The Old Testament is full of frightening descriptions of Jehovah as being an angry, jealous and vengeful “warrior” God. In the New Testament however God’s “only begotten Son” reveals a Divine Being with profound love who “turned the other cheek” and never even lifted a finger against those who would eventually torture and execute Him.
But in the end, like Father, like Son.
No sooner do we get a chance to embrace the comforting idea of the Lord as a loving God and “Prince of Peace” than He shows us in the Book of Revelation His true colors and that He is really a chip off the old block. In the final cosmic battle of Armageddon it seems that Jehovah has passed the fight over to His Son along with a mighty sword.
Many Christians overlook this theological inconsistency and accept this back and forth behavior as a matter of faith, not logic. For logic tells us that inconsistency is imperfection and imperfection is not something we can attribute to the Divine.
So how do we reconcile these conflicting images of our Savior? How do we view our Lord as Infinite Love, yet itching for a fight? How is the Lord God both a savior and destroyer? How do we warm up to a God who is flashing a fearsome sword in his hand?
These kinds of irksome questions have caused many people to leave the church, embrace atheism and mock the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.
Thankfully, scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg provided an answer that addressed these “apparent” mixed messages about God as portrayed in the Scriptures. He discovered that the Holy Word was written in a most sacred symbolic language (even its historical aspects). Therefore, when we are given an image of the Lord wielding a sword, it is to be understood as a weapon not forged from steel but from God’s divine truth.
The Lord’s only weapon against evil and falsity is truth. A divine or holy sword is forged from truth into a doctrine to combat evil. As evidence for this higher meaning, the Lord is described in Revelation as having a sword coming out of His mouth! His weapon is therefore the “pointed” truth, which proceeds from His very mouth.
God hates no one but is pure love and mercy itself. God fights, but he fights for all of us through spiritual combat – so that we might be “struck” by the wisdom of His teachings. What this psycho-spiritual sword (the sword of righteousness) kills is not our physical bodies, but it seeks to slay the harmful compulsions and negative influences that we each face from within. Only our former ways are vanquished from such an encounter with God’s divine truth.
So Scripture is inerrant. But not in the way most believers and non-believers would expect it to be. Humankind needs to regain the deeper spiritual-speak of Scripture.