Jesus' Defense of Violence

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(1) Identified by Newsweek Magazine as the "think tank" for the new "Religious Right."

Right and Left

I have crossed the political and theological spectrum from Right to Left. As a scholar at the Chalcedon Foundation[1] I studied with and came in contact with the most patriotic and conservative elements of Right-wing America. The Right pooh-poohs non-violence, and uses Biblical descriptions of violence to justify war, capital punishment, and the Garrison State.

As a member of the Catholic Worker, I have come into contact with equally extremist elements of the far Left. The Left practices non-violence (except when engaged in the physical destruction of military facilities) and pooh-poohs the predestinating God of Isaiah, Jesus, and the rest of the Bible while upholding a process theology version of an ultimately meaningless universe and a finite god.

Both Left and Right fail to understand Christian Anarchism and the Sovereignty of God. And for all their talk about Jesus, they both fail to take seriously the two-edged sword of non-violence: Jesus commands His followers to practice non-violence and to worship a God Who is completely sovereign over violence, and uses violence to destroy violence, and brings about a Kingdom of peace in the midst of violence.


Synopsis: the Apostle Paul

The Life of Paul epitomizes the Christian walk. Functioning successfully as a paid hit-man for the Roman Empire-accredited Israeli ecclesiastical mafia, he harasses, tortures, and even murders those who follow Christ, only to be converted to Christianity, repudiate his violence, live in community, and respond non-violently to the violence inflicted upon him by his violent former-colleagues.

His teaching in Romans 12 and 13 follows Christ's teaching perfectly. Romans 12 is an eloquent and passionate statement of the Sermon on the Mount which springs from his years of life in community with the Christian underground. The Chapter closes with a statement of the paradox of Christian non-violence:

{19} Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written,
"'Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,' saith the Lord."
(Deut. 32:35)
{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.
{21} Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Chapter 13, often misused as a charter for the institutionalization of human violence ("the State"), then commands Christians to "be subject," i.e., respond non-violently, to the violence of the State, noting that God is ultimately in control of the State, and uses it to bring about divine judgment of violence.

Pacifism and Predestination

In Romans 13, God says, "Don't resist the State, My vessel of wrath, because it is the instrument of My vengeance, and when I am through with it, I will take vengeance on it for its violent deeds."

  • "Don't resist" — pacifism
  • "My vessel of wrath" — predestination

The offense of this chapter to Calvinists is the pacifism; the "do not resist." The offense of this chapter to everyone else is the offense of "Calvinism" or predestination in general: it denies sovereignty to Man and gives it to God, seemingly making God the Author of evil.

The concept is often called "Old Testamentish." This is a simplistic dichotomization, pitting the Old against the New Testament, but an understandable one, given that the concept of God's sovereign control of evil is so undeniably taught in the Old Testament, but not the New Testament — or at least we think so; our understanding of the New Testament is thoroughly shaped by revivalistic Protestantism, which has so thoroughly subjectivised the New Testament, ignoring its continuity with the Old Testament prophetic tradition and its radical challenge to social idolatry. This individualistic "gospel" is readily received by the masses in a "ME-generation" culture.

A complete reading of the New Testament, noting its ubiquitous references to and reliance upon the Old Testament, will show the New Testament to be as focused on violence, the State, and God's judgment of evil as a means to the end of establishing a Kingdom of Peace as the Old Testament is. The entire New Testament has as its pervasive theme the destruction of Israel for their idolatrous failure to reject Empire and follow Jesus the Messiah, beginning with John the Baptist's indictment in the wilderness, and culminating with the violent "Day of Vengeance" described in John's Revelation.

(2) Most people in our day do not understand Jesus because they do not understand these themes, and they'll swear up and down that Jesus never said anything mean or violent.



(3) A clear reference to the fiery judgment of Jerusalem at the hands of the bloodthirsty Roman army.

Violence in Matthew's Gospel

We're going to browse through Matthew, so you might want to have a copy of his Gospel before you. We're going to point out much of the violence of Jesus, and make note of a few themes which are recurring, and which help us understand Jesus' violent ways.[2] We'll start with

John the Baptizer

The Defense of God's violence proclaimed by John the Baptist is both unmistakably clear and easily evaded.

  • Clear: "O generation of vipers, the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matthew 3:7,10).[3]
  • Evaded: "John the Baptist was essentially an 'Old Testament' figure."

