According to the dictionary - to repay; revenge.
As we can briefly see the two letters making up the prefix re mean
to change the direction of the word to the opposite. For example, the spaceman
will return to earth using the retro rockets of his spacecraft
and reenter earth's atmosphere.
So, the word retribution means a repayment of evil done.
At first glance this is a word with bad vibes, one we would turn from;
but if we dig only a little further, we see that it is a wake-up word,
perhaps causing us to go through a spiritual refining fire.
In the Old Covenant, the Children of Israel, the seed of Abraham, were
taught "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" and there were many
laws given by God, especially in the book of Leviticus, for the Covenant
people to live by.
If they did not there was a price to pay, they would face retribution:
Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants
of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against
you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his
evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said, There
is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one
do the imagination of his evil heart. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask
ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel
hath done a very horrible thing. Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon
which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold
flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people
hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused
them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in
paths, in a way not cast up; To make their land desolate, and
a perpetual hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished,
and wag his head. I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy;
I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.
Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the
law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the
word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and
let us not give heed to any of his words. Give heed to me, O LORD, and
hearken to the voice of them that contend with me. Shall evil be recompensed
for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood
before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from
them. Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and
pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their
wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their
men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the
sword in battle. Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt
bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me,
and hid snares for my feet. Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their counsel against
me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their
sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus
with them in the time of thine anger.
This Old Covenant teaching was for an example, to teach (as a schoolmaster)
that there is a repayment for sin, and for another purpose as well, as
we shall shortly see.
So, we understand that God calls people to believe, and then He calls them
to act righteously.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath
sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written
in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore
that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Some people cannot believe, it seems as though it is not in them to believe.
These people are not the spiritual seed of Abraham.
Some, although they may have a form of belief, cannot be righteous. They
are called the wicked.
It would seem that in the Old Covenant God was trying to purify the people
of the nation of Israel, to sift out the chaff of unbelievers and wicked
in a physical way, through the blood - to spill the blood of the wicked.
As we know from previous writings1, the blood is the life of
the living. No-one can live without blood.
Also, Covenants, because they deal with life and death, are made with blood.
Reading through Isaiah and especially Jeremiah, we cannot help but see
that many of the Children of Israel were both unbelievers and wicked, and
as a result God repudiated them. He cast them off.
He gave them retribution:
Thus saith the LORD, Go and get a potter's earthen bottle, and take
of the ancients of the people, and of the ancients of the priests; And
go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, which is by the entry
of the east gate, and proclaim there the words that I shall tell thee,
And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants
of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold,
I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears
shall tingle. Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place,
and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their
fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with
the blood of innocents; They have built also the high places of
Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal,
which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into
my mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place
shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but
The valley of slaughter. And I will make void the counsel of Judah and
Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before
their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their
carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the
beasts of the earth. And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing;
every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of
all the plagues thereof. And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their
sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the
flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies,
and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them. Then shalt thou break
the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee, And shalt say unto
them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and
this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made
whole again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be
no place to bury. Thus will I do unto this place, saith the LORD, and to
the inhabitants thereof, and even make this city as Tophet: And
the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be
defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs
they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out
drink offerings unto other gods. Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whither
the LORD had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the LORD'S
house; and said to all the people, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God
of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all
the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened
their necks, that they might not hear my words.
Now, in the New Covenant, Jesus gave His blood, His life, in payment for
the sins of men - for those who believe unto righteousness:
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus
Mankind's blood does not feature anymore.
Whether a person lives long or dies early is of minimal import in the scheme
What is of import is that because the blood does not feature anymore there
must be another, everlasting, form of life.
This is the life of the Spirit.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb
of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like
a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me
to baptise with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see
the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptiseth
with the Holy Ghost.
And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
We know that God is Spirit, Jesus lives through the power of the Spirit,
and although we still live through the power of the blood, we have to learn
to live in the belief that we shall one day continue to live through
the power of the Spirit.
When we practice this, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, will manifest Himself
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he
it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father,
and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Once we have shown our willingness to turn from the worldly lusts and start
living for Jesus, God promises to help us:
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence
only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with
fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and
to do of his good pleasure.
Jesus showed us the Way and we see that this is not the way of the sinful
flesh and blood and the necessary laws thereof, but the laws of the Spiritual,
of our Holy God.
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
Unfortunately, many followers of Christ are like those Children of Israel
of the Old Covenant who did not believe that they needed to live righteously,
because they were the "chosen ones" already.
Today the Love of God is taken for granted, promoted and preached in many
churches without the corresponding teachings of righteousness.
As in the olden days, this shall result in retribution of a spiritual and
therefore everlasting manner, where there is no appeal court because the
Judge knows every detail of the evil and the good of the person concerned.
All it takes to escape this rebellion and resultant retribution is to
believe and obey out of love for your Master.
