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The Word on the Week

North Korea

For some years now N Korea has been preparing for war. It has done this at the expense of the welfare of its citizens. The Kim family have bankrupt the country using its resources to develop its nuclear capacity and maintain its army.

Kim Jung-un who recently succeeded his father as Leader has become increasingly belligerent threatening to attack both South Korea and the USA. The latter have been carrying out military exercises in S Korea which have enraged Kim and, along with the tighter sanctions unilaterally imposed, have isolated N Korea even more and pushed the regime to the point of threatening war with the South.

Kim has created a fantasy state ruled by police and the army enabling him to adopt the approach of his father and grandfather in using the perception of an external threat to solidify support at home. His grandfather, Kim 1, started the last Korean war when he invaded South Korea in 1950. His defeat did nothing to diminish his god-like status – there is a 90 foot high statue of him in Pyongyang to which people must bow.

His son Kim 11 invented the ideology Juche (Joo-chay), meaning “self-reliance” which bans all religion and takes the form of mind control. In it the Kim dynasty exercises a perpetual rule and worship the dead Kim 1 as the “Eternal President”. Time starts with his birth, this is year 102.

Approximately 6 million of their citizens live at starvation level as much of their resources are channeled to the army which is 1 million strong.

Today Kim 111 has declared war on South Korea. Technically they never made peace since the armistice of 1953. Is it more bravado or will they use their nuclear option?

What has the Bible to say?

The desire to take S Korea has never left the Kim regime. Resolution of difficulties by fighting always appeals to the one who appears to hold a military advantage. The problem of an appropriate response is as old as the limiting rule of “an eye for an eye” Exodus Chapter 21 verse 24. In attempting to match the punishment to the crime restraint has to be introduced. The meaning behind this text was brought out by Jesus in his famous “turn the other cheek” (St Matthew chapter 5 verse 39) we find so hard to put into practice. But how do we apply this to national disputes?

Scripture makes a distinction between personal behaviour and national conduct. St Paul deals with the former in Romans Chapter 12 verses 9/21 and the latter in the following Chapter 13 verses 1/7. The former amplifies Jesus’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and the latter grants power to the authorities to maintain the rule of law for the common good. It is out of this latter passage we get the basis for a “just war” by considering acts of war to be analogous to acts of civil government. In this case, should war materialise, the USA and its allies would be seen as the authorities with the power to act.

Scripture speaks of a day when “swords will be beaten into ploughshares” but that will be when Jesus returns to reign and the Kingdom, which we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer, becomes a reality. Are you ready for its coming? St Matthew Chapter 24 verses 4/14…then the end will come.