PART 3: GOD SETS THE PRECEDENT
Gen. James Green
ET’S GO all the way back to Genesis 6:1:
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them (v. 1)... and the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not always strive with man’...(v. 3). And God saw that the WICKEDNESS of man was GREAT in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only EVIL continually (v. 5)...And the LORD said, ‘I will DESTROY man whom I have created...’(v. 7). But Noah found grace (v. 8)... and God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was CORRUPT; for all flesh had CORRUPTED his way (v. 12)...the end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with VIOLENCE through them; and behold, I will DESTROY them with the earth (v. 13)...”
We can’t miss the WHY here. Chapter 7 moves us to the “divine genocide”:
“And ALL flesh died that moved upon the earth (v.21)...All in whose nostril was the breath of life of all that was in the dry land died (v. 22)...And every living substance was destroyed...Noah (and family) only remained alive” (v.23). No hyperbolic language here. ALL that were NOT in the Ark of God perished in the flood!
Peter wrote about this first genocidal act (2 Pet 2:5); the author of Hebrews wrote about it (11:7), Jesus spoke of it (Mt. 24:37-39).
Were these people “innocent?” No! Even Jesus alluded to the gross sin when He said, “For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came and took them ALL away...” (vv.38, 39). Some see nothing wrong with what Jesus described above. Closer research would reveal that their festivities could have included same-sex marriages! I think they went beyond this into marrying their gods/goddesses!
But my point in all this is that “ALL FLESH had CORRUPTED HIS WAY” (Gen. 6:12). God had Noah preach to the people some 120 years before He judged the guilty!
Peter wrote concerning the old world, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5); “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with filthy conversation (lifestyle is better here) of the wicked”—the lust of uncleanness, “But these (sodomites), as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed... shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (vv. 6-12). No hyperbolic language here. ALL perished in Sodom and Gomorrha and the 5 cities of the plains.
Our homosexual critics try to convince us that they were destroyed for inhospitality. HA! They were destroyed, utterly destroyed, for SEX CRIMES.
Genesis 18:20 says, “...the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their SIN is very GRIEVOUS.”
Take time to ponder all these. Before God utterly destroyed those sin-infested cities, Abraham pled with God for mercy. Read Gen.18:22-33, there were not even TEN, men, women, and children that God considered clean. Was God just in destroying ALL those people (read 19:24-25)? Hence, our second genocide recorded.
GOD AND GOD ALONE DID THE DESTRUCTION:
in the universal flood,
in drowning the Egyptian army.
NO ONE WAS “GUILTY” OF GENOCIDE HERE.
CRITICS LIKE DAWKINS accuse Israel (and God, of course!) of bloody massacres carried out with xenophobic relish! How does he know this? Does he read hearts/minds too? Actually those acts were well-thought out and carried out under the sanction of their God. One only needs to read the War accounts of Ancient Near East’s major empires: they are gory and brutal indeed—killing men, women, and children. The Neo-Assyrian annals of Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC), describes in detail the flaying of living victims, impaling others while alive, gouging out eyes, cutting off human limbs, e.g. heads, feet, hands etc. These very acts are being done--as I write this (Jan. 11, 2017)—BY THE ISLAMIC JIHADISTS. I personally have seen Islamic destruction (in Nigeria, W. Africa where a whole city was set ablaze and over 5,000 murdered. Also, we have, over the years, had ACMTC soldiers murdered by Muslim psychos!)
Why don’t our critics cite what pagans do to Christians?—what the Canaanites did to Israel on occasion?
In fact, most battles sanctioned by Yahweh beyond the time of Joshua, were defensive, not offensive. Those offensive ones were for that particular time period. It must be said that while certain offensive battles took place during the time of Judges, and under Daniel and beyond, these were not commended as “ideal” or “exemplary” (see Hess, “War in the Hebrew Bible,” p.30).
Fighting was a way of life in those years—fighting for survival was not considered an adventure, it was a way of life...sadly.
THOSE WHO BELIEVE that the texts where we find “utterly destroy” are “hyperbolic,” firstly, can’t accept that God ordered such deadly acts. They point us to the author’s writing styles, literary genres, human endeavors etc. In most cases they claim that those texts are figurative, and not to be interpreted literally...I agree—if we’re to take the Bible as a whole, but some texts are pretty literal. I also agree that the Canaanite War was for that period of time, and not to be repeated (entirely) in future times. While it is true that the word “destroy” (shamad, Strong’s H8045) can have several meanings, God even threatened to “destroy” His own Israel—as He did the Canaanites—if they practiced the same sins/abominations. How so? Not by literal obliteration, but by removing Israel from their land to another land.
On the other hand, we hear Jesus tell the religious leaders, “...destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn 2:19). The verb “destroy” (Strong’s G3089, loo-o/λύω) means, “to loosen, break, dissolve, put off.” Only Jesus’ body was “KILLED,” His Spirit was untouched. The point being, humanly speaking, that Jesus was destroyed by death...His physical life dissolved!
Matthew 10:28 is a New Testament text that liberals/atheists HATE!: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to DESTROY both soul and body in hell.” I have argued, over the years, that the word “destroy” here does not, DOES NOT!, mean annihilation. We know the WHOLE person will suffer in Gehenna (i.e., Lake of Fire): soul, spirit, and body, without dissolving (write for our many HELL booklets/DVDs—free).
