Why did God order Israel to kill men, women and children?

Question: Why did God order Israel to kill men, women and children?
In the Old Testament there are a number of instances of God telling Israel to completely wipe out the peoples who inhabited the land called Palestine (e.g. Deut 7:1-4,16,24).  Doesn’t that make the God of the Old Testament a harsh and unjust God, completely different from the God of love portrayed in the New Testament?

[Note: This has continued to be one of the most popular or sought after of the questions and answers and I would wish to add the following comment even before you read on.

First, the challenge is often about a God who orders genocide in respect of the occupants of Canaan. Genocide, I would suggest, is the purposeful wiping out of a tribe, nation or people. A careful reading of the Bible text will show that that was NOT God's intention - it was to drive the occupants out of that land.

Second, if you would like to check out the above assertion I have covered this question in great detail in the book that you will find by using the website link on this page to "God's Love in the Old Testament." Please do go there and check it out and tell your friends about it! You will find this question's answer greatly expanded in Chapter 21, part 6.  My intention in writing that book is that it may help many of us with our misunderstandings and misconceptions!]

Answer:

If we are to adequately answer this we will have to give careful consideration to what the Bible says.

To understand this apparent situation we need to understand:
a) the nature of God
b) the nation of Israel and the surrounding nations
c) the options of the inhabitants.

a) The Nature of God

The Bible’s descriptions of God are not at variance between Old and New Testaments.

For example in the Old Testament we find God saying, “The soul who sins is the one who will die.” (Ezek 18:5)

In the New Testament, we find the apostle, Paul, writing “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23).

However, in the Old Testament we also find God declaring, “I take no pleasure in the death of anyone” (Ezek 18:32).

Similarly in the New Testament, we find the apostle, Peter, writing about God, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Now in both testaments, the way to avoid death was quite clear:

“Repent and live!” (Ezek 18:32) and “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

For the moment that will be enough about God:

  • sin will be punished by death
  • God doesn’t want death to come to man
  • death is avoided by repentance, turning away from the sin.


b) The Nation of Israel and the Surrounding Nations

i) Israel

Israel were a nation created by God, starting from Abraham, then through Isaac and finally through Jacob, who was renamed Israel by God.  While in Egypt the families grew over about four hundred years to become the equivalent of a nation of well over a million people.

At the Exodus (see Exodus, chapter 1 to 12) God took them out of Egypt and meeting with them at Mount Sinai created a new nation out of them who would be a special people, specifically related to God (see Exodus 19).  The objective of this was to show the world the possibility of a nation being led and guided by God, i.e. to act as a light to the rest of the world, revealing the goodness of God and His plan for His world.

To achieve this possibility God instructed them to remove all the existing inhabitants of the land in order to create a new national identity.

ii) The Surrounding Nations

When we look at the people that Israel were told to destroy, we are told they were to be destroyed because of their wickedness (Deut 9:4), and because they worshipped idols and would turn Israel to those idols and away from God (Deut 7:4,16).

The picture we are given is of nations in possession of the land God had promised Israel, who were totally established in worshipping idols and all of the practices that went with that (e.g. sacrificing children).

From the beginning of the Bible we are shown mankind that has a propensity to turn away from God and turn to all kinds of foolish life styles that can only be described as pagan and uncivilised in the extreme!

This propensity to turn away from God is what the Bible calls ‘Sin’ and because Sin is living contrary to the design of the Creator, it means that such people live utterly destructive life styles.

Because mankind seems to be tainted with this tendency, it also spreads like a virus unless checked. If it is left unchecked, the moral direction of any society is downwards, as our own society is showing at the beginning of the twenty first century.

iii) Israel‘s folly

God knew that if Israel simply went into the land and mingled with the idol worshippers there, they would soon be led astray by them. Hence the objective of removing all the existing inhabitants.

Today we understand the need to destroy Cancer cells before they destroy the body.  We may not understand it because we don’t understand the awfulness and destructiveness of Sin, but what we are considering in this question is a surgical operation.

A number of the wars fought in the last century and, indeed, in this century, have been those fought to prevent something worse happen.  This is what was behind God’s instructions to Israel (but wait until you get to Part c) below before you make a final judgment!)

In fact this mingling with the idol worshippers did happen, even while Israel were wandering in the desert on the way to the land (see Numbers 25:1,2).

After Israel had settled in the land and after their leader Joshua had died, they quickly gave way to this tendency again (e.g. Judges 2:10-13).

In fact so often did they give way, that eventually the Lord allowed the inhabitants who had not been cleared out of the land to remain to act as a thorn in Israel’s side to continually bring them to their senses (see Judges 2:18-23)

There followed a continuing cycle in their early centuries in the land: apostasy (e.g. Judges 3:7) – disciplinary judgment (Judges 3:8) – repentance (Judges 3:9a) – deliverance from God (Judges 3:9b,10) – peace (Judges 3:11).

c) Options of the Inhabitants

Returning now to our original question, we must look at the possibilities that were given to the inhabitants, which fit in with all that we have said so far.

There were actually three options:

Option No.1 – To leave the Land
There was nothing to stop the inhabitants leaving the land and this some did.

Option No.2 – To join Israel
Some of the inhabitants actually joined the people of
Israel and this was perfectly acceptable. Examples of this were Rahab, a spy-prostitute (Joshua 6:25), and the Gibeonite tribe (read Joshua 9).

Option No.3 – To resist God and Israel and die
This did happen for a number – but it was their choice!   Similarly today as we saw in 2 Peter 2:9 the choice of death is a personal choice and NOT what God wants.

Our Difficulty in Understanding

We need to understand and hang on to the basic reasoning behind the instruction from God to destroy any unbelieving idolaters who resisted.  It was to remove a scourge of pagan lifestyle and to do all possible to prevent Israel being corrupted. The picture given above, of Cancer, needs to be borne in mind.

Where we have a difficulty in understanding all this, it is probably because we fail to see the awfulness of Sin and its consequences.

We live very much in a Society where virtually everything goes and because of that we find it difficult to grasp the concept of wrong that is so abhorrent to a Perfect God that He has to deal with it with destructive judgment to prevent worse happening.

And that brings us right back to the subject of Jesus. To pick up again on one of the earlier verses we quoted (Romans 6:23) “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus“.

God is always wanting to bring life.    WE are the ones who refuse it and prefer death instead!
May it not be so.

124 Responses to Why did God order Israel to kill men, women and children?

  1. Betty says:

    Thank you soooo much for this mini Bible lesson. I have been a Christian for over 20 years and I don’t know everything there is to know about God. I know God has been very good and more than fair to me, but reading the book of Joshua the last few days, it really made me wonder why God would have all those surrounding citites and kings destroyed. I feel good about the answers you have provided. … And it is true, God is good to ALL that go to Him with a repented heart and the Bible does say, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” God bless you and thanks again.

  2. Brian says:

    In reading your response to the question “Why did God order Isarel to kill men, women and children?”, I thought it was interesting that you never mentioned the children.

    If God ordered the Israelites to kill “everyone” that would include children, even young children. Killing pregnant women would even kill unborn children.

    I’ve heard an argument against abortion claiming that the unborn child doesn’t get a choice. What choice is God allowing unborn children if God orders that pregnant women within the city be killed.

    Everyone would also include newborns and toddlers.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Hmmm, sorry about that – it was not a conscious omission. Yes, it certainly did I’m afraid and that offends our modern sensibilities and rightly so. This is one of the tough questions of the Bible and, I think, can only be understood if we can grasp the bigger picture of existing nations that were so into cultic idolatry that there was no option but to completely clear them from the Land. Babies are simply the next generation who would be led the same way. The question about babies raises a bigger question – that of the destination of the person and, here, of the child or baby. Three comments are appropriate here. First, I am utterly convinced from long study of the Bible that God doesn’t make mistakes and so when we come face to face with God, if He allows us to look back on our time on earth, even though we may not understand it now, we will see then that there was nothing for which we could criticise Him. Second, I believe God’s ‘all-knowing’ ability includes knowing the ‘what ifs’ of life. What if that child had lived – would it have turned to God. God knows, I believe, even in respect of babies and they ‘destination’ will be just. Finally, we mostly cannot grasp that these three score years and ten are but a drop in the ocean in terms of eternity and people die prematurely for a variety of reasons. The crucial issue is not when they die (how old or how young) but where are they going when they depart this world. I hope these comments help in some small way in this difficult area.

  3. Andrew says:

    If these people’s slaughter was necessary to stop corruption of the holy land, according to god’s plan, then god failed. Look at the state of these lands today, their murders were in vain. If it’s part of god’s plan to murder children then he needs to come up with a better plan. If god tells me to kill a pregnant woman I’m not going to do it no matter what his plan is. Maybe if god first revealed what his plan was it would be easier to understand but he doesn’t he just says kill. This is just more proof that the bible is false and these people were not lead by god. What would of been more divine? Slaughter everyone or everything? Or the matter being solved diplomatically without bloodshed and not one innocent child being killed? If they did the latter that would of been more compelling evidence of a god.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Thank you Andrew fro your comment. You very rightly feel aggrieved on behalf of people, people who lived in a pagan worshipping land though. One of the things most of us don’t realise is the primitive nature of society in the days that we are referring to. This was a day when nation fought nation (what has changed!) and the media weren’t there to touch our sensitivities so when people went to war they wiped out whole communities without exception. It’s how a sinful world works, a world where people exercise free will to do wrong. Diplomacy in such times was largely the figment of the imagination, especially when you were dealing with the more pagan societies such as we find in Canaan. This was a bunch of primitives who sacrificed their children in their superstitious rituals – and you want to save this sort of behaviour? The other thing to remember is that death was not the only option. Yes, it was the instruction – to clear the land – but the options were leave the land and live, join Israel or die. To catch God’s wider heart on all this see Ezekiel 18:23,32 and 2 Peter 3:9 in the Bible. We need to get a fuller picture to understand the realities of what is involved here, so then we would know that in fact God HAD revealed His plan very clearly previously and it was perfectly clear and very reasonable.

      • ArokOleary says:

        “This was a bunch of primitives who sacrificed their children in their superstitious rituals”…

        Didn’t god order Abraham to kill and sacrifice his son? Oh but god stopped him he just wanted to see if he would do it, that’s sadistic!

      • faithcatalyst says:

        It rather depends n how you look at these things. One of THE most important things that comes out in the Old Testament is the fact that we, the human race have gone off track and to be brought back on track we need to learn to follow God’s leading so that we can be brought back to live in the way that God designed us to live with love and goodness prevailing. Obedience to God and even more, trusting in God, are THE crucial issues that Israel struggled with throughout their existence. The same process started with Abram – may I recommend you read the series of meditations on the associated blog, Bible Meditation Shop, about the early days of Abram and see if you can catch something of the relationship between God and Abram. It is because of his history that he is called father of the Jews. The point I make is that child sacrifice was common in the pagan nations (I don’t hear your words of objection to that!) and this was exactly what Abram had come from and would not have been surprised at such a request – the surprise comes when God stops him and shows that HE doesn’t demand such sacrifices of us – He’s made the only one necessary, that of His own Son for our sins.

  4. Bryan says:

    I have recently been reading numbers and deuteronomy and cannot wrap my head around god telling the israelites to kill the women and children who were not combatants… You find in the new testament, jesus warning any person that harms an innocent child that they would be better off to tie themselves to an anchor and jump in the sea. children can be so easily molded and are full of potential. depending on how they are guided through adolescence they could have been integrated into the israeli society. i just cant get a grasp on this as a christian, it is very challenging for me to accept this.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments Bryan. As an initial answer I would ask you to read the blog again to take in the various points that are made there, because answers are given there.
      However, to specifically pick up on what you have said: I accept fully Jesus’ teaching but you make two interesting points: the first is noting Jesus referring to ‘innocent’ children and the second noting that children can be easily molded. Yes, this is the tragedy of Canaan – and indeed our own societies today in the West – our once innocent children are being polluted by the world they live in and so they become the next generation to continue the wrongs of the previous one. Yes, there will be individuals who will stand out but most will follow the current trend. Put that into the context of Canaan (and you also see it in the history of the kings of Israel) and the children are simply the next generation to be pagans carrying out pagan worship and offering sacrifices of their children etc. Most of us cannot comprehend the awfulness of the state of that pagan land. Indeed as I have commented in these blogs, the Canaanites had three options – leave the land, join Israel (as you commented) or stay and fight and die – the choice was theirs. The end outcome was a purified land that could start afresh. There is the additional point that theologians point out, and that is that none of us are innocent and all of us deserve to die for our sin – that would be justice. But the incredible truth is that God sent His Son to die in our place so that we could live. Read the blogs and see the points – God is more concerned with life than with death. That is clear from both Old and New Testaments. Thanks again for writing.

