Thursday, September 29, 2011
Picture a small Bible study getting fined or arrested for meeting and studying God's Word. Imagine Christians being barred from jobs or schools because we believe that Christ has risen from the dead.
We often hear about stories like these (and these http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/09/28/iranian-pastor-faces-execution-for-refusing-to-recant-christian-faith/) coming from China, or Iran and America criticizes them for it. This also comes up in some Muslim countries, especially when we're looking for an excuse to bomb them. Usually the media and government officials turn their noses at them as "barbarians" and human rights violaters. Or some candidate for office decries their violation of freedom.
Of course we also know that some of this is how the holocaust in WWII Nazi Germany started. Those who don't learn from history...
What we never expect is for this sort of stuff to happen in America. The bastion of freedom, a "Christian" nation (although Chris Pinto can easily refute that). We are the land of "Jesusa" bumper stickers and churches where marines rappel from the roof tops on July 4 (thanks future quake for that one!) But I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I think persecution of Christians is already happening in America, and serious persecution will be not far behind.
Anyone who doubts an anti-Christian sentiment is at work in the culture should look around. Bill Maher frequently mocks Christians, Ned Flanders on the Simpons is what we are to others. And for a more sinister proof, just look at the drudgeretort blog. Its as if the author took the Protocols of Zion and replaced "Jew" with "Christian."
This is not to diminish those who suffer and die in Christ all over the world. We still have it easy here, but i fear not for much longer. Some believe that this persecution will even be at the hands of the big denominations. I wouldn't be surprised, but more on that later.
Here are some links i've been gathering for a week or two, and i wish i had time for more, but the Alex Jones one has about 18, so for any naysayers this should suffice. I don't normally advocate (nor rail against) infowars, but they sometimes have good stuff. Sometimes.
I doubt that's all of them.
But this should not surprise any of us. Jesus Himself warned us that we would be persecuted for our faith. The World hated Him, so it will hate us. And i believe He even told us how to respond to it.
Despite Jesus' instructions, many American/western Christians presume that if we're about to be persecuted, robbed etc. that we have not only the right, but the Divine obligation to use lethal force upon others. I think that before using violence, one should consider the ramifications of the violence, which ultimately is likely sending an unsaved person to hell. I would say that in most circumstances the use of violence is not what Christ would have us do, particularly as it relates to being persecuted for our faith. Prayer, Bible study and discernment is needed though on your part well before such a choice presents itself to prepare you.
Keep in mind, this study is mostly in the vein of getting picked up by the authorities or others merely for believing on Christ, and does not cover self defense for other situations like robbery and the like. That has been addressed in a previous post.
Some American Christians often use this passage as justification. After all, if Jesus said to carry swords He obviously wanted us to use them, right?
Luke 22:36 - 38
Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take [it], and likewise [his] scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
And they said, Lord, behold, here [are] two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
49 - 51
When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?
And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
Or as the new living translation says it
But Jesus said, "No more of this." And he touched the man's ear and healed him.
Notice that Jesus undid Peter's attack. He didn't stop Peter, nor did He chastise Him much either. But i think we can infer by what Jesus did by healing that He would rather not have us Christians using weapons to avoid arrest for our faith.
No, if we are to be conformed to the image of Christ, we are to follow His example. After all, if He who was the only one worthy of escaping death went anyways, how can we justify ourselves escaping by violence? When we are persecuted Jesus says quite clearly what we are to do. Now i do believe we need to pray about this and ready our hearts now, so that when the time comes we are ready.
"But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers.
But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. [fn]
So don't worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you,
for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!
Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you.
And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. [fn]
But not a hair of your head will perish!
By standing firm, you will win your souls.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
All these [are] the beginning of sorrows.
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
Some of the above does happen elsewhere already. But, a couple of things here, notice in Luke, He mentions we would be sent to the synagogues, my working theory is this means also churches. Some like Chuck Missler have said persecution will come from the denominations, and i think that verse definitely supports that. It makes sense when you consider that mainline denominations continue to defy what the Bible says for whatever reason.
So we're just supposed to go and get persecuted without a fight? How can we do that? This is where prayer and discernment come in. For anyone who wants to see an example of this in action, read Dave Wilkerson's "The Cross and the Switchblade". This book is full of examples of how saved former gangsters refused to fight when confronted with violence because they now followed Christ and wanted to be a good witness.
I recall a recent story on Future Quake where Tom Bionic told of a former prize fighter who had become a missionary. So this boxer is out somewhere when a witchdoctor challenged him to a fight. After some prayer and thought, the fighter told the witch doctor that God did all his fighting and agreed to meet him. The witch doctor came up to him and started doing his stuff, and as he was about to fight the missionary, he fell over dead.
Also note that Jesus gave us a reason to not fight back. As we get arrested and questioned, this our chance to share the Gospel with those who would do us harm.
