Take Up Your Sword
Luke 22:36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it , and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.
I’ve been a Christian for thirty nine years and I have never heard a sermon on this scripture. Before I get into this subject, it is very important to analyze the back drop to this scripture to understand it. Jesus and the Disciples are celebrating the Passover in the upper room and He is preparing them for His crucifixion, and speaking of a new order called the kingdom of heaven. In verses 28-30 He says, “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. “and I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Israel as a nation is about to go through some dramatic religious and governmental changes. The changes are a transfer of authority (to appoint the kingdom to His followers and their spiritual posterity, and the judgment of apostate Israel described in Matt 23). God is about to officially end one covenant and ratify a new covenant. Take notice that covenant and Jerusalem are used synonymously in Galatians 4:25, 26 and in Hebrews 12:22 where the covenant is called the heavenly Jerusalem.
The death and resurrection of Christ introduced the new covenant in seed form which is referenced numerous times as firstfruits, or a fore shadow of what’s to come of the promise. These firstfruits are the saints that lived during the times of Christ until the official end of the sacrificial system that Jesus talked about in Matt 24:2, 3. He did so by declaring that the temple would be destroyed, and the disciples responded by asking when will this happen and what will be the sign of Your coming. If we dare to value context when interpreting Matt 24 we would see clearly that Jesus is audience specific regarding who He is talking to, which are the people of that time period that are standing directly in front of Him. He is geographically specific regarding Israel and its cities. Notice that He calls the cities by name. They are not futuristic, hypothetical or symbolic cities. He is chronologically specific indicating that the destruction of the temple is the trigger mechanism for His coming and the end of the age (Note: that some translations use the word world, and world in the Greek is usually translated cosmos or aeon. In this case the word aeon is used meaning specific time period). The question is what time period is He referring to? The obvious answer should we dare to interpret scripture with scripture within the given context is the official end of the ritualistic old covenant. If there is no temple in Jerusalem then there is no method to obey the traditional ritualistic sacrificial system.
The covenant with Israel will be voided as a means for entering into the Kingdom of God and reestablish and fulfilled to include the Gentile world, which is explained in Eph. 2:11-22. This New Covenant will be officiated through the blood of Jesus Christ verses the ceremonial rites. Both Jews and gentiles will be subject to the same criteria to obtain salvation. In Hebrews 10:9 says, “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. Hebrews 8:13 In that He says’ “A new covenant”, He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is vanishing away. This is an indication that the ratification of the New Covenant has not happened because the Temple has not been destroyed as Jesus has described.
This New Covenant is synonymous with the New Jerusalem. Galatians 4:22-26 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: The one by the bondwomen, the other by a free women. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage (the law), which is Hagar, for this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children (subject to the law), but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. Hebrews 12:18 indicates that Mount Sinai symbolizes the law and the difficulties of living under it. It also proclaims to the Apostle Paul’s audience that they have not come to that mountain, but have come to Mount Zion (which is a description of the real Jerusalem, which is more complete with the eternal and spiritual components). Mount Zion is described in this text as the city of the living God and the heavenly Jerusalem. If you examine the book of Hebrews thoroughly you will find a detail and a chronological exclamation of the transition from the old covenant to the new covenant, or the old representative kingdom to the new representative kingdom of God.
Israel is about to go through a fundamental change. The sacrificial system must be abolish in order for the new system to be legally in force. In other words the temple must come down! In Matthew 24:2,3 Jesus indicated in vs 3 that the temple would be destroyed and the disciples understood that He was speaking of His return to correspond with judgment of Israel. Luke 22:30 demonstrates that the transfer of the kingdom and judging of Israel happens simultaneously.
You may ask what has this prolog to do with Jesus telling the disciples to sell their coat and buy a sword. The point is that many Christians don’t realize the depth and quality of who we are through the appointment of the Kingdom (covenant). The command to buy a sword was for literal and symbolic purposes. Symbolically Jesus was indicating that the authority that He transferred came with sanctioning power. His providential protection over our affairs would result in blessings. Embedded in this is the notion that no authority is higher than the Kingdom of God and that those properly aligned with the kingdom possess spiritually legal enforcement authority. In other words immoral men governing no longer should be accepted as the norm, or in other words, might is right or the divine right of kings to rule has been debunked. The rules have changed, and that change did not originate from man, but came down from God.
Furthermore, Israel was no longer the primary geographical focal point of where God launches His works from, but it has shifted to include the gentile world. By placing His sanctioning authority in the hands of the individual verse the ancient priesthood system, God created the ability to expand the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in a manner that could not be controlled. In other words every man was given a sword. Instead of top down government, government from the bottom up and the inside out would be the new mode of operating.
The sword was also a literal declaration that no one has the right to dominate another man. We all possess the right to defend ourselves and our family and our neighbors. This truth is recognized in God’s law and nature’s law. Jesus is proclaiming that the divine right of kings to dictate is about to go out of style, and imbedded in the Gospel of the kingdom of God is the inherit right and responsibility to govern ourselves God’s way. God’s form of government is distinctly different from all other types of government that men have come up with throughout the ages. One of the natural out flows of man’s form of government is an unarmed population. Make no mistake that he sword is not only symbolic, but literal, and is necessary for keeping order in a home, community and a nation. The main point that I’m trying make is God authorize the sword (authority) to the heirs of this new kingdom (covenant). The difference is that the authority of the sword flows from God through His individual agents, through local governments to national governments, not from the top down.
I’m writing this to counter all the efforts to enforce gun control and the Church’s lack of understanding our commission on earth. First of all let’s get past all the smoke, gun confiscation is the goal of Democrats, Liberals, Progressives and all tyrants alike. There is no question of what our response should be. The real question is, as a people would God’s providence be upon us as it was with the Founding Fathers? In other words are we properly aligned with His will? Do we understand our position as His stewards of the garden (earth)? When Jesus gave instructions on the manner in which we should pray, He said, “may thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”. We could paraphrase that by saying, “may the order of things in heaven be reflected on earth”. Are we more interested in leaving our commission here than we are walking them out responsibly?
God and Satan are engaged on the battlefield waiting for His people to join Him in victory. As long as we sit out the battle is stalled. Satan has no authority to govern us. He and his agents are the squatters (noncommissioned). We have lived as paupers when we have been commissioned to rule and reign with Him in this life and in the life to come.
I have written this essay to the body of Christ to enlighten and to encourage us to understand and walk in the power that we are authorized. We must engage the marketplace of ideals, the political arena, schoolboards, healthcare, seats of judgment, law enforcement, etc. Jesus literally came to set the captives free spiritually, physically and politically.
Take up your sword and follow Him!!