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Friday, January 22, 2016

Vengeance - some of what the Bible says about it


The Websters Unabridged Dictionary, 1913 public domain edition, defines vengeance in this way: Punishment inflicted in return for an injury or an offense; retribution; -- often, in a bad sense, passionate or unrestrained revenge.

The Bible says quite a bit about vengeance. In summary, believers are not to take vengeance into their own hands, but to leave this to God. The Bible promises that God will punish unforgiven sin. Christs example, and Stephens, show us how we should take injury or offense to ourselves. (We might legitimately react differently if a helpless person, rather than we, ourselves, is injured or offended.)

Some Bible passages on vengeance: (From the World English Bible, public domain)
Leviticus 19:18 “‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh.

Isaiah 53:7a He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth. . . . 11b My righteous servant will justify many by the knowledge of himself; and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion with the great, and he will divide the plunder with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was counted with the transgressors; yet he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

There are many Biblical prophecies of God’s coming vengeance for evil. Amos begins by listing several nations, their transgressions, and promising vengeance., Jonah, Nahum is almost entirely a prophecy of the punishment of Nineveh. Obadiah promises God’s vengeance up Edom. there are many more prophecies, such as Ezekiel 25:15-17, where God says He will take vengeance on the Philistines. In Revelation 20:7-18, the final judgment of God is described.

Matthew 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, dont resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Quoting Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21)

Matthew 7:12 Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets. (The Golden Rule.)

Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. 36 “Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.

Jesus on the cross, about those who crucified Him: Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

Acts 7:59 They stoned Stephen as he called out, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60a He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, don’t hold this sin against them!”

Romans 12:19 Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” (Quoting Deuteronomy 32:35 and Proverbs 25:21-2. Hebrews 10:30 also quotes Deuteronomy 32:35.)

Romans 13:3a For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the . 4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. 4b But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn’t bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always follow after that which is good for one another and for all.

Two stories of God taking vengeance: Jezebel: See 1 Kings 21, which tells part of the evil that Jezebel did. Her husband, Ahab, repented, somewhat, anyway. Jezebel never did. 2 Kings 9 tells the story of the death of Jezebel, which was prophesied at God’s direction, and was really arranged by God – the dogs ate her in the parking lot in front of the palace, but Jehu didn’t plan that.

And one from the New Testament: King Herod (one of them) was struck down by an angel of God, as told in Acts 12:2-23.

Thanks for reading!


Russell Purvis said...

You should Fight by Preston Sprinkle. It's a great treatise on this topic.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Russell!