Aggressive and Defensive Warfare
Christians Absolutely Must Understand the Difference

by Pastor John Hamel

“Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel … every male by their polls; From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.” (Num.1:2-3)

Almighty God knows how to subdue crime and prevent aggressive individuals and nations from controlling the entire world.  

This is why He ordains government officials in democratic nations, such as America and Israel, to execute judgment upon aggressive individuals, organizations and nations.  He does this for our protection

Satan is temporarily the 'god of this world'.  Notice the small 'g' in the verse below.

"...the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Satan is the god of the world's social system as a result of Adam giving him authority over it. This is more than obvious simply by watching the nightly news. Satanically-inspired individuals and nations become more violent and aggressive by the day. 

However, Satan does not own the world. He is simply being allowed to operate here until his final judgment and eternal banishment to the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:10) 

Almighty God alone owns the Earth and everything in it.

"For the Earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." (1 Corinthians 10:26)  

Unfortunately, because Satan is indeed presently in control of the minds of the unbelieving people of the world, there will be violent, aggressive individuals and nations in this Earth until Jesus returns. (Matthew 24:4-21)  

There's simply no getting around the fact that America, Israel and other democratic nations are going to have to go toe-to-toe with some of these violent aggressors from time to time.  

That's their decision, not ours.  

Although America and Israel will not engage in aggressive warfare, they will not hesitate to respond to any and all aggressors through defensive warfare. This is true on both individual and national levels. 

America, Israel and all peoples have the God-given right to defend themselves against any and all aggressors.  

In the Bible the Nation of Israel was often surrounded by aggressive nations, many of them nations of giants, that didn’t hesitate to rape, kill, plunder and attempt to keep Israel from entering the Promised Land.  

God commanded Israel to respond to all aggressors with defensive warfare and to show no mercy.  This was to encourage all other potential aggressors to back off and allow Israel to live in peace. 

God promises that He will empower not only Israel but all non-aggressors who trust Him, to defend themselves against all aggressive individuals, organizations and nations.

"In famine He shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword." (Job 5:20

Defensive warfare and self-defense against violent aggressors is not “sinful,” as some passive Believers in Jesus Christ insist, because God backed Israel in it and Holy God does not sin.

"And the Lord spoke unto Moses saying, Vex the Midianites and smite them for they vex you with their wiles..." (Number 25:16-17; See also Exodus 21:12-27, Deuteronomy 7:2.)

Violent Crime on a National Level

Aggressive warfare is nothing less than violent crime on a national or international level. It must be dealt with in the same way that violent aggressive individuals are dealt with. 

Bringing violent aggressive nations to justice is no more wrong or cruel than bringing any individual murderous criminal to justice.  

It is not wrong when a heinous, bloody murderer is dealt with swiftly and justly.

"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the King, as Supreme; or unto Governors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well." (1 Peter 2:13-14)  

Because it is not wrong when an individual heinous, bloody murderer is dealt with swiftly and justly, it is not wrong when a heinous, bloody murdering organization or nation is dealt with swiftly and justly. 

Awhile back I was taking a lunch break from writing this study you are presently reading for my book, "The Person Of Almighty God: 65 Study Outlines."  I was walking away from the microwave when I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit as clearly as I've ever heard Him at any other time in over 30 years of listening to Him.  

He said, "When Jesus said to 'turn the other cheek' He was talking about personal offense, not national defense."  (Matthew 5:39) 

I stopped in my tracks.  It was as if He were standing right there in that room speaking to me.  I hope you heard it today as clearly as I did then.

If what Jesus said to me was true, which it is, then "turn the other cheek" is not a reference to individual defense any more than it is not a reference to national defense.

Jesus was saying to "turn the other cheek" only if someone offends you. He was not saying to "turn the other cheek" when someone comes to kill or to steal from you.  

We are not to "turn the other cheek" when Satanically motivated aggressor individuals or nations come to kill, steal and destroy us. (John 10:10) 

We are only to "turn the other cheek" when someone unintentionally offends us personally. (Mark 11:25)

My People Perish for a Lack of Knowledge    

The problem with most God-fearing individuals who “oppose warfare or self-defense for any reason” is ignorance, meaning “a lack of knowledge,” not stupidity. 

They are suffering from Bible-illiteracy.  

They simply have been blinded to the fact that there are two kinds of warfare addressed in the Bible.  

The first type is “Aggressive Warfare.”  

God condemns this type of warfare.  He doesn’t tolerate violent aggression of any kind. 