      • dawn says:

        I have read the Bible,and the cannons left out of the Bible,some of the dead sea scrolls and the other Gospels.What I find compelling is King Constantine and the council of Niacea(commission priests)hired by a pagan(who did not accept Christianity until his death bed).Only the cannons picked for the Bible are believed to be the truth.But when you read the history of Constantine,he stopped the Romans from killing the Christians,by forcing unity,because he was power hungry.HHMMMMM .I ponder why people cannot read and respect the Bible and have studied other Religions. I am disgusted that more than one religion touts gentle loving kindness and to this day desire war over opinions of different belief systems. I was raised in church,love God,Believe in Jesus and still hold the belief that christ traveled to other land,learning other lessons.I think that regardless of what our opinion may be about Israel and Gaza,the facts are IF we are Christians,AND we believe in why Jesus died,AND what he TAUGHT.How is there any question that any Christlike person can align themselves with The (Zionists) and terrorists(Hamas). Murder is wrong,Jesus came to bring the lessons in how to be towards others,I find it hypocritical to think otherwise.

      • javad Mousavi says:

        Peace be with you; I didn’t find any respond in you respond to the Dawn.

  5. ian says:

    genocide will always be quite a difficult thing to justify. I find it strange that i, as an atheist can declare that genicide is always wrong. It is because of your belief in an ancient superstition that you cannot admit it is always wrong.

    You sound no better than a nazi explaining that aushwitz was all for the best- that it was for some greater good

    If your god wanted babies murdered he should have done it himself

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Sadly I think your comments indicate that you haven’t properly read what I’ve written otherwise you would see that genocide is very far from God’s heart. Can I suggest you put down your prejudice and read objectively with an open mind what I’ve written, then perhaps we can discuss the issues more reasonably.

    • Carlos says:

      Ian, you claim to be an athiest, however, your concern tells me that you do believe in God. Don’t stop yourself, Have faith.

      • THINK! says:

        Carlos Ian’s concern is about people justifying violence and immoral actions from a book written by people in ancient times where they couldn’t even explain a lot of stuff that you know now. Actually read the bible, read it please. Then question yourself if you would do everything God says there. Accusing Ian of being a believer of god when he is saying he is an atheist is not a truth is just accusation, doesnt prove your point and doesn’t make much of an argument. Try not to repeat things that you hear from christian apologetics and think for yourself. Inform yourself, search. Don’t just look for consolation of your beliefs, actually look for information and question yourself.

  6. Matthew says:

    In the Book, The Bible Handbook, written by Henry H. Halley, we read that at the ancient ruins of Megiddo were found ruins of a temple of Ashtoreth, goddess-wife of Baal. Mr. Halley writes: “Just a few steps from this temple was a cemetery, where many jars were found, containing remains of infants who had been sacrificed in this temple . . . Prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth were official murderers of little children.” “Another horrible practice was [what] they called ‘foundation sacrifices.’ When a house was to be built, a child would be sacrificed, and its body built into the wall.”

    Halley further writes: “The worship of Baal, Ashtoreth, and other Canaanite gods consisted in the most extravagant orgies; their temples were centers of vice. . . . Canaanites worshiped, by immoral indulgence, . . . and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods. It seems that, in large measure, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale. . . . Did a civilization of such abominable filth and brutality have any right longer to exist? . . . Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than He did.”

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Thank you Matthew for that contribution – I must look up my Bible Handbook a bit more. Perhaps just a postscript – the fact that God doesn’t destroy all those we think He should suggests He is incredibly patient as suggested by Peter in 2 Pet 3:8,9. I am constantly surprised by the wonder of God’s grace and mercy that holds back and keeps giving more and more opportunity for repentance. Thank you again.

  7. fede says:

    I don’t understand how you can keep saying to people that they haven’t properly read your comments. I’ve read them, twice, and they say the same thing, god had a plan, he was complacent in the killing of innocent people, in fact he ordered it. If he is all knowing and all powerful, and as you said previously, god knows the “destination” of babies, than there is no free will, he chose for us before it was written, who we would be, what we would do, and he punished us for being who and what he created. We have been stuck with the original sin which was enacted as soon as Eve ate from the apple of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, if she never knew evil, or goodness or had knowledge, how could she decide for herself to eat/not eat the apple and condemn the world through eternity. She never had a choice and the all-knowing, all-powerful, god knew what would happen and let it be, thereby creating the world as we know it. There is no way possible to escape sin, there is no choice. And in order to enter into heaven you must proclaim jesus the son of god and since the children and babies that were killed could never understand this, they have been condemned to hell as well.
    Congratulations on following such a just and loving god, I’d rather take my chances.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      OK fede, thanks for your reply and your thoughtfulness. Can I suggest, first of all, that there is a big difference between God MAKING things happen and God KNOWING what will happen. Second, I would suggest that Eve DID have a choice. The fact that she gave way to Satan didn’t mean that she HAD to. Even today each one of us chooses whether to listen to the negatives of another person or reject them. Eve had that same choice. The fact that she was the first person to make that choice doesn’t matter; it was still a true choice. Third, your comments about being ‘stuck’ with original sin raise interesting questions. You also go on to speak about the world being condemned for eternity. These suggest you come from a part of the world where the church preaches only half a story – a negative half. Yes, sin was the inheritance of every person after Eve but that didn’t stop God entering into relationships with individuals – e.g. Enoch, Abram, Moses etc. etc. and then Israel – and anyone else who sought Him (according to Paul in Romans) – and He would have been able to do this because He had already planned before He made the world – knowing what would happen – to send Jesus to die in our place to take the punishment for our sins. Thus because He knew that the cost of sin would be dealt with at a specific point of history (2000 years ago) He could still enter into relationships with whoever sought Him out. When it comes to children, theologians talk about the age of responsibility and thus babies are not held accountable. I prefer to think that God also knows the “what might have been” and so could see every baby and see what they would have turned out to be – but that is pure speculation. All I can tell you is that for many years I have known this God, studied the Bible and conclude from both experience and reading that you and I are talking about a loving God. Forgive me but you sound like you have come from a starting place where you made up your mind before you started talking. That is not good intellectually. If we start investigating with an open mind to start with, I am convinced we come up with this conclusion. We may have to think through a load of questions (as you appear to be doing) but that is the inevitable conclusion when we see the fuller picture. Thank you again for your comments.

  8. fede says:

    Hello again,

    If god is ominipotent, omniscient, and ominipresent, he is then all powerful, all knowing, ever being. He not only created us but he knew what we would become. He had the power to decide for us, to make us what he would.

    Psalm 139:15,16- My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth. your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
    Jeremiah 1:5; Job 31:15; Genesis 25:23; These are but a few of the verses that acknowledge god not only knew what would happen but created the event/person in the fashion that he proposed.

    First, genesis 3:1 states :Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the lord god had made. He said to the woman, “Did god really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?”

    Nowhere does it state that serpent was the devil/satan or any other evil-doer. And god goes on in v. 14 to curse the serpent and create hatred between the serpent and humans and each others’ offspring. He never calls him satan.

    In ch 2 v. 9 it states in the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil(two separate trees) in v. 17 god explains to Adam he must not eat from the tree of knowledge. ch 3 v 2 eve says to the serpent the lord said she may not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden. Perhaps she didn’t know which tree was which? How could she know she was doing wrong if she had no knowledge of good and evil..after all they were naked and only realised that was wrong after they ate of the tree of knowledge. So again, I say, she didn’t know what she was doing, she had no knowledge to understand not until she actually ate of the tree.

    If god already planned to send his son, to die for our sins, he knew the way the world was going to turn out, what is the point of being omnipotent, if you don’t use it? And why did he not use himself as sacrifice? why his son?

    You prefer to think god knew every baby and what they would have turned out to be. Is that your way of excusing the genocide of children, babies and pregnant women and still be able to call god loving? I find nothing loving about that. Your god uses fear throughout the bible to bring man into the “fold”. How can you claim free will when there really is no choice? Either you follow me, or die? This is what we now call, bullying.

    First you say I’m not thinking intellectually, that we must think through a load of questions, (you say I appear to be doing) if I am thinking through questions I must be thinking intellegently, the only difference is your supposition is different than my own. So naturally, the christian view is, I must be wrong. I do not come to these conclusions lightly either, as a matter of fact, my mind was following in the direction your mind has gone, as I grew up, logic took over, fear went away, and I was more capable of actually reading for myself ALL of the bible and not just the parts most religionists want you to read. I could see for myself that fear was the main factor in following “the word” As many times it might say in the bible, god is good, god is loving, there are more times it talks of his anger, you must be fearful, I would rather not live my life in fear. All churches only preach half the story, if they preached the whole thing it would become more obvious to more people that this bible was written by(fallable)men, for men, in order to create fear, discipline and order, where there was none. For you to use certain parts of the bible to excuse the practice of genocide is hypocritical, at best. A faith that goes on the premise of love thy neighbor as thyself, thou shalt not murder,judge not lest ye be judged, there sure is alot of persecution and murder in the name of religion, but,as long as it’s in the name of the lord.

    The morality is lost here. Even for god, might does not make right and you can’t absolve the action just because god told you it was okay. Murder is murder, judgement is judgement, fear is fear, hate is hate, no matter how you look at it.

    • michael says:

      It would appear the author of the blog post doesn’t care to respond to fede’s comment.

      I guess sometimes you just have to admit that you have no way to come to a mutual understanding. Some people are so set in their belief systems that they are unable to observe it from the outside in.

      It’s a shame that someone would be doomed to die before they could walk or talk. A loving god would have given them the choice, and the ability to make a loving intelligent choice, rather than make it so that they would choose evil no matter what and thus justify killing them, and ALL of their potential descendants preemptively… (when you take a life, you [usually] don’t just take one life, you’re taking that one and all of their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, etc… massive numbers of people with as many potential life paths as anybody else.)

      It’s a shame that people are raised to believe something so deeply that they are unable to consider reality from other perspectives. It’s rather disempowering.

      • faithcatalyst says:

        I accept the rebuke! I have apologised for my omission. If I respond to your comments by starting at the end. I agree entirely with your sentiments in your final two sentences. The only trouble is that they don’t apply to me. I was not brought up in the church or as a Christian. I became a Christian in my early twenties and have spent the years since researching my beliefs.
        I think the pro-life, anti-abortion lobby would rejoice in the opening line of your main paragraph, and indeed much of that paragraph is wonderfully pro-life and I agree with you. Perhaps a key to all this is in Ezekiel chapter 18 where God declares, “I take no pleasure in the death of anyone… repent and live.” (see also 18:23) What I find frustrating whenever I get comments referring to ‘genocide’ is that what took place with Israel was not genocide. The objective was not to wipe out a people for the sake of it, but to wipe out horrible pagan practices which DID involve child sacrifice and other ghastly barbaric practices. As I have sought to explain in my writings, there were clearly three options for the inhabitants of Canaan: 1. Leave! (and some did) 2. Change and become a changed people, part of Israel (and some did). 3. Fight Israel and risk dying (and some did). In reality Israel didn’t do a very good job anyway and many of the inhabitants stayed – and God permitted their presence and in fact made use of it.
        It is emotional hype that refuses to face the evidence that is there and that then reaches wrong conclusions and comes up with something that is the exact opposite of what the Bible is conveying. So yes, I agree, it is a shame that people are raised to believe something so deeply that they are unable to consider reality! But thanks for writing.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      I must apologise first of all that I obviously approved this comment but did not reply. I must have been in a hurry that morning – my apologies again. Can I pick up the points you make one by one.
      You are right in saying that in Gen 3 the serpent is not identified as Satan. The fact of his role as tempter and deceiver and murderer is referred to elsewhere and it is generally accepted that this likeness is too close to miss. At the end of the Bible in the book of Revelation we find, “The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray” (Rev 12:9) and “that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan” (Rev 20:2) and in the original in both the sense is “that original serpent”.
      I like your arguing about Eve’s ‘confusion’ yet in the face of the text it doesn’t hold up. 3:6 clearly indicates that she knew what she was doing – at least as far as specifically going for a specific tree and going against what God had said. That she could not know (having never sinned) what it would be like and what it would bring about is undisputed.
      I appreciate your testimony and I am sorry that you have had the experience of Christianity that you have had. I’m afraid we, the church, don’t do a very good job in communicating very often and fear is conveyed when love and grace should be. I also appreciate your intentions in the argument that is linked with your testimony yet I believe they are more wrapped up in your emotions than in your intellect. Please, that is not to demean your intellect but simply says that your negative experiences of the past appear to cloud your present investigative powers to arrive at a conclusion that you want, rather than a conclusion to be found by the evidence.
      So concerned am I by the anguish and hostility that comes over so often on the Internet, that I am in the process of writing a book looking for clarification about “the love of God” which I’ll put on line eventually. This will not be casual stuff but intellectually demanding. There is strong evidence that many in today’s younger generations are incapable of objective assessment of the evidence because they have been fed emotional negatives. This, I suspect, is true of every one of us in the West in the twenty first century, and I find myself having to question my assumptions again and again and ask, what objectively is the truth here, and that applies as much to the Bible as anywhere else. That may be another reason why I am happy for people to question and question and question for, I am convinced, IF there is objective seeking, then the truth will come to the surface.
      Again my apologies for not responding earlier.

    • Andrew says:

      I am trying to approach this all with an open mind and I have found it difficult to completely agree with either side of the issue. There were, however, a few of your (Fede’s) points that didn’t hold up for me.

      “Psalm 139:15,16- My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth. your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
      Jeremiah 1:5; Job 31:15; Genesis 25:23; These are but a few of the verses that acknowledge god not only knew what would happen but created the event/person in the fashion that he proposed.”

