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God of vengeance in the Old Testament

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  • God of vengeance in the Old Testament

    Why was God vengeful in the Old Testament? One example I am thinking in particular about 2 Kings when some children were teasing a bald man and he called on God to curse them, a bear came out of the woods and killed the children. The reason I ask is that so many people I know have a hard time with Christianity based on things they read about God in the OT. I am often not sure how to answer them.

  • #2
    One of the best examples I can think of is the first example. God told Joshua and the army of the people of Israel to go into Cannan and destroy everything, all people and animals and materials. That was not done. People and idols from these people of Cannan continued to exist thus allowing impurity into the people of Israel. They intermarried and they worshipped other gods. They also began practicing poligamy. This was all a sin to God, particularly the Idols as God is a very jealous God and allows no other God before him.

    As time went along people continued to do what God continued to tell them not to do through the judges and the prophets. He gave the people of Israel and Judah plenty of warnings before He had Nebachadnezer lay seige to Jerusalem and eventually crush Judah and Israel. He shows that He is a loving God by allowing the people to return to Jerusalem 80 years later.

    We continue to sin and He continues to send us messages to change our ways.

    He even sent His Son to die on the cross to pay for our sins and all we have to do is repent and try to live the life that He wants of us and for us and we just continue to sin. He continues to discipline us but we continue to ignore Him. BTW, have you ever noticed the connection between to two words disciple and discipline. Catch the drift? If we become disciplined in His word, we become disciples.

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    • #3
      Is it possible God still punishes people today, in ways they aren't aware of? Or takes the lives of people who sin against Him?

      The God of the OT is quite frightening.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by lendtay View Post
        The God of the OT is quite frightening.
        I have some sympathy with your concern about the seemingly vengeful character of God in the Old Testament. And I do not have any immediate answers about this issue. However, I would like to say that there is clear coherence and connection between the Old and the New Testaments.

        The most significant aspect of this is the covenant. The Old Testament is largely about the covenant that God established with Abraham and the dealings of God with "his people" - the Jews. Despite widespread belief to the contrary, the New Testament is not about "something else" - about a way of salvation that "replaces" or supercedes the ways of the Old Testament.

        The story of Israel is intimately connected with the story of Jesus and it is Jesus who brings the Abrahamic covenant to its climax and fulfills it on the cross. So I would ask you to look for the coherence that is there between the two testaments.

        Perhaps this is slight diversion from your question....

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lendtay View Post
          Why was God vengeful in the Old Testament? One example I am thinking in particular about 2 Kings when some children were teasing a bald man and he called on God to curse them, a bear came out of the woods and killed the children. The reason I ask is that so many people I know have a hard time with Christianity based on things they read about God in the OT. I am often not sure how to answer them.
          You're referring to Elisha in 2 Kings 2:23-25. He physically represented God in the midst of Israel who had violated their covenant with Yahweh. Attacking or ridiculing God's prophets was equal with ridiculing God himself. The curse called down on them was intended to show Elisha's authority to call on the name of Yahweh and illicit an actual response from him. Apostate Israel wasn't even worshipping Yahweh save for a small faithful remnant. The youths, like the adults, respected neither Yahweh's authority nor that of his prophetic representative and reaped the consequences of their own insolence.

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          • #6
            Have you noticed that God is equally as vengeful in the New Testament?Noticed that He does not tolerate sin? That sin WILL be punished? That He has no mercy for those who hate Him and lead others astray?
            The love and mercy and kindness of God is the popular subject of sermons today, and it is true that He is merciful and kind. But that's only half the story, and only shows one side of God.
            If you want to know God, you'd better look at both sides.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kahtar View Post
              Have you noticed that God is equally as vengeful in the New Testament?Noticed that He does not tolerate sin? That sin WILL be punished? That He has no mercy for those who hate Him and lead others astray?
              The love and mercy and kindness of God is the popular subject of sermons today, and it is true that He is merciful and kind. But that's only half the story, and only shows one side of God.
              If you want to know God, you'd better look at both sides.

              Grrrrrr. Kahtar stole my thunder.
              Same God, OT and NT.
              Have you noticed what happens when sweet little Jesus unrolls the scrolls in Revelation? We see the wrath of the Lamb unfurled upon an unbelieving world which will make the OT look like child's play. There is grace, love and mercy aplenty IN CHRIST JESUS under his blood but wrath and anguish aplenty for those who have not applied the blood to their door lintle.
              ♪ Each day may Christ become clearer, His Cross dearer, Our Hope nearer. ♫

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              • #8
                Just do a careful study of the Gospels. I challenge you to read one chapter a day starting in Matthew until you've read through John. I promise that you'll begin to see that there's more than one side to Jesus. He's very complex. It's his more palatable side that gets emphasized in sermons and Christian music these days.

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                • #9
                  The same God of the OT and the NT is also a very loving God who constantly speaks to us, letting us know whether we are doing as we should or not.

                  The one thing that we some times forget is that it is all preordained by God. When He created Adam and Eve He knew that Jesus would also come to change the world. He knew you before the earth was born. His love for us is more than our love for ourselves. He is a God of perfection and this world is only a practice world where we must get it right. He continues to poke and prod us to do what is right and when we are unrepentant He brings his wrath upon us. Some times the wrath comes while we are here and some will feel it "later." That is to answer the possible question as to why some people seem to always do wrong and never seem to pay for it. Their sin is so unrepentant that all the pokes and prods have probably already been used up.

