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Gosu164
Sep 15th 2008, 03:23 PM
Hello,

Last week, one night, I ran into an atheist here on a college campus. At one point in our conversation about Jesus, he said he "praises" Jesus for the things that are messed up here on earth (e.g. Iraq war, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc).

I was puzzled at that comment and asked him what he meant because I knew that Jesus is Prince of Peace and loves all of us. He wouldn't do something like that.

[brief background: I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior during the summer of 2007 and I'm involved in Campus Crusade for Christ and leading a group called DIG, Deaf Investigate God. I'm deaf if you must know haha]

Anyway, the atheist showed me the verse that I was confused and shocked.

It's Matthew 10:34-35 and I just read the whole 10 chapter in Matthew. However, there is nothing else in that chapter that give better or reasonable explanation to these verses.

Here are the verses:

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her motherinlaw—
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2010&version=31#fen-NIV-23454e)]

I thought he was known as Prince of Peace, not Prince of Dark?

I was confused with this...I mean why would he come to turn a man against his own father, a daughter against her mother?

These verses indicate that he comes to destroy relationship among family members and I thought that was the job of the devil?

Please clarify it for me so that I know the answer and explain whatever you told me to that same atheist.

Thanks!

Auzy

HisLeast
Sep 15th 2008, 03:28 PM
These verses indicate that he comes to destroy relationship among family members and I thought that was the job of the devil?

Alternatively, it can be interpreted as following Jesus means eschewing worldly norms. When you start doing things not in keeping with "how things are usually done", usually your family is the first to notice.

So, if your family is Jewish (as most of the audience of this passage would have been), how do you think your father, mother, and in-laws would react if you told them you're going to follow this man named Jesus?

Its not that he's purposefully and intentionally destroying. Its just that a decision to follow Jesus will often run counter to what your friends and family expect of you

drew
Sep 15th 2008, 03:35 PM
Its not that he's purposefully and intentionally destroying. Its just that a decision to follow Jesus will often run counter to what your friends and family expect of you
I agree. And I would add that it is really important for anyone reading the gospels to understand that the religious culture in which Jesus is situated is one where such "over the top" language (e.g. "bringing a sword") was used a lot. These expressions are not be taken "literally".

There are other examples where Jesus uses exaggerated "end of the world" imagery - stars falling to the earth, etc - to refer to much more "mundane" events, such as the Roman conquest of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Such colourful and metaphorical language was the heritage of the culture into which Jesus was born. It helps to remember this and not slip into the belief that Jesus was (in terms of His first coming) a 21st century westerner.

Instrument
Sep 15th 2008, 04:00 PM
Hello,

Last week, one night, I ran into an atheist here on a college campus. At one point in our conversation about Jesus, he said he "praises" Jesus for the things that are messed up here on earth (e.g. Iraq war, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc).

I was puzzled at that comment and asked him what he meant because I knew that Jesus is Prince of Peace and loves all of us. He wouldn't do something like that.

[brief background: I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior during the summer of 2007 and I'm involved in Campus Crusade for Christ and leading a group called DIG, Deaf Investigate God. I'm deaf if you must know haha]

Anyway, the atheist showed me the verse that I was confused and shocked.

It's Matthew 10:34-35 and I just read the whole 10 chapter in Matthew. However, there is nothing else in that chapter that give better or reasonable explanation to these verses.

Here are the verses:

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her motherinlaw—
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2010&version=31#fen-NIV-23454e)]

I thought he was known as Prince of Peace, not Prince of Dark?

I was confused with this...I mean why would he come to turn a man against his own father, a daughter against her mother?

These verses indicate that he comes to destroy relationship among family members and I thought that was the job of the devil?

Please clarify it for me so that I know the answer and explain whatever you told me to that same atheist.

Thanks!

Auzy


The purpose of this is: to put their trust in the Lord. This passage is an allusion to Micah 7: 6.
We must also note that the context of Mt 10: 37 spoke of following Christ above everything.

Blessings.

faroutinmt
Sep 15th 2008, 04:09 PM
I don't believe that Jesus was saying that His will is to create strife, but that strife is the unavoidable outcome of some following Him and others not following Him.

