Posted in self-defense

Purchasing Swords to What End? The Second Half…

But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and a whoever has no sword is to sell his cloak and buy one…They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’” (Luke 22.36, 38; NASB).1

INTRODUCTION:

So did Jesus tell His disciples to purchase swords because He was teaching a deeper spiritual truth about being prepared to fight demonic teachings in their near future? The correct understanding of purchasing swords is spiritual, not physical; metaphorical, not literal? Is that how we are supposed to understand Luke 22:36, 38?

How far do we need to go in order to draw the right conclusion? Is the only way to determine Jesus’ meaning (spiritual or physical, metaphorical or literal) is by going outside of this text? Were the disciples just too dense to figure out the true meaning of Jesus’ instruction?

My argument near the close of my last post was that the answer is right before our eyes. Jesus is giving His disciples instructions before He partakes of the cup (cf. Luke 22.42) that His Father in heaven had prepared: “[to] be numbered with the transgressors” (Luke 22.37; ESV).

Jesus calls to their attention the manner in which He had previously sent them (see Luke 9.3; 10.4) and then, contrasts it with how things will be in their near future. “But now…” (v. 36) serves as a point of difference; “last time you brought nothing,” Jesus says, “but this time you will bring the following…and if you don’t have this item (a sword) then you should sell your cloak and buy one if you can.”

But what of verse 38? Some argue that Jesus’ statement, “It is enough” after the disciples tell Him they have two swords already, is demonstrative of a rebuke by the Lord. But, the phrase can also be translated “It is sufficient.” Meaning, “you have enough for now,” or “that will do.” I find this more acceptable than the more commonly accepted “We are done talking about this! (since you’re not really getting My intent).” You have to assume a rebuke for the language of the text does not imply anything more than a simple declarative response by our Lord. However, to draw support for the supposition that Jesus must rebuke His disciples because they are too slow in understanding Him about purchasing swords (spiritual rather than literal), many will turn their audiences’ attention to Matthew 26:52.

A Brief Look at Matthew 26:48-54

Although it will be lengthier I will cite a larger portion of the passage in order to provide context for the reader:

Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign previously, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the one; arrest Him.’ And immediately Judas [Iscariot] went up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you have come for.’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” (Matt 26:48-54).

Verses 48-50 show that Judas Iscariot, along with a mob of armed men (cf. Matt 26.55), betrayed Jesus, his former teacher (rabbi), having Him arrested. Verse 51 highlights the response of one of His disciples in reaction to the events as they unfold around them. Verse 52-53 reveals Jesus’ rebuke of the disciple. Verse 54 shows that the concern of the Lord is that God’s Word is upheld regardless of how mankind may view it. Obviously, the key text for our current discussion is Matthew 26:52, but the key part in determining the meaning is accomplished through observation. The surrounding details are vital to a proper understanding.

The reason for the rebuke…

"Then Jesus said to him, 'Put your sword back in its place; for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword" (Matt 26.52; emphasis added).

Here we see the Lord rebuking one of His disciples for cutting the ear of “the slave of the high priest” (Matt 26.51). What we are looking for is the reason for the rebuke? A couple of quick points before we attempt to see the flow of thought here. First, notice that Jesus tells His disciple (Peter according to John 18.11) to put the sword “back in its place.” He doesn’t tell him to get rid of it. He doesn’t say there is no value to it, but He does indicate that now is not the time a sword is to be used. Second, Jesus is specific in saying that it is those who “take up” the sword who will, in time, fall by it. As I have stated before in previous posts related to this issue, life is sacred and it is not to be taken lightly. Jesus’ reminder here points us back to Genesis 9:5-6. As a general rule violence is not the path that God’s people take.2 There are mitigating circumstances3 when this general rule does not apply, when the preservation of life may require such action, but not here.

What transpired during Jesus’ arrest…

Before Peter (John 18.11) pulled the sword out of its sheathe and attacked those who came to arrest his Master (Matt 26.51; Luke 22.50), the disciples asked a quick question: “Lord shall we strike with the sword?” (Luke 22.49). Unfortunately, they didn’t wait for an answer. Or, at least Peter didn’t. He jumped the gun, even though, you can understand why he reacted in such a way from a human standpoint. Those that came to arrest Jesus in the garden were armed to the teeth. The Lord even challenged them, saying,

"Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as you would against a man inciting a revolt? Every day I was with you within the temple grounds teaching, and you did not arrest Me…" (Mark 14.48; also Matt 26.55).

Before He did that, though, He rebuked Peter and healed the wounded man (Luke 22:50). Then Jesus commands His disciple to put the sword back, offers a reminder of the general rule against wielding the sword (Matt 26.52), adding the following statement:

"Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? [But] How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?" (Matt 26.53-54).

A Few Questions

Did Jesus’ comments in Matthew 26:52 to Peter and the rest of the disciples standing there mean that all uses of the sword (physically) speaking were forbidden? Is the pacifist right that a true follower of Jesus should never act violently towards attackers?4 Does the Lord’s rebuke (Matt 26.52) add further support to the idea that He was only speaking of purchasing swords in a metaphorical sense, not a literal one?

Let me answer those in reverse.

Purchasing Swords in a Metaphorical Sense…

According to Albert Barnes, Jesus words in Luke 22:36

“…were not made with reference to his being taken in the garden, but with reference to their future life…They were going into the midst of dangers. The country was infested with robbers and wild beasts. It was customary to go armed. He tells them of those dangers—of the necessity of being prepared in the usual way to meet them.”5

In other words, appealing to what transpired in the garden as grounds for denying that Jesus did tell them that in the days ahead a sword may be necessary, in the sense of defense, is uncalled for. Though the passages are near one another, Jesus telling Peter to put his sword away is not an endorsement of a figurative understanding of the Lord’s earlier words.

Pacifistic correction…

Would you be surprised to learn that it was customary for people in the 1st-century to go about armed as they traveled? Thus our tradition here in the United States to be armed in the home or on the road traveling is not a historic anomaly. As one author’s astute observation puts it:

“Jesus knew very well His disciples had weapons, for He was with them for three years. Christ allowed His followers to pack weapons…He never corrected [them] because [they] didn’t need [to be] corrected.”6

Is the physical use of a Sword forbidden?

