Thoughts on Veterans Day

Howdy! I know that this post is a day late and a dollar short (or in light of the Fed’s recent actions, maybe 86¢ short?) given that yesterday was Veterans Day, but I wanted to say a few things, anyway.

Veterans Day
Thank you, Mr. Ambrose. (Image via Wikipedia)

I hope we appreciate Veterans Day. It may seem awkward to some of us in the Church of God, but it doesn’t need to be. True, we do not fight in war or battle, just like we don’t participate in politics, etc. We understand that we’ve been called out of such things into a different way of life and to a different purpose. We recognize that the only true hope for America — and for all mankind — is national repentance and the return of Jesus Christ.

At the same time, we generally do not relate to the “pacifist” movements around us (as I discuss in more detail in this old post). Many of them are opposed to war without recognizing the only true alternative: a deep and abiding trust in God as the Protector and Preserver of one’s nation. Consequently, when one of them claims ignorantly that “Jesus was a pacifist” it irritates me, since He is quite willing and able to make war (Rev. 19:11) — and He will do so in the days just ahead of us.  But as I’ve written before, “[U]ntil this nation fully recognizes the need for spiritual freedom and the blood of Jesus Christ, it will pay for its physical freedom with the blood of its sons and daughters.” Force of arms will always be with us until a Greater Power intervenes and all other kingdoms must yield to His.

In light of that, there is every reason we should be thankful for those who make sacrifices, even the ultimate sacrifice, defending our nation. Too often used as a puppet, pawn and guinea pig by politicians, the American soldier has been one of the vehicles through which God has helped make this nation all it has been over the last 200 years. Though certainly not all of them volunteer for duty for the best of reasons, many soldiers volunteer to serve in the armed forces out of a love for their nation and its people and a desire to serve that nation and people. Yesterday, my family and I watched a few TV specials about World War II and Patton’s drive through Germany. The character and heroism of many of those men serving under Patton is something I want my children to gratefully appreciate, even as they pray for the day when character need not forged in such merciless crucibles.

I long for a day when all who do not know the truth will understand. But if my nation will not humbly repent in its heart, then I will be thankful it is at least carnally strong in its arms — however soon it may be that the utility of such strength finds its limits. And I will be thankful, too, for those who choose to serve their nation in that way.  I hope we can all be thankful.

10 thoughts on “Thoughts on Veterans Day

  1. Zono Riggs

    Thanks so much for saying what I have felt for a very long time. Coming from a military family, their service and sacrifice has always been known to me and our family. I often think of them as the Simeonites and Levites among us. I pray for them often as we all should do. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. (Joh 15:13 NKJ) These men and women do this willingly for all of us. God uses them to fulfill his purposes concerning America.
    Regards, ZR

  2. Brian Maxwell

    The bible is clear: war is wrong, killing another human being (except under the Old Covenant where Israel was a theocracy and directly led by God to attack other heathen nations) is wrong. Love thy neighbor, do good to enemies are the direct commandments from Jesus Christ. To commend any solider, whether US or not, for killing another soldier (or innocent women, children who are sometimes killed), conflicts 100% with scripture under the New Covenant. Teaching that joining the army, etc is wrong- then saying its fine that others join the army and kill others, is hypocritical. Many people make sacrifices: fathers, mothers, people in various professions. I agree that the concept of sacrifice is a good lesson in general…yet when applied to US soldiers who directly “sacrifice for their country” ( a sinful country, as LCG literature says over and over again) via killing someone else in total contradiction to the words of Jesus Christ, is unfathomable.

  3. Thanks for writing, Brian. I’m sorry but (surprise!) I disagree with you. You seem to condemn those who are acting according to the best intentions of their limited understanding in the same manner you would those who act according to the worst of intentions, failing to make a distinction that Christ would require of you (e.g., Luke 12:48).

    Consider: If you were a policeman and God called you to follow Christ, I am sure that you would (as I would) leave that profession, understanding that your new knowledge and commitment to Christ prevented you from playing that particular role in this worldly society. However, if a policeman were to act against a rapist who was about to attack your daughter, would you condemn the policeman to his face? What if, at great risk to his own life, he ended up having to shoot the attacker? Would you say, “How dare you!” Or would you do the right thing and say, “Thank you”?

