Scary old testament verses

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by xdisciplex, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. xdisciplex

    xdisciplex
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    Deu 20:10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.
    Deu 20:11 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.
    Deu 20:12 And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:
    Deu 20:13 And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
    Deu 20:14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

    I don't understand this. How likely is it that people in a city simply surrender to strangers which come along and demand everything? Nobody would do this. The Israelites also wouldn't have done this, why does God demand this from other people? These people are also humans, didn't God love them, too? And why did God tell them to take the women and the children and the cattle? I bet the women didn't want this, this means that God basically allowed to Israelites to rape the foreign women. :eek:
    Somehow this seems so barbarian to me, I don't understand why God seems so different in the old testament. Such verses repel many people and I also don't find them very appealing but they are in the bible. How do we deal with them? :(
    I find those passages really scary and they don't even fit to how I imagine God.
    When you think of Jesus you don't think of such things. Why is there such a huge difference between the old testament and the new testament? The bible says God is the same but if he is the same why did he act so differently? Where is the mercy in the old testament for example? I feel like in the old testament everybody was directly stoned to death if he sinned but in the new testament suddenly everything is honkey dorey and you can sin and simply ask for forgiveness and everything is fine again. Where does this huge shift come from? :confused:
    If you cannot deal with such scary old testament passages is it better to simply ignore them and to not read them or is this also not a solution?
    I really don't know what to reply to somebody who quotes these scary verses because I also find them scary and don't really know what to say about them, I mean I cannot really "justify" them because I don't understand why God did this. Does this not also affect your picture which you have of God? On the one hand we tend to imagine God as loving and forgiving and like a loving father but when you read such verses then suddenly everything is distorted and I become scared of God as if I didn't really know how he really is as if God is erratic and you can never really know how he is. What if you die and think everything is fine and God awaits you with arms wide open and then you suddenly face a totally angry God? This is scary. :(
     
    #1 xdisciplex, Sep 3, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2006
  2. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: There is something I would feel that is more frightful than anything you quoted from the OT, and that is to interject a bunch of questions that could possibly raise doubt about a Holy, Just and Loving God in the minds of the listener. Ther are plenty of God haters and disobedient individuals out there that do that well enough.

    As for me, I will allow whatever questions I have concerning God’s actions in the OT to remain latent within my mind, and place any doubt as to those actions or commands upon the notion that I am not God and cannot see the whole picture, and now see those things along with many others only through a glass darkly.

    One thing I know is that God is Love and that all His actions are Holy and Just. I am not His judge and neither is any man. I will not allow any question in my mind in any way deter my thoughts from those immutable truths. As for myself as a believer, I will never raise a question in the minds of others, that could in any way introduce thoughts that could raise doubt in the hearts and minds of others as to the Loving nature of our God.

    Some questions are best left to silence in this world. We will have an eternity to ask any questions we so desire out of God in the world to come ‘face to face,’ if we are found in Him in the last day. Until then I will trust in Him and His Loving Character, for I believe the Word of God. “God is Love” and “He changeth not.”
     
  3. xdisciplex

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    Are you saying that we must not even talk about something like this and that we simply have to silence our thoughts? Where is the sense of this? This doesn't even work. I have brought this up simply to hear what others think about this and not to cause anybody here to doubt God, I simply want to learn. If this isn't allowed anymore then I don't know what to do anymore. It has to be allowed to simply express your concerns and I don't think that trying to understand something is wrong. If those passages don't confuse you then more power to you, but they confuse me and I don't really know how to deal with them. What do you do if somebody brings up those verses and asks you to explain them to him? I think that many people are repelled by them and maybe this keeps them from believing in God simply because they are scared of him somehow and if those verses even scare me, as a christian, then how much more will they scare a non-christian? This is why I'm asking this question. Maybe there is an explanation for God acting this way.
     
  4. Scarlett O.

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    Yes. God loved them, too.

    You are reading from a passage that is all about God giving His people the "promised land". And it was to be swept clean of their enemies.

    In fact verse 1 of chapter 20 says, "And when you find your enemy..."

    What made some people enemies of the Israelites? They were enemies of God, first. God knew their hearts, as a nation, and they did not worship Him.

    So, if you were God's enemy, you were also Israel's enemy. God is "cleaning up" the promised land and making it habitable for His people. Barbaric? It may sound that way. But God wouldn't create these people and not have offered them an opportunity to be righteous and just destroyed them for no reason.

    God did not tell them to rape anyone. God had very clear punishments for rape in His law.

    These women were taken in as wives or even servants. They were assimilated into the Jewish culture. Remember Rahab? She was the Jericho whore who married into the Jewish nation after her city was wiped out by God?