      Firstly,
      Nowhere in Psalm 139:15,16 does it explicitly say that God created the person. It only says that God saw his/her unformed body as it was made. The second part of the verse comes down to how you read it. It can be interpreted as God writes down what the person is going to do during his or her life because God has chosen for them, or it means that God writes down what the person is going to do because God knows what they will choose to do. Yes this could lead into the free will vs. predestination argument, which is not my intent. As for your comment after Psalm 139:15,16 half of it is correct. Yes, this verse does acknowledge that God knew what would happen, but the main thrust of your point seems to be in the second part. As I have explained Psalm 139 does not say that God “created the event/person in the fashion that he proposed.” Bottom line is that your chosen verses here do not support your argument.

      Secondly,
      My curiosity was peaked when I read “I could see for myself that fear was the main factor in following “the word” As many times it might say in the bible, god is good, god is loving, there are more times it talks of his anger, you must be fearful.” I wondered if this could really be true, so I did the quickest check that I could think of. Using a keyword search on BibleGateway I plugged in the words “fear” and “love” and this is what I found. The word fear appears in the NIV translation of the Bible 336 times, and the word love appears 686 times. Obviously this is probably not the best test of the themes of love and fear in the Bible, but having love appear more than twice as much has to count for something. I think you also must take into account the varying definition of fear. Many times when it is used it is more likely meant to take on the second definition of the word which is “reverence.” Context must be taken into consideration here, and a look at the original languages would likely be the best way to determine the meaning case to case.

      Although I am offering up these critiques I do value your (Fede) input into this discussion. Thank you.

      • faithcatalyst says:

        Your references to “Fede” had me wondering, but I have tracked back and see that was a discussion THREE YEARS AGO in 2009. Forgive me if I don’t pick up your comments to someone else who has probably forgotten this long back. I leave it just in case Fede picks it up one of these days.

  9. Laura says:

    I would like to contact faithcatalyst for some questions I have. Could this be done outside this forum?

  10. ron paul 2 says:

    it is impossible to understand the nature of god sorry

    • faithcatalyst says:

      This is where the Bible is unique in that it reveals a lot about God in terms of His interacting with people and with Israel. For a simple starting place, try thinking about Exodus 34:6 where God Himself reveals to Moses: “The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Now if that IS the truth about God, then it may be that we have to look differently at the Bible, history and so on. Instead of writing off that description, think about each of those descriptions and then read the Bible with them in the back of your mind. Most people who say God cannot be understood do not read the Bible. However, one must agree with you that at the end of it, although the Bible gives us sufficient knowledge to be able to enter into a relationship with God, it is only a tiny bit of information and so ultimately He is beyond our human finite minds. Don’t apologise. Just read and then worship.

  11. Nicole Miller says:

    I have read and learned in religious schools most of my life. I see from bible that when nations are so evil and judgement is finally brought by God after they had time to repent does seem to sometimes include collective punishment. God chose to remove the nations of Canaan and gave the Israelites his permission and guided them. We living in this century can’t fathom the evil of those days(child sacrifice etc) Our religion teaches us that although nations have judgements passed on them by God (such as Ninveh-Jonah and Whale) and when Israelites were conquered by Babylonians for their sins that God wants repentance and for us to change our ways. God does search for righteous individuals and wants us to live good lives. I read book of Jeremiah and see how hated he was by the people for his future prophecies of exile. When he was thrown in pit a slave of the king helped pull him out and God told Jeremiah to tell the slave/servant that when Banylonians attack the servant will escape with his life. There are other people mentioned in Jeremiah that did good deeds and escaped. Ww must always try to improve ourselves and create harmony in our homes. Looking backwards and asking why evil pagan nations were exterminated when clearly God says they were low in merits seems silly to me. Every generation deals with evils and bad nations that want to destroy those who practice freedom and values taught by God. We today face many of those same challenges as we see in war with terrorism. If we fight evil around us and work to correct how we behave among our own families/communities I believe God will respond and bless us. It may take longer than we expect but I have no doubt that a day will come when God will be again reveal himself in a fierce wondrous manner as he did with miracles of exodus from Egypt and all doubts of God existence will cease. We have a prophecy that Elijah will come back in future and give guidance to man. I have experienced good and bad times in my life but I have chosen to not lose faith and learn from it all.

  12. Eshinjiryu says:

    I have been reading Joshua and had the same question as what this topic is about. I am glad you posted it and agree with you. One question I have is on the 3 options that the inhabitants had. The first was to leave, second was to join forces, and third was to fight and resist, however in Joshua 11:20 – “For it was the LORD himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the LORD had commanded Moses.” did the kings really have an option?

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Good question! When we come to times in the Bible when we see that God hardened somebody’s heart (Pharaoh in Exodus is THE classic example of this), what actually happens is that the Lord either acts or speaks in such a way that that the ALREADY hard hearts are hardened more. All that means is that they determine to resist even more. Now there would have been those in Canaan (only a few no doubt) who were open for something other than the pagan child-sacrificing worship that existed in that land and they would have been open to the Lord and realised the futility of opposing Him (e.g. the Gibeonites in Josh 9) and came over to Israel, admittedly by a ruse. Yet for most of the Canaanites, they were so given over to their idol worship that their hearts were hardened against God by it and thus He knew that He had only to press them and they would simply dig in against Him and thus fight against Israel and eventually be defeated and die. To sum it up: God sees their hearts are set and knows there is no alternative; their hearts are set on continuing with child-sacrifice etc. and so He determines to remove them. Yes, we always have options but sometimes people so establish themselves in their ungodliness and unrighteousness that (and only the Lord knows this, not us) they don’t want to take the options and thus harden their hearts more and more when they are challenged. It is one of the unpleasant mysteries of sin. I hope that helps. Thank you for asking.

  13. RR says:

    God the Lord of Israel was right in asking the Israelites to kill babies, because by doing so they proved that their god was not really God but a demon in diguise. The asshole of a god yahweh should be declared as the most retarded God who ever lived.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Well that sounds rather an angry comment. Unfortunately it is also a highly uninformed comment. If you read widely on this particular blog – not just one writing but the many others AND the links elsewhere – I believe you will find that your anger is misplaced when it comes to God. I’m sorry you feel like that.

  14. vicki says:

    ppl aren’t cancer!

  15. branden says:

    Who wrote this? Can I have an E-mail address I have lots of questions. I also really enjoyed the answer you gave here I just read Joshua and wondered, thanks

    tony.thomas@rochfordcc.co.uk ask away

  16. Sister says:

    Keep giving an answer to those who ask for the hope that is in Christians, and being meek in your replies. I love you brother and I will pray for you, there is no greater love for others than wanting them to grow in spiritual truth and know how great is the love of God which passes all understanding

  17. Mary Haynes says:

    I cannot accept that the God I know would give his son to save us from sin – amd yet we remain sinners , and that my God would order the killing of women and children. Please explain.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      As to the first part of your question, the truth is that Christians are redeemed sinners, which means we now have the power to not have to continually sin. We may fall occasionally, or be tripped, but sin is no longer second nature to us. As to the second part of your question – please see the blog link to the book “God’s Love in the Old Testament” which will give you a very full answer.

  18. Reason says:

    Honestly, there’s so many ignorant comments it amazes me. Particularly “Fede” and “RR”: why ask questions if you don’t want the answers? (That’s rhetorical)

    I remember when I was working on an engine years ago, diagnosing a problem. It was a rotary, and while I’m not an engineer, I’ve been working on cars as a hobby for years. I’ve turned every bolt on my car and know every part. Soon a friend’s younger brother shows up and tries to tell me what’s wrong. He doesn’t own a car, doesn’t drive, doesn’t own any tools. He’s starts spouting non-sense about the crank-shaft etc. A rotary engine doesn’t have a crank-shaft. The young man loves to talk about what he doesn’t know a thing about. He hears something somewhere and parrots it to everyone else. Basically makes a fool out of himself in front of people in the know.

    I’ve read the entire Bible and am no be-all end-all, but I have a working understanding. I see and hear ignorant people all the time commenting on what they just don’t understand. They take one verse or hear bits and pieces from someone else and parrot it like the bird-brain they are. It makes people like me not only sad, but laugh at the same time. How can someone without any knowledge try and judge God? I don’t get how so many people enjoy looking stupid.

    If you read and understood the Bible you would know that there’s a huge battle going on in the Old Testament. It’s complicated, like me trying to explain to someone who doesn’t know how to use a screwdriver how an engine works, but it’s pretty clear if a person actally wants to understand.

    Since Adam and Eve, Satan was trying to corrupt the seed. Essentially, he knew just as everyone else did that the Messiah was coming. From Cain and Able all the way to King Herod killing first born sons there are MANY examples of Satan trying to prevent Jesus from being born. Noah ring any bells? You people don’t know anything about the nations that were wiped out, and yet you think you can judge God’s actions? These nations were evil. They didn’t just murder their own kids on a whim, they were committing sexual sins. We’ve seen today what that has bred: Disease. Sin isn’t just a “bad” thing that God doesn’t like, it’s something we’re not supposed to do so we don’t destroy ourselves. If those nations were not wiped out they would have mixed with the Jews as was seen in previous parts of the Bible. Those wicked nations were corrupted; man, woman and child. People don’t seem to get that the whole world was at stake. Fools judge God’s actions, yet say nothing about Satan twisting millions of people throughout history to destroy themselves.

    All the answers are out there; all it requires is the ability to read and the will to understand.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      I obviously agree with your sentiment, yet while people still want to comment or still ask questions, as difficult as it is, I will still keep on trying to explain to them. If the light breaks through to just one or two it will have been worth the effort.

  19. Kenny Vigil says:

    Haha I’m literally the only reply to your amazing article?!?

  20. Thank you for posting such a deep study on this little issue. God is good.. and His ways are ALWAYS right. People will ALWAYS try to (fight, block out, destroy, kick, scream) God’s word… and His ways. He is a God who will one day return.. and one day.. every knee will bow. Sometimes.. His ways seem a little odd to us.. but that’s because we try to reason God with human intellect. Not gonna work that way. HIS WAYS ARE SO MUCH DEEPER THAN OURS! Thank you again.

  21. Billy says:

    Thanks a lot for all the answers you have given. I did not grow up in the church and did not know for sure if God existed until my mid twenties. When He revealed Himself I knew instantly who He was (God of the Old T & New T) and now I am trying to learn more about Him by studying the bible. Many of the answers you gave helped me a lot with my understanding of some of the things that took place in the Old Testament. I have learned you cannot read one or two verses of the bible and expect to have a proper understanding of God or what is really going on. There are also readings that sometimes require guidance from someone who has really studied and researched it in order to have a proper understanding. I have heard atheists, etc bash God for awhile now over those things but I knew in my heart that God wasnt what they made Him out to be. How did I know that??? I have experience the love and wonder of the ALL MIGHTY first hand. After my experiences with Him, there is nothing that can be said that will make me think any different of Him. IF anything, the people that curse Him (obviously they dont know He is real or they wouldnt curse Him) and reject His existence make me feel even more blessed. Thank you so much, once again. Can I email you when I have a question about something?

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Billy, thanks for writing – glad it helped. Do feel free to e-mail me any questions you like. If during the Summer months you get a delay in answer don’t be put off, it just means I may be away for a week but will give answers as soon as I get back.

  22. Tim says:

    I notice in the comments here it talks about children, this somewhat negates your initial response here that the people had a choice to leave Israel, join Israel or resist and die. There’s the scripture in Psalms that says happy are those who dash the babies heads against the crag. My question would be, Israelites would’ve torn into this land killing all in their path that didn’t leave or join. Those children and babies though of the resistors (the natives that wanted to stay in their home the way they had always lived) were killed through no fault of their own. Why would that be justified?

    This actually leads in to another quick point and I’ll let you get to your response. I’m sure with this situation most certainly the children would either see heaven or whatever reward you believe God gives to those who die. However what about those in Noah’s flood and Sodom and Gomorrah. In those cases those were destruction by God’s hands in which the children had no choice in the matter they were essentially deemed wicked due to the acts of their parents and would not receive heavenly reward (per Jesus’ own words). This leads to a future event for those who believe in the Rapture/Armageddon. There will be the children who will be judged due to the acts of their parents. What would be your take on these situations of God killing children based on the decisions their parents make (and bear in mind in the old testiment God says he would punish three generations for the sin of one man).

    Thank You,
    Tim

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Thank you Tim. Can I refer you on to my book on the subject in much greater detail – “God’s Love in the Old Testament” which you’ll find by clicking on the sidebar. I am about to add a further Appendix to it on the vital reasoning why these sort of things had to happen, so keep an eye out for that.

  23. tom says:

    I am 100% Catholic and I practice it and I am wholly persuaded it is the one true religion and so forth and so forth.

    That said —

    My struggle is not necessarily how God justifies it, but how the Quran encourages these same things. Allah and God both order the killing of unbelievers in the Quran and the Bible, respectively.

    I understand that the punishment we endure is a matter of choice – the wrong choice. So I can accept that if I don’t live the way God wants me to, I will subject myself to eternal damnation. In the same way, I can understand a verse from the Quran that says that those who don’t believe in Allah or who don’t follow his ways will be condemned as well.

