My Question: Does Christianity Cause War Followup

Hi everyone,

I listened to the Ask Away podcast entitled, “Does Christianity Cause War?”, which I found quite informative and helpful. I still have two nagging questions, though.

  1. The land that God promised to Israel was already inhabited. If God cleared out other people to make way for the Israelites, couldn’t other people use the Bible to justify genocide or the ethnic cleansing of other people? (For example, the genocidal warfare waged against Native Americans.)
  2. Also, Esther 9 seems to condone the idea that oppressed people are allowed to take arms against their oppressors, especially people who were actively planning genocide against them.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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The land was inhabited by different races or nationalities and not owned. The events mentioned in the question happened before the advent of Christianity. God used Israel to punish pagan nations. Israel didn’t have it easy just because God was on their side. The laws were strict and Israel too was punished time and again for disobedience and her people, especially the young and the strong taken away into captivity. The promised Messiah was to descend from the nation of Israel. The Israelites were a tiny group of people surrounded by pagans. God was preserving this nation to fulfill his plan of salvation. Most wars were fought for territorial expansion and not religion. The rulers and the ruled exist from time immemorial. This can be seen in the rise and fall of the the biggest empires of the world like the Babylonians, Persians, Grecians and the Romans. In a fallen world of sinners we cannot expect everything to be ideal and perfect. Hunger and poverty, natural disasters and calamities, trials and suffering, wars and strife, sickness and death will continue until Jesus Christ descends in glory with power and authority to judge the world and established his eternal kingdom.
I have kept my reply very brief. I would love to read the reponses of other Connect members.
Blessings.

Hi Rhonda,

I can shed few insights as the Holy Spirit enables, on this issue in short. Please find the responses below:

  1. For the first one, remember you have to go all the way back to Jacob’s story. God’s intention is never to destroy anyone, but rather build relationship and unity. During Jacob’s time, the land of Canaanite was already promised to Abraham, as he left the plains of Ur, trusting God and He is leading him to a new land. Jacob developed a good relationship with the people who were settled there, but due to an incident, Jacobs son’s killed the people there, and finally, Jacob had to leave the place. Now, think what happened there, people were still in pagan worship and did not know God, but they wanted to become like Jews, that why they took circumcision. Much later, almost 500 years (the lab become so wicked, all kinds of practices were followed there, even up to fact that children and babies sacrificed in the hot belly fire of Dagon /Molach (Moabite God). Bible reminds us that God hates wickedness. He gave enough time for people to repent, but when people don’t turn away from weakness, there is always judgment at the end. It is very similar to the judicial system, there is always some small fine or even sometimes forgiveness, for the same person in multiple small petty crimes, but eventually, when the judge or the court sees that the person is not changing and does a big crime, the penalty could be a life sentence or even death. God is always merciful, so to anger and full of compassion, but He is also a righteous judge. So, God used Israelites to clean up that mess, but yet the wicked people were not fully destroyed, and God left them there so to test Israelites’ faith over the years. That was a very specific design planned by God to fulfill the promise given to Abraham. People should not take the example of the Bible towards genocide, Bible does not teach that). Neither the old testament nor the new testament. There are moral laws that bring blessings, as well as judgment for disobedience. Like any secular worldview, law enforcement, the judiciary is set for a reason and to execute the right judgment for the people.

  2. Regarding the book of Esther (remember, the law decreed to kill and annihilate every Jew on a particular day). Through God’s wisdom and the king’s permission, the Jews were allowed to defend themself. Unlike, Egypt where the Jews were actual slaves, the Jews were not slaves in Babylon, they were citizens of the country. The people did intermarriage, they had a home, business, etc. You can get some more clarification about this in Ezra or the book of Nehemiah, where the people repent or their intermarriage, since the law did not permit them to do that. If you read back in the book of Jeremiah, God allowed them to remain in Babylon up to 70 years to grow more in numbers, so they could come back and posses the lad again.

Thank you,
Binny

Thanks for your response. You made the point that different people inhabited Canaan but didn’t own it. I’m not sure what difference that makes. I’ve been taught that Christianity was the extension of Judaism, so it seems to me that Christians have to “own” God using Israel to conquer other nations. I have no idea who the natural descendants of the Caananites would be today, but I wonder how a “Caananite” who is mourning the loss of their land & culture would feel about that explanation. Or should it matter?

