As I sat in church yesterday, the pastor brought up Matthew 5:43-48. We must love our enemies and pray for them.
Love for Enemies
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Not to be too sarcastic, but how is this working out for Christians in Syria and Iraq?
So I must be a bad Christian as I will not submit to tyranny, evil, Muslim terrorists or any combination. The Bible tells me to hate evil in Psalm 97:10
Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Is this a contradiction? Rather than use the common excuse of most Christians that I am a sinner, ask for forgiveness and then forget about it, I decided to look into the actual translation of “enemy” in this case.
Roy Blizzard III © 2011
As an ordained minister and a Hebrew, Greek etc student of the Bible as well as the son of a PhD in Hebrew studies and minister, I am well aware of many of the errors spread in the name of Christianity, especially the Old Testament ones the so called pacifist movement so loves to spread, “thou shall not kill” and Jesus’ New Testament words “Love your enemies”.
Even if one is familiar with Hebrew it can be difficult to trace the real roots behind these Words and if you only know Greek you are at a real disadvantage and will probably never know what the truth is unless someone like me were to tell you.
You may or may not be aware that the Old Testament passage of Exodos 20:13, “thou shall not kill” actually is translated as “thou shall not commit premeditated murder”. There has been several good articles about this. However, I have never seen anyone write about what I am going to share with you now except for my father and I, as most Christians probably don’t know enough to find where to look for it.
In Matthew 5, where Jesus is speaking on the mount, he is giving a perfectly good Jewish sermon, saying nothing new, but just commenting on Jewish law. But when you read it in Greek and then English, if you know Jewish Law, you are immediately thrown off when you come to the statement to “love your enemies” as this does not make good Jewish sense as they had a teaching that said that if a man were to come to kill you, you should rise up and kill him first as your righteous character and that of your family is worth more than the unrighteous character of the evil one coming to destroy you.
So then, why does Jesus say to “love your enemy“? Is he stating some new law that we were unaware of? No, for to do so would have been to make God out to be changeable.
When I was taking Classical Greek at the University of Texas in 1986, this perplexed me so I started researching it. It took me several days to find out the answer. In the Liddell and Scott Greek English Lexicon which is the authoritative lexical aid for Greek I found an unusual reference that finally led me to the truth. The Greek word in question here is Exthros which is generally translated as Enemy in EVERY NEW TESTAMENT LEXICAL AID.
However, in the Liddell and Scott there is a reference to a 1st century A.D. grammaticus, Ammonius – Grammaticus, which defined the word Exthros as someone who had been a Philos (a brother) but is alienated (out of enmity you had become estranged from them for a while). It was different than a Polamios, who you are at war with (who was a blood enemy who was out to kill you) and a Dusmenos is one who has long been alienated and refuses to reconcile.
Then it all made sense to me.
Jesus was quoting the Jewish Law.