pageok
pageok
pageok
Can a Christian Own a Gun for Self-defense?

Some religious people--dubbed "pacifist-aggressives" by Eugene Volokh--attempt to use the force of law to make other people live according to a pacifist philosophy. In a new article for America's First Freedom, I address the claim that the New Testament compels pacifism.

Some caveats: 1. It's a large PDF file. 2. The article presumes, for the sake of argument, that everything in the Gospels and the Book of Acts is literally true. 3. The thesis of the article is refutation of the claim of a pacifist mandate, rather than arguing that Gospels/Acts provide clear instruction on all issues regarding self-defense or defense of others. 4. The article does not address non-scriptural arguments for pacifism--such as the Quaker belief that a person who conscientiously listens to his inner light will eventually discern pacifist principles in his own heart.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Weapons of Jesus and the Disciples:
  2. Can a Christian Own a Gun for Self-defense?
Hattio (mail):
Would pacifists-aggressives only apply to those who are religious and attempt to use the force of law to require others to live by their pacifist philosophy? Or anyone who does so?
1.23.2007 1:42pm
Death & Taxes (mail):
I would think the term applies to all pacifists (not merely religious, but also secular) who lobby to compel others, by force of law, to live according to thier own belief structures.

How this would differentiate them from what I'd call "abstinence-aggressives", "heterosexual-marriage aggressives", and "censorship-aggressives" (those who attempt to use the force of law to require others to live by their respective philosophies) is less clear.

Aside from the snappy play-on-words terminology, anyhow.
1.23.2007 2:04pm
pmorem (mail):
I believe the term "pacifist-aggressive" applies to those who attempt to use force of law to compel everyone to live by their pacifist philosophy.

These are the ones who would not only not soil their own hand by raising it to stop their brother from being sold into slavery, they would also seek to prevent anyone else from raising a hand. They cross the line from simply not resisting evil to actively enabling it, turning not only their own cheek, but those of others as well. "White washed tombs and dirty mausoleums". Their deeds are known and understood, and they should not count on being judged well for them.
1.23.2007 2:10pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Note that any really Christian pacifist would also oppose using the force of law to compel others, because such compulsion rests on force.

Tolstoy, for ex, is quite clear on this.
1.23.2007 2:13pm
Act this way:
Your selection of the Gospels and the Book of Acts strikes me as heavily influencing/allowing your conclusion. I think the only defensible selections would be the Gospels or the entire New Testiment. Would you be able to reach the same conclusion based only on the Gospels?


[
DK It's a decision based on the space limitations in a magazine format. I have written other material (not yet published) on the rest of the NT, and there's nothing in it which really changes my conclusion based on the first 5 books of the NT. Also, Gospels+Acts are the only NT books which are mostly about telling the story of past events. All the rest is letters which are most theoretical, plus Revelation, which predicts future events.]
1.23.2007 2:14pm
Christopher M (mail):
The article presumes, for the sake of argument, that everything in the Gospels and the Book of Acts is literally true

This is sort of amusing in light of the well known principle of classical logic that ex falso sequitur quodlibet: that is, literally any conclusion follows logically if ones premises are contradictory.
1.23.2007 2:28pm
George Grady (mail):
The Book of Acts is the same book as the Gospel of Luke, which was only later split into two pieces so that it matched up better with the other gospels. It is much better placed with the gospels than with the epistles.
1.23.2007 2:32pm
Nick P.:
I'm intrigued by the term "pacifist-agressives." Most of the Christian pacifists that I have met, mainly mennonites and quakers, are less likely to participate in politics or law than their non-pacifist coreligionists. They are therefore quite unlikely to use the force of law to make other people live as pacifists. I wonder if "pacifist-agressives" are more likely to be non-religious.

With regard to the discussion of Jesus's instructions after the last supper, I think there is some ambiguity regarding the word "sword." As I understand it, the Greek word transliterated "machaira" can refer to a weapon, but it can also refer to a large knife used for butchering livestock and other houshold chores. The Greek new testament does use it as a general synonym for sword (as in Paul's letters), but here Jesus is referring to specific items. Perhaps a closer translation would be "machete." As anyone who has spent any time in rural areas of the third world knows, a machete can be a weapon, but it is also an all-purpose tool that is quite useful for a traveler. If Jesus is referring to the items in question as tools rather than weapons, then you may be correct that Jesus is instructing his disciples to carry the ordinary items of a traveler. But the passage would not have anything to say about pacifism, pro or con.

