Friday, July 15, 2016

The Word, Christ, & Swords

A Sword
Image Courtesy of Hoskins
To someone who reads this title, you may be wondering what these three words have in common.  The cool thing this that the Bible weaves all three together quite nicely.  Although, they are described separately in different chapters throughout, once you start to look at the Bible in it's entirety, the relationships begin to make a lot of sense.  With that being said, the most fitting and proper place to start is at the beginning.  In Genesis 1:26, it says,

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;...

I want to draw your attention to the word “Us” in this passage.  Ask yourself:  “Who is the "Us" being referred in this verse?” If we understand that there is Yahweh (God), Yeshua (the Son, Christ), and the Holy Spirit then it starts to makes sense who makes up the "Us". If you have had the opportunity to listen to at least one church sermon, I am sure at some point you've heard a preacher speak on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Again, those three entities make up the “Us”!  Now that we have this established, let’s move forward.   

Christ as the Word

In the book of John, it talks about the Word becoming flesh, but what does this really mean?  Let’s look at John 1:1-5 to see:  

John 1:1-5 (1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (4) In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (5) And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

From John, we see that the Word was with God in the beginning.  That “Word” being referenced was Yahweh's Word!  If you read John 1:6-13, you will see the lead-up of the arrival of Christ, but let's skip down a few more verses to read more about this Word.

John 1:14-16 (14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (15) John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” (16) And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.

Yahweh's Word in the flesh is Yeshua the Christ!  I hope this is making sense because it is easy to gloss over and miss, yet it is important to understand. I know that I did not fully understand this for a while because I was use to being spoon-fed instead of digging into the Bible for myself.  I never want to pretend that I am perfect and have it all together, but as we grow in knowledge we are responsible for sharing with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Christ as a Sword

Now, we have addressed a couple of things.  We have laid the groundwork that Yeshua was present with the Lord in the beginning.  In addition, we have established that Yahweh’s Word became flesh which was Christ.  Now, given all of this, I suppose at this point you are wondering what a sword has to do with any of this.  I mean Christ is peaceful right?  After all, when Peter sliced off one of the guard’s ears, Yeshua said, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (see John 18:10-11).  Taking verses 10 and 11 out of context, one might believe that Christ was passive and meek. However, if you understand the part about drinking “the cup which My Father has given Me” it helps you see the reasoning for scolding Peter.  Yeshua was saying that Yahweh had a plan and that plan was to go to the cross.  So, Peter could not get in the way or cause resistance for what the guards had come to do.  The plan must be fulfilled.  

However, the question still remains.  Was Christ so peaceful that He was against the usage of swords?   The answer is a resounding “No”!  In one instance, He specifically instructed the disciples to acquire swords as He sent them out.  

Luke 22:35-38 (35) And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.” (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. (37) For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.” (38) So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”

Which one is it?  Is the Messiah quiet and peaceful or a sword wielding teacher?  Physically and from the descriptions we have of Him, Christ may appear to be peaceful, however spiritually-speaking, He is not so docile.  The things He did and said are written down for us to learn and grow, however, Yeshua was "sharp".  He arrived in the flesh and His acts were like a two-edged sword!  He said things that upset the apple cart during His time and it brought division to those who did not have ears to hear; to which this still happens today.  

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

We have to agree and understand that there are precepts taught by Yeshua that are hard for people to comprehend.  An example of this is when He told a grieving family member to let the dead bury the dead (see Luke 9:60).  I mean come on now!  Where is the sympathy here? Reactions like these "cut" and may hurt someone who has recently lost a loved one, but it also takes a level of spiritual maturity to understand the purposes of preaching the Kingdom of God, despite the circumstance.  Another example is having the gumption to tell your own mother and brothers "whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother" (see Matthew 12:46-50).  I mean if you heard a sibling or child say this to you, you may think of yourself as chopped liver.  Again, it can hurt if you don’t understand His context.  Those things cut to the core and may cause emotional destruction and injury, but then again our purpose is to serve the will of Yahweh - not our own.  The faster we learn our purpose and His will,  the less severe the Word cuts us.

So, in the beginning we started with Yahweh and the Word.  Now, we get to end with the Word as flesh (Yeshua) carrying a two-edged sword in his mouth.  In Revelations, where Christ has come to John in a vision while on the island of Patmos, it is written:

Revelations 1:9-16 (9) I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (10) I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, (11) saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” (12) Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, (13) and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. (14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; (15) His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; (16) He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

A sword is a weapon that can be used for cutting and slicing.  A two-edged sword can be used for cutting on both edges which increases its capability and impact.  Spiritually, this type of sword is needed, especially in a time where the world has turned its back on God, the very one who created it.  There will come a time when there will no longer be an opportunity to choose Christ.  When this happens, the wrath of Yeshua will be felt and that two-edged sword will exact destruction.  Until then, always remember that while Christ may not physically swing a sword, He is like one, cutting to the heart of man and taking away anything that is not a reflection of Him and His Father.  

Be Blessed,

Antoine E. Hall

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