The comments of our Lord telling His disciple to “put the sword away” followed by the proverbial truth, “for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword” was not an indictment against the use of the sword in all circumstances (see note #2). The issue at that moment was that it was God’s will that Jesus be arrested. As a recitation of Zechariah 13:7 verifies,

"'Awake, sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man, My associate,' declares the Lord of armies. 'Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered; and I will turn My hand against the little ones.'" (cited in Matt 26.31; Mark 14.27).

It was the explicit purpose of God that Jesus is taken that night, that He is crucified as a substitute for His people, and that after His resurrection He might draw those that were given to Him into His fold. Jesus is the Shepherd that was struck, and His disciples were the sheep that were meant to flee, and it was in demonstration of God’s power (i.e., hand) against those who were defiling His land (earth).

Notice what Jesus says after He tells His disciple (Peter) to put the sword back in its sheathe. He explains that if He so willed to fight at that moment a myriad of angels were at His disposal to eliminate His foes (Matt 26.53). Those are not the words of a pacifist. But they were the words of One who desired that all Scripture be fulfilled (Matt 26.54). Since it was God’s purpose for our Christ to die in order to be raised, then so be it. Jesus desired that the Father’s will be done. Instead of being saved from the cup of divine wrath, He was about to partake of, in Love (Matt 26.42; Luke 22.42).

What’s my point? That the circumstance determines the action. There are times when the use of the sword is not wrong, contrary to those who argue that Matthew 26:52 nullifies the self-defense position. Armed defense, whether it be with a sword, a club, or a gun is allowable in certain situations. The taking of another’s life is a worst-case scenario, one that should not be looked forward to with excitement but disdain. Luke 22:35-38 authorizes the use of the sword to the disciples of Christ as a deterrent from harm in the pursuit of the preservation of life. Matthew 26:52 does not counter Jesus’ instructions there, nor does it make the use of the sword metaphorical. As I’ve already stated, “circumstances determine action.” There will be times when the use of the sword spiritually speaking is warranted, and there will be times when the use of the sword physically speaking is justified. Wisdom based on the knowledge of God is the standard by which we are to make such determinations.

In some forthcoming posts, I will be critiquing the writing of a popular Evangelical pastor—John Piper. The article is a bit dated (2015), but his various points are popularly held by many within the Christian context. My goal in writing the critique is not personal. I’m not attacking anyone’s faith, rather I am attempting to reason through the arguments he presents to see if they hold any validity. It is my hope that this forthcoming article and others along this same genre are of some benefit to those who read them. Until then, God bless.

ENDNOTES:

1All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the New American Standard Bible, 2020 update (NASB).

2John Calvin asserts the following:

“But here a question arises. Is it never lawful to use violence in repelling unjust violence? …First we must make a distinction between a civil court and the court of conscience; for if any man resists a robber he will not be liable to public punishment, because the laws arm him against one who is the common enemy of mankind. Thus, in every case when defense is made against unjust violence, the punishment which God enjoins earthly judges to carry into execution ceases. And yet it is not the mere goodness of the cause that acquits the conscience from guilt, unless there be also pure affection. So then, in order that a many may properly and lawfully defend himself, he must first lay aside excessive wrath, and hatred, and desire of revenge, and all irregular sallies [outburst] of passion, that nothing tempestuous may mingle with the defense. As this is of rare occurrence, or rather, as it scarcely ever happens, Christ properly reminds his people of the general rule, that they should entirely abstain from using the sword.”

In other words, self-defense is the last resort and the taking of life is to be avoided if possible. But as Calvin notes the Law of God does not forbid it altogether. John Calvin, The Complete Biblical Commentary Collection of John Calvin: Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, William Pringle, translator, Kindle Edition, loc 395867-75.

3“Thou shall not kill” (Exodus 20.13) is pretty straightforward, but there are exceptions. Based on the ninth commandment’s prohibition against lying—“Do not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exod 20.16), most would agree it is likewise straightforward, but there are exceptions to this one as well. Two examples may be given where lying was not only allowed but praised by the Lord God: The Hebrew midwives in protecting the male offspring of birthing mothers while in Egypt (Exod 1.15-21); Rahab the prostitute in misleading the king of Jericho about the whereabouts of Joshua’s spies (Josh 2.1-7; 6.25). Based on the ethical teachings in Scripture, we should not be surprised to learn that there are exceptions to “killing” as well. Bear in mind that the taking of life must be investigated by the civil authorities over us in order to determine whether or not the killing was justified or accidental (cf. Numbers 35:9-34).

4D. A. Carson, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with New International Version: Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Vol 8, Frank E. Gaebelein, ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1984), 547-48. Carson notes the following attitudes regarding Jesus’ words to His disciples, “Some take Jesus’ response—’for all who draw the sword will die by the sword’ (v. 52)—as a call to pacifism, whereas others observe that Jesus told Peter to put his sword “back in its place,” not throw it away. Both views ask the text of no immediate relevance.”

5Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament, Explanatory and Practical (1872), theWord Bible Software, Luke 22:36. Emphasis mine.

6Jeff Robinson, God and Guns: Freedom in a Time of Crisis, (Xlibris, 2012), Kindle Edition, loc 281.

Posted in self-defense, Uncategorized

Purchasing Swords to What End? An Article on Self-Defense in Light of Jesus’ Instruction to His Disciples, Part I

And [Jesus] said to them, ‘But now, whoever has a money belt is to take along, likewise a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his cloak and buy one’” (Luke 22.36; NASB).1

Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword’” (Matt 26.52).

INTRODUCTION:

The Eagles had a hit single in 1976 entitled “A New Kid in Town.” That song serves as a semblance of my life growing up. Several times during my adolescent years, I was the new kid in town that everybody was talking about. And it was during this time of my youth I found out the hard way not everyone likes you.

Sometimes this is your fault. Maybe you have a bad attitude, and this leads to diarrhea of the mouth. Not a popular position to be in if you are spewing words in the wrong direction. There is perhaps an unspoken correlation between vulgarity of the mouth and that which spews from down below as both are fit for the refuse pile (i.e., skubalon).2 Talking in such a way to the wrong person will, more than likely, end up bringing about an uncomfortable situation. One where we are left with a little color on our face and a slab of cool meat to ease the swelling; or worse.

