Parashat Bamidbar (In the wilderness) Numbers 1:1-4:20
Haftarah: Hosea 2:1-22
It is indeed an honor to be part of the people of Israel. As I was reading this week’s Torah portion I came across an interesting verse. In the section I was reading, Moses was instructed to take a census of the people. Only the males were counted and those who had reached twenty years of age. But here’s the point that I want you to see; not every male who was twenty years old was considered part of Israel. The verse that caught my eye was Numbers 1:3,
“From twenty years of age and up, all who go out (with the) army in Israel; you shall count them according to their army, you and Aaron.”
This verse informs the reader that a male, who is at least twenty years old, but refuses to serve in the army is not to be counted as part of Israel. In other words, serving in the military is something very appropriate for the men of Israel. This would mean that refusing to serve is something very inappropriate for one who believes in the Scripture and considers himself part of Israel.
In this week’s blog I want to convey my appreciation to those men and also to the women who have given of themselves to serve in the Israel Defense Force. I also want to speak strongly against those who twist the Scriptures and embrace pacifism. I had a spirited conversation with such a person a few weeks ago. This man was not a coward, in fact he served in the U.S. military when he was a young man. He was a veteran of World War II and saw a great deal of combat. He is a hero in my eyes, but his views today and the fact that he attempts to justify them with the Scripture is what I disagree with.
Messiah told His disciples,
“He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; if you do not have a sword, sell your coat and buy one.” Luke 22:36
This verse makes it clear that there are times when one has to fight in order to be obedient to the will of G-d. As it says in the book of Kohelet, “there is a time to kill and a time for war”. Ecclesiastes 3:3, 8
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To fight for Godly principles, the present condition of Israel still calls, necessitates armed combat, fighting for everything pertaining to the rights of Israel as a nation. In the book of Luke 22:36, Jesus could only be referring to self-defense.
Lord God of host, guide and help us all, in Your Name.
Just curious as to what you mean that Yeshua could only be referring to self-defense? Do you mean to fight for Israel to remain a nation or fight to defend yourself? Or something else? How did you arrive at that conclusion?
In regard to Donna Claus’ question,
In regard to your question concerning the legitimacy of using physical force, I think even a cursury examination of the scriptures, including the New Testament, shows that governments are entitled to use physical means, including warfare in maintaining liberty, lawfulness and justice. Yes, self-defense is obviously an acceptable reason for taking a life. Certainly defending another person would be a valid reason for physical confrontation. In the blog, I simply asserted that the verse from Matthew shows that at times a believer may utilize the sword. It was not the purpose of this blog, nor within the scope of a one page essay, to provide the reader with a theologically derived list of in what instances physical confrontation is acceptable. Rather, the purpose was to show that those who serve in the military are not, by their participation, outside of Yeshua’s teaching. Of course a military that violates the word of G-d, Hilter’s army for example, should not receive someone’s allegiance. On the contrary, I support the Lutheran pastor, Diedrich Bonhoeffer whose deep commitment to Messiah caused him to participate in a plan to kill Adolph Hitler.
Hope this helps to clarify this issue.