    What I DON’T understand is how both the Quran and (only more or less the The OLD Testament) explicitly say to kill. In this case, we are as good as Muslims. (Sorry, if that was harsh. Got nothin’ but love for my peoples on earth…)

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Hi Tom, thanks for writing. First of all I make a point of not commenting about Islam and the Quran, my focus is to be the Bible not any other writings. Second, you comment about eternal damnation: we are only dammed for totally rejecting God and His Son Jesus Christ, not when we make occasional mistakes – Jesus died on the Cross for all of our sins, past, present and future. When we sin in error, we confess it and are forgiven, not condemned (see 1 John 2:1,2). Third, in respect of the matter of killing may I suggest to pick up the link on my page that takes you to my book “God’s Love in the Old Testament” and give that a serious read and that should cover all the bases much more thoroughly that my blog does. Thanks again for writing.

  24. Jay says:

    //Yes, it was the instruction – to clear the land but the options were leave the land and live, join Israel or die.//

    god of war and vengeance (for the Jews) because at the time that was what they needed for finding the strength against the Romans . Look at what he did to the Jews. Had them slaughter all those people for what? Cause they had different beliefs. wow!!!! and to boot he had them do it before he comes out with the 10 commandments. Which then put them all on the Karmic Wheel because that’s all there was, Karma always gets you ((The Holocaust)) ring any bells? About 7 million Jews were killed for what? being different? Ring anymore bells? later the 10 commandments (READ THE FIRST ONE AGAIN) (THOU SHALT NOT KILL), Good thing he had them do all his killing first cause he couldn’t do it after cause then he would really be a liar.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Jay, thank you for writing but I sense a measure of jaded feelings within you which are not based on truth. May i challenge you to do some more reading to see if you might get some real answers. First of all can I suggest you follow the link on my blog to my book “God’s Love in the Old Testament” because that does deal with things in much more detail. Your words about Karma show where you are coming from and all I can say is that it is obviously leaving you feeling very unsettled – perhaps it’s time to leave a bankrupt belief system that only leaves fear behind it. The providence of God is a very different ball game from Karma and still allows you to be a meaningful person. As for the Ten Commandments I suspect you haven’t read them for a long time (try Exodus 20) for the first one is not “Thou shalt not kill”. The first four are all about having a real relationship with the One true living God who speaks into and acts into human history. (The ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is actually ‘You shall not murder’ which is slightly different.) You are obviously a thinker and a searcher so may I encourage you to think on and do some more searching until you come to find The answers that fit and which produce peace and goodness from the One God who is described again and again in the Bible as a God of love. (Read the book!) Thanks again for writing.

  25. John says:

    Faithcatalyst, listening to you trying to defend the killing of unborn children and infants is like hearing a politician justify a poor policy. I believe God is a loving God and I’m not questioning God because God would never have condoned the killing of infants and unborn children. The Bible is a collection of books put together by men and declared the word of God. If you read the Bible a person could only come to the conclusion that God is confused and is constantly contradicting himself. My love of God isn’t one that relies on a book, or self proclaimed men of God such as the Pope or any minister or priest. I worship God and I don’t need you or any MAN to tell me what is right or wrong. I’m confident in my beliefs in God. Why are you so reliant on a book that you have to resort to justifications like “It’s Gods Plan” and he knows things that we can’t understand. God message is simple and easy for all people to understand. But people like you make it complicated. I have no ill will toward you and I’ll pray that one day you’ll realize the broken path your on, and that you’ll be able to one day have a full joyous relationship with God. God Bless!

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Well John, I confess you brought a smile to my face. You are obviously someone who doesn’t read the Bible much (otherwise you wouldn’t speak about confusion and contradiction) yet you appear to hold a faith – but it isn’t the faith of the New Testament which is well and truly grounded in factual history and speaks a great deal about the truth and calls believers to understand the truth so that they can convey it. We live in a world where there are people who DO think about the issues that I am dealing with in the apologetic questions is this blog and many of them struggle with them. I’m glad you appear to have a firm belief but i would much prefer that it was a firm belief that is grounded in the truth of the Bible. I suspect that you never talk with non-Christians, doubters, sceptics or those who are blatantly anti-God, which is a shame because they need the truth spelled out to them, which you infer you are not able to do. The mind is nothing to be ashamed about; it is for using. If you dare use it some more, I challenge you to follow the link on my pages and go to my book about the God of love in the Old Testament and put some backbone in your faith. From one who has a remarkably joyous relationship with the Lord, may you too be blessed.

      • John says:

        You assume I haven’t read the bible, that I never talk to non-christians and that I don’t use my mind. On all accounts you are wrong and it is disappointing that you result to childish insults, mainly because you have failed to convince anyone that the bible is correct and that God would order the massacre of children. You choose to believe that God would murder the children that he created, just because it says so in the bible. I use my mind and reason tells me that a loving God, the God I believe in wouldn’t do that. If you believe that God would order the massacre of children, then the bible has blinded you from the truth. It’s time for you to open your mind and use the God given reason he blessed you with.

      • mike says:

        This is to John,

        We have to accept and base the truth as written in scripture, we can’t just pick and choose how we want God to be. Although it is clear that is really is an all loving God (but probrably not in a sense you’re thinking as the kind of “love” a father would spoil his children for example) And there are critics and debates over things we don’t seem to be certain about like why we think in our own minds, being lazy to do research as to why God massacre people and such. And hopefully faithCatalyst and other scholars come to some sort of clear conclusion about what is written in the OT with an open mind and no rationalization. So you shouldn’t trust your mind or yourself, you trust the Word of God.

  26. ahanson45 says:

    This was an interesting read. I enjoyed your answer. I’ve read every single comment too. I’ve been a Christian my whole life and just recently I decided to read the Bible straight through because I’ve heard that it gives you great wisdom. After reading this post it dawned on me that God knew what he was doing the entire time. His ultimate plan, every single thing He promised, and all the events of the world were laid perfectly for Jesus to come to the cross and save us from our sins.

  27. Ronnie Shakespeare says:

    Hi faithcatalyst

    What is your conclusion in what will happen to all the Innocent souls of babies that have died. for what ever Reason.

    I cant Imagine a God would condemn to hell souls of any new born babies that have died.

    According to Calvinists this will happen to some!!

    Just Imagine if you was in that position. You have had no concept of life. Now you find yourself in hell suffering eternal torment.

    Ronnie

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Hi Ronnie – good question. I think sometimes we try to be too smart or feel we have to have answers to every question. Very simply I don’t know, but one thing about which I am absolutely convinced, is that God is love and therefore everything He says or does is an expression of love. If you would like me to ponder a bit further there are those who might say that sins are what keep people from heaven but sin only operates in those who have conscious will to disobey God – which doesn’t include babies – and so they are not excluded. On the other hand I have heard it suggested that God knows all that “might have been” and therefore He knows what direction each child would have gone in if they had lived. Possibly a bit too speculative? Ultimately, I don’t know and am not afraid to say so – but I do trust God’s love. OK?

  28. StudentPilgrim says:

    I’m really glad that Christian Bible scholars like yourself clarify topics such as these. This is a subject I’ve pondered myself as a born again believer. Since I began university last September, my faith and the Bible have constantly been questioned by fellow students and lecturers. I’d love to have all the answers to their tough questions but I only know so much myself at the stage I’m at in my journey with God. This question happens to have been posed to me this week by one of my lecturers. But after reading this I feel just tht lil better equipped now to defend the truth at my university. There’s so much aggressive opposition to the Bible these days. Plus there isn’t any absolute truth in this world anymore. That’s why it’s so important that, as true believers in the Bible (the WHOLE Bible for that matter) we declare and defend the Word of God. Thanks and please continue to do what you’re doing in faith and service of Jesus :)

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Glad it helped. As you are a student and used to study, can I suggest you follow the links through to my ReadBibleAlive site and the book there, “God’s Love in the Old Testament” which is designed for those who want to be equipped to answer their detractors. Happy reading. If ever you have a question I haven’t answered, feel free to contact me.

  29. Truth says:

    . More Rape and Baby Killing Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children. (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)

    . Mass Murder This is what the Lord of hosts has to say: ‘I will punish what Amalek did to Israel when he barred his way as he was coming up from Egypt. Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.’ (1 Samuel 15:2-3 NAB)

    What your views on that. God is merciful he can’t allow to rape women in front of their husband or killed childrens in front of their parents.

    Thanks God none is following bible.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Please see my earlier comments. Thank you again for writing. I will use your list for the next chapters in my book. Give me a few weeks.

  30. Truth says:

    God is merciful how come he order to rape women in front of their husband and kill infants and babies in front of their parents.

    Thanks God none is following bible otherwise world will be ended earlier. See this in short. Do not delete this post.

    1. Kill People Who Don’t Listen to Priests (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)
    2. Kill Witches (Exodus 22:17 NAB)
    3. Kill Homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)
    4. Kill Fortunetellers (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)
    5. Death for Hitting Dad (Exodus 21:15 NAB)
    6. Death for Adultery (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)
    7. Death for Fornication (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)
    8. Death to Followers of Other Religions (Exodus 22:19 NAB)
    9. Kill Nonbelievers (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
    10. Kill False Prophets (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)
    11. Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)
    12. Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)
    13. Kill Followers of Other Religions. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)
    14. Death for Blasphemy (Leviticus 24:10-16 NLT)
    15. Kill False Prophets (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NLT)
    16. Infidels and Gays Should Die (Romans 1:24-32 NLT)
    17. Kill Anyone who Approaches the Tabernacle (Numbers 1:48-51 NLT)
    18. Kill People for Working on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)
    19. Kill Brats (2 Kings 2:23-24 NAB)
    20. God Kills the Curious (1Samuel 6:19-20 ASV)
    21. Killed by a Lion (1 Kings 20:35-36 NLT)
    22.Killing the Good Samaritan (2 Samuel 6:3-7 NAB)
    23. Kill Sons of Sinners (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)
    24. God Will Kill Children (Hosea 9:11-16 NLT)
    25. Kill Men, Women, and Children (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)
    26. God Kills all the First Born of Egypt (Exodus 12:29-30 NLT)
    27. Kill Old Men and Young Women (Jeremiah 51:20-26)
    28. God Will Kill the Children of Sinners (Leviticus 26:21-22 NLT)
    29. More Rape and Baby Killing Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children. (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)
    30. More of Samson’s Murders (Judges 15:14-15 NAB)
    31. Peter Kills Two People (Acts 5:1-11 NLT)
    32. Mass Murder This is what the Lord of hosts has to say: ‘I will punish what Amalek did to Israel when he barred his way as he was coming up from Egypt. Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.’ (1 Samuel 15:2-3 NAB)
    33. You Have to Kill (Jeremiah 48:10 NAB)
    34. The Danites Kill the Next Town (Joshua 19:47 NAB)
    35. God Kills Some More (Jeremiah 15:1-4 NLT)
    36. God Promises More Killing (Ezekiel 35:7-9 NLT)
    37. The Angel of Death (Exodus 23:23 NAB)
    38. Destruction of Ai (Joshua 8:1-29 NLT)
    39. Killing at Jericho (Joshua 6:20-21 NLT)
    40. God Kills an Extended Family (1 Kings 14:9-16 NLT)
    41. Mass Murder (Judges 20:48 NAB)
    42.The Angel of Death (2 Kings 19:35 NAB)
    43. Kill Your Neighbors (Exodus 32:26-29 NLT)
    44. Kill the Family of Sinners (Joshua 7:19-26 Webster’s Bible)
    45. Kill Followers of Other Religions (Numbers 25:1-9 NLT)
    46. Murder (1 Kings 18:36-40 NLT)
    47. Kill All of Babylon (Jeremiah 50:21-22 NLT)
    48. Micah Kills a Whole Town (Judges 18:27-29 NLT) (Note that God approves of this slaughter in verse 6.)
    49. Death for Cursing Parents (Leviticus 20:9 NLT )

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Why ever should I delete this post? What an amazing list – you have certainly done your homework well. I would recommend you follow the links on my page to “God’s Love in the Old Testament” which certainly starts to answer some of these but you deserve an answer that goes further than even that book – I am challenged to add some chapters – give me some time. In the meantime distinguish between God making these thing happen and God opening the door for sinful men to bring these things about. I cover the Law aspects in the book. The prophetic ones fit more what I’ve just said and they are more warning of what will come about if Israel carried on in their godless manner, but those were NOT what God wanted to happen. Again and again the Bible is full of calls for Israel to come back into a right relationship with God which would be blessing on their individual lives and their lives as a society to receive the blessing of God and all the goodness that follows that. “Don’t get take and get addicted to drugs” would be an equivalent warning and you wouldn’t get upset if I added, “for they will kill you.” A lot more thinking here, but one of the things i have learned is that we see what we want to see so often in the Bible and therefore we have to check our starting points. Thank you for writing.

      • Ronnie Shakespeare says:

        The Question i ask??
        If God is So against Human sacrafice
        people sacrificing other people as a Human sacrafice to there Gods.

        Why does he find it Acceptable to have a Human
        Sacrifice to Himself as the Only God.
        Judges 11:29-40

        Also the thought of Sacrifice of the only Son Of Abraham who was Issac.