Other times, though, living in the fallen world that we do, the dislike of others is not our fault. The fact is some people will enjoy your personage and others will not. This was a lesson I learned early on as a youngster and I have witnessed little change in this reality as I’ve reached adulthood. Most of the time, the dislike of another rarely leads to what some would consider an act of violence (e.g., fist-fight; i.e., conflict). The dilemma, however, was what to do when such activity became unavoidable (e.g., self-defense).

As a result, I had to learn very early that there were times when fighting was the only option. Violence, aggression, combat, war, battles, are not names normally associated with the Christian worldview. I would imagine that many Christian parents loath the idea of their children getting into an altercation with a fellow classmate. No question, peace is to be preferred (cf. Rom 12.18). My wife and I have six children (two of which have grown and left home to start their own lives), and we prefer, I think as all parents do, that they experience a peaceful coexistence with their peers. Alas, this is not always possible. Remember we live in a world filled with sinful, carnal creatures that have a great inability to see things beyond the concerns of self-gratification. According to the biblical worldview, this inevitably leads to various shades of conflict (cf. James 4.1-2).

Therefore, I taught my children the same lesson I learned when I was growing up: “Do not start anything with anyone, but if another attacks you…make sure you finish it.” To be honest, I thought such a life lesson was common sense. Experience, however, has taught me differently. Interactions with other parents and school administrators at various levels have helped me see how difficult the concept of self-defense is in our current cultural climate. Even a significant number of professing Christians display a knee-jerk reaction against it.

A brief explanation…

This has continually left me with a desire to carefully define and articulate the actual position I am advocating for. Though I personally find the process a bit tedious I realize that providing proper categorical qualifications is necessary, for much of the confusion or denial of seeing self-defense as a legitimate response to counter wanton acts of violence or aggression in certain situations is because people do not take the time to critically think through the issue.

Self-defense while appropriate and normative as an act of protection or deterrence, is only practiced (to be applied) in unique cases. Meaning it is something prepared for with the hope that it is never necessary to use. For example, I have spent many years of my life learning various arts of self-defense; boxing, martial arts and some grappling techniques. I have competed in a few competitions with decent results. Many of my children have shared in these experiences personally as my wife and I thought it necessary to teach such things in case the need called for it.

But one of the key aspects of such training is that you don’t want to use it outside of the ring or dojo unless no other option is available to you. The goal is to avoid confrontation at all costs. In fact, one of the first lessons we were taught in Matsubayashi-Ryu (Pine Forest Style, an Okinawan form of Karate also known as Shorin-Ryu) was to avoid conflict3 (to flee) if the opportunity is presented. Not only to protect oneself from injury, but you may have to live with injuring another, perhaps permanently. Lethal force is always a last resort. The same is true with firearm training. You never point your gun at another unless no other alternative presents itself and you never place your finger on the trigger unless you intend to shoot.

Self-defense is not violence, although it uses violence as a form of protection or deterrence. Self-defense, properly defined, is never vengeance but a guarding of life—either yours or another. Predators go for weak prey in the animal kingdom. Unfortunately, there is little difference between human or animal predators. For a human predator is more akin to a beast than a fellow image-bearer.

Biblical justifications…

So far I have sought to be reasonable regarding this issue. (Actually, I have attempted to do this for some time as I have worked through what I believe were pertinent issues raised as a result of the national debate sparked by the Kyle Rittenhouse case). I realize that this topic is a worldview issue, and depending on what a person’s worldview is they will have already drawn their own conclusions regarding it. Contrary to popular opinion, facts and pieces of evidence do not lead a person’s thoughts on a given issue, their presuppositions do. As Greg L. Bahnsen explains,

“The unavoidable fact is…that nobody is a disinterested observer, seeing and interpreting the facts without a set of assumptions and pre-established rules. All men have presuppositional commitments prior to their examination of various hypothesis

Each worldview has its presuppositions about reality [metaphysics], knowledge [epistemology], and ethics [law]; these mutually influence and support each other. There are no facts or uses of reason which are available outside of the interpretive system of basic commitments or assumptions [i.e., presuppositions] which appeals to them; the presuppositions used by Christian and non-Christian determine what they will accept as factual or reasonable, and their respective presuppositions about fact and logic will determine what they say about reality.”4

In short, people are not neutral. They are not neutral when they look at issues. They are not neutral when presented with proofs. Nor are they neutral when they reason (think through) subjects like self-defense. Individuals will have prior commitments that will shade their understanding and limit what they accept as truth. This is true for members of the believing and unbelieving world.

And so, the question is ultimately by what standard do we appeal to in order to decide a matter? Since I am convinced that nothing makes sense of reality besides the revealed Word of God, this is where I go. The Bible lays out the purpose, principles, and justification for the “what and why” of all reality. A point that I have been attempting to make through various posts related to self-defense. In this post, I begin to look at Jesus’ command to His disciples which seems to offer biblical justification for Christians to practice self-defense. In a follow-up post, I will address what many think is a counterclaim to this command.

Figurative or according to the letter?

At the beginning of this post, I cited a couple of biblical texts where Jesus spoke about swords with His disciples. The first text mentioned was Luke 22:36. To avoid confusion let us look at this verse within its surrounding context.

And He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything did you? They said, ‘No, nothing.’ And He said to them, ‘But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that which is written must be fulfilled in Me: ‘And He was counted with wrongdoers’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.’ They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’” (Luke 22.35-38; NASB).5

Notice in this passage, Jesus is telling His disciples what they are to do in the days ahead. For, He compares their former mission with the next one, illustrated by the phrase: “But now…” (Luke 22.36a). Previously, the Lord had sent them out in pairs to share the gospel of peace. At that time they were instructed to carry no “money belt…bag…[or] sandals” (Luke 22.35; cf. Luke 9.3; 10.4). It was a faith-building exercise. They had little to fear, for they were under divine protection. A change was about to occur. Hostilities would increase. They would be venturing outside of their nation (Israel) to other nations. This is not to say that they would no longer be under God’s protection, for Jesus reminds them that they “lacked nothing” in terms of need (Luke 22.35; He does this with the use of a rhetorical question). God provided everything. He would continue to do so. As Abraham said of the Lord God, “He provides” (Gen 22.8, 14).

