Tag Archives: hatred

Does Satan Have a Special Hatred for Israel and the Jewish People?

There is a sense in which Satan has a special hatred for Israel and the Jewish people, just as he has a special hatred for the church and the Christian people. From the beginning, Satan has hated God, God’s authority, and God’s plans for the human race (Genesis 3:1-15; John 8:44) He has always had a special hatred for God’s faithful servants (Job 1:9-11; 2 Corinthians 12:7), including the faithful of Israel and the church, which is made up of both Jewish and Gentile Christians. Above all, Satan hates Jesus Christ (Luke 22:3-4; Revelation 12:3-4), as Christ embodies God’s plan for all the ages.

The reality of satanic hatred for Jews and Israel inclines some people to believe that any criticism of Israel places one on the side of Satan. People with this perspective naturally tend to side with Israel in its conflicts. This perspective, however, fails to recognize that not all criticism is motivated by an evil hatred. There is a kind of criticism that is motivated by truth, love, and a longing for justice and mercy. If we don’t recognize the difference motive makes, we might conclude that something as important as the Protestant Reformation should have never taken place.

Scripture shows Satan’s hatred is motivated by his desire to disrupt God’s redemptive plan, from the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, through the events leading to the flood, the trials of the patriarchs, Moses, the prophets, and Jesus Christ himself.

In 1 John 3, the children of the devil are contrasted with the children of God. The children of the devil are described as being in the spiritual line of Cain. This is consistent with the two “seeds” of Genesis 3—the seed of the woman and the seed of the devil.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel (v.15 nkjv).

This division between the children of God and the children of the devil includes both Jews and Gentiles. John 1:12 declares that those who received Jesus Christ and believed in His name are the children of God. The apostle Paul wrote: “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9 niv). He went on to link the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) with the children of God: “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (8:14). Speaking to a Jewish audience, Jesus himself referred to the division between the children of the kingdom and the children of the devil. He said the “father” of His Jewish enemies was not Abraham but Satan (John 8:42-44).

Here we find ourselves faced with an important distinction we can’t afford to miss. Jesus himself took issue with His own Jewish countrymen, and even with His own disciples when their hearts were aligned with the purposes of Satan rather than the redemptive plan of God (Matthew 16:23).

This Christ-based readiness to take issue with anything that is not according to the justice and mercy of God helps us understand why the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles describe in great detail the intense and unrelenting hostility of a segment of Jews to Jesus Christ and His followers (John 8:39-47; Acts 7:54–8:3; 12:1-3; 21:27-31; 25:2-3). The book of Revelation even refers to these as the “synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9; 3:9).1

This hostility towards the Christian gospel didn’t end with the apostolic era. Before the end of the first century, Christian Jews were excluded from synagogue worship.

About ad 90, a member of the Sanhedrin named Samuel the Less reworded one of the blessings recited daily in the synagogue so as to make it include a curse (against Christians) . . .

For apostates let there be no hope, and the kingdom of arrogance do Thou speedily uproot in our days; and let Nazarenes and heretics (minim) perish as in a moment; let them be blotted out of the book of life and not be enrolled with the righteous. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who humblest the arrogant.

This revised edition of the prayer was authorized by the Sanhedrin and adopted in synagogues, so that Jewish Christians, by keeping silence at this point might give themselves away and be excommunicated(F. F. Bruce, New Testament History, pp. 385-86).2

From such biblical and historical examples, we see that like any other group or institution, the people of Israel may need loving, patient confrontation rather than support and affirmation. As the apostle Paul knew from personal experience, many of his Jewish countrymen had hearts open to God and the truth, but were blinded to the identity of Jesus Christ (Romans 11:5-6).

Scripture makes it clear that the eschatological punishment of both Israel and the Gentile nations is based in God’s judgment, not Satan’s hatred (Isaiah 3:1–4:1; 13:9-10; Jeremiah 30:1-7; Ezekiel 13:1-7; Joel 2:1-11; 3:14-17; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:7-13). Perhaps the most striking Old Testament prophecy is Zechariah 14, where God brings the nations of the earth against Jerusalem and unbelieving Israel before turning in judgment against those same unbelieving nations (vv.2-3).