Peter's aggression when Jesus was arrested may also suggest that the items in question were not perceived primarily as weapons. If you are correct that Jews were forbidden to carry swords, then it is curious that no one there seized on the illegal arms as an excuse to arrest Jesus disciples.

You remind us to read in context, but then ignore much of the context of "turn the other cheek". Within Matthew 5, turning the other cheek to one who slaps you goes together with giving your cloak to the one who sues you for your tunic. Both seem to be specific examples of a more general ethic outlined in versus 43-47. I think it likely that defending myself can be compatible with loving my enemy, but that compatibility becomes more difficult to sustain if the method of defence is potentially lethal.

Any discussion of Christian pacifism should probably also consider Romans 12 and 13. In Romans 13, Paul discusses the lethal force of the State which serves as an agent of God's wrath. In Chapter 12, however, he indicates that Christians should be agents of mercy towards their enemies. This indicates a distinct difference between the responsibilities of the state and the responsibilities of Christians, and it raises the question of whether Christians can legitimately participate in state sanctioned violence. Thus, a Christian pacifist might agree with your excerpt from Lewis's Weight of Glory up to the part about the magistrate or the soldier. When hit, there are indeed "motives other than egoistical relatiation for hitting back," but ultimately those motives should seek the good of the hitter.


[DK: I agree historically, there have been plenty of pacifists, including many Mennonites and Quakers, who have promoted pacifism through a good example, rather than coercion. Although I also note that the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (which favors confiscation of all handguns) has a lot of religious groups which are members. I agree with you that Romans 13 raises interesting issues, although not ones that could be addressed within the magazine space available. Briefly put, it's been read both as a mandate for passive submission even to tyranny, and as a mandate for revolution against tyranny.)
1.23.2007 2:40pm
W. J. J. Hoge:
The narative books of the New Testament (Gospels and Acts) are a reasonable choice for such a study as they contain the examples of how Jesus and those who knew him personally dealt with the issues of self-defense and the defense of others. OTOH, the Epistles contain the teaching of the Apostles (mostly Paul). Throughout the New Testament, one can find condemnation of taking personal vengance, but I'm unaware of any teaching against self-defense or the defense of others. In the Gospels, for example, Jesus makes sure that someone is carrying a sword when He and the disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane on the night He is arrested. In the Epistles, for example, Paul says that the state is given the power of the sword to protect society.
1.23.2007 2:44pm
Chris 24601 (mail):
It's the OT, but Exodus 22:2 is pretty clear that the use of deadly force in defense of property is OK. That's what Aquinas cites in the Summa, 2-2 ST Q67, A7.
1.23.2007 2:45pm
Jeek:
One is reminded of Roy Scheider's quote in Romeo Is Bleeding:

"I have no respect for pacifism. It's a morally bankrupt belief. Pacifists believe that they have the right not to kill, but others always die in defense of that right."
1.23.2007 2:51pm
Lively:
I have visited this subject with Christian pacifists before. One paradox is....what is their position on police officers. Do they want police officers protecting them or do the pacifists want armed robbers going unchecked?
1.23.2007 3:18pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I once talked to a pacifist--only our side needed to be pacifist--and asked the question about cops. Yes, he said, there is a theory of pacific cops. Hum.

A real, genuine, unequivocal pacifist is about as rare as one could reasonably imagine. First, they have to, as Lively mentioned, give up on using force for their own protection, including the state. If they don't do that, they don't count. Anything after that, anti-war or whatever, is meaningless if they aren't against the state using force to protect its citizens, ie cops.

The cheek-turning thing is, imo, interpreted incorrectly, for the most part. If a slap on the cheek were a violent attack there would be no reason to commend the vic to turn the other cheek, as the vic would be dead or crippled. Only if the vic has the capacity to turn the other cheek is there any reason to instruct him as to the proper choice.
I believe, and I've heard it from people more qualified than I in ancient ways, that the cheekslap is an insult which does not injure.
I presume that an insult which does not injure or threaten is considered insufficient grounds for getting violent. But, then, not turning the other cheek is...not turning the other cheek. There is only an implication that the sole alternative is violence.
The result of turning the other cheek--Is that all you got?--might be devastating to the perp.
1.23.2007 3:47pm
frankcross (mail):
I'm not sure the term pacifist-aggressive buys much.
It could just as easily be used to refer to antimurder-aggressives or antirape-aggressives.

