Our ladies Sunday school class just completed a three-month study through the OT books of Numbers and Deuteronomy. And in those two books alone, I think I counted 57 times that the word “destroy(ed)” was used. It was either God Himself destroying cities or people or He was telling Israel to do so. And the word “destroy” used in those Scriptures has quite a few varied meanings in the original language but they all mean about the same thing, that is, to pull down, break up, kill, annihilate.
If we only read those verses or some of the many others throughout the Bible, we would have a picture of God that did not support the idea that He is merciful, loving, just and good. And it would be nearly impossible to ever show God’s love to anyone.
The problem lies in our inability to judge God’s actions by any, other than our own. The carnal man is evil, retaliates evil for evil, has no good in him. Jesus said in Matthew 19:17, “And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but One, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Jesus Christ was God’s representative on earth and He said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205:4445&version=KJV)
That is the Father we have in heaven. He is loving and forgiving, even to those who hate Him and He wants us to act the same. And by that we can be sure that He doesn’t go around killing people for no good reason.
Some unbelievers compare the Christians of Christianity to the Muslims of Islam. They try to compare the “Christianity” of the Crusades to the Muslim killing of non-Muslims today. They accuse the true and living God of killing the innocent. But the so-called “Christianity” of the dark ages was not true Christianity, any more than Catholicism is today. (I suspect I will get flack about that statement but sadly for the most part it is true.)
The truth is, the Crusades were acts of violence and death that were declared by popes Leo IV and John VIII. They commanded the killing of unbelievers and claimed that those murders could erase the sins of the “Christian” soldiers thus becoming a great spiritual benefit to them. And in 1095 another pope, Pope Urban II began the First Crusade. He declared that the killing of Muslims was a type of penance for the remission of sins.
As Christians we know that true remission of sin cannot be achieved by any sort of “penance”, as penance is described by the Catholic church as a “sacrament, a voluntary self-punishment in order to atone for a sin that brings absolution.”
The only remission that is available to sinners is faith in Jesus Christ. In Romans 1, Paul says emphatically that the Gospel is God’s power for salvation (vs.16)
( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%201&version=HCSB )
And in Galatians the Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins to rescue us and that was by the will of God the Father. He then goes on to say that they had so soon turned from the true Gospel of Christ to a “different gospel”. Paul says that he could have preached a gospel that was based on human thought, but that would not have been the truth. Instead he chose to strive to please God not people and taught the Gospel that came from a revelation from Jesus Christ Himself.
( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians%201&version=HCSB )
When the Catholic church declared the beginning of the Crusades, that ideology nor the actions that followed could be supported by Scripture and were not an expression of true Christian faith. And neither did it have anything to do with trying to convert the masses. Sadly today, within the communities of the Muslims, many still call for such actions which are truly not efforts to convert the masses either. And these radicals try to justify the killing of people to spread Islam saying things like, “But the God of Israel sent the Israelites into Canaan with the command to kill all the inhabitants, the Canaanites and the Amalekites, so the Muslims aren’t any different.” But the fact is, they are.
God directed the Israelites to destroy the people in Canaan, not to force them to worship Him, but because of their evil ways, their idolatry. Not because He enjoyed killing people, but because of their wickedness. And in Numbers 14:9, we can read that there was a time when God protected those who dwelt in Canaan. In that verse Joshua and Caleb say to the children of Israel, “Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.”
Their defence was ‘departed from them’ which means that once they had been protected, but now they are only ‘bread’ for the Israelites.
As the Muslim influence tries to invade farther and farther into America, we will have to draw a line in the sand. I don’t think we are far from that day. . . . .