*Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptural references are taken from the New American Standard Bible.
One of the more intriguing functions within my Navy experience long ago was that to look out over the waves in stormy conditions, and into the vast expanse of the sea, into the horizon, with powerful binoculars or a monocular, to identify anything with the naked eye that the radar within the Combat Ready Room might otherwise fail to score in its perpetual search to register everything of interest. There were more than a few times that I met with sobering scenarios involving seagoing vessels which had failed to fully register on radar, scenarios that could have made for disaster at sea, had I or someone else not caught such with the naked eye first.
So it is with spiritual eyes, and the spiritual vision we are given as Believers. We are charged to “earnestly pursue the spiritual gifts, especially that [we] may prophesy” (1 Cor. 14:1). We are also told that “we have not, because we ask not,” and “we have not because we ask amiss” (Jas. 4:2-3). Spiritual Discernment is there for the asking, and the taking. In this sobering hour in world history, I cannot imagine navigating a day without such.
For the purposes of this article, I will define the “Believer” as one who serves the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—both Jew and Christian. Jews and Christians are presently at odds about the advent of the Messiah, but that will change shape soon enough. In fact, this very theological landscape is quickly changing—as I type.
And so it is to the Believer that I write, this evening.
In 34 years of scanning Scripture, I have meditated most frequently upon the lives of King David (author of the bulk of the Book of Psalms) and his son, King Solomon (author of the bulk of the Book of Proverbs). Having so digested these two books, at this stage in my life I find that within the course of a given day several excerpts of both Proverbs and Psalms will surface within my heart or mind, and thereafter govern or channel my thoughts and emotions. To this I’m grateful, as otherwise I’d make quite a mess of things, by the hour.
One of the more pointed excerpts of Proverbs is that which visits me both early in the morning, and late at night. It reads as follows:
“Blessed is the man who listens to Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at My doorposts” (Proverbs 8:34).
This excerpt beckons the Believer to find time to wait in the Lords presence. This posture can be defined by prayer, worship, study, meditation, and/or simply being still and silent. His “gates” and “doorposts” symbolize any place or posture that lends itself to seeking Him. And in return, we are blessed. This blessing takes on many forms. One such form is that found within yet another Proverb, which reads:
“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all things” (Proverbs 28:5, NASB).
To offer a spoonful of exposition of this passage, would be to simply say that those who revel in evildoing do not understand right from wrong, and cannot discern the nature of what unfolds before them. Equally so, those who watch and wait at His gates and His doorposts, do in fact understand the nature of all things. This to say that though a discerning Believer may not understand the internal mechanics of a given scenario, they may yet discern the larger nature behind such, such as, and for example, discerning the times in which we live—when mass media paints a woefully deceptive picture of such, which looks radically different, and which is very deceptive. In very simple terms, Believers, as the result of cultivating daily intimacy with the Lord, can, through the lenses of spiritual discernment, sniff-out the spirit behind what they’re reading, hearing and seeing. They may not fully understand every element of the picture being painted before them, but they can know the spirit behind the painter—thus understanding the nature of “all things.”
Historically I have felt like the odd-man-out at social gatherings, and parties, rooting back as far as my early childhood. I truly envy those who can engage the masses. I am an introvert by nature, but I am continually seeking to push myself just outside my comfort-zone in this regard. I allude to the example of the “party,” to in turn offer a snapshot of the typical day, the grind, within Mainstream America. As a rule, most are plagued with automobile traffic, cell phone calls; perpetual Internet usage on the job, and smartphone activity that rules their lives when their laptop or desktop computers at work are not vying for the same. In the midst of all of this we find a steady stream of “news,” national and international. I use quotations in referring to the word “news,” as, for the most part, it is not news; it is much rather a secular humanistic, godless measure of “spin” on events offered by the subjective lenses of those who would purposefully warp the truth, and reality, to the busy and unsuspecting mind. Subsequently, the minds of the masses are by the minute, shaped and molded by a false reality, equating to ill-preparedness when reality is finally met. And so, like the party-goer, when their immediate surroundings are cheerful, bright and gay, they are often wholly unaware that just beyond the perimeter of such lay a raging battlefield.
So it is within the mental paradigm of most mainstream Americans at this juncture in history. The minds of the masses, Believers certainly included, are presently saturated by sensory deception in every regard. Much of this is presently being channeled by the highest authority in the nation.
Most reading this article have likely heard the phrase, “the fog of war.” I happen to understand it figuratively and literally (I will expand upon the literal end of such shortly). And the daily grind of our workday lives can leave us indifferent, numbed and detached from the larger events unfolding about us—leaving us to stumble about in a figurative fog, while ingesting snippets of media on-the-run, and drinking them down like a quick shot of “Red Bull,” never realizing how harmful the drink can be to our physiological construct. As one who artfully avoids the figurative Red Bull, and as one who regularly stations himself upon a figurative wall, to look out over the mote, and to the horizon; I wish to offer you something of what I see, that may better arm you for events to come. This is my prayer.
As I continue, I wish to acknowledge that Scripture says we all “know in part,” that we “prophesy in part,” that we see “as through a glass darkly,” or as “in a mirror dimly” (1 Cor. 13:2-12), and that “each joint supplies, to the proper building…” (Eph. 4:16). All of this to say, and to underscore, that I do not believe I have a complete handle on the subject matter herein. We have been fashioned for dependence upon one another, and the “joint” of our individual revelation has been divinely fashioned to meet with many other “joints,” to then form the larger cogwheel of forward motion in understanding the times in which we live—collective revelation. The “part” that I do see however, is one that I offer to you now with deep conviction. I encourage you hereafter to bring it before the Lord, and to ask Him for His voice in the matter.
