King David was a man of war. Did his profession enhance his walk with God? To the contrary, the blood on his hands
prevented him from building God's temple as he would have liked:
"And David said to Solomon: 'My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD
my God; but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house
for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight.'" (1 Chronicles 22:8).
"But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because
you have been a man of war and have shed blood.’" (1 Chronicles 28:3).
Men are to lift up holy hands to God: "I desire therefore that the
men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;.
. ." (1 Timothy 2:8). But blood defiles: "Whoever in the open
field touches one who is slain by a sword or who has died, or a bone of
a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days." (Numbers 19:16).
Not only the New Testament teaching of Jesus Christ, but the Old Testament
holiness code, encourages us to keep clear of this stain.
Still, David was a man after God's own heart, leaving no
cause for despair to those who share his profession.
It would be a mistake however to read into the Old Testament
unqualified support for any and all wars for any cause whatever
undertaken. 'Edom' or 'Esau' is how the Talmud refers to the Roman empire:
"For, as we read in other places, the Holy one,
blessed be he, came first to the sons of Esau and offered to them
the Torah. These asked, 'What is written in it?' God answered, 'Thou
shalt not kill.' 'We cannot acept it,' they rejoined, 'killing being
our profession.'" (Aspects of Rabbinic Theology, Solomon Schechter,
The Ten Commandments are not a good fit for imperial powers.
Jesus praised a centurion for his faith:
"The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth;
and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do
this, and he doeth it.
"When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."
The centurion, like David, was a man of war. If this is not a proper
profession for a man of faith, Jesus omits to say so.
John the Baptist
When asked by soldiers what they should do, John the Baptist does not tell them to abandon their
profession, but only,
"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."
This is another opportunity passed by, if the Holy Spirit had ever intended to inculcate total pacifism. It is enough to
condemn "violence," i.e. aggression.