Can A God Of Love, Hate?

– by Prof Gerrie Bester

The subject of love is one that has been discussed and deliberated for centuries. From generation to generation, libraries full of reading and study material have been written and developed in trying to understand this word love, birthed in the heart of Abba Father.

Misunderstanding and confusion
Our misunderstanding of love – and hate for that matter – in the context of the Bible anyway, leaves us confused many times. In the Western world, we are raised with a Western world mindset, which differs from the Hebrew mindset in which the Word of God was given to us. In this mindset, certain concepts that we become so accustomed to, appear as contradictions in the Word of Abba Father. If we however read the same Scripture with a Hebrew mindset, these “contradictions” disappear as mist in the wind seeing that we serve a Holy and sovereign God, perfect in all His ways.

No contradictions in Hebrew
The feverish atheistic arguments, leaning on so called contradictions in the Bible – in a measly attempt to discredit the authenticity of the Word of the only living God – is shattered into pieces within the Hebrew mindset.

Let us look at an example:
The Word of Abba Father says “…God is love” – 1 John 4:8. Is a God of love capable of hating? In 1 John 2:10-11 God says:
“Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” 

But God hated Esau?
So, if Abba Father warns us against hating our brother or sister, saying that we walk in darkness when doing this, then surely He cannot hate? How then, do we understand the Scripture in Romans 9:13 which says: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”? This Scripture is a quote from Malachi 1:2-3 and seems a bit contradictory to the heart and instructions of a loving God, does it not? When you study the Hebrew words in this Scripture however, it makes perfect sense.

Look to the Hebrew for clarity
The Hebrew word used for love here is the word Ahav. Ahav is not an emotional concept, but an action founded in choice and means primarily “to elect or choose.” The Hebrew root word, translated as hate in this Scripture, is the word Sanei, which is the opposite of love and means “non-election or not to choose” at the root level thereof. Sanei is a state where a person wishes to keep a distance from the offence or the offender. Sanei entails distance. It is just the opposite of love (ahav), which brings about the desire for closeness.

A picture of disobedience
All of a sudden the Scripture starts making sense when we read Romans 9:13, “Jacob I chose, and Esau I did not choose.” Why is this? In studying the Word of Abba Father we see that Jacob chose to walk in obedience of God’s instructions, whereas Esau chose to ignore what God said to him and even did some things to deliberately disobey God. The Bible is clear that it is sin that separates us from Him. So as Esau chose to disobey Abba Father and live in “covenant” with paganism, which God prohibited, it brought a distance (sanei) between them, which led to Abba Father not choosing him, or translated, hating him. There is a total different picture when you look at it thorough the Hebrew language, is it not?

Unconditional love
The unconditional love that Abba Father has for us and that held His Son Yeshua on the Cross is a total different Hebrew word, Chesed (which we will look at in the next article).  

Scriptures make more sense in Hebrew
How many Scriptures make more sense now that we understand this concept of hate used in parts of the Bible involving God? Exodus 20:5 reads, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me.” Now read it “…those who do not choose Me.”

Does God want us to hate?
Now look at this verse: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26. Does Abba Father want us to hate our mother, father, or anyone in our family? No, of course not, however He wants us to choose Him above anyone else in our lives and also not choose anyone above Him. May we understand this in the loving way the Father gave His Word to us.


Article source: JOY! Magazine (December 2018)

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