Bearing Arms in the Bible

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Whether bearing arms is a hot topic in our politics or not, the subject isn’t just in our news headlines; it’s actually found in a number of places in the Bible. For this reason I wanted to write about it so that when we are discipling the nations we can take God’s stance and not just human opinion.

So where exactly does God stand on someone’s right to defend themselves and does He have anything to say about the type of defense we are to have? Let’s go to the scriptures starting in Nehemiah:

13 then I stationed men in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the exposed places, and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows...16 From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. 17 Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. 18 As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built, while the trumpeter stood near me…21 So we carried on the work with half of them holding spears from dawn until the stars appeared...23 So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water. NASB

Here we have an example of regular citizens (note the “people in families” in v13) that are taking up arms against the threat of having their lives taken from them. As far as what they are specifically defending, In verse 14 the man of God tells the people to “fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses”. Now what were these regular citizens using to defend themselves with? It says swords, spears and bows. When you look at these implements you can see three different ranges of engagement represented. The sword was close range followed by the spear and then the bow being the longest ranged tool in their arsenal. If we bring these into the technology of today we can see short, medium, and long ranged weaponry as well. These people were using the handguns, shotguns and rifles of their age to defend themselves.

Unfortunately this wasn’t always the case though. Let’s look at another time in Israel’s history when the people weren’t able to defend themselves…

19 Now no blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears.” 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines, each to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, and his hoe. 21 The charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to fix the hoes. 22 So it came about on the day of battle that neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan, but they were found with Saul and his son Jonathan. NASB

So let’s think about this. God decided to put this little fact into the living Word. The Word that shall never pass away even though the heavens and the Earth will. Apparently this point was worth showing! If a nation is disarmed then it can be controlled.

You may be wondering if any of this is relevant in the New Testament so let’s move on to what Jesus said in Luke:

35 And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” 36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. NASB

I can see a lot of folks saying that the Lord was using the sword as a representation of the Word but contextually this wouldn’t make sense. In verse 35 he is referencing when he had originally sent out the 70 to evangelize with the orders to do so with no physical goods. He did this to teach them trust but now right before His death He knew that the times and seasons were changing. So much so that Jesus now showed that a weapon would be more valuable than clothing.

Now that we see that God shows that weaponry is a good thing to have on hand let’s turn toward our responsibilities with them. Starting in Ezekiel 33…

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’ NASB

This shows that we have a responsibility to defend the defenseless and warn people of coming danger. I really like how Psalm 82 puts it…

2-4 “Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough,
    you’ve let the wicked get away with murder.
You’re here to defend the defenseless,
    to make sure that underdogs get a fair break;
Your job is to stand up for the powerless,
    and prosecute all those who exploit them.” MSG

Think of it this way – In John 10 it says that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. Through this look into the enemy’s strategy we can know the natural progression that he takes against you. If someone breaks into your home to steal, know that they are under a demonic influence. If they are under such a thing then the temptation and the drive from Satan is to elevate it to killing you. Then, once they have killed they will be driven to utterly destroy you.

Thus I believe (to the extent that the law allows) that it is required of every guardian of every Christian household to be prepared to defend themselves in the same manner that Nehemiah and the Israelites had to. Once the invader has crossed the boundary of the inheritance, the season to give charity and be at peace has ended and now it is time to defend just as Eccl 3:8 states.

Some will say though that the angels of the Lord protect them and that defending themselves isn’t their responsibility. Yes, the angelic armies of the Lord of Hosts are encamped around and about those who fear God, but often in scripture it is shown that they aren’t involved with all of the fighting. With Joshua and the Israelites more fell by the hail of the Lord than the sword, but many still fell by the sword. God sent forth an angel before Joshua to cut off the mighty men of the enemy but not the rest. It is also said that the glory of the Lord shall be our rear guard. So who then is the front guard? Did the angels inherit your home? Are their names on the title and were they given dominion over the Earth?

Here’s how I look at it – The Lord strengthens my hands for battle and my fingers for war (Psalm 144:1) and I am to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9) but for anything that I can’t handle I have the backup of Heaven for ultimately the battle is the Lord’s!

Breaking the Shackles Through Judgement

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Hello everyone, I’m back from a bit of a sabbatical after the birth of my son in June. Mother and baby are doing well!

