No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: Jihad

What kind of God is this?

Many have talked about the cruelness of a God that would demand the extermination of a people.   Why would God, a God of love, a God of justice, a God of peace, allow for the total annihilation of a people, to include women and children?   Many have and will continue to use this as a reason to prove that Israel, and God were brutal and barbaric.   Was there a reason for this extermination?   Was there a method to God’s decision?   How can one justify God’s command to kill all men, women and children?

The Bible verse in question is Joshua 6:17; ” And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.” [1] The key word here is the word devoted.   In the context of this passage devoted means giving over to the LORD [2] , often by destroying them.   The rest of the command is that only Rahab and those in her house were the only ones to be spared.   The command from God was clear.   This removes judgment from Joshua and places it firmly on the shoulders of God.   Why would God make such a command?

In order to try to understand why God would make such a decision it is important to understand who the Canaanite people were.   Archer makes two critical observations about the Canaanite culture.   Archer states that the Canaanite’s were ” Given over as they were the most degenerate forms of polytheism and sexual impurity, these depraved inhabitants of the land were sure to exert a baneful influence and spread a deadly contagion among the covenant people of God.” [3] .   The Canaanite’s were a depraved society.   As noted by Archer they had a number of god’s and participated in infant sacrifice.   Deuteronomy 18:9-12 describes some of the things that the Canaanites did;

9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 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, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 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. [4]

The Canaanites were the worst of the worse.   Sacrificing children by burning them, sexual debauchery, witchcraft, sorcery, and the list goes on.   Just as an FYI…C anaanite peoples also inhabited Sodom and Gomorra.   In other words, they had been warned and have seen God’s judgment directly on them.   These are the people that Joshua was commanded to destroy.

God had Joshua destroy these people because he could not have them intermingling with his chosen people.   God states this in Leviticus 18:2-4; “I am the LORD your God. 3 ( B ) You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God.” [5] .   He states it again in Deuteronomy 18:9.   This is the reason he gives for driving the Canaanites out in Deuteronomy 18:12.   God knew that if the Canaanites were not driven out they would corrupt the Israelites and would cause them to break their covenant with God by not obeying the Ten Commandments.   God’s assertion ended up proving it’s self out.   While many want to discuss the results of God’s command at Jericho, many do not broach the topic that many were spared and not driven out throughout the region.   The primary reason that God wanted the Canaanites driven out was to prevent the spiritual decline that was going to take place because they were not driven out.   Archers states ” Much of the periodic spiritual decline and apostasy that marked the history of Israel during the time of the Judges is attributable to a toleration of the Canaanite inhabitants and their degenerate religion in the midst of the land.” [6] As it turns out God was justified in demanding that the Canaanites be driven completely out of the region.

On its face there would appear to be very few differences between the call to Jihad, and God’s call to Joshua to annihilate the population of the Canaanites.   However, after a bit of digging there is a noticeable difference between the two.   To be able to compare the two jihad must defined.   Jihad is a religious struggle, a fight against evil, and has taken on several forms in the Quran.  These form would include jihad of the heart, mouth hand and sword.   The Jihad of the sword is the more militant side of Jihad [7] . The goal of God when telling Joshua to drive out the Canaanites, to destroy Jericho was to fulfill the covenant, and to protect his people.   God made judgment upon the Canaanite people, not Joshua or any of the peoples of Israel.   This is the critical difference.   The primary passage for Jihad is 22:38-41 in the Quran.   In reading this verse there is a vague permission to go to war for those who are attacked and definitely wronged.  The general interpretation of this verse focuses on defense.   This defense has taken on the form of defending those who are oppressed, not being allowed to flourish, to “free mankind from the chains of bondage of thought and the bondage of other than thought”< /span> [8] .   This is a stark contrast to the God that declared judgment through Joshua of the Canaanite peoples.   God declares that judgment, and it would appear that Muslims, (according to the Quran) are allowed to pronounce judgment as they see fit.   The passage provides, at best, a vague description for permission to go to war.   This leaves a lot open to interpretation, by men.   The irony is that the very thing they defend (Muslim thoughts, practices, tyranny, invasion, etc…) are the very thing they perpetrate in their “defense”.   The primary difference here is where judgment lies.   In Joshua 6 judgment lies with God, Joshua was the instrument of judgment.   In jihad, judgment lies with the everyday Muslim.   They are in fact judge, jury and executioner…literally.

As a side note we must also take heed to the description of the Canaanite culture.  As you read the description of the Canaanite people did it sound familiar?  It should have.  Are we not living in a culture that is similar to this?  Now God waited 400 years before the ultimate judgement of the Canaanite culture.  How long before we are judged?  Just something to think about…

[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] Ibid

[3] Archer, G. L. (1998). A survey of Old Testament introduction 3rd. ed . Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), 247.

[4] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5] Ibid

[6] Archer, G. L. (1998). A survey of Old Testament introduction 3rd. ed . Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), 247.

[7] Elass, Mateen A. 2002. “Four Jihads.” Christian History 21, no. 2: 35. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCO host (accessed November 3, 2010).

[8] Ayatullah Morteza Mutahhari, ” Jihad The Holy War of Islam and Its Legitimacy in the Quran, Questions about Jihad”. The Islamic Propagation Organization, (accessed October 31, 2010)

HOLY WAR (but NOT Jihad)!!!

God’s Word makes it very clear that all Christians are in a very dangerous and deadly battle – we are called to MAKE WAR!  That is why we are given instructions on how and who and with which weapons we are expected to fight. Check out what Eph 6:10-18 has to say about it:

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Not only are we expected to fight, but we are expected to WIN – BIG TIME (cf. Romans 8:37).