      • faithcatalyst says:

        In the case of Jephthah God neither asked him to do this nor wanted him to do this. This was a stupid man being stupid. God is not impressed by our sacrifices. He is much more impressed by simple obedience to His will which is always for our good. In the case of Abraham, God never wanted Isaac killed, He merely wanted to see if Abraham would be obedient.

  31. Ronnie Shakespeare says:

    Also in Kings 3:27>The King of Moab>Sacrifices his First born Son to the Lord God.

    Yet in Leviticus there is a stern warning againts Human sacrifice.

  32. Ross William says:

    The historical account shows that the populations of the Canaanite cities conquered by the Israelites were subjected to complete destruction. (Nu 21:1-3, 34, 35; Jos 6:20, 21; 8:21-27; 10:26-40; 11:10-14) This fact has been used by some critics as a means for depicting the Hebrew Scriptures, or “Old Testament,” as imbued with a spirit of cruelty and wanton slaughter. The issue involved, however, is clearly that of whether God’s sovereignty over the earth and its inhabitants is acknowledged or not. He had deeded over the right of tenure of the land of Canaan to the ‘seed of Abraham,’ doing so by an oath-bound covenant. (Ge 12:5-7; 15:17-21; compare De 32:8; Ac 17:26.) But more than a mere eviction or dispossessing of the existing tenants of that land was purposed by God. His right to act as “Judge of all the earth” (Ge 18:25) and to decree the sentence of capital punishment upon those found meriting it, as well as his right to implement and enforce the execution of such decree, was also involved.
    The justness of God’s prophetic curse on Canaan found full confirmation in the conditions that had developed in Canaan by the time of the Israelite conquest. God had allowed 400 years from Abraham’s time for the ‘error of the Amorites to come to completion.’ (Ge 15:16) The fact that Esau’s Hittite wives were “a source of bitterness of spirit to Isaac and Rebekah” to the extent that Rebekah had ‘come to abhor her life because of them’ is certainly an indication of the badness already manifest among the Canaanites. (Ge 26:34, 35; 27:46) During the centuries that followed, the land of Canaan became saturated with detestable practices of idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed. The Canaanite religion was extraordinarily base and degraded, their “sacred poles” evidently being phallic symbols, and many of the rites at their “high places” involving gross sexual excesses and depravity. (Ex 23:24; 34:12, 13; Nu 33:52; De 7:5) Incest, sodomy, and bestiality were part of ‘the way of the land of Canaan’ that made the land unclean and for which error it was due to “vomit its inhabitants out.” (Le 18:2-25) Magic, spellbinding, spiritism, and sacrifice of their children by fire were also among the Canaanites’ detestable practices.—De 18:9-12.
    Baal was the most prominent of the deities worshiped by the Canaanites. (Jg 2:12, 13; compare Jg 6:25-32; 1Ki 16:30-32.) The Canaanite goddesses Ashtoreth (Jg 2:13; 10:6; 1Sa 7:3, 4), Asherah, and Anath are presented in an Egyptian text as both mother-goddesses and as sacred prostitutes who, paradoxically, remain ever-virgin (literally, “the great goddesses who conceive but do not bear”). Their worship apparently was invariably involved with the services of temple prostitutes. These goddesses symbolized the quality not only of sexual lust but also of sadistic violence and warfare. Thus, the goddess Anath is depicted in the Baal Epic from Ugarit as effecting a general slaughter of men and then decorating herself with suspended heads and attaching men’s hands to her girdle while she joyfully wades in their blood. The figurines of the goddess Ashtoreth that have been discovered in Palestine are of a nude woman with rudely exaggerated sex organs. Of their phallic worship, archaeologist W. F. Albright observes that: “At its worst, . . . the erotic aspect of their cult must have sunk to extremely sordid depths of social degradation.”—Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, 1968, pp. 76, 77; see ASHTORETH; BAAL No. 4.
    Added to their other degrading practices was that of child sacrifice. According to Merrill F. Unger: “Excavations in Palestine have uncovered piles of ashes and remains of infant skeletons in cemeteries around heathen altars, pointing to the widespread practice of this cruel abomination.” (Archaeology and the Old Testament, 1964, p. 279) Halley’s Bible Handbook (1964, p. 161) says: “Canaanites worshipped, by immoral indulgence, as a religious rite, in the presence of their gods; and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods. It seems that, in large measure, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale. . . . Did a civilization of such abominable filth and brutality have any right longer to exist? . . . Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than he did.”—PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 739.
    God had exercised his sovereign right to execute the sentence of death upon the wicked population of the entire planet at the time of the global Flood; he had done so with regard to the entire District of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of ‘the loud cry of complaint about them and their very heavy sin’ (Ge 18:20; 19:13); he had executed a decree of destruction upon Pharaoh’s military forces at the Red Sea; he had also exterminated the households of Korah and other rebels among the Israelites themselves. However, in these cases, God had employed natural forces to accomplish the destruction. By contrast, God now assigned to the Israelites the sacred duty of serving as principal executioners of his divine decree, guided by his angelic messenger and backed by God’s almighty power. (Ex 23:20-23, 27, 28; De 9:3, 4; 20:15-18; Jos 10:42) The results, nevertheless, were precisely the same to the Canaanites as if God had chosen to destroy them by some phenomenon such as a flood, fiery explosion, or earthquake, and the fact that human agents effected the putting to death of the condemned peoples, however unpleasant their task may seem, cannot alter the rightness of the divinely ordained action. (Jer 48:10) By using this human instrument, pitted against “seven nations more populous and mighty” than they were, God’s power was magnified and his Godship proved.—De 7:1; Le 25:38.
    The Canaanites were not ignorant of the powerful evidence that Israel was God’s chosen people and instrument. (Jos 2:9-21, 24; 9:24-27) However, with the exception of Rahab and her family and the cities of the Gibeonites, those who came in for destruction neither sought mercy nor availed themselves of the opportunity to flee, but instead they chose to harden themselves in rebellion against God. He did not force them to bend and give in to his expressed will but, rather, “let their hearts become stubborn so as to declare war against Israel, in order that he might devote them to destruction, that they might come to have no favorable consideration, but in order that he might annihilate them” in execution of his judgment against them.—Jos 11:19, 20.
    Joshua wisely “did not remove a word from all that God had commanded Moses” as to the destruction of the Canaanites. (Jos 11:15) But the Israelite nation failed to follow up his good lead and completely eliminate the source of pollution of the land. The continued presence of the Canaanites among them brought infection into Israel that, in the course of time, undoubtedly contributed toward more deaths (not to mention crime, immorality, and idolatry) than the decreed extermination of all the Canaanites would have produced had it been faithfully effected. (Nu 33:55, 56; Jg 2:1-3, 11-23; Ps 106:34-43) God had warned the Israelites that his justice and his judgments would not be partial and that for the Israelites to enter into relations with the Canaanites, intermarry with them, practice interfaith, and adopt their religious customs and degenerate practices would mean their inevitably bringing down upon themselves the same decree of annihilation and would result in their also being ‘vomited out of the land.’—Ex 23:32, 33; 34:12-17; Le 18:26-30; De 7:2-5, 25, 26.
    Judges 3:1, 2 states that God let some of the Canaanite nations stay “so as by them to test Israel, that is, all those who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; it was only in order for the generations of the sons of Israel to have the experience, so as to teach them war, that is, only those who before that had not experienced such things.” This does not contradict the earlier statement (Jg 2:20-22) that God allowed these nations to remain because of Israel’s unfaithfulness and in order to “test Israel, whether they will be keepers of God’s way.” Rather, it harmonizes with that reason and shows that later generations of Israelites would thereby be faced with the opportunity to demonstrate obedience to God’s commands concerning the Canaanites, putting their faith to the test to the point of endangering their lives in war in order to prove obedient.
    In view of all of this, it is clear that the opinion held by some Bible critics that the destruction of the Canaanites by Israel is not in harmony with the spirit of the Christian Greek Scriptures does not accord with the facts, as a comparison of such texts as Matthew 3:7-12; 22:1-7; 23:33; 25:41-46; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 19:14, 27; Romans 1:18-32; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; 2:3; and Revelation 19:11-21 will demonstrate.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Thank you, I agree. One small thing I would add in such notes, and that is in the text nearly thirty times God speaks about Israel DRIVING OUT the Canaanites and only a few over ten does he speak about killing them. Killing was the second best option if they refused to go. Thank you.

  33. Brian says:

    I ran across this site after doing a search on google.

    My problem isn’t so much the character of God, it’s the methods of God, it’s the way He supposedly orders people killed.

    In today’s world, you have the Muslims killing everyone because they think that’s what God wants them to do. Back in the day, it was the Catholics going at it. They would burn you at the stake for the littlest thing. Didn’t believe in the trinity? Away with you! Didn’t believe in transubstantiation? Away with you! Didn’t believe the Pope was infallible? Away with you! In America it was the Salem witch trials. Back in OT times, it was the Jews doing all the destruction. Today in America, it’s mothers killing their own children, all because they think that’s what God wants them to do.

    If someone came up to you and told you God told them to kill you, you would call them a terrorist, but in the Bible they’re called hero’s of the faith, purists who paved the way for Jesus.

    That doesn’t jive with me. Anyone who sees the oppression of living in a theocracy in the middle east or the terrorism it’s caused on a worldwide scale knows deep down inside what I mean. If God wants people dead, He should do it Himself. This business of giving people visions and dreams and talking to them is very subjective and it’s very dangerous. We are living with those dangers.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Good comments. It is slightly more complicated than you make out. May I recommend if you really want answers to go to my associated site http://www.readbiblealive.com and click on the book there, “God’s love in the Old Testament. Because of other requests, I am in the process of adding several chapters – two have just been added and I’m working on a third. “Ordering people killed” is only a fall-back position in most cases, for example in the example of Canaan God’s main call is to DRIVE THEM OUT and killing only occurs when there is strong resistance. If you find instances that I haven’t yet covered in the book, feel free to e-mail me and I’ll work on answers (which I believe there genuinely are). For the time being, chapter 25, teh first of the additional ones particularly seeKs to clarify principles. Hope that helps.

  34. Ronnie Shakespeare says:

    In the Old Testament: I would have to say God had his reasons why he flooded the whole planet killing infants and sucklings along with the Adults.
    Or the same with wars.
    I wonder why today the Jews do not still carry out old testament practices of Stoning Adulterers and Killing sabbath law breakers. etc. Or Animal blood sacrifices for there Sins

    Maybe God took the infants and sucklings into heaven with him. because i cant see a Just God condemning them to hell.

    Imagine if you was that infant or suckling that has had no real concept or no concept at all of life. Just suddenly find yourself in hell being declared evil.

    I am under the understanding that Jesus came to stop the old testament way of things and brought in a new testament way of things. So it is a bit of a mystery to me why the Roman catholic church thought they had a God Given right to burn heretics etc at the stake.
    I read in their history they decided to go after and kill about 2,000 cathard heretics who were in a village of 20,000 people. But because they did not know who was who in that village. They decided to kill and wipe out the whole 20,000 to make sure they got all the 2,000 cathards.

    Mind you Luther and Calvin who started the protestants were Just as bad killing people who would not conform to what they believed to be the truth.
    Also with Roman catholics and Protestants you have had years of conflict and killing right up to untill recently in Northern Irland.
    Some christians very recently say God told them to bomb and shoot people who run abortion clinics.
    I read about one Presbyterian christian whose 16 year old Son Got into a illicit sexual relationship with a woman who lived next door. She got pregnant and had a child and the Son decided to live with her.
    But for some reason his father decided it was his God given right to Go round to her house and kill her with a axe.
    Also using scripture to back up what they believe
    I can’t imagine today god telling me to go and kill people.
    I could probably kill somebody who was trying to kill me or family members. But that’s about it.
    Then i have had Some christians say to me i can’t even do that. They say you cannot kill anybody for any reason whatsoever.
    I am sure God does not expect me to stand by and watch a child of mine being tortured raped and murdered if a have got the ability to stop it. I could not live with myself Just standing by.

    Lately i have been studying the whole history of Christianity and found out that it was the Oldest Ancient Eastern Orthodox Church that was the first Church that was started in 33AD straight from the Apostles Peter and Paul. The Roman church started in 44AD. There were 5 patriarchs in the Beginning with the Roman Patriarch being first Amongst equals.

    Then in 1054AD the Great schism happened and the Roman Catholic Church decided to separate from the other Eastern churches and their 4 patriarchs claiming supremacy over them with their Pope and bishops.

    The Eastern orthodox church today view the Roman catholics as Heretics. because of the heresy of papa-ism, filioque, purgatory,etc
    Also they view the protestants that started around 1500 AD as heretics.
    The bible says the Sin of Heresies will keep us out of the Kingdom of God. {Gal 5:19-20}
    Lately i have Studied the word ”Heresy”in dictionaries and bible dictionary’s to see what it really means?
    HERESY>Choice to Choose:> A opinion or doctrine that is in Opposition to the> {Established, Authorised, Orthodox, Doctrine.} of the Church.

    The Eastern Orthodox churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople are claiming the are the only True Original Church that hold this doctrine.
    That all the rest of the Churches have fallen away and Gone off into heresy.
    I have discovered this Church is blameless and have never persecuted and killed anybody as heretics etc.
    They have been persecuted themselves.
    Lately i have thought about the Sin of heresy and repenting from it converting to Orthodoxy.

