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The narratives and teachings of the Bible contain what might appear to us as irreconcilable contradictions rooted in love and hate; that is, love speech and hate speech. Perhaps you have noticed in the biblical texts that there are many statements that sound like this. Here are a series of comparative extracts from scripture:
Psalm 139:21-22. Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate you?... I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.
Yet, there is this
Matthew 5:43-44. You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you….”
1 Corinthians 16:22. If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!
John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son….
Yet, there is this:
1 John 2:15. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 4:7-8. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Yet there are these:
Luke 14:26. If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Malachi 1:2-3. Thus says the Lord: “Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated….
Matthew 10:33-34. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
Yet, there is this:
Luke 2:14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Summarizing the quoted scripture extracts, it leads me to succinctly ask the following questions:
How is it possible that Yeshua (the Son of David, see Matthew 1:1) can say, “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) but King David says, do I not hate the enemies who are in opposition to YHVH, and David is a man after YHVH’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).
How is it possible that “God so loved the world,” but if we love the world, “the love of the Father is not in us”?
How is it possible that “God is love,” yet, God himself says that he hates Esau. Then, Yeshua declares that if we don’t hate the members of our family, and hate ourselves, we cannot be his disciples (students).
How is it possible that Yeshua said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth,” and yet at his birth, a recorded multitude of angelic hosts collectively exclaim, “And on earth, peace, goodwill towards men.”
I wish to suggest the following research that might help us to reconcile the above apparent contradictions.
During the Second Temple period, there was a clear and firm belief among the Jewish believers of the day that all of what was written down in prior generations, it was written to teach us about Messianic salvation and faith in order to fulfil the statement that all scripture
…is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Beginning with Genesis 1:1 and continuing to the end of 2 Chronicles – what is referred to as “Tanakh” – the Torah (Law), the Nevi’im (Prophets), and the Ketuvim (Writings); all scripture speaks about a Messianic Hope; that is, the arrival of Messiah, the Word, who comes to establish YHVH's Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Yeshua spoke of it this way, saying concerning himself...
Luke 24:44-48. ...that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me. And he opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then he said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”
Time and time again, when I read through Hebrew scripture (the Tanakh), I often find myself running into deep prophetic concepts and statements (directly and indirectly) that are hinted-at truths underneath the surface texts (explained as P’shat). Obviously, Yeshua was referring to scripture’s deep mysteries, spoken of as Remez, Drash, and Sod, explained in Luke 24:44 when Yeshua “opened their understanding” of the Messianic Hope in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms (writings). In other words, underneath the plain meaning in the biblical narratives, the Tanakh reveals the true persona and spiritual work of Messiah; futuristic ideas all pointing to Yeshua – the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14).
The Rabbis and Jewish scholars of the Second Temple period, prior to the coming of Yeshua, believed that there would be two coming Messiah’s to fulfil the known expectations. What they did not understand was that the true Messianic hope was about the coming of one Messiah who would fulfil two different roles. The first was identified as the suffering servant role in Messiah ben Yosef (Messiah, Son of Joseph). The second role was identified as the conquering king, Messiah ben David (Messiah, Son of David). Here is an excerpt (from among many) found in the Rabbinic writings of the post Second Temple period, a teaching based on Zechariah 12:10.
Sukkah 52a. What is the cause of the mourning? -- R. Dosa and the Rabbis differ on the point. One explained. The cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, and the other explained, the cause is the slaying of the Evil Inclination. It is well with him who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, since that well agrees with the Scriptural verse, “And they shall look upon me because they have thrust him through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for his only son;” but according to him who explains the cause to be the slaying of the Evil Inclination, is this an occasion for mourning? Is it not rather an occasion for rejoicing? Why then should they weep?
The above teaching later gave birth to much additional commentary.
The Yalkut Shemoni (the “Yalkut” – Isaiah 499). “For the seven years preceding the coming of the Son of David they will bring iron beams and place them upon his neck (Messiah Son of Joseph) until his figure becomes stooped, whereupon he will shout and cry out and his voice will rise to heaven.”
Later, in the centuries that followed, there was lots more emerging on the teaching about Messiah ben Yosef and Messiah ben David in the written works of famous Jewish scholars such as Saadiah Gaon (9th century, C.E.) in his Emunot Vede'ot VIII:5-6; Isaac Luria (the “Ari” z’l, 16th century C.E.), the Pesikta Rabbati chapters 36-37, the Dead Sea Scrolls – 4Q372, and among them, Gabriel’s Revelation referred to as the Hazon Gabriel, a Dead Sea Scrolls fragment deciphered by the distinguished Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Ada Yardeni.
In summary, old Jewish traditions dating back to the period called B.C.E. (Before the Common Era), speaks about two coming redeemers – Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David, each one called Mashiach or Messiah. Both were expected to usher in the Messianic era. Given that this was a Jewish expectation, it was understood that each of these Messianic personas would be known by their different character attributes; that is, specific functions that they might come to fulfil. Messiah Son of Joseph was expected to show us YHVH’s compassion and love for all Israel through his suffering (Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9:24) whereas Messiah Son of David was expected to show us YHVH’s kingship to fulfil his role as Israel’s “Man of War” (Exodus 15:3). Let us try to paint this in a different light, defining the two Messianic roles as:
1. Messiah Son of Joseph with YHVH’s LOVE MANIFESTED THROUGH MERCY AND GRACE (Deuteronomy 33:2-4, Malachi 4:2, Luke 1:78, John 12:47).