Just as Christians do the church no favors when they ignore its abuses and corruption, they do no favors for Israel when they ignore or fail to lovingly call attention to the injustices and unbelief of the one nation on earth that, more than any other, bears the name and redemptive history of God.

  1. This hostility of a segment of Israel to the gospel conforms with the prophetic portrayal of Israel’s endtime suffering as the result of God’s judgment, not Satan’s hatred. In Matthew 24, Jesus declares:

    And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened (24:14-22 nkjv).

    This judgment is based on the corruption and hypocrisy Jesus described in the previous chapter:

    Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. . . . O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (23:33-39 nkjv). Back To Article

  2. Soon the Talmud (a compilation and expansion of the man-made legal rules that Jesus called the “tradition of men” [Mark 7:5-8] that became the supreme document of the Judaism that survived the wars with Rome) officially declared Jesus a blasphemer, sorcerer, and bastard son of a prostitute. (See Peter Schaefer, Jesus in the Talmud, Princeton University Press.)Hostility towards Jesus Christ still exists among a large segment of Jews today. In fact, the modern state of Israel officially suppresses propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Back To Article
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How Should a Christian Respond to Hatred and Hostility?

Seeking to follow Christ will often lead to being wrongfully criticized and hated. Jesus said to His followers, “I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19). And the Bible says that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). So how are we to respond to hatred, hostility, and persecution when it’s directed at us?

Enduring wrongful hatred is something that God both requires and rewards. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And in Luke 6:22-23 He said, “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.”

Christians should avoid unnecessary conflict (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18; 14:19), but there will be times when conflict can’t be avoided (Matthew 10:34; 1 Peter 2:19-21; 3:13-17; 4:12-16). Jesus said that His followers would be hated and persecuted (Luke 21:17; John 15:18-21). Merely seeking truth and living by the light exposes darkness in the lives of others and incites hatred (John 15:22). An obedient life forces people in rebellion to face their sinfulness and need of redemption (Isaiah 30:9; John 9:39; Romans 2:8).

The Bible clearly articulates the proper Christian response to hostility. For example, when we are cursed, we are to return a blessing in return (Luke 6:28; Romans 12:14). When we are forced to do something we don’t want to do, we are to go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41). If we “suffer for doing good” we are to “endure it” (1 Peter 2:20). These responses are hard to do, but they demonstrate that something supernatural is motivating us, something that transcends mere human nature (Matthew 5:46-47).1

When we return good for evil, we follow the example of Christ (1 Peter 2:20-23). Our enemies will be taken off guard, even stunned. They expect (and probably desire) an angry response. Our anger would be natural, and would confirm their sense of control. But a gentle response would be unnatural, even incomprehensible.

Jesus offers no guarantee that a humble response will soften our enemy’s heart. Although our enemy might be puzzled, a truly evil person may be angered further. He might renew his attacks with even more tenacity. But there is also a chance that our foe may be disarmed, intrigued, and drawn to faith.

It’s no wonder that the apostle Paul exhorted Christians to:

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head” (Romans 12:16-20).

  1. One reason is that we seldom know for sure why we are being hated. It flatters us to believe that it is entirely a matter of being “persecuted for righteousness sake” (Matthew 5:10). But realistically, the good that we do is often mixed with selfishness, jealousy, pride, and self-protection. If we are honest, we realize that there are times when our enemies are rightly putting their finger on something ugly in us, and are angered by our sin.
    Still another reason we should be willing to be good to our enemies is that we ourselves have benefited from God’s grace and are indebted to God’s love (Matthew 18:23-35). God offered us mercy, even when we unfairly hated Him. We who have experienced the miracle of God’s unconditional love should be the first to strive for peace, resisting the impulse to condemn (Matthew 5:22; Romans 12:10). Back To Article
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Is Richard Dawkins’ Claim That Religious Faith Is the Main Cause of Violence Correct?

