There is a verse in Matthew 10:34 in which Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Some people may read that and think, “Well, wait a minute….doesn’t the Bible say in the Old Testament that the Messiah will be called the Prince of Peace? Why is He referring to a weapon of war?” The peace they are referring to is only for those who are in Christ. But, the subject of this blog isn’t about peace. It’s about the sword spoken of in this verse.
When people think about a sword, they have the image of a long, steel blade with a handle on one end. But, the sword that is spoken of here is the sword that is mentioned in Ephesians 6:17, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. In Hebrews 4:12, it describes the Word of God as being “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Something else the Word does? It divides families. It divides friends. It divides even one denomination from another. Many religious leaders are sending out the rallying cry for “unity” among the different denominations. But there is a reason why there are different denominations. Contrary to popular belief, churches don’t split just over trivial matters such as the color of carpet or what color upholstery to put on the pews, or even what kind of songs to sing. Martin Luther, the Catholic monk who took on the Pope and the RCC church, started the Protestant Reformation because he realized that the RCC was erroneous in their teachings. They were teaching that salvation was obtained through works of man instead of the work of Christ. Then from there, other splits took place within the Protestant movement because some believed in infant baptism, while others believed that baptism is only for those who make a profession of faith in Christ. Then others disagreed on the proper eschatology. And on and on and on.
God’s Word causes division. Families have been divided, friendships have fallen apart, and churches have split because of disagreements over doctrine. Matthew 10:34 says, “For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” Why would Christ want to do that? Because correct doctrine MATTERS! Churches have become lax in doctrinal discernment and now we see all kinds of questionable teachings creeping in. And when folks start pointing out in God’s Word that something being taught in the church is unbiblical, or they call out popular “Bible” teachers for their doctrinal errors, people tend to get like a cat on the defensive…..they hunch their backs and start hissing. Our focus should be on the Word of God, NOT on the one bringing the Word. We tend to put the messenger on the pedestal instead of the Bible. It is by the Word of God that the posers will be separated from the real. The sheep will be separated from the goats. Those who believe the whole counsel of God will be separated from those who pick and choose what they believe, or twist and distort and take Scripture out of context.
Revelation 1:16 describes Jesus as coming back with a “sharp two-edged sword” coming out of His mouth. This is not a literal sword. This is referring to Him speaking the Word of God. It will be on that day that He will destroy His enemies with the words from His mouth. It is a weapon of war because we are in a spiritual battle for truth. And truth divides.