The training wheels, however, were about to come off. The days ahead, Jesus warns them will be of greater difficulty, and so they need to be prepared.6 He instructs them

But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his cloak and buy one" (Luke 22:36; emphasis added).

Many of the commentaries that I read tend to say that Jesus was only speaking about “selling your cloak and buying a sword” in a figurative sense. This is a popular notion among many Christian leaders.7 They secure their interpretation of the text on Jesus’ response here (Luke 22.36, 38) and in the subsequent narrative in the Garden of Gethsemane during His arrest (Matt 26.52). (Later on, we’ll address the one in Matthew, but for now, let’s keep focused on the instructions recorded in Luke.)

In Luke 22:38 Jesus’ disciples respond to His instruction in Luke 22:36 with the following statement, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” To that, the Lord says, “It is enough” (Luke 22.38).8

Supposedly, the idea is to take Jesus’ comments about swords in a figurative sense, or as John Calvin asserts, in a spiritual sense. He wrote,

“It was truly shameful and stupid ignorance, that the disciples, after having been so often informed about bearing the cross, imagine that they must fight with swords of iron…it is evident, at least, that they were so stupid as not to think of a spiritual enemy.”9

I don’t deny that spiritual enemies are real enemies. Nor do I deny that spiritual enemies are to be fought off with the Sword of the Spirit (cf. Eph 6.17; Heb 4.12). If that is what Jesus meant by his early words in Luke 22:36, then I have no problem with it.

Some key questions…

However, if we are going to say that purchasing swords is meant to be taken figuratively to protect oneself from spiritual enemies in the future, then shouldn’t we take “money belts” and “bags” to carry one’s luggage in a figurative sense as well?

I mean, if we are concerned about being consistent.

If, however, the text does not allow for us to take “money belts” and “bags” in a metaphorical sense of just “being prepared for hard times ahead,” then where does it allow for us to go from taking “sword” according to the letter?10

Context takes precedence…

In order to answer these questions, biblical commentators attempt to pin their interpretation of “it is enough” to Jesus’ comments about Peter’s misuse of the sword (cf. John 18.10) in Matthew 26:52. But as we shall see in my next post that is an entirely different context. Jesus’ concern while talking with His disciples is in light of what they shall face after He is “counted with wrongdoers” (Luke 22.37), not during. The purchasing of swords and the selling of cloaks in order to obtain them is post-arrest, not pre-arrest. First, Jesus must be counted with sinners on the cross, and then afterward there would come a time when preservation of life in terms of self-defense would be necessary.

Exegesis is not playing hopscotch, it is dealing with the details available in the text. Exegesis is concerned about drawing the meaning from Scripture rather than reading one’s ideas into it. Luke is the only one that recorded Jesus’ instruction for the disciples to prepare for the dark days ahead by purchasing a sword. He stressed the urgency of it by telling them that if they didn’t have one they should sell their cloak to buy it. A cloak (outer coat) in the 1stcentury world was of paramount importance. It was what protected a person from the elements and gave them something to snuggle in at night. To sell it and buy a sword meant to forfeit one form of protection from danger in light of obtaining another.

I believe that Jesus’ comments in Matthew 26:52 are important. They need to be properly weighed. But they are not necessary for understanding what Jesus says in Luke 22:35-38. For it is my contention that two different matters are being dealt with in those two different passages of Scripture. Something that I will do my best to prove in my next post.

To Be Continued…

ENDNOTES:

1All Scripture shall be of the New American Standard Bible, 2020 Update (NASB); unless otherwise noted.

2According to J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan the apostle Paul’s use of the term skubalon (G4657) “‘Dung,’ [is] the prevailing sense of this word…its original meaning thus would be “refuse” (RV marg.); but ‘dung’ is probably what Paul meant in Phil 3:8, the only occurrence of the word in the NT.” The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament: Illustrated from the Papyri and other Non-Literary Sources (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1929), 579, PDF E-book.

3Shoshin Nagamine, the founder of this particular style of martial art writes, “Karate ni sente nashi (There is no first attack in karate).” Meaning that karate is not a violent martial art but only one to be practiced in self-defense, a method of preserving life. Shoshin Nagamine, The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do (Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle, [1976], 1992), 13. Italics in original.

4Greg L. Bahnsen, Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended, Joel McDurmon, ed. (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision & Covenant Media Press, 2011), 25, 26, PDF E-book. Emphasis added. This will be found under the heading “The Necessity of a Presuppositional Approach.” I include this since the page number may be different depending on what electronic book reader one uses. For example, my copy of this book in my Adobe Digital Editions will show the quoted material above on page 27.

5All Scripture shall be of the New American Standard Bible, 2020 update (NASB).

6This is not fatalistic teaching. Fate does not determine the outcome. The actions of God, the Creator, and man, the creature bring about the causal experiences of life. God provides for His people. This is true. He gives us food, wealth and health (life), but this does not eliminate our responsibility to work and enrich the talents, the tools, He’s given us. Farmers that desire to see a blessing from the Lord must work the ground in accordance with God’s commands. The farmer cannot hope to see a crop yield without working the soil and planting the seed. Laziness will bring him nothing but an empty hand and stomach. This is true of all our endeavors. Salvation is from the Lord (Jonah 2:9), but in order for a person to be saved, we must do the work of proclaiming the gospel of Christ (Rom 10.14-15). God provides but He also instructs us to be prepared for the days ahead, not knowing what they will bring (Prov 27.1; Isa 56.12; James 4.13-16).

7For example, Paul Carter, a contributor to the Canadian version of the Gospel Coalition, denies that Jesus was instructing His followers to sell their cloaks and buy a physical sword. After citing a few biblical commentaries, he writes,

“On balance it seems that Jesus is not telling the disciples to buy actual swords. He is saying that they are about to enter into very perilous times and they will need to keep the sword of the Spirit ‘half drawn’ at all times.”

Paul Carter, “Did Jesus Tell His Disciples to Buy Swords?” The Gospel Coalition: Canadian Edition, December 9, 2017, accessed February 14, 2022, https://ca.thegospelcoalition.org/columns/ad-fontes/jesus-tell-disciples-buy-swords/.