It is really just saying that pacifists are not anarchist libertarians.
1.23.2007 4:12pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
The problem here is not about pacifism, but about pacifist Christianity.

The pacifist Christian accepts that he and his family may be robbed, hurt, tortured, or killed, but those are inconsequential as against Heaven.

Hence the refusal of early Christians to serve in the legions, even on pain of death to them and their families.
1.23.2007 4:36pm
Enoch:
Bah, if the price of a ticket to heaven is that high, count me out. What kind of God would even demand that of you, let alone ask that you sacrifice your own child?
1.23.2007 4:54pm
SamChevre:
A real, genuine, unequivocal pacifist is about as rare as one could reasonably imagine. First, they have to, as Lively mentioned, give up on using force for their own protection, including the state. If they don't do that, they don't count. Anything after that, anti-war or whatever, is meaningless if they aren't against the state using force to protect its citizens, ie cops.

Actually, there's a reasonably large and reasonably coherent subset of Christianity that holds:

1) Christians are not to use force, ever, even in self-defense

2) Governments are supposed to use force

They draw the (obvious) conclusion that Christians can't be part of the government (even by lobbying), and the government can't rightly make people act like Christians.

All the traditional Anabaptist churches (Amish, Mennonite, Hutterite, and their subvariants--NOT the secularized Mennonite General Conference) that hold to the Schleitheim Confession would hold this view.
1.23.2007 5:01pm
PersonFromPorlock:
I think this is Niebuhr but I'm not sure :"In a world where sin is a condition of existence, pacifists are parasites who live on the sins of others."

What's really astonishing is how, starting from a religion which fundamentally considers a sinless life to be impossible, some Christians still want to immanentize the eschaton.
1.23.2007 5:03pm
David in NY (mail):
Boy, I really love the interpretation of "turning the other cheek" as requiring one to avoid violence only if the slap is a little one. That really makes sense! I'm sure that's what Jesus meant. He couldn't have preached that violence against another was in any circumstance an evil. He was no absolutist, I guess. But won't the conservatives will be upset to learn that there's moral relativism even in the Good Book!
1.23.2007 5:11pm
WHOI Jacket:


This link provides some good information on C.S. Lewis' and other Christian thinkers views on pacifism.
1.23.2007 5:48pm
Chris 24601 (mail):
What's with the green outlines of certain comments?
1.23.2007 5:49pm
WHOI Jacket:
Christian Pacifism and War

Dont know why the link was cut, but here it is again.
1.23.2007 5:51pm
Distant Observer:
Any serious discussion of the Gospels and the Bible would not begin with the assertion that everything in them is literally true.

Whether the New Testament compels pacifism is a less interesting question than whether Jesus' teachings promoted pacifism.
1.23.2007 6:14pm
Beerslurpy (mail) (www):
Jesus was ok with carrying swords. Indeed, he ordered his disciples to sell the clothing off their backs to get some if they didnt have one already.

I see turning the other cheek as applying only to enduring dignitary harms from petty enemies rather than requiring that one forgo self defense against a genuinely dangerous adversary.
1.23.2007 6:46pm
William Spieler (mail) (www):
There shouldn't be a comma after Act in the first sentence of the main body of the text.
1.23.2007 7:08pm
Colin (mail):
Any serious discussion of the Gospels and the Bible would not begin with the assertion that everything in them is literally true.

I agree. But this discussion is about how Christians--who generally believe that the New Testament is to some extent literally true--should apply those books to self defense. I think that it's a reasonable starting assumption in that context.
1.23.2007 7:13pm
Distant Observer:
Saying that Christians believe the New Testament is "to some extent literally true" doesn't give us a whole lot to go on. There is nothing in conflict between that and saying that Christians generally don't take everything in the Gospels to be literally true.

There are some Christians that do take everything to be literally true. But then what's the purpose of debunking their beliefs that are based on false assumptions anyway?
1.23.2007 7:37pm
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
_Fun Fare : A Treasury of Reader's Digest Wit and Humor_ (1949) has this anecdote :

A gentle Quaker, hearing a strange noise in his house one night, got up and discovered a burglar busily at work. So he went and got his gun, then came back and stood quietly in the doorway. ``Friend,'' he said, ``I would do thee no harm for the world, but thee standest where I am about to shoot.'' p.100
1.23.2007 7:56pm
Chris 24601 (mail):
1.23.2007 10:19pm
eric (mail):
The turn the other cheek passage seems to me to be a generally message against returning insults.