He came to bring the sword of division (even among families) by turning the hearts of people toward Himself. The obvious outcome is division because those who chose to oppose Him will also oppose those who follow Him. Therefore, He has come to bring the sword of division by bringing people to repentance and faith, thereby causing others (even family members) to both hate and persecute them.

keck553
Sep 15th 2008, 04:18 PM
Scripture says the world is passing away. It's a consequence of our sin. That's all there is to it.

Scruffy Kid
Sep 15th 2008, 04:32 PM
Blessings on you Auzy!

In reading a passage like the one you note, to understand accurately (1) you have to understand the whole message of the New Testament, and read it in that context. Also, (2) you have to understand the way, the style, of talking that is being used.


About the use of figurative language

Language is often used in the bible in metaphorical (or figurative) ways, to express important truths concretely, or graphically, and emphatically.

Actually, this latter is not too different from some of the ways we use language. If a boy gets drunk and drives and smashes the family car his parents will say "I'm going to kill that kid." What they mean, of course, is that they are angry, and aim to punish him, exactly because they are so frightened that he might have killed himself, or others.

Similarly Isaiah says he was told, in a vision of God (Isaiah 6) "go and prophesy to this people, make their ears deaf so that they may hear and not understand, so that they will not turn and be healed ... until the cities lie waste." Jesus quotes this verse to explain why he teaches in parables. Does Jesus, or does Isaiah, really mean that they, or that God, don't want people to repent, to hear the gospel, and to be healed. Of course not. This kind of strong language is meant to wake people up the the fact that they aren't giving the necessary attention to what is being said, aren't really hearing of heading it, and are heading for ruin. It's like a parent who says to a young person who keeps on ignorning her instruction "Go ahead. Ruin your life. I don't care!" Of course the parent cares, of course she does not want her kid to ruin his or her life. That's the whole point! But the sarcastic or despairing way of putting it expresses exasperation, which may wake the youngster up to the fact that his or her insisting on stupid choices is going to mess up his or her life to the point where it is hard to fix.


Jesus's point in this particular saying

So here, in your example. Jesus is saying that his teaching -- the teaching that leads to life -- is controversial, and you won't get it if your chief concern is to get along with everyone. Some people are going to take offense at his teaching (which alone gives life!!) and that's going to be very painful for you. You need to realize that Christ, that following Christ, requires your whole allegience.

The point is not so very different from the point Jesus makes in the parables of the pearl of great price, or the treasure in the field, or in his remarks about the not laying treasures up on earth for ourselves. God comes first.

So ultimately, Jesus says to the disciples (e.g. Mark 8) "If any one would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." This means, as he carefully explains, that we must love the truth, love Christ, love God's kingdom, must love God's ways (which alone can ultimately bring help and peace to hurt and beleaguered, and sinful, humanity) more than anything else. It's tough.

There are several others like it.


The context of Jesus' ministry

Jesus came to bring us to God, and to reconcile us to God. The "ministry of reconciliation", as Paul explicates it, and as Jesus also explicates it, involves our forgiving, loving, and living at peace with not only our families and friends, but even those who are strangers or enemies. Jesus places primary emphasis on loyal, loving, reconciled relationships, among human beings, as well as with God. See, for instance, Matt. 5, especially the latter half. He teaches us, and the apostles teach us, the primary importance of love, and peace.

But as just mentioned, that will sometimes mean taking tough stances which may lead us into conflict with others. As some have mentioned, often when a family member accepts Jesus, other members of the family will reject that one. (The incident in John 9, with the man born blind, illustrates this.) To follow Jesus, one will have to persevere through that terrible rejection. Similarly, one who follows Jesus may be called to give up, and oppose, racial discrimination, or sexual immorality, or group egoism, or other sins, and perhaps even to speak against them, in ways that upset friends, family members, and members of the community.

The larger context includes a very strong emphasis in Jesus ministry on care for one's family. That is presupposed. Thus John the baptist, who came before Jesus to prepare for him, was supposed to "turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents" to prepare for Christ's coming (as was prophesied of Elijah). So love of parents for children, children for parents, family members for one another was foundational to Jesus' whole ministry.

Paul similarly tells us to honor our parents, and be kind to our children and other family members, to be obedient to and cooperative with one another, and if need be to lay down our lives for them, and for those who follow Christ. "Whoever does not take care of his family is worse than a non-believer" he tells us. So the emphasis of Christ's Gospel is upon peace, reconciliation, and love, and upon strong family relationships as well. It is only in that context that Jesus uses these strong expressions that shocked you to drive home the point that following him means an unconditional commitment to God, to Christ, to truth, and to what is right, if necessary even where that ends up dividing friends or family.

