How many times is war mentioned in the Bible? (Why did God allow war, biblical references about war + Bible verses about war)

As Christians, we need to understand what the Bible says about war so that in such times we know what to do. When the Ukrainian war was getting worse in 2022, I was challenged by a student in my Bible study group. One of my teenage students asked me why God cannot just say a word and the Ukrainians and Russians stop fighting. Then I realized that while answering her about war, there were so many verses that I could use to explain to her. I had to research more about wars in the Bible. My first research topic of interest was; how many times is war mentioned in the Bible?

In many Bible versions, the word war is mentioned approximately 225 times in the Bible. It occurs in 220 verses of the Bible. The Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:8 explains that there is a time for war and also a time for peace, and all are in God’s plan. It could be a reason why there are so many times that the word war has been mentioned in the Bible.

Join me in this article as I talk about why God allowed war to happen. I will also talk about what the Bible says about wars and give a list of some wars in the Bible.

Why did God allow war?

It is suggested that God allowed wars to happen purposely for all glory to go back to Him. It is suggested that God allowed wars sometimes to make sure evil people are stopped from the continuous murdering of the innocent and to humble them. Back in Biblical times, God allowed Israelites to fight with their enemies, who mostly worshipped other gods as written in 1st Samuel 15:3. It is believed that such wars were meant to turn the other nations to God because God would show them He is mighty and He is the only God.

For example, the war led by Jehoshaphat could be used to explain the way God allows war to happen so that evil people can die and glory goes back to Him. The war is recorded in the book of 2nd Chronicles 20:15-30. In the same verse, it is written that the people in the war who did not believe in God started fearing God after what happened in the war. However, we all know that our brains can never have enough capacity to comprehend what God does. Whatever God does is intentional, and it is just. It is then suggested that God allowed wars because He knew the good that would come from the wars.

Where does the Bible say there is a time for war?

biblical references about war 
Where does the Bible say there is a time for war? Image source: Freepik

The book of Ecclesiastes 3:8 says that there is a time for war and a time for peace; verses 1-8, the verses imply that there is a time for everything. However, the time of war is still in God’s plan, just like the time of peace. God allows a specific time for wars because all His plans and will work for the greater good of us, as implied in the book of Romans 8:28. It is believed that even in ancient times, times for harvesting were never interrupted by war because wars had their own time. Therefore, the fact that God has already let us be aware that there will always be time for war, we Christians are encouraged to stay close to God and depend on Him for protection and peace.

What Does the Bible Say about Wars?

It is believed that some wars are necessary

The Bible says that sometimes, wars are necessary because there are so many sinful people in the world. As a matter of fact, according to Romans 3:10-18, all of us are sinners. The Bible says that most wars occur so that the glory goes back to God and evil people are killed. For instance, when the Israelites crossed the red sea, the Amalekites went to attack them without any provocation from the Israelites, according to Exodus 17:8-16. It is mentioned that the Amalekites were just evil, and therefore, in this case, God had to send Israelites into war with them so that the evil ones get killed, and the glory goes to Him, the only living God. This is the time when Moses would raise His hands, and the Israelites would prevail, and when he puts them down, Amalekites would prevail. Eventually, the Israelites won, and all the glory went to God, and the evil Amalekites were destroyed, as written in the book of Exodus 17:8-16.

God and Jesus are not against all wars

Also, it is implied that Jesus is not against war because even His second coming will be very violent. It is often mistaken that Jesus is against all wars, but as suggested above, God allows wars, and God and Jesus are always in agreement, as written in the book of John 10:30. Moreover, it is believed that when Jesus comes back, it will be a bloody ending. The book of Revelations 19:11-21 mentions that there will be a war waged against rebellious nations when Jesus comes back; He will be the righteous commander who is just.

Biblical verses about war

Ecclesiastes 3:8 says that there is time for everything, and that includes war; there will be time for happiness, time for love, and time for war.

2nd Corinthians 10:4 says that spiritual warfare requires divine weapons.

Exodus 32:17 says that Joshua told Moses there was a war in the camp after he had noises.

James 4:1-2 says that wars are caused by desires and coveting what we do not have.

Revelations 19:11-19 talks about the war that will happen when Christ comes again. Christ, the word of God, will be dressed in a robe dipped in blood and riding on a white horse. His army will be dressed in white robes of fine linen. It is implied that Christ will wage war against nations on earth.

Matthew 24:6-7 says that there will be wars, and rumors of wars are followed by other things like drought during end times.

Psalms 18:34 talks about being trained for war so that our hands are ready to fight.

Exodus 15:3 says that the Lord is a warrior.

Revelations 12:7-8 talks about the war in heaven; Angel Michael and his angels were fighting with Lucifer.

Joel 3:9 talks about the Gentiles preparing their strongest men for war.

What did Jesus say about war?

It is suggested that Jesus knows and supports necessary wars in the world because the kingdoms of this world will always fight. The book of John 18:36 mentions that there is a right for wars to be waged against earthly nations. Jesus said that His kingdom is not earthly; had it been earthly, then His servants would fight for his release. This is taken to mean that Jesus knows that among earthly nations, there is necessary war. Physical war is considered necessary for earthly things. However, for us Christians who are pursuing a spiritual nation, physical war is not necessary for us.

Examples of war in the Bible

Why did God allow war?
Examples of war in the Bible. Image source: Freepik

The war between Israelites and Amalekites is in the book of Exodus 17:8-16.

The war between the Amalekites and Israelites at Rephidim was among the wars in that God directly used human beings to prove His power. Moses only had to raise up his hands, and the Israelites would prevail. They eventually won, and the evil Amalekites were killed.

The war between Israelites and Philistines in 1st Samuel 17

Again here, God humbles the mighty and strong Philistine army by making sure a small boy defeats their strongest man. Verse 45 talks about David telling Goliath that He will fight him with the power of the Almighty God.

The war between Archangel Michael and the Devil in Revelations 12:7-8

The Bible records a war in heaven where Angel Michael and his Angels fight the devil with his angels. Angel Michael wins, and the dragon, the devil, is thrown away from heaven.

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