Sunday, November 9, 2008

Thesis 54: War, Capital Punishment, and “The Sword”

“Sword”[1] does not refer to individual penal sanctions (e.g., “capital punishment”). The shedding of a criminal’s blood[2] performed the functions of all other ritual acts of bloodshed, prefiguring the atonement for sin secured by Christ’s blood in His execution.[3] “The Sword” refers to national “capital punishment” (i.e., a shedding of blood[4]), which is the sacrifice of a sinful people who will not accept the Lord’s sacrifice and righteousness by faith. The sword of vengeance, which belongs to God[5], is the warfare whereby God slaughters a disobedient people in a fiery sacrifice,[6] relegating these idolatrous self-sacrifices and their dreams of Empire to the “dung-heaps” of history.[7]

1. cf. Romans 13:4
2. Genesis 9:4-6
3. Numbers 35:31,33; Deuteronomy 21:1,9
4. Ezekiel 35:5-6
5. Romans 12:17-21; #81:
6. Deuteronomy 32:43 [NIV]; Judges 20:40; Isaiah 34:5-8; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 39:17-20; Zephaniah 1:7-8; Matthew 23:35 + Revelation 19:3
7. Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 16:27; Zephaniah 1:17-18

God Sends Evil
Is War Ever "Just?"

This thesis is a linchpin.
If true, it destroys both war and capital punishment as legitimate functions of "the State," and effectively destroys the necessity or even legitimacy of "the State."
If false, the overall thrust of these 95 Theses is still valid, namely, that all legitimate social functions (which would include vengeance, war, and capital punishment if this thesis is false) can be carried out by the Family (patriarchy) rather than the State (polis).

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