    Just remember that all christians find passages in the bible that are unclear sometimes.....perhaps even scary.

    That's the time to talk to God and ask Him to make things clear to you. We shouldn't have to "imagine" God, even though I know what you meant by that.

    God isn't different in the Old Testament than in the New. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Who knows how long God had been merciful to His enemies and given them chance after chance to become righteous?

    I'll go back to Rahab. Everyone in the corrupt town of Jericho has heard of God and His leading the Israelites in victory in battle. The bible says that they got scared of hearing about this, too.

    Rahab said that every one is the city was hiding in rebellion from God. The knew who he was and knew His almighty power and they wanted nothing to do with Him.

    But Rahab was just as corrupt as they were, yet her response in hearing the exact same scary story as everyone else was to put her trust in God.....not hide from Him. And she even believe that all of her family could be saved from His wrath if she put her trust in Him and the Israelite spies that she met.

    She was saved and her family. And she married into the Jewish nation.

    No, ignoring God's Word is not a solution when you don't understand it. Pray for discernment. Find other believers to discuss it with. Tell God exactly what your fears and concerns are.

    You just answered you own question. :smilewinkgrin:

    God is more merciful to the human race than anyone of us will ever be able to know.

    As I said, who knows how long God gave those people a chance to show some righteous before He gave them the last chance.

    God is not erratic in His actions, thoughts, or deed.

    God is merciful to the righteous and swiftly judges the unrighteous. He is the same for all times and all people.

    This is scary. Do you know why?

    Because they are all kinds of people walking around thinking that everything is fine.

    They believe they are going to Heaven because for many reasons.
    • "I got baptized as a kid."
    • "I'm a good person."
    • "I read my bible sometimes and go to church every Easter."
    • "I give money to charities."
    • "I joined the church."
    • "I teach Sunday School."
    • "I sing in the choir."
    They are all kinds of reasons why people declare themselves as righteous and self-righteousness with not allow you into Heaven.

    God makes you righteous by offering you the gift of the shed blood of His Son. Accept it and God declares you righteous. Then live a life committed to Him draw others to Jesus Christ.
     
    #4 Scarlett O., Sep 3, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2006
  5. El_Guero

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    Then find a Baptist Pastor . . . and become a student of God's Word . . .

    ;)

    Otherwise, it is not so simple.
     
  6. xdisciplex

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    Thank you, Scarlett. :wavey:

    You explained it very well. This is what I meant. I read those verses and directly got a wrong impression. I thought that they mean that the Israelites were allowed to do with those women whatever they wanted to and in my mind this also includes raping them. Maybe I got this picture from movies where people destroy a city and then they kill all men and rape the women, I don't know. :confused:
    But this proves that asking isn't wrong because if I had not asked I would still have these wrong impressions and I would have a wrong picture of God. The problem is that I can almost never come up with own explanations for such passages where God ordered something which seems scary. :(
     
  7. Eric B

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    the much despised account of God commanding the Israelites to kill various nations of people.