As I begin to share some very personal, candid and sobering thoughts with you with respect to the topic of The Believer and Self-Defense, I believe it timely to first allude to an excerpt of II Kings, and that found within chapter 6, verses 1 thru 8(a), which read:
“Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, ‘Behold the place before you where we are now living is too limited for us. Please let us go to the Jordan and each of us take from there a beam, and let us make a place there for ourselves where we may live.’ So he [Elisha] said, ‘Go.’ The one said, ‘Please be willing to go with your servants,’ and he said, ‘I shall go.’ So he went with them; and when he came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water, and he cried out and said, ‘Alas my master! For it was borrowed!’ Then the man of God said, ‘Where did it fall?’ And when he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there, and made the iron float. He said, ‘Take it up for yourself.’ So he put out his hand and took it. Now the King of Aram was warring against Israel…”
I offer this excerpt of II Kings as prophetic metaphor for the times in which we live. Consider firstly that the axe in Elisha’s day was used primarily in two ways. Firstly, it was (and certainly so in the context of this scenario) used to forge new shelter. Secondly, it was also used in its day as a weapon of war, an article for self-defense. Swords, spears, bows, arrows and daggers are often alluded to in much of Old Testament Scripture. However, biblical archeology reveals that many types of battle axes were utilized throughout Old Testament times as well.
There is a pointed reason that I included the first part of verse 8 at the end of the above excerpt, which happens to allude to the King of Aram “warring.” For you see, there is a perpetual stream of information, sown with fear and confusion, lapping at our feet in this hour, replete with rumors of “war.” Into the murky stream has fallen our axe head, our battle axe, and as we grope through the murky turbulence of the stream (read: confusion) it is difficult to make out the axe head. Do ponder this, as I figuratively attempt to raise the axe head from the bottom of the stream, and re-affix it to the handle, that you might perhaps gain a handle on just how to go about responding to the evidence of clear and present danger approaching us on the horizon.
To the Believer who begins to see (read: discern) where I am going with this; it stands to reason that the first excerpt of Scripture which comes to mind is that of II Corinthians 10:4, which reads:
“…the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful, for the destruction of fortresses.”
Certainly, our weapons of prayer, fasting, worship, scriptural declaration, prophetic proclamation and intercession combined, do in fact destroy spiritual fortresses. Consider also however, a rarely-quoted excerpt of Psalm 119, found within verse 160, which reads:
“The sum of Your word is truth…”
This excerpt of Psalms underscores the extreme importance of considering the “whole counsel of Scripture” (Acts 20:27); taking into account the whole context of Scripture.
Am I seeking to negate the truth of II Corinthians 10:4? Not by any means. I am however seeking to underscore that as I move forward with yet more Scripture, we must also understand that there is a time, a place, and a context for taking up physical weapons of war, to defend the weak and the helpless—in our day. And before you get up-in-arms (pun intended) over where I’m headed here, please do tarry with me, and hear me out, before precluding my position.
Consider Proverbs 24:11, which reads:
“Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, oh hold them back.”
Shortly I will define what I believe it means to practically “deliver” and to “hold back” those “staggering to slaughter,” in the context literal self-defense. For the moment however, please linger with me as I continue to speak in terms of the whole counsel of Scripture.
Provided you’ve made it thus far, and you’re granting me the continued liberty to establish my thought-progression herein; I wish to pose a critical question to you, and as pertains to God’s sovereign protection of the Nation of Israel. And the question is this: Does God mysteriously protect Israel from its hostile Arab neighbors (whose landmass is 500 times that of Israel’s), while Israel’s defense forces bask in the sun getting suntans, while also listening to Israeli pop-rock on mp3 players with headphones, adorned in Ray Ban sunglasses? Is this the posture the IDF dawns, as God mystically defends Israel?
Answer: No, to the radical contrary. For in actuality, God’s sovereign protection over Israel is most readily evidenced in and through the development and subsequent exercising of the skill and wisdom required of each and every warrior as they engage the battle—skill and wisdom imparted by God Himself—as they have individually sought such. In short, though God certainly can and has released fireballs from space, to destroy evildoers; and has plans to do so in the future; He largely rather chooses at this juncture to give men, and whole nations, the liberty to firstly pursue right-alignment with Him, and secondly to develop the wisdom and skill to defend themselves. He gives them the wisdom and skill to engage the fight—literally.
In the case of Israel, IDF warriors; whether they be fighter pilots, tank commanders or ground troops; have wisdom and skill to defend their homeland, because they have asked for such, and because they boldly exercise such, with great conviction of purpose, and with great faith in God’s protection. I wish to ask that you hold this thought progression for a moment, as you click on the following web-link, and read a brief statement from former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, as he responded to a group of Jewish American leaders who asked him to share what he believed to be the most redemptive lessons learned by Jewish survivors of the Holocaust (circa 1981):
As you reflect upon what Menachem Begin stated (a sentiment which the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presently mirrors), consider the further development of my point in penning this article. We are, here in the West (evidenced also internationally by the hour) under very real threat of unspeakable violence, as the spirit behind Islam continues to raise its ugly head with marching orders to kill Jews and Christians—the very same spirit which fueled the Nazis in World War II. I call the father of this spirit by name; his name is Satan (Hebrew, “HaSatan”). More pointedly so, the satanic expression behind Islam, is that which I believe to be the very Spirit of Antichrist. I will not go so far as to suggest an individual sporting this label at this stage, but I will go so far as to suggest that my discernment recognizes the spirit, versus the personality, alluded to in the Book of Revelation (recall our brief discussion on our ability, as discerning Believers, to recognize the nature of all things).
But before we get too caught up in the ominous and foreboding cloud of darkness represented in the approaching Great Tribulation; let’s resume our pointed focus upon the topic of The Believer and Self-Defense, and its practical application for you at this moment.
