Joshua 8.18 records hold out toward Ai the curved sword in your hand, for I am handing the city over to you.
I was listening to two men discuss religion today. The first commented that the Muslims are a real world problem, their book commands them to kill everyone who isn’t one. The second guy commented that the Bible says the same thing so it and its adherents are just as bad.
The first guy rebutted his friend by stating now we live by the teachings of Jesus so Christians are better. This didn’t convince the second guy that there is any difference between ISIS and Baptists. Do both of these books record God telling His people to kill everyone?
Its true that Islam has been a religion of the sword almost from its inception. This is inarguable if one will merely look at history. Their expansion was by sword not by reason and indeed the koran does command its followers to kill the infidel who won’t convert. (koran 9.5)
But what about the Bible. Interestingly if you search ‘kill’ in the online Bible you are hard pressed to find God specifically commanding Israel to kill people. It is inferred and allowed for sure. God promised Israel some land and the possession of that land meant the removal of the current inhabitants. This would happen in various ways but some of it was by sword.
God made Israel wait 400 years as slaves in Egypt before giving them the Promised Land. This was because the current residents had not become depraved enough to justify their removal. When Israel did remove these people they were making child sacrifices, practiced homosexuality and bestiality and had become an utter abomination to the holy ways of God.
Furthermore, Israel’s permission to take the land was limited in scope. God had set defined boundaries for Israel. The people to be killed were defined geographically. Israel was not given a global mandate to conquer the world. The truth is Israel never did slay everyone who lived in that land during their brief years of conquest.
The Bible records more failure on the part of Israel to remove the peoples than success because their faith and their obedience was weak. Their certainly was slaughter but it was limited in scope and duration, most likely far less than most nations have utilized in the establishment of their empires over the ages.
When God came to earth as one of us, Jesus the Savior, He did not come to establish a religion through the use of force of war. He really came to establish a relationship with God through the force of love. He became the Savior through sacrifice of Himself and commanded His followers to likewise lay down their lives as they loved, served and proclaimed to the world the love of God in Jesus. The Church grew and was commanded by God to grow through love, suffering and sacrifice and not by sword, coercion or force.
The Bible and the koran are immensely different because the one records the character and commands of a God Who is good, loving and giving. The other, the koran, record a god who is aloof, petty and jealous whose promise of heaven is a harem of perpetual virgins to the men who lose their life fighting for his cause. That god doesn’t make sense and neither do the writings of that book.
Both of the men I listened to today were ignorant of Who God really is and what God really said in the Bible. If we would but spend time reading the Bible we would find in its pages a great and merciful God Who truly loves humanity and has done everything in His power, except force us, to love Him in return.