One of Richard Dawkins’ recurring themes is that religious faith is the primary cause of violence around the world. Mr. Dawkins is right when he says that religious faith is often manipulated for terribly evil ends. Jesus said that too, and on that point Christians should be in agreement with Mr. Dawkins. Further, I’m sure that a case can be made that the greater the claims for truth and righteousness a group or person makes, the more revolting is their hypocrisy. Perhaps this is what makes religious hypocrisy especially repugnant. But religious hypocrisy isn’t the only kind of hypocrisy, and religious faith isn’t the only kind of faith implicated in violence.

Richard Dawkins points to violence around the world that is justified with religious rationalizations, and says that it is wrong for children to be given identities such as Catholic, Muslim, and Hindu at a young age that result in their distrust and hatred of others with different religious/faith identities.

His implication seems to be that someone (presumably people who agree with him, assisted by governmental power) should stop religious indoctrination of children. This raises the question: What will replace religious training of the young? Children are inevitably going to develop identities and will have to have some kind of faith, even if it isn’t “religious.”

Would it be better if faith in a particular form of religion and the people who represent it (Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, etc.) were replaced with faith in a “universal” ideology such as Communism, or faith in one’s people or nation (Judaism, nationalism, etc.)? Probably not. The ideologies of Communism and Fascist/nationalist movements were major contributors to the two World Wars and other major and minor wars of the past century.

What about faith in something that transcends religion, ideology, ethnicity, and nationalism? Can we trust the corporate/economic system (let’s call it “mammon”—the worship of material wealth) that is currently invading and reshaping the world, obliterating cultures, peoples, and traditions, and making the poor spiritually and materially poorer while granting a small elite hitherto unimaginable riches and power?1 Degraded “mammonite” culture is proliferating like a bacterial infection by means of the Internet, mass media, and actual military and political aggression. In fact, it seems apparent to many that one of the greatest forces for destruction and evil in the world today is misguided faith in the corporate/economic beast that is reshaping the world to suit its needs.

Faith in mammon doesn’t seem to be a good idea either. How about faith in science and reason?

Unfortunately, as the political and social leaders of the past 300 years have discovered, science and reason are tools that can be used for good or evil, but they aren’t adequate objects of faith.

What’s left as a basis for faith?

  • Religion (faith in God) is out.
  • Nationalism is out.
  • Ideology is out.
  • The corporate/capitalist system is out.

It looks like Mr. Dawkins would have to say that we need to have faith that atheists like him would indoctrinate children wisely if government gave them the power to do so.

If Mr. Dawkins had this kind of power, we would discover sooner rather than later that he and others sharing his perspective are really no more trustworthy than the religionists, ideologues, and nationalists who have caused humanity so much suffering and heartache.

The ultimate cause of violence in the world is not religion, nationalism, ideology (including atheism), or even mammon. The primary cause of violence is evil that is deeply embedded in human nature, an evil deadliest when undetected or ignored. Hearts unaware of their own wickedness corrupt faith of any kind into evil and violence.

  1. In Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:9, Jesus personifies the Aramaic word for riches, making it the name for an idol/false god that people worship rather than the true God. Back To Article
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What Is the Underlying Cause of Violence?

The human race didn’t create itself, nor can it find fulfillment in itself. Human life is meaningful only in relationship to God (Deuteronomy 8:3; John 4:13-14; 6:32-35, 49-50). Originally, Adam and Eve enjoyed a relationship with God in the Garden of Eden. When they chose the path of distrust and disobedience, they fell headlong into fear, loneliness, meaninglessness, and despair. They were exiled into a dangerous world where living became a struggle (Genesis 3:16-19, 22-24). Cain took his parents’ distrust and disobedience a step further by hating and killing the brother who sought to restore something of his parents’ lost relationship with God.

