Sword Free Zones

That time Jesus banned swords

Sword violence was rampant while Jesus lived on the earth. Fortunately for those who lived during that time, Jesus issued a decree and banned swords from certain areas of the nations. Thankfully, sword violence decreased dramatically once Jesus established a law that permanently removed swords from those particular areas. Potential criminals agreed to no longer carry swords in those areas and the people were safe.

Does that story sound accurate? It shouldn’t, because it isn’t true. Yet it is the same type of fantasy land that some Christians live in today. Our nation experienced another tragedy last week and some Christians believe that the way to fix the issue is by making it more difficult for people to own firearms. They believe in so called “common sense” gun laws and proclaim that… “those who live by the sword, die by the sword”.

Why didn’t Jesus ban swords or create sword free zones when He walked the earth? He certainly had the authority to. That would have brought peace to the earth, right? No, but the answer is quite simple. Jesus knows where violence comes from. Violence is rooted in sin. Our sinful desires are what cause us to fight, steal, and murder. “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:1-2

Weapons aren’t the problem

Sword free zones wouldn’t have solved anything, because mankind is rebellious to God. Mankind has experienced murder from almost the very beginning. Cain killed Abel with what some scholars believe was a rock (Genesis 4:8). David killed Goliath with a sling and a stone (1 Samuel 17:49). Members of the Sanhedrin stoned Stephen to death (Acts 7:59-60). Things haven’t changed much throughout history. Sinful mankind will use just about any tool they can get their hands on to murder.

Jesus knows that weapons are not the cause for murder. Jesus knows that murder comes from the sin in our hearts. And Jesus knows that banning weapons does not change hearts. Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 15:19

Die by the sword

Jesus never told his disciples to get rid of their swords. In fact, Jesus told his disciples to purchase a sword (Luke 22:36). Jesus did say the following words… “Put your sword back in its place, Jesus said to him, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Matthew 26:52

However, those words must be taken in context. Jesus was speaking directly to Peter after he cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. Jesus was telling Peter that he would die if he didn’t sheath his sword. It was not a blanket statement in regards to owning or carrying weapons.

Instead of advocating against firearms, we should be praying for the victims of the tragedy in Orlando, along with their families. We should be seeking Jesus and asking that our hearts would be right with Him. We should confess our sins to Him and repent. We should be praying that He heals our land. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

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The Great Conspiracy Against Jesus

Conspiracy theorists are crazy

Mel Gibson starred in the 1997 movie “Conspiracy Theory“, and portrayed a seemingly crazy man (Jerry Fletcher), who believed in a variety of conspiracy theories. It turns out that he was correct about at least one of the conspiracy theories he believed in, as Dr. Jonas (Patrick Stewart) actually attempted to keep conspiratorial secrets hidden by drugging and abusing him.

We should admit the fact that conspiracy theorists are crazy, right? And since they are crazy, it is perfectly acceptable to condemn them and look down upon them, right? After all, the Bible doesn’t speak to conspiracy theories or even mention the word conspiracy. The majority of people don’t seem to believe in conspiracy theories, so why should we? Why should we believe in conspiracy theories, when the government, Hollywood, and mainstream media generally reject such crazy ideas?

After all, conspiracy theories such as MKUltra are absurd, right? As Lee Corso (ESPN, College Game Day) would say, “not so fast, my friend”. It turns out that MKUltra was proven to be a very real mind-control test that was authorized by the CIA in 1953. Test subjects were given mind altering drugs, such as LSD, while having the impression they were assisting in medical research. The MKUltra conspiracy theory was found to be a conspiracy fact in the 1970’s.

Jesus is arrested

It is interesting how often Christians use the phrase “don’t judge people”, yet when someone mentions a conspiracy theory, many Christians harshly criticize and reject the conspiracy theorist. Many times we judge others simply because their ideas don’t conform to our preconceived notions of truth. Yet, how do we know that our preconceived notions of truth are correct? Have we really researched everything we believe to be true?

The word conspiracy is found in the Bible. While different words (schemed, consulted, plotted) are used in place of conspiracy in some translations, they all have essentially the same definition. In fact, the most important conspiracy of all time is recorded in the book of Matthew. “Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him.” Matthew 26:3-4

Jesus was the victim of a great conspiracy. The chief priests and elders conspired against Jesus by having Him arrested and killed. Of course, Judas played a role in the conspiracy against Jesus as well. All this to say, that if you believe God’s word to be true, you also believe in at least one conspiracy theory that is now known as conspiracy fact. Interestingly enough, the disciples seemed to believe Jesus when He foretold of this conspiracy. “…”Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?””

Conspiracies do exist

A conspiracy is defined as “a secret plan made by two or more people to do something that is harmful or illegal”. Therefore, a conspiracy theory is simply a belief of a plan between two or more people to cause harm. These days there are too many conspiracy theories to even begin to keep track of. And the truth is that there are some conspiracy theories that are factual and some that are fiction. It is as simple as that. Since not all conspiracy theories are fiction, we should at least be open to hearing about them.

Don’t be fooled into believing that all conspiracy theories are true, either. There are some conspiracy theories that are far from the truth. We shouldn’t believe everything we read or hear (1 John 4:1). However, we should be willing to follow the truth wherever it leads us. Whether we are watching t.v., listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, searching the internet, or talking to friends, we should be cautious in what we believe. Pray to the Lord for direction in the things you should believe to be true and research multiple sources before arriving at a conclusion. “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.” Proverbs 14:15

At the same time, don’t be too quick to dismiss someone’s thoughts just because they are different then your own. Maybe you will learn something from someone else, if you take the time to listen to what they have to say. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” James 1:19 Most importantly, if you don’t know what to believe, take it to the Lord. He will guide you to the truth!