    Why is it the right thing, Brian? Because according to the word of God, that policeman of this world’s carnal government represents “God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4). If God spoke this concerning those of carnal Rome, how much more can we speak it of those in our society (which is, admittedly, approaching Rome-level carnality in leaps and bounds)?

    Letting Paul continue: “For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing” (v.6).

    Even though Paul knew beyond doubt that God had called him out of this world’s system of things, he still recognized the roles for which God used the carnal to maintain order.

    Israel’s example is worth considering, as you mentioned. As we have explained for years, God never intended even them to war and fight and kill, but their lack of empowering faith made it a necessity – a sad but necessary alternative. So it is with America. The number of miraculous interventions on behalf of British and American troops (Dunkirk in WWII, et al.) only add evidence to the right conclusion that while God would rather modern day Israel simply trust Him to fight for them, He has not simply abandoned them in their ignorance and is, indeed, willing to back up the nation’s use of the sword, however much He—like we—longs for them to one day learn a better way and to let Him fight directly for them.

    Like spiteful and bitter Jonah, you would condemn a people clamoring in darkness, no longer able to spiritually discern their right hand from their left (Jonah 4:11). While sin will take its penalty, God is able to see past their ignorance in mercy. Hopefully you will be able to learn the same in due time. I will not pretend to be more righteous than God and condemn a man who is doing all he understands to do in order to protect his family—and mine. I will, rather, be thankful, and pray for God to hasten the time when that man, too, will be called to a better way and when he no longer needs carnal “ministers” who bear the sword to maintain order and justice. Feel free to write here on the topic again when you actually come to better understand what Paul was saying in Romans 13 (and can better emulate his spirit of thankfulness) and when you stop twisting the Church’s writings to support your own positions. Until then, your time will probably be better spent elsewhere.

  4. Steve

    Thank you, Mr Smith. You nailed it right on the head.

    As a member the church, I don’t vote or participate in politics anymore. But I also served in the Army 35+ years ago, so I know what that’s like. However crass and carnal you think our military is, however much you want to put them down, the truth of the matter is that we believed. We believed in America.

    When I hear Lee Greenwood’s song, “Proud To Be American,” I still get emotional. Especially when it comes to that soaring voice of his, when he sings, “God bless the USA!” It makes me think about all my brothers in uniform, how much we believed. I had a couple of guys spit on the sidewalk when I passed through San Francisco airport. They didn’t know, and they didn’t realize that they didn’t know.

    Rejecting war and politics as a member of the church is not inconsistent with loyalty to America. I still believe in this country. It’s simply that the mission has changed. If you hate modern Israel, then let them sink into decline. If you care about them, however, then speak up, and preach the gospel. Because our beloved country is in big trouble.

  5. Hi Mr. Smith,

    There is something else worth considering too (especially in the light of what you say about Israel). Prophetically, and whether some people like it or not, God did promise the Houses of Israel and Judah, and specifically the tribes of Judah and Joseph in Jacob’s prophetic order, great success in end-time warfare. And specifically, we see God promising to help them in this. Every time I read Genesis 49:24-25, I think of the two World Wars. Every time I read Deuteronomy 33:17, I think of what modern Ephraim and Manasseh did in the world overall in the 19th and 20th centuries. No other peoples ever had this much geopolitical influence – not the Holy Roman Empire under Charles V, not the Muslims, not the Mongols, not the French, not the late Soviet Union. And it is interesting that at the beginning of World War II, the British Empire had (within an order of magnitude) ten times the number of people that the U.S. did. Not all of either were descendants of Joseph, but I suggest that point to where prophecy was being fulfilled.

  6. Steve

    There’s no doubt that – pound for pound – the United States has the most powerful military in the world. The problem is that our military has become incredibly small (through endless budget cuts and downsizing). Most Americans don’t realize how small it has really become.

    Just take a look at recent history. After the Vietnam war, the United States dramatically reduced the size of it’s military. When the first Gulf War erupted under the elder Bush, the U.S. had approximately 18 standing divisions. After that campaign ended, the reduction of forces continued. By the time the invasion of Iraq occurred under the younger Bush, we only had SEVEN standing divisions. That’s how far the cutbacks have gone.

