For the Christian person, the bible says, the weapons of warfare are not carnal, they are not physical. The weapons of the Christian are not swords, guns, clubs, bombs, rocks and not made of metal. If we belong to Christ in some ways, we are called to be David in battle, throwing off the chain mail and the heavy armor the world provides to take up the unusual name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, because The Lord does not save with sword and spear. Goliath wielded javelin, sword and spear, but God’s weapons are not tools we can wield with our hands. David brought Goliath down with a few smooth stones, scriptures takes time to tell us there was no sword in David’s hand, He trusted the battle to God’s name.
These weapons of our warfare are mighty, Paul says in a letter to the Church of Corinth, they can tear town strongholds, cast down arguments and throw down the powerful knowledge of false gods, they can even take thoughts captive. Argument? knowledge? thoughts? what sword can do that and can I have it please! what weapon can possibly cast down an argument and enslave thoughts? In this famous passage of scripture, we are told what the weapons of God can do, but not what this weapon is.
So what are these powerful weapons that God put in David’s arsenal and at Paul’s disposal and perhaps you and I as Christ followers are encouraged to use? if I know Christ at all, these weapons do not look like anything the military might build or utilize.
We have to look at other parts of scripture to understand. In David’s story it seems his weapon is the Name of the Lord which holds significant power and is indistinguishable from the word of God and interchangeable with the word of God. Peter says, there is no other name under heaven by which men can be saved! Proverbs 18:10 says, The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. That’s a mighty name. In other parts of scripture, we are told that the name of the Lord is the Word of God. The Christian ought never to go into battle without the Lord’s name before him, beside him , hedging him in on every side and as his rear Guard.
11Then I saw heaven standing open, and there before me was a white horse. And its rider is called Faithful and True. With righteousness He judges and wages war. 12He has eyes like blazing fire, and many royal crowns on His head. He has a name written on Him that only He Himself knows. 13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is The Word of God.14The armies of heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and pure, follow Him on white horses. 15And from His mouth proceeds a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Another interesting connection we see with weapons is between the sword and the word of God. Beginning from the end, the Sword is often seen coming from the mouth of Messiah in the book of revelation and it is the thing which will lay the final blow to Satan’s power. but while somehow the true sword comes fomr the mouth of Jesus, the concept of a sword and the word of God and the mouth is not entirely a new concept to the book of John’s revelation.
Proverbs and psalm and the prophets use a sword as a typical symbol for the mouth and the tongue.
Isaiah 49:2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword; He hid me in the shadow of His hand. He made me …
… quiver. He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword. He has hidden me … He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid …
Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD will take His sharp, great, and mighty sword, and … day the LORD will take his terrible, swift sword and punish Leviathan, the swiftly moving serpent .
Psalm 57:4 My soul is among the lions; I lie down with ravenous beasts–with men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. I am surrounded by fierce lions … greedily devour human prey — whose teeth pierce like spears and arrows, and whose tongues cut like …
Isaiah 54 says: No weapon formed against me shall prosper and every tongue that rises up against me shall be condemned.
if there was any question about the mysterious connection between the word of God coming from the mouth like a sword Hebrews clarifies God’s message, we are told plainly that the word of God is a like a two-edged sword and in Ephesians we don’t have to guess, the sword of the spirit is the word of God. SO, what is the link between a sword and a tongue? the word of God and the mouth?
First with weapons like words, we understand what and who the true enemy is. Satan is a liar and he is the father of lies and he has been deceiving people since the Garden and he still is; false words are Satan’s super power. God has provided man with truth and words to oppose Satan’s temptations and manipulations. which is why are weapons are not carnal and the weapons we have are used to defeat evil diction and in the end Christ will defeat Satan with the perfect word of God which makes up who he is. This is the mystery of the weapon of our warfare, not carnal items like spears and javelins, but more effective, because the weapons of our adversary are also not swords and spears, he knows that our metal guns are useless against his spiritual principalities. Paul reminds the church how powerful Satan is and the real armor that we need to have on in Ephesians 6:12.
11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against powers of darkness, against principalities in the heavenly realms.13Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.…
Consider that it was Tubal Cain – a descendent of Cain who created iron and bronze. He was an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron. Cain had gone out from the presence of the Lord, Cain’s line was influenced by Satan beginning with Cain himself and the murder of his brother. In fact john tells us that Cain was the devils own seed.
