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Turn the other cheek

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I would like to share with my readers a small part of a correspondence I had with a man named Chip, probably a Jehovah's witnesses

He wrote, “… And one other thing I thought I understood from history that would create a great difference between Smith and Jesus,
Smith died with a gun in his hand and from what I understood people died from both sides to create this "martyrdom". Again I
should say I certainly mean no disrespect to your beliefs but I am interested in hearing and understanding your thoughts on these
matters. Hope to hear back from you. >> Chip Kempston”

My reply: “First, I need to affirm that we don't compare Joseph Smith with Jesus Christ. Secondly, Joseph Smith had gun because
one of the guards gave it to him to defend himself from the mob. There was a conspiracy to kill Joseph and many of his guards were in
on it. They deliberately left the jail unattended to make it easier for the mob to carry out their plans. However, a few of the guards
didn’t agree with this but knew that Joseph had no chance of surviving unarmed, so they allowed him to have *A* (only ONE) gun.
It’s only logical to realized that the prisoners couldn’t even have had this gun in their possession unless the guards allowed it.

“What I find interesting is that the mob was comprised mostly of Protestants Christians. This is a strange way of showing love towards
their enemies as Christ taught His disciples. For you to say that Joseph Smith was not martyred is very unusual because every
encyclopedia that I know of agrees with that conclusion. And for you to say that he was killed according to the law, we would have to
pervert the constitution of the United States, which allows for freedom of religion. The very reason Joseph Smith was killed was
because he believed in something different than what his Protestant attackers did.

“It’s strange to me that people forget or pass over the fact that these Christians not only killed Joseph Smith, but they also attacked his
followers, driving them by force out of their homes and lands. Not only that but they raped some of the “Mormon” women and
murdered other followers of Joseph Smith. What I’d like to know is, how could these good “Christians” justify these actions of theirs
by the scriptures? If you could explain these things to me I really would appreciate it because I am very confused at this kind of
behavior by so-called Christians.”

His reply: “Hello, I appreciate your quick reply. I was not sure even if I should expect one at all. So thank you for that. I can surely
explain why those things happened, the fact of the matter is as you said, they are so-called Christians, which would mean they were
not Christians at all. But just because a man does something wrong, does not mean that the standard changes (The Word). One thing I
would encourage you to do though is, if you would judge, judge by the same standard, Joseph Smith. He was just as wrong as those
who killed him for even accepting a weapon of violence. That does not justify death in any case. You can see that Jesus could have
called on 12 legions of angels if he wanted but chose not to. And I do think that you should compare Joseph Smith to Jesus, because
He is the standard for living. And if someone does not live up to that standard then he cannot be a Christian. I apologize if I seem
harsh. I am not trying to be, I am just a bit skeptical because of the historical facts behind Mormonism. Like the validity of many of
the writings, which have been proven not to be authentic by Egyptologists. On the other hand the Bible is supported both by history
and science. I would think that another "testament of Jesus" would be the same. I would encourage you to look at some things the
critics are saying and examine the facts. Thanks for your response again. Best wishes.”

My last reply: “Dear friend, if we are to compare Joseph Smith to Jesus Christ, then I think we should do that for everybody else. Do
you know somebody in your faith whose behavior could be compared to Jesus? If you do, please let me know because I'd like to meet
him or get to know him better. As for Joseph Smith having a gun, people have the right to defend themselves. Peter had a sword and
used it to defend Jesus. The fact that Peter even had a sword clearly means that Jesus allowed him to carry it with him, does it not?
Although it’s true that a Christian shouldn't attack anyone, it also doesn’t deny them the right to defend themselves. Nevertheless, I
respect your opinion, and hope that you will do the same for me. Sincerely, Massimo”

The reason I share this correspondence is because it seems to me that there are many people like Chip who misunderstand what Jesus
meant when He said we should turn the other check. There are some cases when that is not appropriate or wise behavior, especially
when other people are involved. For example, if somebody was trying to harm your family would you say “Please help yourself”?
Maybe in the beginning you would try to use calm reason and logic to persuade them to change their mind, but if that didn’t work and
they were still intent on doing your family harm, would you just let them do it or would you try to stop him? As Chip pointed out,
Jesus is our example of how we should behave. When the Pharisees attacked His character and teachings, He certainly didn’t remain
quiet. His answers were so stinging that they left his accusers unable to reply.

