A Short while ago I had a heated "discussion" with an individual about the concept of "holy" war. This individual maintained there could be no such thing, that no WAR could be termed HOLY. Is such a statement true, or is it possible that there is such a thing as a HOLY war?
First let us define the terms "holy" and "war."
Strong's Concordance: Hebrew H6944: qodesh: from H6942; a sacred place or thing.
H6942:qadash; to be, cause to be or observed to be clean.
H6918: qadosh; someone or something that is sacred (ceremonially or morally).
Greek G40: agios; from HAGO (an awful thing); sacred (phys. pure, mor. blameless or religious, CER. Consecrated).
G2413: hieros; sacred.
G3741: hosios; right (by intrinsic or divine character), hallowed.
Wikipedia: Under the term "holiness" the word "holy" is synomious with the phrase "set apart" for a religious purpose;
Webster's: first definition: dedicated to religious use; belonging to or coming
from G*d; consecrated; sacred.
Since it has come up in these definitions just what does "sacred" and "hallowed" mean?
Strong's Concordance: Hebrew: Not found
Greek: Not found.
Webster's: 1. Consecrated to or belonging to a deity; holy.
2. Of a religion or religious rites or practices.
3. Regarded with the same respect and reverence accorded holy things; venerated; hallowed.
4. Set apart for, dedicated to , some person, place, purpose, sentiment, etc. rather than to a g*d.
Strong's Concordance: Hebrew: H6942: qadash (see "Holy" above).
H6944: qodesh (see "Holy" above).
Greek: G37: hagiazo; from G40 (see "Holy" above); to make holy (to purify or consecrate); to venerate.
Webster's: 1. Made holy or sacred.
2. Regarded as holy; honored as sacred.
Strong's Concordance: Hebrew: H4421: milchamah; from H3898 (in the sense of fighting); a battle (the engagement); gen. war (warfare).
H6635: tsaba or tseba'ah; from H6633; a mass of persons (or things), spec. Organized for war (an army); by impl. a campaign lit. or fig. (spec. hardship, worship).
H6633: tsaba': to mass (an army
H2428: chayil: from H2342; prob. A force, whether of men, means or other resources.
H2342: chuwl, or chiyl: prop. To twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner); dance, writhe in pain or fear; fig to wait or pervert.
H3898: lacham: to feed on; to consume; by impl.
to battle (as destruction).
H7128: qerab: from H7126; hostile encounter.
H7126: qarab: to approach (caus. bring near) for whatever purpose.
H6904:qobel: from H6901 in the sense of confronting (as standing opposite in order to receive); a battering ram.
H6901:qabal: to admit, to take (fig. or lit.)
Greek: G4171:polemos; from pelomai; to bustle; warfare (lit. or fig.; a single encounter or series).
G4753: strateuma, from G4754; an armament, by impl. a body of troops.
G4754: strateuomai; from the base of G4756; to serve in a military campaign; fig. to execute the apostolate (with its arduous duties and functions), to contend with carnal inclinations.
G4756: stratia: fem of a der. of stratos (an army; from the base of G4766, as encamped).
G4766: stronnumi or stronnun from stroo to "strew" or spread as a carpet.
G4170: polemeo, from G4171 to be engaged in warfare.
Wikipedia: The word "war" is defined as a state of conflict between states, organizations, or relatively large groups of people; characterized by the use of violent, physical force.
The word "conflict" is defined as a state of opposition, disagreement or incompatibility between two or more people or groups of people. It may or may not be characterized by physical violence.
1. Open armed conflict...
2. Any active hostility or contention; conflict; strife: as the war between the sexes.
3. Military operations as a science, art, or profession, or as a department of activity.
So, to put it all together a "holy war" would be an active, contentious (perhaps even violent) conflict (state of opposition, disagreement, incompatibility) between two or more people or groups, who dedicate (devote, set apart) resources, in the name of, or under direction of that which they claim to be worshiping. Can we think of groups that would fill the bill? What of Buddhists, Moslems, Chr--tians, Communists, Hindus, Capitalists, Racists and those who have agendas for change, which they are pushing? Does the shoe fit? Yes it has and yes it does, still!