"Rebuke the company of spearmen ... Scatter thou the people that delight in war." (Psalm 68:30) 

The second type is “Defensive Warfare.”  

This is the type of warfare that God honors.  He promises to help us defend ourselves against all aggressive individuals and all aggressive nations. 

"He shall call upon Me and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him." (Psalm 91:15)  

When every attempt to negotiate with violent aggressors has failed, it is time to resort to defensive warfare and to not be slack about it. 

"When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it ... and if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt beseige it; and when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword." (Deuteronomy 20:10-13)

When every attempt at negotiating fails, it is simply time to move forward with defensive warfare, obey the Bible and "bomb them 'til the rubble jumps!"

This sufficiently answers the question many blindly display on their bumper stickers and peace rally banners, "Who would Jesus bomb?"

Jesus condones whatever it takes to defend one's self against aggressive individuals or nations. Not only does Jesus condone it, but He will stand behind the non-aggressor who stands in defense of themselves.  

Someone always responds with, “But the Bible says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.'” (Exodus 20:13)  

Actually that is not what the Bible says at all. 

The literal Hebrew translation of Exodus 20:13 reads, “You shall not take a life in an unjustifiable manner.”  

There is no need to be a Hebrew scholar here. Simply borrow your local library's Hebrew lexicon and read it for yourself.  Or you can go to any of the multiple Bible-based websites on the Internet and research it. This type of research is simple enough for a child to accomplish.  

Aggressive violent individuals and nations taking lives for religion, anger, jealousy, malice, greed, etc., is unjustifiable in the eyes of Holy God.  

Unfortunately for these aggressive individuals and nations, God considers the taking of their lives through defensive warfare to be wholly justifiable.

This type of justifiable taking of human life is exactly what King Solomon was referring to when he said by the Spirit of God, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the Heaven; a time to kill ... a time of war, and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,3,8) 

Anyone who says, “All warfare is uncompassionate” is simply living in Fantasy Land!  

It is a loving God’s great compassion for law-abiding citizens that will not allow aggressive individuals or nations to run rampant in defiance of His Moral Laws. 

Compassion stops the killing of the innocent even if it means the killing of their aggressors. 

Here is what the Old Testament says about rebellious, murderous renegades.

"And if ye go to (defensive) war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth thee, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies." (Numbers 10:9)

In the Old Testament God told Israel when it came time to defend themselves, "Just do it! I am with you."

Here's what the New Testament says about rebellious, murderous renegades. 

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: And they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good and thou shalt have praise of the same." (Romans 13:1-3)  

Holy God said to resist powers put in place by Him to keep the peace is to resist Him personally. He said they that do so shall receive to themselves damnation. 

The God of Compassion loves His own obedient children, as well as law-abiding unbelievers, too much to allow violent aggressive individuals or nations to completely dominate and destroy them.

"The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: And His tender mercies are over all His works." (Psalm 145:8,9)

One of the ways God demonstrates compassion for law-abiding citizens is by not allowing violent aggressive individuals or nations to crush them with no means of self-defense. 

When God defended Israel from aggressive nations in the Wilderness it was not through signs, wonders and miracles alone.  It was also through supernatural defensive warfare.

"Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou (Israel) has heard and lived?  Or hath God assayed to go and take Him a nation from the midst of another nation by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?" (Deuteronomy 4:33-34)

God delivered Israel not only by signs and wonders but by acts of defensive warfare.  

Moses was raised up to defend Israel against aggressive warfare. (Exodus 3:1-14:31)

Joshua was raised up to defend Israel against aggressive warfare. (Joshua 6:1-27)

Gideon was raised up to defend Israel against aggressive warfare. (Judges 6:14)

King Saul was raised up to defend Israel against aggressive warfare. (1Samuel 15:1-35).

King David was raised up to defend Israel against aggressive warfare. (1Samuel 29:1-30:25)

If violent, aggressive, national bullies are not dealt with defensively they will become more and more aggressive.  They will be showing up at your house, killing your family and taking all your stuff!  

It is not Christian, democratic, kind, generous America's fault, or extremely patient Israel's fault, that they are so hated by communism and the world's biggest false religion, Islam, that they come under continual aggressive attacks by them. 

Ninety percent of the world's missionaries and ninety percent of all missionary dollars come out of the United States of America. Because of this she is hated by Satan, the god of this world, to the point of continual violence against her. 

America and Israel have a God-imposed obligation to stand defensively when dealing with aggressive, demonically-led individuals, terrorist organizations and nations with whom it is impossible to negotiate.