Jesus' identification with the Old Testament

In his first public teaching recorded by Matthew, the "Sermon on the Mount," Jesus makes plain the continuity between his ministry and that of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the violent, vengeful God of the Old Testament:

Matthew 5:17-20
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. {18} For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. {19} Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. {20} For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The Violence of Prophetic Rhetoric

While we are in almost universal agreement that the Old Testament reveals a God Who predestines, controls, and exploits violence for the cause of His Kingdom, Jesus is said to be one who is "loving and forgiving." There is truth here, as Jesus commands His followers to be in submission to the State and die under its violence rather than return violence for violence (I Peter 2:13-25). But Jesus' language reveals His belief that undergirding His own earthly non-resistance and that of His followers is the heavenly Vengeance of God, Who stands in judgment on violence and controls it, moving it to its own self-destruction.

For example, The "loving and forgiving" Jesus of 20th-century subjectivist individualism would seek to enhance the "self-esteem" of the idolatrous religious leaders of His day by remarking on their theological "creativity" (in their liturgically innovative evasions of "Old Testamentish" justice and concern for the poor), and sympathizing with their "dysfunctional" family backgrounds.

(4) Matthew 6:2,5,16, and 7:5 (see also 16:3; 22:18; 23:13-15,23,25,27-29; and 24:51; note Jesus' solidarity with the Old Testament prophet Isaiah in 15:7).

(5) Matthew 7:6.

(6) Matthew 7:6.

(7) Dogs and pigs are both "unclean."

(8) Matthew 7:15.

(9) Matthew 7:16-17.

(10) Matthew 7:18 (can't they just use their "free will"?).

But the Jesus of the Bible follows the pattern laid down by the Old Testament Prophets in vigorously denouncing the religious leaders in terms which only make sense if His heavenly Father is behind His every Word, ready to take vengeance. Even in the beloved Sermon on the Mount, Jesus rails against the Empire-approved leaders, calling them "hypocrites,"[4] "dogs,"[5] and "swine"[6]   (particularly offensive insults against those who prided themselves on avoiding "uncleanness,"[7] ) "ravening wolves,"[8] "thorns" and "thistles" which "bring forth evil fruit,"[9] and "corrupt" trees which "cannot bring forth good fruit."[10]

In Matthew 7:19 He unapologetically plagiarizes the violent rhetoric of John the Baptist and prophecies the imminent judgment of idolatrous Israel. In a crushing blow to their already-crumbling self-image, Jesus, calling Himself their "Lord" (7:22), speaks of His cosmic rejection of their hypocritical lives (7:23). The people, having heard Him speak of these "foolish men" (7:26) and the fall of their "house" (v. 27 [compare 23:38 and 24:43]), were, to put it mildly, "astonished," because when it came to the hypocritical violence of evil men, Jesus was not "accepting" and "forgiving," but judgmental, in a very Old Testamentish sense. And more ominously, "He taught them as One having authority," or as Luke puts it, "power" (4:32). "Power" to do what? By the end of the New Testament, we will see.

The Casting Out of Israel

It is impossible to understand the New Testament without grasping two facts: first, the fulfillment of Micah's prophecy of world-wide conversion is now beginning (and significantly, "world-wide" means not just Israel, but the despised "Gentiles"); second, in their pride, Israel rejected the Old Testament prophecies of world-wide peace, thus declaring war on Christ's Kingdom.

Total Predestination

Isaiah's Doctrine of Predestination

God Sends Evil Why Calvinists are Anarchists.

Jesus' Defense of Violence

The Predestined Pencil


Baalism vs. Predestination: Random Chance vs. Personalism

Radical Calvinism

Angelic Synapses and the Trinity

The Human Mind as "Inanimate"

Demonic Delusion vs. Angelic Synapses

My Computer-Like Mind

Habits: God's Gifts

Victory: The Inevitable Triumph of the Faith

Postmillennialism: The World-wide Predestined Spread of the Gospel

Edenization of the Earth: Reversing the Stalinization of Life
To review, here is Micah's prophecy:

And it will come about in the last days
That the mountain of the House of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains
And it will be raised above the
And the peoples will stream to it.
And many
nations will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the
mountain of the LORD
And to the House of the God of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His
And that we may walk in His paths."
For from Zion will go forth the Law
Even the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their
swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up
sword against nation
And never again will they
train for war.
And each of them will sit under
Vine and under his fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid.
For the LORD of hosts has spoken.
Though all the peoples walk
Each in the name of his god,

As for us, we will walk
In the Name of the LORD our God
forever and ever.
In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth,
and I will gather her that is driven out,
and her that I have afflicted;
And I will make her that halted a remnant,
and her that was cast far off a strong nation:
and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion
from henceforth, even for ever.