    It does seem Ironic that the Roman catholics and protestants persecuted and killed people and each other over heresies. Yet in reality they were heretics themselves.

  35. coeball says:

    The debate on this page has been fascinating and of a far higher quality than what you often find on the internet.

    However, there is a problem whith how this debate and debates about God in general are conducted. Essentially, we end up in a mire of agressive rhetoric in which neither side is able to meaningfully engage or sympathise with the other.

    Now, to throw in my two cents. I think people like myself would have liked God’s war against evil to be a clean precision egnieered event in which there are no innocent causalties or suffering of any kind. War in the real world can simply nether be like this,it will always be horrible and costly.

    However, this said is NOT meant to be some kind of blanket answer to any of the points raised, just a different perspective. It’s a conseversation not a battle.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      I like that – thank you! I agree with you for in so much of what I have written over the last two years I have dealt with the ‘mechanics’ of what happened and realise that rarely do I draw out the anguish of God. I have emphasised many times that God does not delight in the death of any man (Ezek 18) but that hardly touches what I believe His anguish must be over these things. War is hateful whether is is man-inspired, demonic, or God prompted, and where it is the latter, I believe. the testimony of Scripture is that it is a last resort. Not easy stuff. Thank you again.

  36. Ronnie Shakespeare says:

    What are we supposed to do when war is declared by a country against us and a country starts invading us> Germany+Japan?

  37. faithcatalyst says:

    If you feel passionately you should not take a life- join auxiliary services, if you think it is OK to defend your nation, join up. And pray!

    • Ronnie Shakespeare says:

      I do read in old testament scripture that God was behind some wars and other wars he was not behind. If this also applies to any of the wars that came after christ is Questionable. In the past many have fought in the name of christ. Also Exodus 15:3 The LORD is a man of war.The LORD is his name. The problem is nobody is clean after killing people even when God is behind that war. In the old testament soldiers who had killed people had to spend 7
      days outside the camp for spiritual cleansing for any spiritual and psychological damage and wash their clothing and pass their equipment through fire to be cleansed. Numbers 31:19-23. When Jesus Christ Returns he will make War Rev 19:11 and the nations will make war against christ Rev 19:19-21 but Christ can remain clean because he can kill by the word spoken out of his mouth.

      • faithcatalyst says:

        “God was behind some wars” – an interesting way of putting it. Your Old Testament thinking needs deepening, I would suggest. 1. Much of the time the battles Israel were involved in were actually defensive – they lived in a time rather like the 20th century (with all its high minded rhetoric about peace and hood will to all men and yet the worst century in history for wars – with no mention of God) where small nation tried to beat up small nation and bigger nations tried to eat up small nations (like Israel). The struggle you have from your position is not so much God as man. Take God out of the scenario and you are left with a very bloodthirsty mankind. IF (and you’re not sure about this) God does speak to people, when Israel turned away from God, IF he wanted to discipline them, it would be easy to whisper to the next door nation who were against Israel to start with – why don’t you go and sort Israel out. 2. Where the Bible does indicate that God was ‘behind’ such battles (and Canaan is the only one where Israel specifically went out to conquer a land without being under threat themselves)the purpose behind it is to bring Israel back into a place with God where he could do good to them and reveal Himself as a good God to the rest of the world. The affluence and prosperity of Israel under Solomon is an excellent illustration of this – a land flowing with the blessing of God and being a light to other nations of what could be. 3. Human designations of God – even if recorded in the Bible – are not always the most accurate – hence Ex 15:3 – Miriam’s description. We in the West life in a day where we do not support the death penalty – except when WE wage war. The destruction Miriam referred to had been God removing Pharaoh and his army from their uncontrolled attempt to wipe out Israel. Some thoughts on ;justice’ might be more appropriate here! For much fuller detail of the Pharaoh event, please read my book, “God’s Love in the Old Testament on http://www.readbiblealive.com 4. Any talk about Israel needing to be ‘cleansed’ after war simply accentuates that War was bad news – tragically the lesser of two evils in a Fallen World. God does not delight in the death of anyone (Ezek 18) 5. The returning Christ of Revelation 19 – as you point out – wages war with his words. If you study the history of Revivals you will see times when God seems to move sovereignly and simply speaks in such a way that people are convicted and immediately surrender to Him. A little more thinking please.

  38. Crystal says:

    Hypothetical scenario here but very apropos, I think. If God revealed himself to you and told you to go out and kill sinners, would you do it?

  39. Ronnie Shakespeare says:

    Well Apparently God revealed himself to Abraham and told Abraham to kill his Son by sacrafice. This was a Test by God to see if Abraham FEARED God to the point of obedience to God. Apparently Not obeying ANY command of God by revelation is Sin. I understand we all as Christians should follow the example of Christ to be a Martyr for Preaching the Gospel rather then killing. Because we LIVE for christ and the Gospel and not LIVE by the sword for Christ and the Gospel to die by the Sword. But Christ Also said to his disciples if you don’t have a Sword sell you cloak and buy a sword. Why do you think the disciples of Christ carried swords? Because there are other circumstances that has nothing to do with Christ and the Gospel such as wild animals and people who would murder to rob you that they had to protect themselves from. Christ was here for the purpose and WILL of God his father to be crucified for our Sins and not to let himself be killed by any Tom James or Harry for any other purposes.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Tutt! Tutt! Yet more shallow thinking. In the Abraham situation, TRUST would be a better word than FEARED because the New Testament says that Abraham believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead. Yes, from our perspective today, a horrifying experience but always remember that God never let it happen and, I would suggest, never wanted it to happen. Yes, sin is disobedience to God – I’m not sure what point you are making. I’m also not sure of the wording in your sentence about martyrs and not killing and what follows. Be careful when you quote that you don’t take it out of context. The reference to buying a sword was for a specific situation to specifically fulfil prophecy and by what follows,Jesus neither expected nor wanted the sword to be used. It is clear that Jesus had the power to avoid premature death when he wanted, without teh use of violence – e.g. Luke 4:30 Keep thinking, keep challenging – they’re both good to do as long as you are willing to think through stuff yourself as well.

      • Ronnie Shakespeare says:

        ”Trust would be a better WORD then feared”

        Not According to scripture!

        Gen 22:12> And he said: lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him, for ”now i know” that you FEAREST God. Seeing that thou hast not withheld your Son, thine only son from me.

        The issue was not trust! Because God Knew Abraham trusted him by having faith in him. The issue was ”fear”. God wanted to know if Abraham ”feared him more” rather then disobeying his revealed will and command and falling into Sin by withholding his Son.

        Hmmm. Jesus himself did not carry a sword. I would Agree with you that Jesus would have have the power to avoid premature death.
        Not sure if it is the same for his diciples protecting themselves from wild animals and people.

        As regards the Sword Issue and prophecy. I would be interested in seeing this Prophecy in old testament scripture by which prophet. where about is it in Scripture ? Thanks

      • faithcatalyst says:

        1. No problem – I was referring to the New Testament passage that clearly indicated that he trusted God to be able to raise Isaac. In Hebrews the emphasis is on ‘faith’ but in this context faith is an expression of trust because he trusts God to bring Isaac back.
        2. I can’t remember the initial point being made but I believe we often misunderstand “the fear of the Lord”. Fear is possibly better rendered ‘awesome respect’. Without doubt Abraham was the first person to work out a long-term relationship with God in Scripture and I’m sure he would have been blessed if he had been born a lot later and hear Ezekiel say from God, “I take no pleasure in the death of anyone” (Ezek 18:32) or the apostle John say, “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8) – but that is the nature of revelation; it is gradual and therefore the earlier it was, the more limited it was.
        3. On the sword issue, the context is Luke 22 and Jesus himself says, “It is written: `And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” (Lk 22:37) and his reference is to prophecy in Isa 53:12. The implication was the sword carriers would be ‘transgressors’ so let’s get you to appear to be transgressors.

  40. dudelove says:

    Am baffled at how we non-believers find the murder of children, the rape of women and the wiping out of animals, despicable and the Christians are kinda ok with it. Look at that stupid story about Job where his kids were killed to prove some point about how Job wud not lose faith in god no matter the circumstances. wat about the rights of his killed family? didn’t they have aspirations of having their own families later? I am from Africa and even we down here are starting to understand how ridiculous the bible is and how sad that people can actually take such writings as the literal truth considering how far we have come with regards scientific knowledge on how the world works.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      I really think denigrating other people’s positions inaccurately is not the best approach for constructive discussion! I don’t know where you get murder, rape etc. acceptable to Christians. As a “non-believer” I am surprised that you think Job’s story is even worth mentioning, but as you have, if there is any integrity in your arguing, I assume you are willing to go along with it as factual history. Some suggest that this, what is thought to be one of the oldest books in the Bible, is actually a fictional story to make some points. If you are going to go along with any of it, then I suggest you also accept the presence and reality of God – and of Satan who, incidentally was the one who afflicted Job. Oh, and just along the way, it was other human beings who killed Job’s family, not God. So God appears to give permission for it, yes, but that rather suggests a theology that you must be very uncomfortable with, that mankind left to themselves are sinful and destructive – as history (especially last century) clearly shows us – and just maybe it is only God’s restraining hand that prevents mankind totally destroying mankind. Wherever He seems to lift off His protective hand, all hell breaks lose – hell in the form of men killing men etc. etc. etc. The key leaders who released war(s) last century were not Christians but enlightened non-believers.
      I’m not sure where your final quip about science came from, but if you are a genuine thinker who is willing to listen to a really bright scientist, then I recommend you get and read “Gunning for God” by John C. Lennox and then you might like to think again. Happy reading.

  41. dudelove says:

    Am baffled at how we non-believers find the murder of children, the rape of women and the wiping out of animals, despicable and the Christians are kinda ok with it. Look at that story about Job where his kids were killed to prove some point about how Job wud not lose faith in god no matter the circumstances. what about the rights of his killed family? didn’t they have aspirations of having their own families later? I am from Africa and even we down here are starting to understand how ridiculous the bible is and how sad that people can actually take such writings as the literal truth considering how far we have come with regards scientific knowledge on how the world works.

  42. Ronnie Shakespeare says:

    ”What about the rights of the killed family”

    Is it the right of all human beings that God should protect them all from any death caused by satan through sin, sickness, starvation, catastrpheis, wars, old age etc ?

    • dudelove says:

      i think you seem to forget that their deaths would not have happened at that time if god and satan didnt indulge in a little betting game. And Faithcatalyst don’t get me wrong, I do not believe in god and i only bring the story of Job about to point out that what you proclaim to be a good and loving god is not good and loving and even if he did exist, i still wouldn;t think he was all loving and just. Do you truly realise that you are trying to rationalise the murder of babies and the rape of women? You proudly allude these actions to this god and you’re okay with praising him? Thats what continues to baffle me. Your god in his actions was showing extremely human traits and weaknesses of divide and conquer. Take a look at the Rwandan Genocide where the exact same kind of mass killing, kids, women etc happened, was the world disgusted coz god did not give the ok for such a killing? No matter how much you try to explain and rationalise it, the bottom line is women and children, incapable of defending themselves, were killed in the bible. But you know what makes me happy though? None of it ever happened. What saddens me is that based on these myths, we have a war in the middle east that will never end. I guess in your world, the promised land of milk and honey is a euphemism for mortar attacks and sucide bombers.

      • Ronnie Shakespeare says:

        ”Satan and God indulged in a little betting Game”

        So what was the stakes?

        Satan and God are at ”WAR”!! War broke out in heaven first with satan and satan has his ”many” fallen angels following him and helping him!

        What happened with Job and his family was to PROVE a POINT in the argument that is going on between Satan and God.

        Do you really think Jobs Children are grieved with the fact that they did not live a long life to old age on this earth While They are living in paradise in the presence of God. ?
        Do you really think they would rather swap paradise and come back to earth and live here for a while ?

        Satan is the GOD of this WORLD!

        The Jews have turned their back on the God of HEAVEN by rejecting his SON Jesus christ through the deception of Satan
        Only the ”few” TRUE Jews followed Jesus!!
        Satan has managed to form many different religions including many false christian evangelical sect’s.Through deception to get many people to follow his lies.
        The rest he manages to get them to doubt and disbelieve his Existence and the existence of God by deception.

        Jesus did say that many are called but only a ”few” are Chosen.

        You are in the Testing ground of ”Truth and lies” ”Right and Wrong” ”Good and Evil” ”Love and Hate” Righteousness and unrighteousness. Your own will or the will of God etc etc

      • faithcatalyst says:

        I’m not over keen on this concept of God betting on Job’s life and even more the description of their ‘conflict’ as war. I am aware that war is described in Rev 12:7 but that is between angels and we really haven’t a clue what that means. When it comes to God it is clear that angels are created beings and therefore any individual angel is as one drop of water in all the oceans of the world as compared to God. The Job incident is God initiating a series of circumstances by releasing Satan to act to create the circumstances that came against Job – but al the way through Satan is limited to what God permits – thus far and no further. Rather than repeat myself please see my earlier responses to the Job question. That God uses Satan is clear. If you’d like to see a list of ways he does that, can I recommend you go to http://www.readbiblealive.com and on the Series list click ‘Spiritual Warfare’ then part 1 and section 5.
        I generally agree with your remaining comments.

