Sunday, February 27, 2011

The True Purpose of the Second Amendment--Chapter 5

Chapter 5 What Does it Mean, To “Turn the Other Cheek?”

The following verse in the Holy Bible, is largely misunderstood by pacifist Christians, and they use the scripture to teach others not to fight back nor to defend themselves.
Matthew 5:39, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” [New International Version, ©2010]. Many will be more familiar with the wording of the King James Version: “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” [Matthew 5:39, King James Version].
To understand this verse, we must approach it based on an understanding of the context in which this verse is included, and of the customs of the culture and era. To begin with, this was even misunderstood in Jesus’ day as he states in the Sermon on the Mount. To understand, we begin with verse 38 of the chapter:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” [Matthew 5:38-39 NIV].

Jesus is telling them what they had heard was in error concerning both ‘eye for an eye’ and ‘turn the other cheek.’ This is also recorded in the Book of Luke:
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you” [Luke 6:27-31 NIV].
These verses are interpreted correctly in Wikipedia:
A literal interpretation of the passages, in which the command refers specifically to a manual strike against the side of a person's face, can be supported by reference to historical and other factors.[1] At the time of Jesus, striking someone deemed to be of a lower class with the back of the hand was used to assert authority and dominance.[2] If the persecuted person "turned the other cheek," the discipliner was faced with a dilemma. The left hand was used for unclean purposes, so a back-hand strike on the opposite cheek would not be performed.[3] The other alternative would be a slap with the open hand as a challenge or to punch the person, but this was seen as a statement of equality. Thus, by turning the other cheek the persecuted was in effect demanding equality. By handing over one's cloak in addition to one's tunic, the debtor has essentially given the shirt off their back, a situation directly forbidden by Hebrew Law as stated in Deuteronomy 24: 10-13: Wikipedia Article.
Rick McFarland, of Grace Church, on the Real Answers web site, gives an easily understood answer to these verses:
It is interesting to note that Matthew 5:39 specifically states that if someone slaps you on the right cheek, you are to turn the other cheek also. As today, most people then were right-handed. If a right-handed person were to slap you, you would be hit on the left cheek. This verse is speaking of getting hit with a back hand across the right cheek rather than getting hit across the left cheek with full force.

Although getting backhanded was not as painful because it came with much less force than getting hit with the dominate hand, getting slapped backhanded was one of the biggest insults in Hebrew culture. Therefore, Jesus was really saying when someone insults us, we should not attempt to retaliate or get even, rather we should turn the other cheek. Real Answers.
Turning the other cheek tells us not to take vengeance, as we should turn aside insults and minor matters and to not start a personal war over trivia. We should pick our battles carefully and be willing to forgive.

This does not mean we are not to defend our lives, the lives of our families, or to allow others to run over us. Again, an answer from ‘Real Answers:’
in the Old Testament,
if an individual refused to fight for his country, he would be held guilty. In Numbers 32:23, Joshua warned those who would not fight for their country that their sin would find them out. The expressed meaning of this verse is that it is dishonorable and a sin not to fight in defense of one’s country when called upon to do so. According to the Apostle Paul’s instructions in 1Timothy 5:8, if you do not provide for your own household you are worse than an infidel (or unbeliever) and have denied the faith. When read in context, this verse speaks of taking care of your family financially. Clearly, this verse extends to include the physical care and protection of your family. It would do no good to be diligent in paying the bills yet refuse to offer defense against someone who would enter your home with the intent to kill your family. Therefore, these verses in Matthew are not teaching against self defense in life and death matters. Ibid.
Coming, What the founders of the constitution intended in the Second Commandment

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Real Purpose of the Second Amendment--Chapter 4

Self-Defense in the Old Testament
What Does the Bible Say About Gun Control, Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt.

Exodus 22:2-3 tells us "If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft."

One conclusion which can be drawn from this is that a threat to our life is to be met with lethal force. After the sun has risen seems to refer to a different judgment than the one permitted at night. At night it is more difficult to discern whether the intruder is a thief or a murderer. Furthermore, the nighttime makes it more difficult to defend oneself and to avoid killing the thief at the same time. During the daytime, it better be clear that one's life was in danger, otherwise, defense becomes vengeance, and that belongs in the hand of the magistrate.

In Proverbs 25:26 we read that "A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well." Certainly, we would be faltering before the wicked if we chose to be unarmed and unable to resist an assailant who might be threatening our life. In other words, we have no right to hand over our life which is a gift from God to the unrighteous. It is a serious mistake to equate a civilized society with one in which the decent people are doormats for the evil to trample on.
. . . . .
The wisdom of the framers of the Constitution is consistent with the lessons of the Bible. Instruments of defense should be dispersed throughout the nation, not concentrated in the hands of the central government. In a godly country, righteousness governs each man through the Holy Spirit working within. The government has no cause to want a monopoly of force; the government that desires such a monopoly is a threat to the lives, liberty and property of its citizens.

The assumption that only danger can result from people carrying guns is used to justify the government's having a monopoly of force. The notion that the people cannot be trusted to keep and bear their own arms informs us that ours, like the time of Solomon, may be one of great riches but is also a time of peril to free people. If Christ is not our King, we shall have a dictator to rule over us, just as Samuel warned.

For those who think that God treated Israel differently from the way He will treat us today, please consider what God told the prophet Malachi: "For I am the Lord, I do not change..." (Malachi 3:6). What Does the Bible Say About Gun Control, Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt. Read entire article here.
This is self-defense and protection of life and property in the old testament. However, many Christians would do away with all of the Old Testament, nullifying God’s law. Only the Old Covenant law is replaced by the New Covenant, not the civil laws God has placed in his Word for the protection of His people and the society in which we have to live. But, the same principles are repeated in the New Testament as well.
The Christian pacifist may try to argue that God has changed His mind from the time that He gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. Perhaps they would want us to think that Christ canceled out the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 or the provision for justifiably killing a thief in Exodus 22. But the writer of Hebrews makes it clear that this cannot be, because "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). In the Old Testament, the prophet Malachi records God's words this way: "For I am the Lord, I do not change" (Malachi 3:6).

