Violence in Old Testament

//Violence in Old Testament
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How do we reconcile the seemingly contradictory teachings in the Old and New Testaments on violence and treatment of enemies?

Reconciling Violence In The Bible: The Gospel Of Enemy Love

Vengeance Is Forbidden.  Mercy Is Commanded:

In my previous article, we discovered that Jesus commissioned His followers with a different mission from that which God occasionally ordered the Israelites […]

Jesus Describes His Messianic Mission As One Of Pure Mercy

Jesus Describes His Messianic Mission:
Luke’s gospel begins with first-hand descriptions of what four people expected the promised messiah to be like.  Based on our study of these four snapshots during the past two weeks, we have discovered that most Jews envisioned a vital part of the coming messiah’s mission to be that of liberating Israel from foreign occupation.  In the last post, I then went on to show that Jesus needed to separate Himself from this prevailing messianic expectation of His day or risk becoming the people’s puppet messiah. […]

How Jesus Avoided Becoming The People’s Puppet Messiah

Why did Luke choose to begin his gospel account with first-hand accounts of what four people expected the messiah to be like?  Why did he deem it important to share the messianic predictions of Mary, Zechariah, Simeon, and John the Baptist?

In part, Luke’s inclusion of these four messianic descriptions helps us realize that most Jews envisioned a different kind of messiah than the kind Jesus turned out to be.  It is important for us to recognize this for it allows us to better understand why Jesus inaugurated His public ministry by clarifying what His messianic mission would be like.  Knowing that errant expectations abounded, we can now see that Jesus needed to separate Himself from the public’s misconceptions or risk becoming their puppet messiah. […]

What Zechariah, Simeon & John Expected The Messiah To Be Like

In my last post (which you can read here), we looked at Mary’s messianic prediction found in her now famous Magnificat.  In today’s blog entry, we’ll be reflecting on the descriptions of the coming Messiah provided by Zechariah, John the Baptist, and Simeon.  Our goal is to glean from these snapshots what each of these men expected the long-awaited messiah to be like.  For brevity’s sake, this will only be a cursory assessment, though I’ll provide the occasional footnote to assist those of you wanting to study these passages more thoroughly. […]

The Subversive Magnificat: What Mary Expected The Messiah To Be Like

In Luke 1:46-55 we read Mary’s song of praise to God.  It has come to be known as Mary’s Magnificat due to the first word of its Latin translation: Magnificat anima mea Dominum.  Or as we tend to render that first line in English: My soul magnifies the Lord.

Seldom Known Facts About The Magnificat:
If you’ve grown up actively involved in a church community, you’re probably quite familiar with Mary’s Magnificat.  But even if that’s the case, there are many surprising insights to be gleaned from this song.  For example, did you know that: […]

Advent’s Big Question: What Will The Messiah Be Like?

As most of you know, we are currently in the midst of Advent.  This season in the Church calendar is a time designed to direct our thoughts on the first coming of Jesus.  During Advent we imagine what it must have been like for the Jews as they waited with longing expectation for the arrival of their prophesied messiah. […]

Look To Jesus While Making Sense Of The Old Testament’s Violence

Violence In The Old Testament is an ongoing series of reflections designed to help Christians make sense of Jesus’ teaching on peace and enemy love when juxtaposed with the images of an often violent and vengeful God found throughout the Old Testament.  After all, violent Old Testament passages, such as those attributing genocidal acts to God, ought to be problematic not just for pacifists, but for every moral, Bible-believing Christian. […]

Violence In The Old Testament Part 3: Filter The Bible Through Jesus

Violence In The Old Testament is an ongoing series of reflections designed to help Christians make sense of Jesus’ teaching on peace and enemy love when juxtaposed with the images of an often violent and vengeful God found throughout the Old Testament.  After all, violent Old Testament passages, such as those attributing genocidal acts to God, ought to be problematic not just for pacifists, but for every moral, Bible-believing Christian. […]

Violence In The Old Testament. Part 2: The Problem

Violence In The Old Testament is an ongoing series of reflections designed to help Christians make sense of Jesus’ teaching on peace and enemy love when juxtaposed with the images of an often violent and vengeful God found throughout the Old Testament.  After all, violent Old Testament passages, such as those attributing genocidal acts to God, ought to be problematic not just for pacifists, but for every moral, Bible-believing Christian. […]

New Series: Violence In The Old Testament

Over the sound of chatter, we suddenly heard the distinct ringing of a gong.  We were so caught up in our discussion that we had completely lost track of time.  The sound of someone hitting the gong reminded us that it was 9:00pm—the time we set aside each evening as a community to pray and reflect on the day. […]