The Violent Origin of Paradise   1 comment

Above:  The Great Day of His Wrath, by John Martin


Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236


The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 33:1-24

Psalm 122 (Morning)

Psalms 40 and 67 (Evening)

Revelation 5:1-14


A Related Post:

Revelation 5:


Revelation 5 continues the scene in the previous chapter.  The twenty-four elders are in Heaven, in the immediate presence of God.  Then John of Patmos sees a scroll with seven seals.  Only Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, is worthy to break the seven seals and to judge the earth, notably the Roman Empire.

Scholars of the Bible have interpreted the violent imagery of Revelation in various ways.  Some see a contradiction between the Jesus of the Gospels and the avenging Christ of Revelation.  This, I think, is an overstated case.  In the Bible we read of God establishing the new, holy order on Earth.  The founding of paradise begins with purging violence; the Day of the Lord is bad news for the wicked.  The end of exploitation does not mean comfort for the one exploiting.

If God is gracious to suffering people, the end of their suffering comes frequently via unpleasant fates for those who inflict said suffering.  Let us not embrace an illusion; good news for the death camp survivors was bad news for Nazis.  And we do not weep for Nazis; nor should we.

Judgment and mercy coexist within God; this message emerges from a multitude of Biblical texts.  So be it.





Posted August 9, 2012 by neatnik2009 in Isaiah 33, Psalm 122, Psalm 40, Psalm 67, Revelation of John 5

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One response to “The Violent Origin of Paradise

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  1. Pingback: Devotion for December 17 (LCMS Daily Lectionary) « ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS

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