Consider Jeremiah 17:7, which reads:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord” (Hebrew transliteration).
The word “trust” in the context of this verse, is that rooted in the Hebrew word, “bitachon” (bē-tā-ḥon, בטחון –root-בטח), which denotes among other things, both divine defense and subsequent self-defense—through divine provision; two critical components of the same dynamic. “Bitachon” means literally, “to find safety, security and confidence in the Lord.” This concept connotes that God extends His divine defense, quite often by equipping His servants in self-defense. In Jeremiah’s day, warriors did not lean their swords up against the wall and sit on their behinds while “trusting” that God would win their battles for them as they induced brain-fog by losing themselves in social media on their smartphones. Rather, they engaged the battle—sword, sling, spear and battle axe in-hand—trusting with security and confidence, that the Lord would guide every stroke of their weapons.
I need to be very frank with you at this stage, dear reader (I may also opt to be very David with you as well, but for the time being, I’ll just be frank), in saying that I believe it our moral obligation as Believers, to defend the weak and helpless in the face of violence. The times before us are becoming increasingly violent. Radical Islam has been granted the red carpet in this nation, empowering such to engage the wholesale slaughter of Jews and Christians in the U.S., in due season, in the same fashion that you are seeing such played-out in the Middle East and Western Europe. This “due season,” my friends, is right around the corner. I define this “corner” in time, as that being much sooner than later. I happen to believe that the Autumn season of this year (2015) will represent a combination of increased social tumult, civil unrest, economic disaster, wanton governmental tyranny and the free reign of Islamic terrorism in our midst—all under the same roof. As such begins to unfold, the weak and the helpless will become easy prey for the forces of evil—evil which will manifest in many ways, to include physical violence.
*Note: Before you begin to succumb to fear, be reminded that we as Believers have daily access to a “peace that surpasses all understanding.” And perhaps it is timely that I would quote this excerpt of Scripture in its fullness:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, with prayer and supplication and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds…”
The last thing I would wish is that to impart more fear; we all have enough of that to contend with from day to day at this juncture in Western history. At the same time however, it is difficult to discuss this topic at length, without the potential for such. It is for this reason that I will systematically seek to dispel such as we continue. As well, and as you tarry through the end of this article, I trust you will meet with a timely reminder of the sovereignty of God overarching everything herein.
As the evil three-ring-circus of violence and terror continues to unfold in our midst, national media (governed now by the Marshal Law that the FCC has been granted just a few days ago, as of the writing of this article, via “Net Neutrality”) will continue to artfully mask the severity of the times. Very few media companies are, at this stage, reporting the raw truth of what is unfolding in this country. Those that do report such will ultimately be silenced (including voices such as mine) in due season. A random sampling of the gross distortion of facts and data presently in circulation in the media lay in the reality that actual unemployment in this country presently stands at 23%, and this number is growing. However the data being presented by the White House suggests something more like 5.6% to 6.5%; and the media simply goes along with the program and repeats such, suggesting to the masses that everything is “just fine” and the “economy is healthy, and even rebounding.”
Yet another random sampling of mass-media deception, and that wholly sponsored by the White House, is the little-known fact that in recent years billions of dollars have been borrowed from the Federal Reserve Bank, to artificially prop-up the stock market, not unlike a feeble attempt to re-stuff a scarecrow as it hangs limp upon a rotted wooden post, swaying in the wind. Subsequently the federal government is wholly deceiving millions of small investors into risking their livelihoods from hour-to-hour, in a market that quietly died a few years ago. To further compound this deception; most are wholly unaware that there is nothing “federal” about the Federal Reserve Bank; it happens to be privately owned. I’ll not go into just who privately owns it, as that topic would in turn open-up a can of worms leading to an untimely distraction from the thrust of my article.
I repeatedly refer to the gross deception in media presently, as we must, as Believers, earnestly pray daily for growing spiritual discernment, that we may fruitfully navigate the times before us, lest the times before us fruitfully destroy us.
We have in this country, been given not just a right, but a God-given right to bear arms, to defend ourselves from social and governmental tyranny. The framework of our Constitution was not designed by a bunch of men with good ideas—it was designed by a bunch of men who were submitted to the leading of God. Our nation was, at the time, submitted to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Our nation presently, at the highest level, is no longer submitted to the same God. However, our founding Constitution, though under daily assault, remains. And as long as it does, it is not only our God-given right, but our moral responsibility to defend those “being taken away to death, and staggering to the slaughter” (Prov. 24:11).
I am hereafter going to speak in very pointed, candid and practical terms, so that there is no room for misinterpretation here. It is my firm conviction that when unarmed, and unable to defend ourselves, and while accosted by Islamic Radicals for example; our faith requires of us that we do not deny the Lord when asked to choose between such, and martyrdom. Millions of Believers have since Jesus’ day, offered their necks to martyrdom when faced with the sword (give Foxes Book of Martyrs a read, if you haven’t done so to date). Equally so, an estimated 6 million Jews were martyred for their faith—in the same God, during the Nazi Holocaust. As I type this article, Believers are being slaughtered around the world—by the hour (recall that I define the Believer as both Jew and Christian). However, it is also my firm conviction that until we are defenseless, once again, we are morally obligated to defend the defenseless against wholesale slaughter. And it is in fact the stage of wholesale slaughter that is being set, in our very nation, as I type.
Radical Islam is being vehemently defended and protected by the highest authority in the land, aided by most media companies, who are in-bed with the same; while at the same time Judaism and Christianity are under violent assault—by the same authority. There’s no room any longer, to mince words on this topic, and I simply refuse to yield to the sword of political correctness at this juncture.