      • faithcatalyst says:

        I do like unbelievers who like to wind up Christians on what the unbeliever might call a fairy tale. If it’s not true, why even bother with these weak-minded Christians! Your fear is that just possibly, it might be true and therefore you’ve got to tease it out. OK let’s pander to your fear (I say it with a grin!)
        I would love to sit in a room and talk it with you for several hours because there are a whole range of issues you’ll need to think through.
        1. When God made the world it was perfect.
        2. It lost its perfection when the first two genuine human beings exercised their free will and expressed what we now call ‘sin’ – a self-centred, godless expression that brings self-destruction. The Bible also indicates that this sin also affected how the planet actually worked – hence hurricanes, floods etc., but the truth is that the vast majority of harm done on the planet is not through such ‘natural’ things but through the acts of man against man. We need no starvation, no wars, no killing, etc, etc. but they happen because man is not kind to man. If you want to blame God, blame him for giving us free will, but that is the cost of having beings who can enter into an experience called ‘love’ which machines could not do.
        3. When we come to the question of Job, you (and I mean you) have to see from your perspective this world from a very limited time span point of view. Because there is no God there is no meaning and therefore life is pointless and may last minutes or decades, but when a person dies, that is the end of it – a pointless existence which may randomly end at any time and when it does end that is the end. The Biblical perspective says that there is an ongoing life after death. For those who don’t want God they continue in a godless existence called hell. For those who believe in and want God, the continuation is in a God-aware existence which is wonderful. Whether people die at 2, 20 or 80 is in the long-term irrelevant. Whether they die from pneumonia, being run over by a bus or simply through old age again, in the long term, is irrelevant. You can jump up and down piously about Job’s family, but actually your world viewpoint has no basis to say they have right and it is unfair for them to die prematurely. You really do need to recognise that about your standpoint!
        4. Genocide is never acceptable and the things you cite are the works of godless men. The nearest thing in the Bible, often cited by people in your belief system, is that of the taking of Canaan but actually the text says again and again and again, God wanted them driven out of the land. They would only die if they remained and fought Israel. In other instances you find in the Old Testament, war is carried out by nations in ways men have always fought – with everyone getting included. Wars don’t distinguish between men , women and children as the last century has shown, but it wasn’t Christians who started and energises the wars of that century – it was atheists. I would be ashamed to belong to that group. Contrary to your description I do not take pride in anyone being killed and neither does God (Exek 18:23,32)
        That’s enough for now.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Wow, you are touching on fundamental ethical or philosophical problems now. Does anyone have a “right” to life? Ethics normally agrees that it is wrong to murder people but in the case of wars it is the lesser of two evils to kill enemy combatants. Remember that in all the things Satan appears to have the power to do, they are all granted because of the presence of Sin in the world and that simply means because of the self-centred, godless attitudes of human beings in what we now call this “Fallen World”, fallen because of our sin. Justice would demand that every single human person, being a person committing rather a lots of sins (understatement) throughout their life, deserves the death penalty. It is only the mercy and grace of God that stops that happening. Most of the list you cite and attribute to Satan, are in fact caused or brought about by humanity and all God has to do is stand back and do nothing and these things will occur.

  43. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find
    It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help
    others like you helped me.

  44. Stewart says:

    In Joshua’s case, he said God ordered the slaughter of everyone in Jericho (except for the prostitute who harboured his spies) and their animals. Why kill the stock? The animals couldn’t flee or join the Israelites. He also ordered that all booty be handed over to the priests. One family which kept some goods for themselves was also slaughtered after admitting their guilt. Everyone, including their animals. Then at Ai it was a similar story with 12,000 men women and children slaughtered. This time the king of Ai was forced to watch the slaughter before being beheaded and his body burnt. There must have been some grumbling about the booty becase this time his soldiers were allowed to keep any loot from the city. This was while Joshua was guardian of the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments which msut have been fresh in the minds of the followers of Moses.
    This is one of the biggest conundrums of the Bible and unfortunately your explanation, while well crafted, appears to fall a little short! I found it after taking a friend to my local church. He is in his fifties but hadn’t been a church goer and had little knowledge of the Bible. The Old Testament reading was Joshua and fall of Jericho. He was amazed at the slaughter of the children and the animals (especially the animals)! He came back with me one more time as Joshua’s soldiers continued their razed earth policy.
    I have my own faith and am reasonably well studied but am still finding this one difficult to explain.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Stewart, thank you for your questions. If there is a difficulty with the Bible it is that sometimes actions are not explained, or reasoning is not given and perhaps we then have to look at the wider picture. I think from our perspective in the 21st century it is indeed difficult to understand some of the things happening as recorded in the Old Testament. The ‘big picture’ in respect of Israel was that here was a nation that God had essentially brought into being with the express purpose of revealing Himself through to the world. The context for that was a relatively early period of history one that, by our eyes at least, was still remarkably primitive and warlike (looking at ongoing strife across the globe today you might think that not a lot changes!) So, as much as we like to have very civilised thoughts about peace and the well-being of mankind, the age required a nation to be strong or be defeated and so sometimes the principle of choosing the lesser of two evils in a Fallen World applies. Without the benefit of the world’s media looking on, the rule applied, kill or be killed in battle and, in order to prevent future uprisings against you, that meant kill everyone. In Israel’s case this becomes God’s judgement which was only ever brought where there was a person or people who would not turn back from their ways.
      In the matter of the ordinary soldier not taking booty (including animals) I suspect that the reasoning behind it is to prevent them ‘enjoying’ being a conquering people who might just kill to get more and more booty.When cattle were taken and given to the priesthood this would be because the priesthood has no other means of living apart from what was given them and therefore this was deemed a reasonable form of provision. It would also act as a constant reminder that they were God’s people and not just be free to do as they wished. God was training them to be this ‘light to the rest of the world’.
      In the broader context, we do need to remember all that I have written before that the truth was that no occupant of Canaan need to die – the option was there for them to leave and the fear of the Lord that proceeded Israel should have been sufficient to bring that about. No doubt in the case of places such as Jericho they thought that their big strong walls would be sufficient to resist this God and His people. Destroying all and sundry was simply a way of preventing people being assimilated who would undermine who Israel were, and this was a constant ongoing problem they struggled with. Remember the overall content: a special people who should stand out in the world to reveal the goodness of God in their midst, whose survival free from the superstition, idolatry and pagan practices of their neighbours was paramount. I hope this helps a little.

      • The concept ‘kill or get killed’ was made popular by James Bond. Faithcatalyst has given a biblical interpretation by saying, ‘ from our perspective in the 21st century it is indeed difficult to understand some of the things happening as recorded in the Old Testament.’ The OT concept has become modern as we witness today Bond’s concept is being activated in WWII, Afghanistan (after 9/11), and Iraq. One important factor that we have to bear in mind is that the OT rule ‘kill or get killed,’ takes us back to the struggle between Michael and Lucifer. Israelites had to wipe out Satanic forces which had power and influence on earth. after the fall of Lucifer. This was made clear in the attack of Canaanites. In Deuteronomy we learn that a besieged city outside Canaan is to be offered an opportunity to surrender. No terms of peace are to be offered to Canaanite cities; the entire population, livestock and possessions are to be destroyed lest pagan religious practices infect Israel.Paganism stands for Satanism. If you don’t kill Satanism, Satanism will kill you.. That’s what is happening today also, Lucifer is still at large..

      • faithcatalyst says:

        Interesting thoughts. My comment about it being difficult to understand meant that it is difficult for us to understand how primitive life was then and it was a case of tribe versus tribe so often. I don’t think you can ever justify bringing that into the modern world BUT if one nation is trying to wipe out another nation and the rest of the nations of the world refuse to come to their aid, you have an almost impossible situation and, as in WW2, it eventually comes to a place where you have to retaliate in such a manner that the other country capitulates. That is not a case of kill or be killed as I think this is being used to mean ‘wipe out or be wiped out’. That was not used in WW2 for as soon as either Germany or Japan capitulated bombing etc. ceased.
        I think your understanding of Stan does not accord with the Bible. http://sowhatgod.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

  45. Nehemiyah Bethel Yisrael says:

    pagan fools, listen Faithcatalyst is right: do you all know that we all are living in a pagan society right now, even the solar system is named after ancient pagan gods. this nonesense has been passed on from one generation to the next. this is what God dispise. idol worship is very much common place, look around – the pictures,
    statues etc of who man say is Jesus/Mary. no one knows what these people looked like. the only person that could tell you that would have to be over 2,000 years old. so now the most high will punish all pagans come judgement. remember hosea ch.4 vs 6. says my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, i will also reject thee & thy children…

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Yes, but say it a bit more gently!

      • Soledad says:

        One thing that I observe about you is you are very polite and humble! The whole bible things don’t make any sense to me, the bible is just Santa for adult ” behave well in order to go to haven”

      • faithcatalyst says:

        Soledad, thank you for writing. I can only suggest you try an experiment and read say Mark’s Gospel in the New Testament – perhaps just a chapter at a time. Before you start reading, pray and say, “Lord, if you are there, please make sense of this me,” and then read the chapter and see what happens and see what you read says to you. Read it as reading history – because that is what it is – but also think, if that was true, what does that say to me today? Give it a try and see what happens.

  46. michael t. says:

    God is all knowing,in the beginning when he created everything he knew everything that would happen through history,he knew everything that everyone would do.He knew everyone who would suffer eternity in hell,but he still chose to go through with the charade.In the end everything he has done has been for his own benefit no matter what he says.Our life on this earth is but a blink of an eye compared to eternity,so we have no free will,its worship me or suffer.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Thank you fro your comments. I would suggest that there is a difference between God KNOWING what would happen and God MAKING it happen but it all only makes sense if there IS Free Will and history is actually us making decisions and that is what Scripture does indicate.
      Example 1: “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” Acts 2:23 Did God make the people involved crucify Jesus? No, but he knew in their sinful responses to Jesus they would. They didn’t have to but chose to.
      Example 2: Suffering? If we had lived exactly as God originally designed us we would not do unpleasant things to one another, sickness and illness (so often grounded in human behaviour) would not have come in, and the spiritual forces affecting physical forces (nature) would not have caused the earth’s upheavals that do occur. We chose this path. No one has to go to hell, we chose it, even if by rejecting God, rejecting God’s design for this world, and by considering we know better than Him. No, life is not a charade (guessing game). It’s been spelled out very clearly and we choose what will happen to us so much of the time (or the whole of the time if you consider humanity as a whole).
      If you truly believed what you write you would commit suicide because alternatives to the biblical picture I’ve just noted, are utterly meaningless and pointless and if you really see that you would end it straight away. Fortunately most of us don’t believe it and as a Christian, I certainly don’t.

      • michael t. says:

        Thanks for replying.
        No I have never contemplated suicide,I live a perfectly happy life without an all seeing supernatural being keeping an eye over my excistance.I still cannot believe in a being who demands to be worshipped…or else.Reading through my first post it seems I actually believe in God…which I dont.A born again christian once said to me that if there was no God,what would be the point of living.I love my life,I love life.I see my son in my father,I see myself in my grandfather.Just because he is dead ,does not mean his life was a waste.
        I keep getting told that God is Love,well the millions of people who have layed down their lives for their fellow humans without thinking they are a supernatural being,and knowing it is the end for them,that is one of the wonders of being human.
        If people cannot make meaning out of life without the supernatural…well thats their problem.

  47. Tony Prescott says:

    Is it possible that in God’s progressive revelation of Himself according to His story (the Bible), that He is giving us examples in the OT of what doesn’t work (By work, I mean leads to an abundant individual and community life filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.) in order to lead us to the question “What does?”

    What doesn’t work?
    1. Man living in a perfect world free from any outside problems but choosing to live apart from God (Adam’s choice) doesn’t work. (Think commune.)
    2. Wiping the planet clean and starting over with a single family (think nuclear) doesn’t work. God illustrated this with Noah, the result was Babel.
    3. Starting with the perfect family and moving to the dessert with John Wayne doesnt work.
    4. Starting with a perfect nation and perfect laws while driving out the infidels doesn’t work. (Pick a nation…any nation) God illustrated this with Israel and the Cannanites. We learn in 2 Chronicles 33 that Judah’s king Manasseh was as bad or worse than the Cananites that they drove out.

    The whole of the OT begs an answer to the question “When is God going to fix this and what works?”

    What works?
    Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

    Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

    Matthew 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (How can we be more righteous than the most religious people known? Is this passage referring to internal or external righteousness? How can be be peacemakers if we do not possess righteousess?)

    2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    What does this righteousness from God enable us to do?
    Love God and Love our neighbor. See Mark 12:28-34

    What will the result be for ourselves and our communities?

    Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

    What is the consequence of failing to love our neighbors?
    Fear, Hunger, Poverty,
    See Zechariah 8:10

    • faithcatalyst says:

      A good one Tony, thank you for writing.

