The American Wisdom Series

Matthew #2510

Speaking of gun control, Christ did not tell Peter not to carry his sword, but rather to put it back in its sheath.

How much wisdom and understanding do you have from our Father's Word concerning the "wonderful works of God" and His plan of salvation in this final generation? His works are made known throughout the scriptures but are clearly and concisely summarized in the Song of Moses (Deut. 32) and even in the Book of Joel which Peter quoted part of in Acts chapter 2 on that first Pentecost Day following the resurrection. Then too, just knowing the works of the two churches of Philadelphia and Smyrna (Rev. 3 & 2) will give you a pretty good heads up.

You "see", the sons and daughters of God (Acts 2) who are the brothers and sisters of the church of Philadelphia (Rev. 3), have been given the key of David which unlocks the "visions of the prophets" and after "seeing" (understanding) those visions they go forth and prophesy (teach) those visions, i.e. the Word of God, to their brothers and sisters of the house of Israel. This they do speaking boldly and direct after the manner of "it is written" and "thus saith the Lord"... regardless of what traditions of men are taught in their churches. However, there comes a time when some of God's elect shall be delivered up and shall give witness and testimony before synagogues and councils and before kings and rulers (Mat. 24, Mark 13, Luke 21).

And so up to this point in our study of Matthew chapter 5, Christ has shown His disciples, even those who would go forth to teach His Word in this final generation, how to deal with their brothers and sisters of the House of Israel and those "neighbors" who embrace Christianity. Now He is going to tell them (us) how to handle our enemies and those who persecute us for HIS NAME'S SAKE. Again, it is important that we understand that He is not instructing the multitudes, but rather God's elect!

Matthew 5:38
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
This is a quote from Exodus chapter 21 concerning the "Law of Retaliation (repayment for injury)".
Exodus 21:23
And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

[24] Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

[25] Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

"These laws made prisons unnecessary and prevented crime" (Companion Bible, pg. 103). You "see", Christian's are NOT pacificists and they are to protect and defend their families and their nation and execute His justice in all the land, for it is the Godly thing to do! If an enemy strikes us, e.g. Pearl Harbor in WWII, take out one their major cities. Don't turn and give them San Francisco too! If an enemy destroys the Twin Towers, take out their network so that these things cease from happening! Likewise, if some thug comes up to you or breaks into your home to harm you and/or your family, you love them real good and show them why they made a big mistake in attacking the nest of a child of God. Bam! Boff! KERPOW!

Have you read how the disciple Peter was prepared to defend himself... and Christ as well.

John 18:10
Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
After all the time Peter spent with Jesus, the Lord didn't to tell him it was not ok to carry a sword for self defense. And even after Peter drew it and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, albeit Peter was interfering in the Plan of God, Christ still did not tell him not to carry it, but rather to put it back in its sheath.
[11] Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
The point Christ was making to Peter was that the Plan of God must needs be fulfilled. So too must "the plan" carried out by God's elect in this final generation be fulfilled. And it is written (and therefore part of the plan) that not only shall the "latter day rain fall" as God pours out His Spirit on ALL flesh, but there shall be persecution brought about and the delivering up of God's elect for His name's sake, during which time His servants shall give testimony! Luke 21:12-13 "But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. [13] And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

Again, we have learned thus far in our study of this 5th chapter of Matthew how we are to be compassionate, non-judgmental, without lustful eyes (covetous), etc., while holding fast to the true Word of God in teaching our brothers and sisters and neighbors. Now Christ tells us what to do when it comes to the evils (poneros) of persecution and spite that are brought about by both the teaching of and the witnessing of the truth of God's Word!

Matthew 5:39
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Keep in mind that this teaching is not given to the multitudes, but directly to Christ's disciples, His teachers, meaning to you if you have eyes to see, and it is in regard to your righteousness (doing that which is right) when it comes to teaching His Word and giving witness for Christ's sake. Jesus is telling us not to retaliate "an eye for an eye" when someone smites us on the cheek for teaching the truth of God's Word.

You "see", when someone comes against you and smites you because you teach and hold fast to the truth, they literally smite Jesus Christ Himself and He will see to it that they are repaid, i.e. "receive their just recompense"! As it is written, Vengeance belongs to the Lord. In fact, the very day Christ returns is called the "Day of Vengeance" (Isa. 61:2). He will take care of those who trouble you, to whom you give witness as a child of God for their own good, if you understand the Plan of God to be carried out in this final generation. 2 Thes. 1:6-8 "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; [7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Paul also speaks of the "repayment" belonging to God.