An unnamed writer for Biblestudy.org states, “It is difficult to imagine Jesus telling his disciples to buy swords, considering that he would soon state the following” comments found in Matt 26:52. A little later and the same writer claims that the Greek term machaira is better understood as a knife according to a popular layman’s Greek to English concordance:

“But in Luke’s 22:38 Strong’s Concordance acknowledges the Greek word machaira (Strong’s #3162) is defined as a knife, dirk or sword…The disciples would need certain provisions [after the Lord’s ascension], including a knife for preparation of food, cutting wood for fuel, and possibly to fend off robbers for which the area was noted. So, once Jesus’ ordeal was over, they should make sure they each had a knife.” The writer then claims that the disciples claimed to have “two knives, and Jesus said, ‘It is enough.’”

“Why did the disciples buy swords?” Bible Study—Newsletter, accessed February 9, 2022,https://www.biblestudy.org/question/why-did-jesus-tell-disciples-to-buy-swords.html.

Another is John Piper, but I will deal with his arguments in the near future.

8Or it could be translated as “it is sufficient.” Interesting that this possible translation of the text is largely ignored by a great number of English Bible versions (translations). Young’s Literal Translation is one of only a couple that I have found that offer “it is sufficient” as a possible rendering. Although, if “sufficient” is what Jesus meant, rather than “enough” as many biblical commentators like to delimit it, this would remove their “figurative” understanding from consideration.

9John Calvin, The Complete Biblical Commentary Collection of John Calvin: Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, William Pringle, translator, Kindle Edition, loc 395406. Italics mine. For the moment I will limit my references to this one, penned by one of the greatest lights of the Reformation period.

10Normally the term “literal” would be used. Both “literal” and “letter” mean the same thing. They both emphasize “according to” the “literature” or the use of “language” (i.e., letter) in light of the given context.

Posted in biblical justice

Justice: Briefly Stated and Defined

You shall appoint for yourselves judges and officials in all your towns which the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. You shall not distort justice, you shall not show partiality; and you shall not accept a bribe, because a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and distorts the words of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Deut 16.18-20).

The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and just is He” (Deut 32.4; NASB). 1

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, Obtain justice for the orphan and, plead for the widow’s case” (Isa 1.16-17).

INTRODUCTION:

Given the nature of our current 24/7 news cycle it is impossible to keep up with and comment on all things as they happen. By the time you’ve researched a topic, jotted down a few notes, and allowed it to simmer and coalesce in your mind, new news has become old news. Just as you were beginning to organize and articulate your thoughts in a cogent and meaningful way, time has seemingly swept away—in the minds of many—the importance of the event. People have moved on to something else. Like a rambunctious dog, one minute the world around you is looking in the same direction and then a new ball passes through their field of vision, and off they go. Chasing what is new, forgetting what has passed, and all the while (depending on the subject matter) they are left worse for ware. The one thing that all of the information being constantly blitzed at us guarantees is that undisciplined minds will have an attention span of a gnat. There are nefarious forces that desire it to be such, but I for one do not. Nor, do I believe our Creator wants it that way either.

Previously, I’ve been speaking on matters pertaining to the Kyle Rittenhouse case. We’ve looked at the context surrounding the situation that led to that fateful night on August 25, 2020. We’ve seen the way that the media has cherry picked narratives in order to promote, instigate, and stir up strife on the issue of racism. Amidst all of this there has been an outcry by many voices for justice. And so, having weighed these matters for some time I mentioned last week my desire to step into the fray and offer a biblical definition of justice. Though by no means be exhaustive, it should give us a good starting point in understanding this misconstrued concept in our day.

Definitions first…

What is justice? I figure since there is so much talk about justice nowadays it might do us some good to have a working definition of the concept. Language naturally evolves over time. There are certain cultural or contextual factors that affect the meaning of a term, concept or idea. All words have what is known as a semantical range; meaning, definitions shift depending upon how the term is being used. Given the current rapidity in which our culture is changing the meaning of words, say, for example, with the term vaccine2, I thought it best for us to do a quick compare and contrast between how “justice” was understood in the past and today.

Noah Webster, in 1828, defined justice as:

“The virtue which consists in giving to every one what is his due; practical conformity to the laws and to principles of rectitude in the dealings of men with each other; honesty; integrity in commerce or mutual intercourse.”3

Whereas, the online Cambridge dictionary defines justice as,

“fairness in the way people are dealt with…”4

Immediately, the observant reader (listener) will notice a slight change in the emphasis here. Both definitions focus on human behavior, but only one emphasizes human behavior that is derived through conformity to the law. Both definitions agree that we ought to treat our fellow human beings fairly (i.e., correctly), but only one offers some standards as to how that fairness is to be understood.

Understanding of Reality…

Why the discrepancy? Why two different understandings? Why is one more detailed in how people are to treat others, and the other so vague? Fairness sounds like a noble term. And given my own worldview, I would agree that “fairness” is to some degree a central concern of true justice. If “fairness” is being defined as “correct behavior towards others.”5 The issue in the definition is similar to the issue in the clarion call for justice. There are two opposing standards (i.e., starting points) at work here in how one understands reality.

Noah Webster was a Christian and therefore, understood reality as defined by the God of the Bible. It was God’s graciousness that created the universe as a whole. And so, Webster was concerned with defining language in terms of the Creator.6 God gave communication to mankind as a gift to be used wisely and appropriately.7 Thus, Webster sought to provide future generations of American’s with a clear understanding of purpose for the use of language and the definition of words. For him the use of language was a religious matter, a holy endeavor that sought to reflect the holiness of God.

The linguistic experts for the Cambridge dictionary reflect the modern understanding of reality; in essence, we are all a product of evolution. There is no God above us, we are what we are; what we make ourselves to be. Language like law is not handed down from on high, but is the result of the subjective powers that be. In other words, language is always in motion—ever-changing—and it is determined and defined by the shifting winds of humanistic doctrine. A belief-system that claims mankind is a law unto themselves (i.e., autonomous). Given the current downward spiral into socialism and a totalitarian state, it is the State that dictates not only what is right or wrong, but what is the correct meaning of the terms in question; like justice.

