The words are striking and unexpected. Did Jesus, the Prince of Peace, really say this? As recorded in Matthew, the Lord said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)
Not peace, but a sword? What exactly did He mean?
Jesus continued, “For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’” (Matthew 10:35–36)
So, the Messiah was not talking about a literal sword but rather a figurative sword. A sword of division. A sword that separated families, as one member would follow Him and another would renounce Him.
But these words did not originate with Jesus.
Rather, He was quoting from the Old Testament prophet Micah who wrote, “Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips. For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.” (Micah 7:5–6, my emphasis)
Interestingly, in the foundational document of rabbinic Judaism, called the Mishnah, Micah’s words are quoted again, also with reference to the times of the Messiah.
The text states, “In the footsteps of the Messiah [meaning, in the days immediately before he is revealed] insolence will increase and the cost of living will go up greatly; the vine will yield its fruit, but wine will be expensive; the government will turn to heresy, and there will be no one to rebuke; the meeting-place [of scholars] will be used for licentiousness; . . . the wisdom of the learned will rot, fearers of sin will be despised, and the truth will be lacking; youths will put old men to shame, the old will stand up in the presence of the young, “For son spurns father, daughter rises up against mother, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law a man’s own household are his enemies” (Sotah 9:15, my emphasis).
So, it appears that there was a widespread, ancient Jewish tradition that the Messiah would come at a dark time in history, a time of spiritual decline and social upheaval. And his coming would bring division, even between families.
Jesus was saying, “That time is now, and I am the promised Messiah.” As a result, He would bring a sword of division. He would bring secret thoughts to light and reveal hidden things (Luke 2:34-35).
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Brown