"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, ...a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."
-- Ecclesiastes 3:1-3, 8
How does the Christian pacifist deal with this passage? Does this scripture teach that there are times that it is proper to kill, hate and make war?
People often read Ecclesiastes 3 and take away that Solomon is saying “There is an appropriate time to kill, hate, and make war” when he is actually saying “There are times of killing, hate, and war.”
These verses are not granting people permission to make war or hate just as they don’t grant permission to be born or die (after all, who needs permission for birth or death). A sober reading of this text will show that Solomon is speaking of the way the world is and not what is appropriate action for believers.
If we say that this passage is an allowance for hate, killing, and war then we must also say it grants allowance for every activity under heaven (aka on earth). Hopefully we would all agree that not every activity under the sun is permissible for Christians.
Jesus tells us in his Sermon on the Mount that peacemakers are the children of Father God (Matthew 5:9), that if we remain angry and insult brothers we are hell-bound (Matthew 5:24) and that hate ought to be replaced with love (Matthew 5:43-44). Killing, hating, and making war are antithetical to the way of Christ Jesus. Even if
Solomon were saying there is permission for such things, Jesus has rebuked such teachings with his own.Do you agree that the passage is not saying there is a time to make war? How do you interpret it?