Old Testament Violence

Here I will address some of the problems frequently encountered when reading of the destruction and death in the OT. People come up with all kinds of excuses for their belief in a vicious and violent wargod displayed in the Bible. I will sequencially disassemble these beliefs and show with the Bible itself, using the New Testament, (which applies to us today), that God is not bad at all. Without the New Testament though, this would be very difficult if not impossible to prove.

First we must accept and embrace that the OT and NT are almost diametrically opposed in regarding the nature of God. In the OT we see many wars and slayings and killings, we see in some places God being the executioner, and in other places God telling the people to go and slaughter countless thousands in battle. Many affluent atheistic authors are quick to point out the brutality of the OT, and far too many duped Christians make offensive attempts at excusing the carnage. Like it or not, the OT and NT display an almost different God...but why? I will get to that in a moment.

Some examples of this OT carnage are the worldwide flood of Noah's day, Sodom and Gomorrah, all of the wars under David, Solomon, and Saul....specific verses of the Bible like 1st Samuel 15:3, where God says to slay the Amalekite men, women, children, infants, sucklings, oxen, sheep, donkeys, and camels..to "utterly destroy" everything there.
The typical Christian will answer that God's ways are not understandable, and His divine wisdom is so far beyond our own....excuse me? I don't worship a God that is not understandable, a God whos best image is a giant cosmic question mark.

Instead of making up retarded and lazy answers to these dilemmas, Christians should try to find a way to explain what actually happened.
The skeptic will look at these verses and wonder how on Earth a loving and compassionate God could ever do something like that. If anything, that God should do His own dirty work, and in some places He does, while in other places He tells people to do violent things instead. In the Gospels you don't see any of these acts of 'godly' violence taking place. Let's look at a few verses that tell us exactly what God really wants.

Ezekiel 33:11 I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.

Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

That last verse is Peter speaking in context of the worldwide flood of Noah's day, so we can trust that he is talking about everyone and not just applying to Christians, as in some twisted doctrine like Calvinism.

With these verses fresh in our minds, we know that God doesn't want death or destruction and He certainly doesn't like it. So why did it happen so often? Equally as important, why doesn't it happen today? Why does God have entire chapters of the Bible written about His tender mercy that endures forever, His love, His peace, His holiness, and all things good, yet He also has so many pages of the Bible soaked and dripping with the blood of His enemies? Many theologians don't answer with anything but a collective sigh and a shrug of the shoulders. Folks, you've got to do better than that.

We know from several stories in the OT that God doesn't always necessarily do what He actually WANTS to do. Sometimes He does what the people want, whether it's good for them or not. In Numbers 11 we find the story of the children of Israel whining about eating manna all the time, so God sent them an abundance of quails to eat, and by their own lust they ate so many that they got sick and died. Psalm 78:29 So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire. I will comment on this again at the end of this section.

We also find in 1st Samuel 8:1 that God was going to be their king and their ruler, but the people wanted a human king instead, they wanted a person to rule over them....in spite of all of God's dire warnings about it and His perfect foresight, they didn't listen, so He gave in and granted them a king--Saul.

Later, in the NT we see Jesus in John 5:37-39 telling the Jews of His day that they didn't even know God, and had no clue what He was about or they would have accepted Him. Also, in Matthew 19:8, and Mark 10:5 Jesus told the Pharisees that because of the hardness of their hearts, Moses told them they could divorce their wives. Then Jesus refuted that law. In Matthew 9:13, and 12:7 Jesus told them they didn't understand the scriptures regarding mercy rather than sacrifice.

Colossians 2:9 states that Jesus was the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and in John 14:9, where you see Him, you have seen the Father. Plus numerous other verses indicating that Jesus was the total representation of the Father, totally submitting to Him and doing His will.

Finally, we can go by the examples between the OT and NT. In the OT we see plenty of war war war blood guts and gore, hack slash and kill. These supposed people of God would be practically wading knee deep in the dead after their battles. In the NT however, we see the total opposite. Jesus didn't start any revolts or uprisings, He didn't come to destroy Rome, and He wasn't telling His disciples to keep their powder dry and their guns loaded. Many of the apostles died very cruel deaths and there were many martyrs in the early church....these were certainly NOT the violent people of the Old Testament. So, how in the world did these things happen by 'godly' people?