When slapped on the cheek, what are your options?
1. Slap Back
2. Retaliate with Violence
3. Retreat
4. Do Nothing

Turn the other cheek seems to me to be closer to doing nothing, but simply showing that you are doing nothing.

Also, I think the "is that all you got" connotations are high.

I do not understand Christian pacifism is light of Jesus throwing the money changers out, or at least scaring them out, of the temple.
1.24.2007 1:00am
J.Kremer (mail):
Re: Nick P's comments about the machaira. He is correct that a "machaira" could be either a short sword or a long knife ("machete") worn next to the sword sheath. But, in NT usage, it denotes a weapon, not a tool (Mt 10:34. 26:47, 51-53, 55, Mk 14:43, 47-48, Lk 21:24, 22:36, 38, 49, 52, Jn 18:10-11, Ac 12:2, 16:27, Ro 8:35, 13.4, Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12, 11:34, 37, Rev 6:4, 13:10, 14).

Also, the discussion about the State being an agent of God's wrath in Romans 13 seems to me to be exactly the point. Romans 13 says that the State's authority comes from God and it acts as God's agent in using the sword (machaira in the Greek text), and that the rulers (archons) are his servants. If the State serves God by killing to enact justice, how can it be a sin for Christians to "participate in state sanctioned violence" if it serves God? Wouldn't that make God a minister of sin?
1.24.2007 2:02am
Beem:
Mr. Kopel has raised some interesting points, but his affection for firearms has encouraged him to lose the real Jesus for a more palatable and fictional one. When the Jews spoke of the Messiah, they thought only of a Davidic, ass-kicking king who would throw out the Roman Empire and reign over a renewed Israel. Instead, they got a man who utterly failed to do so, rather speaking of a kingdom not of this world. If Mr Kopel wants a messiah who kicks ass and takes names, he is looking for a Rambo and not Jesus Christ.

The Jesus &the Whip story is often cited as an evasion of Jesus's core pacific ism, but again, it is a faulty analysis built to support the bias of the speaker and not the truth of the text. Nowhere does it actually say Jesus whipped people, and there is a great amount of textual support that indicates the whip was for the animals alone. The central message of that story is the corruption of religion by greed, not the right to beat the hell of people for whatever reason.

And I can't be a completist without also pointing out that neither the Roman Centurion or the disciples are held out as good examples because, as Kopel sugggest, they bore arms. Romans in Gospels are the bad guys , they torture and persecute the Jewish community at every turn. The Roman Centurion is good only because of his absolute faith in Jesus's power, not because soldiers, prostitutes, and tax collectors are some kind of holy professions to be aspired. The First Council Of Nicaea for goodness sake referred to soldiers as dogs who eat their own vomit!!! And the major theme in the Bible is how horrible Jesus's disciples are at following his commands, a stark remainder of humanity's weakness, and NOT an endorsement of vice as virtue.

I certainly believe one can debate on the level of pacificism that Christianity requires, but there is no doubt in my mind that the Bible does not advocate the kind of "Dirty Harry" style tactics hinted at.
1.24.2007 3:41am
Ben Coates:
I have visited this subject with Christian pacifists before. One paradox is....what is their position on police officers. Do they want police officers protecting them or do the pacifists want armed robbers going unchecked?
I'm not a pacifist, but I don't see the contradiction between having police (or even being a cop) and pacifism. The primary job of police is the investigation of crimes and referring them to prosecutors, there's no violence inherent in that.

Not all pacifistic views require you to reject self-defense against an immediate threat, or defending others. Some just reject aggressive, preemptive or retaliatory violence like warfare and armed intimidation. That viewpoint wouldn't be problematic for the vast majority of police work in the US today (although they would be likely to have moral problems with related matters like the death penalty, imprisonment, or violent "busts")

I doubt it would work out well, but I can imagine that even a society completely unwilling to use violence would still have police or someone doing the equivalent job.
1.24.2007 5:12am
Nick P.:
J Kremer:

Thanks for the list of references to "sword" in the new testament, but I'm not sure it helps to decipher the specific context of Jesus instruction that his disciples should buy a sword. As I agreed, "Machaira" can be a general term for sword, and Paul does use it as a metaphor for the lethal power of the state, but some of the references to swords as specific objects are more ambiguous. For instance, Mark 14:43 and Matthew 26:47 refer to swords and clubs wielded by a crowd. That seems consistent with the idea that the "machaira" is parallel to a modern machete. It's the sort of thing that a crowd of thugs can easily lay hands on and in that context is definitely a weapon. But, if I tell you to take a machete on your journey through the countryside, does the knowledge that Rwandan mobs used them as weapons tell you much about how I want you to use it? All I'm suggesting is that it is risky to use that passage a a proof-text for bearing arms. There just isn't enough specific detail.

