By Golan Broshi
The word for violence and wickedness in the Bible just happens to be the same as the name of the Muslim terror group: Hamas. Of course, they are different languages so it’s not the same thing exactly, but nonetheless, a fitting coincidence. The first mention of the Hebrew word, “hamas” appears in the story of Noah. And it just so happens that this is the very passage of the Torah (Torah portion) that Jews around the world will have been reading in the wake of the massacre by Hamas.
So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. [Hamas]” (Genesis 6:7-11).
God was ready to wipe out the evil that had filled the earth. We were supposed to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it, but instead mankind filled the earth with violence (hamas). Instead of bearing life as we were supposed to, people were stealing, killing, and destroying.
God had grace upon Noah, and Noah walked with God. Noah was in agreement with God’s ways, in fellowship together with Him. But at this stage God extends grace to Noah without dealing with his sin. The Hebrew expression for “found favor” is connected to grace—the decision to extend grace and favor. But Noah’s sin raises its head shortly after the flood subsides when he gets blind drunk and curses his kid. However, in Hebrews we read that God’s grace was upon Noah’s life because of his faith in God:
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
God didn’t wipe out Noah for his sin, but extended grace to him, considering him righteous on account of his faith. But something had to be blotted out. Wickedness and violence (hamas) had to go.
For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” (Genesis 7:4)
God wiped the slate clean and started again, effectively re-creating the heavens and the earth, and making a new start. A new heaven and new earth. He reiterated His command to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 9:1). But it’s not long before sin increases again in the Tower of Babel story a few short chapters later. In direct disobedience to the command to fill the whole earth after the flood, the people made a plan to do the exact opposite:
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4)
Humanity is constantly in sin and rebellion against God, disobeying Him and defying His ways. Violence and wickedness (hamas) has been found in abundance in every generation, in every corner of the earth, pretty much. No nation can point the finger at another in accusation without thinking about the travesties that have taken place at the hands of their own people, as if their own nation is without sin. No one should criticize another country without thinking about the crimes committed on the soil they’re standing on. Our only hope is for God to intervene. He’s going to have to wipe it all out and start all over AGAIN. And that’s exactly what will happen. This earth will one day be wiped out for good, and another will be established in its place:
“For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
But there would be a long wait between the Tower of Babel and the New Creation of the world to come.
Instead of wiping out sinners or the sinful world, God made a way for sin itself to be removed, and wiped away.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)
The record of our sin has been blotted out and wiped clean. This is the same Greek word (εξαλείψ) as was used to talk about wiping out wickedness and violence in the flood in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures.
There’s so much evil and pain in this world. No one gets through life without experiencing grief, death, and tears.
But there’s one more wiping to be done.
At the end of time, when we are with God in the new creation, He will wipe away (εξαλείψ) every tear from our eyes:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And that is how God will ultimately deal with Hamas.
Main picture by Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=138941325