The year was 1984. The cloaked Arab slid through the dense Jerusalem crowds. His heart would have been pounding, but his religion and experience in this sort of thing overruled his more natural nervousness and fear. He glanced across at his partner on the other side of the square; he was ready. Where was the third? Panic gripped his heart, but then he saw the other member of his team. Why were his palms sweaty? He brushed them off, leaving dirty smudges on his hands. He had mowed down crowds of innocents before with no qualm, why would now be different? He gritted his teeth against his urge to hesitate, and threw back his cloak. The bark of his machine gun exploded across the dusty street, sending death biting into the Israeli populace. His two team members opened fire on his signal and joined him in what they thought would be carnage. Suddenly flashes and sharp cracks echoed around him, and a burning pain ripped through his chest. Six shop owners had returned fire with their sidearms. His two comrades fled as he lay in a pool of his own blood… and died. Only one Israeli had fallen with him. After that, terrorists preferred long range attacks on Israel: machine-gunning armed civilians was too risky.
That is my rendition of a true, historical, factual event that really did occur. ‘The Seven Myths of Gun Control’ by Richard Poe was my source for the history of the event. This book is highly recommended by me to help you to understand clearly, from many statistics, logic, and history, how gun control increases crime.
Here is my article on the subject.
I could go about this in the same way that the aforementioned book did. I could use perfect logic, irrefutable statistics, and solid research, gleaned from reputable sources. But that has already been done quite well, and the best I can do right now is refer you to them. I am instead going to take a different tack.
I am going to look at it Biblically.
Basically I am going to be examining the question: Is it a crime to own and carry weapons?
If it is a crime, then of course government should punish those who do so.
If it is not a crime, then what sort of justification does government have to prohibit it?
Basically put, a crime is a sin that government can punish. Many sins it cannot punish (if you disagree with that, I hope you get out of the lunatic asylum soon 😛 ). Many sins it can (if you disagree with that, you are an anarchist, and that is a whole different discussion). The debate is which sins it can and cannot punish, for the most part.
Of course, if something is not a sin, it cannot be a crime. This is something that is painfully obvious, but which many many people miss utterly.
If God does not tell us that something is a sin, it is not a sin.
If God commands someone to do something, it is not a sin.
So, if God tells someone to carry a weapon, or if He does not tell them not to, then it is not a sin for them to carry a weapon.
And is therefore also not a crime. And government cannot punish them for doing so.
Now, of course, it is impossible for someone to prove that something is impossible or non-existent (theoretically). And so of course I might have missed it…
The Bible does not forbid people from bearing arms. And there are very few passages that might be even construed to say that. I might be forgetting some, so if I am missing a couple, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to address them. Thanks!
In reality, the Bible consistently assumes that people have weapons, or that, in a normal situation, they would. And in one place, Jesus actually commands his disciples to carry swords (Luke 22:36-38)! I am pretty sure those weren’t for plowing or making fancy shish kebabs. 🙂 And of course guns are the modern equivalent of a sword.
God gives several laws to the Israelites regarding their swords, such as the one mandating that they all have a special tool on the back to serve as a digging implement (Deuteronomy 23:13). This was to prevent the camp from being defiled, and is thus a sort of ceremonial law, and should not be construed as license for governments nowadays to mandate the manufacture of weapons.
It was assumed that every man had weapons in several places (i.e. Genesis 34:25, Exodus 32:27, Deuteronomy 1:41).
Granted, when Jehoiada masterminded the overthrow of Athaliah and set up Joash in his rightful place as king, he had to arm the Levites who were to guard him (2 Kings 11:10, 2 Chronicles 23:9). But realize however that Athaliah was a murdering tyrant who was mortally afraid of revolt (which is a valid fear for every tyrant), and she might very well have banned weapons (like the vast majority of other tyrants in history), which would explain why Jehoiada had to arm them out of the treasury.
There are multitudinous passages that could be examined on this subject, but they all come to the same conclusions as above given: the Bible assumes that in normal situations the average man owns and carries weapons.
Now I know of two passages that people generally bring up when weapons are mentioned. The first is in the Sermon on the Mount (which is representative of the other similar passages that they bring up), and the other is when Jesus was arrested. First we will talk about the arrest.
Here is a harmony of the gospels (a compilation of a passage from each of the gospels), showing in context with each other everything that is said to have happened in this passage under question:
“When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? Then Simon Peter having a sword, stretched out [his] hand, and drew his sword, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.”
The passage that most people quote, out of context, is Jesus’ words: “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Or, as it is sometimes put: “All those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”
This last version is either absolutely wrong, or not absolutely true. David lived by the sword (which is why he could not build the temple, 1 Chronicles 28:2-3) and he died not by it, but peacefully with his son on the throne. The same for many others (Samuel, who hewed Agag in pieces, and did other similar things, died peacefully of old age), although many of those who lived by the sword did die by it (Joab for one).
In the context of this passage, it is very clear what Jesus was saying: it was God’s will and His will for Him to be taken away. He was laying down His life willingly. God would not fight on His behalf, and He would not ask Him to. And a handful of fishermen would be slaughtered by the trained soldiers if they tried to resist. It is actually very simple: Jesus was protecting them.
As for the other passage, it is in reality the strongest argument that I have found against bearing weapons, although it is weak enough.
Matthew 5:38-47 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 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.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others?] do not even the publicans so?
This is more against using a weapon than having one, but of course they are connected.
The context here is talking about behaving unselfishly, being charitable, and being longsuffering. Now, of course it would be not very charitable or longsuffering for you to shoot someone merely because they called you stupid. That would be merely proving their point. 🙂 But is that really the question?
In NT Israel, a back-handed slap was an insult, an attack on your pride. If you are slapped on your right cheek, then that is a back-handed slap: an insult. Which you are to ignore… and turn the other cheek.
A palm slap is a direct challenge to combat. A serious threat to your life. It is a clear overture of intent to kill. This is a slap on your left cheek: your other cheek.
In other words: ignore insults, but check to make sure that the person isn’t really about to kill you. But what then?
Each of these things listed here are merely superficial, things that are “less than your life” (Matthew 6:25), not your life itself, which is interestingly excluded from the citation of lex talionis: An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. The original included Life for Life. The original was also directed towards the government, not towards regular citizens. So it seems that we are supposed to forgive and let things slide as much as possible… up to a certain point.
Which is when we would need a weapon to defend ourselves.
Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
Now of course at about this point people start panicking: “But then there will be chaos!” “Everyone will be shooting instead of being nice!” “All the criminals will have free rein!” “There will be anarchy!”
Notice that all those are gut reactions, not stemming from any sort of experience or research, but merely from propagandist hype that has embedded its sophistries into the natural instincts of the populace. The fact of the matter is that the exact opposite of all of the above exclamations are true. The reasons why are sadly outside the scope of this article, and I must again refer you to something like ‘The Seven Myths of Gun Control’ by Richard Poe.
If something is outlawed, only outlaws will get it.
No limitation of righteous liberty can bring about anything but tyranny and rampant crime.
With joy and peace in Christ,
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