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How God destroys

Query for the Month

of

February 2008

Next up-date: March 1st 2008 (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 on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read!

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.


Question:

Joshua 6:20-21

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.  And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.  

 This scripture puzzles many who believe that God does not destroy, so how do we read it?  Did He cause the walls to fall down?  Did He order the slaughter of all the living creatures?

 

Answer:

This month’s query can best be answered by giving you a look at an article I had sent to me recently.  The author of the article has explained the problem better than I ever could.

 

***************(Begin Quote)

 

Angels of God destroying and killing

 

The following is a response made in a private conversation on Character of God topics.  I spent a little time tonight reviewing some of the difficult statements pertaining to the destructive work of angels of God.  I thought many of you might also enjoy these brief comments on the subject.  I know also that some of my friends have not yet been able to completely make this paradigm shift about God, (it takes time to work this through and realize that it applies both in the times before the Cross of Christ and after) such as the one to whom I am writing, below.  Others are in outright denial of it.  Try to keep an open mind and follow closely what is said. 

I'll keep praying for you as I hope you will do for me.  We are in this together.  KS

==>>

Hi S_____  and Happy Sabbath,

 

Well, we do need to talk some more about this.  I'll send you the books I promised, but before they get to you, I need to emphasize something very important.

 

1.  God does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Malachi 3:6
6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Hebrews 13:8
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

2.  Jesus said that He and the Father were the same.

John 14:9
9
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

John 10:30
30 I and my Father are one.

Keep these principles in mind before you say things like:

"I've always believed God never 'kills' anyone.  Well, I suppose in Bible days it was different...His angels did a number on some armies the way the Bible reads but...now days, after His sacrifice, things differ some I know."

When you say "the way the Bible reads" you are on the right track.  Biblical language presents some apparent problems.  But we have to get beyond the way it appears to us and we have to learn to understand that we must read through the filter of God's true Character.  You are also on the right track by mentioning the angels letting go of the winds.  This is the role of angels.  They hold back destruction by keeping forces in check.  These are the forces in nature, demons, and the passions of the human heart.  God works to save, Satan works to destroy.  This is true for the entire recorded history of humanity.  Neither one ever steps out of those fixed roles.  Jesus said that He did not come into the world to condemn the world (John 3:17) or to destroy mens [sic] lives (Luke 9:56).

There are statements in the Bible and the SOP that seem to say very plainly that angels of God do destroying work, killing work.  We have to say, "amen," and believe it because the Bible says it.  However, the big question is "how do they destroy?"  When we understand the principles of God's Character and Government, such as I shared with you and in my letter to E . . .  in some of those statements I quoted and when we understand that God never changes, we know we have to reconcile what appears to be a contradiction.  We must let inspiration interpret inspiration, right? 

So, briefly let me give you something to consider by example:

We can read that the angels of God destroyed the walls of Jericho.

God's judgments were awakened against Jericho. It was a stronghold. But the Captain of the Lord's host Himself came from heaven to lead the armies of heaven in an attack upon the city. Angels of God laid hold of the massive walls and brought them to the ground.--3T 264 (1873).  {LDE 243.1}

Seems pretty conclusive, doesn't it?  By itself, with no comparing statement, it would easily serve as one of those "hooks upon which to hang our doubts" if we should be looking for such.  Much like the story of David numbering Israel, where in one place it says that God moved David to do that wicked thing and another place says Satan moved David to take that census of his fighting men (the sin here was that David was glorying in his human strength rather than having faith in God to deliver.)  If we ONLY had the statement of GOD doing it, then we'd have to toss out the Scriptures, because they say that "God tempts no man" and this would obviously be an unsolvable contradiction.  OR we would have to say, "there must be an explanation for this, because God does not tempt."  We chalk it up to "Bible language."  Ok. 

Now let's apply this over here in our instance of the angels of God taking the walls of Jericho down.  We don't have a DIRECT statement here to clarify this very instance, but we have a comparison in the destruction of another city: Jerusalem.  We know that in AD 70 Titus' armies razed the city to the ground.  If you study the history on this from secular sources such as Josephus you will find that it was ordered to save the temple but the maddened soldiers did not let up until everything was destroyed and not one stone was left standing upon another.  Ellen White also makes this commentary in The Great Controversy pages 33-4:

     The blind obstinacy of the Jewish leaders, and the detestable crimes perpetrated within the besieged city, excited the horror and indignation of the Romans, and Titus at last decided to take the temple by storm. He determined, however, that if possible it should be saved from destruction. But his commands were disregarded. After he had retired to his tent at night, the Jews, sallying from the temple, attacked the soldiers without. In the struggle, a firebrand was flung by a soldier through an opening in the porch, and immediately the cedar-lined chambers about the holy house were in a blaze. Titus rushed to the place, followed by his generals and legionaries, and commanded the soldiers to quench the flames. His words were unheeded. In their fury the soldiers hurled blazing brands into the chambers adjoining the temple, and then with their swords they slaughtered in great numbers those who had found shelter there. Blood flowed down the temple steps like water. Thousands upon thousands of Jews perished. Above the sound of battle, voices were heard shouting, “Ichabod!”— the glory is departed.  {GC88 33.2}
     “Titus found it impossible to check the rage of the  soldiery; he entered with his officers, and surveyed the interior of the sacred edifice. The splendor filled them with wonder; and as the flames had not yet penetrated to the holy place, he made a last effort to save it, and springing forth, again exhorted the soldiers to stay the progress of the conflagration. The centurion Liberalis endeavored to enforce obedience with his staff of office; but even respect for the emperor gave way to the furious animosity against the Jews, to the fierce excitement of battle, and to the insatiable hope of plunder. The soldiers saw everything around them radiant with gold, which shone dazzlingly in the wild light of the flames; they supposed that incalculable treasures were laid up in the sanctuary. A soldier, unperceived, thrust a lighted torch between the hinges of the door; the whole building was in flames in an instant. The blinding smoke and fire forced the officers to retreat, and the noble edifice was left to its fate.  {GC88 34.1}