I admit that it goes against everything we're taught, and most everything we feel to not fight back, but so does just about everything about being a disciple of Jesus. Remember, if we are persecuted for His name, He is with us and will make sure our eternal state is secure.
For a look at what Christian persecution in America might look like, take a look at these links.
"If Footmen Tire you, What will horses do?"
It's a little campy, but it's full of powerful images. Also, it doesn't have to be communists, it could be other forces one day, though I doubt it would be Muslims like many on the right would have us believe.
Churches vandalized in one of the Carolinas.
Also, Chuck Missler is recommending Everyone read Habakkuk (esp 2:4) and Hebrews, Romans and Galatians as a way to live faithfully during any upcoming turmoil.
Please share any articles you find below
Pastor arrested for holding a home Bible study
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
These are the words that describe Nolan Gray, a former war hero who takes up the mantle of "The Hand" to deal with the growing crime in New York City. His objective: to show the people a better way.
Nolan teams up with his former commanding officer and gadget nerd to save the day. Armed with clever high-tech devices, including (by novel's end) an over-abused grappling gun, Nolan's quest to show people a better way takes off. But as he tries to bring Heaven to earth through man's efforts, the government's bungling efforts to reduce crime lead Nolan into a war against a dangerous mobster and a character revealing descent into darkness.
As a superhero/adventure novel, this book is definitely a page turner. There is action to be found on nearly every page, intrigue and a number of surprising plot twists that caught me off guard. Many of the characters reacted to situations in believable ways lending some realism to the unbelievable premise of super heroes. We also find that working with an original character has a number of advantages over working with folks like Batman or Spider-Man. You're not bound by 60 years of (dis)continuity and you just never know for sure what to expect or what will happen next.
As I mentioned a moment ago, there was also a good dose of realism added to the story, in that Nolan finds out quite quickly that super heroics take a toll on the body. After only a few days on the job, he's already pushing himself to go on despite injuries and ailments received on the streets. But he pushed himself and recovered in a believable way, not with bandages and three panels of time like, many mainstream heroes. And points for using graphene and not making any characters come back from the dead.
As a Christian novel, one could look at it in a number of ways. I'm not sure what the author's theology is like, but I don't need to know. Part of the allure of this novel for me is what my own theological baggage brought into it. Ten years ago, I would have thought Nolan was right on even in the later parts of the novel, but after growing in my own faith and knowledge of God's Word, I see the character's journey as a warning to what Christian America is in danger of becoming. A self-righteous killing machine justifying his actions in the name of fighting evil.
Nolan's Christian faith is an enigma. While it would have been interesting to see Nolan wrestle with the "eye for an eye" vs "love your enemies" stances, he's already made his mind up. We are the ones who have to figure out if he's right or not. These arguments were explored in the novel briefly by other characters, but I had hoped for them to be explored more deeply by Nolan. But in some ways leaving things unsaid might be a bolder statement. Especially in the later parts of the story, where Arjay, the unbeliever, is the most Christian sounding person of the bunch.
To me, "Vigilante" was a sobering parable for Christian America's (Christian right, Dominionists and anti-Sharia law folks) eagerness to embrace violence to dispatch America's enemies in the hopes of creating Heaven on earth, rather than bringing people what they need, a relationship with Jesus Christ. Would Jesus really want His people taking life and using violence to make the world "better?" As you see what happens to Nolan's decisions, I think we see that the cost of what his adventure did to him as a person shows it wasn't worth it. But despite the bad, anti-Christian choices he makes, God's grace is still there for him if he chooses to accept it.
Despite the overall awesomeness of the story, I would like to point out a few detractors. First, there are a lot of really short chapters, and some of these chapter breaks weren't really necessary to me. This is kind of a pet peeve of mine (I'm talking to you Steven Barnes! "Cestus Deception!") it makes you feel that you're progressing through the story faster than you actually are.
I was also confused at a few minor points in the story, but those could have been things I missed the clues to and certainly didn't take anythin away from the enjoyment of the story.
As mentioned earlier, something that was huge for me as I read it was that I wanted to get into the motivations of the characters, Nolan especially, and it would have been nice to know if he had just gone crazy or if he's really got a good reason for what he does. There are implications that his experiences as a POW had something to do with it, but there were no solid leads. As I reflect though, I think that Nolan's internal motivations are often manifested through his actions, and we are the ones who have to decide if it's justified. So, while we don't get into Nolan's head, reflection on what he does reveals his motives. I'm not sure what the author's intent was regarding Nolan's character, but it kind of worked out.
On the flip-side, we do see quite a bit of the villain's motivations, which does make for some good and creepy scenes.
