Tuesday, January 24, 2017

One Cup

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Passover Seder In Upper Room

The wine of the Passover is mysterious in origin, as it was not commanded in the instructions for the Passover, but developed over time.  https://jewsforjesus.org/newsletter-mar-2002/the-mystery-of-the-passover-cup

However, the symbolic use of cup as a representation of judgement is well established in scripture. Jesus prayed in the garden "Let this cup pass from me." http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-cup-consumed-for-us

Therefore we have no reason to focus on the container, but rather on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  We have life by being members of His body.  We eat and drink the bread and the wine in memory of His sacrificial offering for our sins. 

Jesus and His disciples ate the Passover in an upper room in the Essene quarter of Mt. Zion on Wednesday night. He washed the disciples feet, and said we should do likewise. They sat on the floor around a table.  They drank real wine. Jesus said that as often as we eat this supper, we should do so in remembrance of Him.

We should avoid setting rules about our personal understandings of what scripture teaches. The several accounts of what happened should be laid down beside each other, examined in the light of all scripture, and applied in accordance with what Paul taught in Romans 14.  We are not in the business of binding laws based upon opinion, but we are in the work of building each other up in love.

"By this shall all men know you are my disciples, by the love you have for each other."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Moral Clarity

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Matthew 19:13-15English Standard Version (ESV)

Let the Children Come to Me

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1/16/17)  I received an email from a Jewish friend saying that today is a day of prayer for him (even thought he is not religious) because of his respect for Dr. King and his work. 
I took the opportunity to talk about Dr. King's faith in Jesus (Yeshua) and the fact that he was a Baptist preacher.  Dr. King's faith was unorthodox, but he did love the teaching and example of Jesus.
Somehow Dr. King's faith in Jesus has been left out of the conversation by admirers who promote love and justice, but who have progressive ideas about morality.  Jesus loves all people, but wants all to repent and come to Him for life. 
Some of these same people who love Dr. King and disregard Biblical values accuse people who speak out against sin of being "haters." Maybe they are helped in this attitude by the hateful antics of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS.

But Dr. King was a preacher at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. 

An interesting part of Dr. Kings history has to do with his being attacked by J. Edgar Hoover, who openly attempted to discredit Dr. King.
So we have a Baptist preacher, Dr. King, being attacked by a suspected homosexual practitioner, J. Edgar Hoover, on the topic of sexual immorality. Is this the  pot calling the kettle black?
The truth seems often to be stranger than fiction.  So how do we view human sexuality with moral clarity? Adultery and homosexuality both belong to the same list of sins recorded by Paul in his writings to Christians. 

Keep in Step with the Spirit

Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5English Standard Version (ESV)

Walk in Love

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

God's Wrath on Unrighteousness

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Those of us who look to Scripture for instruction in moral clarity find that how we feel is not the standard for how we should act. Also trusting what we think and agree on as humans makes certain that we will miss the mark of living righteous lives as defined by Scripture (the canon of accepted scripture Old and New Testament)

Scripture teaches us to control our feeling and passions, and to pursue what builds up and edifies society.  So how we feel cannot determine how we are supposed to act. We are taught to seek fulfillment by giving, rather than by getting. 
Society is blessed when we pursue righteous values. Moral clarity is revealed by our Creator, not developed by social scientists. Moral value is also put to the test over time in cultures where various ethical standards are applied.  The history of the world shows the superiority of those cultures where individuals are allowed to practice their individual faith in Jesus (Yeshua). 
Moral clarity gives society an anchor for acceptable conduct.  Such a foundation is sadly lacking in our modern culture. We need to repent and return God to the throne of our hearts.  In God we trust must be renewed and respected. 

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Saturday, October 1, 2016


 Tower of Babel

Genesis 11 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Tower of Babel

11 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone,and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.” 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused[a] the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

Diversity, so highly praised by the politically correct progressive left, was given as a curse to stop mankind from working against God's purpose. God had said to multiply and inhabit the earth, and mankind wanted to build a big ghetto and make a name for themselves. So why is something given as a curse praised by secular humanists today?

Diversity in ethnicity, culture, and religion is viewed as belonging to the natural world order. People who do not believe in Jesus may think that one religion is just as good as another, part of the natural landscape. Atheists seem to think that all religions based upon the Bible are an imposition upon their unbelief, so many are anti Christian. And many promote Islam as an alternative to Christianity, in support of diversity.

When people were scattered after Babel, each nation and tribe established their own religions, mostly pagan idolatry and animism. A culture reflects the values of its religion.  Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.  When we examine the history of nations, the most blessed nations in the history of mankind were those who worshiped God as revealed in the Bible.

Diversity in religion is a curse, and God planned to bring together in unity all who put their trust in Him. 

John 17English Standard Version (ESV)

The High Priestly Prayer

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh,to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world,just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth;your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they alsomay be sanctified[d] in truth.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may bewith me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

But Christianity has been a terribly divided religion. Obviously, Jesus' prayer for unity has not been answered. How can we have unity?  We must go back to the beginning, and renew our love for the very Jewish Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah. 

A terrible mistake was made when Christianity in the west rejected its Jewish roots and took up the Greek love of logical argument.  Instead of trusting in the righteousness by faith in Jesus, "Christians" began to kill each other over disagreements related to theological arguments. One third of the inhabitants of Europe were killed during the thirty years war between supporters of the Reformers and supporters of the Pope of Rome.  Diversity in religion is deadly.

In the beginning, the gospel went out from Jerusalem into all the world. Now the gospel is returning to Jerusalem. But the Jewish culture must give up its hateful rejection of Jews who believe in Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah. The believers are the real children of Abraham.