Anyway, while I was taking a break I had time to meditate a bit in the Word about the recent Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Since then a lot of folks have been asking why. Why would God allow something like this to get through? With a remnant church praying and interceding why didn’t God stop this?

When you read in Proverbs 21:1 that God is able to guide a king’s heart wherever He pleases, you kind of wonder why God didn’t just choose to tip it in His favor.

The interesting thing about seeing this type of occurrence in the Bible though is that sometimes the Lord chooses to allow a king’s heart to harden against Him. Why? Well let’s see what happened to Pharaoh in the time of Moses…

The Bible states in Exod 9:12 that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh so that he would not listen to God’s people. I’ve always wondered why such a thing was done. I mean, wouldn’t it have been so much easier for the Israelites to just have divine favor with the king of Egypt? One heart turn towards what we think is the right direction and boom! God’s people are on their way to build the tabernacle in the wilderness! Instant prayer answered, right?

Here’s the thing though — every time Pharaoh had his heart hardened God sent a different plague. Why does this matter? Each plague that God sent against the wicked broke a stronghold in the people’s minds about one of their top deities. The plagues that God used were tailored to completely and utterly destroy any faith that the Egyptians had in their false gods. Before God turned the Nile into blood they thought there was a better god that presided over the Nile. Before He put darkness over all of Egypt (except where Moses and the Israelites were) the common thought was that the sun came from another god. By the time these plagues ran their course all of Egypt knew who the one true God was. Not only were the forces of darkness ruined in the eyes of the people and before God, their hold on Israel was too. Oh, and so was their hold on the wealth of the nation. When the exodus began the Bible says that Egypt was plundered of its gold (Exod 12:36).

So did God take the route that everyone thought would be better? No. He did however take the best route. In order for a nation to see breakthrough and for God’s people to inherit and posses the land there must first be a breaking of the spiritual darkness over the land; in the minds of the people as well as in the heavenlies. Before a whole nation turned away from Baal when fire fell down on Elijah’s altar, God had to send a famine to show everyone where the rain really comes from.  I know we all want to run for the hills away from the word “judgement” and we want to be like Abraham and Moses and plead with God to have mercy on others. Sometimes the Lord has to spank a nation to save future generations though.

Judgement against the wicked isn’t something we who have a covenant through the blood of Jesus should be worried about. None of the plagues touched the children of Israel when they were living right next door to the ones who were getting hit with it all. Granted, a portion of the covenant blessing and protection is God’s instruction and foresight so that we who have the Holy Spirit can prepare knowing judgement is coming; just like the passover.

Now what we need to ask ourselves is whether or not we’ve allowed the Holy Spirit to shape us. When judgement comes hidden wealth gets revealed, one talent servant portions are relocated, and inheritances are passed out. Are you a Cyrus or a Belshazzar? When the Lord comes a’ weighing will you measure up?

 

 

 

Restitution Plunder

When I was a little boy the most interesting thing to me about the Bible was all the battle stories. Nothing got me more into listening to the Word than hearing a tale about these amazing heroes that just did these ridiculous feats that no one else could do. They were real super heroes! Not the fake kind on the cartoons but ones that actually existed and if God empowered them, then He could empower me too! All I ever really wanted to hear about was David’s mighty men, or Joshua, or those crazy battles in the book of Judges where Samson would win against impossible odds. I can’t forget about the hail that would fall from the sky to destroy the enemy too. That was the icing on the cake.

Well today I want to talk about another awesome battle of supernatural strength. This one isn’t usually heard about though because it’s nestled right in there in the middle of a bunch of those “begats” in 1 Chronicles. You know… that book you ignore and then go and read 1 Kings instead.

I see you…

Jesus sees you…

Anyway, I just want to point out 1 Chronicles 5:18-22. Real short and sweet, but powerful –

18 The sons of Reuben and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, consisting of valiant men, men who bore shield and sword and shot with bow and were skillful in battle, were 44,760, who went to war. 19 They made war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. 20 They were helped against them, and the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hand; for they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him. 21 They took away their cattle: their 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys; and 100,000 men. 22 For many fell slain, because the war was of God. And they settled in their place until the exile. NASB

Here’s the thing that makes this fight for the promised land different. This is not the days of Joshua. Quite some time has gone by since the days when all the tribes were supposed to get their allotment of the land of Canaan. These folks had been waiting a long time. Their portion had been postponed. If this sounds familiar, just wait because I hear the story ends well.