                  The practice world that we now live in gives us that free will choice to choose whether we go to heaven or hell. God does not make that judgment. We do. Christ will only pass judgment as we have chosen.

                  Faith honors God and God honors faith.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scourge39 View Post
                    Just do a careful study of the Gospels. I challenge you to read one chapter a day starting in Matthew until you've read through John. I promise that you'll begin to see that there's more than one side to Jesus. He's very complex. It's his more palatable side that gets emphasized in sermons and Christian music these days.

                    One side of Jesus can be found in Luke 12:49-53

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lendtay View Post
                      Why was God vengeful in the Old Testament? One example I am thinking in particular about 2 Kings when some children were teasing a bald man and he called on God to curse them, a bear came out of the woods and killed the children. The reason I ask is that so many people I know have a hard time with Christianity based on things they read about God in the OT. I am often not sure how to answer them.

                      Your refering to 2 Kings 2:23-24, Here they mocked Elijah, who was God's Prophet, in effect mocking God, which is far different from teasing, Its applying a contemptful attitude to God's mouth Piece, no different than the people who mocked Jesus while on the cross.

                      Generally in the Old Testament, it may not be immediately aparant why the Judgement fell, but Judgement was always in relation to some sin, and often was severe.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kahtar View Post
                        Have you noticed that God is equally as vengeful in the New Testament?Noticed that He does not tolerate sin? That sin WILL be punished? That He has no mercy for those who hate Him and lead others astray?
                        The love and mercy and kindness of God is the popular subject of sermons today, and it is true that He is merciful and kind. But that's only half the story, and only shows one side of God.
                        If you want to know God, you'd better look at both sides.
                        I agree, its just that many people who are non-believers, say they don't believe in the Christian God because he is "bad" and did "bad" things in the OT.
                        They want only a kind, loving, merciful God and if he has another side, then they want to reject Him.
                        Or, they want to create their own "God".
                        They don't seem to understand that you can't change who God is. Nor can you create your own god/goddess. Its not possible to create any type of deity.
                        Last edited by lendtay; Sep 2nd 2008, 09:39 PM. Reason: edited for grammar

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lendtay View Post
                          Is it possible God still punishes people today, in ways they aren't aware of? Or takes the lives of people who sin against Him?

                          The God of the OT is quite frightening.
                          ===========================

                          No, He's not frightening, His vengenace is awesome, truly it is! The Old Testament (Torah/Pentateuch) is full of the establishment of the law and Judgment. That includes the 'judgment to come.' Remember Jesus is not coming back as the Lamb rather the Lion, and He too, will Kill fallen humanity who has rebelled against HIm (Rev. 19:11-21).

                          People who usually complain about 'mean old God' do so to justify their sin and rebellion against God. They choose to blind themselves to the goodness of God's wrath. His wrath is coming against vile, evil men whom He has given nations and prominence but they purposefully, willfully continue to deny God and promote evil. Romans 1 speaks of this. The Bible says, "Men/Women in their heart know right from wrong because God has put it in their hearts" (Rom. 2:11-16), :Such choose to do the wrong, therefore they are simply 'cursing God and dying to their sinful, debauched conduct.'

                          God's vengeance is holiness striking out at evil wherever it is found. In the case of Elisha, the children were bred in a demonic state and that state of teasing a 'holy man' was avenged. Let me give you an example, look at those vile, despicable Middle Eastern Islamic derelicts breeding their children to hate and kill Americans. Children or no, that creates a satanic evil in them and it is costly as our soldiers must take them out lest they run up with a piece of dynamite strapped to them and hurt our soldiers. You could say, 'they were only bred that way' but the point is, 'they were bred that way' which leads to the whole 'God knows those born to destruction' matter.

                          It is true, some people were born of a demonic order. Such is life on planet Earth. God's vengeance should be applauded as it gives the righteous hope that God's love is so strong that His might and vengeance is more than capable of striking out against our foes. It is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in my eyes.

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                          • #14
                            So, we surely must "obey" our supreme, one and only, GOD!!!!! Who can be the most, undescribable loving, God.....or, we will see the other side of that....Thank you, Lord God that you saved me from that miry pit of sin!!!! Thank you for Jesus!!!!

                            Some that say they are born-again use God's grace as a license to sin....the Bible warns about this!!!!
                            John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that HE gave HIS only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in HIM should not perish, but have eternal life.


                            My testimony: http://bibleforums.org/forum/showthread.php?t=137007

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lendtay View Post
                              Why was God vengeful in the Old Testament? One example I am thinking in particular about 2 Kings when some children were teasing a bald man and he called on God to curse them, a bear came out of the woods and killed the children. The reason I ask is that so many people I know have a hard time with Christianity based on things they read about God in the OT. I am often not sure how to answer them.
                              I just want to laugh when people claim God was so much meaner in the OT!

                              Everything has to be read in context. Whenever God punished His chosen ones (Israelites), it was extremely necessary. Satan was working overtime to keep the Messiah from coming thru the Jewish race, and God had to act swiftly to keep anything or anyone out that would possibly divert that from happening.

                              If you read the OT carefully....God would warn His people of impending judgment, but He would also tell them that He would ultimately redeem them. Believe me, they did not deserve it.

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