America also has an obligation to repent of her top four national sins of abortion, idolatry, immorality and anti-Semitism if she expects Holy God to stand behind her and against all aggressors.  

The Prince of Peace Is Not a "Peace-nik"   

In a Vermont community where my wife, Barbara, and I once lived and pastored, many local Churches came together to openly protest the war in Iraq which was occurring at that time.  

Sadly, they had no idea what the Bible teaches about the two types of warfare.  

In defense of their actions to the local media, they justified their protesting by insisting that "Jesus is the Prince of Peace."  

To their further shame, they also openly admitted that they were actually basing their demonstration on a Dr. Seuss children's book about peace.

Unfortunately, they were far more acquainted with Dr. Seuss than they were with the Holy Scriptures.  

These Christ-professing, Bible-illiterate demonstrators had absolutely no Scriptural support for what they were doing other than one of Jesus' descriptive names being taken completely out of context. 

Jesus is indeed the Prince of Peace.  He is the Prince of Peace between God and believing man. 

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1) 

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: And the government shall be upon His shoulder: And His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6

So, yes, Jesus is the Prince of Peace. 

But He is not an anti-all-types-of-war, protesting, traffic blocking "Peace-nik."  

The Bible reveals Jesus is anti-aggressive warfare but He is pro-defensive warfare.  

As a matter of fact, defensive warfare is both His idea and His command.

Christians joining arms in solidarity, pointing towards Heaven and illegally blocking traffic while singing "Kum Ba Yah" is exactly how Satan wants Believers to respond to his outright aggressive attacks on their country. 

If he can get every Christian to blindly do that, the country is Satan's for the taking. 

If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ and the Bible and you have been "anti-war" because you thought it was the "peaceful" thing to do, it's time to awaken to righteousness.  

It’s time to read the Bible in context, taking it literally unless it’s very obviously figurative. When it is figurative one is to look for the literal meaning.

It's time to make the necessary adjustments in your thinking concerning the two types of warfare if you were unaware of them until now. 

It's time to be thankful that Christian America, your America, is the most powerful, prepared, anti-aggressive warfare, pro-defensive warfare nation in the world. We have the Bible, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and Almighty God to thank for that. 

It bears repeating that Christian America is God’s Gospel lighthouse to the world.  Ninety percent of all missionaries and missionary dollars go out from this Nation.  Almighty God is going to back us against our aggressors as long as we keep preaching the Gospel, standing in support of Israel and repenting when we are wrong. 

Christian America must particularly repent for her national sins of abortion, idolatry, immorality and anti-Semitism in order to avoid the judgment of God.  

Almighty God cannot and will not protect us from aggressors when we openly defy Him in these four areas. 

As a matter of fact, He will allow our aggressors to overtake us to bring us to our knees in repentance. 

This is what is presently occurring in the United States of America as the Nation of Islam is being allowed to bring us to our knees through a lack of repentance.

"And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 8:19-20)

"The Lord shall bring (allow) a nation against thee from far, from the ends of the Earth, as swift as the eagle flyeth, a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favor to the young." (Deuteronomy 28:49-50)  

In closing, we must also realize that the Bible says Defensive Warriors are National Heroes and must be treated as such. (Numbers 31:26,27,49,53; 1Samuel 18:5-7)


We owe those who fight defensively on our behalf so much more than "Kum Ba Yah" rallies, Dr. Seuss demonstrations and disgusted looks and comments when they are in our presence.  


Christians who demonstrate, protesting war even at the funerals of our fallen heroes, do so in utter and absolute ignorance of what is written in the Scriptures. In some cases it is even being done in defiance of Scripture.  It is foolish to believe that those who do such things will not give account for their disobedience.


Defensive Warriors leave their families willingly to go away and do the hard things so that the rest of us can stay home and do the easy things in a war-free zone.  


Had God not called them or were they unwilling to defend us, those who demonstrate against all types of warfare would all be slaughtered in a short matter of time by America's violent, aggressive enemies who are unmoved by choruses of "Kum Ba Yah" and demands for "social justice." 


Israelis and Americans owe their Defensive Warriors respect and honor, at the very least.


Sadly, America has been so stubborn and resistant in God's call to repent for her top national sins that we no longer live in a war-free zone.  Through our national sins we have opened the door for violent Islamic aggressors to bring Jihad, Holy War to our soil.


Christ is calling Christian America to national repentance. If we will listen and obey, He will supernaturally enable us, through defensive warfare, to drive these violent aggressors back to their homelands.


Repentance is America's only hope when it comes to defending herself against aggressive warfare.

Be blessed ... John and Barbara Hamel


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