FaithfulSheep
Sep 15th 2008, 06:31 PM
I don't believe that Jesus was saying that His will is to create strife, but that strife is the unavoidable outcome of some following Him and others not following Him.

He came to bring the sword of division (even among families) by turning the hearts of people toward Himself. The obvious outcome is division because those who chose to oppose Him will also oppose those who follow Him. Therefore, He has come to bring the sword of division by bringing people to repentance and faith, thereby causing others (even family members) to both hate and persecute them.

This is right on. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but as you know there were (and are today) many who believed in Jesus and many who did not... and when you have two opposing views, that will create tensions among many.

scourge39
Sep 15th 2008, 06:39 PM
The passage is simply illustrating that there's a clear distinction between the wicked and righteous, which will become even more obvious as time progresses.

BroRog
Sep 15th 2008, 07:12 PM
Hello,

Last week, one night, I ran into an atheist here on a college campus. At one point in our conversation about Jesus, he said he "praises" Jesus for the things that are messed up here on earth (e.g. Iraq war, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc).

I was puzzled at that comment and asked him what he meant because I knew that Jesus is Prince of Peace and loves all of us. He wouldn't do something like that.

[brief background: I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior during the summer of 2007 and I'm involved in Campus Crusade for Christ and leading a group called DIG, Deaf Investigate God. I'm deaf if you must know haha]

Anyway, the atheist showed me the verse that I was confused and shocked.

It's Matthew 10:34-35 and I just read the whole 10 chapter in Matthew. However, there is nothing else in that chapter that give better or reasonable explanation to these verses.

Here are the verses:

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her motherinlaw—
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2010&version=31#fen-NIV-23454e)]

I thought he was known as Prince of Peace, not Prince of Dark?

I was confused with this...I mean why would he come to turn a man against his own father, a daughter against her mother?

These verses indicate that he comes to destroy relationship among family members and I thought that was the job of the devil?

Please clarify it for me so that I know the answer and explain whatever you told me to that same atheist.

Thanks!

Auzy


In my experience, there aren't many atheists that take the time to understand the scriptures and attempt to get it right. In this case it's easy to see that Jesus is using the figurative use of the term "sword." He is talking about the "sword" of his word, which does have a tendency to divide families. When I was a kid, had Jesus come to my house for dinner, our family would have begun fighting as soon has he left. Just as it is today, our family is divided along the lines of who believes in Jesus and who doesn't. And although we all love each other dearly, when and if the subject of Jesus comes up, I can guarantee the entire house will divide up along those lines.

Longsufferer
Sep 15th 2008, 08:37 PM
Christ is speaking of one will live their life according to heavenly principles and practices of morality, integrity, and unselfishness; while the other leans toward secular principles and practices of immorality, dishonesty, and selfishness. As for your surprise; I´m not at all amazed by your surprise, seeing that many professing Christians only know a Jesus that markets for popularity by the very ones which ought to be telling of the true Jesus. I´m sorry that you have been mislead, but if you are interested in knowing the true Jesus, you should diligently study the four Gospels your own self, to show your own self approved of God, for you need not that any person teach you, so that you may learn not to think beyond that which is written.

RoadWarrior
Sep 15th 2008, 11:03 PM
Even today, if a Jewish person becomes a Christian, he is quite likely to be ousted from the family. Jesus knew that what He brought to mankind would have that effect. Believing on Jesus would be so dramatically different that it would cause Jewish parents to disown their children in anger and yes, hatred.

Dr. Charles Halff of the Christian Jew Foundation, is perhaps the most well-known Jewish person who experienced this rejection by his parents, because he turned to Christ.

But as Paul said, those who find Christ will "count all things loss" for the gain that is in Christ.

Php 3:7-11
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
NKJV

Buckeye Doug
Sep 16th 2008, 02:29 AM
I don't believe that Jesus was saying that His will is to create strife, but that strife is the unavoidable outcome of some following Him and others not following Him.