A Universal Standard…

How can there be justice, or fairness in the treatment of others without having a universal standard of right and wrong that applies to all? That is the pivotal question facing our time; by what standard? People speak of justice and injustices, but their versions of reality differ; which results in opposing definitions.

What form of justice should have been applied to the Rittenhouse case?8 What about in regards to the Waukesha killer, Darrel Brooks?9 Or, what shall we say about the recent Oxford High School shooter?10 Who are the victims? Who are the assailants? How are we to judge such things, if we are going to cry out for justice in the streets?

Jesus commanded His disciples to judge righteously:

Do not judge by the outward appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7.24).

This was in reference to Deuteronomy 16:18-19 cited above. True justice does not look at external factors (richness, poorness, skin color, fame or lack-thereof), for it is impartial to such non-mitigating factors. The question surrounding these top profile cases is “What is justice?” Justice, as Webster explained, is in relation to “conformity to the laws and principles of rectitude.” In other words, adherence to an objective standard that demonstrates moral integrity, also known as, righteousness.

True righteousness means doing what is right and refraining from participating in wrong doing. As the wisdom writer of Proverbs explains,

My son, if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you…then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding…then you will discern righteousness, justice, and integrity, and every good path” (Prov 2.1, 5-6, 9; cf. Psa 119.9).

Religiously Defined…

It is the Word of God that defines the only ethical standard that has universal applicability (cf. 119.142, 160). It is God’s Law-Word that all people are commanded to live by, from the lesser to the greater (cf. Deut 8.1; Prov 4.4). The civil rulers above us, be they judges or kings, or magistrates at various levels, will find that adherence to God’s dictates prevents injustices from being done against the people whom they have been called to serve (Deut 16.18-19; Deut 17.18-20). Thus, the biblical witness proclaims to the Lord on High:

I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be ashamed” (Psa 119.46).

What then does the world have to offer? By what standard may we inquire of to find justice in the secular sphere? Is there one, I know not any!

For it is said we are cosmic accidents, products of mere chance with nothing behind us or in front of us but empty space. We live and die and are no more, so then, by what then do you cry out for justice with.

Justice is meant to be blind, impartial, not given to prejudice. And while I don’t necessarily agree with all of the conclusions that Russel Kirk makes in his own lectures on the subject, he is right when he states the following,


“Somewhere there must exist an authority for beliefs about justice; and the authority of merely human, and therefore fallible, courts of law is insufficient to command popular assent and obedience.”11

Justice like so many concepts that we beholden to in our day is a religious idea. From the standpoint of the Christian worldview there is only one place where the truth of justice can truly be unearthed, and it is seated in both testaments of the Holy Bible. It is God, our Creator, magnified in the life of Jesus of Nazareth the Christ, from which justice comes. He demands that we be impartial, that every matter be weighed before judgment is reached. That no sentence against another may be carried out without first having two to three witnesses (i.e., lines of evidences) that support the allegations being levied at them. And, only after the witnesses themselves have been proven non-malicious, may their testimony be taken as valid. The concept of “innocent until proven guilty” rests on these truths. Not mob justice as we have witnessed so many times in recent years. Not even vigilante justice. For justice associated with those ideas is not justice at all, but a perverted attempt of human beings playing at being God.

Closing Remarks…

So, in closing I would like to consider the three cases mentioned above. One already determined in a court of law, two others forthcoming. Was justice served in the Rittenhouse case? Was it self-defense? Or was it aggravated assault on innocent bystanders? Justice was served, it was self-defense, and therefore no charge of wrong doing may be laid at the young man’s feet. You may not like what he did. You may not like that he carried a gun in the open. You may not approve his discretionary use of force. But, personal opinions aside, he was found not guilty after the evidence had been effectively weighed in light of the circumstances on that fateful night of August 25, 2020.

What do we say about the other two men? What do we say about Brooks or Crumbly? Like Rittenhouse they should be assumed “innocent until proven guilty.” Their cases should be decided on an interpretive analysis of the evidence by a jury of their own peers. Public opinion aggravated by a biased media should have no factor in the determination of those cases.

Am I saying that neither of those two men12 murdered people? No, that’s not what I’m saying. But I am saying that a truly just system will allow them to have their day in court, where the evidences may be interpreted in light of the surrounded circumstances. And, in a just system if they are found guilty, they both should be executed for their crimes against humanity. But if we want justice to prevail we need to stop seeing matters with colored glasses. Right and wrong is not a matter of personal opinion, nor is it one of race, wealth or power. As it is written,

To show partiality to the wicked is not good, Nor to suppress the righteous in judgment…One who gives an answer before he hears, It is foolishness and shame to him” (Prov 18.5, 13).

ENDNOTES:

1Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture shall be of the New American Standard Bible, 2020 update (NASB).

2Formerly, a vaccine was commonly given to a person to aid immunity against a communicable disease. This was accomplished through the use of weakened or dead pathogens delivered into the body to allow the bodies natural immune response to react. One antibodies were produced by the immune system the pathogen was attacked and the memory of it were stored in the person’s body. That way the next time the same pathogen attempted to infect the individual their immune system was prepared to immediately fight off and prevent clinical infection.

But in an effort to deceive the unwary public, the CDC (along with several English dictionary’s) changed the definition of vaccine. Now, it no longer is limited to weakened or dead pathogens, but a product synthesized in a lab. No longer does it aid the body in providing immunity from said disease, but protection from more serious side effects.

Johanna Anim Caviezel, “The CDC Suddenly Changes the Definition of ‘Vaccine’ and ‘Vaccination,’ Citizens Journal, September 13, 2021, accessed 12/11/2021, https://www.citizensjournal.us/the-cdc-suddenly-changes-the-definition-of-vaccine-and-vaccination/.

3Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, Facsimile Edition, Reprint 1828 (Chesapeake, VA: Foundation for American Christian Education, [1965], 1995), s.v., “justice.”

4Cambridge Dictionary Online, s.v., “justice” def. 1, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/justice.

5“marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism…conforming with established rules” Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary & Thesaurus, 2008, def. 2, s.v., “fairness,” desktop edition.

6He said, “education [is] useless without the Bible…In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, out to be instructed…No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.” American Dictionary of the English Language, 9, italics in original.