Prior to sitting down to pen this article, I had conducted an exhaustive search for other voices who may have addressed the thrust of what I am sharing with you now. To my disappointment, I found very few. I was not necessarily searching for personal affirmation of my convictions, but rather searching out of simple curiosity, to see if anyone else was thinking the same. In general, I met with two radical opposites: those who say, “God will yank me out of this before it gets too bad,” on the one hand; and those who say, “Frag all of ‘em—and let God sort ‘em out!,” on the other.
I was ultimately not surprised to find one voice who shares my sentiments. He is a man that I hold in great esteem, for many reasons. Dr. Jeffery Seif, a Messianic Jew, author and speaker, former seminary professor, former television host, and active-reserve police officer—all wrapped up into one big ball of anointed and authoritative dynamism; wrote a book back in 2007, titled: Guns & Moses: God’s Formula for Wielding Power and Shielding the Powerless. In reading the book, I met with two significant elements; the first being that of Jeff’s keenly prophetic forecast of the rapid and socially-cancerous spread of Islam to come (be reminded again, that the book was written in 2007—8 years ago); the second being that of an excerpt from pages 51-52, within Jeff’s commentary on the Book of Exodus. The excerpt reads as follows:
“Given the nature of the world that Moses inhabited (and our world also), there comes times when it is necessary for individuals to legitimately bear arms in defense of home and hearth; for to cower in fear would be to abrogate one’s fundamental responsibility as a citizen, not to mention one’s own duty as a human being. To ‘take up for oneself and fight’ is not a privilege granted to slaves—who must suffer in silence, with no recourse and absolutely no hope of securing redress for grievances. Brazen disregard for life through ‘murder’ is, of course, unacceptable; however, protecting life and property –even to the point of killing—is not eschewed, myths to the contrary aside. Being able to fight is a right—and a good one at that. ‘Use of force’ – and ‘deadly force,’ particularly—for legitimate ends, is not only tolerated in biblical literature, it is actually celebrated in the Old Testament. In the Texts, warriors became heroes, such as King David, Gideon, and many, many others. At issue in the Commandments is the employment of deadly force, driven by the passion and anger of self-serving persons who pay no mind to justice, but use force for their own ends. This wanton disregard for basic rights is eschewed outright, as men are required to govern their persons and not to be overrun by their internal base and selfish tendencies. Still, bearing arms legitimately is not condemned.”
For those surfing the web, who have by chance landed upon this article, and who may have had a few beers prior to reading this article, perhaps on the tail-end of a 10-hour day at the controls of a CAT D-10 on hard soil, and who may appreciate a more rubber-meets-road interpretation of what Jeff has just stated; I’ll offer that in very simple terms, Jeff has stated that it is a God-given right to exercise lethal force, when life and limb are at stake in the face of evil (and I will add: especially when the weak and helpless are within your grasp to protect).
At this stage in my musings, there is no doubt many readers who have experienced a welling-up of theological opposition to the position that I have developed thus far. To these; and by way of intercepting what would become extended theological banter between us; allow me to offer the following points:
Firstly, to those who have mentally uploaded Proverbs 16:7, which states, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him”; I will offer this: we must again consider the whole counsel of Scripture (remember?: “the sum of Your word is truth”). The context and practical application of Proverbs 16:7 is that rooted in the truth that remaining wholly submitted to obedience to God, at times means that He will supernaturally intervene on your behalf, with your enemies. There are times when He will melt the hearts of your enemies. However, and again, there are times when He may not. Consider for example the first apostles and disciples, who were beheaded, stoned to death, crucified upside down and boiled alive. Were their ways “pleasing to the Lord”? Scripture readily affirms such. Does this mean that Proverbs 16:7 is erroneous? No, it simply means that we must again take the whole counsel of Scripture into view, and realize that we cannot use every excerpt of Scripture as a theological springboard by which we may dive into the refreshing depths of our subjective theological bents.
Secondly, yet another excerpt of scripture is likely to well-up from within those who would wish to take to task my position developed thus far; this in the form of Proverbs 15:1, which reads: “A soft answer turns away wrath…” I personally know this proverb to be true, and have exercised this dynamic 100s of times over, while managing large numbers of decidedly callous and “gruff” men in the field, while serving in positions of management within federal disaster response contracts abroad. At one point I was responsible for roughly 250 such men, spread over 2 very large counties, as we worked 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months at a time, and under very dangerous and stressful conditions. One might well imagine the velocity of the interpersonal conflicts I had to dispel on a daily basis. And in doing so, again, the formula within Proverbs 15:1 worked very well. However, on occasion, my “soft answer” did not work, whereupon I had to flip my “A-B Switch” to the “B” position, and answer aggression with aggression, to defend myself from harm. This leads us again to the reality that though this excerpt of Scripture does in fact contain a rare and proven formula for exercising Godly wisdom from King Solomon, it is not universally true to the extent that it applies to every circumstance. My case in point comes in the form of a probing question: Have the 1000s of Christians who’ve been murdered and beheaded in the Middle East in recent months alone, by ISIS, observed their collective “soft answers” effectively “turn away wrath”? Answer: no.
Again, it is context that we must keep in view, when tempted to apply one excerpt of Scripture to the framework of a universal truth. On this note, perhaps we do well to consider what I was taught in the early years of formal theological study (i.e., Bible College), while studying the place and purpose of Hermeneutics (the theory of Textual Interpretation); I was dully challenged to remain mindful of 3 things when approaching a given excerpt of Scripture: (1) What does it say, literally? (i.e., Exegesis—actual interpretation of the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts); (2) What did it mean to whom it was said at the time? (Historical Context); and (3) What does it mean to me, today? (i.e., Exposition—rubber-meets-road “practical handle” as to how I can apply it to my daily life).
