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A fighting God?
Query for the Month
Next up-date: March 1st 2010 (God willing).
Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.
Some perpetual questions ....
Is there really an immortal soul?
Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world? Click here to find out!
Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends. It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read!
(when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in. Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )
In the meantime, try this site. And here's one where you can read it online.
Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
Query: How can God justify aiding and abetting men who fight & kill others?
Answer: (It’s a long answer to a very important question.)
It is undoubtedly a very great problem to some of us when we read about the Son of God supporting the men of Israel in their wars against the original inhabitants of Canaan. And also in their subsequent wars against each other! Knowing as we do that He spent most of His time in the New Testament helping and healing people we wonder why and how He could do that! Some have even decided that the God of the Old Testament is different to the one of the New!
I believe the first thing we must think about is His merciful nature and how He wants to save everyone who will respond to His call. He says of Himself, “I am the LORD, I change not”, so He must have acted the same in the Old Testament as He does in the New. Malachi 3:6. Maybe we are just not seeing it clearly?
Here’s a thought from my library:
We have all seen optical illusions. A familiar one looks like a picture of a vase, to some people. But others see in the dark background instead, two profiles facing each other in silhouette.
Behold God taking vengeance on Sodom and Gomorrah; the people of Noah's time; lost souls of all the ages, and compare it with the compassionate character of Jesus Christ, who refused to hurt His enemies. They should match, according to Scripture. But do they? Is it possible we are looking at an optical illusion?
In recent years a number of believers have had a growing suspicion that Christianity itself has, in fact, embraced an illusion regarding the character of God in particular the side having to do with His justice.
These students of Scripture have explored some of the questions inherent in the traditional picture of a destroying God, with the result that a whole new perspective of what constitutes His “wrath” is now emerging, fully harmonious with the gentle character of Christ.
Here’s the illusion. Without changing the scriptures (just as the vase picture is not altered), we may be able to see from another angle, for it all depends on the base you are standing on, your perspective.
God “kills” sinful creatures two ways – by His presence OR by His absence!
To sin, wherever found, “our God is a consuming fire”. Hebrews 12:29. In all who submit to His power the Spirit of God will consume sin while they are alive, making them into “new” creatures. Even after that they will still need protection in His presence, for God (and His angels) are “holy” or “dangerous” to humans because of His/their energy (glory). See Daniel 10:7-11; Revelation 1:13-17.
But if men and women cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them if they deliberately approach Him unprotected.
However, even when apart from God, if men and women cling to sin it will ultimately destroy them because the “wages (result) of sin is death”. Romans 6:23. The Son of God pleads; “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the LORD GOD: wherefore turn yourselves [repent and be forgiven], and live you”. Ezekiel 18:31-32.
God also “kills” by trying to save!
His very effort to approach people with His offer of salvation from sin often makes them go on the defensive and reject Him. On every occasion that this happens the individual moves a bit closer to death by refusing the protection of Life. So God has to wait for the right moment.
If we ask Him He will come close to us and protect us.
On the other hand, if we continually rebel against Him then He must leave us to our fate. If we do a bit of each, He does both!
Let’s see how this works:
When the Son of God led the Israelites out of Egypt He intended to bring them directly to the land of Canaan after it had been prepared for them. As we now know, they were rebellious to the point He could not do that, but had to turn them into the wilderness until the next generation, who might (!) be more receptive.
This is the record;
6 In the day that I lifted up My hand to them [in a solemn oath], to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied [chosen] for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: 7 then said I to them, “Cast you away every man the abominations of his eyes [their own choices], and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the LORD your God”.
8 But they rebelled against Me, and would not hearken to Me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, “I will [should] pour out My fury upon them, to accomplish My anger [the absence of protection] against them in the midst of the land of Egypt”. 9 But I wrought for My name's sake [i.e. merciful], that it should not be polluted [misunderstood] before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made Myself known to them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.
[They were to be His representative people.]
10 Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness [in that faulty condition]. 11 And [then] I gave them My statutes [oral laws], and showed them My judgments [daily advices], which if a man do, he shall even live in them [in an effort to give them a good life].
12 Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths [in the Ten Commandments - a symbol of spiritual rest], to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that [can] sanctify [separate] them [from their own works].
15 For some, when they had heard, did provoke [rebel]: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was He grieved [not angry] forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom swear He that they should not enter into His “rest”, but to them that believed not?
