I was shocked to see an article on CBSNews website reporting that a Pennsylvania school district was forced to close its elementary school because a nearby ‘church’, the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, decided to host a special dedication ceremony for AR-15 assault rifles.
Frankly, I am appalled at the insensitivity of the church to the reality of the impact of the ceremony on the children in the nearby school. The recent school shooting didn’t also affected students and teachers in other schools throughout the country. At the moment school many do not feel safe. The decision to host the dedication shows a dangerous detachment from reality and soul-tie with a weapon that can inflict considerable damage on an individual.
Given what was reported, I am lead to ask a question. What arm is the church called to bear in this dispensation? In this age of the Kingdom of God. Do we bear arms to defend an earthly kingdom? As we work to advance the Kingdom of God are rifles necessary? I do not remember reading that Paul and the disciples of the early church ever bore weapons. Paul would have been justified to carry swords and other implements of war with him when he went to share the gospel both among gentiles and Jews. There were constant threats to his life. Being assaulted was a regular part of his experience.
2 Corinthians 11:23-33
23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.
If anyone was involved in intense warfare it was Paul. He gave everything of himself for the advancement of the gospel in hostile territories that had long established religions and ideologies.
You would assume that he would have advised us to take up arms and fight for the faith. Yet it is this same man that advised us in:
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 Amplified Bible (AMP)
4 The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.
Seeing that our enemy is not flesh and blood but Satan and his army, Paul advised us in Ephesians 6:11-18 of the battle armor we are to wear. The word of God which is our sword. Righteous, our breastplate. Salvation, our helmet. Truth, our belt. Faith, our shield. The gossip must be our footwear. All are to be reinforced and maintained by continuous prayer. After we have put on this armor we are to charge the enemy through continuous prayer. The weapons against the Kingdom of darkness, not our fellow human beings, was fervent prayer, to empower him to speak the gospel boldly and that the doors will be opened to allow him to speak the Word of God.
Let’s forget Paul for a minute. Let us look at the response of the ultimate authority. We do not need to validate what comes from the mouth of Jesus with any other source. If we truly believe that He is God then we will accept that there is no contraction with what He says and other areas of the Bible. Therefore, I posit that His response to Peter’s use of a sword in the Garden of Gethsemane as an indication of His command to us.
Matthew 26:51-53 Amplified Bible (AMP)
51 And one of those who were with Jesus reached out and drew his sword, and struck [Malchus] the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back in its place; for all those who habitually draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will immediately provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
Do you realise the army he could have used to defend Himself? He could have called legions of angels. The same is available to us today. Don’t believe me? We are under a better covenant than the Prophet Elisha and he was defended by an army of angels. In 2 Kings 6:17-20 he was surrounded by an army that was going to kill him and make an example of him before an entire city. God surrounded him with an army of angels and gave him victory. He could have killed his enemies but he chose to show mercy. That act ended the war between the nations.
I know it is acceptable to have heavily armed bodyguards in some churches. Many use logic to justify their decision but is it acceptable to the Lord? If we are disciples of Jesus Christ aren’t we suppose to follow His example? Was Jesus of Nazareth constantly in danger? Did he arm himself or have the disciples fight for him? What did He say to John and James when they wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy Samaria? He rebuked them.
Luke 9:51-56 Amplified Bible (AMP)
51 Now when the time was approaching for Him to be taken up [to heaven], He was determined to go to Jerusalem [to fulfill His purpose]. 52 He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went into a Samaritan village to make arrangements for Him; 53 but the people would not welcome Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. 54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and destroy them?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them [and He said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are; 56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] And they journeyed on to another village.
I fear some church leaders have placed themselves above the One they serve. They have used the liberty of the gospel for their convenience. So many leaders want to be revered but are unwilling to lay down their life for the sake of the gospel. We are all called to live a crucified life. Jesus Christ lived this life and so should we. It is acceptable for servants to be like their Master but not above Him.
John 15:20 Amplified Bible (AMP)
20 Remember [and continue to remember] that I told you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
Matthew 10:24-25 Amplified Bible (AMP)
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a bond-servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the bond-servant like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul (Satan), how much more [will they speak evil of] the members of his household.
You will notice from the above scriptures that Jesus spoke about his persecution during his ministry. The purpose was to prepare the disciples for what was to come. At no point were they told to take up arms. Their defense was to respond in love to the opposition. Their only battle was to preach and teach the gospel everywhere.
We all want to go to the next level. We want more anointing. We want more power. We want the glory. But we do not want the cross. The anointing, the power, the glory are crowns that come with a cross. No cross. No crown.
Matthew 10:38-39 Amplified Bible (AMP)
38 And he who does not take his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] is not worthy of Me. 39 Whoever finds his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], and whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity].
Jesus said it expressly. If we are not willing to lay down our life for the sake of the gospel we are not worthy of Him. That’s why we have good sermons but no power. Great facilities but no power. Great teachings without revelation or a current word from God in so many assembly. This is why old paradigms, dogma, entertainment and well organised programs parade for the anointing.
Honor and fear is sought from men. If honor is sought of man will it be given of the heavenly Father?
The Case for A Nation Defending Itself
I can understand when a nation must take up arm to defend itself. There are numerous cases of this in the Bible. The Bible tells us not to kill but allowance is made for national defense. Even so God still upheld the sanctity of the life of a kinsman – your fellow man.
If we decide to maintain firearms at home for our protection, are semi-automatic rifles needed? Do we need to keep these rifles around youths that have been fed a steady diet of violence through mainstream media. And have come to not regard the sanctity of life. Rather than walk away and forgive or seek peaceful means to settle an argument it seems the new norm is to let bullets mediate.
Rifles will Not Save the Church (Prophesy)
Whether we like it or not persecution is coming for western churches. It will draw cults out into the open. Their plans for civil war will be revealed.
The real saints who do not love their life will be revealed. The fires of persecution are going to shake the church from its place of comfort in the world. It will shake the church from its slumber. Those that truly love the Lord will be revealed. Clear lines of demarcation will be drawn.
The true church will emerge purified. Persecution will help us to drop the artificial lines that separate us. We will be forced to work together to survive.
Real defense will come from the Holy Spirit. No one will die until their time. Bullets fired at point blank range will not be able to kill the saints until the Lord allows it.
Intense persecution is coming. The real church will willingly lay down its life for the sake of the gospel. These are the people with the testimony of Jesus Christ and His spirit in them.
Those who have received the spirit of Barabbas (son of God), the rebellious false Messiah, will take up stockpiles of arms they will engage in military battles with the armies and other security forces.
There end will be certain. All will witness it.
Yet the true church shall not die. It shall emerge stronger. It shall stand with the Lord Jesus Christ at its head. Holy fire shall be among them. A glory and power that has never been witnessed before shall be given to them.
They will do tremendous spiritual exploit for God.