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Sword or Not



By Dr. Richard Ing

November 5, 2008




Recently, a question has come up that is of utmost importance.  Here’s the question:  What does the Bible say about bearing arms in the end times to protect ourselves and family?  A passage in Luke 22 has been presented as reason for purchasing firearms.  Starting from verse 36, that scripture says, “Then said He unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” 


Revelation 13:10 says, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.  Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”  Some that favor buying guns interpret the first sentence of this scripture as referring to non-believers.  In other words, it is a warning to non-believers not to take Christians into captivity because they themselves will be made captive, and not to kill with the sword less they be killed with the sword by the saints.


Others claim that the original Greek words meant that if a person is in captivity, he has been led into captivity, and if a person is killed by the sword, it was ordained that he be killed with the sword.


After researching many Bibles, I cannot find any Bible using the above two interpretations.  Remember, if one has a preconceived concept or idea, it is possible to look around for some way to change the meaning of a scripture to fit your idea or interpretation.  With that in mind, let’s look to other scriptures to shed some light on the subject.




What was the mind set of the disciples at the time Jesus made the comment in Luke 22:36?  In Luke 22:2, we find:  “And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill Him; for they feared the people.”  See also, Matthew 26:3-4.  Therefore, there was a plot to kill Jesus.  They disciples would have, in all probability, heard about it and knew that they were in danger.  Moreover, as the twelve sat down with Jesus at the last supper, the Lord said, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”  Lk. 22:15-16. 


In Matthew 26:31, Jesus told His disciples, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”  They all knew something bad was about to happen that night and they had to defend themselves.  Jesus warned them that He, as their shepherd, would be smitten and the disciples would be scattered.

In verse 18, the Lord continued: “For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.”  Jesus said in no uncertain terms that He was about to suffer and be taken prisoner or killed, because He would not eat with them any more. 


Immediately thereafter, the Lord said, “For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.”  Lk. 22:37.  Jesus knew that Isaiah 53:12 prophesied that he would be “numbered with the transgressors” and “made intercession for the transgressors.”  While some may conclude that the transgressors would be the two thieves on either side of the Lord when He hung on the cross, Isaiah 53:12 actually refers to His disciples that resisted arrest with the sword and was considered to be criminals.  See The Amplified Bible.  He was numbered or counted among the criminals – His disciples.  The Bible does not say that Jesus interceded for the two thieves. 


In Matthew 26:10-13 (that passage speaks of the same episode), a woman came to pour ointment on his head.  When the disciples complained about her wasting money, Jesus said, “. . . she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.”  Mt. 26:13. 


Thus, the disciples were on high alert.  They knew something bad was coming.  In Luke 22:21, Jesus revealed that someone among them would betray Him.  In Luke 22:23, Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death.”  In Matthew 26:35, all the disciples said likewise.  Therefore, without a shadow of a doubt, the mind set of the apostles was that they were in grave danger that night.  There was an air of expectation that Jesus would be arrested and perhaps killed.


Jesus knew their fears and thoughts and when the Lord told them to buy swords, He was chiding them and allowing it so that prophecies about Him could be fulfilled.  He was about to teach them one last lesson before He was arrested.  He said, “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing?  And they said, Nothing.” In other words, when they depended solely on God, He always provided for them.  God knew their every need and took care of it.


“And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords.  And He said unto them, It is enough.”  Lk. 22:38.  It was sufficient for the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 53:12 and the lesson at hand.




In Luke 22:50 and Matthew 26:47, a multitude with came to arrest Jesus pursuant to a “legal” order from the chief priests and elders of the people.  The disciples resisted arrest and one of them cut off the right ear of one of the servants of the high priest (Mt. 26:51; Lk. 22:50), thus becoming transgressors against the chief priests.  The prophecy from Isaiah was fulfilled.  Jesus immediately said, “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 then twelve legions of angels?”  Mt. 26:52.  He then healed the servant’s ear. 