      • gerry says:

        The nature of God is Love. (1John4:8-9) God never intended man to sin we were created for him to live and have a relationship with him. (Genesis 1-2) when Adam & Eve were decivied and ate from the forbidden tree sin entered the world (Romans 5:12) when sin entered into the world that was Satan’s plan from the begging (John8:44) SIN separates us from God, Isaiah 59:1-2, Romans3:23 God is Holy (Isaiah 6:3,Rev 4:8)He can not associate with sinful man (Hab1:13) he will not allow sin to go unpunished (Proverbs11:21) if the people of(Cana) or any people at any time would repent and turn to God they would have lived. once again remember God is Holy and has to destroy Sin. the devil has tried, and is trying to destroy Gods creation (1peter5:8) if the devil could have kept Jesus from coming to earth as a perfect sacrifice for all mankind he would have done so. since he couldn’t he is out to kill and destroy everything that God has created that’s is why there is so much evil and hate in the world. people were destroyed because of there evil lifestyle (Psalms 94:23) not because God is unjust.
        Thanks be to God that Jesus sacrifice has destroyed the devils work(1John3:8) his death destroyed sin.
        God made a way of forgiveness (2 Cor5:21) if
        we look to Jesus we will be saved. (John3:14-16) this does not mean that all will be
        saved, we have a choose God will not force
        us to follow. as for children, God is a just
        and loving God knows how to judge people.(Isa30:18)

  48. joey says:

    Moses used god to give himself authority over the Israelites.
    Short and Simple,these are the people with extreme superiority complex,They are just a bunch of superstitious savages,barbarians who justified themselves under the fictional character they called God

    • faithcatalyst says:

      You sound angry. I am sorry you feel this way which perhaps blinds you to the truths revealed in the Bible and all the explanations I have given on line.

  49. Jennifer Bate says:

    I’m really trying to understand as I am a Christian but I can’t get past these awful slaughters of men women children and innocent animals in many places in the Old Testament. I saw today in Leviticus 26 that God men would have to eat their own children if they sinned. I feel very hopeless when I read every day such horror from a God who I want to believe is living but all the passages I see point to a cruel God. I am married to an Atheist and this history of violence and cruelty from Gods command do not make it easy for me to explain to my husband, as no Christian yet has been able or seemed to know the answer. If you can I’d be very grateful. I have written twice to Reasons To Believe radio programme and my daily Bible reading receiving no reply. Many thanks.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Jennifer, thank you for your thoughtful question. May I make four comments that I hope might help.
      First, follow the link to another of my sites http://www.readbiblealive.com and click on the book on the right side of the main Contents page entitled “God’s Love in the Old Testament”. There is a lot of reading there but it does seek to address the whole problem of ‘bad things’ in the Old Testament.
      Second, always make sure you read these things in context. For instance in Leviticus 26 note first of all, all the blessings that the Lord first displays, the things He wants to do for them as they work out their relationship with them. Then note that five times he uses the phrase (or similar wording) “If after all this you will not listen to me” (v.18)which indicates (as can be seen so clearly in a book like Jeremiah) that the Lord tries to get the attention of His people and again and again draw them back from catastrophe.
      Third, understand the purpose of discipline or ‘judgement’ in the Old Testament. It is always to bring the people to their senses. A careful examination of such things shows that often it is a case (as Paul lays out in Romans 1) that God steps back and leaves the people (and surrounding nations in the case of Israel) to their own devices. The result of ‘sin unrestrained’ is that people do more and more wrong and in Israel’s case it only took the Lord to step back to mean that surrounding nations would come and attack the vulnerable nation of Israel. What each of those ‘judgements listed in Lev 26 show is that the consequences get worse and worse. Now in one sense we might say they come from God in that He is sovereign, but in another sense they come because God withholds His hand of blessing and so in physical terms the world ‘goes wrong’ under the effect of Sin in it, and Satan’s activities in it (but that is a whole big subject of its own). The awful thing you referred to in that chapter was not an instruction that Israel must do this, but a consequence of a city under siege where famine and starvation follow so that desperate people eventually try to stay alive by eating human flesh. When the Law speaks so terribly, the message it conveys must surely be, “Don’t ever let yourselves get into this awful state – God is your answer, God wants to bless you, but in His absence life goes badly wrong and you want to avoid these things.”
      A fourth and final comment: we often don’t appreciate that hung on Israel’s relationship with God. In chapter 9 of my book that I referred to first of all, I point out that again and again it is clear throughout the Old Testament that in calling Israel into being He was seeking to use them to reveal Himself to the rest of the world and the way Israel related to Him would reveal what He is like. Of course His ultimate revelation comes through His Son, Jesus Christ, but throughout the Old Testament God seeks to bring Israel into a close relationship with Him and thus receive all of His goodness and His blessings. The Law reveals the good things that can come through this relationship and warns of the disciplinary action that the Lord will take to bring them back to the place of blessing when they drift away. The book of Judges is an amazing testimony to the Lord allowing them freedom to ignore and reject Him and the natural consequences that follow when He steps back and removes His hand of protection from over them, but then His incredible grace that comes back on their behalf the moment they cry out to Him. The message of the Bible is not only a wonderful picture revealing the love and goodness of God, it is also a picture of the Sin and stupidity of mankind that reject His overtures of love that are always accompanied by promises of goodness (blessings). The negatives of Lev 26 are the outworkings of the sinful stupidity (because it is nothing less than that) of a people doing their own thing.
      I hope that sheds a little light on your concerns. Do come back if you have more questions. Thank you for writing.

      • Jennifer Bate says:

        Thank you so much for your reply and advice. I am now starting to read your book which is certainly addressing my issues. I will get back to you when I’ve finished. So pleased to hear from you as have been praying about this question for a long time and also another BIG one is the problem of suffering, which I suppose most people battle with. Many thanks again for taking time to write and explain. Fantastic.

      • Jennifer Bate says:

        Thank you so much Tony, I am studying your web page. I need a bit more guidance if that is ok with you. Please can you direct me to some information regarding some Bible study which I do online, it was in Exodus where God sent a dreadful decease to punish the Jews for their sins, and I thought of the children dying ad it made me very upset as surely children have not sinned? The other question is that later in the chapter God says he will have mercy on his people and guide them into a land of milk and honey but in so doing will destroy all other tribes who are living in this special land. Ajust because they are in the way of the Jewish people? Are all of these other tribes evil? I gather they will consist of many women children and innocent animals. Why would a loving God murder people (mostly innocent) who he has created? One last question. There is a commandment somewhere in the OT and I am trying to refind it where God commands his people to strangle all new born donkeys. Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem, so this puzzles me. You see, I still need a bit of guidance and would really appreciate it.
        Many thanks.

      • faithcatalyst says:

        Jennifer – first of all an apology that I have taken so long to answer your questions – for some reason or other your comment did not register on my computer and I have only just seen it. You ask some interesting questions.
        First of all the matter of disease and judgement and children dying. You didn’t give me a reference for what you were reading so I can only answer in general principles. 1. So often when we look at them, ‘judgements’ are the natural outworking of the situation – whether it be an enemy invading Israel or a disease breaking out. 2. Romans 1 indicates a primary way that God works when there is a rejection of Him – He simply stands back and removes His hand of restraint from a people or the earth. In eternity i sometimes wonder if He will allow us to see reality, the world as it really is, and we will see that so often – in ways we neither understand nor comprehend at the present – in His mercy He holds back or stops things happening – people invading, disease breaking out etc. Judgement (and there are numerous places where this could be seen to be working) is simply Him standing back and saying in effect, “If that’s the life you want to live, then I’ll leave you to it until you come to your senses,” and the enemy invades, the disease breaks out, the storm comes etc.
        For the question about invading the land, I must for time and space sake ask you to read the book further.
        Let me give you a challenge: the Bible teaches two things: first that god IS love and second that God IS perfect. Read my latest blog here on that. Now look at any and every situation you find whether in Old or New Testaments and ask how can this be, why is what has happened and why is this ultimately the ONLY way through this situation? What do I need to find out here, where is my knowledge deficient? Can I encourage you to be a real thinker. I’ll say some more of this in a moment when I answer dudelove who I see has made some cynical comments for you.
        As for the donkey being strangled, it’s actually Ex 13:13 “Redeem with a lamb every first born donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck.” The idea of ‘redeeming’ something was a picture of ‘buying it back from God’, acknowledging that it belonged to God as the Creator-Redeemer. Donkey’s were considered ‘unclean’ (another subject all together) and so the Law was saying, “If you want to hold on to this unclean animal, then you need to ‘buy it’ back from God, so to speak, and the cost will be a lamb. If you don’t redeem it then kill it.” It was all about acknowledging God’s ownership. Remember it was only the first born donkey and so there would be plenty of others around. They key to understanding any of the sacrificial law is to ask, ‘why was this necessary?’ There are some areas for study for you!
        Thank you for asking. I hope I’ve given you food for thought.

  50. dudelove says:

    Jennifer, if your heart and mind were disgusted by what you read, chances are what you read was disgusting and unless I have evidence that the good lord had a private chat with faithcatalyst explaining why he allowed and encouraged all the murder, pillage and rape, then I’d have to say god does not exist, the bible was written by man to control gullible people and that you are denying yourself a life where you can explore your full potential by insisting on being held hostage by a very long and old fairy tale that agrees with and even gives guidelines on slavery. Think of it this way, some where out there, there is a moselm version of faithcatalyst saying stuff like it is pretty awesome to go blow yourself up and kill innocent women and children all in the name of allah. Like it or not, religion and the belief in god has caused more misery in this world than political conflicts though most of these conflicts have a religious foundation. Look at the Buddhists ethnically cleansing the Moslems in Myanmar. We had the Catholic and Protestant conflict in Ireland where thousands died. Religion is horrible. I am really sorry to have to say this but people who still believe in the existence of an all loving god who allows unspeakable things to happen are deeply delusional. I watched a horrific documentary about the Congo war where women were raped and the soldiers and rebels played games with the ones that fell pregnant. They would bet on the baby’s sex and when all the bets were in, they would rip open the woman’s stomach, pull out the half-formed foetus and check the sex. I projected this back to the good o’l wrathful god days and I imagined that this is the sort of stuff faithcatalyst defends. Free yourself Jennifer. Do not be a prisoner to myth. Faithcatalyst is giving his opinion on what HE thinks god meant by having people killed. It is a human opinion that can be easily made by anyone. As I stated before, unless he can provide proof that he had a phone call from god, then i remain firm in my conviction that the bible is a collection of nonsense and has no place in our world right now.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      (My apologies for delay – see my comments to Jennifer) Well, dudelove, thank you for giving us a classic example of failure to read and study the Bible. If I have any claims to getting it right (which I don’t)they would be simply that like many others I have spent a lot of time reading and studying the Bible to find out just what it says and I hope anything I put forward is completely in line with the facts laid out there and not just fanciful ideas of prejudice. I think you need to read more carefully because you will find God did NOT encourage Israel to murder, plunder, pillage or rape. Where there was war by Israel, their rules were very much more sophisticated than that. If you are going to jump on the Israel and Canaan bandwagon read the Bible, read my book, and you will see that actually God’s initial intent was nothing like that at all!!!! War occurred because of the people in the land. Read and find out what they were like, my friend! Your Biblically unfounded prejudices are screaming out when you mention slavery – something that existed in the world long before Israel and the laws about slavery, if you read carefully – and I recommend you read the Appendix 3 of my book about Hitchins’ book ‘God is Not Great’, about slavery. You will find God instructions about slavery are about care.
      I am sure you are right that many people have been killed in the name of religion. I am not the voice for other religions but the only times you can aim it at Christianity are times when those who are clearly not followers of Jesus Christ (who forbade it) took on the name Christian for political reasons, whether that be Crusades or Ireland. Add all those together and they will never match the numbers killed in the twentieth century in the name of atheism. Fact of history.
      You are confused by the teaching and originator and then those who take on his name while ignoring the teaching. I agree with all of your concern for the horrible things done on this earth, but they are not done in accordance with the teaching of the New Testament or the examples of the Old.
      You are clearly someone who likes to think so my challenge is put aside all your prejudices and read and study and find out the truth and then like so many before you, you will change your mind, or at least refine what you have written. I challenge you! Come with an open mind if you can, and ask what really is the truth, and put aside all the cliche comments that are so commonly found in the crusading atheists who so clearly show a woeful lack of Bible knowledge.

  51. Peace be with you;
    dear so what God? this is my response to your response to Jennifer Bate. God doesn’t sit somewhere and all time watching us what we do. rather than He did sent His message and that is up to us to follow that. if we don’t follow, whatever happen we are responsible.
    yours sincerely,
    Javad

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Javad, thank you for writing and I completely agree with you that we are responsible for how we live out our lives, but there is a suggestion in what you have written that God is not personal and does not have dealings with us. Yes He has given us His word, His message, and we are to follow that, but the Good News (Gospel)of Jesus Christ is that through the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, and by His Holy Spirit, we are able to have an intimate relationship with God whereby He speaks to us and interacts with our lives bringing good to them.
      Thank you again for writing.

      • javad Mousavi says:

        Peace be with you; My friend, basically we know all doctrine in beginning whether divine or non-divine are useful teaching, but after awhile corruption hand influence in doctrine and we will confuse. so, don’t you think, we should be careful and reviewer our original scripture if exist. Thank you for your time, Javad Mousavi

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