Love Your Enemy?

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.

David DeGerolamo

Who Is Your Enemy

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.


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9 Responses to Love Your Enemy?

  1. John Kummer says:

    Thanks Dave! Roy always make one think. As a Hebrew Roots (Shoreshim) Teacher at a non-Denominational Church, I am always made aware of the cultural/civilizational friction between the ethnicities involved in the Gospel. I truly love all born again, Bible-believing Christians. Yet, I also know that Yeshua was not born in England in 1611, Rome in 363 A.D., or in Greece in 123 B.C.
    He was a first century Jew, ordained to be so by HaShem! Why is this important? Because of the propensity of western cultures for ethnocentrism. To clearly discern the thoughts of Messiah Yeshua you have to sometimes (not always) look behind the English and the Greek. This is said with love for all the Brothers and Sisters -- for edification, not rebuke.
    Shalom in Yeshua, John K.

  2. JMarshalek says:

    Thanks David

  3. watcher says:

    HalleluYah! Roy. Too many believe whatever is spoon fed to them, instead of conducting their own study of the meaning of Greek and Hebrew words, and of the Hebrew LAW. Elohims LAW does not change from Torah through to the Brit Hadisha. The message in the GOSPEL of the Kingdom is the SAME for old and new testaments. Elohim has not changed! Not a dot or tittle.

    So there you have it. Too many Christians and Pharasseic believing JEWS have needlessly gone to their deaths and others have let too many individuals take advantage of others due to misunderstanding this one passage. All men should be prepared to defend themselves and their families from thugs and criminals and even false teachers who are coming in as wolves to destroy them through teachings that are just flat out wrong because they haven’t studied enough to know the truth.

  4. Fed up says:

    I have had this discussion with people over the years about love your enemies and all that was written in this article. I have a decent argument about this:
    Luke 22: 36 -- 38. Jesus at the “Last Supper” said to His disciples if they don’t have a sword to go buy a sword. Why would someone need a sword if they “love” their neighbors? We can love them but be ready to defend our lives if they want to kill or injure us. When in the garden the soldiers, priests and others came to take Jesus Peter jumped up and cut the ear off of one of the priests. Jesus said, “put up your sword”. Jesus did not say throw it away. I believe in praying for your enemies that they will have a change of heart. I also believe in arranging the meeting between God and my enemies if they decide not to change their attitude toward me. Seems normal to me.

  5. watcher says:

    Constantine surely didn’t want you to have a sword, so HE rewrote history. Its reflected in the AD of Yeshua accounts written as false gospels and found in the RELIGION of Christianity.
    Obama and the Constantine Vatican Pope doesn’t want you to have a way to defend yourself from their tyranny either.
    They, (and others of evil) have joined hands and are attempting to rewrite history, in our time, on our watch, and within our season on Earth.
    Get it yet??

  6. Fed up says:

    Yup. I get it. Wasn’t there an article recently about the real reason for the Revolutionary war was about the disarming of the American colonists? When the British wanted to disarm the colonists is when they began to fight. When our government tries to disarm us is when we will begin to fight also. Sword or gun “Don’t tread on me” is our moto. I believe in being prepared before the time arrives just as Jesus prescribed his disciples to be ready by having a sword.

  7. Thank You, for an excellent article~!
    And this would turn a bunch of fundamentalists hair white in a hurry~! But it sure does make sense~!
    Constantine and his sacerdotal entourage sure did a number on the Bible, and Christ’s teachings. I include Justinian in that ilk.
    Glad you posted this, David. And Blessings to you and yours~!

  8. watcher says:

    The basis for Fundamentalism requires the believer of that Theology and premise, to have Pure TRUTH in the foundation of their hypothesis of obsession. What most Christians (all current christian fundamentalism originated from Constantinian and Justinian conquests) and Jews (that have are ancestors of Pharasseic dictate rulers of their temples, and by Sages of Jewish traditions, have done is pervert (add and subtract to) the ORIGINAL LAW given to us by our GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Yacob.
    What most believe today is false doctrine and false gospel.
    the only way to undo this unholy manipulation, is to DO your own study of the Torah LAW, using greek and Hebrew lexicons to understand the meaning of the words you are reading.
    English has lost by translation of two other languages the understanding of very basic words and their meanings.

  9. Mark says:

    Thanks, David. I have struggled with this for years… it never really made sense to me. Until now.

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