Do We Chasten Our Enemies?

To: Mike V Vinson Hi Mike, I have a question for you. The love we are supposed to have for our enemy; is that the same kind of love that God has for us? If so, how do we apply it concerning our enemy? Isn't Gods love a chastening kind of love? Sincerely P____ Hi P____, Thank you for your question. It gives me an opportunity to discuss the words which are translated 'love' in the New Testament: I want you to notice what Christ said to Peter on the side of the lake after His resurrection: John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. John 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. What we miss in our English translation is that the Greek has two different words for 'love' in this exchange. The first two times Jesus asks Peter "Lovest thou me?", he uses the Greek word 'agape' which means unconditional and undeserved love. But the last time Christ asks Peter if Peter loves Him, He uses the Greek word 'phileo,' which means a genuine personal fondness for a brother or sister, based upon the fact that that brother or sister has something about them that causes us to love them. In other words, we need to have 'agape' unconditional love for all men, regardless of whether they are our friends or our enemies. But we must also have a special love for those who are of the household of faith, the church which is the body of Christ. John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. Are not all men God's children? Yes, they are all His children. Does He not love them all? Yes, He does love them all. But His firstfruits are "special" to Him just as he encourages us to think of Him. Gal 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith. The story that has immortalized Mary, the sister of Lazarus, in our minds, teaches us to put those special Christians ahead of other poor children of God, who might be in equal need: Mark 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always

What Christ is telling us is that just as God's people, Israel, were all around His apostles, so are there "carnal...babes in Christ" around us always today. But we do not always have "the church which is His body" about us every day. "But me ye have not always." Paul did not pray for the leaders of this world to be converted. He knew better than that. He prayed and exhorts us to pray that we may live peaceably in and with the world and its leaders. 1 Tim 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 1 Tim 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Why are supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving thanks to be given for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority? Was Paul praying that God would at this time save all men including kings and all that are in authority? No, that is absurd. It was Paul who told us that we are ambassadors for Christ. The real reason to pray for kings and for all that are in authority is "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." So many Christians refuse to acknowledge any distinction between the "seed of Abraham" who are of the bondwoman and those who are of the freewoman, between poor Christians and "the household of faith." Read John 8:30-47. Those who wanted Christ dead were "Jews which believed on Him." And so it is today, those who most despise Christ's body are those who believe on Him. John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. So not all who believe on Christ are "of God" in the sense of being part of "the church which is His body." Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: Galatians three and four, make it abundantly clear that "the seed of Abraham" are all in Christ. But those chapters also make it abundantly clear, just as Christ does in John 8, that not all of the "in Christ...seed of Abraham" are of the free woman wife of Abraham. Many of the supposed spiritual "Jews which believe on Him" to this very day despise those who spiritually "as Isaac were...children of promise...not of the bondwoman...seed of Abraham." Gal 4:28 Now we, brethren [Gentile Galatians], as Isaac was, are the children of promise. Gal 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him [that was born] after the Spirit, even so [it is] now. Gal 4:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. Gal 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Like Christ told "those Jews that believed on Him... I know that you are Abraham's seed." But in the same breath He told them," If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham... Ye seek to kill me...you are of your father the devil." God loves the seed of the bondwoman, but He loves him less than the seed of the freewoman at this time: Rom 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. Rom 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. Rom 9:9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. Rom 9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, [even] by our father Isaac; Rom 9:11 (For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) Rom 9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. "Esau" is not that evil person who has nothing to do with us. Esau is who we are first. That is why Cain, Ishmael, Esau, King Saul and physical Israel, are all typical of the "first Adam within us. These men all come first within us and must be destroyed within us. "Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated" is a statement about how God feels about the "chief of sinners" within us, the prodigal son, within us. That part of us must be destroyed, so that a new man can replace that "first Adam." Your question was: "The love we are supposed to have for our enemy; is that the same kind of love that God has for us? If so how do we apply it concerning our enemy? Isn't Gods love a chastening kind of love?" The answer to your question is, yes, God's love is a chastening kind of love. And it is the same love He has for every son He receives. Not one exception: Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? How do we love our enemies as God loves His enemies? The answer to this question is found in the story of how Joseph dealt with His enemies, who were nothing less the "Jews which believed on Him and yet sought to kill Him." Joseph's brothers were "the seed of Abraham" just as was Joseph. But once again the physically 'first born" was "not counted for the seed." It was Joseph who was given the coat of many colors by his father. It was Joseph who was given dreams of rulership over his own flesh and blood brothers, and it was Joseph who was placed on the throne of Egypt. Joseph put his father's welfare ahead of being popular with his 'seed of Abraham' brothers: Gen 37:2 These [are] the generations of Jacob. Joseph, [being] seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad [was] with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

