by Wayne Blank
Enmity In The Bible
In ancient times (as well as still today) the presence of enmity was a factor in determining whether a killing was accidental or murder (see also What God Says About Capital Punishment).
"Then Moses set apart three cities in the east beyond the Jordan, that the manslayer might flee there, who kills his neighbor unintentionally, without being at enmity with him in time past, and that by fleeing to one of these cities he might save his life" (Deuteronomy 4:41-42 RSV)
The Christian perspective expands upon the principle; anyone who has enmity toward another person is already a murderer at heart (see also The Sixth Commandment):
"Any one who hates [i.e. has enmity toward] his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:15 RSV)
"When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see Him, because he had heard about Him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by Him. So he questioned Him at some length; but He made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing Him. And Herod with his soldiers treated Him with contempt and mocked Him; then, arraying Him in gorgeous apparel, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other." (Luke 23:8-12 RSV)
Enmity is one of the characteristics of carnality that are a barrier to one's entry into the Kingdom of God (see also Christian Living):
"Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21 RSV)
"Friendship" (i.e. living in a typical carnal manner) with the present world is enmity toward God (for the reason why, see Who Still Rules The World Today?):
"Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4 RSV)
Fact Finder: What is the first mention of enmity in the Bible?
This Week's Bible Quiz
Which of these people lived during the time of the Old Testament?
For the answers to this June 3 2003 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page