As we move toward global government, the rulers of this world want to disarm the people. Many, in the United States in opposition to the rulers, point to the second amendment of the constitution as the imperative for having guns and threatening to use guns. Those devoted to the second amendment include many professing Christians.
The people of God who returned with Nehemiah to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem were said to arrange themselves so that, “…with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.” (Nehmiah 4: 17) They were doing a great work of God in the face of great hostility and threats of violence against them. How does that apply to us, the Church, in the days in which we live? Should we defend the people of God and the work of God with guns?
Our unchanging God has demonstrated His manifold wisdom in various ways at various times throughout history, according to His purposes and plans and timing.
The Old Testament was given to ancient Israel. The New Testament was given to the Church. The Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament. The New Testament interprets the Old Testament for us. Everything that applies to us, in these New Testament times, whether from the Old Testament or the New Testament, must first be drawn through the interpretation and understanding of the New Testament before it can be properly applied to us in this Church age.
Consider Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter 4 verses 4 and 5, as he cries out to God in the midst of the opposition of the enemies of God’s people:
“Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as plunder to a land of captivity! Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders.”
Look at what Nehmiah is praying for. Is this how we should pray in this age we live in?
This is an example of imprecatory prayer, meaning that it calls out for curses and judgment. There are many other examples of this in the Psalms. For example, in Psalm 109:6-9, David cries out to the Lord about his enemy:
“Set a wicked man over him, And let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is judged, let him be found guilty, And let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few, And let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, And his wife a widow.”
Nehemiah and David, as Jewish people in ancient Israel, are appealing to a Holy God for judgment on the unrepentant, the wicked, the sinful, the rebellious. These prayers are spoken in a spirit of prophecy that this judgment is sure for the rebellious. God will demonstrate his terrible judgment on sin. These prayers are spoken during the dispensation of Law. And the purpose of the Law was to be a like a school master leading us to our need for a savior; leading us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). Nehemiah and David were looking forward to the Cross.
Ours is the dispensation of Grace. Not that we are saved differently. Remember that Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). But Jesus, on the cross, took upon Himself the wickedness, the sin, the rebelliousness. The judgment of a Holy God fell upon Him. God has demonstrated His terrible judgment on sin.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:44,
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…”
The imprecatory prayer of Nehemiah and David is not appropriate for our dispensation of Grace.
And yet there is coming a time when imprecatory prayer will be called for, again. In Revelation 6:10, the Tribulation martyrs,
“…cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?””
God is patient, but His patience will not last forever. Judgment is coming.
Nehemiah and his brethren were rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. The temple had already been rebuilt upon the return of the Jews from captivity in Babylon. The purpose of the return of the Jews and the rebuilding is expressed in Nehemiah 1:9, as Nehemiah is praying to the Lord and quoting the Lord:
“…but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’”
The temple, the wall, the city of Jerusalem were intended, in that era, to be a place for the name of God to be a witness to the world through the Jewish people.
In our day, we, as believers in Jesus are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Our lives and our lives together as the assembly of Christ are the dwelling place of God.
So, Nehemiah says in 4:17,
“Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.”
What does this mean to us?
Is the emphasis on literal weapons and physical warfare in the Old Testament the same for us in New Testament times?
How shall we draw this Old Testament pattern through the interpretation of the New Testament in order to apply to us in this Church age?
First, I want to acknowledge that the rulers of this world and the governments of this world want to disarm the people as we move toward global government. So every tragedy and shooting becomes propaganda for disarming the people. There is some validity, from a human point of view, in the bumper sticker that says, “Fear the government that fears your guns”.
On the other side, in this country, there are many who are zealous about the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They believe that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is necessary to keep a free country, meaning that when necessary the masses should rise up with guns to rebel against the corrupt government.
As noble as that sounds, it is not for us as disciples of Jesus Christ.
It is not for us to jump on either side: the corrupt government or the rebellious mob. Satan works both sides. Romans 13 says that we are to submit to the government and in doing so we trust God to work through the government which He has established, in spite of its corrupt nature.
When the people chose Barabbas instead of the Lord Jesus, the mob chose the rebel instead of the true King. Our heavenly hope is not in our guns, but in trusting and obeying the Lord Jesus Christ.
I recommend that our zeal for Jesus Christ and His word far exceeds our zeal for guns. If not, I’m concerned for many evangelicals that they are being drawn into the cult of the 2nd amendment.
I’m not anti-guns, I’m anti-idolatry.
Nehemiah and the people were called to work with one hand and defend with the sword in the other hand. How does that apply in our New Testament age? In this dispensation of the New Testament Church: The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal…”
In Ephesians 6, where Pauls speaks of, “The whole armor of God”, he is speaking in spiritual terms, not in terms of literal equipment and weapons of war.
Nehemiah and his Jewish brethren were doing a, “great work” (6:3), and they were in a state of war. We, as the Church, are doing a great work and we are at war! But our warfare is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12):
“…but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
There are differences in God’s intent, from age to age, as to how He has chosen to manifest His wisdom to mankind. What is different between Nehemiah’s time and ours?
Imprecatory prayer? We are to bless and not curse.
The temple, the wall, the city? We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Weapons? The weapons of our warfare are not carnal!
In our day, the whole world is being prepared for a counterfeit Christ. Our calling, in these days in the midst of spiritual war, is to build up the Church, one another, and to contend for the faith.
Nehemiah was building the wall. What are we building? The kingdom of God or the Tower of Babel?
Professing Christians who are being drawn into the Cult of the Second Amendment are, at the very least, in danger of idolatry. They may think they are pleasing God but they may be helping to build the structure of the anti-christ.