The vision of "all nations" worshipping the True God was a burden of all the prophets. When Jesus attacked the temple religion by overturning the tables of the moneychangers, He made reference to Isaiah and Micah's prophecy of the gentiles coming to "the Holy Mountain":

Isaiah 56:7
Even them will I bring to My Holy Mountain, and make them joyful in My House of Prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon Mine altar; for Mine House shall be called an House of Prayer for all people.

Mark 11:17
And He taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

(11) Actually, they didn't reject the concept of "all nations." What they refused to do was approach all the nations on God's terms; they were hoping peace could occur in a way that Israel could maintain "respectability" in the eyes of the pagan politicians, philosophers and scientists. In so doing, they trashed the predestinating God of Isaiah and "went a whoring after foreign gods." See the discussion of the "kosher" laws.

The popular "swords into plowshares" vision is contingent on the "many nations shall come" concept which the Jews rejected.[11] And having rejected Christ's peace, they were left with war and violence. Jesus drew this contrast in Matthew 8:5-13. A Roman (Gentile) soldier approaches Jesus and asks for healing for his slave. He says that as a soldier he knows that Jesus need only command the healing and the order will be carried out.

Matthew 8:10-12
When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
{11} And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. {12} But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The "weeping and gnashing of teeth" is an all-too-appropriate description of the violent, fiery destruction of Israel which would soon occur.

When Jesus sent out the twelve (Matthew 10), it was with an ultimatum to accept the peace treaty offered by the King, or accept the violent alternative. In expressing that alternative, Jesus hearkened back to the Old Testament account of God's destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah — without a hint of embarrassment or retraction:

Matthew 10:12-15
And when ye come into an house, salute it.
{13} And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. {14} And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet ["as a testimony against them," Mark explains (6:11)]. {15} Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. {23} But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. [The "coming" of the Son of man is, as we will see, a reference to Jesus "coming" in judgment against Israel, using his "sanctified ones," the Roman Army (cf. Isaiah 13:3).]

Jesus does nothing to dispel popular notions of Sodom being deliberately destroyed in a violent judgment of sin by God. In fact, Jesus is banking on it. If God did not destroy Sodom, then Jesus owes Israel an apology. And if God does not destroy Israel for her outrageous idolatry in the face of the incarnate Christ among them, then God owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.

"But this is so harsh, judgmental, and unloving," some will say, as though idolatry has some kind of "natural right" to exist, not only in private, but even to publicly spit in the face of God. "Jesus came to help us get in touch with our selves, and to bring inner peace as we become centered in our Higher Power." This may be true for those who are willing to bow down before the Son of God, but for those who are not, Jesus has quite a different message:

Matthew 10:34,39
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword
. {39} He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
(12) News which is "good" for some, but "bad news" for others.
Many people think they like "Jesus," a "Jesus" who is a kind of magician-on-call, a "Jesus" who did wonderful things for the poor and gives us a warm feeling in our hearts. There are many false conceptions of Jesus circulating about in our day. True, the Jesus of the Bible did do wonderful things for the poor, but the implications of Jesus' actions are not fuzzy and warm. For some, the implications are cold and violent. John the Baptist, locked behind the cold steel bars of prison for preaching the "Good News,"[12] asked if Jesus was the real Jesus, that is, the Messiah foretold by the Old Testament prophets.
Matthew 11:4-6
Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see
: {5} The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. {6} And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me.

Q. What?! How could anyone be "offended" at gentle Jesus?
A. Just as Isaiah the Old Testament prophet said they would:

(13) Luke 2:34; 1 Peter 2:7-8 Ps. 118:22. See below at Matthew 21:42.
Isaiah 8:14-17
And He shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel
,[13] for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. {15} And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. {16} Bind up the testimony, seal the Law among My disciples. {17} And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for Him.

What does Isaiah mean, "hides His face from Jacob?" Is this more of that predestination stuff? Loving, non-violent Jesus would never hide His face from anyone.

Matthew 11:25-27
At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
{26} Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight. {27} All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.
(14) Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:27-28; 13:27; 26:22-23; Luke 22:22; 24:25-27; 18:31-34.
Truth had to be hidden from those who were predestined to put the Truth to death[14] so that by that death, God's elect might be saved (Romans 8:32). But our salvation comes only with the destruction of the wicked, and the wickedness of their rejection of Jesus led to their inevitable and violent destruction.
Matthew 11:20-24
Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not
: {21} Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. {22} But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. {23} And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. {24} But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Matthew 12:38-45
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
{39} But He answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: {40} For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. {41} The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here. {42} The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. {43} When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. {44} Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. {45} Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
(15) The Jewish Historian Josephus recorded the intensely violent destruction of Israel which took place in A.D. 70 just as Jesus and the Apostles had prophesied.
Repeatedly, Jesus threatens violent destruction. Over and over again, He speaks of "this generation" — the generation which assassinated Christ. This is a major theme of the New Testament.[15]  It was Israel's last generation, and they were living in their "last days."
(16) When mercy and love are something other than God's Law, they are cruel and hateful (Romans 13:8-10; 2 John 6; Proverbs 12:10).

