In the Kingdom of God, we have battles, but they are not fought with guns, tanks, and bombs.
Warfare calls for a different kind of sword.
When sent out for ministry, the disciples were to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” which is a metaphor for slipping in unnoticed and fleeing when threatened (Matthew 10:16). If they were not accepted in a city, they kicked the dust from their sandals and left (Matthew 10:14).
When they left the Last Supper in the upper room, the disciples were told they needed swords (Luke 22:35–38). But right after that, Peter was reprimanded for using one when he cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear (John 18:10–11). In that experience, Jesus was showing that spiritual warfare wasn’t about attacking people.
Jesus said to Pilate, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my disciples would have fought to prevent my arrest by the Jews” (John 18:36).
Consider this paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 10:4.
The weapons of our warfare are spiritual, not physical—powerful through God to defeat every stronghold that opposes him, destroying human reasoning and overcoming anything that would rise up against his truth, making every thought subject to the will of Christ.
The Kingdom of God is a mystery to the natural eye.
Before a large gathering, Jesus said, “I guarantee, some of you standing here will not die before they see the Kingdom of God come with power” (Luke 9:27). After the resurrection, that day had not yet come, so we’re not surprised to hear the disciples ask Jesus, “Will you now restore the Kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).
The disciples were told to wait in Jerusalem until they received power when the Holy Spirit came (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8), which happened on the Day of Pentecost. No longer were these disciples hiding from the authorities, but they had become like Jesus, boldly preaching in the streets, rejoicing at the opportunity to suffer for his name (Acts 5:41).
Why the change? The Holy Spirit had revealed the truth they had never seen before, that their relationship with Christ was worth dying for. And in the meantime, he was worth living for.