On December 14, 2012, one of the greatest school tragedies in the history of American schools took place. A young man, who in the opinion of this author was operating under the power of demon possession, walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT and took the lives of 20 children and two adults before taking his own. Hours earlier, Adam Lanza walked into his mother’s room and shot her four times in the face.
Days earlier in Clackamas, Oregon, another young man walked into a crowded shopping mall with a loaded rifle and opened fire. Two adults were killed and a third was critically injured. After a reported run in with an armed citizen, the shooter took his own life.
These two events have sparked national debate on the issue of gun control. Some senators have expressed their desire to remove all guns from the hands of the American people. Others say that we need to eliminate the gun free zones which would make it easier for responsible gun owners to prevent such tragedies. In just a few days, Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein will be bringing a bill to the Senate floor that will seek the ban on all “assault” rifles.
In the midst of the debate come the question “What does the Bible say about the right to own guns?” I am glad that you have asked this question as it now gives me an opportunity to show from scripture whether or not the Bible supports the Second Amendment.
As a Bible believing husband, it is my responsibility to provide for my family. First Timothy 5:8 states “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”. Among the many needs that my family has is the need for protection. My family needs to know that they are secure in our home and that should anyone try to break that security that I will protect them. It is not the responsibility of the St. Helens Police Department to protect my family, it is my responsibility.
Recently I was asked by someone if this is what the loving Jesus would have us to do. Those who ask such a question forget about passages like Exodus 15:3 where He is called a “man of war” and John 2:15, where He made a whip and drove the money changers out of the Temple.
In Genesis 4, we find the account where Cain committed the first murder by killing his brother Abel. If God was like the modern day politicians He would have put a ban on rocks, clubs, sticks, or knives, or he would have made people have to have a permit to carry any of these things. However God did not do that, He dealt with the murderer.
After the flood, God instituted the death penalty to deal with criminals. Genesis 9:6 states that “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” God did not say ban the weapon, God said that the murderer should be put to death. Some say “America has the death penalty already and yet we still see an increase in these violent crimes. The Bible also offers and explanation for this in Ecclesiastes 8:11 where Solomon writes “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Many of those in American prisons awaiting execution have been there 20 years or longer. The problem is not that the death penalty doesn’t work; the problem is that the death penalty is not executed speedily.
Another question asked by many is “if God says “Thou Shalt not kill” in Exodus 20:13, how can you justify using deadly force for the protection of your family?” According to Exodus 22:2-3, “If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.” Basically what God was saying is that if the intruder was killed, the home owner was not accountable. Exodus 20:13 is a reference to murder, the taking of innocent life. In scripture self-defense, capital punishment, war, and the slaying of animals is not considered murder.
In I Samuel 13:19-22, we find that the Philistines “disarmed” the Israelites in order to enslave them. They destroyed blacksmith shops so that there was no way that they could make weapons such as spears and swords. This passage gives us insight into why the Israelite army was so afraid of Goliath: the only ones who had a sword. Every evil government in the world understands that in order to control the people, they must be disarmed.
In the New Testament we also see the right of self-defense and the right to bear arms. Some claim that “turning the other cheek” in Matthew 5:38-39 means to never defend yourself. The context of the passage is dealing with retaliation, not with can a person protect his life or the life of his family. We are not allowed to take vengeance upon another person, but we do have the right of self-defense when our life is in danger.
In Matthew 26:51-54, we find the Lord telling Peter to put his sword away into “his place”. We see in John 18:11, that the place for the sword was the sheath. Today’s politicians would be calling for the sword to be melted down or sold to the police. What the Lord was saying is that this was not the proper time and place to use the sword, for it was the will of God that Jesus arrested, tried, convicted and then crucified for the sins of the world.
In Luke 22:35-38, just a few hours before Peter was told to put his sword away, the Lord told His disciples (including Peter) to buy a sword. Jesus did not contradict Himself or change His mind. They were to use the sword to protect their lives from danger, but it was not his will that Peter use it to stop Christ from going to the Cross.
The sword was the best offensive weapon for protection in the day in which the Apostles were living. The sword was also the offensive weapon of soldiers of the time. It was equivalent to our military rifles, shotguns, and handguns that we have today.
Should there be a ban on “assault” rifles today? Is that the answer to the problems America is facing? I believe the answer is NO. The answer is not found in gun regulations the answer is found in a speedy execution of the penalty for committing such a crime. The right to keep and bear arms is not only an American right guaranteed by the Second Amendment but it is a Scriptural right guaranteed by the Word of God.