I wanted to ask you about questions that I have been faced with many times here in Lebanon - Is the killing of Gentiles in the Old Testament a direct command from God? In Matthew 5:38 ("You have heard that it was said, Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth...'"), is Jesus referencing a command of God, or was it human teaching? Is everything expressed in Old Testament teachings regarding taking revenge and killing God’s words, or is some the Hebrew's own teachings? -- Moufid T. Tohme
In the OT we find two teachings: hate/kill your enemies (e.g. in the Psalms, in Joshua, and so on) and love/assist them (as in some Psalms, 2 Kings 6, Proverbs, etc). These teachings are obviously in tension. While it is true that the OT does not glorify violence (or slavery, or female subservience), it is also true that the OT never condemns inferior practices. Instead of idealizing them, the Torah rather regulates them -- so that they do not get out of hand.
Jesus called his followers to the most noble of the OT teachings. But he also called them to a higher level of morality, of virtue, all around.
If I understand Romans 12 correctly, we are not allowed to kill our enemies, and in a wartime situation are even called to feed them!
Since the 300s most churches have approved of violence/killing. The church before that time felt they were of more use to the Lord praying for the State; after Nicaea (325), the church authorized what it had previously condemned.
I hope this helps.
I read almost daily of developments in the Middle East and think of you often.
Yours in Him