"Vigilante" is a solid adventure story, with a little bit of on-page faith and prayer, without any solid doctrinal stance leaving it open for interpretation. However, just knowing the main character is a Christian should cause any reader to be a Berean about how well Nolan's actions line up with what the Bible said. Is he in line with Christ? Or is he in line with the culture?
Give it a look to see what a Christian superheo might look like, or what happens when Christians abandon the Bible and use their own standards to deal with injustice. If anything "Vigilante" will make you think about how justified "Christian" violence is.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Wow, am I losing it. Turns out I had just written a similar blog less than a month ago here: http://dontaskthatinchurch.blogspot.com/2011/09/wrath-of-god-is-god-really-genocidal.html. I guess God must have just had this heavy on my heart. The previous article deals with more of the nephilim angle, so consider this blog may part deux.
On top of that, i had some errors which i've hopefully fixed.
One of the most common arguments (in my mind) for atheists rejecting the Bible or God being a loving God (or there even being a God) is the Conquest of Canaan and the "genocide" perpetrated by Israel. They can't believe that a loving God would demand "genocide". This is true, God is love, and He didn't demand genocide, or wonton slaughter merely for the sake of it. If He'd wanted that, He didn't need Israel, and could have just rained fire from Heaven, or allowed other nations to just wipe each other out. There are also a few places in the Bible where angels wiped out whole armies to keep Israel from destruction, so God used Israel, but had other options for punishment if needed.
In my view, and i would say the Bible's view, God didn't order genocide or death for land. Or just genocide for no reason.
He ordered judgment.
Because God loves us, and is good, and Holy, when we sin, it hurts Him. Sin in part is a rejection of the good things of God, for the fallen things of satan. And although God is patient, and slow to anger, He must eventually punish disobedience and things that hurt Him. Case in point, Canaan was a land of sin, so God had to punish them after more than 400 years (the time Israel was in egypt) of sin.
But even so, God allowed for mercy except in the few cases we'll get into. First, see that God commanded Israel to pursue peace where possible.
When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.
And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, [that] all the people [that is] found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.
And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:
Its also not unheard of for God to judge one nation, by using another to conquer them. We often see in the Old Testament that God used military action between nations to judge other nations for wicked behavior. We even see that Babylon and Assyria were used to judge Israel when they started to act in horrible ways (the same ways the Canaanites had acted). Because God is fair He dealt with Israel the same way. See the book of Judges, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel among others to see that God severely punished Israel in a similar manner to the way He used Israel to clear out Canaan. If it hadn't been for His covenenant, and His goodness to keep His word its possible that God might have even wiped out Israel for their sins.
But, thats not really enough justification. What about the "genocide"? So what if the Canaanites were bad, is it really necessary to wipe out whole peoples?
What follows is my best attempt to explain Israel's conquest of Canaan, the tribes affected (and how) and what that tribe had done that would warrant what they got.
To start, in Numbers 35:32-34 God says that murder pollutes the land. the Hebrew word in my concordance indicates that this is a moral defilement. Perhaps this creates a foothold for the devil due to the defilement.
I can't say 100% for sure but it makes some sense to me. Think about it, when a place has alot of murders, or suicides haunting stories are often not far behind. Or ghosts on famous battlegrounds (this is a whole new topic!). Satan and his demons love to see humans suffer, (and sexually defiled) so it makes sense that they would congregate where much blood (like in a sacrifice) has been spilled, thus a defilement occurs.
At least some of the Canaanites practiced human sacrifice, Molech worship as well as child bones have been found in canaanite areas.
There are also some examples of excessive cruelty when the Canaanite tribes fought each other. Sihon and the Amorites had fought Moab, and i gather that Moab took a good beating beyond what would be considered "just war".
Another thing to note is that the spies in Numbers (Caleb, etc.) Reported giants, that is nephilim. (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nephilim) (as of 2016 I am less inclined to believe the conquest of canaan was to clear out nephilim. Sure, it's possible, but I am leaning less this way now.)
Genesis 6 outlines how nephilim came to be. Fallen angels mating with human women. The flood wiped them out, but somehow they returned in another form. I won't debate this, as its been argued many times over, but this topic is HOT right now.
Your kids are probably reading the "Fallen" series or Percy Jackson (half "god?" please, its a nephilim) which are nephilim viewed in a positive light. "Heroes, great men of renown".(My assumption, i havent read either. Please correct me if i'm wrong.) I might even throw x-men into this boat. Why not see the truth about "demigods" and nephilim from the Bible, that this DID happen at some point, and God saw it as an abomination, not enetertainment like the kids have.
Anyways, not to beat a dead nephilim, but its relevant. Canaan, the promised land had some nephilim in it. End of story.
So there were nephilim, and the non-nephilim tribes that lived in Canaan. Nephilim are usually said to be bloodthirsty. And the human tribes, in some cases, committed murder by doing human sacrifice, and brutally warring against each other. The land was defiled, at a minimum with spilled blood.