I will also grant that there are those who have experienced the subjective upload of Galatians 5:22-24 while reading my position thus far. Galatians 5:22-24 reads:
“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
You may therefore be inclined to ask, “Where, David, is the fruit of the spirit employed, when considering armed defense, as a Believer?” My answer to this question, as well that to the questions posed by Proverbs 16:7 and 15:1 (above), is the same. And by way of answering such, and while realizing that it is often impolite to answer a question with a question, I must pose such, by way of my answer: When an Islamic Jihadist knocks on your front door at 03:00AM, wearing a black mask, and demanding that he and his comrades be granted license to rape your wife and behead your children, do you suppose a “soft answer” and “love and self-control” will dissuade these monsters from fulfilling their wishes? The answer is no, it will not. For these men have given themselves over to a level of evil which includes the same level of insanity and violence exuded by those supercharged on Crack Cocaine. Nothing you could say would dissuade them from raping and slaughtering your household.
What, therefore, you ask, should be the proper response to such an exchange at 03:00AM in the morning, at my doorstep? This would depend upon your choice of weapons. My personal choice in this exchange would be .00 buckshot—from the “business end” of a .12 gauge tactical shotgun.
David’s faithful antagonist: “David! I’m shocked! How can you flippantly say such a callous thing?!”
David’s answer: Firstly, there is no flippancy about what I’ve said; I am as resolute on this topic as an oak tree in a windstorm. Secondly, do you really suppose my remedy for self-defense to be more brutal than the alternative of watching my household get raped and slaughtered before my eyes? It’s time to be painfully honest with ourselves folks, and to begin preparing ourselves for the eventuality of such, while at the same time hoping and praying otherwise.
Our national defense forces and internal national security (i.e., DOD and DHS) have been systematically dismantled over the past 6 years, equating to a state of alarming vulnerability to terrorist threats and criminal acts of violence—acts of violence which do not hold exemption from your neighborhood.
Please hear me in this, dear reader: few things would bring me the lasting joy of personally leading a Radical Muslim to the redeeming knowledge of, and personal relationship with, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the God of Israel—and the God upon which this nation was originally founded. Conversely however, and though it would trouble me deeply, I will not hesitate to defend “home and hearth” with lethal force.
My goal in sharing candidly with you in this way is that to prod you into replacing the mounting fear of what is unfolding in our nation, with mounting confidence—as the result of training and preparedness in self-defense—armed defense. No, I am not suggesting that of placing confidence in our training and arms alone; I am rather underscoring that when our faith in God is combined with the readiness and confidence to defend ourselves physically when needed, as the result of training and equipping in self-defense, we overcome insurmountable odds—like the Nation of Israel has—repeatedly—since 1948. And the odds are against us, as our enemy is both without and within our borders at this stage.
As you process what I’ve written thus far, I’d like to share a news story which unfolded perhaps a month ago, as of this writing. The scenario involved a masked gunman attempting to rob a pharmacy. With security cameras filming the event, a masked gunman entered the store. As he made his way toward the main register, the pharmacist, who was flanked by his associates behind the counter, jested with the masked man, saying with a smile, “Hey, this guy looks like he wants to rob us.” What the pharmacist was doing, was that of buying himself a few seconds, to ready himself to engage a gunfight, as he had within the initial seconds artfully conveyed to the masked man that he thought the masked man was just joking, when in fact the pharmacist used those precious moments to feign as if he were doing some standard business behind the counter, while also turning his right hip away from the gunman, and maneuvering his gun out of the holster at the very moment the masked man drew his gun. All of this occurred within the span of maybe 3 seconds. Before the gunman was able to fire the first shot, the pharmacist got off his first shot right into the gunman’s torso. The gunman, a large and portly fellow, darted further into the store, toward more customers. As he did, the pharmacist shot the gun out of the gunman’s hand. As the gunman continued to flee toward customers, the pharmacist shot him a 3rd time, whereupon the gunman died.
The following day the pharmacist was interviewed by a news crew. He was asked how he was dealing with the aftermath of the traumatic event. He then cited that he found much strength in a daily devotional that he meditated upon faithfully, each morning. And just that morning, the day after the shooting, and while emotionally traumatized by the event; only hours before his interview with the news crew; he turned to his daily devotional, which happened to alight upon John 10:7-18. The pharmacist then iterated verse 10, which reads, “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” Following this excerpt of scripture, was the daily meditative exposition, which read, “Abundance isn’t God’s provision for me to live in luxury; it’s His provision for me—to help others live.”
To the discerning reader, it is very clear that God was stating to this Believing pharmacist, that His provision came that in the form of his ability (read: his training, equipping and preparedness) to protect the lives of the many innocent people within a just few feet of the gun battle the day before—many of whom could have very well been killed within moments, had the armed Believing pharmacist not exercised his courage and confidence (and training) in the face of danger. It should also be very clear to those reading of this story for the first time, that God’s provision in this man’s life, was and remains a pointed message to all who learn of this story—a story which bears the unmistakable fingerprints of God’s grace in the face of evil—grace over a scenario which required lethal defense.
For those of you who may be inclined to pose the question as to whether or not the pharmacist should have rather not drawn on the man, that perhaps the man may have rather opted to simply “take the money and run”; allow me to extend a strong cup of coffee to you at this stage, in the form of a reality-check as we briefly consider how the average armed robbery now plays-out in 2015.
It has been over the last 20 years or so that I have observed a mounting tidal wave of evil represented in computer/online games; the collective playing of such more recently referred to as “gaming.” I do not play them myself, but I have watched many males, young and old, become absorbed, consumed and even addicted to such games. Most games involve extreme violence. One such game is that titled Grand Theft Auto, a game defined by a simple dual-faceted plot—that of continually stealing vehicles while shooting as many people as you can along the way—including the car owners. When males of all ages (6 to 60—and beyond), spend hours a day in this cyber-world, the violence becomes an alternate reality to them. They begin to become desensitized to violence, and rather come to look at such as a normal facet of everyday life (i.e., “all in a day’s work”).