Bearing a mark ensuring that anyone who killed him would suffer vengeance seven times over, Cain founded the first city (Genesis 4:17) along with a social order that could be preserved only through fear of vengeance and retribution. It wasn’t long before Cain’s great-great-great grandson Lamech defiantly boasted that while God might avenge Cain’s murder seven times, he could personally avenge himself seventy-seven times (Genesis 4:23-24).1 Soon civilization was so corrupt and violent that God destroyed it in a flood, sparing only one just man and his family (Genesis 6:9-13)

But human violence didn’t end with the flood. The offspring of the patriarchs through whom God intended to establish His kingdom (Genesis 12:1-3) took possession of the Promised Land and established a city at Mount Zion. Although the bearers of the promise, they soon filled their own city with such violence that God brought judgment against them by means of even more violent nations (Ezekiel 7:23-27; Matthew 23:34-24:2).

Like Cain, the people of Noah’s day, and the Israelites, people of every generation are alienated from God. Without a connection of love and trust with the Creator, they are also alienated from each other and themselves. Yet rather than turning to God for affirmation and meaning, they seek it in social convention. Further, just as Cain hated Abel, people hate genuine prophets and honest men and choose leaders willing to nurture their illusions. The more their leaders flatter and mislead them, the more the people admire and honor them (1 Samuel 8:6-9).

Founded on falsehood, culture is deeply flawed, doomed to fail (Lamentations 2:14; Micah 3:11; Luke 6:39; Isaiah 30:10; Isaiah 56:10; Jeremiah 5:31), and satanic at its core (Ephesians 6:12). When consensus crumbles, disillusionment brings fear, isolation, suspicion, and rage. Just like Adam and Eve, we dread exposure of our “nakedness”—our pretense to purpose when we have no purpose, our pretense to strength when we have no strength, our pretense to peace when we have no peace, our pretense to love when we have no love. When the social contract fails, the violence of our hearts is unleashed in a desperate search for a scapegoat to blame.

Perhaps the scapegoat will be a politician or political party that was once viewed with adulation. Perhaps it will be an ethnic or religious minority. Perhaps it will be an “enemy” nation or alliance of nations.

Unwilling to accept responsibility and unwilling to turn to God, we unleash chaos. At this point, the dehumanizing, demoniacal madness of Saul (1 Samuel 18:10-11; 19:9-10; 20:33) and the dweller of the Gadarene tombs (Mark 5:1-5) becomes manifest. We objectify and kill fellow human beings like insects and vermin. Our “enemies” respond in kind.

Yet our greatest rage, like the rage of Cain, is roused when someone like Abel exposes our need for redemption.

  1. In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus apparently has Lamech’s boast in mind. In sharp contrast with a social order founded on vengeance and hatred, Jesus said that his disciples should forgive those who sin against them “seventy times seven.” Back To Article
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Why Are “Enlightened” Modern People Dangerous?

Many people look back at the bloody sacrificial rites of ancient religion with a sense of superiority. Their sense of superiority reveals a dangerous lack of insight into the continuing destructiveness of human nature.

Violence and blood lust is as much present in the heart of modern man as it was in the hearts of ancient peoples. Whether or not modern people overtly deny God’s existence, they repress awareness of their own potential for evil and need for reconciliation with Him. (See the ATQ article What Is the Underlying Cause of Violence? )

Far more people were exterminated by modern, scientifically “enlightened” people during the last century than were killed through tribal and pagan and religious violence during the entire prior history of our world—and the slaughter continues. We need to face the fact that the massive outbreaks of war that occurred since 1914 weren’t carried out by especially evil people: they weren’t unusual freaks or strange deviants. Most of the Communists, Fascists, nationalists, internationalists, and killers of all varieties have been ordinary people who lacked a consciousness of their need for God’s grace and mercy. Unwilling to acknowledge their own depravity, they turned their frustration, fear, and fury against scapegoats. Even people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ—probably most of them—have served false gods of nationalism and ideology during recent centuries, disregarding their Master and rationalizing violence and hatred. They continue to do so.