19 So we see that they could not enter in [to His Sabbath “rest” from their own works.]
because of unbelief.
1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His “rest”, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For to us [New Testament believers] was the gospel preached, as well as to them [Old Testament people]: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3 For we which have believed do enter into “rest”, as He said, ‘As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall [would only] enter into My “rest’”: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
13 But the [majority of the] house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness: they walked not in My statutes, and they despised My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and My Sabbaths they greatly polluted [doing their own works]: then I said, “I would [should] pour out My fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them”. 14 But I wrought for My name's sake [I couldn’t do it], that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out. [They all died of the result of their sins. Consider Numbers 27:1-3.]
15 Yet also I lifted up My hand to them in the wilderness [in a solemn oath], that I would NOT [be able to] bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands; 16 because they despised My judgments, and walked not in My statutes, but polluted My Sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless My eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness [but left them to their own way].
[It is the mingling of judgment and mercy that makes salvation full and complete. It is the blending of the two that leads us, as we view the world's Redeemer and the law of God, to exclaim as David did, “Your gentleness has made me great”. 2 Samuel 22:36. We know that the gospel is a perfect and complete system, revealing the immutability of the law of God. It inspires the heart with hope, and with love for God. “Mercy”, shown by the Son of man’s life, invites us to enter through the gates into the city of God, and “Justice”, as shown by the Son of God’s sacrifice, gives to every obedient soul full privileges as a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King.
[For if we were defective in character in any way, we could not pass the gates that mercy has opened to the obedient; for the law stands at the entrance, and demands holiness and purity in all who would see God. If the law was removed, and it was possible for divine mercy to open the gates to the whole race, irrespective of character, there would be a worse condition of hostility and rebellion in heaven than before Satan left. The peace, happiness, and harmony of heaven would soon be broken up again.
[The transition from earth to heaven will not change our characters, for the happiness of the redeemed in heaven results from the characters formed in this life, after the image of Christ. If we would be saints (sanctified ones) in heaven we will first have been saints here on earth. Happily for us, our LORD makes up for any deficiency we might ignorantly have.
[The salvation that Christ made such a sacrifice to gain for us, is that which saves FROM (not in) sin (Matthew 1:21) - which is the cause of all the misery and woe in our world. Mercy extended to us is constantly drawing us to Jesus. If we respond, coming in penitence with confession, in faith laying hold of the hope set before us in the gospel, God will not despise our broken and contrite heart. Thus the law of God is not weakened, but the power of sin is broken, and the scepter of mercy is extended to us.]
18 But I said to their children in the wilderness [the next generation], “Walk you not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: 19 I am the LORD your God; walk in My statutes, and keep My judgments, and do them; 20 and hallow [respect] My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God”.
21 Notwithstanding [most of] the children rebelled against Me: they walked not in My statutes, neither kept My judgments to do them, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; they [also] polluted My Sabbaths: then I said, “I would [should] pour out My fury upon them, to accomplish My anger against them in the wilderness. [I should leave them to their fate.]”
22 Nevertheless I withdrew My hand, and wrought for My name's sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth [He is working for all].
As we can see, He tried and tried but was refused. What could He do? He had to carry on with these sinful and rebellious children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who were the best He could get in the whole world, working from a distance through Moses so that they would not be destroyed.
He had told them (but remember the illusion);
16 “And you shall consume [“ingest”, accept into My family] all the people which the LORD your God shall deliver you; your eye shall have no pity upon [attraction for] them [or their religious ways]: neither shall you serve their gods; for that will be a snare to you”.
An example of this Godlike behaviour is seen in the saving of the life of Rahab and her family (Joshua 2), and all the Gibeonites (Joshua 9), although that latter move was by default. In one of the genealogies of Jesus Christ, it is written, “And Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab; and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Uriah [Bathsheba]; Matthew 1:5-6. The Gibeonites became workers in the sanctuary, as close to God as ordinary humans can get. (Joshua 9:27.
We must not overlook Achan’s death (Joshua 7), because he was attracted to their goods. Why was he (and all his family and animals) stoned? To understand that we need to go back to the earlier part of Joshua’s record and read there.
But before we do let’s step aside for a moment.
Why death by stoning? So that no one would be able to say, “The government did it!” God required that everyone signify their assent to the death penalty by actively participating in the execution – everyone present at the trial had to throw the stones. “The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall put the evil away from among you”. Deuteronomy 17:7. So testifying, and even attending a trial, had serious consequences. Better not to if you didn’t want to stain your hands with blood, or were afraid that you might condemn an innocent person.
