Revenge, Retaliation, Retribution, and Recompense

There are several ‘re’ words that are not very popular; however, they are very significant in Scripture. If we are to embrace such words as return, repent, redeem, restore, and renew, we also need to know and understand what the Bible says about the title words.

Because God is Holy, just, and righteous, He must deal with evil; especially the adversaries of His chosen, whether Israel or the present day church.

Just prior to Israel crossing the Jordan to possess their promised land, God instructed Moses to write a ‘song’ which would contain Israel’s future thoughts and actions in detail.

This song described in advance God’s required actions resulting from Israel’s disobedience. God would send gentile nations against them to chastise them; however, in His time He would deal with those nations.

Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand…” Deuteronomy 32:35

‘Vengeance’ does in fact mean all of the title words. God had previously revealed that such vengeance was ‘laid up in store with Me.’ In other words; such vengeance is a sure thing and will be released on Israel’s adversaries at the exact predetermined time.

Approximately 700 years later Isaiah confirmed the truth of God’s future vengeance on Israel’s enemies.

Come near, you nations, to hear; and heed, you people…For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion.” Isaiah 34:1, 8

Do you suppose these verses were read at the United Nations when the vote was taken to reestablish Jerusalem as Israel’s capital?

The prophet Nahum also spoke of God’s vengeance as he preached God’s word to Nineveh.

God is jealous…the LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies…and will not at all acquit the wicked.”

Nahum 1:2-3

The truth of God’s required vengeance on Israel’s adversaries was also spoken of by the Psalmist.

“…O God, to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth! Rise up, O Judge of the earth; render (repay) punishment to the proud.” Psalm 94:1-2

Therefore, God’s vengeance will be revealed and calamity brought on Israel’s adversaries in His timing.

Has God softened His vindictive stance on the adversaries of His church?

Paul addressed the issue of the future of those who persecuted His church.

“…since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation (affliction) those who trouble you…in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God…when He comes, in that Day…”

2 Thessalonians 1:6, 8, 10

Just like in Old Testament Hebrew, ‘repay’ in Greek means to ‘pay in full,’ while vengeance means ‘just retribution.’

As stated earlier, God is righteous and just; therefore, to repay with tribulation those who persecute His church demonstrates His immutable attributes. Vengeance on those who trouble His church is as sure as when Israel’s enemies troubled them.

The writer of the book of Hebrews spoke of God’s vengeance poured out on those who rejected the gospel of the shed blood of His Son.

Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy…of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing…?” Hebrews 10:28-29

The message in the New Testament is the same as in the Old.

“‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Hebrews 10:30a

In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul also spoke of God’s vengeance, plus he also stressed the truth that God’s people were not to take matters in their own hands, i.e. God would take care of deserved retaliation of those who persecuted His people.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

Revenge, retaliation, and retribution will be handled by God Himself.

Peter added that selected negative ‘re’ words may have a positive affect for Christians.

If you are reproached (reviled) for the name of Christ, blessed are you…” 1 Peter 4:14

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