God clearly says (Num 35:33) the land will remain polluted until the murderer is killed. The canaanites were the murderers, so perhaps with their defiled hands, they couldn't be used to judge each other. Some outside force needed to get rid of all those who had spilled blood wrongly. Which is what He commanded Israel to do. Execute, in righteous judgement, those who had killed and rebelled against The Most High God.
Keep in mind this rule was made at a time before Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Now, His work on the cross, and His blood is sufficient to cleanse a murderer or cleanse a defiled land as His power and authority, proven by His resurrection, place Him above any spirit that would reside in any such defiled place. Controversially, David Berkowitz has publicly accepted this atonement and thus will be spared on judgment day as he has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
Back on track, after much set up. What follows is my best attempt to identify the tribes Israel displaced or wiped out. If i've missed any, or assigned evil to them that they didn't do, please correct me. It was quite difficult to find out what these tribes were all about, and with my limited resources, this is what i could find out about what they did, and how they were punished.
One more thing to keep in mind as we consider how Israel committed "genocide". We are told that they (tribes) all were stronger than Israel in Deuteronomy 11:22 and 23 and that the Lord would do most of the work. Also, the inhabitants were evil. (Nephilim are unsaveable, they always oppose God and Israel) and many of the humans were evil as has been shown.
For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;
Then will the LORD drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves.
First, the Nephilim tribes. Ahiman, Sheshai, Talmai are all descended from Anak (Numbers 13:22) (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anak). As said earlier, nephilim had an automatic death sentence. They can't be saved, they were evil and irredeemable. Christ died only for people, and no nephilim would ever want to repent anyways. For God to order a complete destruction of this group is to eliminate a class of being that is wholly against God's natural order and the result of rebellion by beings who should have known better.
Bashan - King Og attacked Israel first, so he brought it on himself to start with. (Numbers 21). Not only that, he (and presumably the Bashanites) weren't human. In Deuteronomy 3:11 he is described as last of the giants (H7497 which is actually Rephaim or Rapha).
How exactly a Rephaim differs from a nephilim, i don't know. But if you're interested, check out Judd Burton's "Interview with the Giant". He gets into the other giant tribes Israel had to deal with, like the zamzummin (Ammonite name for Rephaim) and the rest.
For more on nephilim in the land, see my early september post linked in the opening paragraph. Suffice it to say, they were the easy ones to justify.
Now, the humans. God makes it clear that certain tribes were to be wiped out, and this judgement was multifold. So Israel wouldn't turn from their God to follow false ones. To judge them for the abonimable things they'd done. And my conjecture: the blood they'd spilled in murder/sacrifice and that they were perhaps demonized.
Exodus 33 outlines that God would drive out certain tribes, and it appears that the same tribes are in Deuteronomy 20 and have been selected for judgment, but i'll go through them in no particular order. I've brought up a few tribes that are dealt with in different ways to show there were differences in what God commanded.
Exodus 34:11 & 12
Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.
Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
V 16 - 18
But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee [for] an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
But thou shalt utterly destroy them; [namely], the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:
That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.
Amelekites (not listed above, but judged) - These guys appear to be kind of like Edomites, who were descended from Esau. (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amalek).
Exodus 17 indicates they attacked Israel unprovoked, which involved some back and forth fighting. Deuteronomy 25 has God talking about dealing with people fairly (related to trade) and gives the order to wipe them out because of their unprovoked attack on Israel. This suggests that they generally treated ALL passersby in horrible ways, suggesting completely irredeemable hearts.
They weren't wiped out in the conquest of Canaan, but were judged by God (1 Samuel 15) for their unrepetent persecution of Israel and their general uncouth conduct. It seems they had grown exceedingly wicked and repentence was far from their mind, much like Sodom and Gomorrah. (See the susancanthony article later. Apparently S&G were wicked in WAY more ways than just homosexuality.) So, Amalek was judged the way other cultures were and even Israel was when they practiced evil. Though they were to be wiped out, Saul didnt complete the task in any event. This of course cause problems later.
Here is a look at some of Amalek's shining moments. In summary, they were often cruel, and cowardly and often opposed to Israel for no real good reason.
Hittites - These guys were hard to find in regards to what they did wrong. It seems these guys lived north of Israel, near the black sea. Maybe where Turkey is today. Here's some basic info. They also seem to have pretty standard Babylonian religious beliefs, some of the same gods appear.
We do know that peoples practicing pagan worship were selected for judgment. Israel was too when they partook of it. As i said earlier, pagan worship likely gets people demonized and probably involves human sacrifice. We don't know what exactly the Hittites practiced but it likely was abominable and offensive.
Exodus 33 God says He will drive them out. But later in Deuteronomy 20 God does select them to be wiped out. Though Israel was told to wipe them out, they don't seem to have done the job as there are Hittites after the Promised Land was occupied, and Israel seemed to live with them. And Uriah, king david's general was a Hittite.