It is quite common at this stage (i.e., 2015) during police forensic work following violent crimes, to find violent games resident on the laptops and PC’s of the perpetrators.
My point in alluding to the evil dynamics inherent within gaming, and the corresponding increase in unnecessary shootings on crime scenes, is that to underscore that two decades ago a given robber of a store was generally content to simply get away with the loot, without firing unnecessary shots into innocent people. Twenty years later however, it has become commonplace; hold the cashier at gunpoint, take the loot, then shoot-to-kill anyone in sight—just like it plays-out in cyberspace, while gaming (they get more “points” that way). And it is my belief that the gunman who entered this pharmacy could very well have intended the same. It is for this reason that I believe the pharmacist’s actions to have been divinely directed—to save several lives.
It was very clear to me, having watched the video of this exchange myself; that the pharmacist had trained for such an event, and responded to the danger with poise and effectiveness. He demonstrated what it is that I wish to impart to you—that of the resolve to prepare yourselves for such an event, that when the time comes, you will, as the result of your preparedness to defend the helpless, do just that.
Should you wish to view the video of the incident, and corresponding news story, you may do so via the link below. I will forewarn that it is graphic, in that the security cameras were on-the-spot, and caught the gun fight at close range. The witness of God’s grace in this scenario is very strong as news persons thereafter interview the pharmacist. It is for the latter primarily, that I include the video-link below:
Before the reader has an opportunity to again harbor an element of fear within this discussion, I will once again counter such with a measure of the “peace which surpasses understanding” (Phil. 4:6-7), in the form of encouraging you to meditate today upon chapter 91 of the Book of Psalms, which begins: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (v. 1). As we consider for a moment what it means to “dwell” in His shelter; and that in very practical, rubber-meets-the-road terms; perhaps we can consider the Hebrew definition of the word “dwell,” which is that of “yä·shav’,” which means at its root, “to sit down, and to be still.”
Planting ourselves in stillness and in silence, for the sole purpose of meditating upon God’s presence, even if but for a brief period each day; enables us to tap His steady stream of peace—a peace which truly surpasses all understanding.
Speaking in geological terms, most of us are unaware of just how close beneath our feet runs natural streams of water—if we’ll just take time to dig down a little bit. So it is with the “Mayim Hayim” (Hebrew), the “rivers of living water” that are at our disposal as we diligently seek friendship with the Lord.
I allude to this practice of stillness, wherein we meet with God’s peace, to in turn share that it was during such a posture, roughly 2 years ago, that I was granted a glimpse of the Fall season of 2015, in the U.S—and beyond (for the moment, I’ll stick to what I saw of the U.S., as this is the audience I am attempting to speak to). What do I mean by “a glimpse”? Well, sometimes I “see” things—things which come to pass. You may readily categorize this experience as an “Epiphany,” a term largely used to discount authentic encounters with God, by placing them within the category of a “passing fancy,” which seems to rest well with the religious community. Equally so, the term “Epiphany” rather neatly places my described experience within a secular psychological category labeled: delusion. Irrespective of how you so choose to label such, God is in the business of speaking to His children—if we will still ourselves long enough to listen. I’ve shared this, to in turn seek to convince the reader that what I’ve written thus far in this article is that far removed from a “passing fancy,” and that which should be very seriously pondered.
I suspect there will be a goodly number of people who will have read this article thus far, and pose the question as to whether or not I am suggesting the usurping of local city police and county sheriffs in their role to protect law abiding citizens from those committed to lawlessness. At the same time, I’ve no doubt there is a goodly number of people reading this article, who have concluded that local and county law enforcement has become “the enemy.”
Allow me to speak to both camps; by first divulging that I presently function in a part-time capacity in firearms sales (I will expand shortly on other relative endeavors in which I am involved). In and through this activity, I meet a large area/regional representation of law enforcement. They come in many shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. I will admit that many of the younger ones (generally under age 40 or so), do often tend to posture themselves with a brash, arrogant, cocky, bullish and tough exterior. Most have dawned this posture by default, as a defense mechanism (put yourself in their shoes for a moment). But this mechanism is far removed from the more recent trend within the media to paint law enforcement as “the enemy.” The media trend to which I refer is taking its marching orders from a much higher authority, and for an ultimate purpose beyond the imagination (read: believability) of most. Irrespective of the media’s goal, and the greater goal of those who have inspired the media, law enforcement is NOT “the enemy” in any society. And, I am not suggesting in and through my encouragement to citizens to arm themselves; that they are to supplant the role of local law enforcement. Much rather, what I am saying, is that local law enforcement will soon have its hands very full, and will be simply incapable of protecting everyone from utter chaos and pandemonium—the raging expression of the Spirit of Lawlessness.
I will add that the federal government has, as of the writing of this article, managed to take control of municipal police departments in 6 states, and the momentum is growing, in keeping with a goal to create a federal Police State. While municipal police have succumbed to such, county sheriffs on the other hand are legally exempt from such oversight. I am using very elementary terms in this discussion, in an attempt to make a very sticky and complex topic, very simple. My point in alighting upon this reality, is to underscore that though the number of people under federal thumb are growing, they do not represent the tyrannical federal vision for this country, they much rather represent the common citizen—just like you. They did not “sign up” for what is transpiring in this country presently. At the same time however, most of these men and women have devoted their lives to becoming qualified to work in this field. They cannot simply walk away and start over in another field, in the wake of a 23% (and climbing) unemployment rate. Beneath the tough exterior of the badge, uniform and firearm, they are fragile human beings—just like you and me.
