Confronting OT Controversies– Part Twenty One

The Bible and Culture | 4/26/2019 | Staff
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Q. Most readers of the Bible do not seem to have an issue with God being a God of righteousness and justice, but when that involves punishment, even physical punishment in various cases, or even **** then issues tend to be raised about ‘a God of violence’ and how he could also be a God of love. What seems to me to be the case, [since the theme of justice and judgment is all over the NT as well as the OT, (mainly in terms of the final judgment in the NT), and even the preliminary one’s that Christ himself is said to unleash on the wicked in Rev. 6-19] is that while the OT not only talks about God fighting for his people, and fighting with his people, and there are even commandments in regard to harem or holy war, in the new covenant, and especially in the Sermon on the Mt. God’s people are called to leave vengeance or justice in the hands of God, and to renounce violence. Ironically the most violent book in the NT, Revelation has the strongest insistence on ‘vengeance is mine I will repay, says the Lord’ and the exhortation to John’s audience is not ‘let’s get ready to rumble, but rather be prepared for persecution, prosecution, and even martyrdom, completely renouncing a returning of harm for harm, violence for violence. Now I put this down in part to progressive revelation, and in part to the major difference between the old covenant and the new covenant (with the old covenant having lots of strictures and permissions...
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