“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 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 10:34-35)
Why did Jesus not come to bring 'peace on earth'?This statement by Jesus contradicts many of the carols and slogans regarding Jesus, including those where he is referred to as the “prince of peace,” and those where he supposedly brings "peace on earth.
But didn't Jesus want "peace on earth"?
We can see that he doesn't from this above statement.
But what about this other statement:
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." (Matthew 5:9)Here the word, "peacemakers" has been translated from the Greek word εἰρηνοποιός (eirēnopoios), which is rooted in the word εἰρήνη, which can also mean "tranquility" and "the blessed state of devout and upright men..." according to Thayer's lexicon.
This means that Jesus is referring to helping others achieve tranquility from within. This means a state of spiritual advancement.
The word "peace" in Matthew 10:34-35 above also comes from the Greek root word εἰρήνη. But Jesus adds ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν which is being translated to "to the earth" here. The difference between the two contexts is that Jesus is speaking of societal "peace" in Matthew 10:34-35 and inner "peace" or tranquility in Matthew 5:9.
But why isn't Jesus interested in creating 'peace on earth' then?
In fact, Jesus goes further and states:
"I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." What does this mean? Is Jesus a warrior?
Did Jesus brandish a 'sword'?Jesus is using "sword" metaphorically. Obviously, he wasn't into warfare. Otherwise, he would have been involved in fighting skirmishes instead of simply giving sermons.
Jesus clarifies this meaning in the next sentence:
"For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-low against her mother-in-law--a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”This clarifies that - regardless of how ministers and reverends preach the importance of family - Jesus was disrupting families because he was teaching about our real identity.
Jesus was teaching that we are not these physical bodies:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear." (Luke 12:22)Rather, Jesus was teaching his students that we are the spirit-persons - children of the Supreme Being, and therefore our real family is with the Supreme Being.
Yes, our real family has nothing to do with these temporary physical bodies.
Who goes to heaven?This clear distinction between the spirit-person within and the physical body is critical to understanding Jesus' teachings. For those who do not understand this basic point, there is confusion. This is illustrated as people confuse Jesus with his crucified physical body and confusing heaven as a place where physical bodies go.
A recent theatrical portrayal of heaven, for example, is that everyone is their young physical body in heaven. As if even though a person's body was old and worn out at the time of death, in heaven they shrink back to the body they had when they were a child.
What about the physical body that decomposed after it was buried in the ground or cremated?
This portrayal may approach the fact that there is no death or aging within the spiritual realm and there is life after death. But it confuses the physical body with the spiritual self - the person who leaves the physical body at the time of death.
And the theatrical portrayal - by a child who experiences clinical death and the "afterlife" - does not necessarily portray the spiritual realm. There are numerous physical dimensions where different people live in different types of bodies.
And there are subtle physical dimensions where spirits can dwell before they move on. In these ethereal dimensions, the person will retain the mental image of their former body which can be seen by others who also enter into that subtle physical dimension.
But this is hardly heaven - or the spiritual realm. How do we know?
What is heaven?God is the center of heaven. Because the spiritual realm is that place where the Supreme Being is the center. The Supreme Being is the center of attention and everyone is loving and serving the Supreme Being.
Therefore, unless the child saw the Supreme Being being loved, served, and cared for by His loving servants, the child did not enter the spiritual realm.
In fact, this notion of "heaven" as this place of comfort where everyone is relaxing without a care in the world or sipping lemonade on lawn chairs as if in retirement - is not the spiritual realm.
They want heaven without the Supreme Being. Such a place might seem nice, but it is actually hell if the Supreme Being is not there.
Hell is that place where people everyone is self-concerned. It is where everyone is focused upon our own enjoyment. Everyone wants to be a winner. Everyone wants to be a star. Everyone wants to be the greatest.
Yes, this is the physical world. This is the place where those who have rejected their relationship with the Supreme Being go and take on temporary physical bodies in order to pretend we are the center of the universe.
The Supreme Being created this physical world to set up a fantasy - a mirage - so we could pretend that He doesn't exist and that we are the most important person. This fantasy is set up within the illusion that we are these physical bodies - which we are not.
You see, because love requires freedom, the Supreme Being gave each of us the freedom to love Him or not. Those of us who chose not to love Him were sent to the physical world and given physical bodies - so that we can play out our self-centered desires.
Does this ruin the fantasy of materialism?But Jesus' purpose - as he states above - is to wreck the fantasy of the physical world. He came to destroy the illusion that we can be happy here away from the Supreme Being.
He came to blow up the notion that our families and houses give us shelter and the love that we need.
This is why Jesus said: "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--”
Jesus also taught that we are not these physical bodies and therefore these relationships are not the key to our spiritual happiness. In fact, he stated:
"a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” Why?
Because the relationships of the body are an illusion. We might think that we are the son of the father of this body but we are not. Only a body procreated another body. We are not these bodies. They are temporary vehicles. And by focusing upon the relationships of this body we forget our real identity as spiritual beings.
Jesus explained this further elsewhere:
"For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:50)This statement gets to the heart of Jesus' teachings: doing the will of the Supreme Being is Jesus' goal.
What kind of person does the will of the Supreme Being?
Someone who loves and cares for the Supreme Being. Yes, Jesus was in love with the Supreme Being. He was doing God's will and thus representing the Supreme Being.
And Jesus wanted us to also come to know and love with the Supreme Being. This is our natural position, our purpose for existing - and the only thing that will fulfill us. This is confirmed in Jesus's teachings:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' his is the first and greatest commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)