    Let me put it this way. We’ve all seen the stories on TV and the newspapers. How the military is being ground down. The endless deployments; the need for National Guard troops; the “stop-loss” program; and so on. That’s a direct reflection of how small our military has become! Remember, we’re talking about Iraq and Afghanistan – relatively small countries on the world scene. And it’s putting a major strain on our military.

    Did you know, at the height of the recent conflict, we only had ONE division protecting the United States? Everybody else was deployed overseas.

    Yes, the United States has the most powerful military in the word. Pound for pound. But we also have an incredibly small military. What happens if more than one conflict breaks out in the world? Something bigger than little Iraq or Afghanistan? We simply don’t have the numbers, the stuff, to take care of it. America has a problem with strategic overstretch – more global commitments than we can possibly meet.

  7. Some would argue, Steve, and for good reason, that it’s the State of Israel that has the most powerful armed forces in the world. Judah vs. Joseph: six of one and half dozen of the other, no doubt. But let that pass. 🙂

    My point is, the last time I read a sentence like your last one, it was in the context of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

  8. Steve

    I did some double checking, and discovered that I made a mistake in my previous comment. During the height of the current conflict, the U.S. actually had two divisions protecting the homeland. One on the East coast; one on the West Coast. And if count undeployed brigrades, it amounted to 2 1/2 division.

    I dispute Rakkav’s contention, however, that the Israelis have the most powerful military in the world. That’s not accurate. The Israelis are very good, and they do have a certain elan and daring that I find admirable. But that’s not the same thing as raw military power.

    In the first place, the Israelis depend on the U.S. for most of their weapon systems. We have never given them our “top shelf” equipment. In fact, the U.S. has never given anybody its “top shelf” equipment. We keep our most advanced weapon systems to ourselves. The Israelis use our “grade B” stuff.

    In the second place, however small the U.S. military has become (in terms of numbers), we still have a bigger military than the Israelis. They simply can’t wage war at the industrial level that the United States can.

    But like Rakkav said, that’s neither here nor there. Personally, I’m worried about the European Union. They have developed several weapon systems that have surpassed the U.S. Everybody thinks in terms of “little France” and “little Germany”, and so on. Well, guess what, people; this is 2010, not 1950. And if you look at the force levels for all these little countries, they add up real fast. I’m telling you, there’s a monster building.

  9. Steve

    Okay, sorry for piling on. I’ll shut up after this, but I noticed Rakkav’s last sentence. “…the last time I read a sentence your(s), it was in the context of the… Roman Empire.”

    You got that right! I’ve read Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” During the latter part of their empire, they kept reducing the size of their military for economic reason. Yet, they had become much more efficient in handling conflicts. Through a system of forts, roads, and an increasing reliance on calvary, they were able to cover much more ground with smaller forces. Essentially, they played a game of slide. If some enemy force breached their frontier, they would slide sideways and beat down the brush fire.

    Things rapidly broke down when several things broke out simultaneously. Technologically efficient though they were, they simply did not have “the stuff” to plug all the holes. That’s when they started to get over run. And that’s when they started withdrawing troops from the outer edges of their empire. Abandoning Britain to the Saxon invasions, for example.

    And yep, the United States is today facing a strategic overstretch as the ancient Romans did.

  10. And in this corner, weighing in at We Really Rather Wouldn’t Say How Many pounds, is the Champion of the ENFP Division, Johanana Rakkav… 🙂

    My apologies, Steve, but I left out a vital phrase, “pound for pound”. And some do indeed argue that Israel has exactly that, even compared to the U.S. For one thing, you might be overlooking the weapons systems they’ve increasingly invented themselves. For another, to twist an old proverb, it’s not the size of the lion in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the lion! And when the IDF is allowed to do what it does best, it consistently wins against the best thrown against it.

    The problem for the IDF right now is paralysis of political will on the civil level – and what I would call betrayal by its closest ally, the U.S. (The opinion of this writer is not necessarily that of Wallace Smith, Inc., or its sponsor the Kingdom of God. As Paul said, “I speak as a man.” But there are some interesting prophetic hints about Ephraim and Manasseh being against each other, and together against Judah…)

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