I should have clarified in the last post that I’m specifically talking about non-participation in the military. The term “pacifism” brings lots of different ideas to mind, so I thought the term “non-participation” might be more helpful.
As I said before, the second major topic is that of the powers. In the biblical world view, the spiritual world and the physical world are connected. They aren’t identical, like in pantheism, but they aren’t separated by a great gulf, like deism. Specifically, Satan and his allies are at work in this world, just as God and his hosts are at work in this world. The Western mind has trouble accepting that; biblical writers wouldn’t have questioned it.
The nations are deceived and controlled by Satan (Luke 4:6; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; 1 John 5:19; Revelation 20). They seek their own survival above all. In the Bible, Israel was to seek God and trust that He would see to their survival, but they had a hard time with that. They wanted to be like the nations around them, and they eventually got their wish.
Every nation, no matter how good or how evil, sets itself up as an object of worship. They demand obedience. Pledges and oaths. Talk of allegiance and loyalty. History taught in a way to instill civic pride and patriotism.
Even as the Bible teaches that authorities are to be respected and obeyed, it also warns us that the powers behind these authorities are limited by God, but they are not godly themselves. When God’s Kingdom comes in its fullness, they will not be a part of that Kingdom. They will be destroyed as the enemies they are. (1 Corinthians 15:24)
Though we live among the nations as strangers and exiles, living out a diplomatic mission as ambassadors of Christ, we are not to make ourselves a part of these nations. Their wars are not our wars. Just as the powers they serve are not our God, so their aims and goals are not those of our God. We are soldiers, but it’s a different army with different weapons.
Paul warns against trying to eat at the table of demons and at the table of the Lord. We can’t serve two masters.