The (Greek) verb “destroy” here is apollumi (Strong’s G622, ἀπόλλυμι), which means, “to perish, lose, die, mar etc.” None of these definitions include annihilation.
OUR CRITICS ADMIT that when the Babylonian army “destroyed” Jerusalem, all cooperative Jews were spared (see Jer. 38:2, 17). The Jews were not “annihilated,” they were “destroyed” as a WHOLE people. The same went for the Canaanites. When the order was given to “drive out,” “cast out,” only those who remained were killed with the sword—they were LITERALLY DESTROYED. Those who fled (some men, women, boys, girls, etc.) lived to see another day.
Utter annihilation was not intended then or now. Jeremiah give us insight to all this: “At the sound of the horseman and bowman every city flees; they go into the thickets and climb among the rocks; every city is forsaken, and no man dwells in them” (Jer. 4:29).
Did Jeremiah mean ALL the people left, or ALL the ones that were not to engage the enemy?
Back up to 4:27: “For thus hath the LORD said, ‘the WHOLE land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.’” Some scholars believe this to be a “mitigating loss.” Even if it is not, we do find sayings like this elsewhere. We could call this a hyperbolic text, meaning that MOST of the land will be desolate (of people), but God will leave SOME left (to repopulate later). 4:29 would be considered hyperbolic. Upon seeing the invading Babylonian army, many panicked and fled. We know Jerusalem (v. 30) saw great destruction—many were killed, many take captive, and their whole city (nearly) destroyed.
Isaiah 2:12 gives us a glimpse: “For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low”—only certain ones, not ALL. Isaiah 2:19 says, “And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for FEAR OF THE LORD.” Chapter 3 of Isaiah goes into detail concerning Jerusalem’s punishment. It says in v. 25 that “thy men (left in the city to defend it) shall fall by the sword, and the mighty in the war.” We know that the many women, girls, boys, and infants that did not flee, suffered greatly at the hands of the Babylonians.
HERE WE HAVE the LORD grieved about the sinfulness of Israel. The Words of the LORD are pointed and sharp; He gives a dark prediction of Israel’s fate. Ezekiel points out that God’s WRATH is directed against the men, the sons, the daughters (infants too?), and ALL were to be punished! ALL! But, “...therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters...” (v. 22-23). We don’t have an “utterly destroy” situation here, but only a partial. But my point is that the children (some) would suffer and die as well as the men and women, “they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity...” (v. 10). The reason is given in v. 11: “That the house of Israel may GO NO MORE ASTRAY from ME...”
Ezekiel 5:17 says, “So will I send upon you famine, and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee, and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it” (KJV). The RSV says, “Wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children...” DID GOD REGARD THE CHILDREN AS “HANDS OFF?” NO!
We see the same judgment in Lev. 26:22, “...wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children...” These are NOT metaphorical folks.
WHILE GOD IS LOVING, MERCIFUL, AND COMPASSIONATE, HE IS ALSO WRATHFUL AND PASSES JUDGMENT upon men, women, and children—both the pagan and His own people.
One scholar puts it this way: “God not only permits certain conditions because of hardened human hearts (as in Matt 19:8), but He also issues certain difficult commands because of the hardness of human hearts (as in Mk 10: 2-5).” God pleads with His people to “REPENT,” but He also strikes them if they do not.
Why has the Church watered down all this? Why have they presented the “love” side, but deny the “hate” side of God? He asks, “...Why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11). The first part of this verse says, “...As I live, saith the Lord God, I have NO PLEASURE in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked TURN from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your EVIL WAYS.” God wants His creation to LIVE, not DIE!!
Even the last King of Judah, King Zedekiah, was presented with the option of repenting (Jer. 27:13). The language is the same as Ezekiel’s. Jeremiah wrote in Lam. 3:31-33 that, “...the LORD will not cast off forever; But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Then in verse 43 Jeremiah says, “Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou has slain, thou has not pitied.” Here we see both sides of the LORD being displayed.
Another theologian has said that God isn’t wrathful IN SPITE of being love...HE IS WRATHFUL BECAUSE HE IS LOVE.
Non-Hyperbolic Language Continued
EVEN LIBERAL or semi-liberal scholars have to take Judges 20-21 as non-hyperbolic. After the Massacre of the Benjaminites, only a few hundred were left (who escaped). The soldiers’ wives and children were killed. Judges 21:10 says that the people of Jabeshgilead were slain with the sword including the women and children! Verse 11 says, “...ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.” Verse 12 speaks of virgins that were spared, and later given to the men. The genocide was against the men and the women who were not virgins.
HERE AGAIN we read of the killing of all the boys and every woman who was not a virgin (Numbers 31). The girl virgins were again spared.
Scholars warn us of the rhetorical exaggeration concerning the numbers, i.e., 32,000 maidens etc. They point out (and I have studied it out) that these numbers are absurd. The Bible uses numbers that are certainly exaggerated. But it was a common practice for them to use hyperbolic numbers (you might want to read Jacob Milgram’s Book, “Numbers,” a Jewish Pub. Society, 1990).
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