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Violence and Victory Under the Old Covenant
19 July 2014
 
 
Once again there is violence in the Middle East. The "Palestinian" Muslims in Gaza are violently pursuing their goal of destroying Israel and killing all the Jews, while the Israelis are violently defending themselves and massively bombing Gaza, with the goal of simply living in peace.

What will victory for either side look like? I think we have all lived on this planet long enough to know. And it hasn't really changed much throughout thousands of years of human history. Victory looks like dead or subdued enemies — it's as simple as that. Kill or be killed — that's the law of the jungle.

For those of us who are followers of Yeshua (Jesus), who consider ourselves what is commonly known as "Christians," we must ask ourselves the related question: What does victory look like from GOD'S point of view? Because His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), it is quite likely that God's definition of victory is quite different than our human definition.

There are many, many Christian leaders and laypersons around the world who believe that Christian use of violence is justifiable, and even required, under certain circumstances. In cases of self-defense, and defending your family, community or nation, a "Christian" may use violence, and even kill another human being, without anyone blinking an eye. Well, perhaps GOD is blinking HIS eye! I have already written many articles on these issues, including:
 
 
Under the Old Covenant, God is frequently describe as a warrior. More than 200 times He is referred to as Yahweh Tsaba', which in the King James version is translated as Lord of Hosts, and in more modern versions as Lord Almighty. Exodus 15:3 states it clearly: Yahweh is a warrior; Yahweh is His name. All throughout the Old Testament, we see God commanding the Israelites to fight their surrounding human enemies with physical violence unto death.

In case you haven't noticed, there is a HUGE difference between God's Old Covenant and His New Covenant — see The Really Awesome News! for more details. While it is absolutely true that God NEVER changes, as the Bible declares in a number of passages, it is absolutely crucial to understand that His METHOD of dealing with humans DOES change. The whole story of the Bible is a record of the various ways God has interacted with humans over the millennia.

During his apostolic journeys, Paul, in preaching to the Athenians, declared:
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30)
This clearly indicates a change in God's approach to dealing with humans. The author of Hebrews put it like this:
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son... (Hebrews 1:1,2a)

Yeshua, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for He is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, He said:
"The day is coming, says Yahweh, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to My covenant, so I turned My back on them, says Yahweh. But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says Yahweh: I will put My laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins." (Jeremiah 31:31-33,34b)
When God speaks of a "new" covenant, it means He has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:6-10,12,13)
Under the obsolete (God's description, not mine!) Old Covenant, God wanted His people to use physical violence against human enemies. However, under God's New Covenant introduced by His Son, Yeshua, the exact opposite is true! NOWHERE in the New Testament does it suggest, condone or command that God's people, the followers of Yeshua, should EVER use physical violence against any other human, even in self-defense. So how is it that Christians have gotten it so wrong for so long?

As I have written about extensively in the above-linked articles, it was at the time of Constantine, about 1,700 years ago, that those who called themselves Christians were seduced and deceived by Satan in a major, history-changing way. Embracing a violent Constantinian mindset, they started using physical violence in order to achieve their "spiritual" and temporal goals. As a result, during the past 1,700 years both those who followed Yeshua and those who didn't were persecuted, injured, tortured and killed. It is high time that this Constantinian and "Christian" doctrine of demons is exposed for what it is!

For 1,700 years "Christians" have been physically fighting and killing other "Christians" — and non-Christians as well. Which proves that they were not following Yeshua and living under the authority of His Kingdom. Rather, they were following Satan, whom Yeshua called "a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44a). They were merely living under a "Christianized" version of Satan's humanistic/demonic kingdom. Of them, Yeshua would say: "You belong to your father, the DEVIL, and you want to carry out your father's desire" (John 8:44a).

In the New Testament, the Greek word nikao, in its various forms, is used 28 times. It is translated into English in various versions of the Bible as "to overcome, to overpower, to conquer, triumph, victory, victorious." Never ONCE, in all of those verses, does it EVER refer to followers of Yeshua using physical violence against a human enemy, even in self-defense.

This is so simple, and so evident, that you really have to wonder why most "Christians" don't get it! The deception of Satan has truly blinded the eyes of the vast majority of Christendom! After 1,700 years of embracing, teaching, and living out demonic doctrines, after untold thousands have been slaughtered by "Christians" thinking that they were doing God's will, it seems very difficult for Christendom to see the error of their ways and admit that they have gotten it all wrong. But if we are willing, there is still room for repentance and forgiveness from God.

To recap what we have looked at so far, under the Old Covenant God condoned and commanded the used of physical violence by His Chosen People, the Jews. With the coming of His Son, Yeshua, God did away with the Old Covenant and replaced it with the New Covenant, which in no way condones or commands His Chosen People, the followers of Yeshua, to ever use violence against a fellow human being, even in self-defense. For 1,700 years, the Church has been seduced and deceived by Satan to continue living in the violence of the Old Covenant, even though that system has been done away with.

I have a lot more to say on these matters, but I suppose that what I have written in this article is enough for you to chew on for the time being. In part two of this series, we will explore in more detail what the New Testament teaches about the enemy, violence and victory — see Loving Not Our Lives Unto Death.
This article is 31st a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
1.
9  Nov  2008
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27  Nov  2008
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12  Jun  2010
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27  Sep  2010
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Violence and Victory Under the Old Covenant
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