Home Articles General The G-d of Vengeance, The G-d of Mercy
     
 
The G-d of Vengeance, The G-d of Mercy Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Radin   

“But thus says the L-rd: ‘Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible be delivered; for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children. I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine. All flesh shall know that I, the L-rd, am your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 49:25-26)

As a whole, the Bible chronicles the history of mankind, his fall from G-d’s grace and his ongoing restoration. However, its primary focus is the nation and the people on whom the outcome of all biblical prophecy rests: the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people. It documents the Nation’s birth, its struggles, and the prophecies of its future. It records the relationship of the Jewish people (i.e. Israelites) to G-d and to other peoples and nations––past, present, and future––through history, through allegory, and through parables and symbolic imagery. However, G-d’s plan for using the people of Israel was laid out long before their very existence.

“When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. For the L-rd’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 32:8-9)

It wasn’t until after the flood of Noah’s day, that the L-rd chose the man Abraham, who demonstrated enormous faith in G-d, to begin the restoration process. 

“For I have chosen him [Abraham] so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the L-rd by doing what is right and just, so that the L-rd will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him.” (Genesis 18:19)

Abraham’s “children and his household” were reckoned through his wife Sara and their son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob, whom G-d renamed Israel. Jacob’s twelve sons formed the Nation of Israel, first called thus in Egypt where Israel was enslaved. The L-rd chose Abraham’s descendants, through his grandson Jacob, to begin the restoration process and to eventually bring it to fruition. 

Israeli author, Ramon Bennett, in his book Saga explains Israel as analogy of salvation. Jacob, whose name means ‘deceitful’ or ‘crooked’ represents the Jewish people in their beginnings. G-d changed Jacob’s name to Israel, which is formed from a Hebrew root meaning, ‘straightened’. Translated, it means, ‘straightened of G-d’. 

“Israel is, therefore, an analogy, a picture of the wonderful salvation of our G-d. The L-rd G-d chose the least of all nations (Duet. 7:7), perverse and crooked (Deut. 32:5), stubborn and rebellious (Psalm 78:8) with hearts like flint (Zech. 7:12), to make them into a mighty nation (Genesis 18:18) with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19), that the nations shall know that I am the L-rd, the Holy One in Israel (Ezekiel 39:7). The destiny of Israel is to be the channel through whom salvation comes to all mankind. Chosen vessels always suffer.” (pp. 56, 57)

Precisely because they would be faced with much suffering due to their ‘chosen’ status, G-d promised Abraham (Genesis 12:3) and his grandson Jacob (Genesis 27:29) that He, Himself would defend them in a specific way.

“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:30

“…Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!” (Genesis 27:29b)

G-d even caused Israel’s enemies to utter this blessing. Balaam, a prophet of Balak, was summoned to curse Israel, but instead he uttered a blessing.

“Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.” (Numbers 24:9)

Not only do nations and individuals put themselves in peril by opposing Israel, but G-d has promised that in addition to their cursed condition, He would take vengeance on Israel’s enemies and have mercy on His people. It is vengeance that gives meaning to mercy.

“…For He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people.” (Deuteronomy 32:43)

Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, in his book Hebrew Christianity, cites several examples of the ‘curse for curse’ principle. The first instance he relates is Abraham’s encounter with the Egyptian Abimelech (Genesis 20:1-18). Abimelech, in ignorance, took Sarah with the intention of marrying her. This would have prevented the fulfillment of G-d’s word that Sarah would give birth to Abraham’s promised son. In the ‘curse for curse’ principle, G-d ‘shut up’ the wombs of Abimelech’s household. When Abimelech returned Abraham’s wife untouched, G-d opened the wombs of Abimelech’s household once again.

The author gives the example of Joseph and Potiphar to demonstrate the ‘blessing for blessing’ principle. Although Potiphar was an Egyptian, the L-rd blessed him because of Joseph (Genesis 39:5). Fruchtenbaum continues to relate this principle in its application on a national level. The Egyptian Pharaoh tried to annihilate the Jews by drowning their newborn sons (Exodus 1:22). Eighty years later, G-d had not forgotten their attempted genocide. G-d told Moses to tell Pharaoh that “Israel is My firstborn son” (Exodus 4:22-23). Consequently, as the final plague, G-d destroyed all of Egypt’s firstborn sons (Exodus 11:5) and drowned Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:28) in the ‘curse for curse’ principle.

In the book of Esther, the Persian, Haman built a gallows on which to hang Mordecai, the Jew who refused to bow down to him. He then deceptively influenced the King to authorize the annihilation of the Jewish people throughout the land. In the ‘curse for curse’ principle, G-d brought about a miracle that saved the Jews and ended with Haman being hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai.

Author, Derek Prince in his book The Last Word on the Middle East calls Israel the “watershed”.

“Israel is the watershed, the line of separation between nations. Rulers and nations will determine their own destiny by how they respond to what G-d does for Israel.” (p. 132)

Prince cites Spain, Britain, and Germany as examples. Spain, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was a dominant power in Europe; but within one hundred years of persecuting and expelling the Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, Spain declined to a second-rate power. 

It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire, since its dominance was worldwide until 1947 when they attempted to thwart the establishment of the Nation of Israel through their military power. Since that time, Britain’s empire has almost disappeared.

Germany, for their attempt to annihilate the Jewish people during World War II, dividing Jewish families and taking away their identities, were themselves divided when their defeat resulted in Germany losing its sovereignty and their identity as a world power 

Today, we can also cite the fate of the Soviet Union as an example of G-d’s judgment on those who would oppress His chosen people. For their seventy-year ‘imprisonment’ of the Jews in Russia (1919-1989), they have suffered economic collapse, famine, and violent civil and political strife that resulted in the division of the Soviet Union into many separate nations.

These judgments on nations who have come against G-d’s purposes for Israel occurred after Israel rejected their Messiah. This demonstrates that the ‘curse for curse and blessing for blessing’ principle applies even when Israel is not in G-d’s favor.

G-d warns of the future retribution He plans for Israel’s enemies.

“The word of the L-rd concerning Israel . . . On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.” (Zechariah 12:1-3) 

“I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.” (Joel 3:2)

In 1968, the renowned social philosopher, Eric Hoffer had a glimpse of G-d’s love and care for Israel. He said: "I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel, so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish, the holocaust will be upon us."

G-d has not rejected His people Israel, as some would proclaim.

“Have you not considered what these people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families which the L-rd has chosen [Judah and Israel], He has also cast them off’? Thus they have despised My people, as if they should no more be a nation before them. Thus says the L-rd: ‘If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will cause their captives to return, and will have mercy on them.’” (Jeremiah 33:24-26)

G-d has taken great care to preserve the nation of Israel and the Davidic kingdom for a glorious future.

“If [David’s] sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, if they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.” (Psalm 89:30-37)

While the curse against the enemies of Israel remains, the blessing endures as well.

 “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.” (Psalm 122:6)

 

 
 
 
 
©2017 HaDerek Ministries - All rights reserved.   Website Design by Further Design Group