How Should Christians React to a Military Threat from Another Nation?

North Korea’s National Defense Commission recently released the following statement:

We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by the DPRK one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action, a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century, will target against the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people… settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words, as it regards jungle law as the rule of its survival.

Naturally, this official statement has caused some consternation among Americans, including Christians. The question arises: What should we do about North Korea’s threat of aggression?

A Christian named M.R. responds:

Is it just me or is this not a declaration of war from N. Korea?!? Listen, I understand that N.Korea is like the scrawny wimpy kid threatening people in order to get attention, but isn’t that kid also the one who eventually finds a way to get a gun and go on a rampage??? We take those kid’s threats seriously in our schools and take the kids out of the environment. Why shouldn’t we do the same here? I’m not a warmonger, but this seems ridiculous.

Many Christians feel the way M.R. does: North Korea has verbally threatened us, and we should “do something” about it. Naturally, by “do something,” they mean retaliation of some sort, which usually involves more sanctions, strategic missile strikes, and possibly preemptive war.

I personally feel this is the wrong response, especially for Christians. But before we jump into the Bible, let’s look at the North Korean situation specifically.

Sanctions Are an Act of War

Right now, North Korea is reacting to sanctions imposed by the U.N. These new sanctions were imposed after North Korea tested a missile in December 2012.

North Korea is already an impoverished nation that has difficulty feeding its citizens. More sanctions are bound to raise the North Koreans’ ire.

After all, the U.S. and Israel can have as many nuclear warheads as they like. They can test as many missiles as they like. And they can launch as many satellites as they like. The U.N. will not impose sanctions on them.

But when North Korea tests a missile or seeks to develop their own nuclear power, the sanctions come hard and fast. This is a clear double standard, and North Korea knows it.

Sanctions are always a form of provocation. And depending on their severity, they can be considered an act of war. Pearl Harbor was a direct result of U.S. sanctions against Japan. (See The Pearl Harbor Myth by George Victor, one of the best-researched history books you’ll ever find.)

Indeed, North Korea confirms they view the sanctions as an act of war:

“Sanctions mean war and a declaration of war against us,” the Committee for Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland said in a statement carried by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Whether or not we agree with North Korea’s missile testing or the U.N.’s response, we shouldn’t be surprised by North Korea’s interpretation of the most recent round of sanctions.

It’s also important to point out that possessing or testing a missile is not an act of aggression, just as possessing or testing a gun is not an act of aggression.

And yet most Americans are attempting to apply a hypocritical double standard to North Korea when they say they can’t have missiles or nuclear weapons, but we can.

Put yourself in their shoes for a minute. Wouldn’t you be upset if a larger, more powerful country was trying to impose its will on you? This is how early American settlers felt under British rule, and we know how that story ends.

North Korea Is Known for Empty Threats

It’s not the first time the international community has come down on North Korea, and it’s not the first time North Korea has retaliated with chest-thumping and verbal threats. A recent article notes:

“It’s not the first time they’ve made a similar threat of war,” said Ryoo Kihl-jae, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “What’s more serious than the probability of an attack on South Korea is that of a nuclear test. I see very slim chances of North Korea following through with its threat of war.”

This professor lives in Seoul, South Korea, so he has more reason to be afraid than Americans. And yet he seems fairly calm about the whole thing.

A separate article notes:

The language from the North was similar to previous outbursts from Pyongyang, agreed Tong Kim, an international relations expert at Korea University in Seoul. […] But the nation still has “a long way to go” before its intercontinental missile technology is advanced enough to worry U.S. authorities, Tong said.

The bottom line is that the threat is not as immediate as some believe it is. It would be different if North Korea had just landed 100,000 armed men in Seattle. But this is not the case.

Wars Are Started for Economic Reasons

Most people do not realize that wars are generally started for economic reasons. This was the hidden reason why the United States launched a “preemptive war” against Iraq in 2003.

The non-thinking mainstream media merely told us the story the U.S. government wanted us to hear (“They have weapons of mass destruction!”). This was later proven to be a lie. The real reason we went to war with Iraq was to prevent them from selling oil in dinars instead of dollars.

The U.S. war with Afghanistan was also started for economic reasons. It had nothing to do with 9/11 or stopping terrorism. None of the alleged terrorists involved in 9/11 came from Afghanistan. And Osama bin Laden had been dead since mid-December of 2001.

The real reason the U.S. went to war with Afghanistan is because it has the richest reserves of rare earth minerals in the world. Rare earths are needed in the manufacture of many advanced technologies, including smart phones.

