alike. Thousands of inventive minds are at this very moment engaged in perfecting such methods and means; insomuch that it is safe to predict that the next war will be marked by horrors and atrocities far exceeding anything that has yet been known.

Therefore, now is the time for the saints of God, young and old, to learn the teaching of His Word on the subject of taking part in war; and it is with the desire to render, if possible, some little help toward that end, that this tract is now republished in revised and enlarged form.

“The Powers That Be”

It is highly important that the saints should clearly understand their relations to “the powers that be,” that is to say, to the civil authorities of the country wherein their earthly lot is cast. The fact that these authorities have been appointed by God (Romans 13:1) carries with it certain conclusions which should be grasped by all the people of God. And chiefly should we realize that “the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Proverbs 21:1). This means that civil government, with all its imperfections, and civil magistrates with all their faults and failures, exist for the protection and welfare of God’s people. It follows that, when the saints are walking in obedience to the will of God, they can count upon Him to overrule any decrees of the authorities which would coerce them to wrong doing.  For rulers are not constituted by God to be a terror to good works, but to the evil (Rom. 13:3). They may, indeed, and often do, fail in that for which God has clothed them with brief authority, and may lend their support to the doing of evil works. Nevertheless, we are to keep in mind God’s purpose in vesting them with power; and we are to support them in all the lawful exercise of that power, to pay fully all taxes levied upon us, to submit to all ordinances that do not demand disobedience to the law of God, and above all we are to be faithful in praying for them, to the end that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty (1 Tim. 2:1, 2). If we keep these things in. mind, and do accordingly, we shall doubtless find that the civil ruler is indeed, “the minister (servant) of God to thee for good” (Rom. 13:4).

An illustration of this control which God maintains over the actions of the civil rulers is seen in the fact that the authorities of the United States, during the late war, did not demand that the saints of God should accept military service, but provided exemption and considerate treatment for all who, because of conscience toward God, refused to don the uniform or to put themselves under military orders. It is true that subordinate officials did not always carry out these merciful provisions, and that some young men in consequence suffered ill treatment and hardship. But exemption was nevertheless
provided; and had our young men been taught how to act, namely, to show all respect for the tribunals, but to refuse (for Christ’s sake) to take part in military service, many a valuable young life might have been spared. Heavy indeed is the responsibility in this regard of those to whom the saints look for instruction in the ways of God.

In connection with the subject of our relations to “the powers that be” we quote from a periodical read by many of the saints the following paragraphs with which, we are in full accord:

“Subjection to authorities, in all they are authorized to demand, and submission in all legislation they are at liberty to enact in their sphere, is plainly enjoined in the: Scriptures cited, as indeed in the general teachings of the Word. If rulers exceed their authority and demand obedience in such things as involve direct disobedience to God, then their claims are not to be submitted to but rejected. Only supreme ignorance of the principles of the Word of God, or judicial blindness—which comes through trifling with them—can cause any professed teacher to say that subjection to unrighteous claims is to be given, and that acceptance of them is justification for the rejection of the higher claims of God. Not so, thought the three Hebrews in the day of Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image (Daniel 3), nor Daniel in the day of Darius’ prohibition of prayer (Dan. 6). Nor did England’s martyrs in the time of the Marian persecution, or Scotland’s Covenanters in the time of Claverhouse, yield such blind submission to the “powers” of their time, who were the tools of the Papacy, and the instruments of the devil in those days. They stood firm, for what they knew of God’s truth, not loving their lives unto death in its honour. It remained for a more enlightened (?) age to discover, and for men with less grit to formulate the sophism, that the State is a fetish to be worshipped, and that obedience to its claims in all things is the equivalent of obedience to God. We know that many Christian young men have been entirely misled by such reasonings, and the Lord may yet have something to say to those who have stumbled them by their evil counsel. The doctrine of blind subjection to all that the ruling authorities — civil, military, and ecclesiastical—may demand and compel, is one that ought to please Antichrist well, for when he comes, it will be to find a submissive, ‘patriotic’ people ready to receive and own his rule, to obey him as their master, and to worship him as their God.”
“Whose Image?”
The false teaching by which many of our beloved young saints were misled to their death was based mainly upon the plea that whatever the authorities commanded was to be done, because to refuse obedience would be to “resist the power.” It should be enough to say, in reply to this shallow plea, that all Scripture bears witness that we should refuse any command, no matter how exalted its source, which requires us to do anything contrary to the revealed will of God (Daniel 3:16–18; 6:10;Acts 4:19, 20, etc.). Not to resist the authorities and the ordinances they may lawfully make is one thing; but to accept service under those authorities for the execution of whatever commands they may see fit to issue, is quite another thing. The servants of Christ are not to put themselves in any “service” where they cannot obey their Lord and Master, and glorify Him in all they do and say. He has given them such commands as this: “And whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him” (Colossians 3:17). We have only to ask then if a saint of God can, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, plunge a bayonet into the vitals of a human being, sending him to hell with curses on his lips perhaps; or can he, in His Name, fire a machine gun into the quivering flesh of his fellow-men; or can he drop a bomb into a crowd of women and children, giving thanks for the havoc wrought thereby to God and the Father by Him ? Those who accept military service commit themselves in advance to the doing of these very things — and worse. So we cannot see how any excuse can be found for those who, having assumed the grave responsibility of teaching the saints of God to walk in His ways, actually lead them into “the paths of the Destroyer.”