Think about this though… All the cattle, camels, sheep, and donkeys were never raised by the Israelite. These soldiers didn’t tend any of those animals. Nope; not one. Not a single day did they have to heft out the feed bag or fight off predators to protect them. All they had to do was become valiant and skillful in battle with the sword, shield and bow. All the days that they were sitting outside their rightful portion God just had the Canaanites raising that plunder for them.

When the time came for breakthrough, all of the character development and training paid off and God walked them in and gave them the farm. God has plunder for each and everyone of us that grants restitution for our time spent in the wilderness. This truly shows that even when the enemy tries to offer us a “shortcut” to success, it’s not really the quickest way. The alternate path will have us meander about to and fro until we finally end up in true poverty. God’s way is quicker. He’s just waiting for the right time and a few valiant soldiers.

So let’s take these heroes as a testimony for what God can do through us and be heroes for our God, our families, and our nation!

Keep your sword down on the whetstone, your shield polished, and your fletchings dry. You have a farm to inherit.

Used Mantle for Sale. Great Condition – Only Dropped Once.

So you’re walking along in life, praying for revival, and for God to heal the land you love. All of a sudden you come across a crumpled up piece of cloth laying on the ground. It’s old. No telling how old actually…

You get closer to inspect it – there’s a singe around the edges and it seems to still smell like the fire that burned around it long ago. Another whiff and your mind is filled with someone else’s memories. Memories of tireless nights of prayer and fasting. Something about it just feels like hard work.

Was that sawdust?

Maybe it was the smell of the morning catch floating down the cobbled streets of a renaissance harbor city. Or, even older still, as dreams of eldritch peoples who stood watching the Messiah ascend into heaven are painted onto the easel of your mind.

You feel a tightening of the senses as the air grows still…

Another passerby has stopped to gaze at the abandoned mantle and again they wonder, “Will you pick us up?”

Some prayers and missions from the Lord are for our time and some are for the future generation. No one knew this better than King David who was tasked with preparing the supplies for the building of the temple which his son Solomon would later do. One of the key candidacies of inheritance and possessing the promised land that we find throughout the Bible is that of generational transfer.

Whenever the children of Israel didn’t pass on a good relationship with God to their children, bad things always pursued. Peruse through both of the Book of Kings and it tells the story. It’s called passing the baton and it has to be something that we do on purpose. What about the other way though? The Bible says that God turns the hearts of the sons to the Fathers too.

When Elisha picked up his spiritual father’s mantle, he walked over to the Jordan and called upon the God of Elijah. Not “My God”, but “Dad’s God”. Why did he do that? Elijah was gone. He’s in heaven now. He’s bye-bye. Does God answer the prayers of former generations? Absolutely. Through us, that is.

Just think about this. You have Elisha standing there with what has been used many times as the example of an empasse (the Jordan River) standing in his way. The rest of his life was on that other side; everything he was called to do and to use the double-portion anointing for.

He then calls upon the God of Elijah, or the God of the previous generation. He was calling upon God to answer and finish the work that He started in Elijah and to remember any unanswered prayers that were supposed to happen through Elisha. That power is what split the Jordan river and propelled Elisha into his ministry. What an awesome weapon!

Just know that the total fulfillment of your call is beyond you. It will always require the next generations to fully reveal the gigantic and grandiose vision that God has for you. On the flip-side, we all need to be locked into the previous generations so that we can be propelled with all the backup that’s available. Otherwise, we are stuck to reinventing the wheel at every new generation.

The key is to get connected backwards and forwards. In other words, get mentors and also people you can pour into. We have all this power and there’s so many mantles laying around (or brand new ones from Heaven) that no one has picked up because it costs something. Some anointings can only exist within certain lifestyles. If we want the results of Daniel, then we gotta pay the lifestyle price.

So get connected at the local church and find yourself some mentors. Read their books, listen to their teachings, and get to know some of them on a personal level. Then, be a river and not a reservoir. Give out to others what you receive!

It’s calling to you. The drumming in the deep. The heat of the fire. Let its weightiness drape over your shoulders and strike that Jordan! New lands await.