Paul was referring to the unchangeability of God's Word when he wrote to Timothy that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Clearly, Paul viewed all Scripture, including the Old Testament, as useful for training Christians in every area of life. Ibid.
What about “Turning the other cheek?” This will be posted soon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Real Purpose of the Second Amendment--Chapter 3

How Does God Look at Gun Control?

In searching for material for this chapter, I found the following by Larry Pratt, of Gun Owners Foundation. This is a revised version I posted in 2009. It covers the subject and I present part of it here from the web site of Gun Owners of America:
What Does the Bible Say About Gun Control?
by Larry Pratt
Executive Vice-President, Gun Owners Foundation

The underlying argument for gun control seems to be that the availability of guns causes crime. By extension, the availability of any weapon would have to be viewed as a cause of crime. What does the Bible say about such a view?

Perhaps we should start at the beginning, or at least very close to the beginning -- in Genesis 4. In this chapter we read about the first murder. Cain had offered an unacceptable sacrifice, and Cain was upset that God insisted that he do the right thing. In other words, Cain was peeved that he could not do his own thing.

Cain decided to kill his brother rather than get right with God. There were no guns available, although there may well have been a knife. Whether it was a knife or a rock, the Bible does not say. The point is, the evil in Cain's heart was the cause of the murder, not the availability of the murder weapon.

God's response was not to ban rocks or knives, or whatever, but to banish the murderer. Later (see Genesis 9:5-6) God instituted capital punishment, but said not a word about banning weapons.

God's response was not to ban rocks or knives, or whatever, but to banish the murderer. Later (see Genesis 9:5-6) God instituted capital punishment, but said not a word about banning weapons. Read Article by Larry Pratt.
Many who support gun control and would deny the right of our citizens the right to own and bear weapons according to the second amendment, like to quote the Bible to support their position. Again, we quote Larry Pratt:
Many people, Christians included, assume that Christ taught pacifism. They cite Matthew 5:38-39 for their proof. In this verse Christ said: "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."

The Sermon on the Mount from which this passage is taken deals with righteous personal conduct. In our passage, Christ is clearing up a confusion that had led people to think that conduct proper for the civil government -- that is, taking vengeance -- was also proper for an individual.

Even the choice of words used by Christ indicates that He was addressing a confusion, or a distortion, that was commonplace. Several times in the rest of the Sermon on the Mount Christ used this same "you have heard it said" figure of speech to straighten out misunderstandings or falsehoods being taught by the religious leaders of the times.

Contrast this to Christ's use of the phrase "it is written" when He was appealing to the Scriptures for authority (for example, see Matthew 4 where on three occasions during His temptation by the devil, Christ answered each one of the devil's lies or misquotes from Scripture with the words: "it is written").

To further underscore the point that Christ was correcting the religious leaders on their teaching that "an eye for an eye" applies to private revenge, consider that in the same Sermon, Christ strongly condemned false teaching: "Whoever therefore breaks one of the commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven..." (Matthew 5:19). Clearly, then, Christ was not teaching something different about self defense than is taught elsewhere in the Bible. Otherwise, He would be contradicting Himself for He would now be teaching men to break one of the commandments. Ibid.
Read the entire article, as it answers many questions about the Bible and the Second Amendment. We will discuss the article further in the next post on this subject.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Real Purpose of the Second Amendment--Continued

The founders of the U.S. Constitution, most of them Christians, established our laws on Judeo-Christian laws, principles, and concepts. The Second Amendment was taken from the patterns set fourth by Ancient Israel in fighting their wars with family militias, each man having his own weapon.
Chapter 2. Israel left Egypt Armed for War

We pick up the story of Israel, from the Bible, leaving Egypt by families and armed.

Exodus 13, verses 17 through 18, NIV: "When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, 'If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.' So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

This is an interesting sentence: The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle. Being ready for battle would suggest they had some kind of arms. Where did they get them? They were slaves in Egypt leaving the land.

Some Historians link the Hebrews to various ancient people. One such people were the Habirus, which name is similar to the word, ‘Hebrew, and which some historians think were the Hebrews, in addition to other peoples they also called Habiru.’ They included nomads, marauders, possible mercenaries. The Bible records the Hebrews, i.e., Jews in scripture, having been in Egypt for four hundred thirty years. It is not only possible, but probable that the Israelites served in the Egyptian army, or at least as a supplemental fighting force. They also may have served Egypt as mercenaries. This would have given them access to weapons.

Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come. [Exodus 12:40-42 NIV].

He [Pharaoh] said to his people, "Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are [Exodus 1:9 New Living Translation].

When Israel began to outnumber the Egyptians, why did they began to fear them? When they left Egypt they were ready for battle. Scripture gives a possible reason for that. When Pharaoh feared Israel, he turned them into a working force, and not wanting to lose their workers, he refused to let them go. Then God sent ten plagues on Egypt which destroyed crops, animals, and much of the country’s infrastructure, Pharaoh, upon urging of the people, decided to let them go.

Exodus 12:32-37, During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”

The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians. The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.

The Israelites took silver, gold, and no doubt household utensils, clothing, and probably weapons given to them or their own.

Ancient Israel had weapons and they were instructed to keep and use them. We saw from Exodus 13:18, they went out of Egypt, ready for battle. More later.