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Enmity

Enmity can be defined as "a feeling of deep ill-will or hostility." The word is used to translate the Hebrew word of the Old Testament (see Old Testament Fact File), pronounced ay-bah, meaning hatred, and the Greek word of the New Testament (see New Testament Fact File), pronounced ek-thraw, also meaning hatred.

Enmity In The Bible

Enmity 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)

Herod Antipas (see The Herods) and Pontius Pilate became friends on the day that Jesus Christ was killed; before that, the Roman tetrarch and procurator had enmity toward each other.

"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)

"To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him" (Romans 8:6-9 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?
Genesis 3:15
Note: the "he" who crushes the serpent's head refers to the "Son of Man" (i.e. an actual descendant of Adam and Eve), the Redemmer, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would in due time crush Satan (see What Satan Fears Most)


This Week's Bible Quiz

Which of these people lived during the time of the Old Testament?

1. Aaron or Herodias?

2. Abigail or Joseph Of Arimathea?

3. Belteshazzar or Mary of Magdala?

4. Bathsheba or Matthias?

5. Boaz or Nicodemus?

6. Deborah or Simon Magus?

7. Dinah or Stephen?

8. Eleazar or Titus?

9. Haman or Timothy?

10. Jesse or Tabitha?

For the answers to this June 3 2003 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page


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