Romans 12:17
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

[18]If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Christ will give us good instruction in the next few verses concerning how to live peaceably with all men, if it be possible, which unfortunately sometimes it is not.
[19] Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
And now here is some further instruction on how we need to conduct ourselves as men and women of God.
Matthew 5:40
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
Always maintain your credibility and be a good upstanding citizen in your community and in your nation else you lose the respect of others and your teaching appears to them as hypocritical. So, if you as a teacher of God's Word have done something unjust to cause a person to sue you at law then bite the bullet and go out of your way to settle the matter lest you bring reproach upon Christ.
[41] And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
This statement is in reference to the practice of government and/or the military forcefully requiring citizens to perform service such as the practice of the Roman soldiers who often required persons to carry their gear for a mile. Be known as one who is willing to "go the extra mile" when it comes to service! You see, if you are a disciple of Christ, then you represent the family of God, so let's all represent our family well! God's elect are just that... elected by God to serve our brothers and fellow mankind. We are NOT sent as "God's elite", meaning that we better than everyone else and should therefore expect some sort of special treatment in society!
[42] Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
If you have the means to help others and they ask of you, then lend a helping hand. However, be sure to exercise discernment using wisdom and good common sense so that you are not ripped-off or taken advantage of and now look like a fool!

Also, there is an old adage that goes:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for life.

Remember, we are here to serve Christ and plant seeds and bring forth fruit for the kingdom of God. Our service also includes the non-believer and the ungodly alike, and so what do you do if you find it is your enemy who hungers or thirsts?

Romans 12:20
   Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
[21] Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
These next two verses (43 & 44) along with "turn your other cheek" have so been taken out of context, misunderstood, and used by mealy-mouthed preachers and ministers who like to sugarcoat everything and pretend utopia exists, to portray Christians as a bunch of pushovers, door-mats and second-class citizens.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Matthew 5:43
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
This is taken from Lev. 19:18.
Leviticus 19:18
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Christ now takes this a step further to include your foes [enemies], be they personal, political, or religious!
Matthew 5:44
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
By the way, the words "bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you" are NOT found in any of the critical texts so that this verse should read "Love your enemies and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." You see, you may well be the occasion or opportunity by which they see the light shine! You show them love simply by being just and fair in your dealings with them. Being mature in His Words means that we pray not that they "perish" but that they might be converted and come to repentance and become a child of God. In other words, just as our Father is patient in dealing with us, so let us be likewise patient for the sake of their salvation... for it is our Father's will that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

That having been said, to love (agapao) your enemies does not mean that you let them walk all over you.Sometimes "tough love" is required which involves rebuke or even chastisement which in no way is to be confused with vengeance! Our Father sometimes rebukes and chastens us... why?

Because He loves us and wants what is best for us:

Rev. 3:19
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Remember again the context of Christ's teaching here in Matthew chapter 5. He began with the "Beatitudes" of the saints, His elect, and has since been giving them instruction in how to conduct themselves and their affairs in teaching His Word to their brethren and in giving testimony and witness to others. You "see", if you are one of God's elect and you understand Romans chapter 8 concerning the justification, glorification, predestination and calling, then you know that you are not here at this present time for yourself! You are here to serve God and be part of the "wonderful works of God" which He performs through the brotherhood, those sons and daughters, His servants and handmaidens of Acts chapter 2.
Matthew 5:45
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
We are talking about the light of truth, symbolized by the sun (solar), which is His Word brought forth to this final generation after the manner symbolized by the "latter day rain". Again, it is written in Joel chapter 2 and quoted by Peter in the 2nd chapter of the Book of Acts that "it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams (Acts 2:17)". If you are of those sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, i.e. children of God, then it is through you that His Spirit is poured out, which is to say it is through you through whom the latter day rain is brought forth from heaven. Do you have eyes to see and ears to hear to understand the wonderful works of God in these last days? He sends that latter day rain on the "just and on the unjust", so be righteous according to God's Word in your dealing with both, not just your own!
[46] For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Yes, but to have the maturity in God's Word to look past the natural bond of affection (phileo) of one's own, and understand that our Father loves and is concerned about all of His children, the good, the bad, and the ugly, is the mark of a true disciple and servant of Yahveh!
[47] And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Are you rich in "spirit" as are those of the church of Smyrna in Rev. 2:8-11? You see, there is not much tribulation when it comes to embracing (saluting) your brethren (one of the House of Israel). It is when your enemies and foes come against you because of His name's sake that things get a little rough, i.e. persecution, reviling, and being delivered up before councils, etc.!
Rev. 2:8-10
And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

[9] I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

The poverty spoken of here concerns those who are "poor in spirit", meaning they are contrite and humble before God and therefore rich in the wisdom and knowledge and spiritual blessings of God. Consequently, they fear only God and so they can "cut it" before their foes with the "agapao" Christ speaks of here in Matthew 5!
[10] Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Matthew 5:10 "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:48
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Be mature and complete in the Word of God. And as a child and servant or handmaiden of His, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Mat. 5:16). That is why He sent you! What an honor and a privilege it is to serve Him in these last days.

Thank you Father, which art in heaven. Hallowed by thy name!

... to be continued.

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

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