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The Bible emphasises that peace is Gods will as exemplified by the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 24 They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks Nation will not take up sword against nation nor will they train for war any more Jesus taught in Matthew 59 Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God In Matthew 539 he urges his followers Do not resist an evil person If someone strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other also and in 543-44 You have heard that it was said Love your neighbourLove your enemies and pray for those who persecute you These passages naturally lead to the question whether Christians should oppose all wars or if not which wars would meet with their approval I am going to expound the so-called just war doctrine to try to clarify this point and apply it to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 1 Does the Bible condone war The Old Testament is replete with references to war notably the invasion of Canaan with the Lords approval See Joshua 1120 Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel so that he might destroy them totally exterminating them without mercy as the Lord had commanded Moses While these appear to justify war the condition is a very specific one Israel was Gods Holy Nation and was waging war under Gods explicit command to fulfil his purpose of punishing the sin of the Canaanites No nation has this status nowadays Equally the war that Christ leads in Revelation 19 is a very specific conflict of good and evil which is not comparable with earthly conflicts Ecclesiastes 31 and 38 implies some acceptance of war There is an appointed time for everything And there is a time for every event under heaven
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