If the State serves God by killing to enact justice, how can it be a sin for Christians to "participate in state sanctioned violence" if it serves God? Wouldn't that make God a minister of sin?

The Babylonians and Assyrians also served God's will when He wanted to chastise the Israelites in the old testament. That just means that even sinful men are subject to God's will. It doesn't make them Godly or God sinful. Throughout the Bible, God sometimes holds particular people to stricter or different standards than the general population (e.g. Samson and the nazarites, Jews vesus gentiles), and in Romans 12 and 13, Paul seems to be contrasting the behavior expected of Christians with that of the State. Note that in Romans 13, he is explaining how Christians should react to the rulers, not how they should serve the rulers.

So, I don't think there is anything necessarily contradictory or inconsistent in concluding that there are certain things the State does which Christians should not do or that Christians participation in the State's actions should be limited. Certainly, Paul does not explicitly say that Christians should participate with the Rulers in bearing the sword. At best, we can conclude that he doesn't explicitly forbid it in that passage.

Similarly, the passages involving Cornelius and the faithful Centurion definitely tell us that soldiers can become Christians, but the Gospels don't say what happened to Cornelius or the other soldiers after their conversion. Since the gospels are silent on that matter, I'd be hesitant to use those passages as evidence for or against the proposition that Christians can or should continue to be soldiers.
1.24.2007 10:05am
not I:
How did the term "Christian" get mixed into this post? I'm a Christian, and I find the post and comments to be misleading; implying that all who claim Christianity are characterized as "accept[ing] that he and his family may be robbed, hurt, tortured, or killed, but those are inconsequential as against Heaven".

Enoch replied "Bah, if the price of a ticket to heaven is that high, count me out. What kind of God would even demand that of you, let alone ask that you sacrifice your own child?"

Christianity and scripture do NOT set this as the "price of a ticket to heaven". To imply otherwise in these posts is misleading as to what Scripture says. Taking the literal words of scripture out of context leads to wrong results, the same way taking criminal law and applying it to a civil matter would. The two simply don't mesh.

Could the post be clarified to ensure that this discussion is about one particular sect of those who use the term "Christianity" to describe their beliefs, but is NOT representative of the "Christian" belief as a whole?

Thanks
1.24.2007 1:18pm
Aleks:
Re: Hence the refusal of early Christians to serve in the legions, even on pain of death to them and their families.

Could you document such a refusal historicallY? Among the early (pre-Constantine) Christian saints are more than a few who served as legionaires: Sergius and Bacchus, George, Demetrios, Lawrence ,etc. They were put to death not for their supposed pacifism, but for refusing to participate in the veneration of the Emperor while professing Christ..
1.24.2007 1:20pm
J.Kremer (mail):
Nick P,

There's also another kind of sword, transliterated romphaia, used in the NT, so the machaira references aren't exhaustive for "sword".

The sense of the passage doesn't seem to support translating machaira as "machete". The context of Lk 22:35-38 is that of Jesus telling his disciples that the scripture, "...and he will be counted with the lawless", will be fulfiled in him. He tells them that if they don't have a machaira they should sell their cloaks to buy one. The question is, why would a machete for traveling be important enough for them to sell their cloaks? The context is that Jesus is telling them to be prepared as his disciples for their also being counted as lawless. The sense of the passage is that they no longer have the divine power he had formerly bestowed on them on their previous journeys, and will now have to fend for themselves as anyone else, including the ability to defend themselves if necessary. Mr. Kopel's point that Jesus doesn't correct them when they say they have two swords, as he did on other occasions when they misinterpreted his statements, is important to keep in mind. If "sword" wasn't his meaning, wouldn't Jesus have clarified such an important point? Yet he didn't, as he didn't tell Peter to discard his machaira, but merely to put it back in its place. It seems to me that, although not conclusive in an absolute sense, the meaning of machaira in this passage is clear enough that every English translation I've seen renders it as "sword". Translating it as machete or knife doesn't change the underlying meaning of "weapon" rather than "tool", and that's how it seems to be used throughout the NT.

