A visitor writes,
"the bible teaches me that if we live by the sword we will die by the sword.jesus also said to turn the other cheek.so , is it wrong to protect ourselves and our families with fire arms? or does jesus speak of our spiritual sword,the word of god?"
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Matthew 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.
The expression is not ‘die by the sword’ but ‘perish with the sword’.
It cannot mean that everyone who takes up a weapon to use it will be killed by a weapon. I believe that the KJV translators made the right choice in translating the Greek word as ‘with’.
We all ‘die’, but the hope in Christ is that we will not all ‘perish’ (ie be destroyed forever). We know that when Christ returns to judge the world and establish the kingdom of God all wars will cease and the manufacture and use of weapons will come to an end.
Isaiah 2:4 ...he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
What I understand Jesus to mean is that those ‘in Christ’ who take and use a sword (or any other weapon) to resist evil will be raised from the dead and rejected by him at the judgment. They will perish ‘with’ – that is: 'alongside' or ‘at the same time as’ all of mankind’s weapons are destroyed.
Those who believe the gospel and are baptised into Christ for the remission of sins are not to resist evil.
Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
The commandment is clear – we are not to offer resistance to those who would harm us. Jesus set the example. He could have defended himself with twelve legions of angels but he did not.
Matthew 5:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
God, in allowing his beloved son to be killed by wicked men, also set us an example, showing us that under the new covenant in Christ we are not to use force even to defend our loved ones. This is not an easy concept, but we have to remember that this life is temporary and we all die sooner or later, whereas the life promised is eternal. For those in Christ, death is but a sleep awaiting the resurrection.
When Peter attempted to defend Jesus and cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear, Jesus rebuked him and healed the man.
Luke 22:51 ...Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
Peter was still thinking like a natural man. He had been determined from the time that Christ told him of his impending death that he wouldn’t stand by and let it happen.
Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Peter had a big lesson to learn and at the same time provide an example for us. James and John had a similar problem with the Samaritans
Luke 9:54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.
There is no record of armed resistance by Christians over the death of Stephen, or James, or Peter’s imprisonment by Herod to be put to death after Passover (Acts 12:4-17). When Peter is released by the angel and he goes to the house where the believers are gathered, we do not find them sharpening swords and plotting to release him by force.
There is no armed resistance recorded in the New Testament. James makes the point that the ‘just’ were killed without resistance.
James 5:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.
What we find is exhortation not to resist evil in any way.
When Christians suffered severe persecution following the death of Stephen, they did not fight it. They left Jerusalem and went elsewhere. The devout men (Acts 8:2) who carried Stephen to his burial and lamented his death are not castigated for failing to protect him.
Those in Christ are to be an example in good works only. We are to love our enemies and do good, repaying good for evil.
Luke 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
We are not avenge ourselves, but leave all in the hands of God.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
We are not to think and act as the world acts, we are to follow Christ’s example as sheep to the slaughter.
Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
1 Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation (behaviour) in Christ.
Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
At supper Jesus had told the apostles that they must buy themselves swords.
They took him literally, as they usually did, and produced two.
Luke 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... 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
As it turns out, one was Peter’s.
From what Jesus subsequently says to Peter with regard to ‘taking the sword’ it follows that the apostles would be forced to re-evaluate what Jesus had meant. As in the case of the ‘leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees’, it becomes obvious that Jesus is not speaking literally but metaphorically.
Matthew 16:11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
What the apostles lacked was spiritual understanding – the sword of the spirit. Their warfare was not to be carnal but spiritual. They had to stop thinking like men and think like Jesus.
2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Ephesians 6:17 ...take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Preaching the gospel involves changing the way that men think, not harming them.
2 Timothy 2:24 …the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
We can’t imagine that the disciples still carried the swords after Jesus’ resurrection; when they finally understood the gospel, and he sent them to preach it.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Concerning the protection of our families the principle as I understand it is this:
There has never been a person as innocent in a Godly sense as Jesus, but the disciples were not permitted to use physical force to protect him.
John 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.
Those in Christ are not therefore justified to use physical force in this world to protect the ‘innocent’. If they were, they would do nothing but fight; because the world is full of evil perpetrated against the ‘innocent’. Where would we draw the line?
For the protection of our families we must trust in the living God. Not even a sparrow dies without God being aware of it. If we suffer the loss of loved ones we must recognize it as a trial of faith and learn from the attitude of Job:
Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
The gospel is preached in all nations and men and women of all nationalities are baptized into the one body of Christ. It follows that they cannot then join the armed forces of their respective countries and fight against each other. This is not obeying the commandments of Christ. Those in Christ cannot embrace nationalism and politics because the end result is that ‘Christian’ fights ‘Christian’.
Those who believe the gospel and are baptized into Christ have to be separate from the politics of this world.
2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
In conclusion: if we protect ourselves and our families with fire arms we are acting contrary to the commandments of Christ and will perish at the judgment when all weapons are destroyed.
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