My new conclusions are that God drove the Hittites away, until such a time as Israel was populous enough to live in their land. But when the time came to get rid of them, Israel just never did it.
Jebusites - Exodus again says that God would drive them out, and Deut. 20 gives the instruction to wipe them out, but they also appear to fall into the same boat as the Hittites as they too were around after Israel took over Canaan. In Joshua it seems the Jebusites take up arms against Israel, before He struck so Israel had to fight them because they wouldn't leave. Now keep in mind, most, if not all of the inhabitants of Canaan had all heard about Jericho, and Og and Sihon being wiped out and were afraid of Israel and God.
But even knowing God was with Israel, the Jebusites took up arms anyways, which is no less than a rebellion against God and demonstrates that they were unrepetent. They knew they were being judged, and rather than repent (like ninevah) they resisted.
Still, it seems that God was still merciful or Israel again dropped the ball as they didn't get wiped out.
Amorites (King Sihon) - Numbers 21 outlines that they had previously wiped out many Moabites (in a brutal way) and were hostile to Israel even passing through. Israel had even sent ambassadors to ask if they could pass. Not only did Sihon deny Israel passage, he went to attack them! Again, this may be like the Jebusite situation. He knew judgement was coming, and rather than repent, Sihon sought to get rid of the instrument of judgement: Israel.
They also don't seem to have been completely wiped out, as later on, Israel was influenced by their idol worship, which got Israel in major trouble with God.
Canaanites and Perizzites - There is really little on these guys. I can find no reason they were judged, or if they survived it. Again, they also practiced "abominations" which involved idols and possbily human sacrifice. If anyone has anything to add on these guys, by all means. But for now, they're on the naughty list.
The Canaanites were also said to worship Molech which involved child sacrifice.
Moab - not completely wiped out, nor selected for getting wiped out, but idol worshippers of Baal Numbers 25, and Chemosh (who might also be related to Molech which involved child sacrifice). The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary implies that Chemosh was not adverse to human sacrifice, citing 2 Kings 3:27.
In any event, they don't seem to have been harassed much by Israel as the Amorites had already taken their (Moabite) land which was then taken by Israel.
Midianites - Are resident in Numbers 25 and were basically baal worshippers. This involved prostitution (which could easily have spread demonization, not to mention STD). They were slated for punishment by death because their idolotry caused problems for Israel, so God judged them.
The daughter of the midianite leader was involved in defiling Israel with idol worship and God ordered them killed for it in Numbers 31. Perhaps because someone in power was responsible, more people had to be punished. This makes some sense, as the leader usually is a representative of the people.
Also, the Israelites involved in this scandal were to die so as not to defile all of Israel. God didn't just single out the Midianites.
In Numbers 31 the Midianite men were killed, as were some women, because they led Israel into idolatry. Virgins were spared and allowed to marry into Israel. Presumably the sexual contact would have opened Israel up to STD's, and/or demonic influence and if Israelites had sex with the non-virgins, they would become demonized or infected with VD as well.
Also, verse 21 has a requirement to burn all the metals Israel took. This i think lends credence to the demonized theory which would sterilze the implements, but also presumably remove any demonic attachment.
Again, at this time, before Christ had come, there really was no way to effectively exorcise people, let alone on a mass scale, so execution was the order. Anyone who thinks possession is no big deal should read about Jesus' encounter with Legion. Sure, God could have just removed the demons but that seems to not be the way God operates.
This seems to be all of the tribes selected for "genocide" so if i've missed any, please note what the tribe name is, and the punishment alotted to them. If i uncover more, i will add them. Also note that in many cases Israel didn't obey anyways which cause them to stray from God.
This should be perfectly clear that God, as a loving God did not order a wholescale genocide of the promised land. Rather, it was a judgement on the groups of people living there for the wickedness they'd done. In many cases, Israel didn't even kill them (even when they were supposed to) or only killed when attacked first. The only instances of successful "genocide" appear to be directed to the inhuman nephilim of the area. Other similar orders were only given when a tribe had really led Israel astray, or once the specific Canaanite tribe had proven they were beyond repentence.
It is also worth noting that God is not only good, but also just. Israel's conquest was a judgment, and because God is just, He turned Israel over to the same fate when they started to do the abominations the Canaanites had done.
So for those who question why a loving God could ask for "genocide" or the death of people let me reiterate what i said earlier and paraphrase Chuck Missler. God is good, God is just. Sin, is rebellion against a God who is good, and loves us. As a just God, He must punish sin. But, because God is good, He only punishes people to this extreme when they are beyond repentence. Read the book of Jonah. Ninevah was at least as bad as some of the Canaanite tribes, but because they responded to God's threat of judgement, they repented. The Canaanite tribes seemed to know judgement was coming and opted not to repent, but to resist.