Furthermore, Afghanistan is the world’s leading producer of opium, which is used to make heroin. U.S. soldiers now guard the poppy fields in Afghanistan to protect the U.S. government’s lucrative drug trade.

The U.S. formula for war seems to be:

  1. Find a way to profit from a new war.
  2. Create a lie as a pretext for war.
  3. Tell that lie to build popular support.
  4. Start the war and make a killing (pun intended).

I suspect there is little financial gain in going to war with North Korea right now, so I expect the U.S. will publicly condemn the country while secretly trying to avoid war.

That’s All Good and Fine, But What Does the Bible Say?

Let’s dig into the Bible and try to get a better understanding of how Jesus might respond to a military threat from another nation. In Matthew 5:43-45, Jesus says:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

It is interesting to me that the Christian’s first response is to impose sanctions, carry out strategic missile strikes, or declare war. Is that really what Jesus would have us do? I don’t think so.

Jesus said to love our enemies and pray for them, not make their lives more difficult or nuke them or attack them.

Have American Christians begun praying for North Korea yet? If they haven’t, they should. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4…

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

Did you catch that? “We do not war according to the flesh.” In other words, we do not wage war with guns, tanks, and fighter jets. We war in the spirit.

Therefore, Christians should not be calling for a physical war with North Korea, nor should they be demanding that their leaders “do something,” i.e. carry out strategic strikes on key targets.

Rather, they should be praying for North Korea and showing love to the people of that country in whatever way they can.

About Ryan Healy

Ryan Healy is a freelance writer. He's been a Christian most of his life, but did not discover that God would save all people until age 23. When he asked too many questions about the Bible, he was told he could no longer participate in his Sunday school's social activities. After that experience, Ryan left the church and has been studying The Restoration of All Things ever since.
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3 Responses to How Should Christians React to a Military Threat from Another Nation?

  1. Aaron Clingan says:

    if you see a man raping a woman are you going to stand there and pray for him to quit? i say pray as well as lay your hands on to help your brother or sister. Its one thing to oppress a country militarily and another to use military to keep the upper hand because we are more just and humane. Even if it would be so called fair for afghanistan to get their turn at wealth and it would be the sweet thing to do to let poor old north Korea have a lot of big weapons because we shoud be nice, the outcome would result in the, follow through, of THEIR threatening attacks . I say pray and lay our hands on everything. We arent doing the wrong thing, Thats the outside view. Generally speaking, because true America isnt perfect, but north korea and afghanistan would be hell on earth under their power. Dude check out more of the bible, like king David and his battles that were empowered by God! and of course Golliath and God guided the Stone. There is a difference between passing on retalliation for the best result , especially furthering the gospel unto the entire world or just plain allowing our enemies to take control and totally win. Adam should have shut the serpents mouth at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and exercised his leadership unto the woman, eve, and guided her to a better decision… Nothing in the bible contradicts its just specific in its meaning per verse or statement.

    • Ryan Healy says:

      Hi Aaron – Was this article about how Christians should respond when they see a man raping a woman? No, it was not. It was an article about how we should respond to verbal threats from a foreign country.

      Self-defense is not justified until a perceived threat becomes an actual threat. This happens when a person or country moves beyond verbal threats and uses physical force in an attempt to harm others. Until a person or country actually attacks, we are not justified in using physical force.

      Speaking of David, what did he do when his son Absalom tried to usurp his throne? I don’t think David’s response supports your argument.

      • Aaron Clingan says:

        No offense Ryan. Sorry i worded it harshly. I’ll look into Davids son. . I’ve read that North Korea enslaves their own people and they threaten things like settling accounts with jungle law? I’ve heard it quoted that Iran believes Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth because they have no right to exist. I’ve heard they treat their people in an inhumane way. I don’t believe that felons and dangerous people within the US should have the right to bear arms. I just believe that if it can be proven that someone has done harm and intends to do harm with a weapon when they get it, then they should not be allowed to have a weapon. Its argued that the U.S. should not police the world but it is exactly what the U.N. is supposed to do. I don’t think the U.N. should wage war on these countries over a threat but they should tell them they do not have the right to have big weapons because of their actions and because of their quoted intentions with them and that should be enforced as diplomatically as possible (as possible). Its not an act of war to prohibit them from having weapons. It is only their interpretation that it is and they’re wrong. Its just that the strong countries demand safety. I’m very sorry if i have misunderstood any thing else. Yes we should pray pray pray. I’m sorry for my rude wording in the past statement. Something else to consider. My cousin learned in the police academy that action is always faster than reaction. So i’m not saying kill them before they kill us. I’m just saying pray for them, love them and stay knowledgeable of them and insist they operate in a safe manor and the violent are not safe having weapons.

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