10 months ago
So retired Lt. General William Boykin has stirred up some controversy alleging that Jesus will return to earth carrying an AR-15.
Boykin, a retired Army lieutenant general who now works at the lobbying group, was paraphrasing the biblical prophecy in Revelation 19 that describes Jesus returning to Earth as a “warrior” with a “sharp sword.”
But he believes the scripture is due for an upgrade.
“I’ve checked this out — I believe that sword he’ll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15,” Boykin told the crowd at the Pro-Family Legislators Conference in Dallas.
“The sword today is an AR-15. If you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one. It’s biblical,” he said.
More fascinating is the reaction from one Lt. Col. Robert Bateman. We’ve had our run-ins with gun control fanatic Bateman before (here and here). In order to understand what Bateman says, you have to listen to Boykin. Bateman says of Boykin:
Wow, seriously? You believe that the fellow who preached “turn the other cheek” and “the meek shall inherit” and all that other stuff from the Sermon on the Mount, is coming back with blood on his robe?
The Second Amendment is from God. Hmmm. But yet surely, all this Jesus shooting a 5.56 NATO standard bullet from an AR-15 sticking out of his mouth must surely be metaphor, right? I mean that is how it has been interpreted for centuries. And then Lieutenant General, Three Star General Boykin (Ret.) continues:
“I know, everybody says that was a metaphor. IT WAS NOT A METAPHOR! …And that was the beginning of the Second Amendment, that’s where the whole thing came from. … I know that’s where it came from. And the sword today is an AR-15, so if you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one. It’s biblical.”
Bateman in his previous encounters with us pretends to be a historical scholar. Here he is pretending to be a Biblical scholar. And he is intentionally conflating what Boykin said. He (Boykin) wasn’t referring to Revelation 19 and whether it was metaphorical. He was referring to whether the notion of bearing weapons for self protection (as Jesus discussed in Luke 22:36) is metaphorical.
Of course, just a little research could have shown Bateman that the idea of God as warrior is thoroughgoing in the Old Testament and a motif that is carried into the New Testament as well. Jesus was no doormat or pacifist (see Matthew 10:34-36), and he certainly used violence when it was called for (Matthew 21:12).
Finally, we’ve covered how the American revolution has its roots in continental Calvinism. I cannot speak for Boykin and what he sees as metaphorical or literal. To me, Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3), and so doesn’t need an AR-15.
But He certainly didn’t intend to dissuade people from self defense (with Boykin I assert that it is a Biblical duty), and imagining Jesus as a long haired peacenik commits the error discussed by John Frame of applying an exclusive reduction (rather than an emphasizing reduction) to God. Or perhaps Bateman has never read John Frame.