General evil in Canaan (Sodom and Gomorrah too. I haven't read this in depth yet.)
This is a general overview. Some of this info is conjecture on my part or is based on incomplete information. Please feel free to bring up tribes or other examples of Israel's genocide and i will address it. I apologize if any info is wrong.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
I've been busy lately, so that's why there's not much new...I am kind of researching for a few possible posts and kind of out of ideas for the moment.
Special thanks to chris white and gaz parker for kicking me started, and of course to Jesus Christ who did everything for me!
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Jesse Ventura has a show about them, people spend large portions of ther lives studying-and being afraid of-conspiracies. Most people just roll their eyes and go back to their lattes and 9-5. After all,no one could lie to the whole world, could they? There's no way people could get away with conspiracies now, everyone is working for the better good of humanity. Republican politicians want to keep conservative family values. Democrats want to help social justice.
Nevermind that Goebbels (i think, maybe it was Himmler) in Nazi Germany said that if you tell a lie big enough and often enough the masses will believe it. Maybe i made that up and twisted it around. Sorry.
While there a large number of conspiracy theories about, and i'm sure a large number of them are disinformation, there are likely a number that are actually true. Though many of them are fascinating I don't want to touch on any from today. Rather, i want to show, by studying history and the Bible that conspiracies are actually to be found everywhere. And if they happened in the Bible and throughout the more recent past, why wouldn't they be happening under our noses?
One of the first conspiracies, to be found would be Genesis 6. When satan and the fallen angels came down took human women and had children with them. This is expanded on in the non-canonical book of enoch.
If that's too mythological for you, how about Babel? Humans conspired to build the tower to reach into Heaven.
Those are both fairly fantastic, though i believe they were true and happened as the Bible said. But how about something more "down to earth"?
Let's look at a few, there are quite a number of conspiracies in the Bible. I won't post links as there are so many. I'll just give you the verse and the briefest summary i can.
In english the words conspiracy, and related to conspiracy comes up alot. Its fairly consistent in the Hebrew it looks like as well. The Genesis reference is H5230 in Strong's (thanks BLB!) Which means "Nakal" or to be crafty/deceitful.
Most of them seem to use H7194 (qashar) or some variant which means very much the same as conspiracy's definition, which is to tie or bind together. H7195 also comes up which is qesher, which is also conspire but can mean treason as well.
We're not told how many are in on each conspiracy, some of them seem to imply a "lone nut" approach, that of one person killing the king, or it could (IMO) mean that one person led others against said king, and we just don't get how many others were involved. The Bible doesn't say, but we do get a clear sense there is conspiracy, and treason.
Gen. 37 - Joseph's brothers conspired to kill him, but sold him into slavery instead.
Numbers 16 - Korah, Dathan and Abiram conspired together and led 250 people in a revolt against Moses. You really need to see how God dealt with that!
1 Samuel 22 - shows us that Saul had become a "conspiracy nut," thinking that David was conspiring against him.
2 Samuel 15 - Absalom and David's counselor Ahitophel led a conspiracy to get rid of David and make Absalom king. David prayed and Ahitophel's counsel turned into foolishness. (Prayer can disrupt conspiracy proving that God is more powerful!)
1 Kings 15 - Baasha conspired to assassinate King Nadab. It also appears that it displeased the Lord, and he was punished for it in Chpt 16.
1 Kings 16 - Baasha's son Elah ruled, then one of his officers conspired and killed him.
2 Kings 9:14 - Jehu conspired against King Joram and killed him.
2 Kings 10 - King Ahab (i THINK) admits to having conspired against his master. King Jehu (at God's command) also seems to engage in a conspiracy against the priests of Baal.
Actually, 1 and 2 Kings are full of conspiracy, and assassination. If anyone interested in how conspiracies often enact a regime change should just read those. The following all mention some conspiracy.
2 Kings 12, 14, 15 (at least three conspiracies!), 17, and 21.
2 Chronicles 24 - King Joash (i presume) conspired with the people to kill the prophet Zechariah. Later, others conspired and killed Joash.
2 Chronicles 25 - King Amaziah was killed by a conspiracy of the people it seems, though the word "they" appears. (THEY always show up!)
2 Chronicles 33 - King Amon's servants conspired and murdered him, in turn they were killed by the people.
Nehemiah 4 - Arabians, and a bunch of various "Ites" conspire to attack Jerusalem during the rebuilding.
Jeremiah 11:9 - the men of Judah and Jerusalem were wrapped up in a conspiracy to chase after false gods, and Jeremiah was told this by God Himself!
Ezekiel 22 - God again reveals a conspiracy of the false prophets in Jerusalem (i believe) seemingly to get rich and to violate the priestly law.
