The Christian God of Vengeance

God is a vengeful God, taking vengeance upon our enemies. Who does God believe to be our enemies, and how does He display His vengeance? Well. That’s a fun question. The Evangelical idea about this is that He is violent, and uses violent methods to exact justice and punishment. 

However, Jesus Himself showed us a different Truth and I believe we can trust Him. In Isaiah there’s a passage about what the Messiah came to do. I’ll show you real quick. 

Isaiah 61:1-2 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn. 

Now. This passage speaks of vengeance of God. But when Jesus reads, He does something fascinating. Let’s go to the passage of scriptures where it speaks of Jesus reading the scroll of Isaiah. 

Luke 4:16-21 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Hold up now. Look at that. In His reading He stopped mid sentence and proclaimed the prophecy fulfilled. He outright refused to declare the vengeance of God upon Israels enemies. I find that interesting. Open your Bible to the passage in Luke and watch as it goes further, and He turns the tables, proclaiming an entirely inclusive message of Jubilee for everyone, instead of just the Jews. They grew angry and tried to harm Him, and He passed among them and left. 

Jesus proclaimed an inclusive message. He edited the prophecy in Isaiah and removed the day of Vengeance of the Lord. That day of Vengeance was declared against the enemies of Israel. God loves them too. All humans are His children. 

God’s Vengeance will only be visited upon His own enemies. So where do we discover who His enemies are? I suggest we look to the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4. 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,  it against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.

Those are the true enemies of Christ.  Our own enemies as Humans on the other hand, are humans. And Jesus prescribed to deal with them in love, giving them food and drink. 

It’s time we ditched the theology of the bloodthirsty, seeking destruction of other peoples, religions, or nations. It’s time Christians began anew, to follow Jesus. 
~ The Christian Mystic

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