(Mat 10:34) Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
There are many interpretations of this proclamation made by our Lord. Some believe that it is a call to arms and others that it is a prophetic end times prophecy of God's wrath and others still that it is a proclamation of division.
The truth is that it is all of these things and more!
The most important point of all is that this is not a call to conventional warfare. It is not a call to strike our enemies with a sword. It is not a call to fight back against persecution no matter from where it might come.
(Mat 10:28) And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
"I came not to send peace, but a sword" (ouk ēlthon balein eirēnēn, alla machairan) (v.34), the aorist infinitive, means a sudden hurling of the sword where peace was expected. Christ does bring peace, not as the world gives, but it is not the force of compromise with evil, but of conquest over wrong, over Satan, the triumph of the cross.
Meanwhile there will be inevitably division in families, in communities, in states and in nations.
What many of us fail to remember is that the sword, in the time of Christ, was liken to the Swiss Army Knife of today insomuch as it was the multi-purpose tool of the day.
People used it to, among other things, dig holes, shave hair off of the skin, to kill animals, to skin animals, to butcher animals and as a field hammer (the hilt).
The question here is:
Did Jesus ever condone the use of the sword as a weapon against our enemies?
(Mat 26:51) And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.
(Mat 26:52) Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Offensive war is here given flat condemnation!
It was the philosophy of our Lord that the sword calls for the sword and that only peace begets peace.
The scripture most commonly used to condone the use of the sword to take the life of another can be found:
(Luk 22:35) And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.
(Luk 22:36) Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
(Luk 22:37) For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
(Luk 22:38) And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
There are a few things that we must note here:
1) This event is before Jesus was betrayed and taken captive.
2) Jesus used the phrase "but now", meaning at present.
3) Jesus said that the two swords which they already had were enough.
The contention of many is that Jesus was now condoning the use of the sword against other people but it is crystal clear here that He was speaking of the time where that which had been written would be accomplished in Him.
When the one with Him (believed to be Peter) struck and cut off the right ear of the high priest Malchus (John 18:10) when Jesus was betrayed and taken captive, did Jesus condone the act?
No, He condemned it! (Mat 26:52)
Not only did He condemn the act He proceeded to heal the ear of Malchus.
Notice what Jesus says here:
(Luk 22:52) Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?
(Luk 22:53) When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
Jesus notes that these men came not against Him when He was with them daily in the temple, in public sight, but NOW they come out against Him with swords and staves, as thieves in the night, that this was their hour and the manifestation of the power of darkness.
The Inconvenient Truth
(Joh 18:36) Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
The word "world" used here is the Greek word kosmos, which means; orderly arrangement, that is, decoration; by implication the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively, morally).
Jesus is saying:
1) Yes I am a King.
2) My kingdom, my rule, my dominion, my ordinances and statutes, are not according to the ways of the world, for if they were of this world, my servants would fight.
3) My kingdom is not, at this time, here.
We know that the kingdom of our Lord came to fruition when all that was written about Him had been fulfilled. We know that His dominion began when He was seated at the right hand of the Father as our eternal High Priest. We know that His kingdom was established by the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the dwelling of that self same Spirit within the children of God.
NOW that His kingdom is here, those who are His do the will of the Father, which is the will of the Son, which is "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"!
Jesus was and is the living Word of God. When He speaks it is the Father who is speaking. But just as it was with the prophets of old, He received not honor from men. He receives not honor from men. Even those who profess to be His sheep!
Now I am not standing in judgment of anyone here. That is way above my pay grade.
What I am trying to do here is to shine the light of Christ into the darkness of the world. To expose the lies of the enemy which have been received as light among the sheepfold.
You see the truth is that even though the kingdom of our Lord has been in this world for over 2,000 years many do not see it because they can only recognize earthly kingdoms. That is to say that they can only see kingdoms where the rules of law are imposed by force.
Jesus kingdom is not of this world. He needs no governmental agencies or law enforcement officials to impose His will on people. If you want to follow the rules you follow them, if you don't you don't.
Is there a price to pay?
Yes, most definitely!
The bible is often referred to as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. But it is much more than that. Within the bible are the basic instructions for living on the earth.
