Archive for the ‘Punishment’ Category

The Punishment of Jehu

February 23, 2010

I happened to come across an alleged Biblical contradiction. The alleged contradiction is explained thus:

Let’s set up the problem clearly:

1. Elijah announced a dynastic judgment on Ahab’s line and household. God told Jehu to execute this judgment, which he did. Jehu is commended by YHWH for executing the house of Ahab in 2 Kings 10.30:

The LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.”

2. But then, a century later, in Hosea 1.4, Jehu is punished for the massacre!

Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. (NIV)


The allegation is that God’s express commendation (earlier) is incompatible with/contradicts God’s (later) ‘negative judgment’ on Jehu for the same events, as expressed in Hosea 1.4.

(source)

The source I’ve linked above provides some possible solutions, but I think the easiest explanation is found by looking at a verse that the problem’s statement overlooks.

In addition to killing the house of Ahab in Jezreel, Jehu also killed a significant part of the royal family of Judah (by God’s providential decree, but not by God’s command to Jehu):

2 Chronicles 22:7-9
And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. And it came to pass, that, when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them. And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.

2 Kings 10:12-14

And he arose and departed, and came to Samaria. And as he was at the shearing house in the way, Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who are ye? And they answered, We are the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen. And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing house, even two and forty men; neither left he any of them.

This murder God did not permit to go unpunished, but brought judgment on Jehu’s line with a Jezreel of their own. Jehu was right to kill Ahab and his family, but not the family of David.

Thus, God commended and blessed Jehu:

2 Kings 10:30 And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.

My friend Fred Butler will be happy to notice that “fourth generation” here was taken fairly literally:

2 Kings 15:12 This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. And so it came to pass.

1) 2 Kings 10:35 And Jehu slept with his fathers: and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead.

2) 2 Kings 13:9 And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash [aka Jehoash] his son reigned in his stead.

3) 2 Kings 14:16 And Jehoash slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son reigned in his stead.

4) 1 Kings 14:20 And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.

Leading finally to the destruction of the entire family of Jeroboam:

1 Kings 15:25-30
And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon. Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead. And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite: because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.

One final note. Passages like these highlight two things. First, God is punishing the sins of Jehu upon Nadab. Second, God is also punishing the sins of Jeroboam upon Nadab. But, note that Jehu himself is not some innocent God-fearing man who is getting punished for nothing. He walked in the way of his father and did evil in the sight of the LORD. Had he repented, God would have spared him, for God is rich in mercy. So do not use the sins of your fathers as an excuse for your lack of repentance. Don’t follow your fathers’ evil ways, but follow the paths of righteousness that it may be well with you.

-TurretinFan

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Infinite Punishment and Liberalism

August 31, 2009

One adherent to liberalism/progressivism recently commented on my post regarding eternal punishment (link to my post). He wrote:

Dear Turretinfan,

Sin against an infinitely holy God deserves an infinite punishment? Why? Out of necessity? And if not out of necessity, what kind of God would purposely frame a reality so that such a barbarous claim would be true?

Yes, the Bible has many terrifying things to say about God’s wrath against his enemies, as well as some very illuminating examples of how that wrath might get expressed in specific circumstances. Say, for example, the stoning of the one who picked up wood on the Sabbath, or the nice trial by ordeal of a woman accused of adultery. How about the murder of Achan’s entire family? Or the (implied) butchery of the women and children of the enemies of the Jews at the end of the book of Esther? Or how about those Babylonian babies in Psalm 137? None of these even raise the issue of post-mortem punishments and they are already generally recognized as beyond the pale.

In short, the doctrine of endless punishment is one of the surest demonstrations that what passes for Christian orthodoxy in the Reformed evangelical tradition speaks falsely about God.

This comment was signed “Dean Dough” which as his blogger profile indicates, is a pseudonym with his “identity withheld to protect family members still affiliated with very orthodox Christian churches from being tarred with my brush.”

Let’s examine his comments:

Sin against an infinitely holy God deserves an infinite punishment? Why? Out of necessity? And if not out of necessity, what kind of God would purposely frame a reality so that such a barbarous claim would be true?

This comment contains several layers of confusion. First, the reason why sin deserves an infinite punishment is because it is an offense against the dignity of the person of God, who is a person of infinite dignity. It is not so much the absolute holiness as the infinite majesty of God that is in play here.

Second, while it is not necessary that God permit sin, it is necessary that sin offend God in this way if God permits it, because of the nature of God. Thus, it is both necessary (in one sense) and free (in another sense) with respect to God.

Third, while it is easy to label something “barbarous,” it is more difficult to demonstrate that a position is incorrect. D.D. by taking the path of simply applying a pejorative label has demonstrated an apparent incapacity to address the substance.

Next:

Yes, the Bible has many terrifying things to say about God’s wrath against his enemies, as well as some very illuminating examples of how that wrath might get expressed in specific circumstances. Say, for example, the stoning of the one who picked up wood on the Sabbath, or the nice trial by ordeal of a woman accused of adultery. How about the murder of Achan’s entire family? Or the (implied) butchery of the women and children of the enemies of the Jews at the end of the book of Esther? Or how about those Babylonian babies in Psalm 137? None of these even raise the issue of post-mortem punishments and they are already generally recognized as beyond the pale.

This really looks more like a rebuttal argument for me to use against that “barbarous” label above. Yes, folks who think hell is “barbarous” are likely also to think that God’s wrath exhibited in the Old Testament is “beyond the pale.” Their rejection of the God of the Old Testament is their own condemnation. There’s really nothing I need to add to show that they stand opposed to God’s revelation of Himself.

Next:

In short, the doctrine of endless punishment is one of the surest demonstrations that what passes for Christian orthodoxy in the Reformed evangelical tradition speaks falsely about God.

The underlying logic seems to be:

1) If something strikes us as unpleasant, it is false;
2) The Reformed doctrine of endless punishment is unleasant;
3) Therefore, the Reformed doctrine of endless punishment is false.

The problem is with the major premise. To put it differently, the problem is with letting corrupt, human intuition substitute for revelation as the means for determining truth. No matter how “barbarous” or “beyond the pale” the doctrine of endless punishment may be, the problem is not with those who hold what the Scripture teaches, but with those who oppose the revelation of God.

What is illustrative about D.D.’s comment is that it illustrates one of many factors that have produced the diversity of denominations we see today: simple rebellion against the Scriptures. We know that Roman Catholics try to claim that the denominations are due to Sola Scriptura, but notice how liberalism is quite willing to oppose the clear revelation regarding God’s wrath. Scripture is not their standard, and consequently it is improper and illogical to suggest that liberal churches are the offspring of Sola Scriptura, just as it is improper and illogical to suggest that churches with new prophets (like Islam or Mormonism) are the result of Sola Scriptura. One group throws out Scripture one way, the other group another way, but neither seeks to make Scripture the ultimate authority for faith and life.

-TurretinFan

Does God Punish Sin?

January 21, 2009

Wes White provides an excellent and thorough answer to the question, “Does God Punish Sin?” in this recent post (link). The answer, of course, is yes.

God punishes every sin. Either he punishes you, or he punishes Christ. Put your trust in Christ and He will bear the burden of your sins for you.

-TurretinFan


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