Binny,
Thanks so much for your response. I have some thoughts about what you said about Esther. I thought that Haman’s execution neutralized the threat to the Jews because their “ringleader” was now dead. Therefore, chapter 9 reads to me more like an offensive, rather than defensive move. I also get from your response that citizens have the right to self defense, but not slaves. Otherwise, I’m not clear about why you make the distinction. I’m also not clear about what intermarriage has to do with the issue.
Best,
Rhonda

Hi Rhonda,
Thanks for your thoughts. According to the Bible, Jesus came to bring the good news of the Gospel first to the lost sheep of Israel. Daniel prophesies Isaiah’s prophecy of a promised Messiah was fulfilled with Jesus’s Birth. Now Salvation was for the Jews first, as Jesus himself said in the Gospels. Because, Jesus was born as a Jew so, the salvation is from a Jew (God’s chosen people) for the Jews to bring them back to the one true God through their promised King, the Anointed One, or the Messiah. Now the twist happens, Jews completely rejects the authorship and Messiahship of Jesus, so the Salvation goes to the Gentiles. This was the very beginning plan of God to bring the house of Ephraim and Judah together (you can find this in Jeremiah). Remmber, Joseph married an Egyptian priest’s daughter (2 sons, Ephirah and Mannash) were ingrafted Jews, through Joseph (a Jew by Birth). The same happened with Ruth (a Moabite) married to Boaz (by birth Jew)= David’s Royal bloodline (Jesus Christ’s decedents). Jesus himself said, I came not to abolish anything, but to fulfill the law. With Jesus Christ coming 2000 years ago, Judaism is technically complete. Christianity begins with one being a follower of Christ, regardless of being a Jew or Gentile. In my thoughts, Christianity is not an extension of Judaism, because then we would have to follow all the Jewish customs and most importantly the Holy Law. Apostle Paul makes a strong argument regarding these concepts in the book of Romans and many other epistles, regarding the significance of Grace. According to his words, “the Law kills, the Word gives life”. There were in ancient times, many just practices, where the new convert Jews wanted still to follow all the Jewish customs, including the significance of circumcision. Apostle, Paul rebukes the Church, teach them the right teaching, and warns anyone to fall away from what He or the other Apostles taught. He also engages with Peter in Acts regarding the same issue. Today, we have Messianic Jews, who follow most of the Jewish customs, but according to the bible, they are not to do that, so I am not sure, how they are following Christ fully, and I would say still in bondage of the law. Apostle, Paul says, Law is such Holy, that if we break one, we break all, thus there is no escape from the sin under Law, except through the shed blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins once and for all, remission into new Life of Grace, which is not a license to Sin. Hope this helps out.

Again going back to the Canaanites, They belong to the descended of Esau, but lived in wickedness and followed terrible practices. God gave them ample time to repent and turn away from Sin. For example, if we plant a tree (flower or fruit-bearing or even for wood), nourish it, allow it to grow, what do you naturally expect from the tree? Fruits, good appearance, healthy look, shade, wood, etc. But if it does not produce as excepted, we can wait and watch how it does, in few more years. Now, at last, if it’s a burden, does not give anything of value, what would you do? Cut it out, even try to get it out from the stump, and plant a new tree or do something useful from the land or ground piece. Immagine the same with Canaanites. God is the giver and taker of life, our standard of morality and justice comes from God himself, thus to Him, they had enough time to turn from sin and live a Holy life. Hope this provides some clear understanding.

Regarding Esther, you are right Haman was dead, but the law that he fastly created could not be revoked due to the King’s seal. Persian kings use to keep annal of Records and laws, by which they use to make the decision, instead of making their own decision. Later, when Esther request the king to cancel the annihilation of the Jews, the King could not do it. Rather, he thought of a wonderful idea and gave the authority to Esther and Mordecai, to come up with a solution, without revoking the original declaration. Now, citizens or slaves of any nation have any right, but they all are under the authority (first God, then king or rulers). If a ruler decides that citizens have to pay tax to the king, or produce etc (they have to do it). If the king decides, slaves’ children will be killed, the solider would execute that proclamation, and slaves have no right (you can find this example, with Joseph, during the time of Jesus birth, Moses birth ) etc. So Esther and Mordecai, bring a new law that would allow the Jews to defend themself from their attackers. You are right, slaves did not have any right in the past, they often served once household, or kings, rulers, etc. Now during the biblical time, Jews also had slaves but they were part of the family, not like the Egyptian slavery of the Jews for 500 years. Regarding intermarriage, that was just to show why in the first place, the problem of Geonicde happened with respect to Biblical timelines. Jews by the law were not to intermarry other cultures (Esau was the first one to do that) and several new wicked cultures came from them, which was not God’s plan. Now, people should not take the example of the Bible to kills other communities, that is not God’s intention. What happened in the Bible is God’s divine plans for His chosen people, to fulfill His promises made to Abraham and to bring Messiah into the world.