Now, I am leading up to a point.  Are we clear on how the destruction of the temple took place?  Human passion unbridled did this magnificent work.  Now, I am going to give you a quote that you can take to the bank and apply in the same way to other instances of "angels of God" doing a destroying work:

Men will continue to erect expensive buildings, costing millions of money; special attention will be called to their architectural beauty and the firmness and solidity with which they are constructed; but the Lord has instructed me that despite the unusual firmness and expensive display, these buildings will share the fate of the temple in Jerusalem. That magnificent structure fell. Angels of God were sent to do the work of destruction, so that one stone was not left upon another that was not thrown down.  {21MR 66.6} 

So, you see, now that we know the foundational principle of God's character and that He does not do a direct work of destruction, but that He commands His protecting forces to release and that is how it is said that God destroys, and now that we have a comparison of the destruction of Jericho in the destruction of Jerusalem, we can say, "aha!  I understand that God has only released the forces of destruction.  He doesn't have to actually do anything but step out of the way."  The only difference between Jericho and Jerusalem is that in the former, the destructive force poised for duty was instability in the earth; in the latter, human passion and greed."

We must ever keep in mind in all this, however, that none of this is arbitrary activity on God's part.  He does not just say at a whim, "I've had enough, you guys can take your licks, now.  I'm letting you have what's coming to you!"  No, this is not our God!  He sees that there is none righteous to give Him a reason to stay "in" and keep protection in place.  All minds have been set in their course and will not change.  Therefore, God honors the foundation principles of His government and free choice has its consequence.  He bows out, with sadness and pain to His heart, and let's the winds blow, from whatever direction they are pressing.

I hope this has been a wonderful discovery to you, as it has been to me and many others.  We know that it is sin that destroys.  God does not have to do the work that He says sin will do.  God is loving and kind and will never inflict pain, but He will not stand in the way of those who insist on having sin rule.  They will reap pain and death by their own choice and it will come as a direct result of not having God keep away the destructive forces that stand ready to crush out life.

This is not an act of arbitrary power on the part of God. The rejecters of His mercy reap that which they have sown. God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life. He is "alienated from the life of God." Christ says, "All they that hate Me love death." Ephesians 4:18; Proverbs 8:36. God gives them existence for a time that they may develop their character and reveal their principles. This accomplished, they receive the results of their own choice. By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy them.  {DA 764.1}

God is Good All the Time!

K . . .

oooOooo

So who really destroyed Jericho?  Joshua and his men who were filled with a blood lust!  Even though it is written that the Son of God authorized the attack, and told them what to do, we can know that He had to withdraw His protection from the city because of their rejection of His care; that an earthquake knocked down the walls; and that the men of Israel killed everyone, to God's great sorrow and the defamation of His name ever since

Conclusion:

Here are some verses that describe the holding power of God’s loyal angels, and the effects that can occur when they have to let go.  In literal terms this means that the Holy Spirit is no longer be able to maintain the nation concerned, or the entire planet of nations in the last days.

The angels are pictured as stopping the total destruction of this earth right now:

Revelation 7:

1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind [of total destruction] should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads”.

 [It was in this manner that a large part of the eastern world came to an end.]

Jeremiah 49:

34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against [the kingdom of] Elam in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, 35 Thus says the LORD of hosts; “Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might. 36 And upon Elam will I bring the four winds [of strife] from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation where the outcasts of Elam shall not come” [they’ll be totally scattered].

 [A quote from my library:

***************(Begin Quote)

"The earliest Elamite kingdom seems to have been that of Anzan, the exact site of which is uncertain; but in the time of Abraham, Shushan or Susa appears to have already become the capital of the country. Babylonia was frequently invaded by the Elamite kings, who at times asserted their supremacy over it (as in the case of Chedorlaomer, the Kudur-Lagamar, or 'servant of the goddess Lagamar,' of the cuneiform texts).

"The later Assyrian monarchs made several campaigns against Elam, and finally Assur-bani-pal (about B.C. 650) succeeded in conquering the country, which was ravaged with fire and sword. On the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Elam passed into the hands of the Persians" (A.H. Sayce). —Easton's Illustrated Dictionary]

        ***************(End Quote)

 


 

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.

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.

 

Next query. To be discussed from March 1st, 2008.

Matthew 16:

15 He says to them, “But whom say you that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but My Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also to you, That you are Peter [a little pebble], and upon this Rock [that I am the Son of God] I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.   

Acts 2:

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the LORD added to the church daily such as should be saved.   

Acts 7:

37 [Stephen said] “This is that Moses, which said to the children of Israel, ‘A prophet shall the LORD your God raise up to you of your brothers, like to me; Him shall you hear’. 38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the Angel which spoke to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles [the living word] to give to us:”

What is this church, and where did it come from?

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