For Romans 12 and 13, we're in general agreement that Paul neither recommends nor forbids Christian participation in State affairs, including bearing the sword, and that Paul is telling Chrisitans how to relate to the Rulers. I understand your point about the Babylonians and Assyrians, but the sense of the passage seems to be that if the Rulers kill, it's to affect justice on behalf of God, as actual servants of God who are just, and are not merely as instruments of God as the Babylonians and Assyrians were. That's an important distinction that I don't want to get into a discussion about, because it could get to be very long and involved.

As for Cornelius and the Centurion, the text does leave the question open, but one wonders why the NT would remain silent if the renunciation of arms was a requirement for discipleship. I agree that no one has a clear answer. Perhaps it was intended to be that way.

Regards,
JK
1.24.2007 3:32pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Sam, et others:

If you need cops to live peacefully, you are living on and benefiting from violence and the threat of violence. That you have figured out a way to do so without actually committing the violence yourself is meaningless.
Cops of course clean up after the criminals have killed you and your family, but if they arrest somebody, they do it by force or threat of force. And that's how the perps are kept in the system all the way through.

The turn the other cheek issue is not as silly as David in NY makes it sound. If Jesus had wanted to say that violence against another is never justified, He could have said so. If He had said, "When you're lying helpless dead or dying from an attack, don't jump up, grab your weapons and lay into the attackers.", it would have been a waste of words. He said neither, leaving the question of what he was actually saying. I don't have a Bible to hand at the moment, but I recall somebody saying the instruction was followed by something about heaping coals of fire on the attacker's head. Now, if the attacker has crippled you and left you helpless, your inability to fight him doesn't seem like coalsoffireheaping. It would be a feature, not a bug. The objective.
Turning the other cheek, on the other hand, would have some coalsoffireheaping possibilties if the first blow was a slap for the purposes of dissing.

Pacifists have never, to my knowledge, made a differentiation between self-defense and aggression. That's circumstance-judging, which is what non-pacifists do all the time.
1.24.2007 4:02pm
Ken Kukec (mail):

What kind of God would even demand that of you, let alone ask that you sacrifice your own child?


The kind that spoke to Abraham? You know, the founder of all three Abrahamic religions.
1.24.2007 8:16pm
Greg in Allston (mail):
It has been my experience, both as a keen observer of the human condition and as someone who has been around the block more than a few times, that turning the other cheek generally only lends symmetry to one's wounds. Pacifism is an utterally bankrupt philosophy. If one is not willing to defend themselves or their loved ones, then they are nothing more than pathetic cowards, despite whatever claim they may have toward seeking a higher ground. Where were the pacifists in Armenia, the Gulags, the Holocaust, the Cultural Revolution, the Killing Fields, East Timor, Rwanda and Burundi, Darfur, Zimbabwe, etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum, to name but the most notorious. They were nowhere, to be precise. They were living their lives in comfortable oblivion, sitting on their high horses, smug and selfsatisified, that they were above the frey, their hands, their hearts and their consciences were as clean and as pure as the driven snow. I loathe and pity them.
1.24.2007 11:39pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
Beem -

My understanding is that the Jews were expecting two Messiahs - one Priestly and one Kingly (and if you look at the differences between the two nativity stories, you see this, but that's a long story I don't intend to get into, but Ormond Edwards touches on it in a book called "when was Anno Domini?"). As you say, the one they got was the Priestly Messiah. They were also expecting a Messianic Prophet, presumably that would be John the Baptist. The only explanation that I have seen for what happened to the Kingly Messiah gets bound up into esoteria and occultism; take it or leave it....
1.24.2007 11:50pm
Evelyn M. Blaine (mail):
I know very little about the New Testament or the intricacies of koine, so I don't presume to offer an answer to the interpretation of Luke 22:37-38, but I just thought that I should point out that, classically, machaira could clearly be both a knife (utility or sacrificial) and a dagger. LSJ is illuminating, as ever.
1.24.2007 11:53pm
PersonFromPorlock:

What kind of God would even demand that... you sacrifice your own child?

Moloch, for one.
1.25.2007 7:37am
Chris 24601 (mail):


What kind of God would even demand that... you sacrifice your own child?


Moloch, for one.


Or a God aiming to typify what he was planning to do himself.
1.25.2007 1:42pm