God’s Vengeance : Duane W.H. Arnold

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21 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    How does this manifestation of Gods vengeance bring about His justice?

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    We think of justice as a settling of accounts in a just manner. It seems to me, that God’s justice is far different. He pays those who came at the last hour the same as those who toiled all the day. This is not justice as we think of it. The parables are filled with such examples. In this scheme of things, justice was already delivered by the death and resurrection of Christ with reconciliation being the end object.

  3. Michael says:

    This is a large mental and theological adjustment to ponder…

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Proper vengeance would say that we get what we deserve. The heart of the gospel is that we don’t get what we deserve, instead we get mercy… In some ways I believe it to be a template for the Christian life.

  5. pstrmike says:

    I hope you’re right, but I’m not convinced. I do know that heaven will not be heaven if the people I love are not there. To me, that is not good news.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    You know the phrase, “getting your own back”? In the simplest terms, I think that is what God is doing… except it’s not vengeance, it’s reconciliation.

  7. Rick says:

    Thank you for this; much to ponder. God is better than we think he is…

  8. filistine says:

    our vengence is much more about others getting worse than we deserve–we don’t wish them the same grace we possess. We see ourselves as the grieved/offended party, not God. I think this is because we don’t understand two things–our own depravity & the grace of God.

  9. Officerhoppy says:

    “ You know the phrase, “getting your own back”? In the simplest terms, I think that is what God is doing… except it’s not vengeance, it’s reconciliation.”

    Reconciliation? Really? How? I don’t understand.

  10. Duane Arnold says:


    Reconciliation is the heart of the gospel, at least in my opinion.

  11. Duane Arnold says:


    Great observation!

  12. Dread says:

    Vengeance is a seldom used word in the New Testament. Judgment is more often.

    This post beckons a discussion of The Sermon on the Mount and the Olivet Discourse. Most believers have had no problems seeing them as both compatible and consistent. Does this post intend to call that into question? It seems to do so and to need a discussion.

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    I see no contradiction. In fact, with regard to the conduct of believers in times of trouble, I think the Olivet discourse aligns well with the sermon on the mount.

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones to death those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling!”

    God’s aim is reconciliation. The stumbling block is the indifference and unwillingness of those who were called to that reconciliation.

  15. Em says:

    “Holy” is a term that doesn’t get enough exposure

  16. Dread says:

    So your post is not about the conduct of the Lamb but that of the believers? I am trying to understand this viewpoint textually rather than a conceptually. The hermeneutics that seem to be present in your post are those who view all power exchanges through the suffering of the lamb. I understand that. What I don’t see is the way it works in terms of what actually happened in history.

    The baby’s cry turns into grown messiah’s tears and the latter is in light of a terrifying judgment action of God in there and then history.

    What I think your text does is remove judgment actions from history but I am not clear. For sure we are not the agents of wrath but of reconciliation; that is not confusing. But it seems impossible to understand scripture apart from the reality that God ultimately judges evil in here and now history. There is where discussion is warranted.

  17. Duane Arnold says:


    “The hermeneutics that seem to be present in your post are those who view all power exchanges through the suffering of the lamb.”

    Even more so than in the article, for the lamb was slain before the foundations of the world. I am arguing not for an historical timeline, but the more theological timeline of creation, fall, and re-creation. Part of that re-creation is the reconciliation that was made possible by the incarnation. As I tried to indicate in the article, the real sin is that of indifference which God meets not by vengeance or judgment, but by giving himself to us, and continuing to give himself to us in Word and sacrament.

    How God will ultimately choose to judge those and that which he has created is, in my opinion, still somewhat of a mystery. We may have hints, but I’m not sure we have certain knowledge.

  18. Dread says:

    Yes the bits about indifference were noted and were embodied in the failure of Israel to know the day of their visitation.

    Note that I also attempted to raise the matter of kingdom actions within history of what I would call saving judgments… not retributive but restorative … however the destruction of Jerusalem as a kingdom action connected to their indifference … gives us pause.


  19. Dread says:


    THANK you for the very fine and thought provoking original post

  20. Duane Arnold says:


    If we look at the historical record of the destruction of Jerusalem, could we not say that they brought judgment upon themselves by their indifference? Jesus could’ve brought down the temple as he was looking at it. He did not. The prediction of its destruction, does not necessarily indicate being the agent of that destruction.

  21. Officerhoppy says:

    I don’t know exactly what happens to people after they die, but I do believe that in this life, justice and mercy meet together at the cross

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