If I were a king and I wanted to take over a kingdom and I knew the most powerful weapon known to man was let’s say kryptonite and all kingdoms had access to kryptonite, the only way i could truly gain power over the other kingdoms would be to convince them in fact kryptonite was not all that powerful, but rather something else something ineffective something impotent. i would do all i could to convince them of theis that way I alone could possesses the power of kryptonite while everyone else is ineffective. in essence this is what Satan has done, he has deceived and distracted mankind from the power of words and the words of God, making us believe it is swords and guns and arrows we must fear while in fact we hold the very power that will one day defeat Satan, which is the word of God and the Name of the Lord. Words are powerful because they hold truth, a gun holds bullets. a gun can kill a body but not a soul. Satan has convinced men like the philistines and goliath and Putin and even you and me that the most effective weapons we could have are carnal, and while men are scrambling to fill their arsenals with iron and bronze in the city of Corinth Paul is saying no but our weapon are not carnal but they are mighty. Carnal weapons cannot defeat Satan, because Satan doesn’t fight with carnal weapons and Satan is not flesh and blood, he too is spirit, only the sword of the spirit, only the word of God only the double edged sword that proceeds from the mouth of Christ will slay him and we very much have access to it.
We may have goliaths in our lives carrying carnal weapons, and they may be able to kill our body. But what we truly need is the name of the Lord of hosts and the word of God to protect our souls. God chose to set his truth, his word, his name, wisdom and the holy spirit on the lips and tongues of earthen vessels, like David shouting in the ear of the philistine army, NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER, but BY MY SPIRIT SAYS THE LORD and SOME TRUST IN CHARIOTS AND SOME IN HORSES BUT I TRUST IN THE NAME OF THE LORD MY GOD.
If this is true than only weapons are the word of God AND THE NAME OF THE LORD.
one last point: God’s word is not flesh and blood and it is not to be used as a carnal weapon to destroy men, but a weapon to deliver men and destroy the lies of Satan. Consider David mission and victory delivered the nation of Israel from the philistine army and the taunting of Goliath. A sharp sword can be used to harm or heal. God’s sword has the power to bring life or death, conquer, cast down, tear down, take captive, divide, deliver, bring peace, life and conviction, silencing the enemies and condemning the wicked to judgment.
God has given us wisdom that comes through our mouths like a sword to defeat our enemies. in fact our mouth is the only way to express wisdom. it is valuable to remember our enemies are not other men, our enemies are: The arguments, the false knowledge exalting itself against God, evil thoughts, and the strongholds, the things which defy God and the words that seek to deceive and weaken us. our greatest enemy is Satan nad the lies and deception he throws at us and they can only be thrown down by the word of God. God hasn’t given us his sword of the spirit to hurt people but to conquer the words of Satan, the deception, the temptations, the lies the manipulations and the false knowledge and judgments that are used against those in Christ and sometimes by those in Christ.
God doesn’t give us his word to use as a tool to dismantle people or attack others it is given to us to bear the weight of it far more often than we are called to draw it.
Today i drove my adult son to work. He was in a foul mood. He said something that had the power to trigger me. I felt the heat rising and the blood begin to boil, but I held my tongue. Satan would love nothing more than to see us fight. On the way home i tried to shake it off, and not let his twisted idea of reality become my truth or steal my peace. Satan is a thief, and he would love to steal my peace. I thought to myself I just have to rise up and rise above my natural carnal way of handling conflict. Carnal weapons can be seen but the weapons Christ arms us with must be heard, either God’s word to me or God’s word through me. I have to do and think and believe what God says is true. I also must remember that I am only responsible and accountable for my own thoughts, actions, words and self. In that moment surely, I left my sword in its sheath…for once. I bore the weight of it at my side, heard the sound of it within and let it change me! God’s word and Name is not only a weapon to defeat the enemy and his lies, but it is a powerful instrument to transform my heart and mind by removing the arguments, delivering captive’s and rescuing me from the stronghold of having to be right. This is the reason why Paul tells the church, CHURCH, your weapons are not like the weapons of carnality, they never were. God has granted us weapons of the spirit. I mean what good would a gun do in a battle with a demon. What good would an arrow do when Satan is tempting your soul to sin before God. We need the word of God to experience the power of God because nothing else will defeat Satan.