Amos 7 - Amaziah the priest accuses Amos of conspiracy, yet seems to be conspiring against Amos.
Luke 20 - here, and various other parts of each Gospel, the Sadduccees and Pharisees and Judas conspired to kill Jesus Christ. Of course, Christ being God's Son, one with the Father, was basically in charge of when they could act upon that.
Acts 23 - more than 40 Jews conspired to kill Paul.
Revelation 18 - Dr. Future's favorite verse (j/k doc) seems to say that the kings of the earth committed adultery with the Babylon system and the merchants of the earth also used that system (and drugs/sorcery) to get rich at the expense of deceiving the people of the Earth.
So, there is alot evidence of conspiracy in the Bible, and much of it seems to be related to people overthrowing kings, but there also seems to be a few instances of where rulers or religious authorites misled the people. The biggest one of course is that the Babylon system deceived everyone.
Though this is a long list, i would say this hardly begins to scratch the surface of the things the men have conspired to do. Think about how many other conspiracies there may have been throughout all of history, for one reason or another. And keep in mind that this doesnt cover the ones we know about from recent history.
Hitler's Reichstag fire which led to him getting more power, and the "final solution".
The gulf of Tonkin incident, which led to the Vietnam war has recently been revealed as having been a cover up, or due to faulty intelligence AT BEST, deliberate distortion to get into a war at the worst.
Those are but a few.
Since conspiracies are indeed a reality, what should we do? First i would say, realize that a majority of conspiracy theories are probably bunk, BUT there are probably some with truth in them. I recommend looking at the evidence yourself and vetting it. Don't take it for granted that Jesse Ventura, David Icke or abovetopsecret have all the answers.
Second, use common sense. There are probably a ton of 9/11 conspiracy theories, and they can't all be right. So, take the most credible and realistic and stick with that.
Third, more importantly DON'T WORRY ABOUT CONSPIRAICES! There's nothing most of us can do anyways, not to mention that worrying about being victim of one would do nothing also. Fear not men, who can only harm the body, but rather fear God who will judge us one day. (Thats a haphazard paraphrase, sorry.) Also, take Isaiah:
Isaiah 8:12 - 14
Say ye not, A confederacy, to all [them to] whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.
Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread.
And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. "
(Confederacy is the same as H7195, conspiracy)
"Don't call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don't live in dread of what frightens them.
Make the LORD of Heaven's Armies holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble.
He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. "
This is good advice, because God is sovereign and nothing happens that is outside of His plan. You can't surprise God, and nothing that happens in the world surprises Him. Just know that God loves you, He has a plan for you and He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for you, and if you believe in Him, you will share in Jesus Christ's resurrection.
(Search for consp* in the Bible
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Similar claims are also made by atheists, and those rejecting Christianity. People claim they would have believed in God if He wasnt so murderous, etc. Its a shallow excuse, as God (if He's good, and just. And He is) must punish evil. After all, we dont want people like Hitler traipsing about Heaven. If someone reads about God's thoughts in the Bible, it's clear that He gives people incredible chances to repent before punishing them, and it even seems to grieve Him to have to do it.
Just read Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, As God punishes Israel in His righteous anger, He does so because Israel has been unfaithful to their promises. God's heartache is also evident. The book of Judges is also a great example of how Israel was punished by God, through the use of other armies when they backslid.
A few quick examples of how God was patient before judgment:
Sodom and Gomorrah. He gave Lot time to leave before judging. God also would have spared the city even if there had been a handful of righteous men, God wouldn't have passed judgment. Even when the folks in that city saw the angels, they were hardly interested in hearing any message to repent, but wanted to sleep with the angels!
God even says through His Son Jesus in Matthew 11:23 that if Christ had come to Sodom and performed miracles, they would have repented, and would still have existed in His day. This implies, to me anyways, that anything less would not have moved Sodom to repentence, which is why God judged them. They were beyond redemption for the most part.
We also see in the book of Jonah, that God had passed judgment on Ninevah. Ninevah was incredibly wicked, for details i recommend Chuck Missler's series on Jonah. But even a wicked city like Ninevah was allowed to repent!
God would prefer true, heartfelt repentence over destruction any day.
God even judged Israel, and used the armies of other countries to punish them for disobedience. In fact, He had warned Israel it would happen when they entered into the covenant. But it sets a precedent that God sometimes uses human armies to punish other nations, and even judges those armies if they are too harsh! I can't find the exact verse but i recall that being the case occasionally.
God's warnings to Israel that disobedience would lead to His curse, and that He would punish them. As i recall, the book of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Isaiah at a minimum relate to Israel being attacked by foreigners as God's punishment for not obeying Him.
(As suggested by the Life application study Bible)
And He was right to do it:
Daniel 9:4 - 14
But what about Canaan? Didn't God basically give the Israelites carte blanche to murder and commit genocide? Why did God command Israel to wipe out the inhabitants of Canaan, even to the last woman, child and even sometimes the animals?