If Jesus had prayed for angels, the Father would have rescued Him.  He trusted in the Father.  However, Jesus wanted to do the will of the Father and He turned not away from His destiny.  The same is true with you and me.  Whatever the Father’s will is, we are to embrace it.  If it is Lord’s will that we be martyred, then so be it.  If not, no one and nothing in this entire universe can take away even one second of time from the life span allotted to you by God.




God doesn’t need the help of man.  In 2 Samuel 6:6, the ark of God was placed on a new cart and transported to the City of David.  The oxen caused the cart to lurch and Uzzah stretched forth his hands to touch and steady and ark.  “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.”


God doesn’t need the help of man.  He is in total control.  All power and authority comes from Him.  If you buy a gun, you are saying that you do not trust in God or believe that He is powerful enough to protect you.


In 1 Samuel 4, the Philistines warred against Israel and because of the sins of the people, God allowed the Philistines to defeat Israel and capture the ark of God.  1 Sa. 4:1-11.  The ark was taken by the Philistines to their own country and placed in the temple of Dagon, their god.  The next morning they found the statue of Dagon had fallen.  They stood it up again and the next morning found the statue had fallen again and its head and palms of its hands had broken off.  1 Sa. 5:3, 4.  Thereafter, God struck the Philistines with emerods and destroyed them. The Philistines decided to return the ark to the Israelites.


They put the ark on a new cart and put two mother cows in front of the cart to pull it.  Mother cows will never leave their calves.  They will break down fences to get to their calves.  But this time, the cows did not even call for their calves.  They went a long distance without breaking stride and brought the ark back to the land of the Israelites.  1 Sa. 6:7-12.  The lesson is:  God is in control.  He owns the cows, the ark and the cart and is well able to protect what belongs to Him.  He doesn’t need guns and weapons to protect you or any of His people.  He doesn’t need your help.




There are many accounts of miraculous protection and deeds by God to protect His people supernaturally.  We list a few below:


  • Moses and the Red Sea.
  • Gideon’s army.
  • Walls of Jericho
  • David and Goliath.
  • Jehoshaphat – 2 Chr. 20:17, 23.  God had the enemy kill each other.
  • Hezekiah – 2 Chr. 32:21.  God sent an angel to destroy the enemy.
  • Ac. 5:19 – Peter, etc. in prison.  An angel freed them.
  • Ac. 12:7-8 – Peter in prison.  An angel released him.
  • The many trials of Paul.




A few years back, we were traveling at least 50 mph when the car in front of us had a flat tire.  Our van hit the rear of the car and a large bus in back of us came barreling down on our van.  The bus skidded to a stop and its front just touched the back of our van leaving only two strips of paint two to three feet apart that came off, exposing the white primer paint beneath the top coat.  There were no dents in the van.  Imagine that!  The bus had to be perfectly square or flush with the back of our van to cause no dents, and only chip off a layer of paint less than 1/16th of an inch thick.  Any deviation from square would leave a dent.  Even if scientists tried to duplicate it, they could not.  


In another experience, I prayed for a man 6’1” tall who was an ex-goon for the local crime syndicate.  He was a body builder.  I was afraid that he would become violent during prayer and throw me out the 7th story window.  God took away his strength and he couldn’t even stand up for 10 to 15 minutes.


Recently, I was in San Diego for a seminar.  It was raining when we arrived and as we made a dash for the back door, I tripped with my Bible and manuals under my left arm.  I slid in a puddle of water and my head hit a wall.  According to our driver, he heard a thud.  I stood up embarrassed, but had not a single scratch on my body.  My head was perfectly fine and there were no bruises, strawberries or cuts anywhere.  My Bible, manuals and clothes had not a drop of water on them.  My trousers looked perfectly pressed.  I didn’t even drop my books.  Nothing was amiss.  It was like nothing happened.  I believe that God’s angels protected me.




Trust in God with all your heart.  Seek ye first the kingdom of God.  Whatever God’s will is, He is in control.  No one and nothing can prevent God from taking care of you and your family, except your unbelief.  You are safe under His wings and covered by His feathers.

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