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Bible verses about Christian Warfare
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 23:23-30

Some people draw a careless assumption from a surface evaluation of Exodus 23:20-33, leading to a shallow conclusion: that if the Israelites had just obeyed God, they would have marched into the land and taken it over without a fight. Such submission would have undoubtedly made their course easier and produced better results.

However, many other contexts show that God tests His people because He is preparing them for future responsibilities. Israel failed many tests. The march through the wilderness and the conquest of the Promised Land was a school, a vast, almost fifty-years-long training ground, for appreciating, using, and governing the Promised Land. This "schooling" included tests by which the Israelites could measure their progress, and at the same time, prove to God their growth and readiness.

We concluded that God's promises in Exodus 23 were indeed conditional. Their fulfillment depended on Israel's obedience, and part of that obedience was confronting their enemies, the people of the land, in warfare. The episode recorded in Numbers 13-14 reveals that the Israelite spies fully expected to have to fight the Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites, etc. They did not understand Exodus 23 as a free pass, as many do today. Their responsibility was to drive them out in cooperation with God, as He promised to be with them, enabling them to drive the people out, which they were incapable of doing without His involvement. But they refused to do their part.

They were to drive out the inhabitants even as we, in cooperation with God, are to confront and drive out old habits, attitudes, and loyalties. These are negative characteristics left over from our pre-conversion days. Christian living parallels this Old Testament instruction. This is one reason why the New Testament has so many illustrations and exhortations regarding Christian warfare.

Our warfare is in many ways different. It does not involve bloody engagements featuring swords, spears, or rifles with bayonets. It is a spiritual warfare, one that takes place primarily within ourselves. Nonetheless, it requires qualities such as loyalty, patriotism, courage, self-denial, vision, understanding, and sacrifice for us to be victorious overcomers.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Two)


 

Numbers 1:1-22

This phrase, "all who were able to go to war," appears 14 times in this one section! What is the significance of God commanding a census to be taken of all males twenty years old and above and able to go to war? Obviously, God wanted Israel to comprehend the size of its army. God was preparing the Israelites for the certainty of warfare with the people of the land.

Notice the precise dating in verse 1: It was "the first day of the second month, in the second year" following their flight from Egypt. Exodus 19:1 tells us, "In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai." The giving of the law, then, occurred three months after they left Egypt. Exodus 40:17 adds another time marker: "And it came to pass in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was raised up."

Thus, after receiving the law and making the covenant, God gave instructions concerning the Tabernacle, and it was constructed. It was erected on Abib/Nisan 1, the first day of the first month, of the second year. At this point, the Israelites have now been out of Egypt just two weeks shy of a full year. Once the Tabernacle had been erected and was in operation, God gave to Moses all the instructions in the book of Leviticus, and the priesthood began to put the ceremonial practices into operation.

In Numbers 1:1, thirteen more months have passed, and Israel is still at Mount Sinai. However, their stay is soon to end. The events of Numbers 13 and 14 did not take place until near the end of this second year after leaving Egypt. Therefore, before the Israelites even began the serious part of their trek to take over the Promised Land, the initial preparation for their being forged into an army, a force intended to fight against the people of the land, had already taken place.

They fully understood that Exodus 23 was not an unconditional promise that God would fight all their wars for them. They knew they would not just walk into the land and take it over while hornets maddeningly buzzed around their enemies' heads!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part One)


 

Deuteronomy 12:29-32

We must carefully evaluate the world's dangers because it has been—in the past, before conversion—the primary shaper of our sinful attitudes and characters. So powerful are the world's evil characteristics that Israelite history reveals that they were drawn into the most perverse and despicable heathen practices. The biblical record proves how easy it is for an individual to return to the old ways and how difficult it is to overcome them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Two)


 

Matthew 7:13-14

True Christianity is not an easy way of life. Yet many of this world's religious groups that call themselves Christian would have us believe that accepting the blood of Jesus Christ is the end of all of our problems.

That claim, though, is misleading at the very least—and an outright lie at the most, depending on the material supporting such a claim. Many influences attempt to knock a Christian off the path entirely or in any case cause him to stumble. A Christian must be discerning, taking great pains to maintain his balance against three primary enemies: his human nature, the world, and Satan. Regardless of his age, social status, education, or gender, these foes dog his heels.