Can we site a few secular examples from the past?
In the past the ruler, king, Pharaoh, or whoever was considered a g*d or a descendent of one and therefore to be one in his own right. Anything decreed from this ruler was therefore 'holy' and a war decreed by him would be considered a 'holy war' (at least by his supporters). Of course during the conflict, sacrifices and prayers would be made to entreat the favor of the deities; and sacrifices of thanksgiving would be made by the victor. This continued openly until the end of World War Two: the Emperor of Japan being held as "the Son of the SUN.'
More often the war is 'dedicated' to a deity or to preserve the worship of a group. The expansion of Islam by conversion via military expansion in the Middle Ages, and the resultant Crusades taken to reverse those gains and to preserve Chr--tianity, are but two examples of religious wars dedicated to a mighty one (both claiming the SAME mighty one).
More recently, there were mass killings of both Moslems and Hindus when the area of India and Pakistan were separated and the peoples moved to either Islamic (Pakistan) or Hindu (India) jurisdictions.
Even the cold war had its 'holy war' overtones at times. Many a time the term or idea of fighting the 'g*dless communists' was invoked. On the other hand, the State was the ultimate authority and World Socialism was the doctrine fought for; the worship of any being held as anathema to that side. Both sides were quite willing to kill, or be 'martyred' as needed, as long as the main players were not directly involved.
What about today's events?
All we need do is look at a newspaper or TV news.
There are more than one authority figure in Islam that calls for jihad today; calling for the expulsion/liquidation of all 'infidels' from Islamic holy sites and lands. The killings and enslavement of unknown thousands of non-Moslems in Somalia and the "ethnic cleansing" by all sides in the former Yugoslavia are but two examples today. In all these cases the wars are considered "holy" due to their obvious religious goals.
Can it be denied that within religion today there is warfare? Islam has sects that are in open, bloody conflict over which one is the 'true Islam.' There is hardly a congregation in Judaism or Chr--tanity that is not divided over one or more basic doctrinal issue.
In his book Beyond Iraq The Next Move Author Michael D Evans writes the following:
Holy War Rekindled
In the last century we have witnessed a resurgence in the Islamic quest to wage holy war. There are a number of reasons For this. The Muslims have felt humiliated by the emergence of the West as the world leader. But the overriding factor that has united the Islamic forces for holy war in the Middle East was the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948. This was the greatest catastrophe in the eyes of the Muslim world.
The Islamic dictators in the Middle East needed an enemy in order to justify an army, and someone to blame For the human misery in their poverty-stricken nations. Israel was the perfect choice, in that the Arab world already had Hitler’s conspiracy theory from World War II. Muslims condoned a Jewish presence in the Middle East before 1948, but they were not ready to allow the Jews to repossess territories that had been in Islamic hands no matter how small a period of time in Jewish history. Add to this the humiliation of millions of Muslims losing on the battlefield to a woefully out-manned Jewish lighting force.
The renascent Israel has served as a catalyst to give the Arabs and the wider family of Islam some sense of unity. The Muslims are willing to overlook their mutual mistrust in order to destroy the nation of Israel. Muslims could withstand the Middle Eastern involvement of the Turks, Mongols, Tartars, French, and British, but a reborn Israel—which has no intention of leaving—has
raised the Islamic world’s indignation to a fevered pitch. In their
eyes a Jewish State is an “Act of War” against Islam. But to them, Israel is still the "Little Satan," and both are attempting to destroy their way of life. They do
not hate America because of Israel; they hate Israel because of America.
The battle is over a Book—one that both the Jews and the Chr--tians believe: the Old Testament. If it is right, then the Koran is wrong.
“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.”
"0 Yahweh the Sovereign, the strength of my salvation,
You have covered my head in the day of battle."
