Jesus’ coming would not necessarily result in family unity

“For I (Jesus) have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matthew chapter 10 vv35-36)

I mention this in the context of Jesus’ herald, John the Baptist (aka Elijah). It was said of him by angels:

And (John) will bring back many of the ‘Israelites’ to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before (Christ) TO RECONCILE FATHERS TO THEIR CHILDREN and the disobedient to the good sense of the upright, preparing for the lord a people fit for him (lk1:16-17)

And in the Old Testament, the closing verses stated:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the lord. And he will TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN AND THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN TO THEIR FATHERS lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Mal4:5,6 – Catholic editions= Mal3:23-24)

In the light of Jesus’ statement (featured verse) do we still think Malachi and the Angel Gabriel had “happy families” in mind for the work of the final prophet who was tasked to restore everything (apokatastesai panta –Mt17:11) before the great and dreadful day of the Lord? People have come to that view simply because there is no obvious alternative in terms of racial or ecclesiological groupings who could meaningfully be regarded as fathers and children to be reconciled. But that was in John the Baptist’s day; today is quite another matter. There are Christians and their Jewish fathers of the faith on the one hand; Catholic/Orthodox Christians and the children of the Reformation on the other. Regardless of who was to blame for those divisions there is certainly scope for reconciliation now, and in view of the last phrase in the Old Testament, not to mention the current global crisis, should we not earnestly attend to the matter?

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Related post: Elijah yet to come?


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