However smug modern people—including modern Christians—may feel when comparing their modern “scientific” outlook to the “primitive” and “superstitious” religious beliefs of their ancestors, at a certain level the immense wars of the past 200 years have left them shaken and insecure. Not only have scores of millions of men, women, and children died horribly, but leaders have also continued to develop even more appalling weapons of mass destruction. Weapons today far exceed in destructive capacity the weapons of WWI and WWII, and the terror of apocalyptic, unlimited warfare is one of the factors driving world leaders towards internationalism and alliances moving relentlessly towards a world government. The untamed violence in our hearts is propelling us towards an unprecedented centralization of corrupting power, an evil city, and an absolutely evil monarch that prophets have foretold.

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Should a Christian Pray for God’s Vengeance?

Jesus brought a deeper spiritual principle to bear upon the attitude of people towards revenge and retribution. In Matthew 5:38-42, He made three radical statements. First, He said that a person should turn the other cheek when someone strikes him. Second, He declared that His followers should give those who sue them more than they are asking. Third, He said that a person who is conscripted by a Roman officer to carry a load for one mile should offer to go two.

Does this mean that we cannot resist when somebody attacks us? Should we let everyone take advantage of us? This can’t be what Jesus meant. After all, Jesus denounced the Pharisees who attacked Him (Matthew 23) and objected when He was struck by one of the officers of the high priest (John 18:22). Further, He advised His disciples to take measures to defend themselves (Matthew 10:16), and He declared that they shouldn’t “meditate beforehand on what you will answer” to an enemy’s charges because He “will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist” (Luke 21:14-15 NKJV). Similarly, the apostle Paul aggressively defended himself against his enemies on occasion (Acts 23:1-3), asserting his rights as a Roman citizen and making it clear to his attackers that there could be consequences if he were unlawfully harmed (Acts 25:14-27).

What Jesus asks of His followers is not passivity but surrender of the right to personal revenge. His three radical examples make His point about the attitude we should have toward those who wrong us. Rather than getting even, we should be willing to go to the opposite extreme. We need to be ready to humble ourselves for the kingdom of God. We need to understand that vengeance isn’t ours, but the Lord’s (Romans 12:19).

The natural human tendency has been to seek the emotional satisfaction of revenge for perceived injury (Genesis 4:8). Our instinctive response to any kind of injury is hatred and desire for vengeance. This is why Jesus made it so clear in His Sermon on the Mount that not only outward murder, but also inward hatred is subject to God’s judgment (Matthew 5:22-23). Consequently, the Old Testament Law placed limitations on vengeance (Exodus 21:23-25). Although the “eye for an eye” provision of the Mosaic Law has often been misunderstood as requiring vengeance, its actual purpose was to place limitations upon it. The law wouldn’t permit murder out of revenge for an insult or a minor injury. If an eye were put out, only an eye could be taken; if a tooth, only a tooth.

Jesus went much farther than the law, making it clear that He wasn’t merely calling for more limitations on vengeance. In Matthew 5:38-39, He implies that we must give up personal vengeance altogether. But as illustrated above by Jesus and Paul’s examples, there is a difference between confronting evil and seeking personal revenge. It is possible to confront evil with a desire for the redemption of its perpetrator. We can love a sinner while confronting his sin, but when we seek vengeance we are (always) motivated by hatred.

If Matthew 5:38-42 were taken literally at all times, we would have to let everyone take advantage of us. Turning the other cheek would become an encouragement for evil. This isn’t what Jesus had in mind. His vivid examples illustrate His disciples’ need to give up any sense of entitlement to personal revenge, to be purged of the motivation of personal vengeance. By asking them to “turn the other cheek,” Jesus meant that His disciples should be motivated by love and a desire for the redemption and forgiveness of offenders—even when opposing their actions.

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