[The following excerpt is taken from the Biblical Trinitarian Facebook page’s “Notes.” You can read the whole article here.]
“THE LORD IS A [LOVING] MAN OF WAR” (EX. 15:3)
Scripturally, it is not only true that “God is love”(1st John 4:8), it is simultaneously true that “the LORD is a man of war” (Exodus 15:3). He even says that he alone possesses the ability to kill and make alive, a fact which demonstrates that he is the one true God and not an idol (see Deuteronomy 32:39). Surprised by this, many unbelieving biblical scholars have tried to argue that the Bible’s doctrine of God evolved from a war-mongering tribal deity in the Old Testament to the peace-loving, fatherly figure of the New Testament.
This is to be expected from a group of men and women who first presuppose that the Bible is not the unitary, unified self-disclosure of God to man, but the product of fallible individuals seeking to articulate, as best they could, their experiences of love, transcendence, and personal moral responsibility within the context of their various primitive cultures. If God is the community’s creation, then it follows that he will reflect the values of the community which created him.
CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT
The spiritual blindness of these scholars, however, should be evident to all who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Christians have been given eyes to see that the same Jesus Christ who is called the “lamb” of God is simultaneously called the “lion” of the tribe of Judah. He not only says “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well” (Matt 9:22), he also says that he “will cut [the wicked] in pieces and put [them] with the hypocrites [in hell]” (Matt 24:51).
When speaking with the unrepentant, the Lord Jesus sharply rebuked his enemies. He made it clear to them that they were children of the devil (John 8:44), serpents (Matt 12:34 & 23:33) who would not “escape being sentenced to hell” (Matt 22:33). He was at war with his enemies, and those who listened to his conversations with them could tell. He was not at peace with these men.
When speaking with those who were desperate for the mercy and grace of God, who hungered and thirsted after righteousness, however, the Lord Jesus spoke gently and encouragingly, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”