God-Driven Killings in the Old Testament
It was in the days of the 12 tribes of Israel after they came out of the desert and arrived at the promised land. Recall the 12 tribes of Israel left Egypt with Moses when he performed all those powerful miracles, including splitting the red sea, and allowing the Jewish people to cross on dry ground. Then years later when they got out of the desert and arrived at the promised land. The land was occupied by pagan civilizations with all kinds of detestable practices and sinful rituals, example burning babies in the fire as sacrifice to their gods. God ordered the Jewish people to eliminate them and take their place.
But believe me! There is a good explanation. Please be patient and take a close look here. This is another painful subject that churches usually avoid, but I will provide my perspective from reading the Bible.
I hear those God-haters say, "what kind of a God gives orders to people to wipe out whole cities and villages including women and children, and at the same time one of His commandments says 'you shall not kill'"? Fair question, for people who don't know God. This is the reason for this page.
I'll start with an analogy. Today, if someone is diagnosed with cancer, what is the normal course of action. Usually start with something like chemo-therapy, which destroys the good and the bad cells in the body. Large number of good cells in the body destroyed in the process, for what? To save the whole body by ridding it of bad cells. In a way, this was the scenario in those days - "cancerous" civilizations growing. Removing them was the best solution to perform the treatment surgically. Recall, God had swore to never wipe out large-scale again after the Noah flood. Genesis 9:11 "never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
Reasons for God's Actions in the Old-Testament
Rid the world of horror civilizations, sacrificing their babies in the fire, that would have otherwise continued growing to this day.
Avoid their influence on God's Jewish people in those days, paving the way to the coming of Jesus.
Tribes Performing Abhorrent Rituals
In those days, thousands of years BC, the world was still in the early stages of forming civilizations. And there were several societies actively worshipping idols and presenting their babies to them as sacrifices in the fire. Check history books for yourself, and the Bible references below. Look at the Phoenician tribe for example. They aggressively performed this abhorrent practice to idols. How would you like it if that civilization grew to a big country today, protective of their ancestral religious rights and are still practicing burning babies in the fire to their gods! A what-if scenario that could have happened!
God saw it, and put an end to it, right then and there. Yes some innocent people had to die, and some remnants survived, but no chance of this cancer to re-grow. Then at the same time, the Jewish people He was nursing, took their place and prospered in God's direction. And the end result today, although not a perfect world, a much better world compared to what it would have been otherwise. And the most important result of all this is, we have a sin-redemption plan through Jesus. All we have to do is see it clearly and accept it to become forgiven, and reconciled with God.
Bible References to "Horrible Civilizations Sacrificing their Babies in the Fire"
“You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.”
“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.”
Whole Civilizations Under Judgement
There were other civilizations with equally bad sinful practices at that time, which God saw best to terminate. These were similar to the likes of Sodom and Gomorrah of the Abraham days. These civilizations were so sinful and hopeless in terms of never turning to God that He only saw one solution - eliminate them to avoid their influence on the Jewish people. God is the only one qualified to judge like this. Because He can see all the way into the core of each individual. One clear verse on this was Leviticus 20:23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. God said that after He had just finished listing all the detestable sexual acts they're not to do (Leviticus 20:10-22), like sex with animals, sex between brother and sister, etc..
Deuteronomy 20:17-18 “Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.”
Recall the story of Sodom & Gomorrah, God had a discussion with Abraham about it beforehand. Where Abraham questioned God about destroying innocent lives. And God gave satisfactory answers to Abraham showing him how loving He was, but had no choice; He did not see even 10 good people in the whole city to spare it:
Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
The rest of that story was, that God found only Lot (Abraham's nephew) and his family to be good people, and asked them to leave the city before destruction. So God cared about the few good people and waited till they left.
God is Holy
God's actions accomplished three objectives:
- Rid the world of cancerous cells, and replaced them with good cells (the Jewish people at the time).
- Rewarded the Jewish people who positively received Him and His covenant.
- Set the stage to launch Christianity and the redemption plan through Jesus to provide salvation to the world, to keep His whole creation from sending itself to hell.
The natural tendency of humans is to want to be gods themselves. They keep criticizing every action God takes without knowing the details - If one innocent person is hurt, "it's that horrible God we have in charge up there!" Does anyone look at things from God's perspective? Does anyone have an idea of the grand-scale decisions God faces? We have to see the good things in God's creation and trust Him. Our God is a loving God. He is infinite in wisdom and power. Actions He took in those days had to be taken in order to heal the whole earth for generations to come!
You may ask why couldn't God spare Sodom and Gomorrah anyway? Because He saw that the entire civilization was sinful, with no chance to repent and turn to God. As He told Abraham, He did not find even 10 righteous people in the city. So why allow such a civilization to go on living and poisoning the people around them with their detestable practices, live their lives, then die and go to hell? God saw it clearly and ended it early; another surgical removal.
People always have all kinds of casual questions like this, as in, "He should have been nicer and let them live". One thing to keep in mind. God cannot in His Holy nature unite with evil in any shape or form. He cannot!! You say I thought there's nothing impossible for God. Not true, there is one thing: Cannot be in fellowship with evil; it's impossible for God. In fact, I would draw a parallel from the Sodom & Gomorrah story as to when end times will be. God will wait until there are no "good" people left in the world before destroying it. He'll likely wait until there is a small number of "good" people left, then pull them out (the rapture), and destroy the whole earth as described in the Book of Revelation. But note, who is "good" in God's eye's? Today God views a "good" person (aka "righteous") as the one who's sins are forgiven. How do we get to that state? Very simple, look here: The Lord's Prayer Is Misunderstood
God drew His redemption plans from before the foundations of the world, to bring salvation through His own self, His Son Jesus Christ's death on the cross, to keep us from going to hell. Jesus in the flesh came to earth and suffered and died in our place, in order to satisfy God's law, and make us holy in His sight. Jesus is God; He did not have to suffer like this, but did, suffer a miserable death on the cross! Jesus could have taken the comfortable path and avoided the cross; but chose to do it for our sake, for His great love for us to save us. Then all we have to do is accept His grace!!