In the day that Jesus walked this earth, or the Land & spoke the words that Matthew recorded above, a separation was about to be revealed! This division was between the true & false Israel, those who followed Yahweh's commands from a pure heart & those who merely followed the Letter of the Law, but inside were full of dead men's bones! At the time of Matthews writing, the eschatological point of the spear had been reached & and it was, as Jesus said, a time to separate the sheep from the goats, the good from the evil, the true from the false!
Today, you might well say that we have reached another such point, but theologically, rather than eschatologically! Discoveries have been made & and new revelations have occurred in the past few years & decades that have shed fresh light on the evidence at hand, and this light has begun to show that the evidence that we thought we knew so well wasn't quite so well-known as at first thought!
Covenantal thinking has changed the face of theology! Beginning with Covenant Protology & coming to Fulfillment with Covenant Eschatology, theologians have begun to ( re ) discover exactly what the Story of Scripture is all about! That Adam & Eve ( Genesis 1-3 ) were not the first man & woman to inhabit planet earth, but were simply the beginning of Yahweh's Covenant Creation is not a new concept ( not well-known, or even accepted, but definitely not new )!
The belief that the first part of Genesis refers to a Covenant Creation instead of, as traditionally viewed, the natural or material creation is gaining ascendance by leaps & bounds! It changes everything! Once one accepts that the earth is very likely more than 6,000 years old ( as Science tells us ) & that Adam was not the first human being on the face of the earth, but the first man on the face of the Land with whom Yahweh covenanted, things begin to click into place!
Another facet of Covenant Creation that many modern theologians have begun to pick up on is that the 'beasts of the field', what we would normally view as mere animals, were actually indicative of the nations around the Land who had not received this special revelation from their Creator! 'The birds of the air' & 'the fish of the sea' indicated this aspect of Yahweh's good creation as well! John's words in the latter part of the Revelation, 'there was no more sea', finally make sense without getting embroiled in all kinds of useless speculation & imagination!
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
This Point, or End was reached in the first century! When the Son of God was Revealed from Heaven, culminating finally, in the Marriage of Heaven & Earth, the eschatological goal of the History of Israel was realized! However, though eschatology had been fulfilled & the Eschaton, or End Revealed, the doctrines of man, particularly in the last days of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth, lost sight of this Fulfillment & Eschaton, focusing instead on some 'pie-in-the-sky' affair & a falsely dis-jointed & materialistic hope of Heaven!
Theologically speaking, we have come to the crossroads again, where people will have to acknowledge this new paradigm or find themselves in danger of being left behind! Now that the End, or Goal of Israel's History has been Revealed & the Marriage of Heaven & Earth realized, the Point of the Sword is no longer to divide the sheep from the goats, the good from the evil, but simply to separate the truth from fiction, the Story from the Tales!
While it it important that we get our Story straight, & have a correct understanding of our Eschatology ( for this will impact, for better or for worse, our Kingdom Initiative ), it is important to realize as well that, even though we may not ever get it all 'down pat', get our ducks in a row, so to speak, we do not need to worry about the eschatological point of the spear anymore!
The point of the spear that we have come to, in this day & age is a 'merely' theological one! Through understanding the Story, we are gaining a better understanding of the Story-Teller, the Dream-Weaver! This better understanding, in turn, will ( eventually ) come out through our fingertips & witnessing our Positive Impact, the world around us will be able to see that truly, the Son of God has completed the Marriage of Heaven & Earth!
Charles Haddon Shank