Bottom line; the police are NOT your enemy. They are to be respected, honored and supported, as they are quickly finding themselves in an extremely awkward position, and are doing their best to fulfill the mission to which they’ve aspired for most of their lives.
I feel it important to reiterate that in and through my encouragement that citizens arm, train and equip themselves in self-defense, I am in no way suggesting such for the purposes of supplanting law enforcement. To the contrary; and after having spoken with thousands of those within the law enforcement community; I’ve concluded that law enforcement is overwhelmingly behind the mission of law abiding citizens arming themselves, to include the practice of legal Concealed Carry. Additionally, it is my firm belief, and as is readily evidenced in very large metropolitan areas in the U.S. presently; that law enforcement is simply incapable of meeting the hourly demand for blanket protection of its area of oversight—in light of ever increasing violence and social tumult.
With the aforementioned disclaimers in view, I wish to offer just a few more observations and corresponding personal challenges to you the reader, before signing off.
I am tempted to alight upon countless incidents of recent date, wherein citizens were forced to defend themselves in the absence of the immediacy of local law enforcement intervention. Among such incidents are that reflected within the rising (or more appropriately: returning) tide of anti-Semitism (i.e., the hatred of Jews and their ancestral home and birthright—Israel). Perhaps a week ago, as of the writing of this article, a group of 20 attackers stormed the locked doors of a Jewish synagogue in London, busting down the doors and hurling verbal hatred. Had the Jewish group within the synagogue not fought back, they could have very well been badly beaten, if not killed. The Jewish parishioners can be seen (via smartphone recording) beating-back the attackers with furniture. They simply grabbed the first thing they got their hands on, and fought back. They did not cower under the furniture; they much rather charged the attackers while yelling-back at them. On the faces of the attackers can be seen a collective blank stare—one of the more telling signs of an actual spirit propelling them.
This posture on the part of our Jewish brothers and sisters, my friends, is what will be required of those who will withstand the storm of violence now enveloping our nation. On a very personal note; I was dully inspired by this defense posture on the part of the Jewish parishioners; I believe there is a timely message reflected in their collective courage. I have inserted below, a web-link to the footage of the attack. I will forewarn that there is some very strong language contained herein:
It could be that those having viewed this brief video may be inclined to query why I would see fit to include it herein. If this is you; understand that I included it to offer a timely sampling of what I foresee unfolding by the hour in our nation—wanton hatred of all things Christian and Jewish—coming from the highest authority in the land—and trickling downstream into every sector of society. I am not by any stretch seeking to spawn fear. To the radical contrary, I seek to impart confidence, through preparedness.
As you reflect on what I’ve shared thus far, please tarry with me in the closing moments of this article, that I might also share a timely glimpse of my personal life with you; that you may in turn better understand my personal motivation and mission in imparting confidence in the face of growing fear. Consider my unusual path in cultivating such, as it finds its deepest roots in intimacy with, and faith in, God.
I was raised in violence; I was beaten by gangs, repeatedly. When I wasn’t being beaten I was accosted with verbal hatred, on a daily basis. I was spat upon, have had chunks of my hair torn out, my clothes ripped off, etc. As a child I was frail, pale, skinny and vulnerable. I was the perfect target for the hate-filled reverse-discrimination which propelled most of the gangs I would face. Toward age 14 or so, and while fatherless, with no older brother as a model, a Marine-friend of my Mother’s (a co-worker of hers at the time) took interest in toughening me up. That, he did. And so began my introduction into the Martial Arts.
My final 18 months or so in high school, and that prior to my entrance into the Navy, were that spent counter-punching the beatings I had taken as a frail, frightened and feeble teen. Once in the Navy I would go on to participate in many amphibious landings; and would train, utilize and carry small arms of various calibers. I would face many life-threatening scenarios; some of which had the potential for spawning World War III, as several altercations and operational mishaps involved clashes with the Soviet Navy (i.e., “Soviet,” at the time). Life was very dangerous, and tension was very high, even within our ranks. On 4 occasions, men on my ship picked fights with me, for varying reasons. On each occasion I fought back, very seriously so. These altercations wound up costing me pay grades, as I wound up on the dealing-end of the worst injuries—despite the fact that I had not instigated any of the altercations. I was ultimately honorably discharged, and received a few meritorious unit ribbons for engaging some very sticky operations, but I am certainly not a decorated war hero; far from it. Quite honestly, I was deeply emotionally wounded and bound by many traumas as a child. I was a child in a man’s body; I reacted to violence with violence. Thankfully, some years later, I would meet with the transforming power of God in my life, and would, over many years, receive a spiritual heart transplant.
While in the Navy, I did shoulder some very serious responsibilities, like dodging icebergs in the North Atlantic Sea in the middle the night, while behind the helm of the ship, and while 1,000 or more troops slept soundly; and also while charging beachheads in landing crafts, skipping waves with one hand on the wheel and one hand on a .50 caliber machine gun (yes, it can be done); and with a .45 caliber pistol flapping at my side and a .12 gauge short-barreled shotgun within arm’s reach strapped to the bulkhead—just in case things got “up-close and personal.” I certainly do not define myself by my military exploits, as I was an immature, angry and confused young man, who walked away from a great opportunity to further serve my country in and through an extended enlistment opportunity (a “re-up”) at one juncture, which would have granted me the avenue through which to serve my country in a highly specialized field thereafter.
I honor those who currently serve this capacity, and I honor those who have placed themselves in harm’s-way while serving this country.
