He served as a general during George Bush's tenure as US President, so perhaps it's fair to say that Jerry Boykin's latest comments should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Lieutenant General William 'Jerry' Boykin most famously made headlines when he was denounced by Bush and his fellow peers for controversial comments made about Islamic extremists back in 2003, over which he was then forced to back down.
Reports have now emerged that during a conference for pro-family legislators in November, the 64-year-old suggested that if Jesus were to come back to Earth, he would be "coming back as a warrior carrying a sword".
Boykin, who is the executive vice president of the Family Research Council, quickly got onto the topic of Jesus and the Second Revelation, but came up with a new suggestion for the "sword" of biblical references.
He said: "The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 it says when he comes back, he's coming back as what? A warrior. A mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe. And I believe now that the sword he'll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15."
The AR-15, of course, is not a sword but a gun, and it remains to be seen how Boykin's suggestion could be perceived by the wider US Christian community.
The phrase in the Bible to which Boykin refers – "I came not to bring peace but to bring a sword" – is widely regarded as one of Jesus' most controversial statements. It appears he may have misunderstood the context involved, however.
He added: "Now I want you to think about this: where did the Second Amendment come from? ... From the Founding Fathers, it's in the Constitution. Well, yeah, I know that. But where did the whole concept come from? It came from Jesus when he said to his disciples 'now, if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one'.
"I know, everybody says that was a metaphor. It was not a metaphor! 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."
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