How would you answer that question? Many think that God approves of war. They reason that he commanded some of his worshippers in the past to engage in warfare; the Bible record confirms as much. Others, however, note that God’s Son, Jesus, taught his followers to love their enemies. (Matthew 5:43, 44) So they reason that at some point God’s view of war changed and that today he disapproves of war.
What do you think? Does God approve of warfare? If so, whose side does he take in today’s conflicts? Finding the answers to these questions can affect your own view of war. For example, if you knew that God not only approves of war but also supports the side that you favor in a particular war, likely you would feel good about your stand on the issue, confident that your side would come off victorious. On the other hand, how would you feel if you learned that God supports the opposing side of a conflict? Likely you would reconsider your position on the matter.
Something more important is at stake. Knowing how God views war may affect how you view God. If you are among the millions who have been deeply hurt by human warfare, you no doubt need to know the answer to the question, Is God, as some believe, a warmonger who allows or even encourages the suffering associated with war, or might he be passive and unconcerned about the welfare of the oppressed?
You may be surprised to learn that the Bible’s answer differs greatly from either of those opinions. Furthermore, from the past down to today, God’s view of war has remained the same. Let us consider what the Bible says about how God viewed war in the ancient past and in the first century, when Jesus walked the earth. That will help us to see how God views war today and whether war will be a part of mankind’s future.