Weapons of War

“When you go, you will come to a secure people and a large land. For God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.’ And six hundred men of the family of the Danites went from there, from Zorah and Eshtaol, armed with weapons of war.” Judges 8:10-11

What were the “weapons of war” that Israel used thousands of years ago as its warriors fought with their enemies in  the land of Canaan? We’re going to learn about those weapons during the coming months and specifically train with one of them–the sword.

Weapons of war (sometimes called instruments of war) are understood in terms of “cold” and “hot” weapons. Cold weapons are those that do not involve fire or explosions. Hot weapons are those that do involve fire or explosions from the use of gun powder or explosive materials.

Three primary categories of cold weapons are “melee” weapons, “trauma” weapons, and “ranged” weapons. Melee weapons include swords, knives, daggers, bladed fans, brass knuckles, wind and fire wheels, metal bracelets, axes, hatchets, picks and pickaxes. Trauma weapons include clubs, stones, pole-arms, pole-arm axes, blunt staffs, thrusting spears, spikes, and hammers. Ranged weapons include throwing spears, javelins, throwing knives, throwing axes, throwing stars, throwing darts, throwing sticks, throwing stones, longbows, reflex bows, crossbows, blowguns, slings, and bolas. Whips and chain weapons are sometimes included separately because they are a combination of melee, trauma and ranged.

The first use of a weapon was when Cain killed his brother Abel. Cain may have used his bare hands or feet, or possibly a rock or stick, but we know “that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” (Genesis 4:8) We also know that Cain built a city to protect himself and his family from anyone who would try to kill him because of what he had done to his brother. Cain’s descendants became experts in working with bronze and iron (Genesis 4:22), which may have included weapons of war. Tubal-Cain, who was the son of Lamech, taught craftsmen how to work with metal. Lamech proudly announced that he had killed a man for wounding him (Genesis 4:23)–with what weapon we do not know, but it may have been a metal melee or trauma weapon based on his son’s expertise. People were healthy and strong for most of the almost thousand years they lived in those times, so that’s plenty of time to develop an expertise in using many types of weapons.

The First Swords

Interestingly, the first sword mentioned in the Bible was made by God.

“So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24

God created angels and everything they wear and use in their service to Him. That includes their swords. The first sword was a “flaming sword.” Have you ever wondered what materials God used in making a flaming sword? Was it made of materials from the earth or from Heaven? What kind of flame? How devastating would the injury be to a human being cut with an angel’s flaming sword? What chance of success would a human have in fighting against an angel? I think the answers are obvious. The injury would be death and the chance is none.

Here are other mentions of angels and swords in the Bible. Notice how they used them.

“Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.” Numbers 22:23

“Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.” Numbers 22:31

“Then David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, having in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. So David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces.” 1 Chronicles 21:16

“So the Lord commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath.” 1 Chronicles 21:27

“But David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 21:30

How well do you think an angel can use a supernatural sword? Think about Who taught them. 

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’ So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’ Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15

The “Man” with His sword drawn in His hand is the Son of God. Notice that Joshua “worshiped” Him and the “Commander of the Lord’s army” told Joshua to take off his sandals “for the place where you stand is holy.” Only God deserves worship. Christ “appeared” to many people during Old Testament times. His appearances were known as a Theophany (Greek – theophaneia, “appearance of God”). Christ is Eternal and has always had an Appearance that some people could see. He was “born” of a virgin so He would have a “body of flesh” to offer as a Sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10).

The Theophany of Joshua 5 is fascinating in light of how the Apostle John described Christ 1,500 years later in the Book of Revelation.

“I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,  saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,’ and, ‘What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.’ Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Revelation 1:9-18

John saw a sharp two-edged sword coming out of the mouth of Christ Jesus. He referenced it again later in Revelation.

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.’ And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” Revelation 19:11-21

God invented the “sword” and knows best how it is to be used. Our goal in training with the sword at Grace Martial Arts this coming school year is to learn from the Master how to use both the natural and supernatural swords at our disposal for the glory of the Almighty God.  

That leads us to our memory verse for our special sword classes. It takes a lot of time and effort to use a physical sword well. May we do even more in learning how to use the Sword of the Spirit to perfection!

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

Grace Martial Arts

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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