First, there were instances (shown in Deuteronomy 2 at least, where God said not to do anything to the people.)
This article, outlines some good reasons why God ordered the complete eradication of the Canaanites. http://www.rationalchristianity.net/genocide.html. i dont agree with all of them, but they are some good logical ones. Probably inadequate for most hard line skeptics.
http://www.theology.edu/conquest.htm and http://www.spiritandtruth.org/teaching/documents/articles/27/27.htm
First, Canaan was a land of sin, pagan worship and immorality. Not to mention that much of that pagan worship involved child sacrifice. So the Canaanites were already killing their own children for the worship of their gods and idols. (Deauteronomy 12:29-31).
But couldn't the canaanite children have been saved by Israel instead of killed? The above article gives a decent reason, but I doubt it would satisfy critics. So, why would innocent children need to die?
One theory i have, sort of based off of things i hear Russ Dizdar talk about occasionally, is that these kids were part of a pagan society. As such, they may have partaken in, or been the focus of pagan rituals. Pagan rituals in turn, open people up to demonic influence and possession. Not to mention, if they were going to be sacrificed, they would have been demonized through rituals anyways. And without salvation, and the power of Jesus Christ, His work on the cross and Resurrection, there was not much that could be done to get the demons out. Especially on such a large scale. Thus, the need to get rid of the women, children and animals, they were likely all highly demonized.
If that's not a good enough reason, consider this. at least some of the people in Canaan were not fully human. That's right, there are other sentient beings that exist besides humans. Canaan was full of giants/nephilim. The children of Anak at a minimum were non-humans, i would submit that many canaanites were not as well. And giants/nephilim have always acted in a wicked manner and hated God.
Numbers 13:26 - 33
And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.
And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this [is] the fruit of it.
Nevertheless the people [be] strong that dwell in the land, and the cities [are] walled, [and] very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they [are] stronger than we.
And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, [is] a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it [are] men of a great stature.
And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, [which come] of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
Deuteronomy 2:9 -11
And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land [for] a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot [for] a possession.
The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims;
Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims.
Deuteronomy 2:19 - 21
And [when] thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon [any] possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot [for] a possession.
(That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them Zamzummims;
A people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; but the LORD destroyed them before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead:
Deuteronomy 3:3 - 5
So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left to him remaining.
And we took all his cities at that time, there was not a city which we took not from them, threescore cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan.
All these cities [were] fenced with high walls, gates, and bars; beside unwalled towns a great many.
For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead [was] a bedstead of iron; [is] it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits [was] the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.
It's fairly clear that Israel was dealing with beings who were not fully human to begin with and were at a disadvantage strengthwise without God's help. I would say in some of these cases, the children and women were far from defenseless. These nephilim/giants are always shown to be against God in every case.
Genesis 6 clearly outlines that giants/nephilim were the result of fallen angels mating with human women. Some may have been gigantic, but not necessarily as some were just "mighty men". The common thought is that these "giants" were on the earth before, and after the flood. See david guzik's commentary for more information. http://www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries/comm_view.cfm?AuthorID=2&contentID=7326&commInfo=31&topic=Genesis&ar=Gen_6_4
Some people make a huge deal out of the nephilim, but i think God makes it clear how much time we ought to devote to nephilim. There is a reason they are but a vague footnote in the Bible. It is interesting to note though that nearly every major culture has stories of "the gods" or "star people" coming down and mingling with people. From middle east to native americans. The zuni tribe has stories that parallel the Genesis 6/book of Enoch story quite closely.
Anyways, the nephilim after the flood had some presence and at least some of them had taken up residence in Canaan. As Israel went through and cleared the land of inhabitants, many of them were likely nephilim. This is hardly an idea original with me, but it is one that many people have yet to see.
But all this stuff about nephilim and fallen angels and giants is kind of crazy. but here is possible proof of a nephilim skull, from south america i believe. They call it the "star child" skull. I recently heard that DNA tests came back on it, and that while it may have had a human mother, a number of its genes have been positively identified as non-human! Many in the new age/UFO field would have us believe its an alien skull.
And Russ Dizdar's thoughts on the star child skull.
So thats it for today. Yes, Israel was given a job of clearing Canaan of its inhabitants, and in some cases were instructed to wipe out everyone. I believe in these cases the people were either non-human nephilim or so highly demonized and irredeemable that God had to allow them to be destroyed. Had their been an option for redemption, He would have allowed them to repent. Their destruction implies that they never would have been capable of it.
This is why after Christ's work on the cross, there's a chance for all humanity to be redeemed and escape the judgment slotted out for the few Canaanites that were human.
In the coming weeks, i may like to go through the book of Joshua just to highlight why God asked Israel to do what they did.