A sword is a weapon. In and of itself it is neither good nor bad. It’s moral value is determined by whose hand wields it. It is a personal weapon, as well, because you have to be up close and personal to handle it effectively. In the Bible, we find seven swords that are worth our attention.
The first sword is a flaming sword found in Genesis 3:24. When man had fallen out of fellowship with God because of sin, God expelled him out of the Garden of Eden. To keep the way of the tree of life, He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Angels are described as a flame of fire (Heb. 1:7; cf. II Kings 2:11) and are often seen with a sword drawn in hand (as we shall see), so perhaps this was an angel protecting the tree of life. Historically speaking, the next we see of it is in heaven (Rev. 22:1,2). Eternal life is God’s and God’s only to give (John 14:6).
The king of Moab, Balak by name, wanted to hire Balaam, a man sometime endowed with the gift of prophecy, to curse the children of Israel (Num. 22:6). Even though God forbade it, Balaam sought a way to do the thing asked of him because of the lure of reward (Num. 22:17). When Balaam willingly went with Balak, God sent His Angel to withstand him (Num. 22:32). The Angel stood in the way with a sword drawn in his hand. On occasion, God has drawn back the curtain that separates the physical from the spiritual and allowed us to glimpse the ethereal world. The sword of the Angel tells us this much, when God commands us not to do something, and we still seek to do it, we make God our adversary (Num. 22:22).
On another instance, just after the children of Israel crossed the Jordan and encamp in Gilgal, Joshua also encounters the Angel, once again with His sword drawn (Josh. 5:13-15; cf. Jud. 7:18). Only in this instance, the sword is not drawn in opposition, but in support. Joshua inquires of the Angel, “Art thou for us or for our adversaries?” (5:13). “Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come” was the reply and it caused Joshua to fall down and to worship (5:14). The drawn sword in this instance indicated that the Lord would fight for Joshua. Indeed, Joshua was able to take the land as commanded because the Lord fought for Israel (Josh. 10:42). If God be for us, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)?
When David sinned against the Lord by not trusting in God and numbering the people (I Chron. 21:1; II Sam. 24:1), the Lord sent a destroying angel to Jerusalem to exact punishment upon David and the people (I Chron. 21:7). When David lifted up his eyes, he saw near the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, between heaven and earth, the angel of the Lord with a sword drawn in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem (I Chron. 21:16). This must have been an awesome and terrifying experience to know that the Lord is fighting against you. We must recognize that God wants us to obey His will and will fight against us if we are against Him.
The fifth sword we find is the sword of those who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah faced stiff opposition from the angry Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites when they heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being repaired (Neh. 4:7). They all conspired together to fight against Jerusalem and hinder it (Neh. 4:8). But Nehemiah wisely prepared for their attacks. The builders held their tools in one hand and in the other held a sword (Neh. 4:13, 17,18). The lesson we can learn from this is that while we must all build, we must also all be ready to defend the work we are doing. The apostle Paul said he was set for the defense of the gospel (Phil. 1:17).
The sixth sword is found in Jesus’ words: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). Jesus is the Prince of Peace, bringing peace between Jew and Gentile, but specially between God and man (Eph. 2:13-18). However, the truth is powerful and can even cause families to be split over God’s will (Matt. 10:35,36). If we are all faithful and true to God, this will not happen.
The final sword which deserves our consideration here is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). Paul plainly states that the word of God is like a sword. It has the ability to pierce even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12). The word of God pricks those who allow it to work on them (Acts 2:37). We must learn how to effectively wield this spiritual sword so that we may convert the lost and convince the gainsayer. Through us the Lord fights against His enemies with the sharp sword that proceeds out of His mouth–the gospel (Rev. 2:12,16; 19:15).
These seven sacred swords of scripture are very powerful. Study them carefully.
Eric L. Padgett