God, Guns, and the Government

*Editor’s note

When lawngren sent me this article, I thought it was well written (as always) and obviously he’s put a lot of thought (both biblical and world views) that I have no hesitation about posting it here. Maybe because I’m used to his ‘ramblings’ as he is mine. We’ve been friends and fellow patriots for a number of years, so I know somewhat of where he comes from when he writes his views on God and government. 

I do admit, this piece gives me a bit of a troubled mind, not necessarily because of how things are going in our country and world, but because I don’t know how I will ‘react’ when things get personal as far as persecution goes.  I know that as a Bible believing Christian, persecution will come. I just don’t know what form, and I can’t say right now one way or another on how I will handle a persecution situation.  

As I replied to Lawngren when he sent me this, “I have completely changed my mind- or maybe the Lord has. He’s working on me anyway, and I am no longer interested in “fighting” if I ever was- I always said we need revival, not revolution. But I find it hard even to bother with religious organizations who “fight for our rights”.  I don’t want mine fought for- I’ll do it myself if that’s the way things go- and when I say do it myself,  one thing our now retired pastor once taught when we were studying Romans in church Bible study- ‘Sometimes it requires a prison for the guards to hear the Gospel and believe.'”

Some people, even Christians could view this as me giving up and willing to just ‘surrender’ to those who are enemies of freedom and liberty, enemies of America or whatever, but I’d say I am trying to do my best to submit first to Christ, wherever He leads me.  I will depend on His Spirit to guide me when persecution comes. 

The following was submitted by lawngren,
copyright 1996
revised 2017

Before anyone jumps to a conclusion about my recommended response to American government tyranny, read the entire article. I don’t like what I’m writing here, and there is a caveat near the end. But read it all, please, or don’t assume you know what I’m recommending.

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Where does the gun-owning Christian stand in God’s eyes? If you are a militia member or citizen preparing to resist an oppressive post-American dictatorship, the New World Order, or foreign troops on American soil, what can you expect from God? Approval? Miraculous assistance? Condemnation? What? The purpose of this article is to challenge the Christian gun owner to read the Bible to discover what God has to say about resisting an evil government. In the name of religion, Jim Jones and David Koresh together led about one thousand people to a pointless death. Christians have been warned not to accept anything or anyone without testing them:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits to see whether they are of God, because many false prophets are in the world.” (1st John 4:1)

“These [Jews in Berea] were more noble than the Thessalonians, in that they received the word with readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily to see if what they were told was so.” (Acts 17:11)

As a gun owner and former gun salesman, I have heard religious people claiming that God will approve of gun owners resisting government confiscation of firearms, even to the point of armed rebellion against the government. These people point out, correctly, that the U.S. Constitution does not grant rights, rather it recognizes rights already given us by our Creator. They conclude that if God gave us rights, He surely would approve of us fighting for them. This is a very serious question. The Old Testament provides us with examples of what happens to God’s people when they attempt something without God’s approval: they lose. In fact, they get stomped flat. (Numbers 14:39-45, Deuteronomy 28:15-68) Romans 11:17-22 and 1st Corinthians 10:11 tell us that what happened to the Israelites can happen to us.

(By the way, I am talking about one specific God  –  Jehovah, the God of Christians and Jews  –  and one specific view of that God  –  the orthodox view. If you are a Muslim, a Buddhist, a New Ager, or a follower of any other religion, there is no common ground for this discussion.)

The problem with this question of fighting for rights (any rights) is that beginning at this point keeps us from asking other questions that help us see the big picture. We need to back off for a minute and ask some basic questions about the whole spiritual war. This is simply strategic thinking. The more you know of your team’s strategies and entire war plan, the more intelligently you can fight in your arena. Remember, “Flawless execution cannot compensate for implementing the wrong solution.” (Daryl Connor, president of ODR, quoted in The Performance Edge, by Robert K. Cooper.)

Here is where I suggest we need to start:

1) What is God working to accomplish on this planet?
2) What does He want from us?
3) What can we expect from Him?
4) How do we know?

Since I am discussing this topic from the orthodox Judeo-Christian point of view, the answer to the last question is obvious: we know what we know about God because it’s in the Bible, which orthodox Jews and Christians consider the inspired Word of God. The simplest explanation of what that means is the old saying, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it!” If you don’t have a Bible, get one. I’ll be referring to it frequently, and you don’t want to just take my word for what it says, do you?

Also, referring to any authority other than the Bible would be a waste of time for Christians, since only the Bible is God’s authorized instruction manual for the operation of a human being: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2nd Timothy 3:16-17) “Your Word [God’s word] have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You [against God].” (Psalm 119:11) Also see Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18-19 for warnings about adding or deleting anything.

Now let’s try to answer the first three questions.