Once out of the Navy I would go on to meet the Lord, giving my heart to Him. Thereafter the transformation of my deeply wounded and hardened heart began. During this transformation I would go on to compete in 3 different forms of pistol competition, over many years. I would ultimately resume Martial Arts training, within 4 styles, ending with a much coveted belt in one particular style. I would eventually, through heavy involvement in Deliverance Ministry, realize the demonic chords of entanglement I had exposed myself to, by tapping Oriental Mysticism within the advanced stages of my Martial Arts form. I would then renounce the same, and ultimately walk away from Martial Arts. I will offer, as an important disclaimer, that I have since discovered many very strong Believers who, in and through their faith, have remained above and apart from the demonic roots within Oriental Mysticism. These I commend, and deeply respect, and I do not by any means wish to suggest that one cannot advance in Martial Arts without succumbing to demonic entanglement. The opposite has been gracefully proven. I simply didn’t know this at the time, as a new Believer, and choose rather to walk away from the art. But, and again, I have great respect for those who’ve used their Martial Arts art form for God’s glory. I honor these champions of the faith.
More recently I have obtained credentials to teach Concealed Carry Weapons classes, as well as that to serve as Range Safety Officer at various shooting range venues. As of this writing I’ve begun to serve in these capacities, and I’m presently forming my own business within the industry.
I have divulged this facet of my life, to in turn say that though our hearts and lives are radically changed by our love affair with the Lord ongoing (but only as we daily yield to such), there are very often elements of our pasts that are redeemed in such a way as to take-on a new dimension—old rusty parts we thought would be ultimately sent to a scrapyard, yet which have found their way back onto the vehicle of our redeemed lives. This to in turn say that though I seek to yield my heart to the daily transformative work of the Holy Spirit, as He further imparts the “wisdom from above,” I have yet felt very strongly compelled to draw upon elements of my training and experience which occurred quite removed from the metamorphosis of my heart. They now find healthy context. The two spheres seem very much at-odd’s, actually. At the present however, I am convinced beyond any doubt, that I’m being divinely prompted to sound a trumpet—a call to arms. No, not a national civil revolt; to the contrary I speak to national civil readiness to defend ourselves in the face of mounting violence and encroaching terrorism.
Moments ago I alluded in passing to “the wisdom from above.” Do ponder this precious jewel from Scripture with me for a moment. It is James 3:17. It reads:
“…the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”
For 34 years, I have largely sought to allow the Lord the liberty to so rule and reign in my heart that my heart would fully emulate James 3:17. For many years accordingly, I felt at-odds about ongoing involvement in firearms collection and competition. I would buy a few, sell a few; compete a while, then walk away from it. I felt a subtle tension with such for many years. Perhaps I ultimately walked away from it years ago, that I could in time be readied internally, to then handle such activity in healthier context down the road. Perhaps that healthier context is now.
I believe it wisdom to train and equip ourselves for what is coming, both spiritually and physically. Yet as we toil, tarry and train ourselves for what’s unfolding in our midst as a nation in turmoil, we do well to remain mindful of the macro picture—the much larger picture. And there is no better picture, for the present, than that represented in Psalm 46, which reads:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”
It was following many fierce battles that King David arrived at the wisdom that ultimately inspired this chapter of Psalms. He and his fierce army trained and equipped themselves in the natural. Yet all the while David knew that his God was the One Who “breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two” belonging to the enemy. David’s wisdom in war would later be multiplied tenfold through the infinite wisdom bestowed upon his son, King Solomon. Solomon would go on to pen 1000s of Proverbs which contain but a few words, yet which speak volumes of wisdom. Perhaps Solomon then underscored what his father David had penned in Psalm 46, by reducing it to but one sentence, in and through Proverbs 21:31, which reads:
“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.”
The essence of Proverbs 21:31 would much later be echoed in the words of Jesus, in 26:52-53, which reads:
“Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”
The long-paraphrased and quoted version of verse 52 is one that everyone has heard at one time or another: “He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.” Allow me to speak to this verse for a moment. In essence, and in purely expositional (i.e., rubber-meet-the-road) language; we may readily interpret the verse to mean that if we rely solely upon the sword (read “gun” in contemporary context) for our defense and survival, we will die by the same. This is where one’s faith in God is to be affirmed. For it is by the Sword of the Lord–the Word of God–that we don our defense and pray for our survival–not our guns. For God can and will dispatch “legions” of angels for our personal defense and survival–when our prayers reach His heart and warrant His defense.
The gun (“sword”) yet maintains a critical place in our defense and survival, how it is never to supplant the paramount focus upon first looking to God–in the name of Jesus, for such. As we then purpose to live by the Sword of the Lord–the Word of God, we die within the parameters of God’s divine providence–in His time–versus that otherwise determined by our enemies’ “sword.”
I have prayed that all that I’ve written within this article would equate to a sobering challenge to all Believers in the U.S., both Jew and Christian, who are witnessing by the hour, the complete dismantling of the foundation of this nation, and who find themselves at a theological crossroads with respect to understanding their liberty and latitude to defend themselves in the face of mounting violence. I will honor those who so choose no physical defenses whatsoever, and who rather choose to place complete trust in the Lord for their physical well-being. I will not find fault with such. Our actions in this regard, either way, must come from deep conviction. And my conviction is that rooted in arming ourselves. I trust the reader, at this stage, will then equally honor my choice.
Irrespective of either choosing, perhaps we can both agree that tantamount above all, and as has been so established by both King David and King Solomon; we must first look to the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2) to write the final chapter in the battle before us—while we keep the Great Commission within the crosshairs of “our upward call” (Phil. 3:13-14).
The following affirming article was discovered on 07/16/15:
Moses and Righteous Use of Force – Rabbi Dovid Bendory
The following web site was discovered on 03/30/16, while searching for a review on a particular pistol. May the contents herein further serve to affirm your personal convictions on this topic:
Christian Gun Owner