(17) "Auto-nomy" = "self-law," as opposed to "Theonomy," God's Law; people in our day are religious eclectics, making up their own religion as they go along; they are not subject to the Law of God.

(18) Actually, just a simple understanding of the Old Testament Law itself, which most people in our day do not have. The Law required that both parties be stoned. Where is the man? Were the Pharisees themselves the other party?

Jesus and Justice

Many in our day believe that Jesus opposed the strict implementation of the Old Testament law, favoring instead a more "merciful" and "loving" approach. Everything about this belief is violent and wrong.[16] We are so accustomed to violence and autonomy[17] that anti-Law caricatures of Jesus go unquestioned. Jesus defended God's Law ("the Mosaic Law") against the violent pseudo-righteousness of the Pharisees.

John's account of the woman accused of adultery is usually given as an example of the merciful Jesus' attack on the harsh law of Moses. "The law of Moses would have put the woman to death," we are told; "Jesus liberated her." A closer analysis[18] would show that the woman could not have been convicted and put to death under the Mosaic Law, and that Jesus was (again) upholding the Old Testament Law against the lawless religious leaders.

Matthew does not provide an account of this woman's story, but has other incidents which show Jesus defending the Law against those who attack it while publicly posturing as its defenders. In chapter 12, Jesus and His disciples pick corn on the Sabbath. The pharisees are outraged. Jesus says the Old Testament holds such people "blameless" (v.5). He says that if the Pharisees understood the Old Testament, they "would not have condemned the guiltless." "Wherefore," He says, "it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days" (v. 12).

Were the pharisees happy that the Law had not been broken, and that freedom under God's Law had been established?

Matthew 12:14
Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him.

Jesus is the culmination of the Old Testament; the embodiment of all its principles and prophecies. If you're like the Pharisees, and you hate the vengeful, predestinating God of the Old Testament, you'll hardly feel comfortable around Jesus. You may even want to kill Him.

Jesus as agent provacateur

"Entrapment" occurs when police officers entice someone to commit a crime. For example, with taxpayers' money, they'll approach someone and offer to buy drugs. If he is enticed by the money and makes a sale, then he is arrested and charged with "possession for sale," or some such crime. The police, of course, are not guilty of anything.

Jesus kept the truth from the Pharisees, egged them on in their wickedness, and then had the audacity to violently destroy them in judgment. "Entrapment?"

Consider the parables. Some people think Jesus was a great teacher for his ability to teach profound truths using simple parables. The Pharisees didn't think that. In fact, Jesus told His disciples that the reason He spoke in parables was so that the Pharisees would not understand, and would not be saved, thus justifying their violent destruction.

Matthew 13:10-15
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? {11} He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. {12} For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. {13} Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. {14} And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah [6:9-10], which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: {15} For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. [see also Mark 4:12]

Jesus then represents Himself as overseeing their violent end:

Matthew 13:41-42
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity
; {42} And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. [see also 18:34-35]
(19) Most importantly, she doesn't say to Jesus, "I'm sorry to hear you call me a 'dog.' You are obviously a product of Jewish Patriarchalism and are not in touch with your true self. You should be more loving and forgiving." In what modern pop-psychology would call a frightful display of low self-esteem, she agrees with Jesus, but says even the dogs get crumbs from their master's table. Jesus says her faith "is great" (v. 28).
In chapter 15, Jesus

1) Upholds the "death penalty" of the Mosaic Law (v.4);
2) Again repeats the violent diatribes of Isaiah (vv. 7-9);
3) Further offends the religious hierarchy (vv. 10-12);
4) When asked why He wasn't more "loving and forgiving," again threatened their violent destruction (vv. 12-13);
5) Adds insult to prophesied injury (v. 14);
6) Calls a Canaanite woman a "dog" (v.26).[19]

Jesus comes to Jerusalem, both to undergo His predestined assassination, and to pronounce final judgment on the city. An entire essay could be written on Jesus' cleansing of the temple (chapter 21), the violent Old Testament prophecies which lie behind it, and the violent destruction of which the event is but a foreshadow. Jesus speaks in a less than "loving and forgiving" manner of that judgment:

Matthew 21:41-46
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons
. {42} Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? {43} Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. {44} And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. {45} And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spake of them. {46} But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitude, because they took Him for a prophet.