Romans 8:29 tells us that believers in Jesus are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus. OK, that gives us a place to start. If we are supposed to become like Jesus, let’s see what He is like. American patriots are actually in a situation very similar to Jesus’ when He lived on this earth as a man: He was born into a nation and a race under the iron rule of Roman oppressors. Roman troops were stationed in Israel, and a Roman governor was appointed over Israel by Rome. Roman law required that a citizen of a subject race carry a soldier’s pack for one mile on demand. This is the origin of the saying “go the second mile”. Jesus was the one who said that first. He commanded His disciples to carry a Roman soldier’s pack two miles instead of one.

Since I originally wrote this, there have been a stunning number of instances of “our” government brazenly betraying Americans, ignoring or contravening the US Constitution, and protecting, encouraging, and enabling many deadly elements in our nation. Some of those elements were even imported by “our” government. These things have happened too many times to list here, but it is clear now, I think, that “our” government is our deadly enemy.

What was Jesus’ response to His similar situation? Did He organize a militia to fight the Romans? Did He stockpile weapons? Did He make speeches about the Jews’ special rights as the only people on earth chosen by God Himself to be His representatives to the whole world? Sorry, no. He said, “Love your ENEMIES. Do good to THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU…so that you may be the children of your Heavenly Father…be perfect.

Jesus said that “…God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17) Jesus’ mission was to provide a way of salvation for everyone who would accept it, not to put tyrants in their places. Remember “the Great Commission”? Jesus told His disciples to “go into the entire world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and teaching them to do all the things I commanded you to do.” (Matthew 10:16) This is not the job description of a resister, a patriot, or a revolutionary.

Jesus’ disciples originally hoped that He would overthrow the Roman oppressor. (Acts 1:6) So did the general population:

When they had seen the miracles that Jesus did [feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and 2 small fish] those men began saying, ‘Surely this is that Prophet who was to come into the world.’ When Jesus saw that they intended to take Him by force and make Him a king, He left again and went alone up a mountain.” (John 6:14-15)

No revolutionary could have hoped for a more favorable political climate than Jesus had. The attitude of the general population was so enthusiastic that the political and religious rulers were actually afraid of Jesus’ influence. On at least two occasions the rulers would have arrested, maybe executed, Jesus, but were  prevented  by  their  fear of the people’s reaction:  Matthew 21:45-46 and Luke 22:2.

As the authorities themselves expressed it, “We do not prevail against Him. The whole world follows Him! ” (John 12:19) Matthew recorded that “His fame went throughout all Syria…great multitudes of people followed Him from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond Jordan.” (Matthew 4:24-25) So great was Jesus’ notoriety that, years later, when the apostle Paul was on trial before King Agrippa for his faith in Jesus, Paul said to his interrogators, “…the king knows these things…none of these things are hidden from him, for this thing was not done in a corner.” (Acts 26:26)

With all this popularity, Jesus did not attempt an overthrow of the government. In fact, when He was arrested and Peter started lopping off ears, Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its sheath, for all those who take the sword shall die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could pray to My Father, and He would give Me more than twelve thousand angels to stand with Me? But then how would the Scriptures be fulfilled, that say that these things must be?” Matthew 26:52-54)

Think of what Jesus endured rather than fight: He went through four interrogations lasting all night and at least several hours of the next day, with no rest or sleep. During those interrogations He was beaten, spat on, stripped, mocked, had a crown of thorns jammed down on His head and had His beard torn out. After all that He was whipped with a multi-lash whip, each lash having a piece of bone or metal tied to the end to increase the mutilation. Then they made Him carry His cross until He fell down. Then they executed Him in a manner designed to inflict maximum suffering. In fact He was not executed, He was tortured to death. But He refused even to hate His murderers and torturers: as He was dying, He prayed, “Father, forgive them. They don’t understand what they’re doing.” His reputation was such that as He was dying, a thief dying beside Him said. “This man has done nothing wrong.” And that is the man Christians are supposed to become like.

Jesus’ disciples understood the nature of the commission they received from Him: they were ambassadors from another world (Acts 1:8, 2:32, 3:15, 5:32, 10:39-41, 13:31). Getting involved in matters of this world was not in their game plan, because that would interfere with fulfilling the duties of an ambassador, which they knew to be much more important (2nd Timothy 2:4-5). They were (and we are supposed to be) recruiting citizens for an eternal life in a joyous, unpolluted paradise. How could they (or we) possibly waste time on something that would be gone in a few decades or centuries? (See James 4:14, Matthew 6:20-21, Philippians 3:8-11, and 1st Corinthians 7:29-31.) They considered themselves citizens of another country   –   Heaven!  (Hebrews 11:13-16) And they endured property confiscation, exile, torture, and gruesome deaths for the sake of their faith: read Hebrews 10:32-37, 11:24-27, and 11:35-40. Paul taught that we should not take revenge, and that we should go so far as to give food or water to a hungry or thirsty enemy (Romans 12:17-20).