The Christian truly has a fight on his hands, if he is serious about glorifying God by his life and achieving the growth that will give God abundant evidence of his sincerity in seeking Him and being in His character image.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Two)


 

Luke 21:36

In our day, "watch" has lost much of its original power. Is there anything more passive than watching television? We live in a spectator nation. We watch movies, news, the markets, and sporting events. Watching has become an activity that puts us on the sidelines and not on the field of battle, an idea foreign to the original meaning of the word. At the time of the King James translators, "watch" emphasized the carefulness, attention, and vigilance in the way a soldier kept alert for any sign of enemy movement.

A concept that has more meaning to us today can be found in the word "overcome." This word implies that we watch ourselves to spot our problems, do battle with them, and conquer them. "Overcome" better communicates the battle we have joined (Romans 12:21; I John 5:4-5; Revelation 21:7).

If we watch ourselves spiritually, we are not just watching our human nature, but doing battle with it. We are not just watching the world and its influences as they bombard us, but fighting against them. We are not just watching Satan's devices as they toy with us, but defending ourselves against them. In other words, "watch" as originally intended covers the entire process of overcoming that is our calling. We are to be identifying the problems, engaging them, and putting them to flight (Revelation 3:2; 16:15; I Corinthians 16:13; I Thessalonians 5:6-8).

Therefore, "overcome," more clearly than "watch," communicates to someone living today what Luke 21:36 says we should be doing as we near the end of the age. The premier end-time book, Revelation, repeatedly emphasizes that overcoming is "job one" for us (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 12:11; 21:7).

Luke 21:36 suggests that those who alertly overcome and pray always are those that may be counted worthy to escape and stand before Christ in God's Kingdom. In verse 36, Christ ties together all He has said throughout the chapter. If we do not neglect the spiritual (verses 34-35), and instead watch and pray always, we can "escape all these things" (verses 7-33) and enter God's Kingdom.

Luke 21 is a chapter about the end time, and in verse 36, we have spiritual instruction directly from Jesus to anyone living during that time. He is telling us how to escape the final effects of the turmoil that is ahead and to enter God's Kingdom. This, therefore, becomes an extremely powerful verse in helping us to understand exactly what we should be concentrating on at this time. It is a roadmap to safety and salvation.

What if someone told us where to find two tickets, which if purchased by us, would grant us escape from the end-time tumult and entrance into God's Kingdom? What price would we pay? Two such "tickets" exist, and we have the wherewithal to purchase them. Luke 21:36 shows us the two tickets. One is the "watch/overcome" ticket and the other is the "pray always" ticket. If we choose to be lackadaisical about overcoming or prayer, are missing either ticket, or have only a partial ticket, we will likely be required to "buy" those same two tickets at a very dear price in the Tribulation.

The Bible states quite a few "formulas" for producing certain things. We need to understand that none of these formulas stands on its own. They fit into a whole that includes other factors supplied from other instruction found elsewhere in Scripture. However, there are formulas, and then, there are formulas. Those that Jesus gives tend to be "trunk of the tree" formulas. They must be our base, and then we can stack other instruction on them.

These "trunk of the tree" formulas not only form a foundation that supports everything else, but they also give direction and boundaries for what and how we can add to them. Once a builder lays a foundation for a small, three-bedroom house, it automatically limits what he can and cannot construct on it. Consequently, we cannot build a beautiful spiritual temple on the wrong foundation. Luke 21:36 is an integral part of the right foundation for those of us living at the end.

As we have seen, in Luke 21:36, Christ reveals that the roles of watching—or paying careful attention to overcoming—and praying always are vital to our Christian lives at this time.

Pat Higgins
Praying Always (Part One)


 

John 16:33

How glorious it would be to be free of the burdens of living in this dangerous, unstable, violent world, but as sons of God such is not our lot in life. God has called us to a life that runs counter to much of this world's practices and attitudes. As such, we are caught not only in general events and circumstances generated in the world, but also when we directly irritate and anger those close to us by determinedly following God's way.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace


 

Ephesians 6:12-17

Ephesians 6:12-17 makes especially clear that we are involved in a war, a spiritual war, and thus our weaponry must also be spiritual.

The Christian must tend to his weapons, as every soldier in warfare must, for not only is his life on the line but also the lives of his buddies, as he is their keeper too. Without serviceable weapons, the battle is often lost even before it begins. It is a terrifying thought to imagine oneself on a battlefield with nothing in hand to fight the enemy.

The Bible makes it clear that God has willed that this warfare is an absolute necessity for the development and preparation of His children to live in His Family Kingdom. It cannot be avoided; we cannot remain neutral. In one sense, we really have no choice. We must either fight or be lost.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Two)


 

 




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