Pastor David Green
Note: This is not a complete reference on the subject, but rather only "part" in a series. For more info, please be sure to check the links at the end, particularly the link to my "Gun Rights" page.
"Now he that betrayed
him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he:
hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master;
and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou
come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 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. 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.
Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall
presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then
shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" (Matthew
Among the Lord's people and among that big umbrella called Christianity, there is much debate about Christians owning and carrying weapons. So in this article, I thought we would consider the subject of “Peter's Sword.”
Some folks use this incident to say that Jesus was opposed to Peter's “bad example” here of carrying a sword, and that He would be opposed to any Christian carrying a weapon. We need to examine the whole of the Scriptures here to see exactly what is (or is not) being taught here. A lot of controversy could be cleared up when we examine this subject in the light of Scriptures, remembering that all human feelings and preconceived notions ought to submit to the authority of Scriptures. We also must bear in mind that the acid test for any position is not whether it is held by the majority but whether it is according to the Word of God!
up again thy sword into his place....” (verse
52). What does Jesus mean to put it into his place? Well there are
many opinions, but thankfully the Word of God clarifies this very
"Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11)
Notice, Jesus was not saying to totally get rid of it. He was not telling him to take it back home. He was not rebuking him for owning a sword or for carrying it with him. He was telling him to put it back into its sheath. We don't use that word much anymore, but it is “A case for the reception of a sword or other long and slender instrument; a scabbard.” It was what a holster is for a handgun. He was telling Peter a couple of things, but neither had anything to do with rebuke for having one:
“...for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” This was not a rebuke directed toward Peter having the sword with him. Jesus was directing this toward the Jews, who had taken the Roman sword and would one day be punished severely for it. He was not saying to Peter that he should not have it all. To the contrary:
Jesus was not against keeping and bearing arms, in fact He commanded it! In spite of the clarity of this passage, their have been some attempts at explaining it away by saying the reference to sword here is totally figurative and what is meant here is the "sword of the Spirit." This makes no sense to me and actually causes more questions that it gives answers. For instance:
No, by signifying purse, scrip and sword, the Lord is advising them to take care of the physical needs while they journey by the way. They will need food, money, and protection. In doing the Lord's work, there would be physical necessities. And in fact, the Galilaeans carried swords often with them to protect from wild beasts and robbers who would come to cause them harm in their journeys. In our modern world, missionaries need food, they need money, and many times they need protection. All this is part of living in a wicked world. After Jesus was gone from them in a physical sense, they would need these things more so than while he was with them.
"But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1Timothy 5:8)
The provisions we must provide for ourselves and our families includes food, money, clothing, protection, etc.
they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It
is enough." (Luke 22:38)
Anyone who has ever been around someone opposed to weapons and arms would know that two would not have been enough, that would have been too much. No, Jesus did not rebuke Peter or the other Apostle for having the weapons but instead told them it was enough. (Note, some commentators and modern translators have added to this passage and made it to say "Enough of that; no more sword talk!" But that is not what it says either in the English or in the Greek! To alter the clear meaning of a Scripture to fit one's preconceived ideas is dangerous - See Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19.)
in God's House
I find that there are some who oppose the idea of weapons in the church. It has been a hotly debated subject in some circles of late and indeed in some states the government has stepped in. I do not believe this is a government matter and for any legislature or government authority to say what can or cannot be taken into a house of worship has overstepped its boundaries whether we agree with them or not. If a governmental authority can block a man from carrying a gun or sword into a private church building then that same authority can legislate whether you can carry a KJV Bible in there as well. Beware!
The question ought to be decided on the authority of Scriptures. Does the Bible forbid the carrying of arms into the house of God?
Conclusion. Peter had a sword, and so did at least one of the other apostles. Jesus Himself was not above the carrying of a weapon when necessary. The Bible does not forbid Christians from owning weapons, carrying weapons, or even of using them in defense. Weapons whether they be primitive (bows, arrows, swords etc) or modern (handguns, rifles , shotguns, etc) are tools. As tools they are neither good nor evil. Forbidding them from being owned or carried would render them useless. Owning or carrying is not for everyone, but the Bible nowhere forbids it.
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