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Messianic Jews and Israel

Yeshua is the answer for unity. Diversity kills, but unity gives life. The gospel is for all nations, so that all nations can be one in Jesus. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Terrestial or Celestial?

The City Four Square

Terrestrial ethics seems bent upon subverting the essential character of our once great nation. We were great because we strove for a higher calling, something greater than our genetic structure, something above our animal instincts, something more than selfish obsession. Our nation was founded by people who believed in the moral and ethical standards revealed in the Bible. The sense of our greatness was called into view by the words of John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.” 

Jesus said it best, Mat 5:27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[b] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

The founders of our nation believed in personal responsibility and hard work. They also believed in helping each other. They understood that the state could be the enemy of freedom, and so they limited the power of government. Families cared for their own, and the church cared for those who had no family.

Now there is a revolt against moral authority, and the revolution has cascaded into a rebellion against civil authority. Civil authority is necessary in a society where evil abounds. Perhaps a society of righteous people could do without officers with authority to enforce laws, and punish evil. But our society is showing a propensity for perversion, a rush away from righteousness and a slide toward decadent degeneracy.

Apostle Paul warned of the terrestrial dangers, Gal 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Paul gave a similar warning in Col 3:5: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.

Sensual, sexual immorality, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these! What is the basic nature of the terrestrial outlook? It is selfish. It is concerned with natural passion and feelings. What will make me feel good? What is exciting? What will make me look good?

Down and dirty denigration results from living by feelings and impulses rather than having Celestial clarity that conforms to the will of God. The will of man is self centered, leading to disaster. The spirit of God leads to a higher way of living.

Paul lists the countervailing Celestial consciousness, Gal 5:22-- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Col 3:12: Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Unless we repent of our earthly nature, unless we determine in our hearts that we will give our hearts to God’s purpose, we are doomed to destruction. We must change our minds about how we want to live. Living for Jesus leads to eternal life, living for self leads to eternal death.

Jesus said, Luk 13:1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus also said: Luk 24:46 “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Repentance and remission of sins! Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish! Repentance is a decision to turn from terrestrial to celestial. 

As Peter said in Jerusalem on Pentecost, Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Save yourselves from this ungodly generation who wants to live as they please, doing the things that impulses suggest. Why should we live by our genetic earthly nature? God has something better for us. Paul explained the outcome for those who deny God, and choose to rule themselves, in his letter to Rome.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Yes, we live in a generation that encourages ungodliness. From promotion of abortion and homosexuality, to rejection of Biblical influence in civil authority, we are surrounded by a class of cads (
A man whose behavior is unprincipled or dishonorable), who have decided there is no God. 

We must join the battle. Heavenly power over earthly bondage. We must cast down every power of darkness, and exalt Jesus. He is our hope for eternal glory.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Two Swords Are Enough


Two Swords Are Enough?

Scripture Must Be Fulfilled in Jesus

Luk 22:35, And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them,“But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

Believers in Jesus are confronted with teaching that must be balanced as we examine our responsibilities toward government and protection of our families. Clearly Jesus taught that we are to do good to all mankind, and that we should do unto others as we would have them do to us. In the sermon on the mount Jesus said this:


38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

So why did Jesus tell His disciples to sell their tunic and buy a sword? Clearly He was making a statement about the persecution His disciples would soon face. Previously they had gone from village to village preaching that the Kingdom of God was at hand, and they enjoyed the hospitality of their hosts, who were excited about Jesus and the miracles He was performing.

But now, Jesus will go to the cross, and both Romans and Jews will persecute the disciples. When Jesus was arrested, Peter used one of the two swords to cut off the ear of the Servant of the High Priest.

52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  

Yes, disciples could no longer expect to be received with kindness and hospitality, but they would be hunted and persecuted, and a sword would seem useful. But, as Jesus warned Peter, those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Matt 26:51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

There is a higher power of protection than our personal arms, the confidence we have that whatever happens, our place with God in eternity is insured by the blood of Christ, by our faith and trust in Him. Even if we die, we will not suffer loss.

However, the occasion of rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem offer some perspective of how God’s power and protection may also involve His people doing practical things to protect themselves. When the temple was being rebuilt, God’s prophet wrote these words: Zech 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”

8 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 10 For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.

The Lord had promised that the rebuilding would be accomplished by His Spirit, but notice what happened during the rebuilding when enemies approached.

Neh 4:6 So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

7 But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. 8 And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. 9 And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.

10 In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.” 11 And our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.” 12 At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, “You must return to us.” 13 So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”

The Work Resumes

15 When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. 16 From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, 17 who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. 18 And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. 19 And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. 20 In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

21 So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. 22 I also said to the people at that time, “Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day.” 23 So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.

Yes, trusting God for protection includes personal responsibility to do what we can to defend ourselves. Paul, writing to the Roman believers, suggests that the power of civil government exists to provide protection to good works. Our civil laws provide for our using our own resources to protect our homes and families.

Romans 13 English Standard Version (ESV)

Submission to the Authorities

13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Support for law and order prevents anarchy in society. However, even as we confront evil, we are encouraged to show concern and consideration for all people. We should hate evil, and fight against every false idea, but each person is potentially a child of God, if only they come to faith in Jesus. Therefore we can hate the sin, but love the sinner.

Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So why were two swords enough? As Jesus said, His kingdom is not of this world. His kingdom is in the hearts and minds of God’s people. Yes, we are called to fight against evil, but to love our enemies. Jesus will win the battle, using the sword of the Spirit, the Word of Truth, that will cast down every false power. In the end, one Sword is enough.

One Sword is Enough

1 Cor 15:20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.