Consider the case of the woman caught in the act of adultery and brought before the Son of God for sentencing. “When Jesus had lifted up Himself [from writing in the sand], and saw none but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those your accusers? Has no man condemned you?’ She said, ‘No man, LORD’. And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more’.” John 8:10-11. He who knew the full truth was not willing to testify and participate in the death of any one. He just offered His salvation.
9 And Joshua said to the children of Israel, “Come here, and hear the words of the LORD your God”. 10 And Joshua said, “Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites . . .”
[So he knew that God had said He would do it. Then we move on a few chapters]
1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up [besieged] because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given into your hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour [all the fighting men, which is fair].
3 “And you shall compass the city, all you men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shall you do six days.
4 “And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day you shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people [of the army] shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him” . . .
[This was the Son of God’s plan. Now let’s see what happened.]
16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the [seven] priests blew with the [seven] trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout; for the LORD has given you the city. 17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and ALL THAT ARE THEREIN, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent”.
[Where did God say that?]
18 “And you, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest you make yourselves accursed, when you take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated to the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD” [He is not covetous, so that’s the best place for them].
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass [and cats and canaries], with the edge of the sword.
This was the introduction the living God was given when He brought Israel into Canaan! “If you don’t follow Me you’re dead before you are even old enough to choose!” Where did that thought come from?
It was Joshua who ADDED to the words of God. He had been told that he could overcome the legitimate foe (because that was what he wanted and it would be fair), but He was NOT told by the Son of God to slaughter innocent and helpless people. However, from that moment on, the die was cast, and the LORD had to work with very faulty men and women who thought that butchery was the norm in religious disputes. That’s why they stoned Achan AND ALL HIS FAMILY. Joshua 8:15; 24.
What an opportunity for God and forgiveness they missed!
Where did Joshua get that idea from, and why were they fighting at all?
During the exodus, when the Egyptian force was destroyed in the Red Sea, the Israelites plundered many of the bodies for their armour and weapons, for after that we find the former slaves fully equipped for warfare. Why did they do that? Because they felt the need to act a part in the conquest of the land they expected to invade in the next few days. See Deuteronomy 1:2.
Regarding that, let’s go back to more of what the LORD had said;
17 “If you shall say in your heart, ‘These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?’ 17 You shall not be afraid of them: but shall well remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh, and to all Egypt; 19 the great temptations [tests] which your eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD your God brought you out [without fighting the Egyptians]: so shall the LORD your God do to all the people of whom you are afraid.
[The Son of God was not IN the plagues dishing them out as many believe, for He was absent, having been told to go by Pharaoh (Exodus 5:2), and consequently the devil had a free hand. It was the “destroyer” who brought the plagues to get God's people killed, and now in the last plague he tried to kill the Israelites directly, while the LORD “hovered” over the doors of the faithful protecting them. Exodus 12:23 and 8:22-23. Because of His presence, the firstborn of the Egyptians, who were either already the priests of their religion, or being trained to become so, died from the power of His presence. It was side effect which He could not stop..
Like Moses, God was able to come back after each plague. Of course, true to His nature, He takes the blame for all of the problems, but we need to adjust the illusion. It is Satan who does these things so that he can blame God for them and frighten the people away from Him. We should see that God then takes the events and uses them for His own purposes.]
29 [Then He said] “Moreover the LORD your God will send the Hornet [the Holy Spirit in convicting power] among them [trying to save the Canaanites, for their time was almost up, Genesis 15:15-16], until they that are left [those who reject Me], and hide themselves from you, be destroyed [by their own hand]. 21 You shall not be frightened at them: for the LORD your God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
22 “And the LORD your God will put out those nations before you by little and little: you may not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon you [You will be able to accept the survivors into the family and farm their land too]. 23 But the LORD your God shall deliver them to you, and shall destroy them [the survivors] with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed [God’s way, into newborn creatures]”.
This was in accord with His character, or name:
5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him [Moses] there, and proclaimed the name [character] of the LORD.
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and [yet] that will by no means clear the guilty [unrepentant]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, to the third and to the fourth generation” [He is absolutely just].
[Children follow their parents’ footsteps, and it can take a few generations to turn the family around. Some He can save, some He must leave to the fate they have chosen.]
