"Just War," What Is It There For?

"On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel (Hos 1:5)."

What does “Just War” theory have to do with following Jesus? Not much. “Just War” theory is an attempt to weave a criteria and a justification for the use of deadly force among nominal “Christians.” “Just War” criteria was not adhered to by God in his war instructions to Israel in the Old covenant. Nor is man’s “just war” a fitting policy for those who would be joined to the cause of Jesus in the New Covenant. In the Old Covenant with the Nation of Israel, God spoke to Israel in a way that would point the faithful (through symbols) to the ultimate hope of the age to come. God did this by condescending and speaking to man in language of the known about that which was to be known. God, by first participating in the shadowy warfare of this age, and then by refraining from it in the life and ministry of his Son, has discarded the warfare of this age for it's weakness. It is inadequate as the vehicle of vindication for the just. In many ways under the old covenant God was granting a temporary concession to the ways of this age in order to ultimately demonstrate man’s weakness and God’s patience and perfection (see Jesus’ response when questioned about divorce in the law of Moses for a truncated example of this). So that in the Old Testament wars, which were pressed by God himself, God accomplishes several things:

1) God pictures and foreshadows the ultimate war. by entering into the high drama of human warfare God speaks to us on our level about a truly effective spiritual war which must be won by Jesus and his saints. (thus Paul’s view that the weapons of OUR warfare in the new covenant are not carnal but they are strong to pull down strongholds).

2) God demonstrates His absolute right over the affairs of men, and his absolute ability to overrule in the affairs of men (after all He will one day bring a final end to the future hope of a multitude in judgment).

3) God demonstrates the inadequacy of our strength, a strength which is natural, nationalistic and exercised as a knee-jerk effort to overcome the illegitimacy of this age.

So that now Jesus comes with a legitimacy which overcomes Israel’s shortcomings (amartia) in both ill-treatment of neighbor (which was not sanctioned under the Old covenant) and the natural and nationalistic hatred of enemy (which was sanctioned under the old covenant). Jesus gospelizes (announces) the Kingdom of God, not with a public policy for Rome or the United States, or even an ill-defined “national” Israel, but with a public policy for the saints.

"On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel (Hos 1:5)."

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