The Sickle and the Sword

Have you been tithing and giving but haven’t quite seen the breakthrough that you’ve been praying for? There’s a lot of principles to nail down like maturity, being a cheerful giver, making sure the core motives are right, sowing into good soil sources and so on. Then there’s the whole “right season” thing that we have no control over. Needless to say, it takes soaking into the Word to really get it. It has to become our true profession. The reason for that is because obtaining God’s abundance requires that we change more than our circumstances change. I mean, that’s the easy stuff. One angel on assignment from God can change everything around us. The thing that takes time is us, right?

Let’s say you’ve done all those things though. I’m not bringing forth a hypothetical perfection here. I’m just saying…hey, you’ve been working on and doing everything you know to do… and still no dice. What gives? Does it really take this long to get to harvest season? Well I can’t answer that because I’m not the sovereign God. Here’s the thing though… there’s a lot of great Word speaking people using the principles of what I’d call the sickle (the sowing and reaping principles) but just think about this; all of Israel’s blessings were about when they would obtain their promised land. While they were in the wilderness they just got charity.

Free bread falling from Heaven every day. Free bread that only came in bread form…not seed form for sowing. Why? The soil in the wilderness can’t produce a crop, so God had to give them bread. The problem is that you can’t multiply with bread. You can only consume it. You can’t save it up like seed and you can’t invest it.

That mana went bad quickly. After all, God didn’t plan on them being there next week, so it didn’t have to have a long shelf-life. Each day though, He’d look down to see if they had taken good soil from the enemy’s hands and…sigh…nope. “Well Gabriel, I guess you’ll have to wipe off some crumbs from the angel’s mess hall table onto them again. They still haven’t matured and attacked.”

Sound familiar? Perhaps a weekly check that just gets you by until next week might jar your memory. It’s kind of hard to disciple the nations if we only have grocery money for our own families. God has more available than that. So how do we get it from Heaven to Earth? I mean they pave the streets with the stuff up there!

So we use the sickle like the Word instructs us to and that’s good. What I propose is that next we need to pick up the sword in the other hand and start laying siege to what God has promised us.

Now, don’t be discouraged about all your sowing and think that you’ve been wasting it. God’s guarantee on return still stands. The obstacle that we have to get by is the fact that He’s been stockpiling it into the silos of our promised land. Within that place, there are others who are tasked with gathering it up for us. This is found in Eccl 2:26, Deut 6:10-11, 1 Chron 5:18-22, and Josh 24:13.

All of these instances show the fruit of the sword or plunder. Some harvests are won by the sickle; others are won by the sword. As you engage in spiritual warfare over your calling or region, you loose what God has tasked sinners to gather up for you. Ever wonder why the 5 talent servant got the 1 talent servant’s portion from Matt 25? This is why. As soon as someone moves from an investor in God’s kingdom to a hoarder, he reverts back to the curse laid upon sinners to gather up riches for the righteous in Eccl 2:26. If you’ve wondered about that whole “wealth of the wicked laid up for the righteous” thing, that’s what it’s talking about. It also happens to be another good reason not to be jealous when the wicked prosper. They’ve been ordered to. The real problem is that somewhere, a Christian hasn’t taken their inheritance yet.

How do you take a promise land then? How do you use the sword of the Lord? Well, that’s a broad subject and the posts on this site will continue to point towards that goal, but before we get into more teachings on it later, I just want to point out the first key. A major key to the breakthrough that Daniel received that brought wealth transfer and promised land aquisition to Ezra, Nehemiah, and many others. That key is what most call the “Daniel fast”.

The amazing thing about Daniel’s 3 week fast is that it wasn’t about quantity; it was about quality. He just decided that he wasn’t going to please the flesh. See it never actually says he planned on stopping after 3 weeks. It just says that the breakthrough came after 3 weeks. He got desperate enough to change his lifestyle to one that only pleased God. Lo and behold, it made things move.

To be put simply, a lifestyle that’s sacrificed to please only God develops character. That more mature character then is able to handle higher level anointings and promotions in the spirit realm. Finally, the higher level anointings bring with them the higher level angelic assignments that walk in and move mountains. So start loosing those angel armies and keep pressing in. Go for it! We can take the promises in the Word and declare and stand on them in our prayer times. Jesus makes us overwhelming conquerors!

It’s time. Fighting is optional. Winning isn’t.