The disciples understood that they were not to resist the civil authorities: Romans 13:1-2, 1st Peter 2:11-20. The apostle Paul listed in 2nd Corinthians 11:23-26 a frightening amount of violent physical abuse he had taken from various authorities. He expected that this would be the experience of all Christians, and he warned that it would get worse: 2nd Timothy 3:10-14. So did Jesus: Luke 23:28-31. Paul gave what may be the best description in the Bible of what a Christian’s attitude should be:

“I beg you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may demonstrate [to other people] the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Why should we do this? We’re talking about giving up rights here, not fighting for them. We should do this because we have the most important message this world has ever heard:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only uniquely-born Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have everlasting life…He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only uniquely-born Son of God.” (John 3:16 and 18)

That’s why we should do this  –  because we are witnesses, and we have been given the most important assignment ever given to any human being: telling our fellow-citizens how to have their sins forgiven and how to get to Heaven. Anything that might confuse them or cause them not to believe us should be abandoned. That is the problem with actually fighting for our rights. How can people believe we are Christians when the most ignorant among them know that Jesus did not ever advocate violence against governments? And if you’re hunkered in a bunker trading lead with a Fed, how much opportunity will you have to explain your beliefs?

Do you believe in Jesus? Fine  –  PROVE IT! Prove it to those who don’t believe, and are on their way to hell  –  remember that place? The Lake of Fire? Are you really going to tell Jesus on the Judgement Day that your 2nd Amendment rights were more important than delivering a clear message that would have kept people from an eternity in the Lake of Fire? After what He went through to keep them out? You not too smart, fella.

We have now answered those questions we started out with:

1) What is God attempting to accomplish on this planet?

He is offering forgiveness of sins through faith in His only uniquely-born Son, Jesus, and an eternity of joy to all who will place their lives in Jesus’ hands. They will be transformed into people fit for citizenship in Heaven by the renewing of their minds by the power of God.

2) What does He want from us?

He wants us to be witnesses to this fact and to live so that people can believe that we mean what we say.

3) What can we expect from Him?

His presence with us at all times. (Matthew 28:20)

No temptation will be allowed to reach us which is more than we can handle. God will provide a way of escape from temptations too strong for us. (1st Corinthians 10:13)

If you are a Christian, or become one before the Rapture (when Christians will be removed from Earth) you will escape the worst period of disasters, violence, and evil in the history of the planet: the Great Tribulation. (Matthew 24:1-27, Revelation 3:10, 1st Thessalonians 5:1-11

If you are or become a Christian, all your sins will be forgiven and you will instantly acquire a new eternal destination. (2nd Corinthians 5:17-21)

There is a lot more that you can expect from Him, but you need to discover it for yourself. Besides, it wouldn’t all fit into this article. If you are a believer in Jesus, start reading your Bible. If you’re not a believer, it’s even more important that you read the Bible.

Just remember what’s most important and what’s only temporary. If you love guns, as I do, that’s not always easy. It is, however, necessary if you want to act in the will of God.

“Your attitude should be the same that Messiah Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. He made Himself nothing, He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

Disclaimer: I have no plans to live under a muslim or socialist government. I will not revolt against the government, but when they come to take my guns, I suspect that will be the day I die. If I do choose a violent end, that will be contrary to God’s will as I understand it. But I have heard and seen videos of too much demonic evil from the forces aligned against us. I do not intend to be their victim. I hope and frequently pray that the Rapture will come first, but that has not been the case for thousands of Middle Eastern Christians. I see no reason to believe that American Christians can be exempted from the vicious, demonic brutality our brothers and sisters in the Mideast are suffering.

Before you make your own final decision, think long and hard about what King Jesus said: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

This was so important that all four Gospels record it:

Matthew 10:39, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, John 12:25.
Matthew and Luke record it twice: see also Matthew 16:25 and Luke 17:33.

In fact all of chapter 10 is one long demand – by King Jesus – for complete self-sacrifice of everything for the sake of the witness we are supposed to present to the unbelieving world about salvation through faith alone in Christ alone. I’m not happy with that, but I will not lie about what the Bible says.

And finally, ask yourself if America has any right at all to ask God to bless us, let alone save us. And before you answer yourself, read Jeremiah 21:1-10:

“The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said: ‘Inquire now of the Lord for us because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.’

But Jeremiah answered them, ‘Tell Zedekiah, This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them inside this city. I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in furious anger and in great wrath. I will strike down those who live in this city—both man and beast—and they will die of a terrible plague. After that, declares the Lord, I will give Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague, sword and famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will put them to the sword; he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.

Furthermore, tell the people, This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the Lord. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.’

Is America spiritually righteous? Can we “approach the throne with boldness”? Or are we in the position of the Israelites in Jeremiah’s time, with such a long recent history of evil that we can expect judgment and not mercy? I think the answer is clear.