Jesus says in - Matthew 10:34 - “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword."
Think for a moment as to what this sword describes.
Matthew 26:48-53 - 48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
Some people see this sword verse as Christians being called upon to be passive. But, let’s unpack this a little: Peter pulls out the sword and without thinking, cuts the guys earlobe off. Jesus then says to Peter for him to apostreyon (apostrepson) to turn away “his” sword – because it isn’t Jesus’ will to be defended right now. In fact, He went on to say – all He would have to do to protect Himself, would be to pray and the angels would come.
So – just think about what the sword means here…
Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life.
What does the sword represent here? Who is delivering the sword?
Ephesians 6:17 - Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Who is the watchman – or who could the watchman be? What does it mean for the watchman to blow the trumpet and warn the people?
John 16:7-15 - Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
Here the Holy Spirit brings the sword (truth/conviction) to the Watchman. The watchman is then convicted and he chooses to be obedient by blowing the trumpet.
1 Corinthians 6:2 -Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
We are called to judge, not of ourselves, but of the Holy Spirit. As a Christ follower, we are sanctified, we are saints, we are his children, called to follow Him.
The same applies watchman does his job, when he has conviction from the Lord and announces to those around him. Those who don’t listen to warnings – will continue in their sin and ultimately lose their lives. But those who listen will save their lives.
6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’
In other words as written in the NLT version: 6 But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’
Are you picking up what I’m throwing down? The watchman in this example knows he should say something, but he is either uncomfortable with blowing the trumpet OR it is too much of an inconvenience or burden to blow that trumpet. Ultimately he disregarded the conviction that came upon him from the Holy Spirit and disobeyed God. The watchman will be ultimately held accountable for their deaths.
7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
There is nothing comfortable about this scripture. Why do you think people get uneasy around true evangelical Christians? Why do you think so many men just stay home and won’t step out of their comfort zones to be challenged or to challenge others?
What does this mean guys??? Let’s take a quick look at Matthew 7:1-5 - “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
At the surface, doesn’t this again sound like the, live by the sword, dies by the sword scripture? Don’t pick up your sword, otherwise you will be run through. But that’s right isn’t it? Don’t pick up your sword – use the sword OF the Holy Spirit. Same thing here – Don’t judge using your judgment, because otherwise you will be judged to the same measure. Clear out the crap, which is often enough – us getting in our own way and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us so that we can then remove the plank from our eye, so we will then see clearly to remove the speak from your brother’s eye.
10 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”’ 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
If we are stuck in sin, how can we live? God tells them, turn away from your evil ways, then you can live.
We might be called upon to be that watchman, to blow the trumpet. In those times, we are being called to judge in righteousness through the conviction of the Holy Spirit and in the power and authority of Jesus Christ. So here is an example:
Ezekiel 23:43-49 - Then I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, ‘Will they commit harlotry with her now, and she with them?’ 44 Yet they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot; thus they went in to Oholah and Oholibah, the lewd women. 45 But righteous men will judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and after the manner of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their hands.
Righteous men will judge them. Remember it’s very different, between Righteous and Self-Righteous. The Pharisees and Sadducees were more often associated with self-righteous. But those who are led by the Holy Spirit judge righteously.
Ezekiel 23:46 - “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Bring up an assembly against them, give them up to trouble and plunder. 47 The assembly shall stone them with stones and execute them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire. 48 Thus I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be taught not to practice your lewdness. 49 They shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall pay for your idolatrous sins. Then you shall know that I am the Lord God.’”
Man, that’s brutal, right? So, what do you think of women being stoned and being executed with swords – etc. If you believe He is talking about actually killing women right now with stones and swords, raise your hand.
Going back to the first of the chapter 23 -
The word of the Lord came again to me, saying: 2 “Son of man, there were two women, The daughters of one mother. 3 They committed harlotry in Egypt, They committed harlotry in their youth; Their breasts were there embraced, Their virgin bosom was there pressed. 4 Their names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; They were Mine, And they bore sons and daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is Oholibah.
How many times have we read scripture, but for whatever reason, the context eluded us and we didn’t understand what was being asked of us? This example is amazing, how it talks of two women, to make it more personal, to speak about having rocks thrown at them and a sword to execute them. Another parable, to really get you invested – to really think about these issues. When we see sin in progress, we are to listen to what the Holy Spirit tells you and act upon it. As it says – “Righteous men will judge them.”
But the part that most people don’t read is at the very first of this scripture: As for their names, where it identifies the women as Samaria and Jerusalem. Any country that you know of today that sounds like either of these?
12 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ 13 When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. 14 Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
You’re not going to get by on your good deeds if you fall into sin.
You are also not doomed if you were wicked all your life and turn away from sin and live righteously.
17 “Yet the children of your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair! 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. 19 But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it. 20 Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.”
Here is what we are up against – some of the issues we can run up against:
Here are some scriptures to give some direction:
Matthew 16:24 - Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Mark 16:15 - And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Matthew 7:5 - First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye
1 Corinthians 2:15 - But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
Matthew 6:19-20 - “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Ephesians 6:19-20(NIV) - Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Jesus calls each one of us, according to the works that He wants to do through us by the Holy Spirit, according to the gifts that God has granted us, to impact the lives of people that are in our spheres of influence – according to His will. Whatever that may look like. It has to really sink in, about the importance of following convictions, to speak out against what is wrong according to His will - because the alternative could be someone’s death. But above that, if we aren’t stepping up in those times of conviction, then we are judged as guilty for not stepping up to His calling. He wants us to choose life and righteousness for ourselves and to stand up for those around us.
Remember, I’m not selling anything. Ultimately this truth needs to be worked out between you and God. I just ask that as you hear this, that you will take it into consideration, pray about it and apply it in the way you feel led.
John 18:10 - Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
1 Timothy 2:5 - For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus
1 John 4:1 - Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Isaiah 8:20 - To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
2 Corinthians 13:1 - This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”
Matthew 10:19 - But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;
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