    We today insist that a person's religion is just his or her own personal choice, and as long as it is not hurting anybody, what difference does it make? But these people's religion did hurt people! For one thing, all throughout the Old Testament, we see God warning Israel about pagan practices, including "making the children pass through the fire" to the god Molech, which was one of the deities of the Canaanites. The mothers were apparently equally as guilty as the men, so they received the judgement as well.
    The sin spread, and the Israelites were susceptible to adopting the hideous practices. (see Numbers 33:55,6) So these people were under God's judgement for both worshipping a false god, AND even killing their children for it (Deuteronomy 18:12), plus their practices polluted the world. Both their neighbors, and even the land! Just think about Ground Zero. Most do not want to build anything on it, because of all the human remains scattered around, even in the dust, from incineration. We call the land "sacred", because it was our loved ones; and our enemies did it. But from the perspective of the terrorists, they have "defiled" it. Now, imagine a whole countryside similarly poisoned with charred or vaporized human remains from demonic ritual. The land is both physically and spiritually defiled! So God deemed it necessary to remove the people. The land was special, you may remember, because it was the fertile crescent ("land of milk and honey"). God promised it to the people He was dealing with at the time. Not those who were rebelling against Him and defiling it with such abominable practices. God did not place man here on this earth to pollute it with such practices (done to other gods, which they themselves have made).
    But why the children? What did they do; they are innocent, aren't they? There is strong biblical evidence, especially from Jesus, that even though children are affected by sin, God does not hold them responsible like adults. Some conservative Christians, especially of a more Calvinistic bent, will say "no, they were 'born in sin' and therefore 'guilty'". This is a whole other issue that cannot be discussed here, but is addressed on the Predestination page.
    The first time we see this, it is with the Midianites, who had been at constant war with the Israelites who "vex[ed them] with their wiles", and were "beguiling" them, into once again, idolatry. (Numbers 25:18) So in chapter 31, God tells Moses to "avenge" the children of Israel. All of the males (adults, apparently) were slain (v.7). The women and "little ones" were taken captive (v.9). Then, Moses, angry that the women (who were all used to lure Israel into sinning against God) instructs the armies to kill the males among the little ones, as well as all women who were married, while the unmarried would be kept as wives for the Israelites. Obviously, the point of killing the male children and their mothers were so that these people would not grow up within Israel and be taught by their mothers or any other survivors to retaliate, as well as, of course, spread idolatry. So for one thing, that was actually Moses' particular decision, not necessarily God's. God had initially commanded "driving out" those nations. But we see, Israel did not always drive them out thoroughly, and they were far too impressionable, religiously. So Moses often used his own discretion on how the people should be cleaned out. God condoned it, but then as was said before regarding menstruation, this entire era of Biblical history, God allowed many things that were really not His will, and which of course, are forbidden to His people today. (As for the unmarried women, some may try to compare this to the rape that has occured in war in ancient times as well as today, but for one thing, "take for yourselves" means marriage, not forcing oneself on a woman and then leaving (which God always strictly forbade). And remember, back then, women were "given" in marriage, usually apart from their own will, anyway, and while that may not have been God's ultimate will, still with all the other important issues of the day, God was not going to stop and teach them our modern concepts of marriage then). This would later be repeated in Judges 21 with the people of Jabesh-gilead, a city of Israelites that failed to show up for the census, and thus broke an important oath. This however was neither God's instruction, but rather the sons of Jacob (fathers of the 12 tribes) who were in a state of infighting. So a lot of the killing we see recorded in the Bible is not really God's instruction, but just the decisions of men at war. In places like Numbers 21:1-3, 34,5, it was actually the entire nation of Israel's "vow" to God to utterly destroy them and "smite all the people, until there was none left alive". God granted the people into their hand to fulfil this, but did not necessarily command them to do it that extensively as to kill the children. Now, entering Deuteronomy, keep in mind that this is the "Second giving of the Law", and is the words of Moses (1:1-3) reiterating the commandments God had given Him. God commanded to drive out the pagan nations, and Moses would direct how these wars were to be carried out. So in chapter 7, he speaks of "utterly destroying" them, but does not specify children. It was the fighting men who would be killed, and the societies, and most importantly the religious items that were the focus. Then, in chapter 20, when instructing the Israelites on cleaning out what would become the Holy Land, the first method would be to "proclaim peace" to the city they arrive at (v.10). If they answer peaceably, then there would be no war. If they fight, then they were to besiege it and smite the males, but keep the women and little ones. However, of the six worst nations, the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, they were to "save nothing that breathes" (v.16,17). Once again, this was because of the utter defilement of those tribes, "that they teach you not to do all of their abominations which they have done unto their gods" (v.18) —including making the sacrifice of children (12:31), which God, in this last passage seemed to have a special hatred for.

    Of course, this does not justify anyone taking such a matter into their own hands today. [Which is the concern of many critics, and why we should be able to explain this and not rest on simply "well, I don't know, but I just trust it must be right because God did it] Once again, this was the Old Testament, and the New Testament, which is God's final will, ushers in an age of grace, where God does not usually punish people with physical death for sin, but instead gives them a lifetime to repent. Jesus gave the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) in which he warns his "servants" not to take it upon themselves to kill off the evil, "lest while you gather up the tares, you also uproot the wheat with them". God is not directly commanding us to kill the wicked as He sometimes did with Israel, and we do not have the eternal wisdom to do it ourselves. So God says that He Himself will separate the righteous from the wicked at the end of the age. If God thinks someone should die, He causes it Himself (Acts 5, 1 Corinthians 11:27-32). Once again, it is His right to do this. Yes, both Christians and Muslims have in fact, taken it upon themselves to be God's warriors of death on what they see as sinning cultures at times.

    I've seen one person online ask why God had to command people to wipe them out, and not do it himself. That too was probably to teach the Israelites the gravity of sin, just like the animal sacrifices. Plus, as a nation in the world, God allowed them to have their wars, just like all others, and that was what was common in war, and still is. But once again, whatever the reason, this is obviously not what God commands or gives the authority to anyone to do now.
     
  8. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    Great posts Scarlett O and Eric! You both had had great insight to offer the list. Thanks!
     
  9. Not_hard_to_find

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    X, I do not understand why these verses frighten you. Please explain why you, as a Christian, should find these verses fearful, for I do not.

    Nothing in thse verses indicate God's wrath upon those who trust in Him -- or did I miss that?

    Thanks!
     

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