JESUS AND GUNS PART 1
POSTED BY ANN BARNHARDT - APRIL 17, AD 2011 9:52 PM MST
Originally posted November 27, AD 2010We need to have a frank discussion about Christianity, war and pacifism, because we may all be making direct decisions about these huge questions in our own lives before long. Some scripture popped into my mind earlier this week, and I was able to really dig into it yesterday. I was taken aback by what I found – but in a good way. I hope that this will help bring some clarity, or at the very least start some discussions. I have been thinking all day about whether or not my exegesis is being influenced by my own personal leanings on this subject. Perhaps it is. You will need to be the judge of that – but consider yourself disclaimed.
First, a small but necessary sidetrack. I have been asked many times about which Bible translation I use or think is best. I used to hemm and haw and say something non-committal about the King James version. I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt what translation we need to be using. We need to be using the Douay-Rheims translation which was begun in 1582 and completed in 1610. It is only two steps removed from the original texts. The Douay-Rheims is the direct translation of St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate. St. Jerome was commissioned to translate the entire canon of scripture into Latin in the year 382 in preparation for the Church Councils which finally set and canonized the Bible, particularly the Coucil of Carthage in 387. St. Jerome worked from ORIGINAL texts as much as possible, and translated from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. The Douay-Rheims is the direct translation from St. Jerome’s translation of the original texts into modern English. Remember, English as we recognize it today has only been around for 550 years or so. If you were to be dropped into England earlier than the year 1450, you would have a very, very difficult time communicating. So, the Douay-Rheims has between it and the original texts only St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate. I personally use a Bible that is Douay-Rheims side-by-side with the Latin Vulgate. As I pick up more and more Latin, I find myself reading the Latin, and using the English as a cross-check. You’re about to see that this is all very, very important.
Let’s go to Luke 22 – the Last Supper. Christ has just instituted the Eucharist and the Christian liturgy. By doing this in anticipation of His death on the Cross the next day, He has made Calvary the centerpoint of time. He has drawn the Old Testament forward to the Cross, and He has pulled the time after Calvary backward. Every moment in time will now pass through and be reconciled to Calvary. (“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself.” John 12:32) What I want you to appreciate is the enormousness of the occasion. This is one of the most important things that has ever or will ever happen. This isn’t just a farewell meal. The entire world and everyone in it is utterly pivoting on what is happening in this room.
Let’s go to verse 35 through 38. Jesus has just told Peter that he will deny Him three times.
“When I sent you without purse and scrip and shoes, did you want anything? But they said: Nothing. Then said He unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip: and he that hath not, let him sell his coat and buy a sword. For I say to you that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in Me. And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning Me have an end. But they said: Lord, behold, here are two swords. And He said to them: It is enough.”
FYI: "scrip" means money. What He is telling them is that they are about to encounter evil, and in preparation for this they need to do whatever they need to do in order to prepare. He is saying that they need to reallocate their assets and “buy a sword”. In Latin, “emat gladium”. Emat = buy, purchase, acquire, procure. Gladium = sword.
Wow. I can hear the hippies screaming from here. “He didn’t really mean it! He wasn’t speaking literally! He was speaking figuratively!”
He was speaking, as God Almighty almost always does, on multiple levels, INCLUDING THE LITERAL. Oh, yes. I’ll concede that we should take from this scripture His call to reject materialism and gird ourselves for spiritual battle. No doubt. But if we delude ourselves into thinking that this is the ONLY sense in which He is speaking, we are missing something huge. Look at the last verse:
“But they said: Lord, behold, here are two swords. And He said to them: It is enough.”
Okay. Stop, stop, stop. Hold the phone. Put out the cat. First of all, this proves that He was speaking in the literal sense in addition to the figurative sense. But more importantly, do you realize what this means? At least two of the apostles arrived at the Upper Room wearing side arms, which they then took off so they could sit on the floor around the low table that was used in those days. What this also means is that there were side arms present, in the room, at the Last Supper.
Now here is where all of the hippies are going to absolutely lose it. What is the contemporary, technological equivalent of a sword? What is considered a “side arm” today? That’s right. A handgun. Now you can scream and spit and stomp and rage and retch all you want, but you know I’m right. The apostles report that they have two swords, and Jesus says, “It is enough.” I saw in my research that some scholars try to paint Jesus as snapping at the apostles, trying to translate “Satis est (It is enough)” as “Oh, enough already!” I don't hear that at all. I hear Him simply saying that two swords will be enough. This is where we get into huge problems with modern quasi-Christian “scholars” projecting their own agendas onto their translation of the Bible. Here are a couple of examples of bad, agenda-driven translations:
“Enough of that!” (Holman Christian Standard)
“Enough of that; no more sword talk!” (The Message – not a joke, they completely fabricated that second phrase.)
Even if you go with these false translations, you’re still stuck with the fact that there were side arms IN THE ROOM at the Last Supper. What, are you going to argue that Jesus didn’t KNOW that there were swords in the room? Who is Jesus? He’s God Almighty. He knows EVERYTHING. Further, if this was just a horrible mistake or coincidence, why would Jesus make specific reference to swords and arming one’s self, thus leading the apostles to inventory the weapons arsenal in the room? FURTHER, why would the Holy Spirit, through Luke, put all of this down in writing? Why are we all sitting in front of our respective computer screens, poring through our Bibles, reading and discussing this 1977 years after the fact? Dude. It is not sufficient at this point to simply declare me a bloodthirsty, gun-toting war monger and then walk away. You have to refute and rebut the logical progression I just laid out. Good luck with that.
Now, let’s go to verse 49. They’re in the Garden, and Jesus has gone through His agony. Now Judas, with the Jewish guards, approaches. Judas kisses Jesus to show the guards which man they should arrest. The apostles see this and ask, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” Dude, they’re STILL ARMED. If Jesus was disgusted with the swords back in the Upper Room, why are the apostles wearing SWORDS in the Garden? Don’t you think that hippie, pacifist Jesus would have told them to LEAVE THE SWORDS BEHIND? And then scolded them? He didn’t do that. They put on their swords and walked to the Garden. You know why? Because Jesus is neither a hippie nor a pacifist. Lord, I want to be like Jesus. In my heart. In my heart. Lord, I want to be like Jesus, in my heart. Next, Peter (and we know it was Peter from John 18) struck one of the guards and cut off his ear.