He came to bring the sword of division (even among families) by turning the hearts of people toward Himself. The obvious outcome is division because those who chose to oppose Him will also oppose those who follow Him. Therefore, He has come to bring the sword of division by bringing people to repentance and faith, thereby causing others (even family members) to both hate and persecute them.

Very well said.
Thanks.

Gosu164
Sep 21st 2008, 05:06 PM
Hello,

I want to thank all of your effort to answer my questions...

Just so that you know, I'm still new Christian...

I collect most of your answers into two pages...

so that I can explain to this friend...

It actually makes sense of what you guys said...

Praying for this friend to open his heart to know Jesus more...

Anyway, thanks again!

t'care

Auzy

Teke
Sep 22nd 2008, 03:25 PM
Hello,

Last week, one night, I ran into an atheist here on a college campus. At one point in our conversation about Jesus, he said he "praises" Jesus for the things that are messed up here on earth (e.g. Iraq war, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc).

I was puzzled at that comment and asked him what he meant because I knew that Jesus is Prince of Peace and loves all of us. He wouldn't do something like that.

[brief background: I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior during the summer of 2007 and I'm involved in Campus Crusade for Christ and leading a group called DIG, Deaf Investigate God. I'm deaf if you must know haha]

Anyway, the atheist showed me the verse that I was confused and shocked.

It's Matthew 10:34-35 and I just read the whole 10 chapter in Matthew. However, there is nothing else in that chapter that give better or reasonable explanation to these verses.

Here are the verses:

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her motherinlaw—
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2010&version=31#fen-NIV-23454e)]

I thought he was known as Prince of Peace, not Prince of Dark?

I was confused with this...I mean why would he come to turn a man against his own father, a daughter against her mother?

These verses indicate that he comes to destroy relationship among family members and I thought that was the job of the devil?

Please clarify it for me so that I know the answer and explain whatever you told me to that same atheist.

Thanks!

Auzy


Christ promised peace to His disciples. The message in Matthew here, is that evil necessitates war. The earth which Christ came to was under the authority of satan (John 12:31, 2 Cor. 4:4) who deluded the whole world. Therefore it was necessary that Christ wage war against the leader of vice with His weapons of virtue. :)

The gospel can create conflicts within families because of unbelief and evil in people. Our obedience to Him must be to the end, even if it means sacrificing family relationships.

Oregongrown
Sep 22nd 2008, 04:24 PM
Hello,

Last week, one night, I ran into an atheist here on a college campus. At one point in our conversation about Jesus, he said he "praises" Jesus for the things that are messed up here on earth (e.g. Iraq war, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc).

I was puzzled at that comment and asked him what he meant because I knew that Jesus is Prince of Peace and loves all of us. He wouldn't do something like that.

[brief background: I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior during the summer of 2007 and I'm involved in Campus Crusade for Christ and leading a group called DIG, Deaf Investigate God. I'm deaf if you must know haha]

Anyway, the atheist showed me the verse that I was confused and shocked.

It's Matthew 10:34-35 and I just read the whole 10 chapter in Matthew. However, there is nothing else in that chapter that give better or reasonable explanation to these verses.

Here are the verses:

34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her motherinlaw—
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[e (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2010&version=31#fen-NIV-23454e)]

I thought he was known as Prince of Peace, not Prince of Dark?

I was confused with this...I mean why would he come to turn a man against his own father, a daughter against her mother?

These verses indicate that he comes to destroy relationship among family members and I thought that was the job of the devil?

Please clarify it for me so that I know the answer and explain whatever you told me to that same atheist.

Thanks!

Auzy


does separate. God did not want us to sin, but we did. When Jesus came it was to save all from sin. Not all will be saved though. We each make that choice. God can make us do anything He wants but He won't force us to choose Him. My sister and I just this morning, I was reminded of the separation between us because of Jesus. I believe in Him, He is my life, she does not. I do not believe it was His intention to separate at all, it is sin that separates. The Word does say "He came to" but I see that as not "He wanted to separate us" I see it as just a fact. There are many things about God I do not understand, but, I have faith and trust that He is able. I can't make another living soul believe in Him. If someone has something better to believe in then Christ? I say "go for it". Im not talking to you now. For me, trusting and faith in God isn't about "how smart" I am in figuring out "why" He says and does things the way He does, it's a "Spirit" thing, not an intellectual one.

God bless, denise