In chapter 22, Jesus begins giving more details of His coming destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman armies. God's invitation to Israel to be His bride is rejected, as Israel would rather play the harlot with the Roman Empire (John 19:15).

Matthew 22:7-10
But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. {8} Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. {9} Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. {10} So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
(20) The violence of the axe is described in the book of Revelation.

(21) As if He were to be found anywhere else in the Bible. To read the chapter is to be confronted with the God of Isaiah.






(22) Their diabolically political reaction is described in 26:3-5. When they asked Jesus about His prophecy at His trail, He quoted again from the Old Testament, and they hit the ceiling (26:64-67).

Days of Vengeance — a commentary on the Book of Revelation, by David Chilton

The Great Tribulation — a future event in Jesus' day; a past event in ours.

How the Violent destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) should have affected our eschatology.

The Day of Vengeance

If John the Baptist laid the axe to the root in chapter 3 (v.10), then we see Jesus' back swing in chapter 23.[20] Jesus "meek and mild," that figment of the 20th century's imagination, is nowhere to be found in chapter 23.[21]

  • We see more of Jesus' identification with and defense of the Old Testament in verse 23.
  • The violence of the prophetic concept of an absolutely just God is seen throughout the chapter.
  • More "entrapment" by Jesus is seen in verse 32 and following; all the blood they shed throughout the Old Testament is coming due upon "this generation" (vv. 34-36).

This destruction is then prophesied of in more detail in chapter 24 (see v. 34)

Chapter 24 is a sustained prophecy of war and destruction of Jerusalem. Especially from verse 29 on, Jesus draws extensively from Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets who revealed the predestined destruction of God's enemies, and the Pharisees knew that Jesus was turning the tables on their claim to Old Testament authority, and they were outraged.[22]

The Book of Revelation is an extended commentary, as it were, on Matthew 24. Although the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 took place at the hands of the Roman Army, Scripture says that these soldiers were but tools in the hands of a Sovereign God. And not just any god, but Jesus Christ Himself. And His disciples rejoice in the destruction.

After Jerusalem's destruction is described in Revelation 18, the Force behind the destruction and the reaction of those saints (which experienced persecution at the hands of Israel) is described in Revelation 19.

Revelation 19
{1} After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! {2} "For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her." {3} Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!" {4} And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, "Amen! Alleluia!" {5} Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" {6} And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! {7} "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." {8} And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. {9} Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' " And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God." {10} And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." {11} Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. {12} His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. {13} He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. {14} And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. {15} Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. {16} And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. {17} Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, {18} "that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great." {19} And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. {20} Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. {21} And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Failure to understand the pervasive and significant character of Jesus' "coming" against Israel, that is, His predestination of the Roman Army to destroy her, has led to theological viewpoints which are as innumerable as they are bizarre. Most of the Church — Catholic and Protestant — has become "Hal Lindseyized" because of their failure to understand this theme.

Jesus sets forth the basis of this judgment in three parables in chapter 25. The third parable is almost a Catholic Worker slogan ("I was thirsty and you gave me drink, etc."). Jesus says those who gave "to the least of these my brethren" will know "life eternal" (verse 46). But He also says that those who did not give to the poor will know "everlasting violence." If Jesus' prediction of violence on God's part is (1) a lie (2) a sick projection of Jesus' own violence, or (3) an embarrassing mistake, then how do we know His concept of eternal life can be trusted? Maybe the nazi-hucksters are right: we should "look out for numero uno" and end our "co-dependence" with "useless eaters." Why sacrifice to serve the poor if we can just as well exploit them? Who can we believe?

(23) Future pages on this website will attempt to be a little less offensive and a little more persuasive in setting forth the grace and mercy of God toward the elect, not just His wrath toward "vessels of destruction." 


Do we really know Jesus? Or do we just know what a lot of trendy, upper-middle class, State-accredited theologians have said about Jesus?

Are we willing to know Jesus? Are we willing to put our own will on the altar and let our thinking be transformed by the same Spirit Who caused the prophets to speak in the Scriptures?[23]

The Empire's theologians have a subconscious need to defend their lifestyles, their reputations, their credentials. They are embarrassed at the Bible's war against Empire, consumerism, and modernism. Their desire to "be as gods" (Genesis 3:5) will not allow them to submit to the God of Isaiah. We need to pray for them, as well as for ourselves.

To continue study of the doctrine of Predestination, click here.

If you came to this site from the Virtue site, and wish to continue on "the Path to Virtue," please click here.

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