To address some of the points Chip made on this subject, let me start with his last one that “Jesus could have called on 12 legions of
angels if he wanted but chose not to" The answer to that is that Jesus HAD to die. If He had defended Himself He would have
prevented the atonement from happening. This is clearly shown in Matthew 26:54 when Jesus said, “But how then shall the scriptures
be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” The whole reason Jesus came to earth was to die for our sins. Then why should he protect Himself
from being put to death?.

But how did Jesus behave before it was His time to die? In Luke 4:29-30 we read of an incident where the people “rose up, and thrust
him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he
passing through the midst of them went his way,” How did Jesus go “passing through the midst of them" when they were trying to
"cast him down headlong"? Did He say, “Please let me go through"? I doubt it! Yet, even though they were intent on taking His life,
they couldn’t do it. And the reason is because the time was not right for Him to die. Therefore, He defended Himself.

In John 8:59 we read of another time when the people “took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of
the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” The Jews didn’t just try to stop Jesus, they wanted to stone Him to
death! I am pretty sure that He didn't say to these people: "Please be good and let me go."

As I wrote before, Jesus allowed his disciples to wear a sword. Back then, a sword was a weapon, just as a gun is today. Proof of this
can be found In Luke 22:35-38 where we read “And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye
any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his script: and
he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in
me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are
two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.”

I once had someone tell me that Jesus allowed His disciples to wear a sword to protect themselves from lions. This may seem like a
reasonable answer to some, but it isn’t supported by any scriptural evidence. Furthermore, there is no evidence that anyone in biblical
times was ever attacked by wild lions roaming the countryside. On the other hand, the Bible does give us an incident where Peter used
his sword to defend Jesus against other men. If the Bible is our guide, then my opinion must be the more correct of the two.

It’s true that Jesus was a man of peace, but in Matthew 21:12-13 we read of an incident where “Jesus went into the temple of God,
and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that
sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

Notice that Jesus “cast out” the money changers from the temple. That doesn’t sound like He politely asked them to leave.

In the account of this incident as found John 2:13-22 we further learn “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove
them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changer’s money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto
them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered
that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”

Jesus didn't just say, "Please, will you go?" Instead, He “made a scourge of small cords” and then “drove them all out of the temple.”
And why did He do it? According to the scriptures, because "the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up."

The gospel of Jesus Christ does teach us to be peace-makers and give no man offense. It also teaches that we should be slow to anger
and deal patiently with all men. We should not be easily provoked or offended. But none of these qualities can be interpreted to mean
that we should not defend ourselves when our life, or the lives of our loved ones are endangered.

Regarding this topic the Jehovah's witnesses don't go in the army and they don't support political authority, I won't discuss these points here but I want just to put some verses find in the Bible, or better in the new testament to show what is the teachings of the scriptures about these ideas.

Luke 3:12-14

Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

  1. Clearly people in the army and collecting taxes (working for government) were just invited to be honest, they were not invited to leave their position. Jesus made miracles to Romans centurions and never told them to leave their army. Like we saw before Jesus allowed His apostles to be armed, He never declared that  a nation shouldn't have an army to defend itself. The army of Hebrews was decided and suggested from God Himself in the old testament and the rules of  it too. Deuteronomy 20:1-10

Deuteronomy 20

When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people,
And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;
For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.
And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it.
And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.
And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart.
And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.
When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

It is interesting that the first gentile to be converted was even a roman centurion: Cornelius!

God accepted his prayer

And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.


And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

Acts 10

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Paul acknowledged the roman authority (heathen)

Acts 25:11-12

Acts 25

For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.
Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.
and he wrote a clear warning to the believers of his time Romans 13:1-7

Romans 13

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  and

for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Render therefore to all their dues:

So they are ministers of God and they can have the sword!

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 10:42  

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