Psa 149: 5 Let the godly ones exult in glory; Let them sing for joy on their beds. 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand, 7 To execute vengeance on the nations And punishment on the peoples, 8 To bind their kings with chains And their nobles with fetters of iron, 9 To execute on them the judgment written; This is an honor for all His godly ones. Praise the Lord!

“for we may defend ourselves against many whom we must not pray against, to wit, our private enemies, for whom we are commanded to pray: yet nobody will deny but we may resist their violence: and likewise, we are commanded to pray for kings, when invested with God’s authority; but when their degeneration looses us from from that obligation to pray for them, and allows us to pray against them when they turn enemies to God (as we see in the prayers of the psalmist) then also we may more warrantably resist them by defensive arms.”

Alexander Shields, A Hind Let Loose, pg. 715

The following is based on A Hind Let Loose Head V by Alexander Shields

First, I would like to say that the Puritan view of defenseive arms condemns rising in arms over private injuries as David’s killing of Saul would have been. (1 Sam 24:10, 12, 13; 1 Sam 26:9-10). We condemn rising in arms to force the government to be of our religion if that government has not already covenanted. But, if a government has apostasized from a religious covenant, that government may be assaulted by whatever means necessary to bring it back under that lawful covenant.  If a government has deliberately defiled religion by force of arms,  the covenanted people of God may defend their religion and their rights against force by whatever means necessary, even violence proved:

1. Abraham violently resisted the King of Sodom; and may I remind the reader that this was before the theocracy.

Gen. 14: 12 They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom. 13 Then a fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were allies with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people.

2. Violent resisting of a King, which said King was brought as judgment upon Israel, thus the people of God may resist God’s judgments.

Judges 3: 10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him [Othniel], and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11 Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died. (Thus resisting of God’s judgments is lawful)

3. Another King violently resisted, and assassinated, who also was God’s judgment on Israel.

Judges 3: 12 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and defeated Israel, and they possessed the city of the palm trees. 14 The sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. 15 But when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up adeliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. 16 Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak. 17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18 It came about when he had finished presenting the tribute, that he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. 19 But hehimself turned back from the idols which were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he said, “Keep silence.” And all who attended him left him. 20 Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. 21 Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly. 22 The handle also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly; and the refuse came out. 23 Then Ehud went out into the vestibule and shut the doors of the roof chamber behind him, and locked them.

4. A group of men, aligned with our violent rebellion, rebuked the followers of Jephthah for not conducting rebellion without leadership and are routed for it. Thus the Lord blesses rebellions who have no noble or government leadership.

Judges12:1 Then the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the sons of Ammon without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you.” 2 Jephthah said to them, “I and my people were at great strife with the sons of Ammon; when I called you, you did not deliver me from their hand. 3 When I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my life in my hands and crossed over against the sons of Ammon, and the Lord gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?” 4 Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought Ephraim; and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, O Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh.” 5 The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan opposite Ephraim. And it happened when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6 then they would say to him, “Say now, ‘Shibboleth.’” But he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and slew him at the fords of the Jordan. Thus there fell at that time 42,000 of Ephraim.

Kiel & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

“Jephthah’s War with the Ephraimites, and Office of Judge. – Judges12:1. The jealousy of the tribe of Ephraim, which was striving afterthe leadership, had already shown itself in the time of Gideon in sucha way that nothing but the moderation of that judge averted openhostilities. And now that the tribes on the east of the Jordan hadconquered the Ammonites under the command of Jephthah without theco-operation of the Ephraimites, Ephraim thought it necessary toassert its claim to take the lead in Israel in a very forcible manner.”[1]

5. A godly man who recognized the occupation of the Philistines took upon himself to terrorize the Philistines even though his own countrymen had sold out to the rule of the Philistines, thus the will of God over rules the will of the people.

Judges 15:4 Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails. 5 When he had set fire to the torches, he released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines, thus burning up both the shocks and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and groves. 6 Then the Philistines said, “Who did this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to his companion.” So the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire.7 Samson said to them, “Since you act like this, I will surely take revenge on you, but after that I will quit.” 8 He struck them ruthlessly with a great slaughter; and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam. 9 Then the Philistines went up and camped in Judah, and spread out in Lehi. 10 The men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” And they said, “We have come up to bind Samson in order to do to him as he did to us.” 11 Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” 12 They said to him, “We have come down to bind you so that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not kill me.” 13 So they said to him, “No, but we will bind you fast and give you into their hands; yet surely we will not kill you.” Then they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock. 14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily so that the ropes that were on his arms were as flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds dropped from his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, so he reached out and took it and killed a thousand men with it. 16 Then Samson said,

 “With the jawbone of a donkey,
Heaps upon heaps,
With the jawbone of a donkey
I have killed a thousand men.”

17 When he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place Ramath-lehi. 18 Then he became very thirsty, and he called to the Lord and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it. When he drank, his strength returned and he revived. Therefore he named it En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. 20 So he judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines.