A. Where Temple Previously Stood
B. Dome of the Rock
“The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it.”
From a Fatwa (an Islamic decree or teaching)
issued by Osama bin Laden
February 23, 1998
This chilling “teaching” by the man believed to have orchestrated the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks is based
upon the most murderous and misguided version of Islam:
Wahabism, from the Wahabis tribe in Saudi Arabia. The Wahabis themselves had been branded heretics in hundreds of Fatwa's issued by mainstream Muslims. Despite this, however, it has taken root among enough Muslims to become the greatest threat to America and the rest of the world since the danger of nuclear annihilation posed by the Cold War.
Wahabism began as a movement propagated by warrior- preachers in the 18th century. It interprets the Koran in its most literal form and is the most uncompromising, fundamentalist type of Islam. [Ibid.]
What about warfare in Scripture? It is claimed by some that the Bible is one of the bloodiest books ever written. One does not get past the second chapter before death is threatened for disobedience, in the third it is implied that animals were slaughtered (for their skins). Cain kills Abel over, of all things, an issue concerning religious sacrifice. Noah is witness to the sudden and violent deaths of the entire human race (less the eight in the ark) and unknown millions of animals. How many died in the death of the first born to release Israel from Egyptian bondage? Yahweh declares that Israel is to have a blood-feud with Amalek in Exodus 17. Israel is commanded to have an 'ethnic cleansing' of the land promised to them in Deuteronomy 7,12 & 13.. And so it goes until AFTER the millennium reign of the Messiah, the Great White Throne Judgment, the second death, and finally death itself (described as an enemy in 1 Corinthians 15: 26) is destroyed in Revelation 20 & 21. Are all these "Holy Wars?" Indeed, they must be.
Where do you and I fit in?
Well first of all, who is the Commander in Chief of the opposing forces? It was the Devil that was instrumental in Adam and Eve's rebellion in Genesis 3 (see Revelation 20: 2); it was Satan that fell from heaven, in Luke 10: 18, and brought one third of the angles with him, in Revelation 8: 12. It was he who walked among the stones of fire. Isaiah 14:12.
Now that we know who the ultimate enemy is! What is our role? We are solders at war, in 2 Timothy 2: 3 & 4; Psalm 144; Daniel 7: 21; 2 Corinthians 10: 3; 1 Timothy 1: 18; Revelation 12: 7, 17 & Revelation 13: 7.
These are only a few sources, but can we see that indeed there are such things as "holy wars?" Sadly we can: there are those that are BOTH spiritual as well as physical.
Who is the ultimate enemy? Satan. What tactics does he use? He infiltrates our minds with doubt and builds our egos with lies, he uses spiritual and physical coercion (persecution), he infiltrates any organization that may be looking to find and proclaim truth (see James (Jacob 4: 1)) in order to take it over or to destroy it, he starts his own (all these deceptions have been addressed in articles on www.truthonthenet.com
Are we supposed to fight? Yes, but not by initiating violence (Luke 9: 55) but yet resisting the devil, James (Jacob) 4: 7, 1 Peter 5: 9. Of course our greatest battle is the one within each of us; but, if aggression is initiate from outside we are allowed to exercise our rights of self-defense or appealing to "Caesar" as need arises and the Spirit directs (Acts 25: 11 & Acts 28: 19).
To answer the question "Is there such a thing as a 'Holy War'?" The answer is: Yes, if it is of Yahweh's will. All other "holy wars" would be best labeled as religious wars in opposition to Yahweh's will.
Who is the ultimate enemy? Satan.
Who is the ultimate victor? Yahweh and Yahshua.
What is our role? To be solders (unto salvation), serving Yahweh and Yahshua our Captain (Yahshua 5: 14).
Yours in Messiah
AKA The Mick
AKA The Mick
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Bibliography: (all emphases author's)
"Abingdon's Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible"
"Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language"
The World Publishing Company
Last copyright listed: 1968
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The Holy Scriptures