7 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
9 And he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O LORD, let my LORD, I pray you, go among [stay with] us; for it is a stiffnecked [proud and arrogant] people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Your inheritance”.
19 And He said, “Behold, I make a covenant: before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which you are shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible [awesome] thing that I will do with you.
11 “Observe you that which I command you this day: behold, I drive out before you the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 12 Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither you go, lest it be for a snare in the midst of you.
13 “But you shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves [not the people, just their religious things]: 14 for you shall worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is “Jealous”, is a jealous God [He cannot share you with the devil]: 15 lest [in case] you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice to their gods, and one call you, and you eat of his [religious] sacrifice [join with him in worship]; 16 and you take of their daughters to your sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make your sons [and their children] go a whoring after their gods”.
But that’s just what they did! And they never did dispossess ALL the people, because they only tried half-heartedly. Only God could have cleared the land.
We must ever keep in mind that the LORD has to work with what He is given. He cannot force anyone to do His will, for that is against His nature, but when we ask for guidance (or even decide ourselves on a certain course), He does His best in the circumstances, because of the mind-set of the participants.
Of course, it is always the LORD’s intention to lead His people to a non-violent way of life, for He is good to His enemies. Matthew 5:44-45. In this He has had little success among those who profess to be His followers, even after He demonstrated it so well on the cross at Calvary! But He has promised that eventually His people will get it, and then the end will come.
One day, when giving pointers on how to live in the kingdom of heaven, He mentioned, “You have heard that it has been said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’: but I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also”. Matthew 5:38-39.
He was not changing the law, just giving it the correct perspective, for those words applied to a court of law and not individual behaviour! Courts cannot forgive, but men can. Here’s the law: “If men strive, and [inadvertently] hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her [she miscarries], and yet no mischief [other consequences] follow: he shall [still] be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him [if he desires]; and he shall pay as the judges determine [for life is sacred]. And [but] if any mischief follow, then you [the judges] shall give [award] life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” [which is absolute fairness]. Exodus 21:22-25. He was not denying the scripture, just what men had made of it.
And in another place: “If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; and the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; then shall you do to him, as he had thought to have done to his brother: so shall you put the evil away from among you. And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you. And your eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot”. Deuteronomy 19:16-21.
One of the greatest prayers of faith in the Bible regarding the thought of God’s way of protection is as follows:
2 Chronicles 20:
5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 6 and said, “O LORD God of our fathers, are not You God in heaven? And rule not You over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in Your hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand You?
7 “Are not You our God, who did drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the seed of Abraham Your friend for ever? 8 And they dwelt therein, and have built You a sanctuary therein for Your name, saying, 9 ‘If, when evil comes upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in Your presence, (for Your name [character] is in this house,) and cry to You in our affliction, then You will hear and help’.
10 “And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom You would not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; 11 behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of Your possession, which You have given us to inherit.
12 “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that comes against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon You”.
13 And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. 14 Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; 15 and he said, “Hearken you, all Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you king Jehoshaphat, thus says the LORD to you, ‘Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's’.
16 “Tomorrow go you down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and you shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
17 You shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand you still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you”. 18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD. 19 And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall you be established; believe His prophets, so shall you prosper”.
21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers to the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, ‘Praise the LORD; for His mercy endures for ever’.
22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments [walls of protection] against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir [Esau], which were come against Judah; and they were smitten [by each other]. 23 For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.
24 And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked to the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.
Here we have a very clear example of how the rebels kill each other when the LORD comes near them in protection of His own. Supposed slights, or old national hatreds cause tempers to rise and anger to spill over into bloodshed.
God’s way is the best, but once we have embarked on a course which the LORD has not advised or agreed to, He does not leave us to stew in our own juices as it were, but actively tries to help, all the while trying to get us back on the right path. He just needs the right conditions. “The LORD is near to them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit”. Psalm 34:18. Of course, if He is told to “Go away, let me be” then He must do so.
Therefore it is written, “Ephraim [one branch of God’s people] is joined to idols: let him alone. Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love [to say], “Give you” [They are always asking for money]. Hosea 4:17-18.
