"A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free-state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" Second Amendment, United States Constitution.
It is amazing how so few words can grant such freedom to a nation, and how they can cause such divisiveness between Americans.
To those of us who recognize and honor our Founders' intent in this amendment, it is perfectly clear that this refers to a right of individuals, and that the "Militia" is comprised of the entire body of an armed citizenry. As Christians, we should also be aware that the right to keep and bear arms is one of the inalienable rights with which our Creator has endowed us. If there is any doubt about it, turn to Scripture for guidance in this matter, and rest assured that the Bible supports your right to be armed.
Let us look for a moment at the mindset of our Founders. One of the lesser-known signatories of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), summed it up rather succinctly when he said:
"I have alternately been called an Aristocrat and a Democrat. I am neither. I am a Christocrat."
This book illustrates the war of worldviews in the economic and political realm…
Dr. Rush was a physician, psychiatrist, member of the Continental Congress, treasurer of the United States for more than two decades (1780-1813) — and a Christocrat. Contrary to "politically correct" thoughts, our Founders based the cornerstones of our country on biblical principles. In an eerily prescient moment, Rush stated:
"By removing the Bible from schools we would be wasting so much time and money in punishing criminals and so little pains to prevent crime. Take the Bible out of our schools and there would be an explosion in crime."
In an earlier article I discussed the biblical justifications for armed defense of self, family and all innocent life. The biblical position is strong. It stands to reason that if the Bible allows for self-defense, it must also allow for the private ownership of arms. As it turns out, it does make provision for exactly that.
Luke (11:21-22) tells us that "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils."
This piece of Scripture not only demonstrates God's will that we be armed, but also sets the precedent for the Castle Doctrine (in this case, the "Palace" Doctrine).
We should revisit Luke 22:35-39 at this point, to see where Jesus stood on the issue of keeping arms.
"And He said to them, 'When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?' So they said, 'Nothing.' Then He said to them, 'But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 'For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: 'And He was numbered with the transgressors.' For the things concerning Me have an end.' So they said, 'Lord, look, here are two swords.' And He said to them, 'It is enough.' Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him."
Clearly, Jesus supports the right to self-defense. Furthermore, we can deduce that these arms are for the purpose of defense of self, of the faith, and of the nation (in this case, the people that followed Christ to the Mount of Olives).
John 18:10-11 tells us that when Christ was arrested:
"Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, 'Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?'"
The admonition was to sheath the weapon, not to abandon or relinquish it. This was not a renunciation of defense, merely a statement that it was not the time for it. Jesus might just as easily have said "Stand down, soldier, I've got this one under control."
There is a long tradition in the Bible of God's people bearing arms. The tradition is so strong as to be almost a mandate.
"Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong" (Joel 3:10).
There is also a strong tradition of the militia concept.
"They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night" (Song of Solomon 3:8).
Here we see not only an armed citizenry, but a citizenry "being expert in war." Sounds a lot like our Founders' concept of a "well-regulated militia," doesn't it?
In 1 Samuel 13:19-22 we are shown a picture of a government (the Philistines) denying a population the right to bear arms for obviously nefarious reasons. As the Founders knew, an armed population are citizens, an unarmed population are subjects.
"Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock. Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and Jonathan his son there was found."
When I read this passage, I see an image of a disarmed militia forced to rely on improvised weapons in defense of their faith and their nation.
In 1 Samuel (25:13) we see David "calling out the militia." "David said to his men, 'Every man gird on his sword.' So every man girded on his sword, and David also girded on his sword.' It is important to note that every man strapped onhis sword. They were not issued weapons from a government armory; their weapons were already in their possession, being kept and ready to bear.
From the time of Moses on, the army of Israel was a militia after this model. Personal weapons were kept in the hands of the individuals who would carry them into battle.
"Moses spoke to the people saying, 'Arm some of yourselves for the war, and let them go against the Midianites to take vengeance for the Lord on Midian'" (Numbers 31:3).
The Bible is quite clear on the matter, and lays the foundation for the Second Amendment: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free-state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Our Founders were wise and Godly men, and they realized that our Creator wanted all men to have the tools they needed to defend their Faith, their families, their lives, and their freedom. Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness is the short list of the inalienable rights God has endowed all men with, and the right to keep and bear arms undoubtedly has a prominent place in the complete list. This is borne out in Holy Scripture.