As shown so far, God would have been their King, but they wanted a human king, so God gave it to them. Another verse to be made aware of is Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. That's a powerful verse, your heart will determine the kind of person you are, and God will direct you accordingly.

We know that David was one of the kings of Israel, and that although David was credited as being a man after God's own heart, take special notice that he was not "perfect and upright" with righteousness like none other, such as Enoch, and Job were given credit to being. David was the best guy Israel had going for them, so he was the man for the job, but he had many shortcomings, and committed terrible things, such as adultery, and murder. David had another problem, and that was violence. Proof of this is some of the Psalms, where David's own eloquent prayers are for the destruction and eradication of his enemies. Though David wasn't always an adulterer or murderer, he was a ruthless person from his youth. When he was only a little boy, he chopped off the head of Goliath, after he had already taken him down. 1st Chronicles 28:3 shows us that God was NOT pleased with David's violent nature afterall. "But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood."

In spite of all of this, he sought the Lord, and had many high points in other areas of character. Remember, Paul was also a zealot for the Lord, even when he was persecuting the Christians, he too believed he was doing what was right, God eventually showed him otherwise. Now even though David was a violent man, the people he killed were not innocent either. This is how God directed His steps. I point out to skeptics and scoffers that nobody in the Bible was ever killed because they were being good.

The best part is that Jesus was well aware of all of the bloodshed in the OT....

Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

That's right, all of this killing in the name of God was coming to an end. "The days of John the Baptist" is explained in the next verse as all of the prophets and law prophecied until John. Then in John 18:36 we find that Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world, or His servants would fight, there was not going to be any more of that.

So to sum it up now putting all these verses together we see that God didn't always do what He really wanted to do, but sometimes gave in to the whims of of the people, and the whims of the people were sometimes savage and violent, until Jesus came and told the people that they didn't really know God, or follow Him (see Judaizers and Holy Racism for proof of how things changed and what transpired once Jesus came onto the scene and demonstrated the true ways of God.) It's clear that the slaying and killing in the OT is not really the true will of God, but it's what the people wanted, so God gave it to them. Lastly we can see how Jesus proved this through His life, and the lives and deaths of His disciples and all of the martyrs.

This covers half of the reason why the Israelites were told to go into battle with any group of people that were deemed wicked. The other half of the reason is more of a matter of understanding that the Bible says what it means and means what it says. There is no way to put it lightly when scriptures say that a group of people committed abominations before the Lord, or when it says there were wicked people in the land, it doesn't mean they stole candy and cheated on their taxes. Think more along the lines of human decadence that modern man would cringe at the sight of. When the bible says that people were worshipping false idols, it doesn't mean they had a lucky charm in the corner of their house, it means more along the lines of sacrificing their own children in blood rituals for superstition.

Now that we have gone through the OT explaining the slaughters and wars that were done in the name of God, what about the places where God Himself destroys a group of people? In many places, God is said to be the one destroying, and yet for many of these events, there are cross references elsewhere in the Bible to the people bringing destruction upon themselves. I mentioned Numbers 11 above, which actually says God struck them with a plague. This will have to be discussed in another section, but in short. 'God' and 'the power of God' are written along the same lines many times in the bible, many things are done by His power, but He Himself did not do them. The same can be said of fire. Fire can do many good and essential things for you, but if you stick your hand in it, it will burn you just like anything else, don't blame the fire.

Now that we are in NT times, as stated before, many things changed upon the arrival of Christ. Killing in the name of God is no longer permitted, Jesus has unequivocably shown the true way to be and done away with many of the old ways. As far as things like the crusades, or people who blow up abortion clinics, or Hitler going under the banner of the Catholic church...this is very easy to figure out. These people were not Christians. Just because you claim to be one, doesn't mean you are one.
If you saw some man with a shaved head and a bright orange robe, armed with a rifle, shooting at school children, would you believe him if he said he was a Buddhist and believed in the teachings of Buddha? Come on people, use your heads, there are LIARS in this world. Do you really think Christianity is immune from hypocrites? Don't be so naive.

God's real people are very peaceful, joyful, and loving.

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