But, in order to keep within moderate limits, we will confine our further remarks mainly to the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ (briefly referred to in Part I ) found in
 Matthew 22:18–21:

“But Jesus perceived their wickedness and said, Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?  Show Me the tribute money. And they brought unto Him a penny. And He saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto Him, Caesar’s. Then saith He unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

These words are marvelous in their depth, breadth and clearness. They cover the entire case, leaving no room for uncertainty on the part of any who will to do the will of God. It needed the wisdom of Solomon to decide to which claimant the disputed infant belonged; and behold! a Greater than Solomon is here! The Lord draws a line between the things which are Caesar’s and the things which are God’s; and He expressly commands that the former are to be rendered to Caesar, and the latter to God. Furthermore, He makes the “image and superscription” (or inscription) the test of ownership. Have we in our possession that which bears Caesar’s image and inscription?  Then we must render it to Caesar when he demands it. That means among other things that, no matter how oppressive the taxation, even though it should take our last penny, we are not to resist the payment of it. But how about our ransomed bodies and souls ?  Whose “image” is impressed upon them? Have we been “renewed in knowledge after the image of Him Who created us”?
(Colossians 3:10). Have we been inscribed with the Spirit of God and made living Epistles to be known and read of all men (2 Corinthians 3:2)?  If so, then we need no further light or information. We are not to render our souls and bodies to the State, but are to yield ourselves unto God as those who are alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness unto God (Romans 6:13); we are to present our bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). In the light of these Scriptures it is clear that, when a saint of God, sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ Whom Caesar’s soldiers crucified in obedience to orders and as a soldier’s duty — yields his own body to Caesar, to wear Caesar’s uniform, and to obey Caesar’s orders, even to the killing of those whom Christ came to save, he acts in plain disobedience to the Word of Christ, for he renders to Caesar that which is God’s. And not only so; but the service which he thus accepts calls him to do that which is of all things most contrary to the purposes for which Christ shed His own blood.

Little children, it is the last hour. The Epistle to the Romans, which enjoins submission to “the powers that be,” was written when the tyrant Nero was on the throne of the Caesars. Soon the authority of Caesar will be wielded by a worse tyrant than he; for the last to exercise Caesar’s authority will be the Antichrist, the son of perdition. Let us then give heed to this solemn matter. Do we realize that, if the false teaching which lately lifted its head among us to the destruction of some of our choice young men, be not thoroughly exposed and rooted out, it will prepare the way for God’s own saints to
accept the mark of the beast? Do we realize that every argument that has been urged for inducing our young men to accept military service in the late world-war would be equally valid as a reason for accepting service under the last and greatest of earth’s rulers — Antichrist?

Let us not think then that, because the armies are just now to a large extent disbanded, there is no need to urge this subject upon the saints of God at the present time. This is, on the contrary, the very time to bring it forward, to the end that they who desire to walk in God’s ways may know His expressed will about it, and may not again be caught unawares.

By Philip Mauro   

            Clich here to return to  : Shall We Smite With The Sword  Part  1

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