Dear brother and sister who is reborn of the Spirit.
Here is a fundamental truth of being a Christian, and the way you or I
react to it reveals how much we each love our Master and are willing to
be obedient to His wishes.
The church is not a building or a denomination but a group of believers
who each have a personal relationship with their Lord and are individually
given various Spiritual gifts for the purpose of edifying one another and
glorifying God in the Way that He has specified in His word.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye
be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.
Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved,
but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.
For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
(2 Corinthians 13:5-8)
A good example of a personal relationship with Jesus is explained in the
beginning of the gospel of John.
As we know from the beginning of Luke's gospel, John's mother and Jesus'
mother were cousins, which means that John and Jesus must have known each
other before the meeting at the Jordan river.
Yet John says "And I knew him not" twice and then "I saw", and the next
day testified who Jesus was - the Lamb of God.
He "knew him not" spiritually.
Here is a personal spiritual relationship:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb
of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said,
After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore
am I come baptising with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the
Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I
knew him not: but he that sent me to baptise with water, the same said
unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining
on him, the same is he which baptiseth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw,
and bare record that this is the Son of God.
We also see that of all the people who came to see and hear John the baptiser,
only some were baptised and only a very few became disciples of John and
then of Jesus.
Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking
upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two
disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned,
and saw them following, and saith unto them, What
seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted,
Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come
and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that
day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak,
and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his
own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which
is, being interpreted, the Christ.
A personal Spiritual relationship today results in a small group where
interpersonal dialogue of a spiritual nature takes place and the members
thereof feed and strengthen each other. They are family.
Have you ever wondered how John the baptiser managed to attract the attention
of all those people who came to him?
John did baptise in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance
for the remission of sins.
*A Psalm of David, Maschil.* Blessed is he whose transgression
is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is
the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there
is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring
all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture
is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto
thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions
unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
He must have stood at a ford in the river Jordan, waiting for the passing
travellers, calling to the people to acknowledge and repent of their sins.
Let us assume that you were in the vicinity at the time and you heard of
this strange looking man from the wilderness calling on all and sundry
to acknowledge their sins, repent of them and have them washed away. You
stood among the crowd listening to what he had to say:
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate
being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his
brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and
Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests,
the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of
repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the
words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall
be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked
shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then said he to the multitude
that came forth to be baptised of him, O generation of vipers, who hath
warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits
worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham
to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones
to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the
root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down, and cast into the fire. And the people asked him, saying,
What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two
coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let
him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptised, and said unto
him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than
that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him,
saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no
man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts
of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto
them all, I indeed baptise you with water; but one mightier than
I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall
baptise you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his
hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat
into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
Meditate on this from your heart. Would you have been:
One of the curious?
One of the Pharisees?
One of those baptised?
One of John's disciples?
One of Jesus' disciples?
Ponder on this before you decide.
And he said to them all, If any man
will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,
and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever
will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man
advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the
Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his
Father's, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some
standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom
For thus saith the LORD unto the king's house of Judah; Thou art
Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon: yet surely I will
make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited.
And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons:
and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast them into the
fire. And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every
man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great
city? Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of
the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.
The main purpose of the traditional church today is central administration,
pastoring and fellowship. The signs and wonders that God has promised
must come from the members themselves.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour
cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship
the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation
is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh
such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him
must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will
of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet
four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift
up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal:
that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
If you feel satisfied in sitting in the body of the church receiving spiritual
food without participating and reciprocating, you should seriously examine
your walk with your Lord.
Also, if you continually wish to pay people back for the evil done to you
in this world, or talk about it, question your motives:
But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins
and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto
wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey
not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(2 Thessalonians 1:8)
For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will
recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Paul had this to say to the church in Rome, which was made up of both believing
Jews and Gentiles:
What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles
of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the
faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every
man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings,
and mightest overcome when thou art judged. But if our unrighteousness
commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous
who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall
God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through
my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather,
(as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us
do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just. What then? are we
better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both
Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There
is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there
is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they
are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not
one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they
have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose
mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift
to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the
way of peace have they not known: There
is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things
soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every
mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore
by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:
for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness
of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the
prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus
Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified
freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom
God hath set forth to be a propitiation through
faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission
of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I
say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the
justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then?
It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore
we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles?
Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify
the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then
make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
You may remember that God called Abraham His friend - because he believed
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh,
hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof
to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed
God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh
is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh
not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted
for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the
man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying,
Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are
covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only,
or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to
Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision,
or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he
received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith
which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father
of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness
might be imputed unto them also:
And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision
only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham,
which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that
he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his
seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they
which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise
made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is,
there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that
it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all
the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which
is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy
of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion,
making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out
of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him
that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless
before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God
our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now
and ever. Amen.
1 The Heart of the Gospel