Over the coming days we are going to look at the various aspects of the Armor of God… and see how each to be used to increase our effectiveness for our Supreme Commander-in-Chief. But before we strap on the Armor and go out Rambo-style to kick tail and take names I think it’s important for us to examine just exactly who who or what is/are the enemy.

Far too often I see Christians assuming that we need to fight against people and their messed up thinking… their ideologies (aka their politics), but it seems to me that verse 12 above makes it pretty clear that this is not the case. Let’s take a peek at what God says about it elsewhere (Ephesians 2:1-3):

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

One can derive from this passage, and the one from chapter 6 above, that Christians have three basic enemies: the World (culture), Satan/the Devil, and our own wicked Flesh… NOT other people!!! Nowhere does it talk about political entities… Hmmm…

Now for those of you who know me you know that I personally have a massive disdain for certain political views and that most of these views are held dear by a certain political party here in our country. This, of course, leads me to have VERY strong negative feelings about that party. But I have to stop and ask myself are rage… frustration… outrage… disgust… against a political party (and thus many of the people in it) a good use of my time and energy?

If our enemies are the World, our own flesh and Satan, aren’t we already fighting on 3 fronts? No military expert would tell you that is a winning battle plan… So why on earth would we want to add a 4th? It is a losing strategy, it is harmful to other people, the reputation of Christ and when you get down to the bottom of it, in almost every instance, fighting against other people it is downright sinful…

When I studied this out to teach it on our recent youth retreat I think I found that, we can reduce this fight to a two front battle. I deeply believe that if we will rightly focus our efforts it will make us more effective for the cause of Christ – I welcome your comments on whether or not the following makes sense.

In spiritual warfare we often (rightly?) begin by focusing on Satan as the primary enemy. Let’s look at some of his names (characteristics) to understand him better and fight him better. As I studied out his names I saw a pattern or progression unfold that made a lot of sense to me and helped me focus my battle efforts – hope it does the same for you.

In simplest terms the Devil is God’s enemy… Satan HATES God and would love nothing more than to replace Him. We see this in these names: Satan (which means Adversary) 1 Peter 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:15; Enemy/Opponent – Matthew 13:28; Evil One – John 17:15…

He is not powerful enough to oppose/fight God directly so he employs a round-about attack by going after God’s people and doing everything in his power to keep others from becoming God’s people… To do this Satan has masterfully influenced the culture toward greater and greater depravity and evil. God recognizes this ploy and has warned us in other names that have been given to Satan: Prince of the Power of the Air (which means he controls unbelievers) – Ephesians 2:2; Ruler of Demons – Mark 3:22; Ruler of this World (which means he rules the world system/culture) – John 12:31; God of this Age (which means he influences the thinking of this world) – 2 Cor. 4:4; Beelzebub (Lord of the Flies) – Matthew 12:24; Belial (which means that he is worthless – just like the corruption he has brought to the world) – 2 Cor. 6:15

Satan then uses the Culture/World to provide temptation for our flesh (the second enemy listed above). We see this in his names: Tempter – 1 Thes. 3:5; Serpent of Old – Deceiver in Garden – Rev. 12:9, 20:2

God warns us from falling to these schemes in 1 John 2:15-17 when He says:

15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

However, Satan is stubborn and will not give up… through the World/Culture will try to tell you that certain sins are OKAY… he’ll try to convince you that they are not that bad… He’ll provide you with every kind of justification from “I’m just wired/born this way” to “God wants me to be happy and this will do it” to “I/they deserve this”… But I’m here to tell you IT’s NOT OKAY…

Satan is a masterful liar (cf. John 8:34) – Though he tries to make it look good, pleasing and harmless, sin is an affront to God and His Holiness and it is harmful to our soul and damaging to our lives and relationships! Sinning is telling your heavenly father that you know best – it’s basically giving God the finger… and though God is loving and forgiving that is a dangerous game to play…

Once Satan has trapped you in one of his schemes and he has hooked you with some type of addictive sin, he then capitalizes upon our temptations and failures. God calls him the Accuser  (Rev 12:10) because Satan bad-mouths you to God, in your mind and to other people. He is called the Dragon/Destroyer (Rev. 9:11; 12:3, 7, 9) because he uses your sinful mistakes to ruin your life. He is called a Roaring Lion (1 Peter 5:8) because he wants to swallow you up in the consequences of sin and keep you from experiencing fellowship with God. He is a Murderer (John 8:34) because he leads people to eternal death (aka Hell). The term “Devil” actually means “slanderer” ( Matt. 4:1) because If he can’t get to you any other way, he’ll try to destroy your/God’s reputation.

So, what I see from all this is that if Satan is the deceiving force that is corrupting the culture we only truly have to fight the battle on two fronts… We need to Submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7-8).  And we need to MAKE WAR against our sinful nature (cf. 1 Cor. 9:27, Galatians 5:16-26). John Piper would say that the war against our own flesh is the most important aspect of this… but I’d have to respectfully disagree… I think both prongs of our counter-attack are equally important… If we fight directly against Satan (and we’ll see how to do that in coming posts) then the culture will be effected which will minimize temptations as much as possible, making it easier to fight against our sinful desires…

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen sin’s painful effects on a lot of people’s lives and I’m hopping mad about it… I’m ready to strap the armor on and get it on with Satan in God’s mighty power… Will you join me?

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