Motif of Antagonism in the Mission of Yahweh

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Intricately connected with each of those mentioned above motifs is the antagonistic motif, that is, Yahweh’s powerful wrestling against those forces which oppose His liberating and gracious authority.

The whole Old Testament is filled with descriptions of how YahwehAdonai, the covenant God of Israel, is waging war against those forces which try to thwart and subvert His plans for His creation.[1] For example, the Baal and the Ashtaroth, whose worshippers elevated nature, the tribe, the state, and the nation to a divine status.[2] God fights against magic and astrology which, according to Deuteronomy, bend the line between God and His creation. He contends against every form of social injustice and pulls off every cloak under which it seeks to hide. Against this are grand visions of coming kingdom of Yahweh, where every relationship is properly restored and when the whole of creation – people, animals, plants and every other creature – will perfectly accord with God’s intentions (Isa 2; 65; Mic 4). The Old Testament longs for this final revealing of Yahweh. This is a highly significant theme for missionary participation. The Old Testament ties the antagonistic motif closely with the doxological theme: the glory of Yahweh-Adonai shall be revealed among all peoples (Jon 4,1-2).


[1] J. Verkuyl, Contemporary Missiology: An Introduction, (E. Tr. and ed. by D. Cooper), William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Michigan, (1978), 95.

[2] Cf. V. Endris, “Yahweh Versus Baal: A Narrative – Critical Reading of the Gideon /Abimelech Narrative,” JSOT, Vol. 33, no. 2, SAGE Publications, London, (2008), 173-195, 175-186.

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