 

6. Some traitors to their race, their nation and their ansestors says that we may resist when the government makes us sin but that is all. On the contrary, the people of God resisted their King Saul’s tyrannical legislation because he had no authority to oblige an oath on his people. To abstain from honey is not a sin yet the people lawfully resisted him. It was their right and moreover their duty to use force in preserving life. Thus the popular idea that Christians should submit to authority and rebel only if the government forces them to sin is inaccurate.

 1 Sam 14: 24 Now the men of Israel were hard-pressed on that day, for Saul had put the people under oath, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food before evening, and until I have avenged myself on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25All the people of the land entered the forest, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the people entered the forest, behold, there was a flow of honey; but no man put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath… 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him and said, “I indeed tasted a little honey with the end of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am, I must die!” 44 Saul said, “May God do this to me and more also, for you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die, who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Far from it! As the LORD lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people rescued Jonathan and he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place.

7. David took Goliath’s Sword to defend himself against Saul.

1 Sam 21: 9 Then the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, behold, it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you would take it for yourself, take it. For there is no other except it here.” And David said,  “There is none like it; give it to me.”

Rutherford complains,

“Royalists make David’s act of not putting hands on the Lord’s anointed an ordinary moral reason against resistance, but his putting on of armour they will have extraordinary”. (Lex Rex pg. 169) David’s coup is mentioned in 1 Chroon 12:23-40.

8. The prophet Elisha commanded violent resistance to the messenger of a King come to oppress the people of God.

2 Kings 6:32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. And the king sent a man from his presence; but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, “Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door shut against him. [The Hebrew word here is lachats which can mean squeeze, oppress, afflict or thrust against. [2]

9. Abstinence from violent rebellion against Tyranny is cursed.

Judges 5: 16 Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart. 17 Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches. 18 Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.19 The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. 20 They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.21 The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength. 22 Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones. 23 Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.

10. Promised deliverance from absolute oppression by violence.

Gen 49: 19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

Deut 33:20 And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.

 

11. The blessing of God in overthrowing wicked tyrant rulers.

Isa 14:1 When the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob. 2 The peoples will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the Lord as male servants and female servants; and they will take their captors captive and will rule over their oppressors.3 And it will be in the day when the Lord gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, 4 that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, “How the oppressor has ceased,
And how fury has ceased! 5 “The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked,
The scepter of rulers 6 Which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes,
Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution.

12. Defensive Violence defended by precept. If someone is violently hostile toward us, we can return the favor.

“Num 25: 16 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “Be hostile to the Midianites and strike them; 18 for they have been hostile to you with their tricks, with which they have deceived you in the affair of Peor and in the affair of Cozbi, the daughter of the leader of Midian, their sister who was slain on the day of the plague because of Peor.”

13. Violence may be pursued when a city of one’s own covenanted nation has lapsed into idolatry.

Deut 13: 12 “If you hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you to live in, anyone saying that 13 some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom you have not known), 14 then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. If it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword. 16 Then you shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn the city and all its booty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God; and it shall be a ruin forever. It shall never be rebuilt.

14. Violence may be pursued to rescue those being oppressed unjustly.

Prov 24:11 Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.12 If you say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?

Isa 1: 17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow…23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

15. God givers a command to his people to deliver themselves from tyranny.

Zech 2: 7 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. kjv

Thus runs contradictory to those who say that we must wait for God to deliver us supernaturally.

16. Christ commanded his disciples to provide themselves with a sword for defense.

Luke 22: 35 And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” 36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.

Notice how the context includes literal, physical objects needed for everyday life. This is no spiritual metaphor.

17. To wish for violence to be done to belligerent enemies of God is encouraged in the OT imprecatory psalms and these imprecations are continued in the New Testament.

Gal 5:12 I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.

Acts 8:20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!

 Acts 23:3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?”

Gal 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel  contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!

Conclusion

Those who teach that men, and especially Christian men do not have the right to defend themselves with violence should not be considered Christians but traitors to their country and to God. They are doing little else than preparing us for invasion. To them, I say according to Psalm 109:

6 Appoint a wicked man over him,
And let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7 When he is judged, let him come forth guilty,
And let his prayer become sin.
8 Let his days be few;
Let another take his office.
9 Let his children be fatherless
And his wife a widow.
10 Let his children wander about and beg;
And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.
11 Let the creditor seize all that he has,
And let strangers plunder the product of his labor.
12 Let there be none to extend lovingkindness to him,
Nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children.
13 Let his posterity be cut off;
In a following generation let their name be blotted out.

14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord,
And do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
15 Let them be before the Lord continually,
That He may cut off their memory from the earth;
16 Because he did not remember to show lovingkindness,
But persecuted the afflicted and needy man,
And the despondent in heart, to put them to death.
17 He also loved cursing, so it came to him;
And he did not delight in blessing, so it was far from him.
18 But he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment,
And it entered into his body like water
And like oil into his bones.
19 Let it be to him as a garment with which he covers himself,
And for a belt with which he constantly girds himself.
20 Let this be the reward of my accusers from the Lord,
And of those who speak evil against my soul.