Friday, July 31, 2009

Did Jesus Advise Carrying A Weapon? - Luke 22:36 (#2ndAmendment)

I have always felt that the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms was not only constitutional but also God-given. Decide for yourself. Read the following extracts from "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments: Luke 22:36 &37-38.

Verse 36
And he said unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a wallet; and he that hath none, let him sell his cloak, and buy a sword.

The absolute pacifist tradition among Christians of all ages and the acceptance of it by many commentators make this verse "a real problem" for many. Most commentators view the passage as figurative, as did Geldenhuys, who said, "The Lord intended (these words) in a figurative sense." F19 But if the sword is figurative, what about the purse, the wallet, and the cloak?

As Hobbs said, "It is impossible to tone down this statement; neither can we dismiss it as not being a genuine saying of Jesus." F20 The clear meaning of the passage is that "a sword" is the one thing needful, even surpassing in priority such an important item as a cloak. The two errors to be avoided here are (1) the supposition that the gospel should be spread by the sword, and (2) the notion that a sword should ever be employed against lawful authority. Before the evening was over, the Lord would have further occasion to demonstrate the proper and improper uses of the sword. Barnes was certainly correct in his view that "These directions (concerning the sword) were not made with reference to his being taken in the garden but to their future lives." F21

J. S. Lamar, an eminent Restoration scholar, expressed surprise "to find several of the ablest Protestant expositors interpreting (this passage) as a warrant for self-defense." F22 Nevertheless, the view maintained here is that self-defense is exactly what Jesus taught. Self-defense is a basic, natural right of all men, and there is no lawful government on earth that denies it. Just why should it be supposed that Jesus denied to Christians such a basic right has never been explained. "Resist not evil ... go the second mile ... turn the other cheek... give thy cloak also, etc." are not applicable to situations in which one's life is threatened, or endangered.

Verses 37, 38
For I say unto you, that this which is written must be fulfilled in me, And he was reckoned with transgressors: for that which concerneth me hath fulfillment. And they said, Lord, behold here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

That which is written must be fulfilled ...
The avowed intention of the Pharisees was to kill Jesus by assassination (Matthew 26:1-5); and despite their change of strategy due to the treachery of Judas, many of them doubtless preferred the method of killing Jesus they had already agreed upon; and the view here is that Christ would have ordered the apostles to resist any effort to assassinate him. The sword in view here, therefore, was an assurance that his purpose of witnessing his godhead before the Sanhedrin would not be thwarted by an untimely assassination.

When the time came, of course, Jesus would submit to arrest by lawful authority; and the possession by his apostles of swords, coupled with his prohibition of their use against such lawful authority, emphatically dramatized the willingness of his submission. Barnes' note that "the apostles followed the customs of the country, and had with them some means of defense" F23 is doubtless true.

It is enough ...
It is customary to interpret this expression as an assertion that the disciples were missing his point altogether, as if he had said, "Enough of this!" But there is no valid reason for supposing that these words mean anything other than "two swords are enough." As a matter of fact, the swords were a necessary part of the drama of the Lords arrest. Jesus used the excision of Malchus' ear as an occasion to command Peter to put up his sword into "its place," a powerful endorsement of the premise that such a sword of self-defense HAS its place (see my Commentary on Matthew, Matthew 26:52). Significantly, even then, Jesus neither commanded Peter to throw his sword away or surrender it.

14 comments:

  1. The sheep will be slaughtered because they tone down the real scripture and the pastors are leading them astray.

    And he said unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a wallet; and he that hath none, let him sell his cloak, and buy a sword.!!!

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    1. Matthew 26:52 "Put your sword back in it's place." Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."

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    2. "Put your sword back in it's place.", not surrender it, THINK ABOUT IT!

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  2. Jesus didn't write the Bible, it was a collaboration by many. If this is you're only argument against guns being made illegal, don't expect to win.

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  3. John, you're intuitively right, whether you know how to explain it (yet) or not. Weapons are just tools, and the question is how they are used.

    From the Cherubim in the garden, to the warrior king David, to the returning King with His robes dipped in blood, we see a God completely comfortable with the appropriate use of force. Our God is a warrior as well as a lover. Being helpless is a curse in the OT, not a blessing.

    I particularly appreciate the Jews' understanding of the 2nd Amendment, after their experience with the Holocaust. See http://www.a-human-right.com, as an example, offering excellent commentary and graphics.

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  4. Gary, I too highly recommend www.humanright.com . I have used their images often!

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  5. An excellent post, John! Thank you!
    I've used the same scriptures to counter "pacifists", but I hadn't considered the point you brought out, "That which is written MUST BE FULFILLED!" (Excellent!)

    Be Blessed!
    Pastor J.O. Williams
    Tulsa, Oklahoma USA (Sweet land of Liberty!)

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  6. "Those who beat their muskets into plows will plow for those who don't"--Thomas Jefferson

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  7. This was within the context of verse 35 which says "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?""Nothing", they answered. In other words, before I took care of all your needs, but upon the coming hour I suggest that you take all necessary precautions because I will not be using my supernatural ability since this will be satan's hour.

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  8. The assertion that the 2nd Ammendment is a God-given right is ludicrous. 2nd Ammendment is about right to bear fire arms, not about self-defense generally. There is nothing in the Bible about guns, gun ownership, etc., either literally or symbolically. It's unwarrented to extrapolate generic self-defense rights to gun rights in specific.

    Even if it were warrented, the biblical passage quoted has been grossly misinterpreted. Seen in the context of the Last Supper, the author of Luke is speaking symbolically. Why does Jesus say, in verse 22:38 that only two swords are "enough" for 12 disciples? Because the two swords are symbolic of the prophecy that the Messiah would be crucified between two criminals. Here's a comprehensive analysis and interpretation: http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/luke_22_36.htm

    Here's full chapter: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22&version=NIV

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  9. This is great news for us who thought real men carried purses!! Seriously, Solomon's kingdom should be an example of peace through strength. He had thousands of horses and chariots. This was for protection not sport. This was a great insight and I'm glad I read it.

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  10. A sword was a Roman military weapon, and illegal under penalty of death for civilians to own. By having swords Jesus broke Roman law ("counted among the transgressors")and made it possible for the Jewish priests to have him arrested and turned over to the Romans. The Old Testament described the way he was to die and that was the Roman way. Having swords meant fulfillment of prophecy.

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  11. When did Jesus or his disciples ever use force??? Answer, NEVER. So if the on of god did not use force and we all know there were ample times that he could of, how then can we?

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  12. Jesus hand made a whip and whipped the money changers out of the temple. Is that enough force? He definitely recognized the right of the disciples to protect themselves in Luke 22:36. What Jesus did not condone was vengeance as the Lord says vengeance is His. Did you even read the post?

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