When we live within the will of our Father, who loves us and knows what is best for us, we can live lives of rest and peace. The yoke if Jesus is easy and His burden is lite. That is not to say that there will not be times of regret or sorrow while we are living in the flesh, rather that our Father will enable us to overcome and prosper in spite of those times. That when we rely on Him rather than ourselves our lives will be easier than if we don't.
God did not give man the law for himself He did it for us!
How does God benefit in any way shape or form by our following His instructions?
How is He affected if we put other gods before Him, or if we misuse His name, or if we do not honor our mothers and fathers or if we murder, or covet, or steal, or commit adultery?
He is not effected at all!
But we surly are!
In that same light, how is Jesus affected if we do not turn the other cheek, or love our enemies, or do not bless those who curse us?
How is He affected if we do not keep and do His commandments?
How is He affected if we do not repent and follow Him?
Jesus said many times throughout the new testament that if we have faith in Him and His words that we shall receive whatsoever we ask for.
How does that benefit Him?
We are often told that our lives here on earth are not about us, they are about Him.
The bible says that our lives here on earth are ALL about us!
Everything that God has done since the beginning of creation has been for us.
All He ever wanted in return is for us to be thankful and to love Him!
Dr Spiros Zodhiates in his definition of grace, says it best:
Charis - from the word chairō - to rejoice particularly that which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance for a kindness granted or desired. A favor done without expectation of return. The absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding it's only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the giver, unearned and unmerited favor.
Now Watch This!
(John 1:16) And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
(John 1:17) For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
There is a difference between old testament grace (under the law) and new testament grace (free from the law).
Under the old testament law, given by Moses, the covenant created was between God and man and the foundation of that covenant was obeying the statutes and ordinances given unto the people by God through Moses.
What the people of old did not realize, what many people today do not take hold of, is that the old testament laws put into abeyance the grace and truth which were to come through a new, more perfect, infallible, and everlasting covenant through Christ.
When Jesus lived out His live on earth perfectly within the context of the old testament law, He fulfilled it. He made it replete. When this work was finished God established a new covenant with man but it was not between himself and man, as was the first, rather it was between himself and the Son.
Just as the Jews in the time of Moses were not worthy of their salvation, for they had over 400 years of Egyptian slavery all but forgotten God, the people in the times of Christ, after some 400 years of silence from heaven (from Malachi to John the Baptist) because of their depravity, were likewise not worthy of salvation through Christ (neither are we worthy of it today).
The difference between the two covenants is that albeit both were expressions of the unmerited favor of God, one was contingent on the workings of the law and the other contingent on keeping faith in the finished work of Christ as the means of our salvation.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 the apostle quotes Jesus as saying: My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Albeit that the context of this verse is speaking of Paul's three petitions to have the messenger of Satan sent to buffet him removed, it is also applicable within the context of our salvation, that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and that where our flesh is weak the flesh of our Lord Jesus was strong. That He did what we can not do. That is to walk this earth in accordance with the high standard of God's will in sinless perfection.
Therefore our joy is made complete through grace for grace!
That the grace given unto the people of old, which came through Moses, has been covered over, even surpassed by the grace which came through our Savior and Lord Christ Jesus!
(2Co 3:4) And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
(2Co 3:5) Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
(2Co 3:6) Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
God has made us ministers of the new covenant. He has not made us ministers of the ministration of death and condemnation which came through Moses, rather of the ministration of glory and righteousness that came through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes, the person and teachings of Christ Jesus have caused division indeed but His words will stand forever. Not the words of Moses, not Abraham's words, not David's words and not even Paul's words.
And with the sword of His mouth will He rule the nations:
(Rev 19:11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
(Rev 19:12) His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
(Rev 19:13) And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
(Rev 19:14) And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
(Rev 19:15) And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
(Rev 19:16) And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
But until that time Brothers and Sisters, REMEMBER:
(Mat 6:22) The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
(Mat 6:23) But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
Be sure that the light within you is The Light of the World and not the light of the world. Keep your eye focused on Christ and on Him alone. Rightly divide the word of God, separating the darkness from the light, through the power of the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things and guides us unto all truth.
Be thou holy (separate) because He is Holy! Amen & Amen!
And Be Blessed
Not Peace But A Sword