7The tower of Babel incident recorded in Genesis 11:1-9 offers a strong warning against using the gift(s) of God in a rebellious fashion. Before the people rebelled they all spoke one language (Gen 11.1), but afterwards God confused their language so that communication was no longer possible (Gen 11.9). When people in their sin desire to confuse the masses with a false Word and gospel, as we witness in the tower of Babel incident, then God in turn darkens their own understanding so that they are left fumbling about in His creation.

8Maha Laiq, “Opinion: The Injustice of Kyle Rittenhouse’s Acquittal,” The Teen Mag, November 22, 2021, accessed 12/13/2021, https://www.theteenmagazine.com/opinion-the-injustice-of-kyle-rittenhouse-s-acquittal.

9Associated Press, “Suspect in Waukesha parade carnage says he feels ‘demonized,’” Yahooh!News, December 1, 2021, accessed 12/13/2021, https://news.yahoo.com/suspect-waukesha-parade-carnage-says-004127437.html.

10Sara Powers, “Ethan Crumbly, Accused in Oxford High School Shooting, Due in Court,” CBS Detroit, December 13, 2021, accessed 12/13/2021, https://detroit.cbslocal.com/2021/12/13/ethan-crumbley-accused-in-oxford-high-school-shooting-due-in-court/.

11Russel Kirk, “The Meaning of Justice,” Report: Poverty and Inequality, March 4, 1993, accessed 12/12/2021, https://www.heritage.org/poverty-and-inequality/report/the-meaning-justice.

12I continue to call them both men because both men are alleged killers. While I am of the personal opinion that they are guilty of the crimes against them, I think that should be decided in the court room. As to why I call a 15-year old a man, it is rather simple. He allegedly used a gun to kill four of his school mates. If this is in fact the truth, and I see no reason right now to counter this notion, he should be tried as an adult and not a child. He took a lives and now his life is forfeit. The same should be argued against Brooks. Age, nor color, nor so-called mental disability should bear any weigh in their judgment if found guilty. While our society likes to call perpetrators of crimes victims, I believe it wiser to be more concerned about the true victims—those killed by the driver of the SUV and the one who pulled the trigger of the gun.

Posted in Pro-Life

Kyle Rittenhouse: Provocateur or Defender?

The devising of foolishness is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to humanity. If you show yourself lacking courage on the day of distress, your strength is meager. Rescue those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to the slaughter, oh hold them back!” (Prov 24.9-11; NASB).1
Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; save them from the hand of the wicked” (Psa 82.3-4).
Because I saved the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper…I broke the jaws of the wicked and rescued the prey from his teeth” (Job 29.12, 17).

INTRODUCTION:

Last Friday (11/19/2021) a verdict was reached in the Kyle Rittenhouse case. The eighteen year old had five felony charges2 against him for his deadly use of force during one of last years spree of Black Lives Matter—Antifa riots in Kenosha, WI. On the night of August 25, 2020 Rittenhouse fatally shot two men (Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber), and seriously injured another man (Gaige Grosskreutz), in what he claimed was self-defense. The jury found the defendant Rittenhouse “Not-Guilty” on all five charges. He was acquitted of all wrong doing.

It didn’t take long for the narratives to start flying in two distinct directions:

  • Progressives argue that “self-defense” was not the issue, rather it was a hateful, mean-spirited young man who got away with murder. Racial injustice won again. Whiteness was triumphant.
  • Conservatives on the other hand have claimed that this case is an exemplary model of the 2nd Amendment. They tout Rittenhouse as a hero. A “poster-boy” for self-defense.3

Originally, I had written an entirely different piece that I had wanted to post last Saturday morning (11/20/2020). Like many intentions, however, that one fell through. And so, I have sought to narrow down my original thoughts to get at some of the underlying assumptions surrounding this case.

Contextual considerations first…

If we are going to analyze a situation, along with the questions that arise from it, the first thing that we ought to do is consider the background material that surrounds it. That’s the responsible thing to do. Brashness may make headlines. It may bring you notoriety. But, rushing in to assess a situation before all the information is carefully weighed…in the end just highlights foolishness.

The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him” (Prov 18.17).

Much better is the individual who seeks knowledge through discernment (Prov 18.15) than the person who is quick to state their own opinion, turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to all others (Prov 18.2).

What was happening during the summer of 2020? Besides all the COVID hoopla. Race riots. Or, so-called race riots. What various progressive news organizations called “mostly peaceful protests.” As this picture from CNN illustrates:4

The protests that were occurring in Kenosha, WI before the Rittenhouse incident were in reaction to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a young black man on August 23, 2020. Blake was shot by police officer Rusten Sheskey in the back four times leaving him paralyzed. This was in response to a call about an individual attempting to steal a car. Blake, who is seen moments earlier resisting arrest, hurriedly walks around the vehicle armed with a knife, which he claims he was attempting to put in the car.5

Everything over the past year and a half has said to be in relation to racism. After the death of George Floyd many cities witnessed violent rioting, theft, malicious attacks on citizens and officers alike, with the burning of personal property. This is the contextual background for that fatal night of August 25, 2020 when Rittenhouse, along with others of the same mindset, sought to protect their community from the criminal activities raining down on Kenosha.

I’ve heard the arguments offered. I’ve listened to the voices of those that say, “He shouldn’t have been there;” “He shouldn’t have had a gun;” “He should have let the authorities handle it.” On the surface such claims sound intelligent. Why carry a gun in public? Why head to an area where you know trouble is likely to happen; likely to suck you in? Why do something that will, by all intents and purposes, make you seem like a vigilante?

Problematic narrative…

Herein lies the problem with the current narrative surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. Both groups are arguing against a behavior that has been put on display in the civil sphere. The progressives are arguing for justice, for fairness, for the propagation of what is right over and against what is wrong. They see little problem with the demonstrations that we have on record in various cities and towns where truly peaceful protests have been forgotten. The right of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States affords all parties infringed upon to assemble and to address their grievances to the powers that be. Those elected officials have been granted ruling authority, by the people, to do what is right, what is honorable, what is good, while at the same time bearing the sword of vengeance against those who refuse to abide by those things.