Especially in warfare, if we are willing in any way to listen to Him the Spirit will continually suggest conduct that will minimise the carnage and yet will give victory to the righteous (obedient) ones. (He can protect individuals on both sides in these circumstances.) Consider Jonathan and his attack on the Philistines at Michmash. 1 Samuel 14:1-16. Thus the God of love can appear to partake of evil deeds. It is because of this kind of behaviour that many of God’s people in the Old Testament times thought and wrote of Him as a fighter.
What a predicament for Him! If He doesn’t help He will lose good men and women! If He does help He is branded a killer! Only a God of great wisdom could steer a course through such a maze to come out right in the end – receiving a “not guilty of illegal interference” verdict. John wrote: “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvellous are Your works, LORD God Almighty; just and true are Your ways, You King of saints’.” Revelation 15:2-3.
You can begin to make up your own mind on that point right now, and be ready to sing it when the time comes.
When God protects His people by His (or an angel’s) presence, the rebels attacking them go mad and start to kill each other in their blood-lust. It could be argued that He is doing this deliberately, or, like the illusion, we could see it as a RESULT of His presence which cannot be avoided. Why not see it the right way?
He has to deliberately stay away from His people for them to come under the power of the evil one. Consider the cases of John the Baptist in Matthew 14:10-14; and Lazarus in John 11:14-15.
He knew in both cases that they would soon be resurrected – one to eternal life at His resurrection, the other into this world to die again in the “normal” manner. But both were willing to give their lives in His cause. (See Revelation 12:11.)
So it can be said that the Son of God kills by protecting His own, or by leaving rebels to their own choice. He has the wisdom to know which to do at any given situation. The problems really come when His people do things their own way, and not His.
But here’s a case of the right thing:
When Moses was away for a long time talking with the Son of God, the people asked Aaron to make them an idol so that they could see their God. He chose a young bull (the symbol of great strength) and they offered sacrifices and had religious meetings as they had seen the Egyptians do. Exodus 32:1-6.
This is what went on between the Son of God and Moses:
7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get you down; for YOUR people, which YOU brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8 they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, ‘These be your gods, O Israel, which have brought you up out of the land of Egypt’.” [Gods of force, aka Baalim.]
[We can see what God is doing here by the tone of His voice.
Moses’ recognised this and ventured to remonstrate with Him.]
9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: 10 now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of you a great nation”.
[So God’s Son told Moses that He was going to destroy His people for leaving Him and following other gods! He told Moses to back off, but he couldn’t do that while the people were in danger. His love for them impelled him to stand his ground on their behalf, for that is the nature of Christ and Christianity. He had no desire for his family alone to be saved, any more than the Son of God could rest with only the loyal angels.]
11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, why does Your wrath wax hot against Your people, which YOU have brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?’
“Turn from Your fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Your people!
13 “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel [Jacob], Your servants, to whom You swear by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give to your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever’.”
[Moses thought that destroying them was not a good idea, and not in line with what he would do if he had the chance. So he ARGUED respectfully with the LORD and told Him that according to His word He should change His mind! What a man! What a God! He didn’t intend to do that of course, but He was trying Moses out to show the universe what kind of a person he was. He knew He would resurrect Moses into heaven soon and they needed to believe that they would be safe with him there.]
14 And the LORD repented of the evil which He thought to do to His people.
Even Balaam the apostate prophet of God knew that about God. He said, “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: has He said, and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19.
“I am the LORD, I change not”. He was the same in the Old Testament as He is in the New. We just need to see correctly. Wherever men came near God while willfully cherishing evil, they were destroyed by their own action.
Thus, at the second advent of Christ the wicked shall be consumed “with the Spirit of His mouth [His words]”, and destroyed “with the brightness of His coming [His energy field]”. 2 Thessalonians 2:8. It is certainly not God’s intention to actively punish anyone. It is the light of the glory of God, which imparts life to the righteous in the resurrection, which will cause the rebels to kill each other.
Of the Lake of Fire it is written: “And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people [the rebels] that have fought against Jerusalem [His people of all ages]; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. [Their DNA strands will unravel without His upholding power.] And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour” [and He will be powerless to stop it!] Zechariah 14:12-13.
The same power which resurrects His people will kill those who have rejected Him! Should He stay away so that rebellious men and women can live longer? No! By totally rejecting Him at the Close of Probation they have already commenced destroying each other, and in mercy He now accelerates that process!!
This is His sacrifice!
Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Next query. To be discussed from March 1st 2010,
How is it that pastors and others can work on Sabbath while we have to stop work? They get paid for that day.
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