Only when we too, are willing to face the rejection of those who reject our Father's words, are we going to bring our Father their evil report. When we do this, our Father loves us, but our fellow 'seed of Abraham' do not. So we automatically lose any friends we may have in this Christian world. This then is what happens next: Gen 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he [was] the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of [many] colours. Gen 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. Contrary to what Babylon, Joseph's brothers, want you to believe, God's elect know full well that they are despised by their brothers in Christ who are the "seed of Abraham" but are not "as Isaac...children of promise." So how do you chasten your uncalled brothers who hate you and cannot speak peaceably unto you? All you need to do is to "love your enemies" while you stay faithful to the words of your heavenly Father, and refuse to join in with your brothers as they speak evil of their father and take advantage of his flocks. Your very presence and your very love for them is "coals of fire on their heads." Rom 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. If God gives you the grace, you will eventually come to see that you must never think of all of these brothers of Joseph as some personal enemy across the street or around the world. For all who can receive it, every story in God's word is about the kingdom of God. And for those who can receive it "the kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. This was a question from the Pharisees, and Christ is answering with a parable of the kingdom of God. The day is coming when "the kingdoms of this world will be the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. Until that day, the spiritual truth of this parable is that the kingdom of God is within you. What this means is that you and I must "live by every word of God. We must come to the point where we can "look behind us to see the voice speaking with us:" Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, The Truth is that we cannot know where we are in Christ until we "look behind us to see the voice that is speaking with us. If we have not yet experienced the vision, we will not be looking behind us, and we will not yet see that voice speaking with us, we will not yet know the revelation of Jesus Christ. Rev 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; What this means is that when we turn to see the voice speaking to us, we see that it is indeed speaking to us and not to someone else. In other words, we can now look behind us and see this entire vision called "the revelation of Jesus Christ." It is only by the revelation of Jesus Christ that any of us learn of Jesus Christ. That is how Paul learned all that was given him:

Gal 1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. When we are given this revelation, we realize that the seven churches are not outside of us. They are within us and the message to every church is for "he that hath an ear." Well, it so happens that this entire book is addressed to the seven churches within us. And just like all of Christ parables about the kingdom of God within you, these seven churches are in very sad spiritual shape. I cannot do a commentary on the seven churches in this email, but I can point out that in every case, at the end of what is said to every one of the seven churches, we are told: Rev 2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Once again we come up against the fact that not everyone is given an ear to hear. But as we mature, we come to see that all of this is addressed to us personally. In other words, the only way we can see that not everyone is given ears to hear is when we "look behind us" and see that we too, have lived a life which was, in its appointed time, stone deaf and born blind from our mother's womb to the things of the spirit as it spoke to our seven churches within us. We come to see that the seven churches are nothing more than a Jezebel harlot which has rejected her husband and has been consorting with every false doctrine of her heathen, godless neighbors. We come to see that these seven churches are a seven headed beast and that each head is a mountain which is a king which exerts power over us which we, of ourselves are hopeless and helpless to overcome. In the end we come to see that the enemy that we are to love and chasten is "the eight beast which is of the seven and goes into perdition." Rev 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. Revelation 17:11 is but another way of saying these words of our Lord: Mark 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. It is the perdition of the beast within us that is our salvation. It is by judging this beast and destroying its kingdom within us that Christ is set up on His rightful throne in our hearts and our minds. And it is in this way that we love and chasten our enemies within. 1 Cor 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 1 Cor 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. In other words, the book of revelation is the story of the judgment of, and the destruction of the seven-headed beast within each of us. It is the story of God's chastening grace in our lives. We must come to see that we must never read in God's Word about an evil person who is doing evil things to God's chosen people, and identify only with God's chosen. Rather we must, with Paul, come to see ourselves as that person who is doing evil to God's chosen people. That is one reason why the apostle Paul was chosen to write so much of the New Testament. Paul is introduced to us wanting Christ and His chosen dead:

1 Tim 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Paul's beginnings are our beginnings. To begin with we all hate God's chosen few. The very fact that they are so few, and are so despised by those in power, is reason enough for the carnal mind to despise God's chosen. Only when we see this in ourselves does every word of God come alive to us and we can agree with our Lord: Matt 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Only then can we honestly concur with the apostle: 1 Tim 1:15 This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. We must never approach God's Word with the mindset of 'I am Abel, but I am not Cain. I would never under any circumstance kill my brother.' We must never come to God's word and read of the events surrounding the crucifixion of our Lord and say 'I might very well be Peter, but I certainly am not Judas.' Until we have been given eyes that see both Cain and Judas within our own sinful flesh, we can never say with Paul, 'I am chief of sinners," and we will never understand what our Lord meant when He said the we must "live by every word of God." Matt 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. I hope this has helped you to see how we do love our enemies just as God loves His enemies. Only if we are faithful to our Father, while our brothers are not, will we be chastening "coals of fire on their heads." Rom 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Only if we can chasten our own enemies within by judging ourselves, will we be counted worthy to be in that blessed and holy first resurrection and serve as the chastening fire of the second resurrection. 1 Cor 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 1 Cor 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned [to the great white throne chastening judgment] with the world. Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? Isa 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; Your brother in the Christ, Mike