In a similar vein, the same argument could be laid at the feet of those whose profession is conservatism. Armed vigilante justice is not justice, but a taking of the law into one’s own hands. A pretense being perpetrated that individual perception, individual authority, individual might and power rule the day. This too is wrong on its face.

The problem with the riots is that politicians do little but talk to their base about the rightness or wrongness of them. They do not actually involve themselves in the “thick and thin” of the matter, so to speak. They give talking points when it benefits their bottom line, but offer little substantive aid to those being wronged.

This was also the problem facing Kenosha, WI on the night that Kyle Rittenhouse was present, the night when his life was threatened and two men’s lives were taken in the wake, with a third being severely injured. Rittenhouse and others acted as militia in order to protect the lives/property of those in Kenosha that they knew. This wouldn’t have been necessary if the police had been willing to do their job, if the local officials would have had their backs, and if state and federal officials had been more than mere parrots repeating platitudes to their constituents.

But, they failed. They allowed one group to exercise a form of vigilante justice (as they perceived it) against what those they assumed were guilty—I’m speaking of the Black Lives Matter/Antifa movement. Feeling slighted. Convinced that they are defending those who have been treated unfairly, they demonstrated on the streets. What started out as “mostly peaceful” during the day, had by night time, become anything but.

Comparing to educate…

Why did it get this way? There were (are) several factors, but one glaring reason was due to cowardice.6 The cowardice on the part of those who were in positions of leadership, those who are called to serve their communities, led to Rittenhouse and his group trying to fill in the gap against the one’s attacking the quote-on-quote “system.”

Passages like Ecclesiastes 8:11 warns of the outcome. At least in terms of criminal activity. (Now if I have to convince you that robbery, arson, and assault are in fact crimes, then I am afraid that there is little we shall agree upon).

Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of mankind among them are fully given to do evil.”

Some may want to disagree, but I find it interesting that when we take a compare and contrast approach there is a markedly different atmosphere, discernibly so, between what took place last year during the summer of BLM and the winter of January 6 in Washington, D.C.

Two representative perspectives…

The progressives represented by BLM and a contingent of people who felt disturbed with what they had been witnessing (Jacob Blake in Kenosha, but George Floyd as the catalyst) sought to demonstrate their position, to make their grievances known, in the community in which they lived. Even if it may be established that initially these assemblies were peaceful, things radically changed by nights end. A pattern which continued for days.

The conservatives7 represented by Rittenhouse and his band of merry individuals also felt disturbed with what they had been witnessing in Kenosha (after Blake) and no doubt in other parts of the country (after Floyd). And so, they sought to demonstrate their position, to make their grievances known, in the community in which they lived.

Like minded individuals like Rittenhouse did not attack individuals of another color, they did not attack police officers, and they showed respect for their neighbors property/livelihood by standing as a bastion of protection. There is a marked difference in approaches between the two groups, if you are willing to see it. One movement was characterized by aggression, the other took a more defensive posture. Like it or not one group was a provocateur the other was not.

Like it or not, this was what the jury in the Rittenhouse case discerned as well. The evidence in the case, when interpreted correctly, showed that the young man carried himself commendably when the situation called for it. He did not go to Kenosha on the night of August 25, 2020 to incite violence, but to offer protection to those in need if violence came knocking.

Closing Remarks…

As a father with sons about Kyle Rittenhouse’s age this case hit too close to home. In a perfect world fathers would not send their sons out to such battles. I cannot say that if my son were in that same situation I would not have tried to temper him from going where harm was present. It is a sad state of affairs when children are braver than the men who are called to lead. Had the cops and those over them been more concerned about loving their neighbors, by protecting them from harm, instead of being perceived as racists that night in Kenosha, young men like Kyle would not have felt the need to stand in the gap.

That night was NOT about race. I know that’s not what politicians want you to think. I know that’s not what the media wants you to think. And, I know that it’s not what groups like BLM/Antifa want you to think. But the facts are the facts. Kyle did not go to Kenosha armed with a gun and a medic pack to harm blacks. He went there to protect people and businesses (that have nothing to do with injustices committed in our legal system) from harm. He acted the part of the defender when others would not. Period.

There are many layers to this onion that need unraveling, but this should suffice for now.

ENDNOTES:

**Image provided by MSNBC with the caption “If Kyle Rittenhouse was Muslim.” https://media-cldnry.s-nbcnews.com/image/upload/t_fit-760w,f_auto,q_auto:best/newscms/2020_48/3430453/201123-ms-kyle-rittenhouse-main-2×1-an.jpg.

1All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the New American Standard Bible, 2020 update (NASB).

2CNN, “These are the 5 charges the jury in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial considered,” November 19, 2021, 7 Boston News, https://whdh.com/news/these-are-the-5-charges-the-jury-in-kyle-rittenhouses-trial-considered/.

3Charles Creitz, “Trump praises Rittenhouse acquittal, calls the case ‘Prosecutorial Misconduct,’” The Ingraham Angle—Fox News, November 20, 2021, accessed 11/20/2021, https://www.foxnews.com/media/trump-rittenhouse-acquittal-prosecutorial-misconduct.

4Paul Joseph Watson, “CNN Describes ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Riots as Kenosha Burns,” InfoWars, August 27, 2020, Published by Auto on 28 August 2020, https://unshackledminds.com/cnn-describes-mostly-peaceful-riots-as-kenosha-burns/.

5Brittany De Lea, “Jacob Blake admits he had a knife when he was shot by police,” Fox News, January 14, 2021, https://www.foxnews.com/us/jacob-blake-knife-shot-police.

6There are other reasons driving the current “chaos” in our society. Civil unrest benefits those who want to tear our society apart, to rip it from the last remnants of its former foundation (the Christian faith) and rebuild from the ashes and dust that remain into a perceived utopia that is Marxism of which a large number of secular humanists enjoy.

7I use the term “conservative” rather loosely here. To be honest I do not know what Rittenhouse’s political affiliations are, if any. Before this year (2021) he wasn’t even old enough to vote. The picture of him carrying a gun squashes the notion that he isn’t a representative of the conservative position for others. Personally, I prefer to use a different designation for the “conservative movement” does not accurately represent my Christian values on all points. Though in normal conversation I would admit to being conservative in light of the Christian character of our original institutions in this nation.