2. Messiah Son of David with YHVH’s LOVE MANIFESTED THROUGH HATE TOWARDS THOSE WHO HATE HIM AND LOVE EVIL (Psalm 139:21-22, Jeremiah 11:16-17, John 12:48, Matthew 24:27-31).
Again, these two ideas of YHVH’S LOVE and HATE were known expectations in the centuries leading into the Second Temple period and explained from the following words of King Solomon:
Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 3:1-8 (abridged). To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
When Yeshua appeared on the scene of Israel's Second Temple period, he understood his role primarily as Messiah ben Joseph. Later, he knew he would return to fulfil the role of Messiah ben David. Here is how it was understood in scripture:
MESSIAH BEN YOSEF
John 6:42. And they said, “Is not this Yeshua, the Son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he says, ‘I have come down from Heaven’?”
John 14:27. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you (defined as a complete healing towards spiritual wholeness from a sickness that began with Adam in the Garden of Eden); not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
From Tanakh, here is the living metaphor:
Deuteronomy 20:10-11. When you go near a city to fight against it, then proclaim an offer of peace to it. And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace, and open to you, then all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you, and serve you.
MESSIAH BEN DAVID
Matthew 10:33-34. But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in Heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
John 12:48. He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has that which judges him—the Word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
Hebrews 10:30-31. For we know him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says YHVH. And again, “YHVH will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Again, here is the living metaphor:
Deuteronomy 20:12-13. Now if the city will not make peace with you, but war against you, then you shall besiege it. And when YHVH your God delivers it into your hands, you shall strike every male in it with the edge of the sword.
There are no contradictions in the Tanakh (“Old Testament”) or in the Brit Chadasha (“New Testament”); opposing statements that appear between War and Peace, between Elohim’s (God’s) HATE and Elohim’s (God’s) LOVE. Both attributes belong to him as Messianic roles to be fulfilled, each one revealed for a purpose in its time and for a purpose in its season.
Presently, we are in the season of God’s LOVE which is manifesting itself through his MERCY and GRACE and completed through the Second Temple period work of Messiah Ben Yosef. When the Word in Yeshua arrived, he came with love to wage a war against Sin and Death and to gather in Adam's exiles (or if you will, Israel's exiles, see Ezekiel 33 and Jeremiah 13) and to spiritually free his people from the clinging curse of the Garden of Eden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil - the Etz haDa'at Tov v'Ra. We might wish to call this work of YHVH, a “Love Invasion.” He came to bring peace (a spiritual healing from the effects of Sin and Death) by offering his redemptive love and mercy.
However, this will change according to the pattern that was established through Noah when the doors of the Ark were closed before the flood waters came, saving eight and destroying the rest. When Messiah Ben David arrives, he will come against his enemies to fulfil the divine declaration, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35). It will be YHVH's war of hate on those who love evil and hate him because of his love for truth and justice. In that season, he will prove himself to be a conquering warrior – a Man of War, as it is written:
Exodus 15:3. YHVH is a man of war; YHVH is his name.
Is God Love? YES. Is God Hate? YES. Both are true. Again, as it is written:
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (abridged).
Scripture contains numerous hidden prophetic metaphors about YHVH ushering in the Messianic Kingdom of the Word. With each, YHVH defines his two declared roles of Love and Hate, melting away all apparent contradictions in order to establish his Love for Mercy and his Love for Justice. This is the core that explains all Messianic prophecy. Again, here is the Torah's living metaphor to help us understand the heart of YHVH's plan:
Deuteronomy 20:10-13. When you go near a city to fight against it, then proclaim an offer of peace to it. And it shall be that if they accept your offer of peace, and open to you, then all the people who are found in it shall be placed under tribute to you, and serve you. Now if the city will not make peace with you, but war against you, then you shall besiege it. And when YHVH your God delivers it into your hands, you shall strike every male in it with the edge of the sword.
Show me a person who loves and I will show you a person who hates that which threatens the object of that person's love.
A time will come when we will be called upon to fulfil the command of the King to hate our enemies, which are his enemies; but now is not the time. That time will come when the King Himself will declare that the battle of love through hate should begin. In the meantime, are we to condone and/or approve of evil through whichever form it takes? No. On the contrary, we are to hate evil and love good. Loving someone and approving of or condoning their sinful or evil actions are not synonymous concepts.
Presently, our battle is supposed to be against spiritual forces and not physical forces (see 2 Corinthians 10:4-6). This was the misunderstanding of many early church leaders such as Marcion who had a difficult time reconciling biblical love and biblical hate, giving birth to a doctrine of demons; that there were two Gods - a hateful angry God of the "Old Testament" and a loving graceful God of the "New Testament." In other words, a kind of family feud between a Father and a Son; two opposing Gods and/or two opposing ideologies. But, this was never true because it is written:
John 14:8-9. Philip said to Him (Yeshua), “Master, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”Yeshua said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Scripture's lessons on love and hate are really about two dovetailing timelines -- Messianic prophecy and fulfillment or Messianic metaphor and reality. Until that day, with the arrival of Messiah Son of David, we must be about our Father's business, which is in the pursuit of bringing forth the fruit of shalom for the redemption benefit of all mankind; a spiritual healing as it is defined through the concept of biblical peace. Biblical shalom grows in the heart and comes out through our lips (our language, Isaiah 57:19). In this, we are conquering through love and not destroying through hate. The actions of hate will come later. For now, let us be found standing in the words of King Messiah, who taught:
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you….” (Matthew 5:43-44).