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Wednesday, March 14 2012
Does God Love His Enemies?
The English word "enemy" originated from a compound Latin word, in, meaning not (as, for example, innumerable, meaning not numerable, or not countable) and amicus, meaning a friend. "Enemy," very simply, means not a friend (see also Friends Of Jesus).
English translations use "enemy" to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced oh-yabe, which means adversary. In the New Testament, "enemy" is used to translate the Greek word, pronounced ekh-thros, which means hostile, or adversary.
A question: Is the verse quote below from the "Old" or "New" Testament?
"19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
The answer: It's an "Old Testament" quote of Leviticus 19:17-18. Many regard such commands to be "Christian," from the "New" Testament, as though the Messiah was some sort of a liberal who led a revolution to overthrow the conservative established order (that's what "conservative" means) that "the God of the Old Testament" commanded (that's what Satan has been doing ever since he chose to be evil; see Sending Away The Escapades Goat and Who's Hiding On Your Wall?). But Jesus Christ didn't "do away" with His Own Commandments. The Messiah was "the LORD God" of the "Old" Testament (see Appearances Of The LORD God) and He plainly stated that He was not lawless, liberal, or a rebel:
"5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-19 KJV)
The "love thy neighbour as thyself" is a Christian teaching, literally from Christ in both the Old and New Testaments.
"5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48 KJV)
Does that mean that Christians are not permitted to lawfully defend themselves or their property? No. Even the Messiah used righteous force when necessary (see Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?). Christians are to be lawful and righteous, not docile pansies who subject themselves to lawless evil.
"12:29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house." (Matthew 12:12 KJV)
"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"
But just what is it that we are to love about our enemies? Are we to love the evil that they do? No. Are we to love their hostile, anti-Christian teachings? No. The answer however may be found in the "as thyself" in "love thy neighbour as thyself." All people are blind and deaf to the Truth of the Holy Scriptures until such time that they are able to see and understand, just as every true Christian once was (the "as thyself" part) - and only God decides when that will happen. Loving an enemy is about compassion - understanding why an "enemy" does what they do, and that they are innocent (as we were) until such time that they do understand what they do.
"8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:5-9 KJV)
Every "enemy" has within them the potential of becoming a loving brother or sister in Christ. For that reason, we must do all that is humanly possible to not be a stumbling block, or a dead end, in that person's journey to the day when they will have the God-given opportunity to repent and live according to God's Way. The Pharisee Saul, later known as the apostle Paul, is a prime example of how the most hate-filled religionist can become a great Christian servant of the LORD. Paul explained why he was an enemy of true Christianity, and Who made it possible for his change, in due time.
"1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it [see also The Crossing Of Philip And Saul]: 1:14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
The Pharisee Saul / apostle Paul was literally among those in Jerusalem of whom the LORD prayed, "23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34 KJV).
But what about after conversion has been made possible? What about when they do know what they do? What about those who make themselves enemies of God by defiantly rejecting His Holy Spirit of Truth for themselves? Will the coming Judgment of the enemies of God be of love, or of incineration? The LORD has reserved that Judgment to Himself.
"6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 6:8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned." (Hebrews 6:4-8 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) When do the people of the first resurrection come to know the Truth? (b) When do the people of the second resurrection come to know the Truth?
This Day In History, March 14
1369: During the Castilian Civil War, Henry of Trastamare defeated Pedro I of Castile at the battle of Montiel.
1489: Catherine Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus and last of the Lusignan dynasty, sold her kingdom to Venice.
1558: Ferdinand I assumed the position of Holy Roman Emperor without being crowned by the pope (see The Holy Roman Empire).
1590: During the French Religious Wars, Henry IV, with a force of 13,000, defeated the 25,000-strong army of the Duc de Mayenne at the battle of Ivry.
1647: During the Thirty Years War, a Treaty of Neutrality was signed at Ulm between Sweden, France, Bavaria and Cologne.
1757: British admiral John Byng was executed by firing squad for his failed attempt to relieve the island of Minorca when threatened by the French fleet.
1883: Karl Marx, author of The Communist Manifesto, died.
1891: The submarine Monarch laid telephone cable along the English Channel bed to prepare for the first telephone links to Europe.
1915: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the German cruiser Dresden was sunk by the Royal Navy in the Pacific.
1936: Adolf Hitler told a crowd of 300,000 that "Germany's only judge is God and itself" (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1937: Pope Pius XI issued his encyclical Mit brennender Sorge ("with burning anxiety") against Nazi Germany; it charged that Germany had violated their 1933 concordat whereby Roman Catholicism was not to be hindered under the Nazis.
1938: After his anschluss of Austria, Adolf Hitler made his triumphal entry into Vienna, where he had spent his hobo years.
1945: The heaviest explosive of the Second World War, the 22,000-pound (9,980 kilogram) "Grand Slam," was dropped by the RAF's Dambuster Squadron on the Bielefeld railway viaduct in Germany.
1964: Jack Ruby (actual name Jacob Rubenstein; the son of Polish-immigrant Jewish parents, he grew up in Chicago where, as a boy, he ran errands for the gangster Al Capone) was found guilty of the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of John Kennedy. Ruby reportedly had expected to be regarded as a "hero" for shooting Oswald and not face murder charges.
1965: Israel agreed to West Germany's request to establish diplomatic relations.
1978: An Israeli force of 22,000 invaded south Lebanon, hitting the PLO terrorists based there.
1995: Norman Thagard became the first U.S. astronaut to ride to space on board a Russian launch vehicle. By 2012 (with the termination of the Space Shuttle program and no other launch vehicles in existence or in immediate development), all U.S. astronauts now depend on riding along on Russian space launches.